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2010 All-Stars determined by WAR

Posted by Andy on May 26, 2010

Here are the leaders among WAR broken down by position so far in 2010. One could think of this as a possible set of all-star selections.

Position   AL (WAR)  / NL (WAR)

C: Joe Mauer (1.9) / Miguel Olivo (1.4)
1B: Justin Morneau (3.9) / Adrian Gonzalez (2.0)
2B: Robinson Cano (2.5) / Chase Utley (2.6)
3B: Evan Longoria (2.2) / Ryan Zimmerman (1.5)
SS: Alex Gonzalez (2.0) / Troy Tulowitzki (1.2)*
LF: Carl Crawford (2.2) / Josh Willingham (1.5)
CF: Franklin Gutierrez (2.2) / Angel Pagan (1.8)**
RF: Ben Zobrist (2.0) / Jayson Werth (2.1)

* Jimmy Rollins is actually tied with Tulowitzki but has played in only 12 games
** Andrew McCutchen is tied with Pagan

Let's compare these results with the latest voting.

In the AL, Morneau is second at 1B, Gonzalez is 5th at SS, and Carl Crawford is second among the top 15 outfielders. Gutierrez and Zobrist do not rank.

In the NL, Olivo is not even among the top 5 vote-getters at catcher. Adrian Gonzalez is not in the top five either! Nor is Ryan Zimmerman or Troy Tulowitzki! In the outfield, Werth is #2 on the list of top 15, but Willingham and Pagan don't rank. That's 6 out of 8 guys leading WAR who don't even appear among the top vote-getters at their position.

Let the debate begin...

18 Responses to “2010 All-Stars determined by WAR”

  1. @notrizzo Says:

    Think you have 2B backcwards.

  2. Andy Says:

    Right you are. Fixed. Thanks.

  3. dunnowhat2type Says:

    I find it crazy that Tex is #1 for AL 1B but Pena, who is having just as bad a year, is #4. Actually, I find it crazy that either of them is in the top 5.

  4. Glanzer Says:

    I have said many times before that fans should have no say in All-Star selections... at least not to the level of choosing all the starters. Let the stats do the talking and maybe the fans can pick a few reserves.

  5. Evan Says:

    Not sure when the voting opened, but the Phillies have played 17 of the last 22 games at home, drawing approximately 45,000 fans each game - I would imagine this is largely responsible for the inflated vote totals for many of the Phillies players.

  6. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Which stats should do the talking?

  7. Andy Says:

    JT's question, as well as my original post, has gotten me to thinking about which players should really be in the AS game. Neil and I talked a little bit about this today too.

    It really depends on your goals for the AS game.

    If you just want to see the best players rewarded, then it would seem to me that stats for the year from AS break 2009 to AS break 2010 should be considered for the 2010 AS game.

    If you want the most popular players, then I think the current fan voting is the way to go.

    If you want to safeguard the future of the game, though, then I think it should be a combination of the players who are most popular as well as the best young players in the game. Here's an example. Elvus Andrus has the second-highest WAR among AL shortstops, behind Alex Gonzalez. But he's not going to get voted into the game nor will he likely be chosen as a reserve. However, especially given the lack of big-offense players at that position, he has a legitimate shot of becoming a star SS for the next decade. I think that fans would be well-served by getting exposed to this guy through a national exhibition. I'm not saying that the entire rosters of both teams should reach down for future-stars, but that a few guys who haven't yet risen to national prominence should always be included. This helps to transition the minds of the fans to the future and to get excited about a kid who will likely be a star in 2013.

    There's another way of looking at it--which is from the perspective of wanting to win the game since "it counts" now for home-field advantage in the World Series. I don't think any of the systems above get you the best possible team, especially since the identity of the starting pitchers, number of righty batters vs lefty batters, and other factors are crucial to overall team success. But going by WAR for the last 12 months isn't a bad start.

  8. Evan Says:


    I was thinking about posing the question raised in the final paragraph of your comment (forming a team with the goal of winning) so I am glad you brought it up. I agree that the roster would look very different from the one achieved with the goals you mention above.

    I'm not sure that we have the resources to analyze it, but I would want to focus on batters who are able to perform and and excel against the top pitchers in the league (those most likely to appear in an AS game) and discount players who pad their statistics against the weaker starting and relief pitchers in the league. Obviously all players do this to some extent, but I would imagine that some do it more than others.

    Building a baseball team for one game is such an unusual and foreign concept that I'm not sure anyone is really knowledgeable about what kind of parts you would ideally want to assemble, beyond taking a dominant starting pitcher.

  9. Mark Says:

    Pagan is not on the ballot (though his name can be written in), so do not expect him to climb up the rankings.

  10. DavidRF Says:

    Andy, I agree that considering only 2010 stats is not the way to go. The sample sizes are two small and a second half slump could make a selection look odd at the end of the year. Using last year's second half would be tricky as those splits are usually not available. Something like 2009 + 2*2010. The exact value of the coefficients is not important but the point would be to regress the small-sample 2010 numbers against last year.

    Which stat, though. That's a toughy. As fun as WAR is, I'm not sold on mid-season fielding runs. They seem to jump around a lot.

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Give every player on the winning team a million dollar bonus, and the losing team gets meal money. As is, it's obvious no one involved gives a shit, and so neither do I.

  12. Zachary Says:

    Wow ... ol' Morneau may turn himself into a two-time MVP winner this season. The man is raking. The question, of course, would be whether or not he follows the Juan Gone career path.

  13. Drew Marquart Says:

    Accoring to Rios and Magglio have better WAR so far than all three of those outfielders listed for the AL. Who is correct? Or am I missing something?

  14. Andy Says:

    I would have to look at it carefully but it's probably either a definition difference in how WAR is calculated, or has to do with my position-based search. I searched explicitly for LF, CF, and RF. It's also possible that scores changed a bit during the interval between when I wrote my post and when you looked at fangraphs.

  15. Drew Marquart Says:

    Thanks. Interesting stuff.

  16. Joe R Says:

    God I hate the hero worship of Mark Teixeira.

  17. Andy Says:

    #11 JT--that's the best idea I've ever heard. Let's face it--the point of the AS game is to excite the fans--get them / keep them interested in the game, know the young stars, shell out ticket money, etc. Why not incentivize the players to make the game interesting?

    These days, when the AS game is on, I find myself wondering why I ever watched it as a kid.

  18. Friday Links (4 Jun 10) – Ducksnorts Says:

    [...] 2010 All-Stars determined by WAR (Baseball-Reference). It’s cute how Andy is surprised that Adrian Gonzalez isn’t in the top five among NL vote getters at first base for the All-Popular game. [...]