Sunday, July 4, 2010

NL Positional WAR All Stars

With the MLB all star teams just announced, I decided to pick who should be on the teams based on their WAR (Wins Above Replacement). WAR is an statistic that combines offense, defense, baserunning, and adjustments for positional difficulty to determine how many wins in a season the player contributes to the team. Using WAR, these are the players that have the highest WAR for each position. All calculations are using stats as of July 4.

C - Miguel Olivo 3.0 WAR
Reserve - Brian McCann 2.5 WAR

Actual - Yadier Molina 0.6 WAR
Reserve - Brian McCann 2.5 WAR

Olivo has the highest WAR of any catcher this season. He's tops here mainly to his great offensive season. He's tops for catchers in RBI, runs, home runs, and OPS. He's actually playing the best defense of any catcher as well, slightly ahead of McCann. McCann is having a fantastic offensive season as well, being in the top 5 for catcher in RBI, runs, home runs, doubles, and OPS. He would've been my pick to start the game. Molina's WAR is the lowest in the NL for catchers because his offense has been a black hole and he frankly should be nowhere near this team.

1B - Joey Votto 3.6 WAR
Reserve - Albert Pujols 3.1 WAR
Reserve - Adrian Gonzales 2.9 WAR

Actual - Albert Pujols 3.1 WAR
Reserve - Adrian Gonzalez 2.9 WAR
Reserve - Ryan Howard 1.3 WAR

I don't think I could ever argue that Pujols shouldn't start because he's is an absolute freak, but how does Votto not even make the team at all? This is all different types of awful. Ok here's all the categories that he's in the top 5 for in the NL: batting average - 5th, RBI - 5th, walks - 5th, runs - 4th, slugging -3rd, on base percentage - 3rd, home runs -2nd, OPS - 1st (He also leads the league in OPS). For not adding Votto to the team, Charlie Manuel should get punched in the face until he no longer looks like a person. Ryan Howard is 8th in WAR in the NL, tied with Garrett Jones. He shouldn't be on this team either.

2B - Chase Utley 3.3 WAR (injured)
Replacement - Martin Prado 3.1 WAR
Reserve - Brandon Phillips 3.0 WAR

Actual - Chase Utley 3.3 WAR (injured)
Replacement - Martin Prado 3.1 WAR
Reserve - Brandon Phillips 3.0 WAR

Not much to say here, as everything matches up. Phillips was 0.5 WAR higher than the next closest, Dan Uggla, who pretends to play defense, so this position is fine.

SS -Rafael Furcal 2.8 WAR
Reserve - Troy Tulowitzki 2.6 WAR (injured)
Replacement - Hanley Ramirez 2.6 WAR

Starter - Hanley Ramirez 2.6 WAR
Reserve - Troy Tulowitzki 2.6 WAR (injured)
Replacement - Jose Reyes 1.8 WAR

It's a shame Furcal was left off the roster, but my guess would be that it's due to him only playing 51 games so far, missing most of May. He's hitting .338 and statistically he has played the best defense of any NL SS, saving 4.8 runs this year. Hanley's defense cost the Marlins 6.1 runs this year, almost 3 times worse than the second worst in the NL. Yuck.

3B - David Wright 3.9 WAR
Reserve 1 - Scott Rolen 3.0 WAR

Actual - David Wright 3.9 WAR
Reserve 1 - Scott Rolen 3.0 WAR

Looks like this position was correct as well, although Ryan Zimmerman also has a 3.0 WAR, and barely edged by Rolen. Wright has been fantastic at the plate, and already having 4 more home runs this year than the 10 he hit last year. He's earned this start, and Rolen is a nice story, leading the NL slugging .577, over 70 points above his career average.

OF1 - Matt Holliday 3.5 WAR
OF2- Marlon Byrd 3.2 WAR
OF3 - Josh Willingham 3.1 WAR
Reserve 1 - Andres Torres 3.0 WAR
Reserve 2 - Aubrey Huff 2.6 WAR
Reserve 3 - Angel Pagan 2.4 WAR
Reserve 4 - Alfonso Soriano 2.4 WAR
Reserve 5 - Andrew McCutchen 2.4 WAR

OF1 - Ryan Braun 1.1 WAR
OF2- Jason Heyward 2.0 WAR
OF3 - Andre Ethier 1.1 WAR
Reserve 1 - Matt Holliday 3.5 WAR
Reserve 2 - Marlon Byrd 3.2 WAR
Reserve 3 - Chris Young 2.3 WAR
Reserve 4 - Corey Hart 2.1 WAR
Reserve 5 - Michael Bourn 1.7 WAR

Did the outfielders list surprise you as much as it surprised me? The Giants had 2 of the highest WAR OF players? Really? Torres isn't doing all that much at the plate, although he has a high OPS of .844, but he scored outstanding in defense, saving 11.0 runs so far, tops in the NL. Aubrey Huff has basically been SF's top hitter all year, and that carried him into this spot. Braun, Ethier, and Heyward shouldn't be starting, no matter what stats you look at. Every team getting 1 player got Young and Bourn on this team over more deserving players like McCutchen and Willingham, but that's the system for you. I could write a whole blog post comparing these players, but I'll stop now before this gets any more out of hand. This group could lead to plenty of interesting discussions.

I'll be back with the other 3 parts throughout the week. Happy 4th everyone.

Carolina Liar - Show Me What I'm Looking For


  1. Great picture of Furcal. I think Olivo and Votto should be really pissed. Nevermind WAR, look at Votto's numbers. Twenty-one homers, avg is above 300, OBP is above 400 and 50 plus RBIs (Yeah, I'm still calling them RBIs no matter what others say). Howard is on this team because of past performances and there are a lot of people in Philly.

  2. Hanley Ramirez didn't make it all the way through this post, it required too much effort.

    Mike, the photos and comparisons are awesome. Anytime you let the fans have a vote, you're going to get skewed results, right? Now I'm really bummed that Ryan Howard made the team.

    I think that Joey Votto and Rafeal Furcal are the biggest snubbs.

  3. Once again, I comment and it doesn't appear! I don't feel like repeating myself. I basically went into how Votto is getting jobbed and Howard is getting in on past performances. I also said something about how I will continue the use of "RBIs". By the way, Mike published this post while on vacation. Talk about commitment.

  4. Now my first comment shows up and makes me look like an ass. What the deuce?

  5. Two comments:

    1. While I don't necessarily agree with taking Howard over Votto, I understand why Manuel did it, to please his guy. That is nowhere near as bad as some of the crap that has gone in past years, mainly on the AL side with Francona, Torre and now Girardi, loading up the squad with their guys.

    2. This one guy per team rule needs to go, because it is the biggest culprit, most years, with the snubs. We should establish some sort of winning percentage that is a cutoff for automatically having a rep (say like .480) and the host team should be a guaranteed a rep. Other than that, you shouldn't automatically get one. I'm sorry the Pirates, Astros, Orioles and a few others do not deserve all-stars. This would help reduce the snubs and also help to cover fans voting for guys who necessarily deserve in as starters.

  6. In response to No. 1, don't justify a wrong with other wrongs!

    Completely agree with No. 2.

  7. On the team I picked, I didn't have Howard making it. I took three extra first basemen (A Gon, Votto and Glaus) and he wasn't one of them. As far as justify a wrong with another wrong, Manuel did the same thing to a lesser extent that they did, picking his guy over a more deserving player, only he is getting more flack for taking a 3rd Phillie, when the times that Torre and Francona did it, it was for a 6th or 7th guy from their squad. I agree Votto should have made it and likely will as the extra man fans vote on, but why is Charlie so wrong and those guys weren't. That is my beef.

    According to my criteria, for point 2, they would mean, the Orioles, Royals, Indians, Mariners, Florida, Washington, Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Pirates and Diamondbacks would not automatically get players. Certainly, if a player was having a solid year (like a Gallardo they would make it anyway), but the rule would mean that not all teams have to be represented. Lets be real here, Wigginton, Carmona, Bourn, Meek and Chris Young are not all-stars to name a few.

  8. If you're taking middle to late relievers, Meek definitely deserved it. Not saying that as a Pirate fan, but I've seen him all year and he has been lights out.