The All-Star game has come and gone, the American League scratching out a 3-0 win last night with a dominant pitching performance. The NL only had 3 hits? Incredible!
Sadly, that leaves baseball fans with two consecutive days of nothing. Seriously – there is nothing happening Wednesday and Thursday. So to try and fill the void, 500 Level Fan is rolling out a series of mid-season posts. Yesterday we took a look at how the annual reader predictions are looking (hint – decent, not great), and the next few days we’ll be looking at how my season predictions are faring, along with some second half storylines.
But first today we’ll be unveiling the fourth annual 500 Level Fan All-Star teams. These are players that should be in the All-Star Game if I had my way. And just for fun, I’ll also be announcing the third annual 500 Level Fan No-Star teams, a list of players who are really, truly, and brutally awful.
So sit back and enjoy 500 Level Fan’s All-Star and No-Stars for 2013:
All-Stars: – Joe Mauer (Minnesota, AL) and Yadier Molina (St. Louis, NL)
– Only 65.5% of his plate appearances have come as a catcher, but Mauer is stil light years beyond anybody else in the AL, shown by his .304 average and .838 OPS during games when he’s behind the plate (the numbers are .320 and .875 overall). Molina slightly trails Buster Posey in most offensive categories, but has been incredible defensively, throwing out 44.8% of runners compared to Posey’s 20.3%.
No-Stars – Alex Avila (Detroit, AL) and Ryan Hanigan (Cincinnati, NL)
– With a -1.2 WAR and a .177 average, Avila has been awful, but Hanigan (-0.1 WAR, .193 average), isn’t much better. Hard to believe their respective teams are so good.
All-Stars: – Chris Davis (Baltimore, AL) and Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona, NL)
– Not much else to say about Davis: he has been absolutely incredible with 37 HR, 93 RBI, and a 1.109 OPS. Those numbers are amazing for a full season, let alone just over half of one. Goldschmidt has enjoyed a coming out party in the NL this year with a .952 OPS, 21 HR, and 9 SB.
No-Stars – Carlos Pena (Houston, AL) and Ike Davis (NY Mets, NL)
– Pena has always been an all-or-nothing type of hitter, and this year it seems to be mostly nothing: .212 average, .679 OPS. Ike Davis was so bad (-1.2 WAR, .165 average) that he was demoted to the minor leagues.
All-Stars: – Jason Kipnis (Cleveland, AL) and Matt Carpenter (St. Louis, NL)
– This is normally reserved for Robinson Cano, but Kipnis has been incredible this season. He trails Cano slightly in WAR, HR, RBI, and OPS, but his 21 steals give him the advantage. Carpenter has spent a bit of time at first, third, and right field, but the majority of his season has been at 2B, and he has been outstanding: .321 average, .891 OPS.
No-Stars – Dustin Ackley (Seattle, AL) and Danny Espinosa (Washington, NL)
– You know things are bad when your team sends you to the minors during the season and asks you to learn a new position because you can’t hit. That’s what happened to Ackley. Espinosa broke out last year, but is breaking down this year. His .158 average is the second lowest among all major leaguers with 150 plate appearances.
All-Stars: – Miguel Cabrera (Detroit, AL) and David Wright (NY Mets, NL)
– Ho hum, just another monster season for the reigning AL MVP. A second triple crown is not out of the question. David Wright is one of the few bright spots on the woeful Mets, and with 13 HR and 15 SB, a 20/20 and possibly 30/30 season is a possibility.
No-Stars – Brett Lawrie (Toronto, AL) and Placido Polanco (Miami, NL)
– As much as it pains me to say it, Lawrie has been horrible. Two DL stints, flashes of immaturity, and only 5 HR with a .621 OPS is not good enough. Polanco won this award last year for a different team, and his .609 OPS (worst in the NL among 3B), gives it to him again this year.
All-Stars: – Jhonny Peralta (Detroit, AL) and Jean Segura (Milwaukee, NL)
– J.J. Hardy has hit more home runs, but Peralta has a higher average, OPS, and WAR. Segura has been a revelation for the Brewers. He got off to a blazing start and hasn’t really slowed down. His 3.7 WAR leads all major league shortstops.
No-Stars – Brendan Ryan (Seattle, AL) and Starlin Castro (Chi Cubs, NL)
– Ryan has always been known as a glove first type of player, and he’s having another fine defensive season. But not even sublime fielding can hide a .268 slugging percentage. Castro was once among baseball’s rising stars, but 2013 has been a year to forget, evidence by a -0.6 WAR and a league high 14 errors.
All-Stars: – Jose Bautista (Toronto, AL), Adam Jones (Baltimore, AL), Mike Trout (LA Angels, AL), and Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh, NL), Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee, NL), Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado, NL)
– It’s been an up-and-down year for Jose, but you can’t argue with 20 HR and a .844 OPS. Jones is having a fantastic season for the O’s, and Trout just keeps getting better. In the NL, Gomez and McCutchen are two of the most exciting young players in the game, and Gonzalez is having an MVP calibre season for the Rockies.
No-Stars – Chris Young (Oakland, AL) and B.J. Upton (Atlanta, NL)
– In his first season in the AL, Young has been awful: .190 average, .640 OPS, and only 39 hits. In his first season in the NL, Upton has been even worse: .177 average, .565 OPS, -1.5 WAR, and now injured. Not what the Braves had in mind.
All-Stars: – Chris Sale (Chicago, AL) and Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers, NL)
– Max Scherzer has been great, but Sale has been even better with a 2.85 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 131 strikeouts. The only thing holding back him is a 6-8 record due to the terrible team he plays for. As good as Matt Harvey has been, Kershaw just edges him out, with a better ERA (1.98) and WHIP (0.91). The 139 strikeouts are pretty good too.
No-Stars – Josh Johnson (Toronto, AL) and Edinson Volquez (San Diego, NL)
– Some pitchers have been a bit worse than JJ (Wade Davis, I’m looking at you), but when you add in the expectations and history that Johnson has, his performance has been dreadful. Volquez was once thought to be a consistent future All-Star, but with 51 walks in just over 100 innings, and an ERA approaching 6.00, he is closer to the minors than the mid-summer classic.
All-Stars: – Alex Torres (Tampa Bay, AL) and Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh, NL)
– I really want to put Cecil or Delabar here, but I can’t rank either ahead of Torres. He only has 26.1 IP, so he loses some points there, but the numbers are unreal: 0.34 ERA, 0.61 WHIP, 33 K, and only 1 ER and 7 hits allowed. With an ERA below 1.00 Melancon has been almost perfect for the suprising Pirates.
No-Stars – Michael Kirkman (Texas, AL) and Shawn Camp (Chi Cubs, NL)
– In 22 IP, Kirkman has allowed a staggering 36 hits, 15 walks, and 20 runs, good for a 2.32 WHIP and 8.18 ERA. Former Jay Camp has been almost as bad for the Cubs, with 9 BB, 34 H, and 18 ER in only 23 IP.
All-Stars: – Joe Nathan (Texas, AL) and Jason Grilli (Pittsburgh, NL)
– Nathan just barely edges out Oakland’s Grant Balfour, with the strength of a 0.76 WHIP, 1.36 ERA, and 30/31 in save opportunities. Grilli is 29/30 in save atempts for the Pirates, and owns an incredible 13.94 K/9 ratio, not to mention a filthy 0.86 WHIP.
No-Stars – Joel Hanrahan (Boston, AL) and Carlos Marmol (Chi Cubs / LA, NL)
– Hanrahan was acquired from Pittsburgh to be Boston’s closer, and promptly exploded. In 9 appearances he threw 7.1 innings, blew two saves, and allowed 10 hits, 6 walks, 4 home runs, and 8 runs before blowing out his elbow and missing the rest of the season. Marmol struck out an impressive 32 batters in 27.2 innings, but also allowed 21 walks, blew more saves than he converted, and was ultimately released.