The 2014 American League and National League all-star teams will be unveiled on Sunday. The fans, the players and the all-star managers all get to decide who will be in the lineup. And I am here to weigh in with the advanced stats vote.
I decided to make one uber roster with one starting pitcher, one reliever, a closer and a designated hitter (sorry purists!) to get the best of the best in the lineup. In addition to the more traditional metrics I also took into account:
- Wins above replacement (WAR), which attempts to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic.
- Ultimate Base Running, which accounts for the value a player adds to their team via base running using linear weights, with each individual base running event receiving a specific run value.
- Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+), which adjusts weighted runs crated for park and league. League average is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average.
- Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), which attempts to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof).
- Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which measures what a pitcher’s ERA should look like, assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average.
The order presented is the actual batting order, not an overall ranking. Disagree with a selection? Let me know in the comments on or on Twitter.
1 Jose Bautista DH (.303 AVG, .430 OBP, .531 SLG, .227 ISO, .418 wOBA, 167 wRC+, 3.6 WAR)
No one in the American League is better at getting on base than Bautista, which is why I have him batting leadoff. His AL-best 59 walks is the perfect table setter for a Murder’s Row of Fancy Stat all-stars.
2 Troy Tulowitzki SS (.353 AVG, .445 OBP, .618 SLG, .265 ISO, .454 wOBA, 181 wRC+, 4.8 WAR)
The 29-year-old shortstop has the highest average, slugging percentage and OPS (1.064) in baseball and has scored a league-leading 65 runs for Colorado.
3 Jonathan Lucroy C (.331 AVG, .401 OBP, .510 SLG, .179 ISO, .397 wOBA, 155, wRC+, 3.8 WAR)
As of July 1, Lucroy owned baseball’s highest WAR (3.8) among catchers and has thrown out 18 of 63 base stealers.
4 Mike Trout CF (.315 AVG, .410 OBP, .617 SLG, .302 ISO, .436 wOBA, 185 wRC+, 5.4 WAR)
Trout leads the American League in OPS (1.027) and wins above replacement plus is no slouch on the base paths (2.6 runs added via base running). Plus, he is already halfway to a hall of fame career. He very rarely swings at pitches outside of the strike zone (22.5 percent) but when he does he makes contact a decent amount of time (69.3 percent). And he mashes anything in the strike zone.
5 Giancarlo Stanton RF (.316 AVG, .414 OBP, .591 SLG, .275 ISO, .425 wOBA, 175 wRC+, 4.2 WAR)
Stanton’s 21 home runs, 61 RBI and 185 total bases lead the league and he has been intentionally walked 15 times. His fielding isn’t bad either – he ranks 16th among outfielder in in Ultimate Zone Rating (2.3).
6 Ian Kinsler 2B (.306 AVG, .343 OBP, .483 SLG, .177 ISO, .360 wOBA, 127 wRC+, 3.6 WAR)
Kinsler leads second basemen in WAR and is third to Boston’s Dustin Pedroia (9.7 UZR) and Colorado’s D.J. LeMahieu (6.7) in fielding (Kinsler 6.4 UZR).
He had 61 total bases in 119 plate appearances in June.
7 Paul Goldschmidt 1B (.300 AVG, .391 OBP, .530 SLG, .230 ISO, .396 wOBA, 151 wRC+, 3.0 WAR)
The Diamondbacks slugger is batting .300 with 15 homers and a league-leading 28 doubles, and that is despite not getting many pitches to hit.
8 Josh Donaldson 3B (.245 AVG, .325 OBP, .459 SLG, .214 ISO, .343 wOBA, 120 wRC+, 3.5 WAR)
Some might find this pick curious, but his wRC+ is above average and among the best hitting third basemen in the majors. But his defense is what really sets him apart: 12.5 UZR makes him one of the best fielders in the league at any position on the diamond.
9 Alex Gordon LF (.271 AVG, .352 OBP, .436 SLG, .165 ISO, .349 wOBA, 119 wRC+, 4.6 WAR)
As of July 1, the Royals have the fourth-highest team batting average in MLB (.262) but Gordon is one of the few hitters on the roster providing any power. He leads all left fielders in WAR (4.6) and his 23.9 UZR is the highest among all outfielders.
SP Felix Hernandez (10-2, 128.1 IP, 137 strikeouts, 2.10 ERA)
King Felix is likely the Cy Young winner in the American League. He strikes out 9.6 batters per nine innings pitched and strikeout out more than six batters for every one he walks (6.23).
His FIP is a miniscule 1.95 and he has kept opposing batters to a 0.711 OPS in “high leverage” situations.
RP Dellin Betances (4-0, 48.0 IP, 76 strikeouts, 1.50 ERA)
Through 42 innings, opponents are batting just .130 against Betances and he has the fourth highest strikeouts per nine innings (14.25) and highest WAR (1.8) among all relievers qualifying for the ERA title. The 26-year-old right hander has also stranded 82 percent of runners on base and induced 49.4 percent grounders among balls put in play.
CL Francisco Rodriguez (3-2, 27 Saves, 42.1 IP, 49 strikeouts, 2.34 ERA)
K-Rod didn’t allow an earned run in his 19 appearances this season and has 27 saves in 30 chances. His two-seam fastball, which he throws nearly a third of the time (31.7 percent of pitches), is one of the best in baseball.
According to Fangraphs, for every 100 two-seam fastballs he throws he saves the Brewers 4.04 runs, fourth best in the league among relievers. His changeup, thrown 29 percent of the time, is also a “plus pitch” at 2.87 runs saved per 100 pitches thrown.