Time for a Break

Posted by Baseball Bob at 10:52
Jul 152013

All-star break time. Since I really don’t care about the game or the surrounding activities, I take time to take stock.

The Yankees lost two brutal games to the Twins to end up 51-44 and with a 20% chance of the postseason, which as you all know I think is high. We will know early after their return, though: IF A-Rod and Jeter are both playing on the 19th, and if Jeter is the 2012 Jeter and A-Rod the 2011 A-Rod, then 20% may be low: they may be able to score again. Of IF they make a deal for a real bat (Giancarlo Stanton, anyone?). If these good things are not forthcoming, their postseason chances are probably approaching zero. By August 1st we’ll know for sure.

The Dodgers are on the other end: though only 47-47 and with no real shot at a wild card, coolstandings still gives them almost a 30% chance at the postseason, and I think that is low. I think that either they or the D-Backs will win the west, and that they have about an equal chance (Arizona is 2 1/2 games ahead but LA is playing better).

The Yasiel Puig for the all-star game depends on your view of the purpose of the game. Let me elaborate (how can you stop me?)

IF the all-star game is to honor those players who had the best first half, then we should take the 20 or 25 position players in each league with the most WAR (use fWAR or bWAR I don’t care) or some such measure. fWAR has the advantage of listing the leaders, and Puig is 29th at 2.1. Since B-Ref has him at 2.7, he might well be a top 25 or top 20 player. But we have a pretty long history of deciding the bottom choices (the vote decides the top) by choosing players who have had a good first half AND have proven themselves to be all-stars in the past. Just ahead of Puig on the list are Marco Scutaro (demonstrated non all-star) and Brian McCann (demonstrated all-star). Not surprisingly, the manager has named McCann to the squad.

If the all-star game is to put on the field those players that the fans most want to see, you can make an argument for Puig – he IS exciting. This is the argument that puts a retiring Chipper Jones on the squad, etc.

If the all-star game is to put the best players on the field, so that the team has the best chance to win, then it is a toss-up. On the one hand, he has NOT proven himself to be one of the best, his playing time is too short. But in terms of production per game, which is a fair measure of value, he and Hanley have both eclipsed the field – they are the best WAR/G or WAR/PA in the game at the moment.

But in my opinion, unless you want to consider Hanley Ramirez an all-star this year (and there has been NO campaign for him!) then you really shouldn’t take Puig either. And, of course, they didn’t.

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