Attempting To Balance Rationality And Basic Baseball Logic With Rabid Yankee Homerism
Friday, June 22, 2012
Checking On The Yankees' All Star Game Chances
The 2012 Major League Baseball All Star Game is a little over 3 weeks away, and there's already been a few rounds of ballot updates that have been released showing where players stand in the fan voting. The Yankees are well represented in the top 5 at almost every position, and in some cases are leading the charge. But how many Yankees realistically have a chance at making the ASG roster for the American League? Quickly, and simply, let's take a quick look.
- At first base, Mark Teixeira's chances aren't looking too good. He's put together better numbers over the past month, and ranks 3rd in WAR amongst all AL first basemen, but Paul Konerko and Edwin Encarnacion have been the class of that position pretty much all year, and Prince Fielder has come on of late. Teix's .348 wOBA is 5th, and not a close 5th at that.
- If Robinson Cano doesn't make it at second, then the game should be canceled. He leads AL second basemen in batting average, HR, OBP, SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and WAR, and his positive defensive rating is 2nd. He's 2nd to Ian Kinsler in voting but is clearly the more deserving player.
- Derek Jeter leads the voting at SS, as usual, and even if he wasn't there would still be a good case for him. His wOBA (.350) and wRC+ (118) are both 2nd, as are his R scored (40), and he still leads all qualifying SS in BA and hits. The fact that he's doing this at age 37 makes it even more impressive and makes him even more deserving of a start.
- A-Rod's decline has left him virtually out of the picture for any chance for selection. He's 5th in WAR amongst full-time third basemen, and isn't top 3 in nearly enough offensive categories. With younger guys like Mike Moustakas and Kyle Seager having strong years, and Miguel Cabrera continuing to rake, there's just no spot for an aging Horse in the field.
- Nick Swisher's power numbers look good (he's top 5 in HR with 10 and RBI with 42), but his overall batting line and wOBA doesn't stack up against guys like Josh Reddick and Jose Bautista. And with guys like Matt Joyce and Mark Trumbo, who are eligible in multiple OF spots, having better years, Swish's odds aren't looking good unless he goes on a HUGE tear.
- Curtis Granderson would start the game if it was tomorrow based on fan voting, and his 21 HR and .369 wOBA are both certainly All Star-worthy. But Adam Jones is having a monster year, and Curtis' lower batting average and horrible defensive ratings knock him way down the WAR ladder. If he wasn't so popular, it wouldn't be a surprise if he was left off the roster.
- For all the talk about how un-CC-like he's been this season, the big guy has a pretty strong case to make the ASG pitching staff. Only 2 pitchers have pitched more innings than him, 1 of them is Justin Verlander, and both have done it in at least 1 more start than CC. The only ASG-worthy starter with a higher K/9 than CC is Chris Sale, and CC has the 4th best FIP in the league, better than Jake Peay, David Price, Jason Hammel, and Felix Hernandez, and is 3rd in fWAR amongst all starters. As long as he doesn't fall off a cliff, he should make another ASG appearance.
- Rafael Soriano's 1.78 ERA and 2.50 FIP look strong, and his 13 saves are nothing to sneeze at. But he just hasn't made enough appearances or thrown as many innings as the other top relievers in the AL. He would need a monster next 3 weeks, a lot more strikeouts, and some injury help to get a spot.
Nobody else on the Yankee roster is really worthy, hence them not being mentioned here, but the Bombers should be well-represented in KC. Right now they have 3 guys who are definitely worthy (Cano, Jeter, CC) and a 4th who should make it on fan voting (C-Grand). That means the "Cano vs. C-Grand" HR Derby face-off is still in play, and that's a good thing.