Like many of you, I typically lose faith in humanity around this time of year when the fans somehow decide the All Star game starters in unspectacular fashion. Let's be clear about this, people suck at choosing all stars, they always have.
And it's just so wrong.
So, I figured I'd look at it with a purely unbiased, data-driven focus. Here's the data-proven starters for the AL and NL rosters with some of their numbers and a quick blurb about each of them. I'll put in italics the Fans Choice and see grade out how the fans voted, in the end).
Note: the numbers are calculated by ranking the best overall cumulative stat-lines at each position.
American League Starters
Catcher: Salvador Perez, KC: 298 ABs, 34 R, 10 HR, 29 RBI, 1 SB, .285 AVG, .332 OBP, .444 SLG.
- The American League catcher numbers pale in comparison to the NL's. Perez actually has the 6th best catcher numbers overall, but he's got the best cumulative numbers in the AL. Still in shock that Wieters was somehow voted the starter after playing in maybe 1/3 of the first half.
- Fan Choice: Matt Wieters, BAL: 104 ABs, 13 R, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB, .308 AVG, .339 OBP, .500 SLG
1B - Edwin Encarnacion, TOR: 328 ABs, 57 R, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 2 SB, .277 AVG, .368 OBP, .591 SLG.
- This was an extremely close race between Jose Abreu and Edwin. Edwin edges him out in every category except HR (27-26, and SLG).
- Fan Choice: Miguel Cabrera, DET: 325 ABs, 54 R, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 0 SB, .308 Avg, .367 OBP, .535 SLG
2B - Jose Altuve, HOU: 362 ABs, 43 R, 2 HR, 26 RBI, 38 SB, .337 AVG, .377 OBP, .436 SLG.
- Although the power numbers are lacking, his numbers are incredible in terms of getting on base and stealing (38 SB in the first half, seriously?!). He is easily the choice here, and his stats reflect it.
- Fan Choice: Robinson Cano, SEA: 325 AB, 47 R, 6 HR, 51 RBI, 7 SB, .320 AVG, .381 OBP, .443 SLG
3B - Josh Donaldson, OAK: 340 AB, 58 R, 19 HR, 62 RBI, 3 SB, .241 AVG, .319 OBP, .459 OBP.
- This one was surprising, but Josh actually has the best cumulative number for the AL 3B. Take away the AVG (and OBP), and those numbers are absolutely dominant for the 1st half.
- Fan Choice: Josh Donaldson
SS - Alexei Ramirez, CWS: 343 ABs, 42 R, 8 HR, 41 RBI, 14 SB, .286 AVG, .320 OBP, .405 SLG.
- Alexei is having a very quiet but very good first half. His bat has cooled off a little bit, but his numbers are simply the best in the AL. Don't worry Angel fans, Aybar has the 2nd best numbers and would be the reserve.
- Fan Choice: Derek Jeter, NYY: 308 AB, 29 R, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 6 SB, .273 AVG, .323 OBP, .328 SLG)
OF - Mike Trout, LAA: 315 ABs, 58 R, 20 HR, 63 RBI, 10 SB, .308 Avg, .402 OBP, .603 SLG.
- It's Mike Trout. It shouldn't come as a surprise that he actually does have the best numbers of any OF in the AL (although by a surprisingly slim overall margin to the next guy). Glad to see the data support that.
- Fan Choice: Mike Trout
OF - Nelson Cruz, BAL: 335 ABs, 53 R, 27 HR, 71 RBI, 3 SB, .290 AVG, .356 OBP, .582 SLG.
- If this wasn't unbiased, then no way would I let the roided Cruz into the All Star game (personal opinion). However, he is having a ridiculously good start to his tenure in Baltimore.
- Fan Choice: Jose Bautista, TOR: 297 AB, 56 R, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 3 SB, .296 AVG, .419 AVG, .522 SLG)
OF - Michael Brantley, CLE: 321 ABs, 58 R, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 10 SB, .321 AVG, .385 OBP, .511 SLG.
- Brantley is quietly having an MVP-caliber year. Every number on that stat-sheet is solid. Very well-deserved.
- Fan Choice: Adam Jones: 361 AB, 52 R, 16 HR, 53 RBI, 4 SB, .310 AVG, .334 OBP, .504 SLG
DH - Victor Martinez, DET: 302 ABs, 45 R, 21 HR, 55 RBI, 2 SB, .328 AVG, .391 OBP, .599 SLG.
- Ortiz should have no complaints about this if he bothered to look at the numbers.
- Fan Choice: Nelson Cruz
SP - Felix Hernandez, SEA: 136.1 IP. 2.11 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 145 K, 10 wins, 17 Quality Starts (QS).
- Yea, King Felix is a stud. He's on pace to get 300 Ks and 20 Wins this year.
Correct AL Fan Picks Grade: 3/9. F.
National League Starters
C - Jonathan Lucroy, MIL: 316 AB, 42 R, 9 HR, 44 RBI, 3 SB, .329 AVG, .397 OBP, .516 SLG.
- These are hardly catcher numbers. Lucroy has the advantage of getting to switch between 1B and C, but he's officially a C, and putting up some career numbers for himself. He's lucky Devin Mesoraco from CIN hasn't had as much playing time, because his numbers are ridiculous too.
- Fan Choice: Yadier Molina, STL: 295 AB, 30 R, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 1 SB, /292 AVG, .347 OBP, .414 SLG
1B - Paul Goldschmidt, ARI: 336 AB, 64 RBI, 16 HR, 58 RBI, 8 SB, .310 AVG, .398 OBP, .554 SLG.
- It's a shame that the DBacks are one of the worst teams in baseball, Goldy represents everything you want about being a MVP/All-Star. The man is on pace for 120 R and 120 RBI. Sheesh.
- Fan Choice: Paul Goldschmidt
2B - Dee Gordon, LAD: 334 AB, 50 R, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 42 SB, .302 AVG, .356 OBP, .416 SLG.
- Ditto everything I said about Altuve. He's been an incredible player the the Dodgers this year and absolutely is the best 2B in the NL with his numbers. Utley got the nod because of his notoriety and hot start to the year.
- Fan Choice: Chase Utley, PHI: 329 AB, 46 R, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 2 SB, .286 AVG, .344 OBP, .432 SLG
3B - Todd Frazier, CIN: 330 AB, 54 RBI, 17 HR, 47 RBI, 13 SB, .291 AVG, .355 OBP, .500 SLG.
- Reds fans had every right to be pissed that Frazier wasn't the all-star voted in, he's BY FAR having the best season for a 3B in the NL. Aramis Ramirez? He's the 13th best 3B in baseball this year. 13th! It's a crime he got voted as the starter.
- Fan Choice: Aramis Ramirez, MIL: 230 AB, 28 R, 11 RBI, 41 RBI, 3 SB, .287 AVG, .339 OBP, .474 SLG
SS - Troy Tulowitzki, COL: 286 AB, 68 R, 18 HR, 47 RBI, 1 SB, .350 AVG, .442 OBP, .605 SLG.
- There's a reason why there was an article written about comparing who's better: Tulo or Trout. Tulo is just incredible, simple as that. If he's able to stay healthy, he's on pace to have the best season for a SS, EVER.
- Fan Choice: Tulo
OF - Giancarlo Stanton, MIA: 334 AB, 61 R, 21 HR, 62 RBI, 8 SB, .308 AVG, .406 OBP, .566 SLG.
- Compare his numbers to Trout's, almost identical. And he puts up those stats while playing for the Marlins... Yea. He's pretty good.
- Fan Choice: Puig, flip-flop him for Stanton in the DH spot since fans don't vote for the NL DH.
OF - Andrew McCutchen, PIT: 327 AB, 48 R, 13 HR, 54 RBI, 13 SB, .324 AVG, .424 OBP, .547 SLG.
- The reigning NL MVP is picking up right where he left off. He's having another incredibly solid season thus far.
- Fan Choice: Andrew McCutchen
OF - Carlos Gomez, MIL: 321 AB, 52 R, 13 HR, 45 RBI, 14 SB, .299 AVG, .365 OBP, .505 SLG.
- I was extremely surprised to see that his numbers backed up his passion and flare thus far in the season. He's having an extremely good season so far.
- Fan Choice: Gomez
DH - Yasiel Puig, LAD: 322 AB, 50 R, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 7 SB, .307 AVG, .393 OBP, .516 SLG.
- This was essentially a toss-up between Puig, Charlie Blackmon (OF, COL), and Anthony Rendon (2B/3B, WAS). Their numbers are all almost identical, except Puig nudges them both out with a high OBP and SLG %.
- Fan Choice: (NO voted DH, but Puig was voted as the starting OF)
SP - Johnny Cueto, CIN: 131.1 IP, 1.99 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 130 K, 8 W, 16 QS.
- The race between the NL starters was much tighter than that of the AL. Wainwright is 2nd to Cueto by an absolute hair. Another toss-up. And Kershaw wasn't able to pitch the full first half.
Correct NL Fan Picks Grade: 6/9. If the Aramis Ramirez pick wasn't so awful, I'd say the fans did an extremely good job of selecting the NL Starters (compared to the usual atrocities of past years).