2015 All-Star Game: Look Out For The Toronto Blue Jays!
In 1993, the World Champion Blue Jays (sigh!) had four starting players in the all-star game. Roberto Alomar was at 2B and leading off, Paul Molitor was batting second as DH, Joe Carter was batting cleanup and playing RF and John Olerud was batting fifth and playing 1B. Devon White was also in the game, but he did not start – for some incomprehensible reason, Cito Gaston started some kid named Ken Griffey Jr. in centre field instead.
I was reminded of those glory days when I was recently looking over the 2015 Steamer projections for the American League, and noticing how many Jays were highly rated. It made me wonder how many Jays might make the 2015 All-Star team.
So, park your cynicism and play a game with me. Assume that the Steamer projections turn out to be 100% correct, and that the player with the highest fWAR at each position is chosen to start in the All-Star game (i.e. no politics, and no ballot-stuffing).
Technically, Martin and Gomes are tied with a projected fWAR of 3.8. But I choose to call Martin the favourite because
- He is shown ahead of Gomes on the Steamer list, which leads me to believe that he wins on the second decimal place
- He might win a tie anyway, because of his outstanding pitch framing reputation, and
- It is my article
A clear win for Josh Donaldson. Not surprising, as he is the reigning 2014 All-Star third baseman.
Technically, Reyes is ranked third by Steamer. But Hanley is expected to play LF for most of the season, which should disqualify him. And even though Aybar is projected to earn a marginally higher fWAR than Reyes, he is expected to do so almost entirely based on defense. With the results this close, would I be justified in breaking my own rule and giving the frontrunner nod to the better offensive player (Reyes?)
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No contest. With Nelson Cruz projected to come back down to earth in Seattle, Edwin is the clear Steamer favourite.
Unless Stanton, Puig or Heyward get traded to the AL, this will not even be close.
So based on this completely objective and not-in-the-least fan biased analysis, the Jays could very easily have five starters on the 2015 Al All-Star team. If they did, it would be only the second time that this feat has been accomplished since fan voting was reinstated in 1970. The first was in 1976, when Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Johnny Bench and Dave Concepción of the Reds all started for the NL.
Of course, if you want to look further back, the 1939 Yankees started six players (including the starting pitcher) – Rolfe, DiMaggio, Dickey, Selkirk, Gordon and SP Red Ruffing. And even this was (almost) not the record. In 1957, when fan voting determined the starters, the Cincinnati Reds fans successfully stuffed the ballot boxes to the point that seven of the eight position players would have been Reds. Commissioner Ford Frick intervened, with the result that Gus Bell and Wally Post were replaced with two lesser lights named Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.