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Rangers And The All-Star Game

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File this under the "idle thoughts" category.

With most position player candidates firmly past 200 PAs, this is about the time I start to comfortably vote for the All-Star game. With that in mind, I thought I'd take a look at what Rangers seem to have a chance and what Rangers should go. And then I figured I'd type it out for anyone who cared to read and rebut.

The most recent voting update is right here, by the way.

It's weird that Ian Kinsler's reached the "name recognition" category to me, but it seems he has. He's currently second in the AL at the position, not far behind Dustin Pedroia. This is despite not really being anywhere near deserving it by something like WAR or having eye-popping triple crown stats. Nothing about his season, partly due to injury, says All-Star. That said, many do believe the All-Star game should be more about track record than the current season. For whatever reason, I disagree and want to see the best players on the year to date, but that doesn't mean their wrong, and Ian Kinsler does have a pretty good track record. By that standard he wouldn't be an awful addition but probably still has no case against Robinson Cano (who will deservedly start) or Pedroia.

Michael Young might actually have a solid case to make it as a reserve, especially if the AL takes three third basemen. He's currently got half the WAR of Adrian Beltre for second at the position, but he's only seven runs behind Jose Bautista. Still, if you're cool with acknowledging track record and Joe Girardi selects him, there's probably not much to complain about (not that you would, since you're probably a Rangers fan). I doubt that happens, though. He's certainly not going to get voted in over the obvious choice of Evan Longoria (MY is third, but a distant third), Alex Rodriguez has a better track record, and both A-Rod and Bautista have prettier triple crown numbers.

Then there's the case of Elvis Andrus. I really, really want him to start. I'm voting with all my might, and he's in second place. But, it's going to be Jeter. And, frankly, Jeter's not a bad choice. He has the better WAR (with exactly the same UZR and DRS, by the way, in a small defensive sample), the better triple crown season and the better track record. Elvis is close enough to justify a vote, he's a better fielder, even if he maybe hasn't been yet this year, and he may well be the better player going forward, but when Jeter starts the game and Elvis (I assume?) comes in later, it's nothing worth complaining about.

Taylor Teagarden is still fourth in voting. I think I'm going to vote for him just for the hilarity.

Vladimir Guerrero is the obvious choice at DH. He's been far and away the best at the position, he's a big name with a great track record and he's dominating the vote. Nothing to see here. At least one Ranger will start.

Actually, probably two will start. Nelson Cruz, despite missing time to the DL twice, still remains second in the vote. It's not a huge lead, but if he comes back and plays well, he should keep it. I'm surprised because I don't think he'd be a player most fans recognize. I suppose the triple crown numbers are just that good. Oh, and he's just one run out of the top three in outfield WAR even with all that time missed. If you assume he'll come back fine, Nellie should probably be getting your votes.

Nellie's biggest competition to start is one Josh Hamilton, by the way, so the odds of getting two starters are huge. Hamilton is currently 4th, and while Cruz failing to stay healthy is probably his best chance to start, he does have a shot at passing Carl Crawford, especially if he goes on a tear, which would put two Rangers in the outfield. Regardless, I have to imagine Hamilton probably goes as a reserve. The triple crown stats are very good, he's got a recognizable name and his 1.5 WAR is pretty close to being in the argument.

So, as far as position players, that's one starting lock (Vlad), one probable starter (Nellie) and two probables for the bench (Hambone and Elvis). So that's four. As far as pitchers, I would imagine one of C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis will go, and I'd bet on Colbyashi. Ceej has a very good WAR-based argument, Lewis has a better ERA and strikeout rate. Both are good bets to keep it up and both have five wins. Neither is a lock, but I'd probably bet one at least getting one in. Frank Francisco leads all relievers in wins, Darren Oliver has an awesome ERA and a ton of strikeouts and Neftali Feliz leads the league in saves. All three are solidly in the argument if you base it on WAR, but Feliz is probably the choice (and deservedly so, if you include leverage). I imagine with the save numbers he gets in and the others are out, not that there's anything wrong with any of that.

So four position players probably get in, two of whom deserve to and probably will start, and probably Feliz and maybe a starter as well. Solid showing for the Rangers ahead, I think.

You can stop reading here if you like, but while I was doing this I got interested in a little side project. I took FanGraphs' WAR -- but combined the two defensive metrics and split the difference -- then used the All-Star game rules to build what the rosters would look like if entirely based on that. Since it took only a few minutes and I know how to cut and paste, I figured I'd attach it to this post. This is absolutely not what the teams will or should look like, but I think it's an interesting glance at what the best players in the league so far this year look like.

I cannot fathom Cliff Lee already starting on this team, by the way. And keep in mind Halladay has an extra start at the moment over Jimenez.

American League


P: Cliff Lee, SEA (2.9)

C: Joe Mauer, MIN (1.8)

1B: Justin Morneau, MIN (4.3)

2B: Robinson Cano, NYY (4.1)

3B: Evan Longoria, TB (3.4)

SS: Derek Jeter, NYY (2.1)

OF: Alex Rios, CHW (3.1)

OF: Carl Crawford, TB (2.9)

OF: Shin-Soo Choo, CLE (2.8)

DH: Vladimir Guerrero, TEX (1.8)


P: Francisco Liriano, MIN (2.7)

P: Ricky Romero, TOR (2.5)

P: Jon Lester, BOS (2.4)

P: Phil Huges, NYY (2.2)

P: Jered Weaver, LAA (2.1)

P: Shaun Marcum, TOR (2.1)

P: Justin Verlander, DET (2.1)

P: Zack Greinke, KC (1.3)

P: Joel Zumaya, DET (1.1)

P: Matt Thornton, CHW (1.0)

P: Darren Oliver, TEX (0.9)

C: Victor Martinez, BOS (1.5)

1B: Kevin Youkilis, BOS (3.1)

1B: Miguel Cabrera, DET (2.4)

1B: Daric Barton, OAK (2.0)

2B: Ben Zobrist, TB (2.7)

3B: Adrian Beltre, BOS (2.7)

SS: Marco Scutaro, BOS (2.1)

OF: Magglio Ordonez, DET (2.7)

OF: Vernon Wells, TOR (2.6)

OF: Nelson Cruz, TEX (2.3)

OF: Austin Jackson, DET (2.3)

OF: Nick Swisher, NYY (2.1)

DH: Luke Scott, BAL (1.1)

National League


P: Roy Halladay, PHI (3.9)

C: Miguel Olivo, COL (2.5)

1B: Albert Pujols, STL (2.4)

2B: Chase Utley, PHI (2.7)

3B: Ryan Zimmerman, WSN (3.3)

SS: Troy Tulowitzki, COL (2.6)

OF: Marlon Byrd, CHC (3.1)

OF: Josh Willingham, WSN (2.8)

OF: Andres Torres, SF (2.5)


P: Ubaldo Jimenez, COL (2.9)

P: Josh Johnson, FLA (2.7)

P: Adam Wainwright, STL (2.6)

P: Tim Lincecum, SF (2.2)

P: Yovani Gallardo, MIL (2.0)

P: Matt Cain, SF (1.9)

P: Mike Pelfrey, NYM (1.9)

P: Roy Oswalt, HOU (1.8)

P: Jonathan Broxton, LAD (1.8)

P: Luke Gregerson, SD (1.4)

P: Sean Marshall, CHC (1.3)

C: Brian McCann, ATL (1.8)

1B: Joey Votto, CIN (2.4)

1B: Aubrey Huff, STL (2.3)

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, SD (2.2)

2B: Kelly Johnson, ARI (2.3)

2B: Dan Uggla, FLA (2.3)

2B: Brandon Phillips, CIN (1.9)

3B: Scott Rolen, CIN (2.3)

3B: David Freese, STL (1.9)

3B: Placido Polanco, PHI (1.9)

SS: Hanley Ramirez, FLA (2.0)

OF: Ryan Luwick, STL (2.5)

OF: Jason Heyward, ATL (2.1)

OF: Angel Pagan, NYM (2.0)

OF: Matt Holliday, STL (1.9)

OF: Cody Ross, FLA (1.9)

OF: Andrew McCutchen, PIT (1.7)

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.