Monday, 2 July 2007

Grading the Fan Vote - American League

Now that that rosters are [mostly] picked, it's time to evaluate how the fans did in voting for the starters. I'll use the A-F grading scale, using my very subjective analysis.

Catcher: Ivan Rodriguez
Grade: F
Explanation: These days, Pudge isn't even one of the 5 best catchers in the AL. His AVG is still a respectable .280, but his OBP is less than .300 (thanks to a pathetic 4 BB on the year), and he's not hitting for that much power either. Jorge Posada, Victor Martinez, Joe Mauer, Kenji Johjima, and Jason Varitek all would have been better choices.

First Base: David Ortiz
Grade: A
Explanation: He's not really a first basemen, but he qualifies there on the ballot and he is deserving of this spot. You could certainly make a case for his teammate Kevin Youkilis (maybe the biggest snub), Casey Kotchman, Justin Morneau, or maybe even Mark Teixeira (though he has missed time), but Ortiz has been very good at the plate, as usual. I have no problems with this choice.

Second Base: Placido Polanco
Grade: C
Explanation: I don't think Polanco was the right choice, but it's not as bad as the choice of Pudge. Polanco has at least been above average. BJ Upton and Dustin Pedroia have both been better than Polanco, but they have considerably less ABs than him. The best choice, I think, would have been Brian Roberts, who is getting on base at a better than .400 clip and hitting for more power than Polanco.

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez
Grade: A
Explanation: It's simply not even close.

Shortstop: Derek Jeter
Grade: B
Explanation: I think Carlos Guillen has clearly been the best SS in the AL so far this year, but Jeter has probably been 2nd best, so he's not a terrible choice. You could probably make a case that Jeter has been more valuable overall, as he is getting on base more and has nearly 60 more ABs. So I'd take Guillen definitely, but Jeter is at least a rational choice.

Outfield: Magglio Ordonez
Grade: A
Explanation: He's been one of the top 2 hitters in the AL all season long (along with A-Rod), so he is the obvious and right choice here. He's getting on base at a great rate and has a ton of doubles. He's one of the top candidates for MVP of the first half of the year.

Outfield: Vladimir Guerrero
Grade: A
Explanation: Among AL outfielders in terms of hitting, there is Magglio and Vlad, and then there is everyone else. Vlad has shown surprisingly good patience, giving him a .423 OBP at this point, and continues to hit for solid power.

Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki
Grade: A-
Explanation: There are a couple other possibilities here, such as Torii Hunter or Curtis Granderson (another large snub), but Ichiro is a pretty good choice. He's getting on base a ton and playing very good defense in CF. It's be nice if he would hit for more power, but he has been very valuable so far.

So overall, pretty nice picks. I would say 2 picks were blatantly wrong, and maybe 2-3 more were questionable. All in all, that's pretty good.

What are your thoughts on the picks?