During this last week, among my baseball-related activities were to assess how I could improve my under-performing team in National League Tout Wars and of course, watching the 2014 All-Star Game from Minneapolis Tuesday night.
When encountering a friend recently with whom I had not spoken for several months, he queried me how my Tout team is doing. Surprised that I am deep in the second division, he asked me why.
My answer may have seemed a bit trite, but it was accurate. “I picked the right players in the wrong season,” was my conclusion.
That got me thinking.
As I studied the player introductions for the Mid-Summer Classic, I did not recall seeing even one member of my Tout squad. That was not a good feeling to say the least. After all, with all the injury and Sunday pitching replacements, 41 players ended up being named to the NL roster. With 12 Tout teams, my “fair share” should be close to 3 1/2.
On the broader point, I wondered if there might be any correlation between NL Tout standings and the number of National League All-Stars on each of our rosters.
In reality, I did have two All-Stars, both reserves from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Neither was part of my master plan for the 2014 season and one of them is about as tenuous as a selection could be.
I grabbed Josh Harrison as a free agent when he first came up and he has not only delivered solid stats, but also offers significant positional versatility. On the other hand, setup man Tony Watson has been sitting there unclaimed on the waiver wire almost all season long. The lefty just joined my Tout team a few weeks ago and has been on the bench all but the first week. In other words, Watson's impact on my results has been very, very small.
The league-wide details follow with a summary afterward.
|C: Jonathan Lucroy ^, Brewers||Steve Gardner|
|1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs||Seth Trachtman|
|2B: Chase Utley, Phillies||Todd Zola|
|SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies||Peter Kreutzer|
|3B: Aramis Ramirez, Brewers||Phil Hertz|
|OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates||Peter Kreutzer|
|OF: Carlos Gomez, Brewers||Lenny Melnick|
|OF: Yasiel Puig, Dodgers||Seth Trachtman|
|RHP: Henderson Alvarez @, Marlins||Seth Trachtman|
|LHP: Madison Bumgarner ^, Giants||Peter Kreutzer|
|LHP: Aroldis Chapman ^, Reds||Steve Gardner|
|RHP: Tyler Clippard %, Nationals||Mike Gianella|
|RHP: Johnny Cueto ^, Reds||Gene McCaffrey|
|RHP: Zack Greinke *, Dodgers||Seth Trachtman|
|RHP Tim Hudson %, Giants||Phil Hertz|
|LHP: Clayton Kershaw ^, Dodgers||Steve Gardner|
|RHP: Craig Kimbrel ^, Braves||Todd Zola|
|RHP: Pat Neshek *, Cardinals||Gene McCaffrey|
|RHP: Francisco Rodriguez ^, Brewers||Scott Wilderman|
|RHP: Tyson Ross *, Padres||Mike Gianella|
|RHP: Jeff Samardzija ^$, Cubs/A's||Lenny Melnick|
|RHP: Alfredo Simon %, Reds||Peter Kreutzer|
|RHP Huston Street %, Padres||Seth Trachtman|
|RHP: Julio Teheran *, Braves||Steve Gardner|
|RHP: Adam Wainwright ^, Cardinals||Tristan H. Cockcroft|
|LHP: Tony Watson *, Pirates||Brian Walton|
|RHP: Jordan Zimmermann ^, Nationals||Todd Zola|
|C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals||Seth Trachtman|
|C: Miguel Montero @, D-backs||Seth Trachtman|
|C: Devin Mesoraco *, Reds||Tristan H. Cockcroft|
|1B: Freddie Freeman ^, Braves||Gene McCaffrey|
|1B: Anthony Rizzo #, Cubs||Derek Carty|
|2B: Dee Gordon ^, Dodgers||Todd Zola|
|2B: Daniel Murphy *, Mets||Scott Wilderman|
|SS: Starlin Castro ^, Cubs||Tristan H. Cockcroft|
|3B: Matt Carpenter *, Cardinals||Steve Gardner|
|3B: Todd Frazier ^, Reds||Steve Gardner|
|OF: Charlie Blackmon ^, Rockies||Lenny Melnick|
|OF: Josh Harrison *, Pirates||Brian Walton|
|OF: Hunter Pence ^, Giants||Lenny Melnick|
|OF: Giancarlo Stanton ^, Marlins||Derek Carty|
|^ Player ballot-elected|
|* Choice of manager/MLB|
|# Final Vote winner|
|@ Injury replacement|
|% Replaced Sunday pitcher|
|NL Tout warrior||All-Stars||Standings|
|Tristan H. Cockcroft||3||2|
Not surprisingly, the two teams with the most NL All-Stars sit first and third in the standings. Seth Trachtman of The Sporting News is in third place, but leads the way with seven All-Stars. USA TODAY’s Steve Gardner is leading the league currently and is second with six All-Stars.
Yet, in between them is the second-place team, managed by two-time champion Tristan H. Cockcroft of ESPN. He is doing very well despite sporting just a trio of All-Stars, as his track record indicates he knows how to win.
Further, tied with me and three others at the bottom of the heap with just a pair of All-Stars is the fourth-place team of Derek Carty. That clearly indicates that one does not need a heavy complement of All-Stars to field a competitive team.
I guess I will have to continue searching for another excuse.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 16-year history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.