Tagged: Miguel Cabrera

Vote for Youkilis!

MLB is continuing the tradition of allowing the fans to choose between five players to take the All-Star team’s final roster spot.  The candidates for the American League this year are: Paul Konerko, Nick Swisher, Kevin Youkilis, Delmon Young, and Mike Young.  In my last post, I introduced WAR, a new age statistic that takes all factors of a player’s game into account and spits out one number- the number of wins that player has been worth to his team over a replacement level player.  Now that all of my fantastic readers here at The 26th Man are armed with the most powerful weapon of all, knowledge, we can help make sure the best player wins this spot.  Let’s take a look at some more traditional stats, and then WAR for each of the candidates.
As a reminder: the three averages separated by slashes is referred to as a player’s “slash line” and is their batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage.

Paul Konerko:   .296/.384/.563, 80 Hits, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 0 Steals, 2.6 WAR
Nick Swisher:   .293/.373/.505, 84 Hits, 13 HR, 47 RBI, 1 Steal, 2.3 WAR
Kevin Youkilis:  .299/.416/.584, 82 Hits, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 2 Steals, 3.3 WAR
Delmon Young: .298/.332/.488, 77 Hits, 9 HR, 55 RBI, 3 Steals, 0.5 WAR
Mike Young:      .307/.352/..487, 104 Hits, 11 HR, 51 RBI, 3 Steals, 2.1 WAR
Delmon Young is the clear loser here when WAR is introduced.  This is because his defense and his baserunning are both below average.  He also receives a slight subtraction for playing left field, one of the easier positions to play.  A shortstop or third baseman is valued higher because those are difficult positions to play.  
Mike Young, Swisher, and Konerko have similar WARs, coming in at 2.1, 2.3, and 2.6, respectively.  Mike Young gets the votes from the fans who love a consistent contact hitter, Konerko gets the votes from fans who love power and home runs, and Swisher gets votes from ignorant Yankee fans.  That may be a little unfair, but Swisher is currently winning the vote, so I’m just venting a little bit.  Swisher is as deserving as these other two, but not as much so as Youkilis.
Youkilis is in a league of his own here in terms of WAR.  He is actually not getting a huge boost from his defense here as some might expect, although he is above average.  The key to Youkilis’ high WAR is in those first three numbers, his slash line.  Only Young has a higher average here, no one can sniff his On-base percentage, and after Konerko, who really isn’t that close, no one even approaches his slugging percentage either.  Youkilis is hands-down the best player of this group, and I’m counting on all you fans out there to reflect this in your Final Votes!
You can vote at MLB.com through Thursday, July 8th at 4 PM ET.  They will also ask you to vote for the National League, so without going into too much detail, here are the numbers for the National League candidates:
Heath Bell:             4-0, 1.72 ERA, 49 K, 23 Saves, 1.2 WAR
Carlos Gonzalez:   .295/.329/.493, 88 Hits, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 12 Steals, 1.4 WAR
Joey Votto:           .312/.412/.572, 89 Hits, 19 HR, 57 RBI, 7 Steals, 3.2 WAR
Billy Wagner:         5-0, 1.35 ERA, 52 K, 17 Saves, 1.4 WAR
Ryan Zimmerman: .286/.376/.504, 76 Hits, 14 HR, 44 RBI, 1 Steal, 2.2 WAR
You shouldn’t even need WAR for this one, but in case you do- Votto is the winner.  Vote for Votto!  Catchy.
Just for kicks, let’s see if WAR thinks Youkilis deserved the starting spot.  Youkilis finished 4th in the vote for the AL First baseman, behind winner Justin Morneau, Mark Teixeira, and Miguel Cabrera.  
Kevin Youkilis:  .299/.416/.584, 82 Hits, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 2 Steals, 3.3 WAR
Justin Morneau: .344/.437/.615, 99 Hits, 17 HR, 55 RBI, 0 Steals, 5.1 WAR
Mark Teixeira: .243/.353/.428, 76 Hits, 13 HR, 53 RBI, 0 Steals, 1.4 WAR
Miguel Cabrera: .339/.419/.630, 98 Hits, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 2 Steals, 3.3 WAR
Wow.  Pretty interesting that Youkilis and Cabrera end up with the same WAR when Cabrera clearly has the superior offensive peripherals.  And all I can do is tip my cap to Morneau, for deservedly winning the vote and for keeping Teixieira out of this contest.  Morneau has been worth over 10 Delmon Young’s.  Don’t forget to vote at MLB.com before July 8th at 4 PM!


AL April All-Stars

For what it’s worth (it’s not worth as much as most fans think it is), here are my American League All-Stars for the month of April.  

C – Joe Mauer (MIN)
Pretty easy choice when you’ve got a once-in-a-generation talent like this guy.  Led the way with a .345 average and a .906 OPS, not numbers that are put up by catchers very often.
Honorable mention: Matt Wieters (BAL), Jorge Posada (NYY)
1B – Miguel Cabrera (DET)
Another familiar face.  Cabrera mashed the opposition, posting a .372/.450/.655 slash line (AVG/OBP/SLG) which is good for a monstrous 1.105 OPS.  Sure, Paul Konerko had 5 more home runs, but I can’t ignore the fact that he hit exactly 100 points less.  
Honorable Mention: Paul Konerko (CWS), Justin Morneau (MIN)
2B – Robinson Cano (NYY)
Cano has a significant edge over the others here, with a .362 average and a .695 slugging percentage.  I wouldn’t call him a regular in terms of all-star discussions, but I can’t say I’m too surprised either given the growth he showed last year.
Honorable Mention: Dustin Pedroia (BOS), Ty Wigginton (BAL)
3B – Evan Longoria (TB)
I would’ve loved nothing more than to give this one to Adrian Beltre, but Longoria’s .624 slugging mark compared to Beltre’s .467 was too convincing.  Longoria closed out the month with a .349 average and 7 home runs.
Honorable Mention: Adrian Beltre (BOS), Miguel Tejada (BAL), Alberto Callaspo (KC)
SS – Derek Jeter (NYY)
He somehow finds a way to do it year in and year out.  Jeter finishes April with a .310 average and 4 homers.  Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t make the honorable mention here despite his .311 average because I can’t ignore his paltry 1 home run and 4 RBI.  Maybe its because he’s on the Indians, or maybe its because he’s lacking with runners on base.  He hit just .214 with runners in scoring position.
Honorable Mention: Marco Scutaro (BOS), Elvis Andrus (TEX)
OF – Austin Jackson (DET), Vernon Wells (TOR), Nelson Cruz (TEX)
Lots of good options here.  These fast starts, especially those of Jackson and Wells, have been well documented.  Jackson because he’s a rookie who hit .369 in April and Wells because of his notoriously bloated contract, which looks slightly better after his .325/.391/.640 April.  
Honorable Mention: Carl Crawford (TB), Scott Podsednik (CWS), Franklin Gutierrez (SEA)
Check out the balance of power early on in the American League this season.  Of course these are only my choices, but of the eight starters I’ve selected, the division breakdown is as follows: 
East- 4
Central- 3
West- 1
Including the starters and the honorable mentions, the breakdown is:
East- 12
Central- 7
West- 3
The West only has 4 teams compared to 5 in the other two divisions, so if you multiply their representatives by 5/4 the field is leveled, and they still trail 4 – 3 – 1.2 and 12 – 7 – 3.75.  These results are supported by the standings, which show the Yankees challenging the Rays for the East and the best record in baseball, while all four AL West teams struggle in the early going.  Here are the cumulative winning percentages by team through April:
East- .522
Central- .487
West- .489
The West is able to edge the Central here because while they are pretty pathetic, they have no truly terrible teams.  The four clubs finished April with remarkably similar records- 12-12, 12-12, 11-12, and 11-12.