2010 League Minimum All-Star Team

BWAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAA; its finished, at long last its done! My monstrosity is complete!

But first, lets review the 2009 League Minimum All-Star Team.

Position Player 2009 Salary 2009 WAR 2010 Proj. WAR 2010 Actual WAR
C Pablo Sandoval $ 401,750.00 4.8 3.3 0.8
1B Joey Votto $ 437,500.00 4.5 3.6 6.2
2B Ben Zobrist* $ 415,900.00 7.1 3.8 2.7
3B Evan Longoria* $ 500,000.00 6.6 5.1 6.2
SS Elvis Andrus# $ 400,000.00 2.4 1.5 1
OF Justin Upton* $ 412,000.00 5.2 3.8 3.8
OF Adam Jones* $ 435,000.00 2.5 3.4 2.8
OF Matt Kemp $ 467,000.00 5.8 4 2.3
Bench Adam Lind $ 411,800.00 3.3 2.1 0.1
Bench Jacoby Ellsbury $ 449,500.00 2.1 3.9 -0.4
Bench Mark Reynolds $ 422,500.00 2.2 3.3 0.8
Bench Hunter Pence* $ 439,000.00 1.7 2.7 1
Hon. Bench Skip Schumaker $ 430,000.00 1.5 1.6 0.4
SP Jair Jurrjens $ 450,000.00 5.3 0
SP Yovani Gallardo $ 414,000.00 2.4 2.1
SP Clayton Kershaw $ 404,000.00 4.2 4.4
SP Brett Anderson $ 400,000.00 3.8 2.3
SP Matt Garza $ 433,300.00 3.4 2
RP Andrew Bailey#* $ 400,000.00 3.9 2.5
RP Brad Ziegler $ 405,000.00 1.3 0.9
*All Star 2009 Total Payroll $ 8,528,250.00
#RoY 2009 Total WAR 74
2010 Total WAR 41.9

Not a bad showing all things considered; there were some dropoffs, Sandoval and Jurrjens stand out but alot of these guys still held some value in 2010, even if many of them didn't grow into the stars that they could have been. Also; the entire bench appears to have fallen into a massive talent vacuum after the 2009 season.

Now though, the 2010 team.

Position Player Draft Pos. Team Salary WAR
C Buster Posey # 2008 5th Giants $ 260,000.00 3.0
1B Billy Butler 2004 14th Royals $ 470,000.00 4.5
2B Martin Prado* Amateur FA Braves $ 440,000.00 2.7
3B Casey McGehee 2003 283rd Brewers $ 427,500.00 3.5
SS Cliff Pennington 2005 21st Athletics $ 405,000.00 3.3
OF Colby Rasmus 2005 28th Cardinals $ 418,000.00 2.9
OF Jason Heyward* 2007 14th Braves $ 400,000.00 4.4
OF Shin-Soo Choo Amateur FA Indians $ 461,100.00 7.3
Bench Carlos Gonzalez Amateur FA Rockies $ 406,000.00 4.5
Bench Nelson Cruz Amateur FA Rangers $ 440,000.00 3.9
Bench Jay Bruce 2005 12th Reds $ 440,000.00 4.3
Bench Matt Wieters 2007 5th Orioles $ 400,000.00 2.5
Bench Mike Stanton 2007 76th Marlins $ 250,000.00 2.8
SP Jaime Garcia 2005 680th Cardinals $ 400,000.00 2.8
SP Clayton Kershaw 2006 7th Dodgers $ 440,000.00 4.4
SP Clay Bucholz* 2005 42nd Red Sox $ 443,000.00 5.4
SP Gio Gonzalez 2004 38th Athletics $ 405,000.00 4.3
SP Mat Latos 2006 333rd Padres $ 407,800.00 3.3
RP Kyle McClellan 2002 762nd Cardinals $ 425,000.00 1.8
RP Jonny Venters 2003 907th Braves $ 390,000.00 1.2
RP Daniel Bard 2006 28th Red Sox $ 415,500.00 3.3
RP Chris Perez 2006 42nd Indians $ 423,800.00 2.7
RP Clay Hensley 2002 247th Pirates $ 425,500.00 2.4
RP Tim Stauffer 2003 4th Padres $ 415,100.00 2.2
RP Neftali Feliz # * Amateur FA Rangers $ 402,000.00 2.4
Total Salary $ 10,210,300.00 # = RoY
Total WAR 85.8 * = AS
Projected Wins 138
Projected Losses 24

The analysis this year will be a little different to last year. In 2009 I concentrated primarily on draft positions and the feasibility of having all of the young stars on a single team. This year, I am going to look at the players position by position and see a) how they got on this year’s team and b) who else was worthy of consideration.

Catcher: Buster Posey

Giving Sandoval the catcher’s spot last year was a little cheeky as he only started 3 games at catcher, there is no such problem with this year’s Giant catcher, Posey played 76 of his 108 games at catcher and was an offensive force whilst acquitting himself very well defensively. He edges out Matt Wieters as a starter based on greater offensive output.

1st Base: Billy Butler

Butler was only the second best young offensive 1st baseman in the majors in 2010, that honour belongs to Joey Votto, unfortunately Votto earned $525,000, rendering him ineligible. I know its nit-picking but thems the rules and I’m sticking to them. Butler was no slouch either though, he shows an impressive ability to hit doubles which may soon start turning into more homers, in 2010 he improved overall despite less gaudy power numbers. He beat out Ike Davies and Daric Barton based on general offensive production.

2nd Base: Martin Prado

Was there anything as surprising in 2010 as ‘Martin Prado, All Star’? Well there shouldn’t have been considering how good he’s been since 2008, even though he seems to miss games here and there. He can play all IF positions, except SS and was an adequate defensively in 2010 for the Braves. He was head and shoulders above a malaise of below average 2nd basemen in 2010.

3rd Base: Casey McGehee

When Evan Longoria’s incredibly team friendly contract granted him a raise to $950,000, the way was cleared for McGehee, easily the best waiver claim in recent years. In his first full season, his offense was still good and, in spite of his poor fielding reputation he was graded as replacement level by dWAR in 2010, after being almost a full win below replacement in 2009. Similarly to Prado, McGehee is easily ahead of other cheap 3rd basemen, Chase Headley coming in a distant second.

Shortstop: Cliff Pennington

In a tightly fought contest the Oakland A’s shortstop edges out our very own Brendan Ryan. Pennington offers with the bat what Ryan can’t, league average offence at a premium defensive position along with decent power (26 doubles) and decent speed (29 SBs). The other candidate; Starlin Castro, is such an abysmal defender that only the Cubs would keep him at SS.

Centre Field: Colby Rasmus

Colby Rasmus was always going to be on this team. As the best offensive CF in the majors, earning 3.8 oWAR, Rasmus’ defence is not rated quite so highly, at -0.9 dWAR, leading to a depressed overall WAR value. But considering in 2009 he was worth nearly 2 wins above replacement on defence alone, 2010 could be an aberration. But even so, best offensive CF in the majors.

Right Field: Jason Heyward

What is there not to like about Heyward? (other than his performance in the NLDS). His numbers resemble a 20-year old Ken Griffey Jr. and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they went on to have similar careers (hopefully without the trade to Cincinnati and subsequent terrible years).

Left Field: Shin-Soo Choo

Who in 2010 was worth more wins than Albert Pujols?

Joey Votto? No

Miguel Cabrera? No

Shin-Soo Choo? Yes

Choo is a .300 hitting 20-20 player... unfortunately he plays for the Indians. He is the most valuable (by WAR) player on the 2010 team. It’s amazing that he is being paid so little and is such an unknown.

Bench: Carlos Gonzalez, Jay Bruce, Nelson Cruz

To be fair, these guys would be an impressive outfield on their own and there’s no real reason that they aren’t the starters on this team, except for my own personal preference. Other guys who barely missed out on a bench spot: Drew Stubbs, Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner. The difference here is that; where the starters and bench players were excellent, these three were merely very good. Stubbs and Jackson strike out a ton which diminishes their real value despite gaudy WARs. And Gardner is a bit one-dimensional; the breadth of talent goes to show just how many young and incredibly talented OFs there are in MLB today.

Backup Catcher: Matt Wieters

Unfortunately, if Wieters’ offense continues to be this disappointing, he may never live up to his super-prospect billing. But still, on the plus side, Wieters is still young and a good defensive catcher, which bodes well for him sticking at the positon long term.

Bench: Mike Stanton

I will stake my reputation on Stanton, one day, leading the league in home runs.

Honourable mentions, batters: Stubbs, Jackson, Gardner, Davies, Barton, Boog, Castro, Ben Zobrist, Andrew McCutchen

Ace: Clay Buchholz

In 2010, Buchholz was undoubtedly one of the best pitchers in baseball... if you only take results into consideration. Buchholz’s prospect billing was as a No.3 type pitcher and in spite of a very impressive ERA its simply unsustainable; a pitcher cannot continue to enjoy his level of success whilst striking out so few and walking so many. But still he should be an above average pitcher going forward.

2nd Starter: Clayton Kershaw

In all likelihood; Kershaw is the real ace going forward. In his first season of 200 innings pitched he proved that he can maintain a high level of performance, with impressive strikeout totals and improving control. Kershaw has the dubious honour of being the only returning member of the 2009 team, I don’t whether this a credit to Kershaw for keeping such a high level of performance at such a young age or for the Dodgers organisation for exposing Kershaw whilst he is still so young, and cheap.

3rd Starter: Jaime Garcia

For all the concerns over Garcia’s prospective performance in 2011, you still have to marvel at his 2010 season; he came to spring training as a prospective 5th starter and wound up being phenomenal behind Wainwright and Carpenter, giving the Cardinals one of the best 1-2-3 pitcher combinations in the league. Garcia was ridiculous, especially considering he’d just come off TJ surgery and he threw a shutout, which is awesome.

4th Starter: Mat Latos

From early June to the end of August, Latos was one of the best pitchers in baseball, its a credit to the Padres and Bud Black that they stuck with him despite his April struggles and very unfortunate that he fell off a cliff in September.

5th Starter: Gio Gonzalez

The Athletics have quietly amassed a very promising and young group of starting pitchers; Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Dallas Braden. Gonzalez was the best of the three in 2010 and he has room for improvement: his walk rate has been trending downwards since 2008 but is still quite high and the strain of being a full time starting pitcher appears to have dropped his K/9 rate. It will be interesting to see if Gonzalez can maintain this level of quality innings in 2011.

Honourable mentions, starters: Brian Duensing, Dallas Braden, Yovani Gallardo, Jason Vargas, Phil Hughes, Randy Wells, Ricky Romero, Tommy Hanson

Closer: Neftali Feliz

He won the American League Rookie of the Year and helped the Rangers to the World Series as a closer, head and shoulders above the rest.

Set-up: Daniel Bard

Probably Boston’s next closer.

Bullpen: Kyle McClellan, Jonny Venters, Chris Perez, Clay Hensley

All great guys to have in any Major League bullpen, and it just goes to show that you do not have to spend a first round pick (like Bard) to get great production from a bullpen arm.

Swingman: Tim Stauffer

A very interesting case, the 4th overall pick in 2003, he debuted in 2005 as a starter but could never put it together. He spent the next few years in and out of the majors and generally struggling. In 2010 though he substantially rebuilt his value with 5 months of phenomenal bullpen work, he didn’t allow a run in his first 15 1/3 innings and was very dependable for multiple innings. He did start 6 games in September, and although adequate, he couldn’t repeat the success he had out of the bullpen.

Honourable mentions, relievers: Jason Motte, Evan Meek, Sergio Santos, Tyler Clippard.

Just a couple of notes: 1) if the salary is less than $400,000 then the player was called up during the season and there is no way of determining their actual salary, hence the values are an educated guess based on service time. 2) all WAR values are bWAR. 3) the projected win-loss record is based on the total WAR added to the projected W-L record of a replacement level team (a team with a .320 winning pct.)