The Road to Washington D.C. – All-Star 2018

As Major League Baseball moves into the third month it means we are now allowed to start making predictions about the All-Star Game, which this year returns to Washington D.C. for the first time since 1969. Although it isn’t for another 7 weeks the fan voting opened on the 1st June 12pm ET so people can vote now for the starting positions. So lets go through the probable starting teams if all the fans were analytically inclined, only the starting position players are voted for by the fans. All WAR figures are Fangraphs figures as of the end of May.

National League

C – WAR Leader – Francisco Cervelli (2.1) – Chance 40% – Top of NL catchers WAR by 0.3 from J.T. Realmuto, but main threat to starting position though is probably the starter from the previous 3 All-Star games Buster Posey.

1B – WAR Leader – Freddie Freeman (2.5) – Chance 60% – He is only Just ahead of Brandon Belt, who is very close only 0.1 behind. One of these should be be the starter with them out performing the usual suspects of Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt.

2B – WAR Leader – Ozzie Albies (2.1) – Chance 70% – Asdrubal Cabrera and Scooter Gennett are both 0.2 behind but with Ozzie being such a standout young performer he has a very good chance of going.

3B – WAR Leader – Nolan Arenado & Kris Bryant (2.3) – Chance Arenado 55%, Bryant 35% – Even thought they are tied Nolan gets the nod here as he was selected last year and sticks in the mind of the average fan more than Bryant.

SS – WAR Leader – Trea Turner (1.7) – Chance 60% – Shortstop is the weakest position in the team and there are a few others very close but that fact that it will be in his home stadium should mean he will get the votes required. Good months from Paul DeJong (1.6) or Brandon Crawford (1.4) could change that though.

OF WAR Top 3 – A.J. Pollock (2.3), Lorenzo Cain (2.2), Nick Markakis (2.0) – Chance All – <20% – These three would be earning the start spots right not but a further 4 players having a WAR above 1.7, so this one will go down to the wire. Pollock is injured but still makes my team as he is still has a better WAR. Also, fan favourite Bryce Harper (1.6) is guaranteed even though he is only 8th on the WAR list, so i will more than likely be two from those seven but he doesn’t make my team.

The combined WAR for this starting team is 17.2 and average of 2.15, keep that in mind when we go through the AL team.

American League

C – WAR Leader – Gary Sanchez & Max Stassi (1.3) – Chance Sanchez 70%, Stassi 25% – Even though they are level Sanchez is the standout favourite for this as Stassi may struggle to get all the votes from his own teams fan base and the Yankees fan base out numbers the Astros.

1B – WAR Leader – Mitch Moreland (1.4) – Chance 60% – Could be beaten by a strong month from either C.J. Cron or Jose Abreu but Mitch is ahead on WAR even though he has 70 fewer at bats than the other two. So by the time we get closer to the game he should be further ahead of them.

2B – WAR Leader – Jose Altuve (2.3) – Chance 95% – Leads the way from Jed Lowrie (1.9) and Daniel Robertson (1.8), so even if they have an amazing June it would take a lot for these players from small fan base teams to get the nod.  Only an injury to Altuve stops him going in my books.

3B – WAR Leader – Jose Ramirez (4.0) – Chance 98% – Cleveland’s GOAT has a WAR more than double of any other player in the AL, he could not play for the entire time between now and the All-Star game and would still be leading. Same as Altuve only injury can stop him now.

SS – WAR Leader – Francisco Lindor (3.4) – Chance 30% – This position is stacked in AL, Andrelton Simmons (2.9) and Manny Machado (2.7) are both having very good seasons, Manny being the best offensively and Andrelton defensively. This vote could go anywhere with Carlos Correa (2.0) not to be counted out either, the most difficult one to call in my book.

OF WAR Top 3 – Mike Trout (4.5), Mookie Betts (4.1), Aaron Judge (2.7) – Chance All – 98% – The three biggest stars hold the top spots here, so once again more shoe ins for the starting line up. Save for injury.

DH – WAR Leader – J.D. Martinez (2.0) – Chance 55% – A long way clear of anyone else in this category but the reason I have his chances this low is because people may vote for a certain Japanese upstart called Shohei Ohtani.

So the total WAR for the AL team, excluding the DH is 23.7. Which is an average of 2.96. So the AL looks like it should have a much better positional starting lineup than the NL, only the NL Catcher and First Basemen would make a combined starting lineup.  There is a long time to go in the voting and I would be surprised if I got more than half of this correct as the stats and the fans don’t normally agree.

I will have further piece when we get to the All-Star game about the players lucky and unlucky to be there and we can compare my predictions then.

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