2011 MLB All-Star Game logo2011 MLB All-Star Game

2011 MLB All-Star Game: Cast the Perfect Ballot

Joel PenceContributor IIIJune 30, 2011

2011 MLB All-Star Game: Cast the Perfect Ballot

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    Part of what makes baseball great is the fans and their ability to have a voice. We watch, cheer, heckle and invest our time and emotion on our favorite teams and players. We have a voice.

    All-Star balloting is another place where fans have a voice. Have you voted at the stadium or online?

    How should a person vote? Name recognition? Your team's players only? Good character guys? Guys with the best statistics?

    Before balloting ends tonight at midnight, make sure you use your voice and vote.

    Here's how I voted and how I think you should, too.

Voting

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    I would love to see the modern-day legends if I were going to any All-Star game. Being able to tell my children I saw Derek Jeter and Chase Utley play live and in-person would certainly be nice.

    But not at the expense of those who deserve it. How do you tell who deserves it over the next person?

    Some people, myself included, trust the all-encompassing statistic WAR.

WAR: Wins Above Replacement

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    We could debate about how WAR is calculated and the merits of WAR. Instead, let's focus on what you need to know about WAR.

    WAR is short for wins above replacement. This means the number of wins a player will earn for a team above and beyond what a replacement-level player or waiver-wire claim could do.

    Next, WAR takes into account a player's offensive and defensive statistics, as well as the value of the position they play.

    The statistics are far beyond batting average, home runs and ERA. They are advanced statistics designed to eliminate as many variables as possible, including luck.

    The position the person plays is mostly irrelevant, as the players are compared to others at the same position.

    WAR is the most all-encompassing statistic. It is trusted so much that it has been used in contract negotiations for years.

    Let's take a look at who those representatives to the All-Star game would be, based on this year's statistics.

Your Deserving American League All-Stars

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    POSITION

    AL ALL-STAR BY WAR

    AL ALL-STAR BY VOTE

    C

    Alex Avila, DET

    Russell Martin, NYY

    1B

    Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

    Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

    2B

    Ben Zobrist, TB

    Robinson Cano, NYY

    SS

    Asdrubal Cabrera, CLE

    Derek Jeter, NYY

    3B

    Alex Rodriguez, NYY

    Alex Rodriguez, NYY

    OF

    Jose Bautista, TOR

    Jose Bautista, TOR

    OF

    Curtis Granderson, NYY

    Curtis Granderson, NYY

    OF

    Jacoby Ellsbury, BOS

    Josh Hamilton, TEX

    DH

    David Ortiz, BOS

    David Ortiz, BOS

    What stands out to you?

    Is it the five New York Yankees leading by vote when statistically only two deserve it?

    How about no Joe Mauer or Victor Martinez at catcher?

    For me, it is Ben Zobrist over Robinson Cano. This position is exactly why I believe statistics should tell the tale. Sure, Zobrist doesn't have the name power or career statistics of Cano or Dustin Pedroia, but he trails in voting due to his playing for Tampa Bay, a small-market team with few in attendance each game.

    He is worth more than a full win over Cano at this point in the season. Even Howie Kendrick and Pedroia are better than Cano this year.

    When your World Series representative has home-field advantage on the line in the All-Star game, I would want the players on the field who are performing the best. 

Your Deserving National League All-Stars

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    POSITION

    NL ALL-STAR BY WAR

    NL ALL-STAR BY VOTE

    C

    Brian McCann, ATL

    Brian McCann, ATL

    1B

    Prince Fielder, MIL

    Albert Pujols, STL

    2B

    Rickie Weeks, MIL

    Rickie Weeks, MIL

    SS

    Jose Reyes, NYM

    Troy Tulowitzki, COL

    3B

    Ryan Roberts, ARI

    Placido Polanco, PHI

    OF

    Matt Kemp, LAD

    Ryan Braun, MIL

    OF

    Andrew McCutchen, PIT

    Lance Berkman, STL

    OF

    Shane Victorino, PHI

    Matt Holliday, STL


    Ryan Roberts? Yes, indeed.

    Roberts is statistically the best third baseman in the National League. Due to a breakout year and a lot of injuries, Roberts should get the All-Star nod. While he may not be as talented as David Wright, Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Zimmerman or Pablo Sandoval, he is on the field and performing, which they have not been.

    It is a shame that Roberts is not even on the online ballot. Don't believe me? Check it out here when you vote.

    What's going on with the outfield? The outfielders are actually all center fielders, which is slightly telling. WAR values center fielders over corner outfielders because of the difficulty of the position.

    At the same token, these are three above average to exceptional defenders, while Braun, Berkman and Holliday are poor to adequate at best. Of note, Kemp is statistically the best player in baseball this year and still not an All-Star starter.

    Even though we do not get to vote for pitchers, let's take a lot at who the best starter, set-up man, and closer is in each division.

American League and National League Pitchers

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    We do not have the luxury of voting on pitchers, but I researched who the best starting pitcher, set-up men, and closers are at this point.

    Here they are:

    POSITION

    AL ALL-STAR BY WAR

    NL ALL-STAR BY WAR

    SP

    Jered Weaver, LAA

    Roy Halladay, PHI

    SU

    Jim Johnson, BAL

    Jonny Venters, ATL

    CL

    Mariano Rivera, NYY

    Craig Kimbrel, ATL


    Not much stands out to me when it comes to pitchers. The exception was the more a played is used, the better some statistics can be. This could be an advantage to Atlanta relievers Venters and Kimbrel, but there is no arguing their talent either.

Conclusion

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    There are many factors to consider when casting your ballot. You could consider past performance, health, character, etc. No one way to vote should be considered wrong, but I believe whoever is playing the best this year deserves to play.

    Even though managers and players are able to make selections beyond what the fans select, it is important to vote. It's not often we have a voice in professional sports. But in baseball, we do.

    I did my part. I voted based on my beliefs. Now it is your turn. Vote here before midnight tonight.

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