Tuesday, April 26, 2005

4/26 Ballot

MLB.com opens All Star ballots about two weeks after the season the starts. They also have someone on their website cast a ballot every two or so weeks and it’s an interesting read even if it means nothing. So, here’s my three week ballot along with my preseason all star picks


Starting Pitchers

Jake "7 K/BB ratio"" Peavy and Mark "2 hr" Buehrle. Clemens has a good case too as well as Harden, but these two have been the most dominant starters in the early going and they aren't flukes like Dontrelle and Buehrle's teammate Garland should be.

National League Catcher

Preseason: Mike Piazza

4/26: Jason Phillips

Paul Lo Duca has the best numbers, but that has to be combined with the fact that he’ll likely offer no production post July so he only gets half credit. The only star in the league is Mike Piazza unless you count Lieberthal. Ramon Hernandez, Damian Miller and Phillips are all close in production. The other two are better defenders, but Phillips gets tiebreaker points for playing on a division leading team.

National League First Baseman

Preseason: Albert Pujols

4/26: Derek Lee

His OBP is close to .500 and his SLG is close to .700. If he was Chad Tracy, I’d still give the vote to Pujols, but Derek Lee’s a reasonable bet to be the second or third best first baseman in the league.

National League Second Baseman

Preseason: Marcus Giles

4/26: Jeff Kent

Kent’s both the best second baseman in the league and the only one who can reasonably be described as a superstar anymore. I still expect Giles to have a better season, but for now he hasn’t yet passed Kent. Craig Biggio, a former superstar, has had a surprising little twenty day revival.

National League Third Base

Preseason: Scott Rolen

4/26: Larry Wayne Jones

I wouldn’t be surprised if Jones is actually the active NL third baseman with the most past production. He’s declined to the bottom of the first tier, but it’s very possible that he has himself a nice rebound season.

National League Shortstop

Preseason: Rafael Furcal

4/26: Clint Barmes

Well, it won’t be Nomar and though he has the numbers there’s no way I was going to vote for Neifi. Barmes is the runaway statistical winner and the best at the position, Rollins and Furcal, maybe Jack Wilson, are all slumping.

National League Left Fielder

Preseason: Barry Bonds

4/26: Adam Dunn

Dunn’s the third best hitter in the league and with Bonds down a runaway favorite. He’s got the best numbers too, ahead of Pat Burrell and the resurgent Cliff Floyd.

National League Center Fielder

Preseason: Carlos Beltran

4/26: Milton Bradley

Milton might be the third best center fielder in the league behind Beltran and Edmonds and he’s putting up the best numbers so far and leading the Dodgers. Brad Wilkerson who preseason was a left fielder is also putting up good numbers and this is probably the closest race in the league.

National League Right Fielder

Preseason: Bobby Abreu

4/26: Victor Diaz

Diaz gets the vote for three reasons. He’s having the best season statistically, Abreu isn’t producing and he’s a Met. He’s fourth in the league in EQA and outranks the next right fielder by over seventy-five points.

American League Catcher

Preseason: Victor Martinez

4/26: Joey Mauer

Gregg Zaun has the best numbers, but he’s Gregg Zaun. Mauer, Javy Lopez, Jason Varitek and Ivan Rodriguez all have similar numbers. Mauer gets the vote because he’s the youngest, which is opposite from the usual system but the other three are all veterans with no distinguishing features, and because he’s the centerpiece of his team’s offense.

American League First Baseman

Preseason: Mark Teixeira

4/26: Paul Konerko

Teixeira’s been awful and my number two preseason guy, Justin Morneau, has been hurt. Paul was number three and his leading the league in home runs doesn’t hurt. 1B in the AL is an incredibly weak position, especially compared to the senior circuit.

American League Second Baseman

Preseason: Alfonso Soriano

4/26: Brian Roberts

He’s the best player in baseball so far, down to the 9 for 10 on the basepaths. At a position where I considered making Mark Bellhorn the preseason favorite, he’s a more obvious choice than anyone else. It’s also probably not a fluke, he hit fifty doubles last year, plus the statistical possibility of him hitting 7 already is miniscule unless he projects to about 25 over the whole year.

American League Third Baseman

Preseason: Alex Rodriguez

4/26: Melvin Mora

The four stars out west are all disappointing. Among Chavez, Beltre, McPherson and Blalock only the Ranger has a positive VORP. Brandon Inge has by far the best numbers, but the choice is between Mora and Rodriguez and the MM comes out slightly ahead using every advanced metric.

American League Shortstop

Preseason: Miguel Tejada

4/26: Derek Jeter

Again an Oriole and a Yankee vie for position supremacy, but Jeter’s numbers, especially his walks, are so overwhelming that I have to take him. He’s at .478. Carlos Guillen’s also on top, but he doesn’t have the history of the other two.

American League Left Fielder

Preseason: Manny Ramirez

4/26: Manny Ramirez

Hideki’s right behind him, but Ramirez is the only preseason pick who’s actually at the top statistically. He’s still the best hitter in the league, but his defense has never been worse. Dave Dellucci’s been great in limited time, but he’s as likely to maintain his pace as Clint Barmes is.

American League Center Fielder

Preseason: Vernon Wells

4/26: Luis Matos

Matos is the only center fielder with an OBP over .350 and a SLG over .450. David DeJesus a point away in SLG at the time of this writing, but Matos has stolen five more bases while only being caught once. Wells has completely bombed while Damon and Kotsay aren’t hitting the ball very far. Torii Hunter was this close to being the pick, he leads the position in slugging and has stolen on his first ten attempts, but he gets on base less than a third of the time.

American League Right Fielder

Preseason: Vlad Guerrero

4/26: Vlad Guerrerro

Jacque Jones is very close, under ten total points off from a .400/.500/.700 line, but he’s got less playing time, less history and no chance to keep that up. Vladimir done exactly what’s expected from him, he’s about the only position player in his division who has.

American League Designated Hitter

Preseason: Travis Hafner

4/26: David Ortiz

Dellucci’s on the ballot here and Dmitri Young’s been even better, but neither of them is a very good player and Ortiz isn’t far behind them. Hafner, on the other hand, has a slugging percentage under .400, and one has to wonder if we’ve just seen not only his best season, but his only good season.

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