The ballots have been counted -- both fan ballots and player ballots -- and the managers for the American and National leagues have had their say. The All Star teams have been chosen and, barring injuries and a final player to be selected by a fan vote, are all set to go.
I thought it would be interesting at this time to pick the teams another way. What if we chose the All Star teams using Fangraphs WAR? Well, here is the American League All Star team, in the world according to WAR.
American League All-WAR All-Stars
|34th Man||Ben Zobrist||2.6|
*Players who are not currently on the All Star team
**Pitchers currently included in the 34th player vote
The all-WAR team includes two players at each position, plus ten starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and three more players to bring the total up to 33. Those extra players are those who have the highest WAR among players not selected in the top two of their respective positions.
In terms of WAR snubbery, Ian Kinsler is easily the biggest snub. His 3.7 WAR not only leads all second basemen, but is third best in the entire league. He leads his position in offense and defense, and would be starting on the all WAR team. Others added would include Dozier, catcher Yan Gomes, and shortstops Erick Aybar and Alcides Escobar.
On the mound, the team would have eight of the same twelve pitchers chosen by ballot/managers. I’ve gone with 13 pitchers instead of 12, and included the five highest position players in the 34th man vote. This puts more players with a higher WAR on the team.
Corey Kluber, Garrett Richards, and Chris Sale, who are all included in the 34th man vote-off, would make the team as starting pitchers, as well as Phil Hughes and Jose Quintana. In the bullpen, Glen Perkins would be replaced by Joakim Soria.
Players who would not make the all WAR team but are on the team using the ballot method include Robinson Cano, Derek Norris, Adrian Beltre, Derek Jeter, Alexei Ramirez, and Yoenis Cespedes. Pitchers who would be left off include Mark Buehrle, Scott Kazmir, David Price, and Greg Holland.
Norris would make the squad if a third catcher were to be selected, and if the five players for the final man vote went strictly by WAR, Price would be on the ballot in place of Cespedes. Of course, if we were going strictly by WAR, there wouldn't be any vote for 34th man, but the comparison is useful. Dustin Pedroia also sports a 2.6 fWAR, but we're getting a bit loaded at the keystone position.
By far, the player with the lowest WAR to make the All Star team is Derek Jeter with a 0.6 WAR, but hey, he's Derek Jeter, and will be the topic of conversation all night long on ESPN.
As far as Tigers are concerned, you would have to go down four more spots on the list of starting pitchers to find Anibal Sanchez at No 14. Justin Verlander is at No 21, and Rick Porcello at 24.
Are you seeing a pattern among the players who would make the all WAR team that have not been selected using the current method? Eight of the eleven players come from central division teams. Coincidence?