Tagged: Nick Swisher

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!