500 Level Fan’s 2014 All-Stars and No-Stars

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The 2014 MLB All-Star rosters were announced Sunday night, and the Blue Jays had three players named to the AL squad.  Sadly, due to Edwin Encarnacion’s quad injury, only two will be traveling to Minnesota, but the selection of Jose Bautista and Mark Buehrle were both very well deserved.

But how about the rest of the teams?  That’s where I come in.  Today 500 Level Fan will unveil the fifth annual 500 Level Fan All-Star teams.  These are players that would be in the All-Star Game if I had my way.  And just for fun, I’ll also be announcing the fourth 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 2014:

Catcher

All-Stars: – Salvador Perez (Kansas City, AL) and Jonathan Lucroy (Milwaukee, NL)

– Both Derek Norris of the A’s and Devin Mesoraco of the Reds have better numbers than Perez and Lucroy, but have only just over half the number of at-bats.  So while they have been very impressive, Perez and Lucroy have been equally impressive across a much larger sample size.  Lucroy in particular has been one of the biggest surprises in baseball, with a .326 average, .907 OPS, and 4.4 WAR. 

No-Stars – Jose Molina (Tampa Bay, AL) and Travis d’Arnaud (New York, NL)

– With a -1.4 WAR and a .191 slugging percentage over 136 AB, Molina has actually been worse than J.P. Arencibia was for the Rangers.  d’Arnaud’s time will come, but it clearly isn’t happening this year: .286 OBP, -0.8 WAR, 1 demotion to the minor leagues.

First Base

All-Stars: – Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto, AL) and Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona, NL)

– Before going down with an injury on Friday, Edwin was having a season to remember with 26 HR, 70 RBI, and a .959 OPS.  If not for the DL stint 40-50 HR was a real possibility.  Goldschmidt is proving that last year was no fluke, with a 1B best .960 OPS and 4.1 WAR on a last place Arizona club.

No-Stars – Nick Swisher (Cleveland, AL) and Ryan Howard (Philadelphia, NL)

– Nothing has gone right for Swisher this season, evidenced by his league worst -0.7 WAR and sub-.200 average.  But at least Cleveland isn’t paying him Ryan Howard’s salary.  Howard’s 14 HR are nice, but the .231 average, -0.2 WAR, and 107 strikeouts are not.

Second Base

All-Stars – Jose Altuve (Houston, AL) and Chase Utley (Philadelphia, NL)

– A lot of great options in the AL this season, but none have been better than Houston’s diminutive 2B.  Altuve leads the AL in hitting, has a solid .813 OPS, has nearly as many walks (22) as strikeouts (26), and has swiped 39 bases.  Utley has turned back the clock in Philly to the tune of a .791 OPS and 2.8 WAR.

No-Stars – Eric Sogard (Oakland, AL) and Jedd Gyorko (San Diego, NL)

– Sogard had a nice year in 2013 but has been poor in 2014, and is currently sporting a miniscule .224 slugging percentage.  Gyorko was a breakout star last year, and the Padres expected big things after signing him to a nice extension.  But he has been both injured and awful: .162 average, -1.4 WAR.

Third Base

All-Stars: – Josh Donaldson (Oakland, AL) and Todd Frazier (Cincinnati, NL)

– In a spot normally reserved for Adrian Beltre, it has been Donaldson having the banner year in the AL West.  His 19 HR and 63 RBI are tops among all third baseman, and his defense has been fantastic.  Frazier is having a huge breakout year for the Reds with 17 HR and an .849 OPS, almost single-handedly keeping Cincy afloat in the NL Central.

No-Stars – Mike Moustakas (Kansas City, AL) and Mike Olt (Chicago, NL)

– Royals fans keep waiting for Moustakas to take the next step, but he only seems to be going backwards.  Currently sits under the Mendoza line and has already been sent back to the minors once.  Olt was a prized slugger acquired in the Garza trade last year, and hasn’t disappointed power-wise with 11 HR.  But he has struck out in almost 40% of his plate appearances and is hitting a major league-worst .147.

Shortstop

All-Stars: – Alexei Ramirez (Chicago, AL) and Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado, NL)

– Yes Jeter is starting, but Ramirez should be.  His numbers are outstanding: 8 HR, 41 RBI, 14 SB, .723 OPS, 2.3 WAR.  Tulowitzki has slowed down a bit after his meteoric start, but still leads all SS in just about every offensive category: 18 HR, 47 RBI, .349 average, 1.044 OPS, 5.4 WAR.

No-Stars – Xander Bogaerts (Boston, AL) and Everth Cabrera (San Diego, NL)

– Boston’s rookie has shown flashes of brilliance, but also prolonged stretches of awful-ness.  He has struck out 84 times with a mere .675 OPS.  Cabrera is coming off the Biogenesis scandal, and it seems to have impacted his legs.  Known for his speed, he has only swiped 13 bases while being caught 7 times – a ratio that won’t bail out his .546 OPS.

Outfield

All-Stars: – Jose Bautista (Toronto, AL), Michael Brantley (Cleveland, AL), Mike Trout (LA Angels, AL), and Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh, NL), Giancarlo Stanton (Miami, NL), Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee, NL)

– Bautista and Trout have become staples in this category, and both might be having their best all-around seasons yet.  Brantley has been terrific for the Indians, with a .323 average, .898 OPS, and a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen bases.  In the NL, McCutchen, Stanton, and Gomez are just getting better and better.  The trio have combined for 47 HR, 35 SB, and 12.0 WAR.

No-Stars – Robbie Grossman (Houston, AL) and Domonic Brown (Philadelphia, NL)

– Grossman proved to be a very useful player in 2013 but has been mostly useless this year.  In over 130 plate appearances the Astros OF has managed just 7 extra base hits, a .158 average, and a .536 OPS.  Things have been ugly for Brown this year as he tries to follow up last year’s breakout campaign: only 5 HR and a major league-worst -1.7 WAR. 

Starting Pitcher

All-Stars: – Felix Hernandez (Seattle, AL) and Adam Wainwright (St. Louis, NL)

– Somehow King Felix is getting even better, and this year he finally is getting run support.  He has a 10-2 record to go along with a sparkling 0.89 WHIP, 2.11 ERA, and 145 strikeouts in 136.1 IP.  Johnny Cueto and Clayton Kershaw have both been fantastic in the NL, but Wainwright has been just a bit better.  He leads baseball with a 4.7 WAR and a 1.79 ERA.

No-Stars –  Clay Buchholz (Boston, AL) and Edwin Jackson (Chicago, NL)

– Not much has gone right for the defending champs, not the least of which has been the performance of one of their supposed “aces”.  Buchholz has been horrendous in 2014 with a 6.11 ERA in 13 starts.  I think it’s clear that despite having great stuff, Edwin Jackson will never figure it out.  He continues to defy logic by never missing a start, yet never pitching well.  This year’s numbers: 1.52 WHIP, 5.05 ERA, 45 walks.

Non-Closing Reliever

All-Stars: – Dellin Betances (New York, AL) and Jonathan Broxton (Cincinnati, NL)

– Betances has been a revelation out of the Yankee bullpen, with an astounding 79 strikeouts in 52.1 innings, to go along with a nasty 0.75 WHIP.  Broxton has reinvented himself in Cincinnati as Chapman’s setup man, and has been dominant: 0.76 WHIP, 0.62 ERA in 29 IP.

No-Stars – Alexi Ogando (Texas, AL) and Brian Wilson (Los Angeles, NL)

– Ogando was once a rising star in the Rangers rotation and bullpen, but has been a major disappointment in 2014, allowing nearly two baserunners per inning.  The bearded one has flopped so far as a Dodger (though to be fair he has been better lately): 1.88 WHIP, 5.64 ERA. 

Closer

All-Stars: – Greg Holland (Kansas City, AL) and Huston Street (San Diego, NL)

– Holland is picking up right where he left off a year ago with a 50:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 1.04 WHIP, 1.93 ERA and 23 saves.  Francisco Rodriguez and Craig Kimbrel have received more attention than Huston Street, but Street has been nearly perfect for the Padres: 23/24 in saves, 0.78 WHIP, 1.13 ERA, and only 7 walks allowed.

No-Stars – Ernesto Frieri (Los Angeles, AL and Pittsburgh, NL)

– So bad, he counts for both leagues after a midseason trade.  Frieri has allowed a mind-boggling 27 runs in only 33.1 innings, for an ERA of 7.29.  How he managed to save 11 games is beyond me.

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