Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
All-Star Rosters: AL
2005-07-06 20:29
by Cliff Corcoran

A week ago I took a look that the American and National League All-Star ballots, posting my picks for the 17 starting slots. This past Sunday the 62 players selected by the fans (17 starting position players), players (33 hitters and pitchers), and team managers Terry Francona and Tony LaRussa (12 hitters and pitchers) were announced. Today the winners of the Final Man fan vote were revealed to complete the rosters.

With the rosters set, I thought it would be fun to go back and try to assemble the 32-man rosters the "old" way (prior to the inclusion of the player and final man votes) as a way to figure out exactly whose invitation got sent to the wrong address. My only limitations here are the fan vote, the requirement that every team be represented, and the 32-man roster size.

American League

Starters (per fan vote):

C - Jason Varitek
1B - Mark Teixeira
2B - Brian Roberts
3B - Alex Rodriguez
SS - Miguel Tejada
OF - Manny Ramirez
OF - Johnny Damon
OF - Vladimir Guerrero
DH - David Ortiz

With the exception of Damon (whom many of you supported over my choice of "center fielder" Hideki Matsui), and Ramirez (who was almost a toss-up with my choice of Gary Sheffield) that line-up matches my ballot exactly. Those two and the players not on my ballot who I thought had the best cases can be added first:

OF - Gary Sheffield
OF - Hideki Matsui
OF - Torii Hunter
DH - Travis Hafner
C - Jorge Posada

(you'll note that only one of these four will be in Detroit next Tuesday)

Next we'll make sure we have a representative from each team:

Blue Jays: SP - Roy Halladay
Devil Rays: 3B/2B - Jorge Cantu
White Sox: SP - Mark Buehrle
Tigers: SP - Jeremy Bonderman
Royals: 1B - Mike Sweeney
Athletics: SS - Bobby Crosby
Mariners: RP - Eddie Guardado

(only three of those seven made the actual AL roster)

That gives us two men at 1B, SS, C, DH, and each outfield position, three starters and one reliever as well as Cantu, who has split his time between second and third. To round things out let's add the best remaining player at either second or third:

3B - Melvin Mora

We now have a 22-man roster with just four pitchers, so let's add six more pitchers to get us up to an even ten. Here are the top six AL pitchers not already on our roster according to VORP:

Kenny Rogers
Jarrod Washburn
John Garland
Freddy Garcia
Bartolo Colon
Johan Santana

Of course that gives us nine starters, which is a few too many. We need to get a few relievers on there to keep Guardado company. The top AL relievers according to VORP are:

Mike Timlin
Justin Duchscherer
Jesse Crain
Pete Walker

These four are all set-up men because set-up men tend to pitch more innings (and often more crucial innings) than their more glorified bullpen mates, the closers. You see, Jeff Nelson was right.

Looking at our list of six starters, I'm going to dump Jarrod Washburn for his 1.41 WHIP, 1.02 HR/9 and 1.77 K/BB. I'm also going to dump Johan Santana, who's last among the six in VORP and has the highest ERA (3.98) and HR/9 (1.09) of the bunch. To placate Twins fans I'll then add Crain along with Timlin and Duchscherer, the latter of which allows me to dump Bobby Crosby and his injury-shortened first half in favor of Derek Jeter, who has indeed been the second best short stop in the AL this year.

That leaves us with three open spots for the most obvious ommissions. For me that's Richie Sexson, who by all rights should be the back-up 1B in front of Mike Sweeney, Mariano Rivera, who is having an absolutely monster season as the Yankee closer, and Alfonso Soriano, who should be backing up second in front of Cantu.

So there you have it, my final 31-man AL All-Star Roster:

1B - Mark Teixeira, Richie Sexson, Mike Sweeney
2B - Brian Roberts, Alfonso Soriano, Jorge Cantu
SS - Miguel Tejada, Derek Jeter
3B - Alex Rodriguez, Melvin Mora
C - Jason Varitek, Jorge Posada
OF - Vlad Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matusi, Torii Hunter
DH - David Ortiz, Travis Hafner

SP - Roy Halladay, Mark Buehrle, Kenny Rogers, John Garland, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Jeremy Bonderman
RP - Mariano Rivera, Eddie Guardado, Mike Timlin, Justin Duchscherer, Jesse Crain

As for how the actual roster differs from mine:

Ivan Rodriguez was chosen over Jorge Posada
Paul Konerko was chosen over Richie Sexson
Ichiro Suzuki was chosen over Jorge Cantu
Michael Young was chosen over Derek Jeter
Shea Hillenbrand was chosen over Travis Hafner
Garret Anderson was chosen over Hideki Matsui
Scott Podsednik was chosen over Torii Hunter
Johan Santana was chosen over Freddy Garcia
B.J. Ryan was chosen over Eddie Guardado
Joe Nathan was chosen over Jesse Crain
Danys Baez was chosen over Mike Timlin
Bob Wickman was chosen over Jeremy Bonderman

Wickman, Baez and Suzuki were chosen by Francona because the fans and players failed to chose an Indian, a Devil Ray or a Mariner. The Devil Ray I can understand (and one could make an argument for Baez over Cantu, though I'd much rather see Cantu, a young infielder with potential, over Baez, a middle-aged reliever of little distinction), but the fact that no one, not even the players, has noticed that Travis Hafner has been very nearly David Ortiz's equal over the past two seasons is an oversite that needs to be rectified and soon.

As for the Mariners, I put two M's on my team without having to stoop to Ichiro, who is in the middle of his worst major league season. To his credit, Francona also chose Colon and Duchscherer. Podsednik won the Final Man vote over Jeter and Matsui (who might have split the Yankee vote, though Jeter nearly won) and Torii Hunter.

2005-07-07 04:46:34
1.   Jeff P
To be fair, Hafner's numbers until the beginning of June were underwhelming, pointing to last year as a career year.

That said, hopefully his punishing June will draw the public's attention as well as a torrid May did for Abreu, who finally got elected in his eighth year of deserving it.

Regarding relievers, while his VORP isn't impressive, Francisco Rodriguez leads the AL in WXRL, which suggests that he's been used in high leverage situations, and responded with nothing but the best. Or, just look at his drool-inducing 13.34 K/9. I'd put him in place of Timlin, who'd only be taken out because Every Day Eddie and the Duke are their teams' only reps.

2005-07-07 05:31:32
2.   Shaun P
I happened to catch a little of yesterday's "Dale and Holley" show on WEEI in the car yesterday (I live outside of Boston). They were discussing Howard Bryant's Herald column, which stated that the Red Sox players were united in their disgust for Francona 'cause he didn't name Matt Clement to the AL All-Star team - "and we all remember how Joe Torre always looked after his guys." (Not really true, but that's Boston sports radio for you.)

This led to a discussion of how it was harder to do that now, with the change in the way All-Stars are selected. A few minutes later Holley said that someone from MLB told him that the "every team has at least one player on the All-Star team" rule is NOT an official rule, but just a tradition that has always been followed. I almost drove off the road.

Did anyone happen to hear the rest of the show, or otherwise know if this is for real? It would certainly change the whole debate.

2005-07-07 07:07:56
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Actually, Jeff, Richie Sexson is also representing Seattle on my roster, so you could dump Guardado if you wanted to. Still, I think Timlin is the right choice to make room for K-Rod, who is certainly deserving. Good catch.
2005-07-07 07:31:03
4.   vockins
"...which allows me to dump Bobby Crosby and his injury-shortened first half in favor of Derek Jeter, who has indeed been the second best short stop in the AL this year."

Better than Michael Young? How do you figure?

2005-07-07 07:35:41
5.   Simone
The selection for the All Star game has few official rules so Holley is probably correct. I remember reports in the NY media about MLB forcing Torre's hand as well so all this outrage over Francona not picking Clement is a bit much. I'm sure if Rogers gives in to the pressure to bow out of the game, Clement will make the team.
2005-07-07 07:44:42
6.   Simone
Also, if I didn't know better after watching ESPN, I would think Schilling going to the bullpen is this wonderful development for the Red Sox. Schilling is no longer healthy enough to give them 7 desperately need innings and this is a good thing? How exactly? At his age and weight with that ankle after experimental surgery, it is quite possible that he may not start again this season or maybe ever. How is this not a huge concern? Is everyone living in denial here? What.
2005-07-07 08:05:58
7.   tocho
There's a rumor out there that the Yankees have called up Melky Cabrera to start tonight vs. Cleveland.

I think this is a great moves, namely because it will keep T-Woe (I hate that nickname) out of the line-up and Melky can be an impact player defensively.

2005-07-07 08:06:53
8.   Murray
Because Schilling's injury is not like John Smoltz's injury, I wonder whether it makes sense for him to be in the bullpen, in a position where he has to go all-out two, or possibly three days in a row. Even if he wound up throwing fewer pitches than he would as a starter, it might not provide enough recovery time to use him in relief.

Maybe the Red Sox would be better off finding a way to use Schilling that's similar to the way the White Sox used Ted Lyons in 1941. The elimination of Sunday doubleheaders makes it harder, but I'm sure the quants in the Boston front office can run some pattern software that will make it all work.

The more interesting thing is listening to the Idiots complain that Schilling is getting a chance that rightfully belongs to Mike Timlin. (See? The Yankees don't have a monopoly on alleged clubhouse dissension in 2005.) I am surprised that this is so public.

2005-07-07 08:25:41
9.   JohnnyC

On Schilling: the bullpen move may be cosmetic because you and Simone are right. Actual closing or regular relief work would be dangerous for him...he needs more recovery time not less, regardless of how few pitches he throws in the game. If he's not in condition to throw 100 pitches every 5th day, he'll be in worse condition to throw 15 pitches every other day or 2 out of three days. It's possible, as Simone points out, Schilling may never be the pitcher the Red Sox traded for again and they know it. Lastly, do not be surprised that his teammates feel that way...he has always worn out his welcome quickly on every team he's been on. His teammates know the truth about his "bloody sock" last year and a lot of other stuff. Captain Tek almost came to blows with Schilling in the playoffs last year after he missed a pitchers meeting.

2005-07-07 08:31:14
10.   Murray
I'm not surprised that everybody hates Curt. He's been a shameless self-promoter since he first tasted stardom in Philadelphia. I just didn't think his teammates would allow their distaste for his antics to be so public this early in the season, while the club is in first place, and with him not having been around all that much due to the injury.
2005-07-07 08:36:49
11.   KJC
"Captain Tek almost came to blows with Schilling in the playoffs last year after he missed a pitchers meeting."

This is the first time I've heard that. Does anybody have a link to this story?

2005-07-07 08:40:28
12.   Patrick
I like your team better than what's going out there. One of Jeter and Matsui should have made it, at least.
2005-07-07 08:46:12
13.   Simone
tocho, the rumor is correct. Melky starts tonight. I just hope that the Yankees aren't showcasing him for a trade. Here is the link:
2005-07-07 09:04:35
14.   JohnnyC
KJC, it was actually earlier in the season but here's a link to the story:,0,7732127.column?coll=ny-baseball-headlines

2005-07-07 10:28:52
15.   EvilDan
//His teammates know the truth about his "bloody sock" last year//

What truth is that?

//This is the first time I've heard that. Does anybody have a link to this story? //

The link is dead, but wasn't that a Heyman article? I seem to recall that story having all the reliability of this year's Jeter/ARod fistfight.

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