All Star Picks Part 3

Today is the last installment of this series and the only position not covered is pitching.  Apparently fans do not vote on this and it’s decided by the team managers and the commissioner of baseball.  We’re going to split pitchers into starters and relievers.  Starters pitch a lot of innings so the good ones can build up enough value to contend for top of the league status.   A relief pitcher has to pitch lights out, very low ERA because they don’t accrue nearly as many innings pitched.  A team needs relievers with very very low ERA because they need zeros put up on the board in the later innings, no matter which inning that is.

That said,  the number one most valuable player in the history of MLB playoffs is Mariano Rivera.  He beats out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, everyone.  We’ll discuss playoff rankings sometime later.  Relievers do top the league sometime.  For example, on this day in 1977 this guy was ranked #6.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+006+ 5.27 Bruce_Sutter_CHN PITCH  7/1/1977

Plop plop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is.  At 5.27 he’s the same value as our top pick for AL starter this season.

Here are the top ten starters in MLB as of all games up to and including yesterday.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 5.98 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+004+ 5.27 Jason_Vargas_KCA PITCH
+005+ 5.14 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH
+006+ 4.56 Dallas_Keuchel_HOU PITCH
+010+ 4.12 Chris_Sale_BOS PITCH
+011+ 4.09 Alex_Wood_LAN PITCH
+016+ 3.57 Carlos_Martinez_SLN PITCH
+017+ 3.53 Ervin_Santana_MIN PITCH
+021+ 3.38 Gio_Gonzalez_WAS PITCH
+022+ 3.32 Mike_Leake_SLN PITCH

Ervin Santana topped the league at the end of May and now he’s #17.  It’s hard staying on top and few pitchers can do it consistently.  One of them is Clayton Kershaw.  The blue and tan highlights show our top pick and then secondary starter.  All these pitchers are good enough to be considered All Stars.  Now let’s look at relief.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+020+ 3.38 Felipe_Rivero_PIT PITCH
+030+ 2.88 Pat_Neshek_PHI PITCH
+031+ 2.86 Andrew_Miller_CLE PITCH
+033+ 2.83 Corey_Knebel_MIL PITCH
+039+ 2.75 Craig_Kimbrel_BOS PITCH
+041+ 2.71 Kenley_Jansen_LAN PITCH
+049+ 2.56 Joe_Kelly_BOS PITCH
+051+ 2.50 Archie_Bradley_ARI PITCH
+054+ 2.46 Raisel_Iglesias_CIN PITCH
+056+ 2.37 Nick_Goody_CLE PITCH

Cubs faced Andrew Miller in the World Series and he’s top reliever for AL.  Since Cleveland’s   Terry Francona might be making this pick what will he do?   If none of these players cared about the All Star Game then he would be better off letting Miller rest his arm and take an ASG vacation.  That would only make sense if his team might go to the World Series again which they are poised to do.  Let’s check CLE out.

-2.9 50.8 371 315 42 36 6.9 1.2 CLE

Very good pitching, very good UR (i.e. fielding), and they’re +6.  Cleveland is  in the hunt again for a World Series trophy.   Here are the Indians in the top 100.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+031+ 2.86 Andrew_Miller_CLE PITCH
+038+ 2.75 Corey_Kluber_CLE PITCH
+055+ 2.39 Lonnie_Chisenhall_CLE RF-CF
+056+ 2.37 Nick_Goody_CLE PITCH
+079+ 1.99 Bryan_Shaw_CLE PITCH
+100+ 1.74 Carlos_Carrasco_CLE PITCH

CLE has the top relief staff in MLB now and all season long.  Their relief WAA=+10 and, like the Cubs, they are carrying this team.  If that staff played at a WAA=0, or completely average, they would be 4 games under instead of 6 games up.   We’ll see how this plays out in the second half of the season.

That is all for All Stars this year.  We’ll do Iowa Cubs sometime next week to see what Kyle Schwarber is up to.  Until then….