So the 80th annual MLB All Star Game is over. Barack Obama did manage to throw the first pitch without it hitting the ground (just), the American League team did win, again and the AL and NL East players each got the bulk of their teams' playing time.
The Dodgers were fairly well represented. Even with Jonathon Broxton missing due to injury, they still sent Orlando Hudson and Chad Billingsley to the game and each got a fair amount of playing time.
The Angels were not so fortunate. Although Chone Figgins finally made the game after an injury to Evan Longoria, neither he nor Brian Fuentes the American League's leading closer (with 26 saves) made it into the game.
Now, I understand that it would be very difficult to always fit every player into the All Star game, but Angels fans do have reason to feel aggrieved by the circumstances of their players' omissions, especially when you consider how much the players from the Rangers and Yankees played.
But there cold also be another reason for Angels fans to be upset.
While they play in different leagues, and so cannot be directly compared with each other for All Star Game purposes, you can definitely argue that Jered Weaver has a stronger case for being an All Star this year than Chad Billingsley.
First, keep in mind that the Dodgers play in one of the weakest divisions in baseball and in the National League playing the Padres and Diamondbacks while the Angels play in a stronger division in the AL and play teams like the Yankees and Rangers.
Now look at the stats of the two players:
Player: Weaver Billingsley
Wins: 10 9
Losses: 3 4
ERA: 3.22 3.38
Strikeouts: 104 119
Games: 18 19
Complete Games: 3 0
Shutouts: 1 0
IP: 120.1 125.1
Walks: 36 55
While Weaver is not likely to strike out 15 batters in five innings, he's also unlikely to walk 19 batters in those innings. Weaver has more wins, complete games and shutouts and a lower ERA than Billingsley while playing in a better division and a better league.
While Billingsley has shown dominance striking out almost one batter per inning, he has walked nineteen more batters in that time, that's more than walking two entire lineups more in just five extra IP.
If we look at WHIP, Weaver once again comes out looking better with a figure of1.12 to Billingsley's 1.23. This is not a huge difference but its another indication of Weaver outperforming Billingsley though it does come mainly from the walks, with each having given up 99 hits. Weaver has though allowed five fewer runs and four fewer earned runs than Billingsley.
Incidentally, Weaver is also making $10,000 less than Billingsley this year.
In the end, there are very few people who would argue that Chad Billingsley was undeserving of an All-Star selection. He is a large part of the reason the Dodgers entered the All Star break with the best record in baseball.
What can be said though is that with all the hype and praise Billingsley has accrued this season, Weaver has been under-appreciated and has actually outperformed the Dodgers' ace while playing on a team with a worse record (though one which has missed most of its rotation and lineup for large parts of the season).
Maybe Jered Weaver didn't deserve an All Star selection due to the level of AL staring pitching, or maybe he did. That can be argued for a long time. What cannot be argued however is that Weaver is at least as deserving if not more deserving of an All-Star selection than Chad Billingsley and has outperformed him statistically against superior competition.
It looks like Angels fans have another reason to be upset at how this year's Midsummer Classic turned out.
Then again, maybe it's not so bad...after all, who expected Mike Napoli to be out-hitting Russel Martin at mid-season.