I am gearing up for the All-Star game by issuing a plethora of posts dedicated to the Mid-Summer Classic. Why do I do this? Well, it’s not because I put a ton of validity in the game; after all, it is an exhibition game, but because I am a fan and the MLB All-Star week is the best of all the major sports. And I write these posts to give insight on who I believe actually deserves a trip to the All-Star game and not who the biggest fan bases vote in or which ridiculous returned favor a manager throws a player’s way.
The Minnesota Twins have had a rough year, to say the least. Injuries to stars Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel, and newly acquired Tsuyoshi Nishioka coupled with major declines in production by Delmon Young and Francisco Liriano are the main causes of the team’s failures. But there are a few bright spots and the team does get to have at least one player represent them in the All-Star game. So, who should it be? Here are the top three options
Carl Pavano has been very good this year, much better than his stats show at first glance. He has logged a team high 94.1 innings and has a 2.00 BB/9 but a weak 3.63 K/9. His current ERA is 4.20 but his FIP of 3.88 suggests he has been a bit unlucky. He leads all pitchers on the staff with 1.3 fWAR but his rWAR is only 0.4.
Scott Baker has been slightly better but in a few less innings. In 83.2 innings he has a K/9 of 8.39 to go with a low BB/9 of 2.47. His current ERA sits at 3.55 and his FIP is in line with Pavano’s at 3.93 but his xFIP of 3.49 suggest he’s pitching close to what his ERA suggests. His current fWAR sits at 1.1 and his rWAR at 1.6. I would take Baker over Pavano.
But, the final candidate is easily my choice to represent the Twins although he is on the disabled list. Denard Span currently ranks 5th among ALL American League players in rWAR with 3.3 and his fWAR of 2.8 ranks him 8th in the AL among position players. At first glance Span doesn’t look like much of an All-Star. His offensive line sits at .294/.361/.385 for a wOBA of .338 but that equals an OPS+ of 108 and wRC+ of 114. His .361 on-base percentage is bested only by Jacoby Ellsbury among AL center fielders. Most of Span’s value is in his Major League leading +10.7 UZR and 1.9 dWAR which actually ties Brett Gardner‘s last year total which lead the AL.
The choice seems obvious: Denard Span, concussion and all, deserves a spot on the All-Star team and, quite frankly, it has nothing to do with being the sole representative of his team, it is because he deserves to be there among the best players in the game this year because he has been one of the best, not just the best on the Twins.
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | All-Star Game, Brett Gardner, Carl Pavano, Delmon Young, Denard Span, Francisco Liriano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins, Scott Baker, Tsuyoshi Nishioka