My 2003 All-Star selections and Silver Slugger comparison

7 10 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 2003 version:

My NL All-Stars: C – Javy Lopez, ATL (.328/43/109, 1.065 OPS)

1B – Todd Helton, COL (.358/33/117, 135 R, 1.088 OPS)

2B – Marcus Giles, SFG (.315/21/69, 49 2B)

2002 Topps Traded Sheffield3B – Scott Rolen, STL (.286/28/104)

SS – Edgar Renteria, STL (.330/13/100, 47 2B, 34 SB)

OF – Barry Bonds, OF, SFG (.341/45/90, 148 BB, .529 OBP, .749 SLG, 1.278 OPS, MVP)

OF – Albert Pujols, STL (.359/43/124, 212 H, 51 2B, 137 R, 1.106 OPS)

OF – Gary Sheffield ATL (.330/39/132, 1.072 OPS, 126 R)

SP – Mark Prior, CHC (18-6/2.43/245)

SP – Jason Schmidt, SFG (17-5/2.34/208, 3 SHO)

SP – Livan Hernandez, MON (15-10/3.20/178, 233.1 IP, 8 CG)

RP – Eric Gagne, LAD (2-3/1.20/137, 55 SV – ties NL record, Cy Young)

Pujols and Bonds were the best 2 players in baseball in 2003, and Albert probably could have received better consideration for MVP than he did.  Sheffield was an easy pick as the 3rd outfielder.  All of the offensive positions were easy to pick.  Javy Lopez had the most notable season – he had one of the best offensive seasons ever by a catcher.  

This was probably the easiest team I’ve had to pick out of the 24 seasons I’ve done so far.  The only spot that was tough to fill was the 3rd pitching spot.  I went with Livan Hernandez and his league-leading inning total, but I also considered Kevin Brown and Kerry Wood.

My AL All-Stars: C – Jorge Posada, NYY (.281/30/101)

1B – Carlos Delgado, TOR (.302/42/145, 1.019 OPS)

2B – Bret Boone SEA (.294/35/117)

3B – Bill Mueller, BOS (.326/19/85, 45 2B)

SS – Alex Rodriguez, TEX  (.298/47/118, 124 R, .600 SLG, MVP)

OF – Manny Ramirez, BOS (.325/37/104, .427 OBP)

OF – Carlos Beltran, KCR (.307/26/100, 10 3B, 41 SB)

OF – Vernon Wells, TOR (.317/33/117, 49 2B, 215 H)

DH – Frank Thomas, CHW (.267/42/105)

SP – Roy Halladay, TOR (22-7/3.25/204, 266 IP, 9 CG, 2 SHO, Cy Young)

SP – Pedro Martinez, BOS (14-4/2.22/206)

SP – Tim Hudson, OAK (16-7/2.70/162, 2 SHO)

RP – Mariano Rivera, NYY (5-2/1.66/63, 40 SV)

How does a guy win the MVP on a last place team?  Have a season like A Rod did with little to no competition.  Hank Blalock had the 2nd highest WAR according to baseball-reference.  Since those guys were teammates, it shows you how bad the rest of the Rangers were.  

Blalock in 2003 was an interesting case study of sabermetrics.  As I mentioned, he was 2nd highest WAR of AL hitters.  But if I look at Bill James’s Win Shares, he is 39th.  39th is good, but it wouldn’t make this fantasy team of mine.  If I had to pick one, I like Win Shares better, but I also like to just look at their standard stats.  I know, old school.  Anyway, I went with Bill Mueller over Blalock and Eric Chavez.  All 3 have a decent case.

The top 3 pitchers seemed pretty clear to me, but I could see an argument for Esteban Loaiza, who was the 4th best pitcher in the AL if you wouldn’t put him ahead of Pedro or Hudson.  Rivera edges out Keith Foulke, who did lead the league with 3 saves and pitched about 10 more games.  But Mo was better in the 70 innings he did pitch.

Finally, DH is worth discussing.  I went with Thomas over Jason Giambi.  They had very comparable seasons, but Thomas was the DH the whole time, whereas Giambi split his time about 50/50.  So I kind of gave the nod to Thomas in that situation.  Again, they were very comparable.  Thomas had about 10 more doubles (and 1 more homer), so that made the difference for me.

**********

NL Silver Slugger: C – Lopez, 1B – Helton, 2B – Jose Vidro MON (.310/15/65), 3B – Mike Lowell (.276/32/105), SS – Renteria, OF – Bonds, Guerrero, Sammy Sosa (.288/49/108, 122 R), P – Mike Hampton (.183/2/8)

Mike Hampton won his 5th and final Silver Slugger in a row.  Jose Vidro somehow got the nod over Marcus Giles despite being worse in almost every statistical category.  Mike Lowell was definitely a good option at 3rd base, he and Rolen were about even.  I picked Rolen because he known to be an exceptional defensive third baseman.

AL Silver Sluggers: C – Posada, 1B – Delgado, 2B – Boone, 3B – Mueller, SS – Rodriguez, OF – Ramirez, Wells Garrett Anderson ANA (.317/29/116, 49 2B), DH – E. Martinez SEA (.294/24/98)

This was the 2nd year in a row I didn’t pick Anderson when he had won a Silver Slugger.  He was deserving for sure; his traditional statistics were a little more showy than Carlos Beltran.  But when you consider defense and base running, Beltran was closer to being the best outfielder in the AL than the 4th best.

Not sure why they picked Edgar Martinez.  His numbers were solid but clearly inferior to Frank Thomas.

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