Ok, gentlemen, if you would please step behind your respective curtains we can begin.
As our two National Leaguers get ready for this little presentation, I'd like to point out that I realize the All Star voters, whether they be the fans or the players themselves, probably do not realize that statistics exist beyond AVG, RBI, R and HR. That's cool. Everyone is free to enjoy baseball however they choose.
We at TCB like "fancy" stats and aren't afraid to use them, especially when bragging about one of the Astros. Well, there I went and ruined part of the surprise- one of the players involved in this post is a Houston Astro. I'm sure most of you figured that out though- I mean, why else would I be writing this?
All right then. We're going to use Batting Runs Above Replacement, Fielding Runs Above Replacement, and Wins Above Replacement to look at our two unknown players.
BRAR is defined on Baseball Prospectus as:
The number of runs better than a hitter with a .230 EQA and the same number of outs; EQR - 5 * OUT * .230^2.5.
FRAR is defined on Baseball Prospectus as:
The difference between an average player and a replacement player is determined by the number of plays that position is called on to make. That makes the value at each position variable over time. In the all-time adjustments, an average catcher is set to 39 runs above replacement per 162 games, first base to 10, second to 29, third to 22, short to 33, center field to 24, left and right to 14.
WAR is a stat we use quite a bit around here. Just as a refresher, it is defined as:
The number of wins this player contributed, above what a replacement level hitter, fielder, and pitcher would have done, with adjustments only for within the season. It should be noted that a team which is at replacement level in all three of batting, pitching, and fielding will be an extraordinarily bad team, on the order of 20-25 wins in a 162-game season.
Everybody ready? Gooood. Our All Star players are behind their curtains and have been given an old school Gameboy to occupy themselves with until it's time for their identities to be revealed.
Without further adeiu, here are our two players:
|Not All Star
Who are these mystery men?
Mr. All Star, please step out from behind the curtain!
Why, it's Ryan Howard, World Champion Phillies' First Baseman! You're on the squad! Congrats.
Mr. Not an All Star, please come on down!
Lance Berkman, everyone! Our condolences on not making the team. I'm sure you and your family will enjoy the off time.
Last season, Howard beat out Berkman in the race for another honor- NL MVP. Albert Pujols won the award, but Howard came in second. If you're interested (admit it- you are) Howard's WARP last season was 4.5. That's All Star quality. Lance Berkman was worth nearly four more wins though, and finished the 2008 season with a WAR of 8.4.
We had a nice discussion the other day about Joe Sheehan's ranting about how the All Star teams are flawed. In his article, I couldn't find a single sentence about how Berkman is a deserving All Star this season in a 1B heavy NL. This was the inspiration for the post you just read.