Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Rock the Vote
2006-06-29 09:57
by Cliff Corcoran

The All-Star voting closes tonight at 11:59pm, so with the Yankees enjoying a day of rest after Alex Rodriguez's big bang I thought I'd share my ballots.

American League


With no designated hitter spot on the ballot due to the fact that the game is taking place in an NL park, this spot is mighty crowded. In fact, with Jason Giambi now a full-time DH due to the long awaited arrival of Andy Phillips, Paul Konerko is the only full-time first baseman worth looking at here (though I do have to give a shout to Kevin Youkilis, the Red Sox' Andy Phillips).

Here are the key stats on Konerko, Giambi and the three top designated hitters, all of whom shift to first base in NL parks, along with the number of games they've played at first thus far this year (all stats prior to yesterday's games).

Paul Konerko.315.388.576.31949196028.69670
Jason Giambi.262.423.609.33948226130.18244
David Ortiz.267.380.548.30952226824.01005
Jim Thome.284.414.608.33560246334.51002
Travis Hafner.312.450.625.36360216246.0734

Travis Hafner's career line is .296/.399/.568. Last year he hit .305/.408/.595 with 42 doubles, 33 homers, 108 RBIs and a .345 EQA and finished fifth in the MVP voting. The year before he hit .311/.410/.583 with 41 doubles, 28 homers, 109 RBIs and a .335 EQA. Travis Hafner has never been selected to an All-Star team, even as a reserve. This has to end this year. David Ortiz is the vote leader, but he's the least worthy of the five candidates above. What's more, Hafner is David Ortiz. He's a hulking, late-blooming lefty 1B-turned-DH who was tossed aside by his previous team. The primary differences between the two are that Ortiz has had the media exposure and postseason opportunities Hafner hasn't and Hafner is a year younger than Ortiz and is thus Ortiz, in a rather startling parallel, has made Hafner's improvements in production a year ahead of his Cleveland counterpart. At any rate, given the defensive shortcomings of his rivals and the relative insignificance of first base defense, Travis Hafner is my pick hands down.


It's a bummer that Robinson Cano's hamstring injury will prevent him from playing in what I hope is the first of many All-Star games, because he's the current vote leader and a worthy pick. Here's Robbie in contrast to top rival Brian Roberts and 22-year-old Mariners' newcomer Jose Lopez:

Robinson Cano.325.353.439.2733417427360%17.2112
Brian Roberts.309.376.395.28633150271886%1891
Jose Lopez.278.315.467.27144199552100%17.591

Lopez has prettier counting stats than Robbie, and Roberts has the added dimension of speed (those who said Cano's hamstring injury is particularly problematic because he's a player who relies on his speed have likely never seen Robbie play), but I have to give the tie breaker to Cano because of his tremedous lead on defense.


One of the game's biggest stars and a sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter (.333/.426/.459) has only made one of the last three All-Star teams. That should change this year as, despite regression on defense, he's easily been the AL's best shortstop. His rivals are Miguel Tejada, Carlos Guillen and Michael Young. Young is the only one playing superlative defense and none of them have done any damage on the bases. Jeter, meanwhile has stolen 15 bases at an 88 percent clip and has out hit everyone, leading AL shortstops in average, OBP, EQA, VORP, walks and steals.


Yesterday's hero, Alex Rodriguez (.276/.388/.487, 15 HR, 52 RBIs) has a similar claim on the third base spot. Troy Glaus, Mike Lowell and Joe Crede have all had fantastic seasons that rival Rodriguez's, but the Yankee third-sacker leads in VORP, EQA, OBP, walks, RBIs and runs scored. Rodriguez's defense has been just average compared to the excellent glove work of Lowell and Crede, but Alex has gone 8 for 11 on the bases while Lowell and Crede have just one stolen base between them. As a solid fielder who combines power and speed and has had the best overall offensive season among the group, I have to give Rodriguez the edge. Anyone surprised by this selection will likely claim that this choice should be easier to make, but should take note that Rodriguez is still the best third baseman in the league and the only member of my AL ballot from last year to reappear this year.


This is the easiest pick in the AL. Joe Mauer (.389/.454/.533, 7 for 8 on the bases, great defense), no one else is even close.

Now would be a good time to point out for anyone wondering how the Yankees have survived the loss of Matsui and Sheffield that Cano, Jeter and Rodriguez have been the best in the league at their respective positions thus far this season, Giambi is essentially tied with Jim Thome for second behind Travis Hafner at 1B/DH, Johnny Damon has exceeded expectations in center (passing his 2005 homer total and coming within two of his 2005 steal total before the half-way mark), and Jorge Posada is the best AL catcher after Mauer. That doesn't even count Andy Phillips' hitting .362/.378/.623 since finally cracking the starting line-up a month ago in Detroit. Having said that, we won't be running into any more Bombers the rest of the way.


The three most productive outfielders in the AL do me a favor by distributing themselves across the three positions. Perennial choice Manny Ramirez (.302/.436/.603, 20 HR, 53 RBIs) is in left. Vernon Wells has been a defensive liability in center for the Blue Jays, but his offense (.316/.382/.611, 20 HR, 62 RBIs, 9 for 12 on the bases) has more than made up for it, answering anyone who thought his 2003 season was a fluke. Finally, last year's World Series MVP, Jermaine Dye has followed that distinction with the best year of his career, hitting .303/.390/.615 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs. Missing the cut are surprise performances by youngsters Alex Rios and Nick Swisher, confirmation of future greatness from Grady Sizemore, and a career year by 31-year-old disappointment Gary Matthews Jr.

National League


It helps that Derrek Lee got hurt, but still, there's no one in the major leagues who can hang with Albert Pujols (.312/.441/.732, 26 HR and 67 RBI despite a stint on the DL, and remarkable defense). He is by far the best player in baseball.


The numbers are less overwhelming, but Dan Uggla (.313/.366/.532, 113 Rate) is as easy a choice as Pujols and Mauer here, beating Chase Utley and revived prospect Brandon Phillips hands down.


This is where the NL starts to get tough. Jose Reyes or my surprise pick from last year, Bill Hall?

Jose Reyes.297.356.488.29067198363481%30.3102
Bill Hall.271.322.567.28845201537360%20.196

Okay that's not that close, and if I'm going to include Hall, I should probably include Edgar Renteria (.303/.384/.442, 8 for 10 on the bases and above average in the field) as well, but I figured I owed you guys a chart here, so there you go. For those who can't figure it out, my pick is Jose Reyes.


I thought third base would be a tight battle between relocated Marlin Miguel Cabrera and emerging Met megastar David Wright (.332/.401/.600, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 11 for 13 on the bases, .329 EQA), but it turns out Wright hasn't really been all that great in the field and Cabrera has not only held his own at third, but has been superior at the plate (.347/.444/.579, 12 HR, 52 RBI, .344 EQA). These two are both 23 years old and if Cabrera stays put at the hot corner this should emerge into one heck of a rivalry between two Hall of Fame talents from the NL East. This year, however, I'm sticking with Miguel Cabrera, who made my ballot last year as an outfielder, while stiffing Wright because of his defense for the second year in a row.


This is the NL's answer to second base in the AL, where the term "star" is used most loosely. This fight, if you'll pardon the choice of words, is between the Braves' Brian McCann and the Cubs' Michael Barrett (.308/.370/.508). Barrett was the NL's best catcher a year ago (though I foolishly fell for notorious second-half swooner Paul Lo Duca at ballot time) and was in the mix in 2004 after years of futility in Montreal. McCann is a 22-year-old in his first full season and a player the Yankees should keep an eye on as 21-year-old superprospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia is bound to take his job in a couple of years (though Salty has struggled mightily in double-A thus far this year). Actually, this one's not all that close either, Brian McCann (.352/.417/.515) beats Barrett across the board on both sides of the ball. In fact, if he keeps this up, Saltalamacchia might be the player the Braves decide to move.


Much like in the AL, the outfielders have made it easy this year, with a clearcut candidate from center and two corner men who elevate themselves above the rest: repeat vote Jason Bay (.286/.402/.554, 20 HR, 56 RBI, plus defense) in left, Carlos Beltran not only confirming the second year in New York theory, but enjoying the best season of his career (.291/.403/.623, 21 HR, 60 RBI, 12 for 15 on the bases, outstanding defense) in center, and out-of-nowhere Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday (.354/.398/.616, 15 HR, 54 RBI) improving on his breakout sophomore season by bettering his stats despite the reduced park effects of Coors Field and getting my vote for right field.

So, my final ballots are:


1B - Travis Hafner
2B - Robinson Cano
SS - Derek Jeter
3B - Alex Rodriguez
C - Joe Mauer
LF - Manny Ramirez
CF - Vernon Wells
RF - Jermaine Dye


1B - Albert Pujols
2B - Dan Uggla
SS - Jose Reyes
3B - Miguel Cabrera
C - Brian McCann
LF - Jason Bay
CF - Carlos Beltran
RF - Matt Holliday

Checking the voting, Pujols, Reyes, Beltran and Bay are in line to take their rightful palaces in the NL, but a weak fanbase has hurt the two Marlins. At least proper second choices Utley and Wright have the leads at their positions, though Utley and both Mets are being threatened by less worthy candidates. Catcher is a disaster with that man Lo Duca again in the lead, while Alfonso Soriano, Ken Griffey Jr. and Andruw Jones are battling for the final outfield spot, which is no real surprise as all are having strong seasons and Holliday has almost no name recognition outside of Colorado.

In the AL, the trio of Yankee infielders and Ramirez are in place, but Red Sox fans are screwing things up by forcing Varitek and Ortiz in where they don't belong and pushing Cano and Rodriguez with Loretta and Lowell. On the flip side, Giambi is the player with the best shot at Ortiz at first. Mauer is making a late surge, but will need a lot of help as he is still in third at the time of this post. Vlad, Ichiro and Damon have blocked out Wells and Dye in the outfield. Wells at least has a chance as he's currently in fifth with the top three vote getters getting the start. Hafner, meanwhile, is pretty much screwed once again. Here's hoping the players do the right thing and vote him in.

For those who haven't done so yet, you can vote 25 times on line before midnight. Get to work fixing everyone else's mess, woodja?

2006-06-29 11:28:05
1.   KJC
I don't really like the idea of fans voting for All Stars. I understand why it's done, and that it's nice to feel like I have a say in who's gonna play. But your average fan is a fan of their team, not baseball in general and can't make educated picks...which is why there always seems to be way too many Red Sox and Yankees starting.

I also don't understand why everyone can vote 25 times. What's the logic in that?

2006-06-29 11:36:59
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 I don't entirely disagree, KJC, but are you saying you'll trust people to vote for president, but not for the NL second baseman?

As for the 25 times thing, the only thought I have is that perhaps the logic is that casual fans who are more likely to vote for name players (or as my girlfriend does, for just silly names in general--turns out she got Pujols and Uggla right by that method) might only vote once, while hardcore fans like you and me are more likely to use up all 25 ballots, thus skewing the vote toward the more educated picks. The big but here is that you'll get diehard fans voting for their team's entire starting nine 25 times as well (Becky's AL picks were seven of the eight Yankees on the ballot with Bernie penciled in in place of Damon for the final spot).

2006-06-29 11:38:54
3.   Schteeve
You couldn't shoehorn Bernie in there somehow?
2006-06-29 11:40:51
4.   Schteeve
Cliff, I'm getting way ahead of myself here and if you'd rather not answer this question I understand, but do you have an opinion of who the AL MVP has been so far?
2006-06-29 11:52:35
5.   KJC
2 "are you saying you'll trust people to vote for president, but not for the NL second baseman?"

Ha. Good point, although.....ah, forget it. No sense starting a political sh*tstorm "discussion" on a baseball site. Besides, sometimes baseball just seems more important than politics (or at the very least it's easier for me to enjoy).

2006-06-29 12:01:18
6.   Cliff Corcoran
4 Way too early, but with the Twins surging, let's go with Mauer for now.
2006-06-29 12:26:34
7.   Marcus
I'll admit my anti-Red Sox bias, but Jason Varitek shouldn't even make the team as a reserve, let alone the starter. His offense is near the bottom for AL catchers, and I can't imagine his defense is so good that it beats Ivan Rodriguez or Joe Mauer.

That's the main point against fan voting; when someone gets voted as a starter that shouldn't even make the team as a reserve. Although overall, I think fan voting for the starters is a good thing.

2006-06-29 12:29:35
8.   Ravenscar
Cliff -

Great ballot, poor Joe Mauer definitely deserves better than he's getting.

I'm a Mets fan, so you can take that into account. Miguel is definitely better than I thought he was and the race is closer thatn I thought, but by what metric is Wright's defense worse than Cabrera's? (and neither of them have been that stellar) Miguel has more errors, the least accurate measure, but is he better in fielding win shares or some such? Sadly, I'm not sure where to grab those or any other alternative defensive metrics.

2006-06-29 12:38:35
9.   Javi Javi
I'll take KJC'S point where he dropped it--the people don't vote for the president, they vote for the electoral college. I'm doing the same here. Cliff, I vote for you--be my elector.
2006-06-29 12:41:00
10.   Cliff Corcoran
8 Baseball Prospectus's Rate. Cabrera - 100 (dead average), Wright - 90 (ouch).
2006-06-29 12:42:29
11.   Cliff Corcoran
9 But the voters do tell the electoral college whom to vote for, even if the EC isn't technically bound to that choice.
2006-06-29 12:50:27
12.   Ravenscar
10 - hmmmm..... Wright may be bad, but Cabrera has been just as bad it seems - I guess I could be wrong.... I wonder what other ways are out there to judge it for the year and what they say?
2006-06-29 12:51:39
13.   monkeypants
11 That's not exactly correct. Each state decides how the electors are to vote. Some mandate that the elector vote for his or party; in other states the EC voters may technically cast their vote for whomsoever. As with many things, it is up to the state to regulate (or not) its electors.
2006-06-29 12:54:09
14.   Cliff Corcoran
12 I'll admit to being surprised by those numbers, but Cabrera played just 30 games at third last year and none in 2004. His Rate seems to be climbing, so it could be he's made some adjustments much like Alex Rodriguez in 2004.
2006-06-29 13:04:19
15.   Shaun P
5 I'll bite and start a quasi-'political' discussion, one related to the most political part of MLB - the Hall of Fame.

What really annoys me about All-Star voting/selection is how it can be twisted into arguments about someone's HoF credentials. For example "But Bert Blyleven only had 2 All-Star appearances!" - and, ergo, he is clearly not Hall of Fame worthy. The flip-side argument is equally vacuous - "So-and-so made 7 All-Star teams, so clearly he's a Hall of Famer." No ready example comes to mind, but I'm sure that case has been made before.

Maybe my real problem is with the way the voters make decisions for the HoF, not so much the ASG. I guess I'd just like to see more intelligence injected into the process somewhere, instead of it degrading into a popularity contest.

I think I could say the same thing about public office elections as well. ;)

2006-06-29 14:04:15
16.   Cliff Corcoran
15 The same is true of MVP/Cy Young votes. A strike against Mike Mussina is that he's never won a Cy Young, but he should have won in 2001. He finished fifth that year with just two points, 120 less than Roger Clemens.

That said, one could argue that the hall of FAME and the all-STAR game are popularity contests by nature, but thankfully those definitions are becoming increasingly irrelevent. At any rate, using All-Star game appearances (or appearances on the roster at least) wouldn't be a bad way of figuring out how a player rated in context of his leage and his era if there weren't so many errors made on the rosters.

The problem is it's hard to be get it right mid-season. I think having the game midseason is a great idea, but with half the games unplayed you risk leaving out strong second half performers and rewarding early season flukes, and that's if you're paying enough attention to vote in the most worthy players in the first place as opposed to Jason Freaking Varitek.

There are two schools of thought here. I like to reward players having good seasons, and thus wait until the last minute to vote. Baseball Prospectus's Joe Sheehan doesn't like rewarding players for two or three good months that could turn out to be flukes and goes more with reputation, posting his votes in early June. The problem with that is essentially uses the current season's stats as a tie breaker, thus Rafael Furcal gets the pick over Jose Reyes, Barry Bonds gets the pick over Carlos Beltran, Ivan Rodriguez gets the call over Joe Mauer and Gary Sheffield makes his ballot in the AL outfield. Yes, he's saved himself from the embarassment of watching Dan Uggla turn back into a pumpkin in the second half, but Furcal, Bonds, Pudge and Sheff do not deserve to make the 2006 All-Star team any more than Paul Lo Duca does.

Sheehan clams his method is based on the idea that the game is for the fans, not the players, so the biggest stars should be playing, but I want to see guys like Mauer and Reyes play, young exciting players playing at the top of their games, not warmed over leftovers such as Bonds and Pudge or middle-tier stars having off years such as Furcal.

My point is that even smart, informed analysts who do this sort of thing for a living can screw up an All-Star ballot, so what hope is there for the average fan?

Uh. Yeah. End rant.

2006-06-29 15:31:22
17.   Levy2020
1 I think it's supposed to generate more web traffic and more ad views.
2006-06-29 15:59:56
18.   YankeeInMichigan
16Pudge over Mauer? Not on basis of 2005 stats (.276/.290/.444).

Actually, I find AL catcher to be the most difficult pick. My vote can influence the outcome of the Pudge vs. Varitek race. Whoopy-doo. I detest Pudge. He is the most overrated player of his generation and he stole the MVP from Jeter in '99. I am nauseated by the way the Detroit media and fan base suck up to him. Any self-respecting Tiger fan should have booed him out of Comerica last August, especially after he bad-mouthed his manager and teamates and arrogantly proclaimed "I don't do walks." I firmly believe that with a league-average catcher, the 2005 Tigers would have been a .500 team.

But the only catcher less deserving of an all-star spot than Pudge is Varitek (I think his VORP is something like 3.8).

Okay, so I'll hold my nose and waste my vote on "symbolism." So do I vote for Mauer, the most deserving candidate, or for Posada, who needs more respect?

2006-06-29 16:33:18
19.   singledd
"Sheehan clams his method is based on the idea that the game is for the fans, not the players, so the biggest stars should be playing..."

Except for the fact that the 'prize' for this fan's exhibition game is home-field advantage in the WS.

Add to that the point by 15. It is an honor that is important to the players, and impacts their careers.

I don't like Fans voting. I don't trust their judgement in baseball OR in politics. At least in presidental elections, there is a 50% chance to get it right. Lets not talk about 2000 and 2004.

Maybe we should give ONE vote to each player, manager and coach... instead of the fans.

I imagine there are a bunch of mentally deluded Sox fans, possibly MIT grads or the such, who can batch votes or otherwise hack/skew the system. How else does 'Captain' Veritek make it?

There could be 1 or 2 honorarium spots for perenial greats... so fans could see, and maybe have a pinch hit AB, from some of the greats who don't deserve to make the team that year.

2006-06-29 16:42:38
20.   dpmurphy
How can you not include loretta as one of Cano's rivals? He's hitting 317, has a higher obp by a few points, more rbis, plays good defense. He belongs in the discussion.

Arod should get the pick over lowell, but I don't think 8 out of 11 stolen bases is remarkable enough to even bring up, while you seem to underestimate lowell's defensive advantage. At this point he's in a different class than arod defensively.

2006-06-29 17:02:38
21.   monkeypants
I completely tune out the all star game--haven't watched it in years. First it became a glorified exhibition game--batters batting wrong handed, managers trying to get everyone in the game like little league. We had retired players voted in as starters. We had special slots created for aging players. We had BS PR stunts like the corporate sponsored all whatever team (which didn't but did have Pete Rose on it). Meanwhile the whole sheebang is overtaken by a HR contest, where baseball cheers steroid freaks whom it later condemns.

Then, in the midst of this circus, a manager actually does what he is (hint-hint) supposed to do, by emptying his bench and getting everyone in the game, and so he runs out of players and the (exhibition) game ends in a tie. This leads to the predictable overreaction whereby an exhibition game then determined who was the hometeam in the WS.

I secretly (well, not secretly now) hope that no Yankees are chosen--especially pitchers--so they can rest a few days and not get hurt. In an exhibition game.

Oh yeah, one that is generally played in some new tax-payer funded stadium.

2006-06-29 17:50:26
22.   randym77
21 I kind of agree with you. I do feel bad for Robby; playing in the All-Star game would mean so much to him. But for the rest of them...I'd rather they rest their old bones instead of risking injury in the All-Star game. Especially Johnny Damon and his broken foot.

Two-run homer off Schilling. Go, Mets!

2006-06-29 18:07:00
23.   Simone
The Mets are so useless: 2-2 in the 6th.
2006-06-29 18:42:22
24.   Simone
Damn, what a catch by Crisp. He looked like he was flying there. Yeah, the Mets suck.
2006-06-29 18:48:16
25.   kdw
Sigh, they suck right up until they get back to NY after getting swept in Boston. Not looking forward to playing them when they're bruised and hungry. Not sure the Yankees' offense can keep up just now.
2006-06-29 19:11:37
26.   unpopster
20 honestly dude, enough with your Red Sox crap. You pop up over here on BB every once and a while and complain about which Red Sox player doesn't get his share of respect or why the Sox are this or that.

You do understand that this is BRONX Banter, not Back Bay Banter, right? I here there's a wicked site called Sons of Sam Horn that might just be right up your alley?

2006-06-29 19:24:30
27.   JeremyM
26 I'm not too hip on internet logo but I believe the expression is OWNED. I don't really have anything against dpmurphy but we couldn't care less about Loretta over here.
2006-06-29 19:39:17
28.   ric
honestly dude, its a fictional all star ballet. you usually list the best guys in each osition....loretta's name belongs on the list at 2b due to his stats. in fact, his exclusion makes no sense. his status as a red sox is basically irrelevant. i think your whining about the big bad invading red sox fan is a little dramatic.
2006-06-29 20:07:04
29.   justsayin
this "conversation" is just plain silly - you fogot to include rj for early cy young consideration and giambi for comeback player of the year (oh i forgot he got that last year for finding a way around the drug testing)
2006-06-29 20:09:45
30.   dpmurphy
26 If cliff gave a "homers" list of ny players, I'd agree with you. But his list was pretty fair, coming from more of a baseball view point than a yankees.

If you think I'm 'nuts' about loretta being over looked, I'd love to hear why. I don't care about any "this is for yankees only" or some idiot saying "owned" like he's 12 years old..

On topic, Loretta is now hitting 323. He belongs on the list. Any fair minded baseball fan would say the same. I'm betting cliff just over looked him.

2006-06-29 20:58:29
31.   Max
28 29 30 Red Sox fans woofing on a Yankee site in predictable and annoying as the arrival of mosquitoes with the summer heat and rains.
2006-06-29 22:56:24
32.   Yu-Hsing Chen
30 Loretta is like the current Robinson Cano turbo, they are both very similar players, guys that have great average and not much else..

Loretta's OPS is .770, Cano is .792, both of these numbers really aren't that good, they both hit for average with a little speed but no power (3 HR 14 2B for Loretta, 4 HR 13 2B 1 3B for Cano ) Loretta makes fewer mistakes on defense (3 error versus Cano's 7) but Cano's range is better and have made far more plays this year. so on defense at best it's a tie.

Cliff, I have to disagree with ur pick on Robbie though, Lopez is more deserving although percentage wise Robbie is somewhat better. and defensely he is a bit better too.

Heres the main reason why Lopez have been a more valuable player.

Lopez: 47 runs scored, 9 HR, 57 RBI

Cano : 34 Runs scored, 4 HR, 27 RBI <---

My main grudge against Cano is that he has hit like shite this year in RISP (but because his name isn't A-rod people don't notice), and is a main culprit of the Yankee's recent offense slumps despite being super hot (, he simply isn't driving in much runs at all, all his Home runs are solo shots too. He has been a great percentage player, but he hasn't gotten the results to reflect those numbers so far.

For the season, Robbie's RISP is .227/.268/.320 , that's just beyond bad. the only worse Regular is Bernie, who's a ungodly .125/ .300/ .125 this season. (just another reason why they might as well start Bubba in right and bench him...)

In June, Robbie was a wooping .998 OPS, but managed to score 8 times driving in 7 .. oh yeah, he had 2 solo shots too.. so he only really drove in 5 in almost 83 at bats

In contrast, Melky Cabrera whom had a utterly terrible June with a .607 OPS scored 16 times and drove in 8 in 95 at bats, yes 2 of those runs he drove in was himself too but still, it goes to show how Robbie Cano's serious downfall so far this season. Even everyone's favorite scape goat A-rod whom also had a bad June with a .724 OPS managed to score 9 times and drove in 11 with 2 more at bats than Robbie.

That's why Lopez have more win shares than Cano also.

I really like Cano, but I still feel he hasn't been deserving of all star this season so far.

2006-06-29 23:12:27
33.   voxpoptart
Thanks for the reminder to vote, Cliff! I voted for nine of your sixteen candidates, and three of the differences were trivial. I think Tejada's a marginally better player than Jeter. As a Tiger and Royal fan, I'd hardly take your banjo-hitting 2nd baseman over either of mine, when it's Polanco, not Cano or Grudz, who has Gold Glove fielding stats and a 2005 batting title - but I know I'm being sentimental.

Tiger fandom also made sure I noticed that Curtis Granderson (another excellent fielder) is leading the entire AL in Win Shares; I voted him over Wells, but maybe you just overlooked him.

That leaves four where I think you're taking an extreme position and not admitting it, Cliff. Sure, this year's stats are important. But why do you keeping choosing a small (even debatable) edge in 2006 stats over a large difference in prior record?

Ichiro Suzuki: .358/.409/.447, GPA .310, 12 Win Shares, in a totally normal year, vs
Jermaine Dye: .306/.392/.617, GPA .324, 13 Win Shares, after three years of being ordinary.

Dan Uggla: .312/.365/.530, GPA .309, okay defense, 12 Win Shares, coming out of nowhere, vs
Jeff Kent: .271/.377/.473, GPA .301, good defense, 10 Win Shares, on the gentle downslope of a Hall of Fame career.

Miguel Cabrera: .343/.442/.573, GPA .356, okay defense at best, 14 Win Shares, and maybe every bit that good, vs
Scott Rolen: .344/.409/.568, GPA .330, Gold Glove defense, 13 Win Shares, and for-sure every bit that good.

Matt Holliday: .352/.396/.614, GPA .292, 12 Win Shares, emerging from two years as a below-average hitter, vs
Bobby Abreu: .287/.449/.474, GPA .304, 14 Win Shares - more than Holliday's - in an average year for him.

Why such a very strong devotion to the new? I assune you have a good answer, but right now I don't get it.

2006-06-30 01:45:47
34.   rabid stan
32 That's about as good a summary as you could ask for of why Robbie's June has been so empty despite his hitting near .400 for the month. But there are some mitigators, not that he deserves the selection.

Robbie's been batting behind Posada, who is difficult to drive in, and occaisionally also behind Bernie. Combine this with Rodriguez's slump and Cano probably did not find himself in a position to drive in a run with a single very often (I could be wrong; how many opportunities did he have this month with a man on second? third?). This kind of thing is always the problem with highlighting the RBI stat.

Regarding the .227 RISP, that is his fault, but it also goes into how pitchers approach him. In the bottom third of the order, he doesn't have much protection behind him that pitchers respect (even with Andy's good June; also, June has seen many games in NL parks, where his only protection has often been Melky and the pitcher, nevermind Andy). Because of his reputation as a free swinger, pitchers haven't been giving him much to hit with RISP, and because the reputation is well earned, he's been getting himself out. His lack of patience has a great deal to do with that number.

As for the solo home runs, I've just been happy to see some signs of life (though not enough) in that department. It's not his fault if nobody else is on. Pitchers are more willing to pitch to him in those situations anyway.

Most of his problems either seem to be not his fault entirely, or because he won't take more pitches.

I'm actually glad he won't be playing this year. Pick a reason: some variety on the roster, room for a more deserving player on the roster, keep him hungry to improve through next season if a chance to play in the All-Star game is something that can motivate him, etc., etc.

2006-06-30 02:00:01
35.   Yu-Hsing Chen
True, I would say he is a viable candidate for the ASG, but from a objective point of view he isn't quite there .

BTW, I made a mistake on Bernie, that stats I meantioned was him batting as DH, as a OF where he has far more AB he's been a .291 /.323 /.364 hitter in RISP.

Cano had the second most at bats for RISP on the team with 75, the media's favorite whipping boy A-rod have the most at 88, and he is .295/ .442 /.523 , talk about bad PR for A-rod ...

As for line up postioning, that might be part of the problem but it shouldnt reflect to that crazy of a difference.

2006-06-30 03:27:17
36.   randym77
Yu-Hsing, interesting stuff, thanks for posting it.

Robbie having the second most ABs with RISP and the worst average hitting in that situation is not a good thing. I wonder if a lineup shakeup would help?

2006-06-30 07:38:41
37.   Count Zero
The Cano issue was mentioned on YES during a game a couple of weeks ago. I'm sorry I forgot the numbers, but the numbers are even worse from May 1st on -- something in the low .100s with RISP. He makes A-Rod look like the CLUTCH MACHINE.

While there is some truth to the "protection" argument, I am actually in the "over-hyped" camp at present. Robbie's great because he's a sophomore and improving...I wouldn't trade him for anything. But if I forget that for a minute, and evaluate him the same as any other MLB player, he isn't really that great yet. He gets a lot of meaningless hits, he runs the bases like crap, and he's heard that Rod Carew comparison so many times I think he's consciously trying to imitate him now...much to his own detriment as it impacts his power (which far exceeds Carew's).

2006-06-30 07:45:26
38.   dpmurphy
32 Excellent breakdown. Thanks.

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