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All-Star Game Insanity

all star catchers joe mauer matt wieters mike napoli
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#1 70charger


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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:25 PM

In the interest of preliminary disclosures, I am well aware that it's more difficult to get all-star votes if your team is bad, and Joe Mauer plays for an objectively bad team, with a record 11 games below .500 and sitting in last place in a bad division. I also realize that there's probably some lack of knowledge of the fact that Joe Mauer is legitimately back from a poor outing in 2011 - having in played in all but 5 games this year.

But is it not insane what is going on with the all-star voting for catcher? Current vote totals (6/14/2012) have Joe Mauer sitting at third, a huge margin behind Mike Napoli in the lead:

#1 - Mike Napoli - 1,224,565
#2 - Matt Wieters - 713,469
#3 - Joe Mauer - 637,364

The stats do not seem to bear this out. In my mind, Joe Mauer is clearly an all-star, and I hope the following will show you why.

First, batting (note that all league leaders are among eligible all-stars only):

The following are the league leaders in batting average, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - Joe Mauer - .303 (3rd)
#2 - AJ Pierzynski - .293 (5th)
#3 - Jarrod Saltalamacchia - .253 (n/a)
#4 - Alex Avila - .250 (n/a)
#4 - Mike Napoli (tied) - .250 (1st)
#6 - Matt Wieters - .245 (2nd)

The following are the league leaders in on-base percentage, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - Joe Mauer - .406 (3rd)
#2 - Mike Napoli - .356 (1st)
#3 - Carlos Santana - .342 (n/a)
#4 - AJ Pierzynski - .338 (5th)
#5 - Matt Wieters - .328 (2nd)

The following are the league leaders in slugging percentage, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - AJ Pierzynski - .520 (5th)
#2 - Mike Napoli - .477 (1st)
#3 - Matt Wieters - .433 (2nd)
#4 - Joe Mauer - .423 (3rd)
#6 - JP Arencibia - .402 (n/a)

The following are the league leaders in on-base plus slugging, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - AJ Pierzynski - .858 (5th)
#2 - Joe Mauer - .833 (3rd)
#3 - Mike Napoli - .830 (1st)
#4 - Matt Wieters - .760 (2nd)
#5 - Carlos Santana - .699 (n/a)

The following are the league leaders in wOBA (weighted on-base average, with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - Joe Mauer - .364 (3rd)

#2 - AJ Pierzynski - .363 (5th)
#3 - Mike Napoli - .356 (1st)
#4 - Matt Wieters - .331 (2nd)
#6 - Carlos Santana - .310 (n/a)

The following are the league leaders in wRC+ (weighted runs created, plus), with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - Joe Mauer - 133 (3rd)
#2 - AJ Pierzynski - 127 (5th)
#3 - Mike Napoli - 121 (1st)
#4 - Matt Wieters - 106 (2nd)
#6 - Carlos Santana - 95 (n/a)

When it comes to fielding, the story is a little different. Joe Mauer is very competent behind the plate, but he is perhaps not the force he once was. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he could bring these numbers up, though. But I do think that fielding, taken alone, makes Joe Mauer look average - on the other hand, it makes current leader Mike Napoli look downright bad. (Again, these numbers are for all-star eligible players only - I am not counting write-in candidates.)

The following are the league leaders in FLD (PO+A)/(PO+A+E), with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - Matt Wieters - 3.0 (2nd)
#2 - Carlos Santana - 2.8 (n/a)
#3 - Kurt Suzuki - 2.0 (n/a)
#4 - AJ Pierzynski - 1.0 (5th)
#7 - Joe Mauer - -1.0 (3rd)
#9 - Mike Napoli - -3.2 (1st)

And then of course there is the comprehensive WAR. And when taking into account Joe Mauer's absolutely stellar batting (as compared to catchers - perhaps "well above-average" when compared to everyone on the field), plus his not-gonna-blow-you-away fielding, Joe Mauer comes out looking pretty darn good if you ask me.

The following are the league leaders in WAR (wins above replacement), with where they rank (1-5) in the current all-star voting in parentheses:

#1 - AJ Pierzynski - 2.0 (5th)
#2 - Joe Mauer - 1.9 (3rd)
#3 - Matt Wieters - 1.7 (2nd)
#4 - Mike Napoli - 1.2 (1st)
#5 - Carlos Santana - 1.1 (n/a)

So what have we learned? First of all, that Mauer is clearly not back into the public eye to the extent that he was in 2009-2010. This is perfectly understandable. The injuries made him something of a non-factor over the last year and a half, and let's face it, the Twins just aren't a team that the national media is paying attention to. The average fan may give him "recognition" votes, but it seems like the vast majority of those are going to Mike Napoli, whose Rangers have gone to the World Series twice in a row. He's now the household name, even though in my mind, he is clearly the lesser catcher.

Secondly, there is a lot of venom directed towards Mauer, but I don't buy it. Yes, he needs a dump truck to cash his paycheck, but part of that is the hometown premium. And speaking of premium, when you're smack in the middle of a below-career-average season and you're still among the league's best hitters, you're doing well. He's also among the very best hitters at catcher, which puts his bat at a premium position, and the guys who are ahead of him, such as Carlos Ruiz, while currently hot, are not going to stay at the top of the heap consistently.

So my ultimate point is that the all-star voting isn't making much sense at this point. If I were the "general manager" of the all-star team and got to pick my players, my starting catcher would be Joe Mauer. I would also probably hold my nose and pick AJ Pierzynski to back him up.

As for the rest, Matt Wieters is very good, but not at Mauer's level. Mike Napoli is criminally overrated. Russell Martin (4th in the voting) is nowhere to be found on the leaderboard and is maybe worth 100 pity votes, tops. And Carlos Santana may be underrated, but he's still not good enough to be an all-star.

Can we get Mauer onto the team with concerted a voting effort over the next week or so? How about we give it a shot?: http://mlb.mlb.com/m...2012/ballot.jsp

#2 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:31 PM

Josh Willingham isn't even in the top 15 vote getters for outfielders. He's fourth in the league in OPS, third in OBP. Joe doesn't have a lot to complain about.

#3 Thrylos



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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:37 PM

All Star voting is not fair. Has never been will never be. That's that.
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#4 IdahoPilgrim


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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:42 PM

All-star voting is basically a popularity contest - it doesn't reflect actual performance. That's why I've always put more stock in the manager's picks to fill out the roster - those usually better reflect who should be there - although even then their decisions are often handcuffed a little by having to make sure every club is represented.

#5 glunn


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Posted 14 June 2012 - 11:31 PM

Hey, I voted for Alexi Casilla at 2B and Jamey Carroll at SS. Yes, they are not great players, but they are Twins, they are having a losing season and I want them to know that some people like them. The only positions where I did not vote for a Twin have been 1B (Parmelee) and 3B (Valencia). Fortunately, many voters try to vote for the best player regardless of team loyalty -- otherwise the all-star team would be all Yankees (because they have the most fans). What might be hurting Mauer is what 70charger referred to in his initial post -- the widespread perception that Mauer's contract is one of the worst in baseball. Also, he has been playing a lot more 1B and DH than the other candidates.

#6 jm3319


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:59 AM

I'm sure it also has something to do with most fans just looking at the classic stats such as average, homers, and RBI and probably not caring about more complicated stats like wRC+ and FLD (PO+A)/(PO+A+E).

#7 James


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 06:36 AM

You're using some advanced stats to justify why the popularity contest isn't going Mauer's way. I personally think he deserves to be there, and if the Twins were doing better, he probably would be. Like jm3319 pointed out, the casual fan (which happens to be the majority of people that go to games) don't look at the advanced stats that more hardcore fans look at.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

#8 Kirby_waved_at_me


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:16 AM

I wonder if the less-than-casual fan is also voting for players other than Mauer at Catcher. He's played almost as many games away from the position as he has played behind the plate this year. While I think he is a good choice to be an All-Star again this year, he's not playing as much at the position as the other guys on the ballot.

A.J. is doing better this year than I would have guessed...

I forget, does Ron Washington have the sole vote for the reserves, or do all the managers have input? I bet Napoli has an edge if it comes down to Wash picking the backup (assuming he doesn't win outright) . The Rangers' players are getting a ton of votes this year -a winning team sure is a big deal in All-Star selections.

Here's an article from yesterday on SB Nation about why people might be voting for a particular player - http://www.beyondthe...all-star-voting

#9 sethf00


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 08:46 AM

There are two little known stats called "Runs Scored" and "Runs Batted In". Oh, and "Home Runs", whatever those are. From looking today at CBS's website. Out of AL "hitting eligible" (from a statistcal standpoin) catchers, Mauer ranks: Home Runs: 12 of 13. Runs Scored: 1 of 13. (Ok, I didn't expect that. Haven't looked at stats in awhile. Kudos Mr. Mauer) RBIs: 7 of 13. Granted, a lot of those advanced metrics you touted off are statistically better measurements, since you can't get RBIs when people aren't on base in front of you. Although, since Mauer had grounded into 14 Double Plays with the next closest catcher is at 7, you can argue he has had plenty of people in front of him. Mauer also has been on a mini-tear the last 7 games to up all of his stats. Voters minds were set from the first 2 months of the season, not how well Mauer has played the past week. Mauer - Games Started at Catcher = 29 of 57 games = 50%. Mike Napoli = 36 (started) of 56 = 64% You can't take out Napoli's big second half last year. Part of the All-Star balloting has always been a bit of a memory of what that player has done recently. And half of baseball fans could care less about April and May stats. Its July, August, and September. That was my long and not well edited way of saying Mauer is on a bad team, with a bad year last year, and trailing in 2 stats people put the most weight into in HRs and RBIs. Can't really say it is that big of a deal if he doesn't make the team. For a 1B or DH, his stats are brutal, and he is 50% that for his position now. And this is coming from someone who love Mauer, thinks he is worth every penny, and defends him at every turn.

#10 jtrinaldi


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:16 AM

I can't believe people actually care about the ASG
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#11 Kirby_waved_at_me


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:20 AM

I can't believe people actually care about the ASG

Well, this is probably the closest the Twins will be to deciding the outcome of this year's World Series winner.

It doesn't really matter who is in the game or not. It is a nice honor, though, to be recognized by the fans as the best at your position.

Most guys (if they've been selected to the team before) probably would prefer the extra day off, anyway. I seem to recall Mauer being quoted as enjoying the All-Star Break by going fishing the whole time last year.

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