My 2002 All-Star selections and Silver Slugger comparison

27 06 2015

My opinion of the best player at each position in each league.  For pitchers, I pick 3 starters and 1 reliever.  I do include a DH. Here’s the 2002 version:

My NL All-Stars: C – Mike Piazza, NYM (.280/33/98)

1B – Todd Helton, COL (.336/49/146, 132 R, .685 SLG)

2B – Jeff Kent, SFG (.298/37/108, .313)

2002 Topps Traded Scott Rolen3B – Scott Rolen, PHI/STL (.266/31/110)

SS – Edgar Renteria, STL (.305/11/83)

OF – Barry Bonds, OF, SFG (.370/46/110, 198 BB (MLB record),68 IBB (MLB record).582 OBP (MLB record),.799 SLG, 1.381 OPS (MLB record))

OF – Vladimir Guerrero, MON (.336/39/111, 206 H, 40 SB)

OF – Brian Giles, PIT (.298/38/103, 1.072 OPS)

SP – Randy Johnson, ARI (24-5/2.32/334, 260 IP, 8 CG, 4 SHO, Cy Young)

SP – Curt Schilling, ARI (23-7/3.23/316, 259.1 IP, 6 CG)

SP – Roy Oswalt, HOU (19-9/3.01/208, 233 IP)

RP – Eric Gagne, LAD (4-1/1.97/114, 52 SV)

The NL outfield was an extremely difficult choice; last year I had Shawn Green as my 4th outfielder, and he’s probably the first odd man out again.  In addition, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Larry Walker, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones (who played in left field in 2002) and Sammy Sosa all could have been chosen.  But you could swap Giles and Guerrero out for any one of those guys and have an argument.  The two of them had the highest OPS (except for Walker in Coors Field), while Vlad led the league in hits and nearly had a 40-40 season.  I actually thought about putting Pujols in as the 3rd baseman – he played 41 games there, but that’s a third of his time in the outfield, and Scott Rolen was nearly as good as Pujols in 2002 anyways.

First base was a little challenging – Ryan Klesko had very good numbers without the Coors Field benefit that Helton got.  But Helton was a much better defensive player, and that tips the scale for me.  It’s interesting – in addition to looking at the players’ traditional stats, I look at both WAR and Win Shares closely when trying to make determinations.  And so many of these NL decisions for 2002, Win Shares and WAR just didn’t line up.

Starting pitching was (again) a very clear top 2, and Oswalt was an easy choice for third.  Reliever was tough.  John Smoltz set a National League record with 55 saves, and while he was very good, a lot of that was a function of how good the Braves were.  Gagne was much better with nearly as many saves.  And, if anything – Octavio Dotel (1.85 ERA in set-up role) or Byung-Hyun Kim (36 saves) were his best competition.

My AL All-Stars: C – Jorge Posada, NYY (.268/20/99)

1B – Jim Thome, CLE (.304/52/118, 122 BB, .445 OBP, .677 SLG)

2002 Topps ASR Alfonso Soriano2B – Alfonso Soriano NYY (.300/39/102, 41 SB, 209 H, 128 R)

3B – Eric Chavez, OAK (.275/34/109)

SS – Alex Rodriguez, TEX (.300/57/142, 125 R)

OF – Manny Ramirez, BOS (.349/33/107, .450 OBP, 127 R)

OF – Magglio Ordonez, CHW (.320/38/125, 116 R, 47 2B)

OF – Bernie Williams, NYY (.333/19/102, 206 H)

DH – Jason Giambi, NYY (.314/41/122, .435 OBP)

SP – Barry Zito, OAK (23-5/2.75/182, Cy Young)

SP – Pedro Martinez, BOS (20-4/2.26/239, 4 SHO)

SP – Roy Halladay, TOR (19-7/2.93/168, 239.1 IP)

RP – Arthur Rhodes, SEA (10-4/2.33/91)

This has to have been the best season all-time for any league as far as shortstops go.  Alex Rodriguez was really the best player in the league.  Nomar Garciaparra led the league with 56 doubles.  Miguel Tejada won the MVP but was probably the third best 6-man in the league.  Derek Jeter was his usual self, while David Eckstein and Omar Vizquel had good offensive seasons paired with excellent defense.

Giambi actually played more games at first base, but did play 63 games at DH so I was able to get the 3rd best hitter in the AL in this lineup (if I only considered him a first baseman, Thome beats him out).  The other slot that was interesting was third base – Eric Hinske was the Rookie of the Year and deserved some serious consideration, as did Troy Glaus, who I picked in 2001 and who won the World Series MVP.

In the American League – pitching was a tough decision.  There was a clear top 5 – the 3 above, Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe – but I’ve chosen to pick the top 3.  Zito won the Cy Young, and I think was deserving of the top spot.  Pedro was the only guy out of those 5 with less than 200 innings, but he had 199, and he was the best pitcher when he did pitch.  From there, I thought Halladay’s total package – really good numbers over the most innings – gave him the third spot.  But honestly, any of the others could replace Doc or Pedro.  Also, with no exceptional AL closer in 2002, I thought Arthur Rhodes season was the best, as he had a minute 0.83 WHIP and a 10.6 K per 9 innings.

**********

NL Silver Slugger: C – Mike Piazza, 1B – Helton, 2B – Kent, 3B – Rolen, SS – Renteria, OF – Bonds, Guerrero, Sammy Sosa (.288/49/108, 122 R), P – Mike Hampton (.344/3/5)

Mike Hampton followed up his historical 2001 season (7 homers) with a .344 average.  As mentioned above, Sosa was someone I considered, but he just wasn’t that good defensively and even his excellent offensive numbers are aided by his home park in the Windy City.

AL Silver Sluggers: C – Posada, 1B – Giambi, 2B – Soriano, 3B – Chavez, SS – Rodriguez, OF – B. Williams, Ordonez, Garrett Anderson ANA (.306/29/123, 56 2B), DH – M. Ramirez

Interesting how the lack of a really good DH led the Silver Slugger voters to put in Manny, while it caused me to put in Thome.  This ends up with Garrett Anderson in their lineup instead of Jim Thome in mine.  Anderson had a great season and was a tough cut for me.

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