Well, that’s how Bud Selig, FOX, ESPN and, really, anyone who stands to make a few bucks off of the game want us to see it, anyway. In reality, It’s a massively-hyped but often-under-whelming contest between baseball’s most popular players that will inexplicably effect a pair of yet-to-be-decided teams’ World Series hopes who may or may not have more than a couple of players even present at this game.
But, then again, there’s not much that can be done about the majority of those issues. For example, Selig still seems to think that the “This time it counts!” concept is a winner – despite just about everybody on the planet understanding otherwise. And, as far as the on-the-field performances, there are bound to be some awkward defensive situations due to the fact that most of these players have never played together before as a unit. That’s the primary characteristic of All-Star games in every sport.
One thing that is up to the fans to control, however, is who plays in the game – at least for the most part. Fans get to select the starters (eight for the NL, nine for the AL) for each team. And, in case you wondered, we screwed it up pretty badly. Again. Of the eight players on the National League roster that the fans selected, one deserve to be there. On the AL side, fans got two of nine possible choices correct.
So, out of 17 players, we got three right. That’s 17.6 percent, and that’s pathetic.
Of course, right about now you might be asking yourself what criteria I am using to decipher who deserves to be in Kansas City this evening and who does not. That’s simple; I’m using a statistic that has gained quite a bit of steam over the last few years – Wins Above Replacement, or WAR. When you’re talking about an All-Star game, and who deserves to be there, WAR is about as perfect of a stat as you can ask for.
WAR essentially tells us how many more wins than the “average” AAA/MLB level replacement player that any given ballplayer is worth. And when you’re talking about who deserves to be at an All-Star game, that’s exactly what you want. So, without further ado, here are the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star rosters, as well as what the roster’s should be.
Pos- Player – Correct Player
C- Buster Posey – Carlos Ruiz
1B- Joey Votto – Joey Votto
2B- Dan Uggla – Darwin Barney
3B- Pablo Sandoval – David Wright
SS- Rafael Furcal – Starlin Castro
OF- Melky Cabrera – Andrew McCutchen
OF- Carlos Beltran – Michael Bourn
OF- Ryan Braun – Matt Holliday
I’ll admit – Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro being on this list surprised me. Neither of them are putting up stellar offensive numbers. But, as it turns out, Barney and Castro have the two highest Defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR) in all of the National League. So, their defense is literally so good that it has pushed them above and beyond players with better offensive numbers. Who knew.
Pos- Player – Correct Player
C- Mike Napoli – Joe Mauer
1B- Prince Fielder – Albert Pujols
2B- Robinson Cano – Robinson Cano
3B- Adrian Beltre – Brett Lawrie
SS- Derek Jeter – Asdrubal Cabrera
OF- Josh Hamilton – Mike Trout
OF- Curtis Granderson – Josh Reddick
OF- Jose Bautista – Austin Jackson
DH- David Ortiz – David Ortiz
There were a couple of surprises here, too. First of all, Brett Lawrie got hosed – badly. He is far and away the best overall player in the AL this year, yet he didn’t get anywhere near enough votes to start. As a matter of fact, he’s not even on the team. Also surprising is the fact that the first base and catcher positions are pretty weak in the AL this year. I had to go pretty far down the list to find a full-time first baseman that was deserving.
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