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How to be an Educated All Star Voter and a Loyal Hometown Fan (Part 1)

First Base and Second Base

AllStarGame

 

Fans take different philosophies when it comes to voting for the All-Star game. Some are complete homers. Your player can be worthless in every form of evaluation imaginable, and you will still vote for him over the player from the rival team who is on pace to shatter every single-season record set. The inverse of that is the fan who combs every stat to pick the best player, even diving in obscure stats to find the tie-breaking advantage. The second group will question the first group’s knowledge of the game; the first group will call the second group sociopaths.

So this article asks the questions: can you be both an educated viewer and a homer? Is there a margin of error where players can fall into that then allows you to pick your player? And what is that margin of error.

I’m going to use WAR (fangraph) to help decide. And since both this article and every position is subjective, I’m going to go through the positions and help decide how acceptable vs criminal it would be to vote for the Cardinal/Royal at that position. It’d be too easy to say “the margin of error is 0.5 WAR, now everyone have a good day.” And not nearly as fun.

I posed the question to some of my friends recently, and though none of them outright said they will vote for their player just because he is their player, they found ways to logically come up with that conclusion. And some just outright stated that the All Star game isn’t important and is a popularity contest to start with (even though it stupidly does count, thanks Selig).

Some fans just vote for whoever they’ve heard of, regardless of what’s going on with them. Like that year Nomar led the vote even though he was on the DL. Or there’s ballot stuffing in San Francisco. So the game is viewed as king of a joke by some to start with. But this is about you, the educated fan, and how you can partake in the game, and still hold your head up high as both an educated fan and a loyal Cardinals and/or Royals fan.

FIRST BASE

Royals: Eric Hosmer – .272/.331/.359. WAR: 0.3

Hosmer is actually not having that bad of a season, since he’s getting on base at a fairly consistent rate. It’s just his slugging is so pathetically low. His ability to take walks is similar to last year, but his higher average this year has kicked up his ops to an almost respectable number.

AL Leader: Chris Davis – .335/.414/.697/. WAR: 3.7

Davis is a monster having a monstrous season. It’s just insane. He’s leading everyone, including Prince Fielder, by at least a million votes. And it’s especially impressive since he’s pretty new to the scene (at least in terms of name recognition).

If you vote for Hosmer: COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. In fact, voting for anyone except Davis is unacceptable. If you were to vote for Hosmer, you could maybe justify it by claiming this may be an outlier year for Davis, but in that case your vote should probably default to Fielder, not Hosmer. Maybe you can say that Hosmer was a top prospect, and he’ll put it together eventually (???), so you want him to represent the AL. Otherwise, I’d just leave this one alone.

Cardinals: Allen Craig – .313/.357/.458. WAR: 0.7

Craig has an incredibly low WAR for having a pretty impressive slash, due to poor fielding and base running metrics. He’s currently 3rd in the voting behind Votto and Goldschmidt.

NL Leader: Joey Votto – .318/.437/.498. WAR: 2.9. It’s basically a coin toss between Votto and Goldie. I vote Votto since Goldschmidt is more than likely playing over his head. I think he may be an improved player, but not this improved.

If you vote for Craig: MILDLY UNACCEPTABLE. If you go by offensive numbers alone, Votto has him beat. Though you can maybe say it’s within a margin of error of being a homer. But if you add the other metrics in, it’s not much of a competition. However, the offensive numbers are close enough that I can understand why someone would vote Craig. A narrative that further favors for Craig is the amount of RBIs he has. Craig has 51 versus Votto’s 33 (Goldschmidt has 59 though). If you look at RBIs (and you probably shouldn’t), I can see that edge. But those numbers are probably more due to the fact that Craig has the on base machine Matt Carpenter hitting in front of him, while Votto has Zack Cozart.

 

SECOND BASE

Royals: Chris Getz – .212/.273/.288 (wow). WAR: 0.0

I like Elliot Johnson more than Getz starting. But both aren’t exactly impressive options though. Getz is the kind of player who occasionally has okay games, and it causes a distraction and takes focus off that he isn’t good. Having him anywhere near the All Star Game seems like a travesty.

AL Leader: Robinson Cano – .278/.350/.511. WAR: 3.0

Cano is leading Pedro by almost a million votes, but Pedroia is arguably putting up similar numbers at .319/.401/.436 WAR: 2.7. But The Yanks and Sox can duke out their rivalry at second base and feel safe they will have no threat coming from KC.

If you vote for Getz: WORDS CANNOT EXPLAIN HOW UNACCEPTABLE THAT IS. Like there literally is no justification. Besides you are just a homer and don’t care about having the best player out there. If you want to be respected and not called a homer when you maybe vote for Salvy Perez at Catcher (we’ll get to that later), then this is the bone you throw to people who criticize you. You say, “yeah but at least I didn’t vote for Getz at Second.”

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter – .320/.405/.467. WAR: 3.5 (wow again)

Carpenter is having a monster year so far. Great average, getting on base like crazy, and hitting lots of extra base hits. Add that to the fact that Matheny is using him very wisely in the lineup, and it’s really allowing Carpenter to live up to his full potential. He’s not a household name yet, but with more seasons like what he’s doing this year, he will be soon.

NL Leader: Brandon Phillips – .278/.330/.444. WAR: 1.7.

Phillips is honsestly having a fairly average year offensively. His WAR is elevated by his base running and stellar defense. Not only is he paling in comparison to Carpenter offensively, but is also trailing Marco Scutaro in offensive numbers. Name recognition is helping him to a great degree.

If you vote for Carpenter: COMPLETELY ACCEPTABLE AND ABSOLUTELY ENCOURAGED. This is the time that being a homer is needed. When you are a homer, you may know of a player having a good year and the national media hasn’t quite caught up yet. Carpenter is that guy. It’s kind of crazy how good he’s beien and how much better he is than the competition. The argument can be made, I suppose, that taking the players career in consideration is okay, which would bode in Phillips favor. But even with that in his corner, Carpenter is your man.

Next up: Shortstop and Third base

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Cardinals Spring Training Pics From InsideSTL

Our friends over at InsideSTL spent last week hanging out at a picnic table, and eventually under a tent, in Jupiter, Florida and talking with any Cardinal players that came by and were willing to sit down for a few minutes.

What resulted were some great candid shots of the guys as well as a very candid interview with Adam Wainwright about his contract situation.

The images below were posted to their website and are being shared here with their permission.

Carlos Beltran

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Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Mets No Hitter

Our friends over at 7th Inning Sketch send along a look at the Mets’ no hitter and what it means for the world.

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Video: MLB Do Something Extraordinary

Our friends at MLB, along side the “Cave Dwellers” at MLB Fan Cave, are developing some funny videos with players that are dropping by.

From practical jokes to fake Spanish soap operas, the videos are sure to make you smile.  Give them a watch and leave us a comment with your thoughts below.

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Don’t tell me to be patient!

Once again the Kansas City Royals are starting the season by solidifying themselves on the Mt Rushmore of baseball futility. They have yet to win a home game! They let Prince Fielder, and Jose Bautista steal bases. They found a way to lose a game that’s never been done before, or if it has no one can remember, by hitting two consecutive batters to force home a winning run. It’s frustrating to the point of being mystifying how one organization can come with so many ways to be terrible.

It’s not like we haven’t seen this before. In January I wrote a post called Winter Worries. Unfortunately it appears a lot of my worries are coming true. The past two weeks have reminded me of 2004 more than the Kauffman Era. Key players are on the Disabled List. Veteran players have regressed. Rookies have regressed, in the case of Greg Holland, spectacularly. The league has adjusted to the younger players and they appear to have trouble adjusting back. I don’t know if Ned Yost is going to jump in the shower with his uniform on, or flee the team in the middle of the night. Since that whacky stuff has already happened, probably not. But it would not shock me if the Royals find some other way to make their fan utter “WTF” and national media text “LOL” to all their friends. You see, this organization has more of a track record for creating scenes fit for a Yackety Sax Youtube video than winning baseball games.

I’ve been told thirteen games is not a large sample size. Let me tell you about a sample size: Since April 18, 2000, the date David Glass assumed sole ownership of the Royals, the Royals are 813-1144. That is the worst record in the Major Leagues during that time. (They are 2 games back of the Pirates in case you were wondering.) Is that a big enough sample size? Royals fans have been told by non-stake holders that the Royals have one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball. We’ve been told that this 2012 version is better on paper. I guess I should believe that, but fans don’t print up t-shirts, and you don’t get to hang banners in your stadium for being good on paper and winning awards from publications. You get those things by winning baseball games.

The organization tells us it takes 8 to 10 years to build from within and go from terrible to winner. Really? Tell that to Andrew Freidman General Manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. He was promoted to General Manager after the 2005 season. At the end of 2008 the Rays were American League Champions. I hope Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers doesn’t hear that it takes 8 to 10 years to turn a team around. Daniels was also promoted to General Manager at the end of the 2005 season. It took him four seasons but the Texas Rangers won the AL Pennant in 2010 and 2011 and look to make another run, not just for the playoffs, but for the World Series title. Both of these General Managers took over their organizations six months before Dayton Moore took over the Royals. Want another example unfolding in front of our eyes? Look at the Washington Nationals. In March of 2009 Mike Rizzo was promoted to General Manager of the Nationals. Granted, the Nationals haven’t won anything yet, but they look a lot more promising than the Royals right now. Tell me again how long it should take to rebuild an entire organization?

DO NOT tell me I need to be patient! And that I’m some how not a good fan because I’m losing patience with “The Process”. I’ve been patient. The fact that I even care enough to let this baseball team make me mad says enough about my patience. It’s not like I’m being unreasonable. I was not expecting to see a World Series or even a division contender from the Royals this season. What I am expecting is for the Royals to not be fundamentally terrible in the field and on the base paths. I’m expecting them to not walk the bases loaded. I’m expecting them not do things that are so off the wall and terrible that the Royals land on baseball blogs for the wrong reasons, and become punch lines for late night television. All I’m asking is that the Royals be mediocre as opposed to historically terrible.

Is it too much to ask of the Royals to not open their home schedule with a half inning so bad that casual fans tune out for the rest of the year? Is it too much to ask the Royals to not spiral into a losing streak that has diehard fans questioning why they root for this team in the first place? Is it too much to ask that the Royals be more relevant than Major League Soccer in their own town? Is it too much to ask that the front office find some other marketing drivel to defend their terrible on field performance? It shouldn’t be. Other teams in worse markets than Kansas City have used a process to turn their organizations around. Asking Royals fans to trust Dayton Moore’s “Process” is becoming too much to ask.

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An InsideStl Photo Gallery

Our friends over at InsideStl have run some fun and interesting Cardinal photos over time.  Recently, they sent out a post featuring all of those cover photos.

With their permission, here is the collection of Photoshopped images from the guys at InsideStl.

Baseball Blues

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Royals Treatment: Royals And Indians Battle For First

We turn, once again, to our friends at Royals Treatment to breakdown the upcoming series between the Royals and the Indians in Kansas City. You read it correctly, this is an early season battle for the top spot in the American League Central.

Who saw this coming? When the Royals host the Cleveland Indians in this week’s 4-game battle, it will be contested with the A.L. Central division lead on the line! Both teams, written off by analysts and fans before the season had even began, have surged out of the gate and carry forth with them plenty of momentum into what should make for a very entertaining clash:

Mon. Apr. 18. 7:10 pm CTCarlos Carrasco (1-1, 5.03) v. Kyle Davies (1-1, 9.00)

Tues. Apr. 19. 7:10 pm CTJeanmar Gomez (0-0, -.–) v. Bruce Chen (2-0, 2.37)

Wed. Apr. 20. 7:10 pm CTJustin Masterson (3-0, 1.33) v. Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21)

Thurs. Apr. 21. 7:10 pm CTJosh Tomlin (3-0, 2.75) v. Sean O’Sullivan (1-1, 5.00)

You can read Connor’s in depth analysis of the series by clicking here.



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Monday Morning Linkage: Rounding Up The Royals

With less than a month until the wonderful “Pitchers and Catchers Report” story, some news has started to trickle in. Our Royals friends around the Internet have chimed in with some observations this week.

As is becoming a custom here on I-70 during the off-season, we suggest you give some other sites and writers some love and drop by to read what they have to say.

One of our favorite podcasts out there belongs to the talented guys at Broken Bat Single, and you can check in on their latest edition by clicking here.

The Royals brought back one of the most effective pitchers for the 2010 version of the ball club, Bruce Chen. Michael over at Kings Of Kauffman takes a look at the deal he received over here.

Craig over at Royals Authority took the time to break down the payroll of the 2011 bunch that the Royals will run out there. He openly wonders How Low Will The Payroll Go.

The Royals took a chance on Zach Miner for the upcoming season, and the folks at Royally Speaking break down who he is and what to expect from the young man. Read their breakdown here.

Finally, the trustworty Rany On The Royals breaks down the two left-handers that were signed this past week. One new to the franchise and one returning, they will look to shore up the rotation.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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