Earlier today, we looked at the 2011 All-Star rosters and how they were selected. As is to be expected when anything as subjective as naming the best representatives of each league is done, several people have lost their mother [Getting Blanked]ing minds over certain inclusions and several exclusions.
I think I’m in the minority with my opinion that the All-Star teams should be full of the best players, somewhat regardless of the season that they’re having. I mean, obviously I’m not suggesting that Adam Dunn or even Dan Uggla should be on the team, but if a particular player’s statistical totals to that point in the season are slightly less impressive than his career totals or where we know his true talent level to be, I have no problem with his inclusion over a player that has outperformed himself over 80 or so games.
However, if the All-Star rosters were to be comprised solely of the best players over the first half of the season, we could look to the all encompassing wins above replacement as a guide to who should get the invite to Arizona for this year’s All-Star festivities. And once we do that we could compare those selections with who was actually named and judge for ourselves how the process worked for creating this year’s rosters. But enough of what we could do. Let’s get to it.
Here is the American League roster compared to the leaders by WAR according to both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference:
Ten players on the AL roster don’t show up at the top of their position in either FanGraphs or Baseball Reference WAR rankings. The biggest disparity seems to occur when selecting relief pitchers. Three of the five named to the actual team don’t show up on the top five of either metric.
And also, Melky Cabrera!
Now, let’s look at the National League roster:
Twelve players on the NL roster don’t show up at the top of their position in either FanGraphs or Baseball Reference WAR rankings. Again, we see a disparity between WAR rankings and reliever selection, but also of note is that neither third baseman named to the actual team appears among the WAR leaders at his position. Our sympathies are most extended to Andrew McCutchen who leads FanGraphs WAR and ranks second in Baseball Reference WAR, but still didn’t make the roster.
It should be noted that the WAR selections weren’t handcuffed by having to select a player from each team.
It also remains important to remember that not only is this just a game, it’s an exhibition game wherein players don’t normally play any more than five innings at most. As much as Major League Baseball would like the game to carry some weight, as it decides which league champion receives home field advantage in the World Series, getting up in arms over who was included and who was excluded is probably taking it further than most players are willing to take it.
As Buster Olney suggested earlier today: