As some of you know that actually read my completely unbiased blog, I already voted once for the All Star game not being able to resist temptation. Ok, maybe it is not completely unbiased, but I like to think that it is. Regardless, I have updated my voting because it is only fair to make an attempt, to give the players a second chance to obtain my highly touted vote. But one vote does not matter. If you watch South Park then you already know this.
I went back and tried to give each vote to who I think was the best player. A lot of this is based on statistics, rather than observations. I do not get to see everyone play because there are so many games and not enough time or desire to watch all of them. But watching may create a bias and sampling of good or bad within my head. Statistics are definitely more objective of a viewing, but they don’t sum everything up about a player either.
I have some trouble debating how much emphasis to put on defense. Especially by position. Catchers and shortstops are going to have more emphasis on their defense than that of first baseman and right fielders. I also do not have a very accurate viewing of a players defensive worth in this current season. The only stats I have access to at this point are the relatively broad statistics of: Fielding Percentage, Range Factor, and Zone Rating. I do know the top three and bottom three players at each position based on "The Hardball Times" defensive analysis. But they only give you six at each position and not the full list. Well they do give all I believe in a spreadsheet format, but I don’t have the software on my computer as I figured out trying to download it. I may have been able to obtain it if I were to give more effort, but I chose not to. This data from "The Hardball Times" is based on the "Zone Rating" they received from "Baseball Info Solutions." I will leave a link if anyone desires to browse the article. On to my choices!
1B) David Ortiz: This was a very tough choice and it was not just between Ortiz and Youkilis. Casey Kotchman and Mark Teixera have to be included in the discussion also. But Ortiz has an OPS that is nearly 100 percentage points higher than the next player. And this is a position where offense far outweighs defense, even though defense must still be considered to some extent. But David Ortiz is a DH, which made me think. Should he be penalized because the game is in an NL park without even having a DH? The way I see it, is if Ortiz played first base and played it pretty poorly, he would still be the best at this position. The great OPS is too much to ignore. It was tough not to consider Kevin Youkilis to go along with the other tough exclusions. He is determined and has done a lot for this Sox team that I see quite frequently. He also gives good defense at the position. But if one values intangibles, Ortiz has them too. His OPS is 127 percentage points higher than Youkilis.’ It was hard to ignore Kotchman, the guy never strikes out. Teixera is well, Teixera. He has been hitting with power and I imagine playing good defense. The defense looks more toward average based on the stats I looked at. But based on his reputation I imagine that the stats I see are not completely accurate. I cannot go wrong with Ortiz here, that is the thing I was most certain of.
2B) BJ Upton: Another offensive juggernaut so far, that is in this case, a liability defensively. Ortiz is not out there hurting his team on this side of the ball, Upton is, and at a more important position. But he hits for power and gets on base with an OPS that is 93 points higher than the runner up: Dustin Pedroia, who doesn’t even qualify as of now according to ESPN’s statistics. Polanco is good but his OPS is at .801, not even comparable amongst he and Upton on offense. But Polanco hasn’t made an error and has a very high batting average. It can very well be debated. Upton might be the worst defensive second baseman in the game. If not then he is close to it. But he is one of the top few on offense, by far, so far.
3B) Alex Rodriguez: This was the only one where i didn’t even have to look at the ballot. There is no one close to the total package of this years Arod. Although according to "The Hardball Times," Arod is the second worst at the position on the defensive side in all of baseball. He only has five errors, but fielding percentage is not everything. Anyway, he is the best third baseman in the game this year, and it isn’t all that close.
SS) This is where the Yankee fans may bash me with hate comments, which I will gladly take to get some publicity. Originally I voted for Jeter. But now Carlos Guillen has surpassed him in OPS by 41 points. And that link I gave you above has Jeter ranked as the worst fielding SS in baseball once again. Guillen is pretty bad himself and the two may be comparable on that side of the baseball. But Guillen has played a little better on offense. Do not forget, I respect Jeter on offense as much as most in the game.
C) Jorge Posada: Tearing it up on offense. As "BPS" stated in a recent blog he has nowhere to go but down, which is probably true. But through the first half of the season he has been nowhere but up. The only catcher that can compare on offense is Victor Martinez, but he, from what I hear, is terrible on defense. Joe Mauer might have won my vote had he not been injured. Congrats, to Posada though. He is the only Yankee to be underrated the past ten years.
OF) Vlad Guerrero: One of the best players in the game, year in and year out. No suprise here.
OF) Magglio Ordonez: Arguably the best player in the game so far. In the mix with a few others. He is definitely playing above what his past stats have told us. But we knew he was good. Maybe he is completely healthy this year. I don’t know exactly what it is, but he is tearing the cover off the ball, literally.
OF) Ichiro Suzuki: This was the hardest choice. "The Hardball Times" has him based on "zone rating" as the best center fielder in the game. And he has an OPS ranked fifth in the AL among all outfielders. He also, just to throw this out there, is batting .358 and has twenty stolen bases.
1B) Prince Fielder: First time around I voted for Todd Helton. But this time around there wasn’t any question. Prince is awesome! He has twenty six homers and a large OPS.
2B) Chase Utley: Why doesn’t he get more media coverage. He has the highest OPS among second baseman in all of baseball. In the article above he is ranked as the best at 2B in the game on defense based on the ratings. The guy is a superstar that doesn’t get the praise he should.
3B) Miguel Cabrera: Seems to be immobile at third and his defense suffers. But he is the best offensive third baseman in the NL and one of the best in the game.
SS) Jose Reyes: Steals bases and plays solid D. He hits for power and gets on base. He basically does everything. Hardy has seventeen homers, but his OPS is lower and does not possess the same kind of speed.
C) Russell Martin: Who else am I going to choose? Catchers in the NL don’t seem to want to be able to hit this year, and he is good on both sides.
OF) Barry Bonds: His OBP is .492!
OF) Ken Griffey Jr.- Playing like the Griffey of old. Sort of. He isn’t playing good defense even since moving to right. And I read not too long ago that maybe Griffey was a little overrated in the field even in his prime years. Is this true? Was our perception off for all those years?
OF) Matt Holliday: His offensive production is incredible. And now, even though he is much better at home, his OPS on the road falls just short of .900. His batting average is .364. That is very good from what I hear.