Friday, July 2, 2010
FanGraphs: Full-year all-stars
By Dave Cameron, FanGraphs
It's no secret which guys are having the best seasons so far in 2010 -- Robinson Cano, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Morneau are among those who are off to the races and will certainly be at the All-Star Game in two weeks. But that's the thing about the Midsummer Classic -- the choices are mostly based on who has had the best first half. What if we went back a full year? Here are the best players over the last calendar year, dating back to July 1, 2009? Think of them as the full-year All-Stars.
To choose this team, I took the players at each position with the highest weighted on-base percentage (wOBA) who had enough plate appearances (3.3 per team game) to qualify for a batting title. For pitchers, I used FIP.
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins -- .330/.410/.491, .390 wOBA
No big surprise here, as Mauer's the best-hitting catcher in the game. However, it should be noted that Arizona's Miguel Montero has slightly better rate statistics, but doesn't have enough plate appearances to qualify. He's one to keep an eye on now that he's healthy again.
First base: Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- .319/.429/.585, .424 wOBA
Pujols takes the top spot, but you should feel bad for Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis -- they are the three of the best hitters in baseball over the last 365 days, but because they play the same position as Prince Albert, they can't crack the top spot.
Second base: Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 347/.386/.567, .407 wOBA
Cano's burst to begin this season has carried his numbers to the top, surpassing both Dustin Pedroia and Chase Utley. Not a bad trio of offensive middle infielders.
Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies -- .318/.389/.564, .412 wOBA
Move over, Hanley; the Rockies star has taken over as the best-hitting shortstop in the game over the past year. Tulowitzki's recent wrist injury is going to be a huge problem for Colorado. He is much more than just a slick fielder.
Third base: Alex Rodriguez, New York - .297/.381/.522, .392 wOBA
Rumors of A-Rod's demise have been greatly exaggerated, as the Yankees third baseman has outhit all other third basemen over the last year. He might not be as good as he was a few years ago, but the guy can still rake.
Left field: Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- .326/.395/.547, .404 wOBA
Yeah, I think St. Louis is pleased with how that trade with Oakland has worked out. Holliday's slow start with the A's last year is nothing more than a blip on the radar at this point, as he's gone right back to being the best-hitting left fielder in the game.
Center field: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies -- .299/.346/.523, .375 wOBA
Kudos if you guessed this one correctly. He gets overshadowed by some of his teammates, but the slugging center fielder has put up huge numbers for the Rockies over the last year and is one of the reasons they felt comfortable giving Dexter Fowler more time in Triple-A.
Right field: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers -- .334/.402/.506, .397 wOBA
Ordonez has certainly rewarded the Tigers for their decision to let his $18 million option vest; he has produced at an elite level even as he advances in age, just edging out Jayson Werth for the top spot on this list.
Designated hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers -- .324/.370/.550, .393 wOBA
If the Angels weren't already regretting their decision to let Guerrero leave and replace him with Hideki Matsui, they certainly are after he hit two more home runs against them Wednesday night. Finally healthy again, Guerrero is once again hitting like the "Impaler" that Anaheim knew and loved for so many years.
Starting pitcher: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals -- 2.11 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 3.10 xFIP
He generally doesn't get mentioned in the conversations about the best pitcher in baseball, but over the last year, he's outpitched everyone, including Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum.
Relief pitcher: Luke Gregerson, Padres -- 2.48 ERA, 1.81 FIP, 2.32 xFIP
The Padres have a great bullpen, but no one has been better than Gregerson, who is simply blowing hitters away on a nightly basis. The Cardinals have done a lot of things right over the last few years, but trading him to San Diego for Khalil Greene was not one of their finer moments.
Dave Cameron is a writer for FanGraphs.