There's a problem with the All-Star Game. (Which All-Star Game? Baseball, duh.) Players get on the team via a popularity contest, which would be fine if the game was just an exhibition. Alas, the game
counts now, as an overreaction to Bud leaving the 2002 game as a tie. If the game is going to count, then it should be played by the actual best players, not fan favorites.
Now, personally, I would be happiest with the game as an exhibition game. I don't see the point in the present meaningful game. To a very real extent, it could be abusive to non-contenting teams.
But let's say we're sticking with the meaningful all-Star Game. What would those teams look like? How would we pick? The most convenient way would be to use WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Is WAR perfect? No. But it's good enough for a blog post no one will read. So let's use ESPN's list, for the sole reason that it's the first one I found.
I'm going to follow Gold Glove rules and just use the top three outfielders, instead of worrying about which field they play. I'm also going to use the best pitcher as the starting pitcher and the next three as relief. (On the theory that relief pitchers are just failed starters.) I left closers out, as there weren't any in the top one hundred players, and I tired of looking for them. I also left out the DH, despite this year's game being held at Target Field, because the DH is an abomination.
So, here's what we get:
|Position||American League||National League|
|Catcher||Salvador Perez (Royals)||Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers)|
|First Base||Brandon Moss (A's)||Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks)|
|Second Base||Brian Dozier (Twins)||Chase Utley (Phillies)|
|Shortstop||Alexei Ramirez (White Sox)||Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies)|
|Third Base||Josh Donaldson (A's)||Todd Frazier (Reds)|
|Outfield||Mike Trout (Angels)||Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins)|
|Outfield||Alex Gordon (Royals)||Andrew McCutchen (Pirates)|
|Outfield||Jose Bautista (Blue Jays)||A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks)|
|Starting Pitcher||Dallas Keuchel (Astros)||Johnny Cueto (Reds)|
|Relief||Yu Darvish (Rangers)||Adam Wainwright (Cardinals)|
|Relief||Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees)||Tim Hudson (Giants)|
|Relief||Mark Buehrle (Blue Jays)||Julio Teheran (Braves)|
Seeing Dozier in there was a pleasant surprise for this die-hard Twins fan!
Feel free to compare these with the actual All-Star Game voting. There may be various rules keeping some players listed above from being considered for the voting. I just don't know. Overall, though, the All-Star Game voting is clearly a popularity contest.
I think that's fine, for an exhibition game. I think it's crappy, for a game that
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