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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Players You Should Vote For For The 2014 All Star Game

Currently, voting is underway for the 2014 All-Star game in Minnesota. Fans across the nation, and across the globe can vote on who they think should start the All-Star game. Many fans will just be homers and vote for players who play on their favorite team. However, if you do vote for this or any All-Star game, I ask that you take this seriously and vote on who you genuinely believe is the best at every position. The reason for this is the same reason I loathe the fact that Derek Jeter is probably going to start at SS for the AL this year. Being honored with the designation of an "All Star" matters. Not only is it a great personal achievement for that particular player, but its used as a determining factor for a player's legacy. One extra All-Star game for Derek Jeter may not matter, but if he steals that vote from say Jose Reyes or Alexei Ramirez, that does matter. You can give me all of the bullshit excuses of "this is a fan's game, so the fans should determine who they personally want to see" or "Derek Jeter's selection is not for this year, but for the great career he had" and you'd just be wrong. You're wrong. At the end of the day, who is an All-Star matters solely as recognition for how great of a player you were. Nobody will say in 10 years, hell in 5 years, Derek Jeter went to the All-Star game 14 times, but it's really 13 and a bonus year representative for his entire career. No. They'll say Derek Jeter is a 14x All-Star, and that's that. Players should be rewarded for how they perform on the field to determine if they're worthy of becoming an All-Star.

Now how to determine how good a player and if they're an All-Star or not is somewhat up for debate. There are three credible ways I've heard to determine who is an All-Star. The first way is look to look at how every player performs in that given year. So to determine who should be an All-Star in 2014, all we have to do is look up the 2014 statistics for every single player. This is the way I used to determine who I'd vote for, but there's a huge flaw in this approach. The first problem is that no second halves are ever taken into account if you vote this way. The All-Star game takes place a little past the midway point of the season. So if you're voting on just this year alone, you're completely discounting everything else the player has done. If Player A performs great in the first half and poorly in the second half and Player B performs poorly in the first half and great in the second half, and both Player A and Player B end the 2014 season with the same WAR, Player A doesn't automatically deserve to be an All-Star just because he was lucky enough to play great baseball at a more opportune time than Player B. Yet this is how this terrible MLB system is designed. Secondly, you're not even rewarding a player with a great first half, you're rewarding a player with a great first third. You don't vote for All-Stars right after the halfway point of the season, that's just when the actual game is played, you vote for All-Stars right around now, when less than half but more than a third of the season takes place. That's why I like to vote using theory #2.

Another way to determine how good potential All-Stars are is by using that player's current season as well as using how well that player performed in the second half of the prior season. That means, when you vote this year, you not only look at how a player performs in 2014, but how well that player performed during the second half of 2013. Luckily, has made it easy to look at how well baseball players performed in the second half of a season. Now there are two drawbacks to this approach, but both are too insignificant for me to stop using this approach. The first is that this approach is more difficult, because there's not one graph or chart that lists the accomplishment and statistics of baseball players from say July 1, 2013 to now. At minimum you have to look at two charts. Boo hoo hoo for you. The second is that this approach discounts players who didn't play the year prior. It's a little but tougher to judge Jose Abreu, who didn't play at all the second half of 2013 but is playing out of his mind in 2014 to a guy like Chris Davis who had a monster 2013 campaign but is having a poor 2014 one. That's just a judgment call to make on the part of the voter, but at least you're taking the prior season into account unlike the previous method which ignores it entirely.

The third theory, which many guys like Keith Law uses, is to use a three year sample, but I strongly dislike this approach because the All-Star game isn't played every three years, it's played every one. I think that should come into consideration to a small degree, but overall, how a player performed in 2011 shouldn't affect how you vote in 2014.

So with all of this being said, and with how I determine picks, here is who I think deserves to be an All-Star in 2014 and the acceptable candidates that you can vote on when you make your selections.



My Vote: Salvador Perez (KC)

Perez leads all AL catchers in WAR both in 2014 as well as during the second half of 2013. 

Other Acceptable Candidates: Yan Gomes (CLE), Carlos Santana (CLE), Matt Wieters (BAL)


My Vote: Jose Abreu (CWS)

Truthfully, the correct answer here is Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) who leads the majors in home runs (24) and hit 11 home runs with a 1.7 WAR during the second half of 2013; however you're not eligible to vote for Edwin as a first baseman. Toronto smartly made Adam Lind it's first basemen and Encarnacion a DH. Plus, Jose Abreu has two less home runs than Encarnacion in 2014 (22) while playing in 14 less games, and Abreu didn't play at all in 2013. 

Other Acceptable Candidates: Miguel Cabrera (DET)


My Vote: Brian Dozier (MIN)

Dozier was 3rd among AL second basement in WAR during the second half of 2013 (behind Robinson Cano and Ben Zobrist) and is first in 2014. Dozier is the perfect example of why we should take the second half of the previous year into account, because he had a great second half in 2013, yet didn't play at all in the first half. Luckily, his 15 HR and 15 SB in 2014 will mean he'll be All-Star in 2014 no matter what.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Jose Altuve (HOU), Robinson Cano (SEA)


My Vote: Alexei Ramirez (CWS)

Between last year and this year, no one TRULY stands out; however, Alexei does have the best WAR (3.6) out of any American League shortstop between the start of the second half of 2013 and now. If it means anything to you, Alexei is currently the best AL SS in Yahoo! fantasy baseball this year.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Erick Aybar (LAA), Alcides Escobar (KC), Elvis Andrus (TEX)


My Vote: Josh Donaldson (OAK)

Not only is Donaldson 5th among all active major leaguers in WAR in 2014, 3rd overall in the AL, and 1st among AL third basemen, but he was also first among all third basemen in WAR during the second half of the 2013 season. Also, Donaldson was not an All-Star in 2013 despite having the 3rd highest WAR in all of baseball- behind only Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen. That's right, Donaldson had a better WAR than third basemen and AL MVP Miguel Cabrera yet was not an All-Star last year.

Other Acceptable Candidates: None. There is no other AL third basemen that can even come close to deserving to start the All-Star game than Donaldson.


My Vote: Mike Trout (LAA), Adam Jones (BAL), Alex Gordon (KC)

Mike Trout is the only no-brainer here as he currently leads all AL outfielders in WAR and did so throughout the second half of the 2013 season as well. As of the 2014 season, Gordon is second in WAR, and even though he was just middle-of-the-pack during the second half of last season, he still had an overall WAR better than Adam Jones, Jose Bautista, Yoenis Cespedes, and Brandon Moss. I gave the last spot to Adam Jones because he's 5th in WAR in 2014 and was 12th during the second half of 2013, and if my calculations are correct, he has the second best WAR of any AL OF not named Mike Trout since the second half of 2013.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Jose Bautista (TOR), Yoenis Cespedes (OAK), Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)


My Vote: Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

You have to vote the leader of everyone in baseball in home runs as the starting DH.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Nelson Cruz (BAL), Victor Martinez (DET), Brandon Moss (OAK)



My Vote: Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

Even if Lucroy didn't lead all NL catchers in WAR both in 2014 (and it's not close) as well as during the second half of 2013, you should probably vote for him based upon this commercial alone.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Normally, I'd say Yadier Molina (STL), but you can't! In all seriousness, Lucroy does deserve to be an All-Star over Molina in 2014.


My vote: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

The Arizona slugger was tied for first in WAR during the second half of 2013 and is first in 2014. He's a no-brainer.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Freddie Freeman (ATL), Anthony Rizzo (CHC)


My Vote: Dee Gordon (LAD)

There's no clear cut answer here, so you gotta go with the guy leading the majors in stolen base in 2014.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Chase Utley (PHI), Daniel Murphy (NYM), Neil Walker (PIT)


My Vote: Troy Tulowitzki (COL)

Come on now!

Other Acceptable Candidates: Hanley Ramirez (LAD)


My Vote: Todd Frazier (CIN)

This is actually the first time in the NL where it's actually close. Who I voted for for NL catcher, first base, second, and shortstop is who you should vote for. But here, you could vote for Frazier or Anthony Rendon (WAS). I went with Frazier not only because he was 7th in WAR in the NL last year among third basemen, but because he's #1 this year- ahead of Rendon.

Other Acceptable Candidates: Anthony Rendon (WAS)


My Vote: Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Carlos Gomez (MIL), Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

Not only are these three men the top 3 leaders in NL OF WAR in 2014, but all had a good second half of 2013 as well (I guess Stanton technically didn't because of injury, but he's proven he's a great baseball player throughout his career)

Other Acceptable Candidates: Yasiel Puig (LAD), Hunter Pence (SF), Billy Hamilton (CIN)

Poor Hunter Pence. He's 6th in the NL among outfielders according to WAR in 2014 and was 3rd during the second half of 2013, but he won't start because he doesn't play for the Dodgers.

And there you have it. Your 2014 Starting All-Stars! But really, just don't be an a-hole and vote for Derek Jeter.


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