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WAR does the All-Star teams – AL version

May 20, 2011, 4:00 PM EDT

Jose Bautista Reuters

Going strictly by Wins Above Replacement (in this case, the Baseball-Reference version of it), here’s your 2011 AL All-Star team of the moment:

C Matt Wieters (Orioles) – 1.6
1B Adrian Gonzalez (Red Sox) – 1.9
2B Howie Kendrick (Angels) – 2.2
3B Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox) – 1.9
SS Asdrubal Cabrera (Indians) – 1.8
LF Jeff Francoeur (Royals) – 2.1
CF Denard Span (Twins) – 2.4
RF Jose Bautista (Blue Jays) – 4.1
DH Matt Joyce (Rays) – 2.9

C Alex Avila (Tigers) – 1.6
C Carlos Santana (Indians) – 1.5
1B Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) – 1.6
1B Justin Smoak (Mariners) – 1.3
2B Robinson Cano (Yankees) – 1.2
3B Adrian Beltre (Rangers) – 1.5
SS Erick Aybar (Angels) – 1.4
INF Maicer Izturis (Angels) – 1.9
OF Curtis Granderson (Yankees) – 1.9
OF Shin-Soo Choo (Indians) – 1.8
OF Ben Zobrist (Rays) – 1.7
OF Michael Brantley (Indians) – 1.5

Josh Beckett (Red Sox) – 2.8
Dan Haren (Angels) – 2.8
Trevor Cahill (Athletics) – 2.5
Zach Britton (Orioles) – 2.4
Jered Weaver (Angels) – 2.2
Alexi Ogando (Rangers) – 2.0
James Shields (Rays) – 2.0
Justin Verlander (Tigers) – 2.0

Sergio Santos (White Sox) – 1.5
Aaron Crow (Royals) – 1.2
Mariano Rivera (Yankees) – 1.1
Grant Balfour (Athletics) – 1.0
Glen Perkins (Twins) – 0.9

- Obviously, WAR really likes Span’s defense this year.   It rates him as the AL’s No. 3 outfielder even though he’s hitting a modest .286/.358/.345.  Curtis Granderson has an OPS nearly 250 points higher, yet he’s been a half-win less valuable, according to the stat.

- Going strictly by WAR, the pitching staff would have been all starters.  I moved on to relievers, though, to keep it realistic.  Max Scherzer and Michael Pineda were the top starters not to make the cut.  If I had added Pineda to the pitching staff as Seattle’s representative, then Paul Konerko (1.4) would have made the cut at first base over Smoak.

  1. proudlycanadian - May 20, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    4.1 isn’t too shabby. The next highest was 2.9. Last year Bautista was named to the All Star team but was not asked to participate in the Home Run Derby.

  2. kopy - May 20, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    This list makes me want to know the last time the AL fielded an All-Star roster without a starting Yankee position player.

    • Matthew Pouliot - May 20, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      2001. Though Clemens was the SP that year.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ALS/ALS200107100.shtml

      • kopy - May 20, 2011 at 5:02 PM

        Nice, good find. I was able to click a couple more times and found that 1999 had another AL roster with no starting Yankees and Pedro Martinez as the SP.

  3. nixonotis - May 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Jeff Francoeur’s WAR is enough to make me reconsider that whole thing about the world ending tomorrow.

    • sportsdrenched - May 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      There are a lot of people who think WAR will end the world. So, you might have a point.

  4. bjavie - May 20, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Why do people insist on using this made up statistic?!?! Any stat that requires and “adjustment” has no validity. PLus, there is no agreed upon way to figure it. Last year some dude over at SI.com wrote that based on WAR, Roy Oswalt was worth a mere one (1) more win to the Phillies than Jamie Moyer. Only an idiot would make that claim.

    I mean come on! Why is that people who refer to themselves as “purists” keep trying to find new ways to do things in baseball??? If it works broken, don’t fix it…or something.

    “There is no clearly established formula for WAR. Sites that provide the statistic, such as Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Baseball Reference, all calculate it differently. However, all of these sites calculate the value of WAR using these principles, and each site publicly acknowledges how they calculate their individual WAR values.” – wikipedia.com

    “… it takes into account a player’s value both at the plate and in the field, adjusting it for position and park, and compares it to a replacement player.” – beyondtheboxscore.com

    • indyralph - May 20, 2011 at 6:30 PM

      Before you rail on something, you should try to understand the basics of it first. WAR has it’s problems, not the least of which is the different calculation methods. But “purists” and sabermetricians are two different things, and not mutually exclusive. The fact that we don’t fully understand things is a reason to continue investigating new ideas, not cease.

      As for Oswalt: he had 4.6 WAR last year according to Fangraphs, 2.0 for the Phillies and 2.6 for the Astros. Jamie Moyer had 0.4 WAR. So he was more than 4 WAR better than Moyer last year. He only played 13 games for the Phillies, 6 fewer than Moyer, and was still worth 1.6 extra wins during that time. That is a lot, and very believable.

    • Paul Zummo - May 20, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      Why do people insist on using this made up statistic?

      Every statistic is “made up.” The choice is whether to rely on stats that are in many ways reliant on circumstances beyond the players control (RBI, Wins, Saves, etc) or on statistics that try to incorporate all facets of a player’s game in order to estimate their worth.

  5. spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    So according to WAR the Yanks would be crazy if they didn’t trade Cano to the Angels for Howie Kendricks.

    • Matthew Pouliot - May 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      Umm, no. It’s just saying Kendrick has been better than Cano through a quarter of the season. I’d agree with that, though I think it’s a smaller gap than WAR suggests (I think it’s overrating Kendrick’s defense).

      • spudchukar - May 20, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        I recognize it is based on 1/4 of the season. Still. I guess all-star selection comes down to a philosophical question. Should it be based on one single half season, or does the body of work also enter the equation. I like rewarding performance, particularly on those who have just arrived on the scene. However, I think I would still consider them second tier guys. If the unquestionable leader at a position is having a decent year, I would still like to see him get the starting nod. If he has sucked in the first half, tough luck, see you next year. Granted there are many niches in between, but on a whole I lean toward a balance of the recent and the aggregate.

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