I’ve already talked about the hitters for this year’s All-Star game so let’s look at the pitchers.
I once again used an algorithm to analyze the pitchers. I used 5 stats and weighted them equally to get a glimpse at who were the best pitchers in the first half of this season.
Strikeout percentage (K%)
WHIP ((Walks + Hits) / Innings pitched)
ERA (Earned Run Average)
FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching)
WPA (Win Probability Added)
I used K% because strikeouts are outs that don’t even require a defense to make a play and no runners can advance. Strikeouts are also an indicator of a dominant pitcher because they are fooling or overpowering batters. I used WHIP because it shows how many batters the pitcher let on base per inning. ERA because it’s a commonly known stat to show how many runs a pitcher is allowing per 9 innings. FIP to show what happens on pitches that have nothing to do with fielding (home runs, walks and strikeouts). Finally, I used WPA to show how much a team’s chance of winning increases when the pitcher is in the game. I weighted these 5 stats evenly to get my results.
There is a heavy presence of American League All-Stars at the top of this chart and you really can’t complain too much about any of the selections. However, Tyler Skaggs, James Paxton and Marco Gonzales do have legitimate arguments to be in the game. J.A. Happ benefits from being the only Blue Jay representative.
The reliever that sticks out on this chart is Joe Jimenez. He probably shouldn’t be there, but he’s the only Detroit Tiger in the game and once again this is just because every team needs at least one representative. That’s fine, but he robbed Collin McHugh of an All-Star spot.
For National League starters, just about all the right pitchers were selected. Jon Lester is the only player further down the list, and he was named the NL pitcher of the month in June. Lester has pitched to more contact this season which has hurt his FIP and K% numbers and decreased his place on this list.
The NL bullpen is a little more crazy. Let’s just start off by looking at how many pitchers I had to include on this chart just so we could see Brad Hand. Again, this is because he’s the only Padre, but he does rank 5th in the league in K% so there’s at least some sort of argument for him. Kenley Jansen, Felipe Vasquez and even Hand may have been selected because they are ‘closers’ and more well-known closers. Kirby Yates probably should have been the Padres All-Star, not Hand. Yates is in the top 10 NL relievers for all 5 categories and yet Brad Hand is the Padres’ All-Star. Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Ottavino and Kirby Yates are guys that based on these numbers should definitely be All-Stars.
Having at least one player from every team does prevent some of the better players from being selected. However, it is fun for fans of every team to at least have one player to root for and represent their team. Whether you like it or not, this is the way the All-Star game is so players will always get snubbed.