Last week in this space, I explained why I disagree with Major League Baseball which ignores the second half successes of the previous season, essentially making each All-Star Game a first-half only recognition.
In a complementary piece to last week’s National League analysis, I ran the numbers in the standard five offensive fantasy categories for the 2010 American League All-Stars since the 2009 All-Star Game. In bold, I called out several stats that seem out of line for an All-Star.
Next, I looked at several players whose stats indicate they are more deserving based on their results over the last year. Using these criteria, I would replace seven of 24 2010 AL All-Stars (noted as “out” below) with seven others (“in”). That was the same number of NL players I booted (virtually) last week. I also have one honorable mention (“hm”).
We’ll break them down by position, starting with catcher. Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez are no-brainers, but John Buck barely played after the break in 2009 and his counting numbers show it. Other than a fat home run total, his numbers are not extraordinary.
I would install Kurt Suzuki instead. With more runs, home runs (barely), RBI and stolen bases, Oakland’s catcher trumps Buck in all areas other than batting average.
First base further underlines the home run infatuation. Paul Konerko has 32 home runs since last year’s game, but his RBI total and batting average are nothing special. Same with Justin Morneau’s power numbers. Granted, Morneau has struggled with injury, but this is about results.
These two would be replaced by a pair of first sackers that put up superior numbers in all of the standard fantasy categories with perhaps the exception of home runs. My additions would be Billy Butler and Kevin Youkilis. Though he is injured, I have to give Kendry Morales an honorable mention. Look at his numbers, registered in just 460 at-bats. Impressive.
At second base, Ty Wigginton’s runs scored and batting average are nothing to write home about. On the other hand, Howie Kendrick spanks the Oriole in every category except… you guessed it… home runs.
I am content with the pairing of Derek Jeter and Elvis Andrus at shortstop.
I know Adrian Beltre is now a member of the Boston Red Sox, but the reality is that the smell of his time in Seattle has left him too soon. For some reason, the luster is off Michael Young, but he beat Beltre in all five stat categories since the 2009 All-Star Game.
In the outfield/designated hitter group, Jose Bautista’s 35 home runs are gaudy, but his .227 batting average is just unacceptable and his 85 RBI total isn’t special. His Toronto teammate Vernon Wells has even fewer RBI and his .261 average only looks good in comparison with Bautista.
I also flagged a couple of stars that I couldn’t bring myself to vote off the island, Ichiro Suzuki (steals and average) and David Ortiz (home runs and RBI). Each contributes in the aforementioned two categories at least. Trying to put aside how it would look physically, if the two could be melded into one player, he would become a legitimate MVP candidate.
Back on subject, a pair of Twins replace the Jays, with Jason Kubel and in a bit of a surprise, Delmon Young, making my hypothetical team. The Minnesotans offer a major step up in RBI and batting average, though offer a bit less in runs, home runs and stolen bases.
Brian Walton is the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 12-year history. He is a 2009 NFBC league winner and finished in the top 25 nationally in both the NFBC and NFFC last season. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com.