This is part seven of a nine-part series where we look at each position in the National League for the All-Star roster. We will see how different contributors constructed their All-Star rosters, as well as which players deserve to make the team. Check the storystream in the right bar for previous entries in the series.
After naming our starting position players, it's time to move on to the pitchers. Starting pitchers receive the bulk of the attention, and that's no different here. Depending on the manager & player choices, most of the pitchers will be starters. There are some established names out there that should be on the team, and there are also a few newer names out there. How will all of this affect the team?
I have to admit that this post ended up being longer than I had hoped for. There's a lot to discuss when it comes to the starting pitchers. Let's begin.
Here are the top 25 candidates by fWAR:
The Contributors Vote
|Voter||SP #1||SP #2||SP #3||SP #4|
|Cheeseandcorn||Johnny Cueto||Adam Wainwright||Tim Hudson||Jeff Samardzija|
|Derek Harvey||Adam Wainwright||Johnny Cueto||Jeff Samardzija||Stephen Strasburg|
|Fred Hofstetter||Stephen Strasburg||Zack Greinke||Madison Bumgarner||Johnny Cueto|
|Hangwithem Rach||Tim Hudson||Julio Teheran||Johnny Cueto||Adam Wainwright|
|-JP-||Stephen Strasburg||Johnny Cueto||Adam Wainwright||Zack Greinke|
|Jordan Mader||Johnny Cueto||Adam Wainwright||Madison Bumgarner||Zack Greinke|
|Noah Jarosh||Adam Wainwright||Johnny Cueto||Stephen Strasburg||Madison Bumgarner|
|NPetrashek||Johnny Cueto||Stephen Strasburg||Adam Wainwright||Michael Wacha|
|Voter||SP #5||SP #6||SP #7||SP #8|
|Cheeseandcorn||Zack Greinke||Michael Wacha||Madison Bumgarner||Julio Teheran|
|Derek Harvey||Cliff Lee||Michael Wacha||Madison Bumgarner||Clayton Kershaw|
|Fred Hofstetter||Adam Wainwright||Michael Wacha||Cliff Lee||Jeff Samardzija|
|Hangwithem Rach||Zack Greinke||Jason Hammel||Jeff Samardzija||Josh Beckett|
|-JP-||Madison Bumgarner||Clayton Kershaw||Tim Hudson||Jeff Samardzija|
|Jordan Mader||Tim Hudson||Julio Teheran||Stephen Strasburg||Kyle Lohse|
|Noah Jarosh||Zack Greinke||Tim Hudson||Julio Teheran||Andrew Cashner|
|NPetrashek||Madison Bumgarner||Zack Greinke||Andrew Cashner||Jonathan Niese|
|Voter||SP #9||Alt. #1||Alt. #2||Alt. #3|
|Cheeseandcorn||-||Cliff Lee||Kyle Lohse||-|
|Derek Harvey||Kyle Lohse||Zack Greinke||Aaron Harang||Andrew Cashner|
|Fred Hofstetter||Julio Teheran||Kyle Lohse||Ian Kennedy||Aaron Harang|
|-JP-||Kyle Lohse||Jason Hammel||Jordan Zimmerman||Ian Kennedy|
|Jordan Mader||-||Jeff Samardzija||Nathan Eovaldi||Michael Wacha|
|Noah Jarosh||Jeff Samardzija||Michael Wacha||-||-|
|NPetrashek||-||Cliff Lee||Jeff Samardzija||Aaron Harang|
Couple notes on all of this. The voters were asked to assemble a 13-man pitching staff, of which a minimum of three players must be relievers. The starter order is mostly inconsequential, with the only exception who is at SP #1. That is the pitcher that would start the game. Three alternates were also selected to replace SPs who drop out due to Sunday starts. These were assembled around two weeks ago, so some stats have changed. I'm sure some of these voters would rearrange their staffs a little if they re-voted today.
The voters had plenty to say here:
Cheeseandcorn: "I had the toughest time trying to figure out what to do with Julio Teheran - he's got an elite ERA, but all of his peripherals suggest he's doing it an insane amount of luck. I ended up slipping him in at the last minute after Lohse's disaster start on Friday [6/6]. Tough to leave someone out in favor of a guy with an ERA a run and a half higher."
Derek Harvey: "Yes Kyle Lohse made my team. Yeah, maybe it's a bit of a homer pick, but he's actually (the time of doing this) 10th in fWAR so I think it's entirely defensible. And I think Lohse is better than both Jason Hammel who is ahead of him and Ian Kennedy who is tied with him. Also, yeah Aaron Harang totally deserves the nod. I don't think he's this good but who cares? He's been great this season and that should be enough."
Fred Hofstetter: "Whiffs and velocity prioritized. Strikeouters preferred to pitch-to-contacters."
Jordan Mader: "I am not sure how or why Kyle Lohse is having a all-star caliber season at 35, but I am certainly not complaining. Samardzija is on the fence for me but watch me hold his win/loss record and WPA against him-- I don't think that makes him a worse pitcher, but the All-Star game is about results and he hasn't gotten them. "
Noah Jarosh: " I could have gone any number of ways on the starting pitching. The first 3-5 are all obvious. The rest? Could be anyone else. Ian Kennedy, Cliff Lee, Jordan Zimmermann, Jason Hammel...the list goes on. There are sure to be snubs on the pitching side. There normally are, but I mean there are some legit hard decisions in this case."
NPetrashek: "Only real debate here was whether Cueto or Strasburg would start. 1.68 ERA and an 80% strand rate means Cueto gets the nod. Lot of names we've become accustomed to on the starter list. Meanwhile, let's all give up for the Aaron Harang revival tour. And the ageless Tim Hudson, who probably isn't going to get nearly enough love. Smardzija is pretty much a pity pick ... he's pitched pretty well, but man does his team suck. I'm told I have to pick a Met and Padre, and Jonathan Niese and Andrew Cashner qualify, respectively. Also having pretty good years."
There's a lot of selections here, so let's try to break it down. First of all, there's a clear top tier here. Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright, and Johnny Cueto are the clear best of the league. Wainwright and Cueto were unanimous picks, and Strasburg was on 7 of 8 rosters. There's no debating if they should be on the roster, the only debate is which one should start the game. That was divided among the voters (though Tim Hudson also got a vote here). After the top three, the selection gets a little tougher. There were no unanimous selections.
Jeff Samardzija is one of the more interesting cases. He is fourth in fWAR, but he didn't make every roster. He was named as a starter on 6 of 8, and an alternate on the other two. I almost left him off mine. The reason is that while the stats are good, it comes down to the W-L record. It may sound stupid, but that's still a factor in making these decisions. A .500 record won't hurt a player, but having too many losses (like Samardzija) does make it hard to put that player in the game.
Here are some of the other selections that were named on most (but not all) rosters. Madison Bumgarner is up there in stats but only made 7 of the 8 rosters. Zack Greinke made every vote, but one voter put him as an alternate. Tim Hudson made 5 of the 8 rosters, and teammate Julio Teheran did the same. After that, it got a bit tougher. Michael Wacha made 4 rosters, with 2 alternate selections. Clayton Kershaw was only on 2 ballots (though I'm sure that would change if there was a re-vote today). Cliff Lee also made 2 ballots, though also got 2 alternate picks. Jason Hammel, Andrew Cashner, and Jonathan Niese also made appearances.
The one case we haven't talked about yet is Kyle Lohse. Among the Brewers starters, he has the best chance of making the team. Wily Peralta might have an outside chance, but the best choice would be Kyle Lohse. He was named to four rosters, and also had an alternate selection. Does Kyle Lohse deserve to make the All-Star team? His case isn't much worse than anyone else's case. Once you get beyond the top 3-4 pitchers, they start to blend together a bit. It could end up coming down to who has the hottest streak before rosters are announced, and Kyle Lohse has as good of a chance as anyone else of getting a spot.
What do you think? Does Kyle Lohse deserve a spot on the team? Did the voters snub any good candidates? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
If you've been following the series so far, you know the drill now. It's time to name your staff. There's a lot of choices here, need to name at least eight starters for your staff. Make your selections, the results will be out with the last part of the series. Poll is open until noon tomorrow.