Sunday, July 08, 2007

I've Got Nothing ( let's talk sports!)

Clearly. If you're bored and have 10 minutes or so, feel free to fill out this reader demographic thingy. I actually thought it was somewhat interesting to see what they ask... plus, I'm just plain old curious who reads this blog! :)

The rest of this post is about baseball, so feel free to scroll down if you're not into that.

I'm going to post who I think should be deserving of making the All-Star Game, and I'm not sure if I'll follow the "every team gets a player" rule yet, and obviously I'm ignoring the fan votes, which were not as bad as they usually are this year. I liked Jewboy's starting lineups, and there's obviously room for a lot of discussion as to who should start and make it and whatnot, but I think a basic case can be made for a lot of players, so please: No fighting, just rational discussion. Explanations will come after the rosters.

Stats will be in Avg./R/HR/RBI(/SB) format, through yesterday, for starters; important stats for reserves. W-L, (SV,) ERA/WHIP, K's in IP for P's. *'s will be placed by players I own or have owned in my main fantasy baseball league.

Let's start with the National League starters:
  • C: Russell Martin, LAD - .302/48/10/57/16
  • 1B: Prince Fielder, MIL - .284/62/29/68
  • 2B: Chase Utley, PHI - .324/63/15/67/6
  • SS: Jimmy Rollins, PHI - .282/71/16/51/15
  • 3B: Miguel Cabrera, FLA - .324/52/18/61
  • *OF: Matt Holliday, COL - .345/56/15/69/4
  • *OF: Eric Byrnes, ARI - .312/53/14/49/17
  • OF: Carlos Lee, HOU - .296/47/16/72/6
And now, the American League starters:
  • *C: Victor Martinez, CLE - .328/44/16/68
  • 1B: Justin Morneau, MIN - .292/56/23/72
  • 2B: Brian Roberts, BAL - .320/55/5/27/26
  • SS: Carlos Guillen, DET - .325/50/13/65/7
  • 3B: Alex Rodriguez, NYY - .315/77/29/82/9
  • OF: Magglio Ordonez, DET - .367/70/13/70
  • OF: Gary Sheffield, DET - .297/76/20/56/12
  • OF: Grady Sizemore, CLE - .284/73/15/46/24
NL Reserves:
  • *C: David Ross, CIN - 49% caught stealing
  • 1B: Albert Pujols, STL - .309/49/16/51
  • 2B: Brandon Phillips, CIN - .277/60/17/47/15
  • 2B: Dan Uggla, FLA - .249/67/17/51
  • SS: Hanley Ramirez, FLA - .330/70/14/34/27
  • SS: Jose Reyes, NYM - .306/61/4/34/44
  • SS: Edgar Renteria, ATL - .323/56/10/45/8
  • 3B: David Wright, NYM - .293/49/16/51/18
  • OF: Adam Dunn, CIN - .260/55/24/58/8
  • OF: Ken Griffey, Jr., CIN - .289/49/23/59
  • OF: Barry Bonds, SF - .299/46/17/42/5; .517 OBP
  • *OF: Hunter Pence, HOU - .341/38/11/41/7
AL Reserves:
  • C: Jorge Posada, NYY - .330/45/9/48
  • C: Joe Mauer, MIN - .310/40/4/37/5; 52% caught stealing
  • 1B: Carlos Pena, TB - .288/44/20/52
  • 1B: David Ortiz, BOS - .317/55/14/51
  • 1B: Kevin Youkilis, BOS - .328/50/9/44
  • 2B: Placido Polanco, DET - .335/62/3/38/3
  • SS: Orlando Cabrera, LAA - .330/55/5/51/10
  • 3B: Mike Lowell, BOS - .302/39/14/62
  • OF: Torii Hunter, MIN - .304/55/19/68/11
  • OF: Ichiro Suzuki, SEA - .358/59/5/39/23
  • OF: Vladimir Guerrero, LAA - .325/46/14/75
  • OF: Alex Rios, TOR - .295/62/17/52/9
NL Pitchers:
  • Jake Peavy, SD - 9-3, 2.19/1.06, 125 in 119.0
  • Chris Young, SD - 8-3, 2.00/1.06, 99 in 103.2
  • John Maine, NYM - 10-4, 2.71/1.14, 93 in 109.2
  • Brad Penny, LAD - 10-1, 2.39/1.19, 82 in 116.2
  • Cole Hamels, PHI - 10-4, 3.72/1.21, 124 in 118.2
  • Ian Snell, PIT - 7-5, 2.93/1.17, 93 in 116.2
  • Takashi Saito, LAD - 23, 1.47/0.71, 47 in 36.2
  • Francisco Cordero, MIL - 27, 2.86/1.07, 49 in 34.2
  • Jose Valverde, ARI - 26, 2.62/1.08, 38 in 34.1
  • Trevor Hoffman, SD - 25, 1.91/0.76, 20 in 33.0
  • Jason Isringhausen, STL - 17, 1.57/0.90, 29 in 34.1
  • Billy Wagner, NYM - 17, 1.64/0.91, 51 in 38.1
AL Pitchers:
  • Dan Haren, OAK - 10-3, 2.30/1.00, 101 in 129.1
  • *Johan Santana, MIN - 10-6, 2.75/1.03, 125 in 121.0
  • *C.C. Sabathia, CLE - 12-3, 3.58/1.17, 119 in 133.1
  • John Lackey, LAA - 11-5, 2.91/1.15, 98 in 120.2
  • Josh Beckett, BOS - 12-2, 3.44/1.14, 92 in 102
  • Justin Verlander, DET - 10-3, 3.14/1.15, 97 in 109
  • Kelvim Escobar, LAA - 10-3, 3.19/1.16, 88 in 107.1
  • *J.J. Putz, SEA - 24, 0.90/0.57, 43 in 40.0
  • Francisco Rodriguez, LAA - 24, 2.33/1.19, 53 in 38.2
  • *Jonathan Papelbon, BOS - 20, 1.93/0.86, 46 in 32.2
  • Bobby Jenks, CWS - 23, 3.28/1.15, 33 in 35.2
  • Pat Neshek, MIN - 3-1, 1.71/0.74, 51 in 42.0
It seems like I have every team but four: WAS, KC, CHC, and TEX. If I had to replace people, it would be Pence with Alfonso Soriano (CHC); Renteria with Dmitri Young (WAS); Neshek with Eric Gagne (TEX); and Youkilis with *Mark Teahen (KC).

My starters at this point would have to be Peavy and Haren; the guys I'd use to close the 9th are Saito and Putz. The hardest snubs in the AL were Jeter, *Peralta, Guthrie, Bedard, and *Nathan. In the NL, it has to be *Beltran, Soriano, Hawpe, Howard, and Hardy. But it's pretty easy (I think) to understand all of them.

The starters at C, 1B, 2B, and 3B in both leagues are self-explanatory. OF in the NL is a bit trickier. Holliday I think is the best of the bunch and easy to agree on. Lee has driven in 72 runs, which none of the others really come close to. But I chose Byrnes over the others not only because I own him, but because he's been a bit more all-around with both power and stealing bases out of primarily the #1 slot, and with all the hitting measures up for debate, he is clearly the best fielder of the bunch. I would consider putting in Griffey to start if only for the sake of the fans and for old times' sake.

SS in the NL was far and away the most difficult. To start, I put Hardy fifth and therefore out and Renteria fourth. At first I picked Ramirez over Reyes due to his better numbers in every category but stolen bases... and even then, he has 27. But then I compared those numbers to Rollins and couldn't help but make the same comparison - while his average and steals are lower, he still is hitting a solid .282 with 15 steals... and none of the others had the RBIs he did. Moreover, both Rollins and Reyes are better fielders than Ramirez, with Reyes the best of them all; but I had to take Rollins as the most all-around of the three. I think anyone can make a case for any of those three and back it up well.

SS in the AL was tough, but not quite as tough. When it came down to it, Peralta and Jeter simply weren't as good with the bat as Guillen and Cabrera, who are both better fielders than them as well. As a note, Jeter is a highly overrated defensive SS, while Peralta has gone from terrible to very good this year. Apparently, they discovered he was near-sighted and he got LASIK over this past off-season. Guillen was just slightly better than Cabrera in the first half, giving him the starting role.

OF in the AL was a bit trickier. I think Ordonez is simply too far ahead to question; a case could be made for Ichiro's .358, Vlad's 75 RBIs, or Hunter's all-around numbers, and obviously all can play defense, but Sheffield and Sizemore's numbers are both all-around as well, with Sizemore also playing incredible defense. It's also fair to note that however high Ichiro's average is, his OBP is still barely better than either of them, while Hunter's is much lower.

For the backup C's, there was simply nobody in the NL, so I decided "Screw it. I'm taking the guy who can actually play catcher." That's the .195 batting David Ross. They can leave Martin in all game anyway, and use Ross if they need the arm in the 9th or something. In the AL, I don't see how you can take Pudge over Mauer when they have the same numbers despite Mauer missing a month and when Mauer has thrown out the same amount of guys as Pudge (12) while giving up 11 SB's to Pudge's 30.

To backup 3B, Wright in the NL was simple. Lowell in the AL was by default. The only guy close was Casey Blake, whom I love but simply isn't an All-Star. At 2B, Polanco was by default in a terrible AL, while Phillips and Uggla were obvious choices.

Among P's, I wanted to have 12 pitchers, with 5-6 of them relievers, for each league. That's pretty much why Guthrie and Bedard didn't make it, as the only one they could possibly replace would be Escobar, and I debated between Nathan and Jenks for a while. While Nathan's numbers are better, Jenks has 23 saves to Nathan's 16, and I figured with it close enough, I may as well give the Sox one representative. Yeah, it's a bad reason. Honestly, the next best AL relievers? Okajima, *Sherrill, and Betancourt.

In the NL, it was a bit rougher. They had much better closers to pick from, and I could have easily selected a couple of relievers as well (*Heath Bell, Scott Linebrink), but I wasn't going to have more than 6 relievers. The last starter spot was between Snell, Derek Lowe, and Brandon Webb, but it was easy to pick among them. Snell had a better winning percentage with a better ERA, WHIP, and K rate than Lowe, so he was the selection. Webb's WHIP wasn't comparable, and he's been much less consistent - he's had 9 games where he's given up four or more runs. Snell has had just four. Ben Sheets was also a consideration, but his ERA is half a point higher than Snell's with less K's.

So those are my All-Stars. What do you think?


  1. It's funny that you use flowers as bullet points for baseball stats.
    And by funny, I mean strange.

  2. yay pujols isringhausen polanco and renteria! (did i miss any?)

    how weird is it that im commenting on one of your sports posts.

    diana makes a good point.

  3. Diana - It's a default setting!

    A2 - You do know that they're not all Cardinals anymore, right? :)

  4. Halladay should definately have been chosen as an AL pitcher. I can't believe he was missed. The guy is probably the best pitcher in MLB.

  5. Ezzie -

    Neither Sizemore nor Sheffield are having better seasons that Vlad, especially not both of them.

    Vlad - OPS: .965 EqA:.321
    Grady - OPS: .874 EqA: .304
    Sheff - OPS: .947 EqA: .315

    No question he's having a better year than both of them.

  6. Anon - He has a 4+ ERA and a very high WHIP. He's just not as good this year as he normally is, even with his 10 wins.

    Noyam - I think there are a lot of ways to measure that. Both Sheffield and Sizemore have 70+ runs; Vlad has just 46. Grady hits leadoff and still has knocked in 46; he's also 24/27 on SB attempts. He's also near the top in the league in putouts, despite pitching on a team that has a lot of groundball pitchers, thanks to his incredible range. Sheffield hits 3rd or so and still has all those runs and SBs in addition to 20 HRs and 56 RBIs.

    I'm not saying a case can't be made for Vlad, but I think that the other two are more deserving. (And I hate Sheffield and like Vlad!)

  7. *obviously*!!! but they're still former players!! back in the day when i actually lived at home and went to way too many games a week to count...

    btw, no jim edmonds!??!

  8. Ezzie -

    Runs, like RBI, is not such a good metric to measure individual performance, as it is heavily team dependent. Vladdy has a higher OPS than both of them, which means he does his job at getting on base and getting a lot of total bases (the essential components of scoring runs).

    Sure, they have more SB's than him, but I don't think that has a higher value than other base getting techniques (like home runs and doubles, f'rinstance).

  9. I agree that they're more team-dependent, which is why I view them about the same. Runs a bit less so in that you need to be on base to score them; you needn't even get on base to drive one in.

    I think that total bases per PA would be a good stat, with then adding in SBs and subtracting CS. That's why I noted Sizemore is 24/27 - that's a net of 21 extra bases.

    Here's a good comparison:

    Sizemore has 400 plate appearances. He's gotten 217 bases: 54 walks + 63 singles + 17 doubles + 2 triples + 15 HRs. He's also gotten 24 SBs (+24) but gotten caught 3 times, which we'll assume were all of 2nd base, negating the singles he reached on (-3). That's 238 bases on 400 PA's, or .595 whatever you want to call this. (Where's Nephtuli!? :) )

    Guerrero has 358 PAs. 47 BBs, 60 1Bs, 20 2Bs, 14 HRs. That's 203 total bases. 1 SB, 2 CS... 202/358... .564.

    I'll take the .595 over the .564 in Total Bases Including Speed. (Okay, it needs a better name. I'm sure someone has done this before.)

    Sheffield, btw: (52 BBs + 57 1Bs + 14 2Bs + 1 3B + 21 HRs + 12 SBs - 4 CSs) / 359 PAs = .646

    Ordonez is at .660.

  10. Somebody did (Bill James, of course) and it's called Runs Created. It factors in a lot of things, like double plays (which are worse than out, since they erase baserunners) and stolen bases, etc.

    Vladdy has 75, Sheff 74 and Grady 72. I'm not saying it isn't close, just that Vladdy's better.(Runs Created Leaders) (Notice A-Rod at the top of that list.)

  11. That's cool, thanks.

    But even that doesn't seem to take into account SBs and CSs, which I think it should... (I can't find the actual complicated formula anywhere! Only the basic OBP*TB...)

  12. It does. See the "Technical version of runs created"

  13. Got it, thanks. I was looking at the site, not Wiki, until you sent it to me...

    But I think that's a bit different. After talking to my friend Rea, I realized what I should call this stat: Bases Earned per Plate Appearance, or BEPA. I'm only factoring in the statistics that the player can control: Walks, Total Bases (on hits), and Stolen Bases. They take place basically regardless of whatever else is going on on the field.

    The only flaws are Sacrifices, which aren't taken into account, but then again, we can't particularly blame a player for making a sacrifice and hurt his contribution for it. OTOH, we can't give him a base he didn't earn, either... so it works out.

    I'm basically taking BB + TB + SB - CS divided by the number of opportunities a player had to be on base to give a rate of bases they earn per each PA that are all within their control.

    I'm actually curious now how that would play out over the years...

  14. Jeter is definetely more deserving than Cabrera as Jeter's OPS is 60 points higher (not to mention that his OBP is 40 points higher, which is a large margin).

    By Guillen the question is how one rates defense. Some put Guillen higher, some Jeter. It's pretty close, so I won't complain that much about that pick (although Jeter is batting 100 points higher with runners in scoring position and almost 200 points higher with runners in scoring position and 2 outs). And Jeter has also created more runs (using the Hardball Times' formula), although Guillen is creating slightly more runs per game.

  15. Nephtuli - How can you equate Jeter in the field with the others?!

    Using my new BEPA stat (see above :) ), Jeter has a .512 rating. Cabrera is at .501, but with a few more RBIs. When you throw in his much better fielding*, I think it's clear he's a better pick. Guillen meanwhile is at an excellent .620 with way more RBIs. Peralta, FWIW, is at .517.

    * Not only does he have a better RZR, he has just 5 errors - and only one throwing error - to Jeter's 13 (five throwing).

  16. Ezzie,

    RBIs are meaningless since Jeter is batting 100 points higher with runners in scoring position than Guillen.

    I'm taking the bar in two weeks so I really don't have the time to look at your statistic and see whether I like it. :-) However, Jeter beats Cabrera in almost every sabermetric stat, including WARP3, which measures wins above replacement player and EQA and VORP, which measure total offensive production. Baseball Prospectus also rates Jeter as a plus fielder (which I do not understand and will look into after the bar), way ahead of Guillen. Zone Rating is not favored anymore because it does not take into account positioning on the field.

    I can understand the Guillen pick, but Cabrera's defense is just not that much better to make up for the substantial difference in offense.