MLB Awards: My End-of-Season All-Star Team
Well, the "Boys of Summer" have faded into the sunset, and we are now almost three months removed from the Midsummer Classic.
With a lot of water under the bridge and the award season discussion already in full swing, I thought I'd release my 68 picks if the All-Star Game were held today instead of in July
To review, here is the formula I developed in an earlier All-Star article, based on All-Star roster allocations over the past few years, as well as real MLB teams' roster allocations:
—Eight starting position players for each team (a catcher, first, second and third base, a shortstop and three outfielders)
—A starting DH for each team
—Twelve reserve batters for each team, including a backup at each of the eight positions, a third catcher and three additional batters, one of whom is the backup DH and one of whom is the "34th man"
—Thirteen pitchers, eight of whom are normally starters, three of whom are normally closers, and both left- and right-handed middle relievers
And as with the real All-Star Game, each team is guaranteed one roster spot
AL Miscellaneous Batters
34th man: Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
Oakland’s outfield call-up batted .292 this season with an OPS of .841. He drove in 82 in just 487 at-bats and was 11th in the AL in OPS.
33rd man: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
Encarnacion (pictured), who divided his time between first base, third base and DH, shows up here due to the trifurcating of his positions. Encarnacion finished in the top 10 in the AL in a number of categories, including offensive WAR (5.1, seventh), homers (42, fourth), OBP (.384, fifth), OPS (.941, third), RBI (110, third) and walks (84, seventh).
Backup DH: Chris Davis, Orioles
Chris Davis played about half of his 138 games at DH, with the remainder divided between first base and outfield (and one inning as a pitcher, when he recorded a victory). He is second in homers by a DH with 33, and is one of two DHs to have an OPS north of .820
Starting DH: Billy Butler, Royals
Country Breakfast finished in the top 10 in the AL in a number of categories, including batting average (.313, eighth), hits (192, fifth), OPS (.882, ninth) and total bases (313, seventh). He led all DHs in batting average, hits and RBI.
NL Miscellaneous Batters
34th man: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Paul Goldschmidt was fourth in OPS among NL first basemen and 14th in the NL with .850. He was also fourth in the NL in doubles and 11th in extra-base hits while stealing 18 bases.
33rd man: Chase Headley, Padres
Can you believe a member of the Padres led the NL in RBI this season? Headley was also 10th in the NL (third among third basemen) in OPS.
Backup DH: Allen Craig, Cardinals
The Cardinals' first baseman and outfielder finished the season with an .875 OPS and was seventh in the National League in batting average.
Starting DH: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Car-Go (pictured) had another season of 20 homers and 20 stolen bags, and was also ninth in the NL in OPS with .881.
Closer No. 1: Fernando Rodney, Rays
Fernando Rodney (pictured) converted 48 of 50 save opportunities this season. In the process, he averaged about a strikeout an inning and had the best ERA (0.60) and second-best WHIP (0.78) of any reliever with 40 or more innings of work.
Closer No. 2: Jim Johnson, Orioles
Johnson had more saves than anyone in the majors this season. He also had a 1.02 WHIP and gave up just three homers in 68 innings of work.
Closer No. 3: Rafael Soriano, Yankees
Soriano is most known for being Mariano Rivera's replacement. He converted 42 saves in 46 tries, good enough for third in the AL, while notching a 2.26 ERA.
Left-Handed Middle Reliever: Jake McGee, Rays
McGee had the best WHIP (0.80) of any middle reliever in either league. He also averaged almost 12 strikeouts a game and notched 20 holds.
Right-Handed Middle Reliever: Vinnie Pestano, Indians
Pestano was second in the majors in holds with 36 with a 2.57 ERA.
Closer No. 1: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
Kimbrel (pictured) is one of two relievers in the majors with 100 Ks, amounting to an insane 16.66 Ks per nine innings. The other one doesn’t have 42 saves or a sub-1.10 ERA.
Closer No. 2: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
Despite not becoming a closer until over a month into the season, Chapman finished third in the NL in saves with 38 and had an ERA of 1.51. He also led all relievers in Ks with 122.
Closer No. 3: Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
Papelbon was third in the NL in saves with 38 on 11.8 Ks per nine and a 2.44 ERA. He also had five relief wins.
Left-Handed Middle Reliever: Sean Marshall, Reds
Marshall is one of two lefty relievers to have a sub-3.00 ERA and 70 strikeouts (the other is his teammate, Aroldis Chapman). Marshall also notched five wins in relief and 22 holds, and he is in the top 10 among lefty relievers in Ks per nine.
Right-Handed Middle Reliever: Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals
Mitchell Boggs has more holds (34) than any other National League middle reliever. He has a sub-2.30 ERA and a sub-1.10 WHIP and also notched four wins in relief.
Starting Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
Mauer (pictured) led the AL in OBP and was fourth in the AL (first among catchers) in batting average. Mauer led all AL catchers in WAR and OPS.
Backup Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
Pierzynski was second among AL catchers in batting average and OPS.
Third Catcher: Matt Wieters, Orioles
Wieters was one of four AL catchers with a WAR over three, third among catchers in OPS, second in RBI and led all AL catchers in total zone runs.
Starting Catcher: Buster Posey, Giants
Posey (pictured) is one of two catchers in this year's playoffs who hit over .300 in the regular season, and the only one who also drove in 100 this season and had an .957 OPS. Posey won the NL batting title and led the NL in OPS.
Backup Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Molina is hitting .315 on the season, and is the only backstop in the majors with double-digit stolen bags. His dWAR is a full win higher than any other backstop in the minors, due to his .997 fielding percentage, .479 caught-stealing percentage and 12 double plays turned.
Third Catcher: Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks
Montero was third in OPS (behind Posey and Molina) among NL backstops with .829. On the defensive side of things, Montero put more men out than any other NL backstop.
AL at the Corners
Starting First Baseman: Prince Fielder, Tigers
Prince Fielder has the highest batting average (.313) and second-highest OPS (.940) among first basemen. He also had 30 dingers, drove in more than 100 and is one of two first basemen with 300 total bases.
Backup First Baseman: Albert Pujols, Angels
Yes, Albert Pujols. Remember him? He somehow turned his season around to finish with a .285 average and more total bags (313) than anyone else in baseball. He also led all AL first basemen in WAR and was third in the AL in extra-base hits.
Starting Third Basemen: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Miguel. Cabrera. Just. Won. The. Triple. Crown. Nuff said. (Cabrera (pictured) also has an MLB-leading .999 OPS and leads all third baseman in WAR with 6.9)
Backup Third Baseman: Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Beltre was second to Cabrera among AL third basemen in a number of categories, such as batting average (his .321 was good enough for third in the AL), OPS (.921), RBI (102) and homers (36). He was also fifth in the AL in WAR.
NL at the Corners
Starting First Baseman: Adam LaRoche, Nationals
Adam LaRoche was the only NL first baseman to drive in 100 runs this season and led all NL first basemen in homers with 33 (good enough for fourth in the NL). LaRoche was the only NL first baseman to have an OPS over .850 in at least 500 at-bats, and he was seventh in the NL in total bases.
Backup First Baseman: Joey Votto, Reds
Votto (pictured) would've led the majors in OPS with 1.041...if he had had enough at-bats to qualify (Votto only played in 111 game this season). Votto also had a .336 average in the game he played, and led all NL first basemen in WAR.
Starting Third Baseman: David Wright, Mets
David Wright was the only NL third baseman to hit .300 in at least 500 plate appearances. Wright was also fourth among NL position players in WAR.
Backup Third Baseman: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
The Brewers' third baseman finished the season 10th in the NL in positional players' WAR and fifth in slugging. He led all NL third basemen in OPS and extra-base hits.
AL Middle Infielders
Starting Second Baseman: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Robinson Cano (pictured) is the only second baseman in the majors with a .900 OPS and the only second baseman with a WAR over six (good enough for second in the majors). He’s also one of four MLB players with four dozen doubles and finished third in the majors in hits.
Backup Second Baseman: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Pedroia, the only Beantown player on this roster, is second to Cano in AL second basemen in batting average (.290), OPS (.797) and WAR (4.6). Pedroia was also in the top 10 in the AL in doubles, and he led all AL second basemen in fielding percentage.
Starting Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees
Jeter had more hits (and more singles) than anybody else in the majors, and he led all AL shortstops in batting average (.316, fifth in the AL) and OPS (.791).
Backup Shortstop: Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
Asdrubal finished second to Jeter in OPS (.762) among AL shortstops, and he led all AL shortstops in doubles.
NL Middle Infielders
Starting Second Baseman: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Hill led all second basemen in OPS (.882, sixth in the NL), and he is a close second in WAR among NL second baseman with 4.6. He is fifth in the NL in hits and third in extra-base hits.
Backup Second Baseman: Jose Altuve, Astros
The 5'5" Altuve is the only Astro to hit .290, and he also leads all NL second basemen in stolen bases with 33 (seventh in the NL). He was in the top 15 in hits.
Starting Shortstop: Ian Desmond, Nationals
Desmond (pictured) is the only shortstop in the majors with an OPS over .800 and is leading all shortstops in dingers with 25. He has the highest batting average of NL shortstops (.292) and also stole 20 bases.
Backup Shortstop: Starlin Castro, Cubs
Castro led all NL shortstops in WAR with 3.4, and was third in NL shortstops in OPS with .753. He was also seventh in the NL in hits with 184.
Starting Outfielder: Mike Trout, Angels
The rookie phenom Trout (pictured) is the only player in baseball with a WAR over 10, and he is second in the AL in OPS (.963) and batting average (.326), both behind Cabrera. He led the league in both runs scored (129) and stolen bases (49).
Starting Outfielder: Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Though his bestiality subsided in the second half of the regular season, Hamilton still finished second in all of baseball in homers with 43 and second in RBI with 128. He also had an OPS north of .900.
Starting Outfielder: Alex Gordon, Royals
Gordon is fifth in the AL (second among AL outfielders) in WAR with 6.2 and is in the top 10 in the AL in dWAR. Gordon was sixth in the AL in hits and led the AL in doubles.
Backup Outfielder: Adam Jones, Orioles
Adam Jones is in the top 10 among MLB outfielders in homers with 32, and is one of two outfielders in the playoffs (Hamilton is the other) with 30 homers and 100 runs scored.
Backup Outfielder: Austin Jackson, Tigers
Austin Jackson would have been a starter if not for his DL stint, but he is still one of a handful of men in the playoffs with 100 runs scored, an OPS over .800 and a WAR over five. Jackson also has double-digit numbers in triples.
Backup Outfielder: Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Granderson is one of a handful of MLB players with 40 homers this season. He's also batting .232, was second in the AL in strikeouts behind only Adam Dunn and isn't even in the top 50 in the MLB WAR.
Starting Outfielder: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
McCutchen (pictured) led all NL players in hits and led all NL outfielders in WAR (seven, second in the NL) and batting average (.327, second in the NL). McCutchen also finished in the top 10 in the NL in OPS (.953, fifth) and homers (31, eighth).
Starting Outfielder: Ryan Braun, Brewers
Braun led the NL in homers with 41, runs scored with 108, total bases with 356 and OPS with .987. He had the third-best WAR in the NL, and he was also in the top 10 in the NL in batting average (.319, third), RBI (112, second), hits (191, second) and stolen bases (30, ninth).
Starting Outfielder: Matt Holliday, Cardinals
Holliday is the top 10 in the NL in OBP (.379), OPS (.877), runs (95), hits (177) and total bases (298).
Backup Outfielder: Jay Bruce, Reds
Bruce had 34 dingers and an .841 OPS. He was ninth in the NL in both RBI and total bases.
Backup Outfielder: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Stanton has the fifth-best WAR of any NL outfielder and had a .969 OPS in the 123 games he played. He also slugged .609, a league best, and was second in homers with 37.
Backup Outfielder: Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Ethier was in the top 10 among NL outfielders in batting average (.284) and hits (158), while mustering an OPS of .812.
AL Starting Pitchers
Starter: Justin Verlander, Tigers
The reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner (pictured) led the majors in strikeouts and WAR while having the second-best ERA and WHIP in the American League and tying for second in quality starts with 25, 17 of which were victories. He also surrendered the lowest OPS among AL starters.
(Remaining pitchers listed alphabetically)
Matt Harrison, Rangers
Matt Harrison is fourth in the majors in pitchers’ WAR on the season, a season where he was sixth in the majors (third in the AL) in wins with 18. Harrison was also seventh in ERA on the season.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
King Felix had five shutouts in 2012, including a perfect game. He was fifth in the AL in ERA and seventh in WHIP and pitcher's WAR. He finished third in the AL in Ks.
Jake Peavy, White Sox
Peavy was third in the AL in quality starts with 23 and third in WHIP with 1.10. He also was in the top 10 in the AL in Ks per nine innings.
David Price, Rays
Price was one of two AL pitchers to notch 20 victories. He led the AL in ERA and was second in OPS surrendered and pitcher's WAR, while coming in fourth in WHIP and sixth in strikeouts.
Chris Sale, White Sox
Sale was fourth in the AL in a number of important categories, including ERA, Ks per nine innings and victories.
Max Scherzer, Tigers
Scherzer has the second-highest number of regular season Ks (231) among MLB pitchers; he also led the majors in Ks per nine and won 16 games. Since the All-Star break, Scherzer is 8-2 and holding opponents to just a .229 average.
Jered Weaver, Angels
Weaver had the best WHIP in the majors and won 20 games while amounting a .800 win percentage. He was also third in ERA.
NL Starting Pitchers
Starter: R.A. Dickey, Mets
The 37-year-old knuckleballer (pictured) is the only person in the majors with 27 quality starts and is second in the NL in victories with 20. Metrically, Dickey was second in ERA and third in WHIP. He led the NL in Ks, and he also shut out and hurled for nine more often than anyone else in the NL.
(Remaining pitchers listed alphabetically)
Matt Cain, Giants
Cain is fourth in ERA (2.79) and second in WHIP. He’s won 16 games (including a perfect one) and logged 21 quality starts and 193 strikeouts.
Johnny Cueto, Reds
Cueto was third in the NL in victories and ERA, and he was second in ERA.
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals
Gio notched a majors-high win total of 21 and a majors-low OPS surrendered of .582. He’s also in the top dozen in the majors in strikeouts (207, fourth in the NL), ERA (2.89, sixth in the NL), pitcher's WAR (4.5, fourth in the NL), WHIP (1.13, eighth in the NL) and quality starts (22, eighth).
Cole Hamels, Phillies
Hamels was third in the NL in strikeouts and finished in the top 10 in the NL in wins, win percentage, ERA, WHIP, WAR and complete games.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw led the majors in ERA, and he led the NL in WAR and WHIP. He was the runner-up in strikeouts and quality starts, and was also one of only two pitchers to surrender an OPS under .600 over the course of the season.
Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
Lohse was fourth in NL in both WHIP and quality starts and led the NL in win percentage. He just cracked the top 10 in pitcher's WAR.
Kris Medlen, Braves
Kris Medlen started the season in the bullpen. He’s in Atlanta’s rotation now, and with good reason: since the All-Star break, he’s been 9-0 with a 0.94 ERA and .484 OPS allowed in 95 innings played. In terms of value-added, Medlen was sixth in NL pitcher's WAR.