All Star Picks Part 1

Voting for All Stars is almost complete.  Today in part one we’ll show our picks for 1B, 2B, and 3B.  In part 2 we’ll do SS and Catcher which are more defensive positions and outfield which is a grab bag of a lot of players.  In part 3, pitchers but that can easily be discerned by looking at the top ten posted earlier.  We’ll rank relievers even though they put mostly starters or major closers as relievers in the ASG.  Middle relief where most heavy lifting occurs often gets ignored.

Everything in this model revolves around runs scored.  Fielding is often measured by runs that should have scored but didn’t (i.e. imaginary runs).  There is value in fielding and it can somewhat be measured with stats like errors and unearned runs and perhaps to some extent UZR (we’ll touch on that later).   There is no way to accurately place a value on imaginary runs like you can with real runs.  It is appropriate to adjust our rankings based upon  fielding.  For positions like Catcher fielding is extremely important,  It doesn’t matter if your catcher can’t hit  as long as he gets along with his pitchers,  they pitch well because of him, and he  keeps players from running around the bases.  That is very hard.  Other attributes like leadership also can’t be modeled mathematically.   Successful leaders find a way to get everyone working together to help their team  succeed.   This success derives  from human experience. not manipulating  big data.

That said, let’s get to it.  Here are your top ten first basemen according to this data model.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 5.75 Paul_Goldschmidt_ARI 1B
+005+ 4.66 Ryan_Zimmerman_WAS 1B
+023+ 3.09 Mark_Reynolds_COL 1B
+025+ 3.02 Joey_Votto_CIN 1B
+026+ 3.00 Logan_Morrison_TBA 1B
+051+ 2.42 Justin_Smoak_TOR 1B
+060+ 2.25 Eric_Thames_MIL 1B-LF
+066+ 2.16 Freddie_Freeman_ATL 1B
+076+ 2.10 Matt_Adams_ATL 1B
+080+ 1.85 Justin_Bour_MIA 1B

The blue above are NL, tan AL, and it looks like most all the best first basemen are NL this season.  The current NL leaders are Zimmerman and Hosmer of KCA.  Zimmerman is close enough in value but who is Hosmer?

Rank WAA BA OBP PA RBI R Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.69 0.302 0.359 309 32 40 Eric_Hosmer_KCA 1B

OK.  Whatever.  Fans vote for this and everyone loves the batting average and Hosmer is over the magical 0.300 line so he’s good.   Even WAR has him ranked #217 with a WAR=1.1.

Here are your top second basemen this season.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+017+ 3.32 Daniel_Murphy_WAS 2B
+031+ 2.83 Scooter_Gennett_CIN 2B
+053+ 2.37 Starlin_Castro_NYA 2B
+067+ 2.14 Robinson_Cano_SEA 2B
+079+ 1.87 Jonathan_Schoop_BAL 2B
+085+ 1.83 Chris_Taylor_LAN 2B-CF-LF
+198+ 0.97 Jose_Altuve_HOU 2B
XXXXX 0.82 Neil_Walker_NYN 2B
XXXXX 0.61 Javier_Baez_CHN 2B-SS
XXXXX 0.40 Eric_Sogard_MIL 2B

Jose Altuve is the fan leader for AL but at least he’s in the top ten.  Murphy is leading for NL.   This is the first time Starlin Castro truly belongs in an All Star game and as the starting AL shortstop second base.  Ironically he’ll be thwarted by the same Draft Kings team owners who put him in the ASG as a Cub all those years ago.

Notice how  value drops off in the 2B list compared to the 1B list.  1B and 3B are usually big hitters, 2B and SS are more defensive guys.  2B is less of a defensive asset than SS which is why, as far as I know, Maddon hasn’t made Bryant play SS yet.  This is why we’ll do SS and Catchers in part 2.

And finally, here are the top ten third basemen.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+014+ 3.59 Jake_Lamb_ARI 3B
+020+ 3.13 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B
+032+ 2.81 Miguel_Sano_MIN 3B-DH
+048+ 2.44 Travis_Shaw_MIL 3B
+061+ 2.25 Joey_Gallo_TEX 3B-1B
+089+ 1.78 Anthony_Rendon_WAS 3B
+139+ 1.39 Eugenio_Suarez_CIN 3B
+147+ 1.32 Evan_Longoria_TBA 3B
+166+ 1.20 Jose_Ramirez_CLE 3B-2B
+197+ 0.99 Mike_Moustakas_KCA 3B

AL fans are going with with Miguel Sano and for NL it’s Kris Bryant.  Kris was NL MVP for 2016 leading the Chicago Cubs to a World Series victory.  Even if he isn’t in that above list, sorry Jake Lamb, it doesn’t matter.   He deserves to start at third.

That is all for today.  The weekly State of the Cubs tomorrow and part 2 the day after.  Until then….