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.
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?
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.
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.
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….