NL All-Stars According To Me

Pretty.

I realize this may not be what everyone comes here for, but I’m mainly doing this for me. Usually, I sit there looking up stuff while trying to vote, and all the windows just get in the way. This way, I already have everything lined up, and I can just go tomorrow night. Anyway, on the DL and some Braves bias.

Catcher
Brian McCann (2.5 WAR)
Chris Ianetta (1.3 WAR), Yadier Molina (1.3 WAR)

Even on the DL for a couple weeks, McCann is still twice as valuable as any other catcher. Molina gets in based on excellent defense and mediocre offense, and Ianetta gets in on the opposite. It’s too bad Jesus Flores has been injured, or he would take one of the two’s spot. Ryan Hanigan also deserves an honorable mention, and if you knew what team he plays for, you’re either a Reds fan, looking for a dark-horse ROY, or too into baseball. All of those are perfectly fine but unusual.

First Baseman
Albert Pujols (4.2 WAR)
Adrian Gonzalez (3.5 WAR), Prince Fielder (3.1 WAR)

Pujols is a cinch, and Gonzalez is the best guy that we’re all starting to hear about. Fielder and his 1.034 OPS deserves a nod. Joey Votto (1.054 OPS) is in the same situation as Flores, but if he wasn’t this discussion would be more difficult. Otherwise, the usuals (Lance Berkman, Derrek Lee, and Ryan Howard) just aren’t that good, making this a surprisingly easy section.

Second Baseman
Chase Utley (3.9 WAR)
Brandon Phillips (2.2 WAR), Freddy Sanchez (2.1 WAR)

Utley = Pujols. Then, it’s a three-way battle between Phillips, Sanchez, and Clint Barmes (yes, Barmes). For the life of me, I can’t figure out why Barmes has so little offensive value when he’s smack in the middle of Sanchez and Phillips in OPS. Sanchez and Barmes are comparable, but Sanchez is probably better offensively than Barmes is defensively. Phillips, however, is the far superior defender of the three. As for Orlando Hudson, his glove leaks. Oh, and I needed a Pirate.

Third Baseman
Ryan Zimmerman (3.3 WAR)
David Wright (2.9 WAR), Pablo Sandoval (3.4 WAR)

Zimmerman’s OPS is the worst of the three, but he’s by far the best defender in the NL at third. Wright is leaking defensively, taking away from his awesome offensive value. And Sandoval just keeps rolling along after a rough start to the year. Casey Blake made a serious run by having a better glove, countering the loss of 100 OPS points, but Sandoval wins the tie-breaker by striking out 15 fewer times (and yes, that’s pretty arbitrary — it was a hard decision). As for my man Chipper, he’s been sucking offensively lately and his glove is as bad as Zimmerman’s is good.

Shortstop
Hanley Ramirez (3.7 WAR)
Troy Tulowitzki (1.7 WAR)

The shortstop situation in the NL is a total crapshoot after Ramirez, and I refuse to put 3 of them in. Tulowitzki wins out of the 7 or 8 that are close in value because he’s positive both offensively and defensively. What happened to the “young studs” that NL shortstops were supposed to be?

Outfield
Matt Kemp (3.7 WAR), Justin Upton (3.4 WAR), Raul Ibañez (3.1 WAR)
Ryan Braun (3.0 WAR), Carlos Beltran (2.6 WAR), Hunter Pence (2.5 WAR)

Kemp is having an amazing defensive season, and Upton is just awesome. Ibañez clips Braun because his OPS is better (1.027 to .990) and his defense is better. Beltran, even though he’s been out, somehow loses value defensively (that can’t be) but has great value on offense anyway. Pence has been a pleasant surprise that few have seemed to notice. The other big hitters are worse than federal levies on defense.

Starting Pitcher
Tim Lincecum (4.8 WAR)
Javier Vazquez (3.5 WAR), Dan Haren (3.3 WAR), Josh Johnson (3.1 WAR), Chad Billingsley (2.4 WAR), Johan Santana (2.0 WAR), Yovani Gallardo (1.6 WAR)

Lincecum is just … well … I can’t believe I’m going to say this … Lincecawesome. The next three were easy picks. After that, Billingsley gets the nod as the ace of the NL-best Dodgers, Santana as the only guy holding his own for the Mets, and Gallardo because I can’t figure out how he doesn’t have more value. Jair Jurrjens, Matt Cain, and Johnny Cueto made this more difficult than the AL was.

Relief Pitcher
Jonathan Broxton (1.9 WAR), Rafael Soriano (1.3 WAR), Heath Bell (1.2 WAR), Francisco Rodriguez (0.7 WAR), Ryan Franklin (0.5 WAR)

Broxton is an obvious choice from my perspective. Soriano has been dominant. Bell has been really good. K-Rod is a bit wild but still effective. And I think Franklin has had a good enough season to warrant a selection.

I think all 16 teams are accounted for, and I don’t think there are any serious stretches. I went against the WAR values a bit more because I’m an NL guy and know more about it to make more judgment calls. Well, that’s it. Now, let’s see how close the selections are to my list.

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6 Responses to “NL All-Stars According To Me”

  1. Bill Says:

    Can't disagree with any of those picks.

    "Lincecawesome" sure does seem to be making the rounds lately. 🙂

    For the life of me, I can't figure out why Barmes has so little offensive value when he's smack in the middle of Sanchez and Phillips in OPS.
    1. Park factors: Coors is still a pretty extreme hitters' park. OPS+ goes Sanchez 125, Phillips 110, Barmes 105.
    2. OBP: the more important component of OPS. Most of Barmes' OPS comes from SLG, and he has a considerably lower OBP than the other two.

  2. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Fair enough. But why is OBP (I know the "answer" but bear with me) better than SLG? A walk is always nice, but it seems that doubles and home runs make it significantly easier to score, making them still at least as valuable.

  3. jorgesaysno Says:

    Finally…someone giving Zimmerman his due. He's having a huge year, but it seems like no one is taking notice.

  4. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    He had that really hot start, but he cooled off a bit. Still, he's done really well offensively, and he's been far and away the best defender.

  5. Dan Says:

    A week late to the party, but to sort of answer your question, Mark, about why OBP is more important than SLG. Apologies if I'm repeating something you already know.

    OPS is a quick and dirty statistic. There's no real mathematical reason to add those two percentages together, other than the simplicity it provides in encapsulating two parts of the offensive spectrum with the previously calculated stats OBP and SLG.

    If I remember correctly, if you compare the statistical correlation between a team's runs scored with AVG and OBP, OBP has a higher statistical correlation. So OBP is a better predictor of runs scored than AVG. OPS is even better than OBP or SLG alone correlation-wise. Which is why OPS is a decent uberstat for offense.

    BUT, if you give OBP more weight in an OPS equation (like OBP*1.2 + SLG), the modified OPS formula has a better correlation with runs scored than the vanilla formula of OPS.

    Hence the argument that OBP is more important than SLG in OPS. I guess one could divine some logic behind that finding, but I'm pretty certain it began as a statistical observation.

  6. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Actually, that was really helpful. I'm usually just told getting on base is just more important, but your explanation makes sense. Thank you.

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