(Photo Credit: Yardbarker.com)
The worst fears of Angels fans have, in fact, been realized. Going into the third time Angel Stadium has hosted the All-Star Game (the last time was 21 years ago, in 1989), only one Angel will be representing the team. Torii Hunter, elected by the Player Balloting (and perhaps because the Angels didn’t have a representative had he not been) will be on the bench when the All-Star Game begins in his home park, with the rest of the Angels left to watch with the rest of us.
Perhaps ironically, though mostly just painfully, the one person on the Angels roster that truly deserves to be there has been left off by Joe Girardi and by the players who vote as well. Weaver is such a snub, in fact, that there should be far more outrage over it than there will be among the non-saber community.
The starting pitchers selected by the players and Girardi are: David Price, Rays; Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, Red Sox; Phil Hughes and C.C. Sabathia, Yankees; Cliff Lee, Mariners; Fausto Carmona, Indians; and Trevor Cahill, Athletics. As good as some of those pitchers have been, they’ve not been nearly as good as Weaver, and WAR pretty clearly bears this out:
David Price: 2.1 WAR
Jon Lester: 3.5
Clay Buchholz: 2.2
Phil Hughes: 2.0
C.C. Sabathia: 1.9
Cliff Lee: 3.5
Fausto Carmona: 1.5
Trevor Cahill: 1.2
Unfortuantely, Weaver wasn’t even the only person that deserves to be there but was badly overlooked by the players and Girardi. Carmona, Cahill, and Sabathia have utterly no business playing in this All-Star Game, but Weaver, Felix Hernandez, and Justin Verlander clearly should be. Take a look at their WAR compared to those three:
Jered Weaver: 3.2
Felix Hernandez: 2.9
Justin Verlander: 2.8
These three rank 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the AL among starters with at least 80 IP. Phil Hughes is 15th. David Price is 13th. Sabathia is 17th. Carmona is 30th! Cahill, even worse, is 37th! The exclusion of Weaver is obviously what we’re concerned with here, but all three of them, especially when looking at how far down other players are on the WAR list, just makes it all so ridiculous.
Perhaps even worse, guys like Cahill and Carmona aren’t even the most deserving in their own rotation. Justin Masterson has a higher WAR than Carmona, and Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden are both more deserving than Cahill, by a wide margin. Even the Angels’ Joel Pineiro, with a 1.7 WAR, is more deserving than both Carmona and Cahill.
Most of the Angels fans I’ve encountered are not big fans of saber stats, still believing in the power of AVG and RBI and Runs Scored. Too often lately, many of the saber stats are pointing out reasons the Angels aren’t as good as many believe, and I think that makes many people hesitant to accept the stats because they want to believe their team is a good one. On this, however, I think I may get more people on my side of the argument, if only for this one instance. I’m sure Girardi and most of the players didn’t even begin to consider WAR, or any other advanced metric when considering whether or not Weaver should be included. In fact, were they to somehow read this, I’m sure most of them would roll their eyes at it and go on with their lives, completely unaffected. These statistics, however, have some real value and use in them, and one of them is in avoiding major screw-up’s like this one.
The All-Star Game is always fun to watch, but I think for many Angel fans this one is going to be bittersweet. I’ve said a lot of negative things on this blog about the Angels and some of the decisions they’ve made (things I still stand behind, for the record), but as I’ve said all along, I’m just calling things as I see them, good or bad. On this, it’s nothing but good. Jered Weaver has performed better than I expected him to this season, probably better than a lot of people expected him to, and he clearly deserves to be in uniform, participating in the 2010 All-Star Game. Even if this wasn’t being held in the Angels’ home park, there would be no question in my mind that he deserves this. I congratulate Torii Hunter on making it, but his spot really belongs to Weaver. Even if we only have one guy there, it should be the right one.