Who are the best players never to make an All-Star team?

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Since the All-Star rosters were announced Sunday people have been arguing about who should and shouldn’t have made the team, with the focus often being on the biggest snubs. But who are the biggest All-Star snubs, in terms of never being picked for an entire career?
Baseball-Reference.com recently added that sorting feature to its amazing “Play Index” and I crunched the numbers using a stat called Wins Above Replacement to find which players accumulated the most career value as zero-time All-Stars.
Here’s the top 10 for hitters and pitchers:

HITTERS             WAR        PITCHERS            WAR
Tony Phillips      48.2        Tom Candiotti      41.0
Tim Salmon         37.6        Danny Darwin       37.1
Kirk Gibson        37.1        John Tudor         32.3
Eric Chavez        35.8        Bill Hands         31.8
Richie Hebner      35.2        Charlie Leibrandt  31.7
Garry Maddox       33.8        Jim Barr           30.5
Jose Valentin      33.7        John Denny         29.5
Dwayne Murphy      32.9        Fritz Ostermueller 27.6
Ken McMullen       31.7        Ellis Kinder       27.4
Earl Torgeson      31.5        Kevin Tapani       26.7

Some interesting names on those lists, but I think the clear lesson is that while there are plenty of regrettable snubs every season few great or even very good players fail to end up in the All-Star game eventually.
If you’re curious, here are the same lists except with active players only:

HITTERS             WAR        PITCHERS            WAR
Eric Chavez        35.8        Doug Davis         22.1
David DeJesus      22.1        A.J. Burnett       21.5
Casey Blake        21.7        Aaron Harang       18.1
Travis Hafner      19.7        Erik Bedard        17.1
Mark Ellis         19.2        Darren Oliver      16.2
Mark Kotsay        19.0        Rich Harden        15.5
Adam Kennedy       18.1        John Danks         15.2
Craig Counsell     18.1        Octavio Dotel      13.9
Orlando Cabrera    18.0        Joel Pineiro       13.7
Lyle Overbay       17.0        Jeff Weaver        13.4

Eric Chavez and most of the other guys have missed their chance at this point, but John Danks and David DeJesus have played at an All-Star level this season and are young enough to be decent bets to make it eventually.

The Yankees attendance and revenue is down, but it makes sense

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There’s a long article in the New York Times today noting that the Yankees attendance is down and that, based on financial figures released as part of their stadium bond disclosures, ticket and suite revenues through last season have fallen by $166 million since the end of 2009.

There is a lot of talk in the article about the exciting young team the Yankees have put together and how much they’ve won so far in the early going. And there is a lot of talk about marketing and demographics — Hal Steinbrenner talks about baseball’s “millennial problem” — but the story of the Yankees’ box office issues, such as they are, is pretty straightforward.

All teams suffer attendance and revenue decline when they play poorly. While the Yankees have not been bad for a long, long time, that’s a somewhat relative thing. They Yankees have sold themselves and sold their fans on the idea that nothing short of a championship is acceptable, so missing the playoffs for three of the past four years is bad for them. Fans don’t want to go see a bad team, be it Yankees fans, Rays fans, Royals fans or whoever.

Despite the recent lack of success, the Yankees have still, perversely, continued to price their tickets, concessions, parking and everything else as though they’re the only game in town. When demand falls and prices remain super high, fewer people are buying your product. Even if you’re the New York Yankees.

The Yankees are good this year. What’s more, they’re good in that exciting way that only young promising players bursting out onto the scene can deliver. It’s a wonderful thing for marketing and stuff, but even under the best of circumstances, ticket sales tend to lag on field success, often by as much as a year. Go back and look at World Series winning teams — especially the surprise winners — and you’ll see that it’s the year after on-field success when the real attendance bumps happen. I expect, if the Yankees continue to play well, their gate will get really nice by the end of the summer, but I suspect we’ll also see a more dramatic bump next year.

Taken all together, this is a dog-bites-man story. The Yankees are not some transcendent institution, immune from market forces. They’re just one of 30 Major League Baseball teams competing against other entertainments for a finite amount of the public’s money and attention. Nothin’ to see here.

David Price had a rocky rehab start last night

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Red Sox starter David Price has been rehabbing a left elbow injury since early March. Last night he made his latest rehab outing for Triple-A Pawtucket. It didn’t go well.

Price allowed six runs — three earned — on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings, requiring 89 pitches to do it. His velocity was good, but otherwise it was a night to forget. This was supposed to be Price’s last rehab start before returning to the Sox’ big league rotation, but one wonders if he’s ready for it.

Price didn’t talk to the media after the game, but Pawtucket’s manager said he was “upbeat” and “felt good.” For his part, John Farrell, upon hearing about the outing, said this:

“There’s no announcement at this point. We’ve got to sit with him and talk about what’s best for him, best for us as we move forward.”

The Sox could really use Price back in the rotation given their injury problems, but rushing him back if he’s not ready is certainly not ideal.

Stay tuned.