500 Level Fan’s 2016 All-Stars and No-Stars

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The rosters for the 2016 MLB All-Star game in San Diego have been named, and the Blue Jays are well represented.  With Estrada, Donaldson, and Encarnacion already declared All-Stars, and with Michael Saunders currently leading the battle for the Final Vote, Toronto might wind up with four players on the AL team.  But how many will make my team?  Today I announce the sixth annual 500 Level Fan All-Star and 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 2016:

Catcher

All-Stars: – Salvador Perez (Kansas City, AL) and Buster Posey (San Francisco, NL)

– Believe it or not, Perez is the top hitting catcher in the AL with a .771 OPS, leads in WAR at 2.3, and has thrown out 54.5% of all stolen base attempts.  Posey sports an OPS 100 points lower than Washington’s Wilson Ramos, but trumps him on the defensive side of the ball (MLB leading 58.6% caught stealing compared to 34.6% for Ramos).  Also has a 2.6 WAR.

No-Stars -Yan Gomes (Cleveland, AL) and A.J. Pierzynski (Atlanta, NL)

– It’s been a nightmare season for Gomes as the former Jay is hitting only .175 with a .207 OBP, and 63 strikeouts to 8 walks.  It might finally be time for A.J. to call it quits – he sports the worst WAR in baseball for catchers at -2.0.

First Base

All-Stars: – Miguel Cabrera (Detroit, AL) and Anthony Rizzo (Chicago, NL)

– Cabrera is showing no signs of slowing down, dominating the AL at age 33.  He has 18 HR, 53 RBI, and a .902 OPS, and has the Tigers in contention for a playoff spot.  In a loaded 1B class in the NL (Goldschmidt, Belt, Myers, Votto), it’s Rizzo who takes the cake thus far.  His .962 OPS, 3.3 WAR, and 20 HR lead all NL 1B, and the Cubs are running away with the Central because of it.

No-Stars – Chris Colabello (Toronto, AL) and Ryan Howard (Philadelphia, NL)

– Might seem a bit harsh putting Colabello here, but he might possibly have had the worst first half of all time.  He went 2 for 29 (.069 average, .225 OPS) in the short time he played before being suspended for 80 games for PEDs.  Awful.  Howard makes the No-Star team for the third straight year, as his performance is getting worse and worse.  A .151 average, .557 OPS, and -2.1 WAR are not what you expect for $25-million.

Second Base

All-Stars – Jose Altuve (Houston, AL) and Daniel Murphy (Washington, NL)

– What a year for second baseman, as a case can be made for 11 of them to make the All-Star team.  My vote goes to Altuve (tops in WAR, AVG, and SB) to edge Cano, Kinsler, and Pedroia in the AL, and Murphy (.957 OPS, 14 HR, 56 RBI) over Zobrist and Segura in the NL.

No-Stars – Ryan Goins (Toronto, AL) and Dee Gordon (Miami, NL)

– The second Jay on the No-Star team and Goins fully deserves it.  After a great finish to 2015 much was expected of him this year, but a .176 average is not getting it done.  Gordon won the NL batting title in 2015 and inked a huge contract extension, but started the year hitting .266 with 6 times as many strikeouts as walks, and then got busted for PEDs.

Third Base

All-Stars – Josh Donaldson (Toronto, AL) and Kris Bryant (Chicago, NL)

– The defending AL MVP is at it again with a slash line of .301 / .413 / .596 / 1.009, 22 HR, 60 RBI, 6 SB, and 19 2B.  Bryant is proving to everybody that the hype was worth it by putting up a banner year in Chicago.  His 25 HR and 4.2 WAR lead the entire National League.

No-Stars – Pablo Sandoval (Boston, AL) and Jordan Pacheco (Cincinnati, NL)

– What a season for the Panda.  He showed up overweight, fought with management, went 0 for 6 with 4 strikeouts, then went out for the season with injury, all for the bargain price of $17.6 million!  Pacheco received 51 AB for the Reds, managed 8 hits, 14 strikeouts, and a .392 OPS before being released.  Tough start.

Shortstop

All-Stars: – Xander Bogaerts (Boston, AL) and Corey Seager (Los Angeles, NL)

– It’s a new wave of shortstops in the AL, and Bogaerts, Correa, and Lindor are virtually even.  Xander has a slight lead in OPS, which earns him the nod.  In the NL, Seager is a 22-year old rookie with 17 HR, a .303 average, and a .900 OPS.  Incredible.

No-Stars – Alcides Escobar (Kansas City, AL) and Alexei Ramirez (San Diego, NL)

– A year after making the All-Star team, winning a Gold Glove, and being a huge sparkplug for the World Series champs, Escobar is struggling mightily both at the plate (.609 OPS) and in the field (10 errors).  Ramirez switched leagues but still finds himself on the No-Star team for the second year in a row with a -2.1 WAR and a glove that is an astonishing 16 runs below average.

Outfield

All-Stars: – Mike Trout (LA Angels, AL), Mookie Betts (Boston, AL), Ian Desmond (Texas, AL), and Starling Marte (Pittsburgh, NL), Carlos Gonzalez (Colorado, NL), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee, NL)

– Trout just keeps getting better (18 HR, 1.000 OPS), and Betts is delivering on his pre-season hype (18 HR, .866 OPS), but the real surprise is Desmond.  Signed on a one-year deal and playing out of position he has put up 15 HR, 15 SB, and a 3.5 WAR.  With McCutchen and Polanco sharing an outfield, Marte is often overlooked but he shouldn’t be (25 SB, .318 average).  CarGo and Braun are dialing back the clock a few years with a combined 31 HR, 95 RBI, and .918 OPS.

No-Stars – Justin Upton (Detroit, AL) and Ben Revere (Washington, NL)

– After signing a 6-year, $132-million deal with the Tigers, Upton has been a massive disappointment thus far: .230 average, .653 OPS, 8 HR, 106 strikeouts.  Revere looks nothing like the guy that hit leadoff in Toronto last year.  He isn’t hitting (.225 avg), getting on base (.273 OBP), or running (10/14 in SB).

Starting Pitcher

All-Stars: – Chris Sale (Chicago, AL) and Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles, NL)

– Danny Salazar has a better ERA, a higher K/9 ratio, better WAR, and has allowed 25 fewer hits than Sale.  So why Sale?  He pitches deeper into games (7.05 IP/start vs. 6.18 for Salazar), has a much better WHIP (0.98 to 1.14), and walks far fewer batters (24 to 44).  Either are worthy, however.  The NL is much more top heavy (Arrieta, Cueto, Bumgarner, Teheran, Syndergaard) but there is no debate: Kershaw is the man.  He leads the league in ERA (1.79), Shutouts (3), ERA+ (220), FIP (1.69), WHIP (0.73), Hits/9 (5.9), and K/W (an astounding 16.11).  He has 8 unintentional walks in 121 innings!

No-Stars – Ubaldo Jimenez (Baltimore, AL) and Shelby Miller (Arizona, NL)

– That Jimenez somehow has 5 wins despite a 6.95 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, and 48 walks shows just how strong Baltimore’s offense is.  Miller has been a huge bust in Arizona with his 7.14 ERA almost single handedly crushing the D-Backs playoff hopes.

Non-Closing Reliever

All-Stars: – Brad Brach (Baltimore, AL) and Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis, NL)

– Betances and Miller are striking out everybody for the Yankees but it’s hard to ignore Brach’s 0.95 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 56 K in 47.1 IP.  Oh is now technically the closer for the Cardinals, but he still counts here.  He has been lights out: 58 K, 0.88 WHIP, 1.67 ERA in 43 IP.

No-Stars – Mark Lowe (Detroit, AL) and Jose Urena (Miami, NL)

– I don’t know what is crazier: the fact that Lowe has a 10.33 ERA and 1.89 WHIP, or the fact that he has appeared in 31 games, meaning the Tigers keep putting him out there!  Urena was awful in 16 appearances for the Marlins, putting up a 7.52 ERA.

Closer

All-Stars: – Zach Britton (Baltimore, AL) and Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles, NL)

– Britton is 25 for 25 in save chances, and sports a crazy looking 0.76 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.  Jansen’s WHIP is even lower, however, at 0.64 thanks to only 5 walks allowed 35.2 innings, compared with 47 strikeouts.

No-Stars – Shawn Tolleson (Texas, AL) and J.J. Hoover (Cincinnati, NL)

– Tolleson came out of nowhere in 2015 and seemingly was in a hurry to get back there in 2016, blowing four saves with an ERA of 9.20 before finally losing the closer job in late May.  Hoover blew his very first chance as Reds closer, and had an ERA of 19.50 on April 22.  That….is not good.

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