WAR does the All-Star teams – NL version

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Presenting the 2011 NL All-Star team of the moment, courtesy of Wins Above Replacement (in this case, the Baseball-Reference version of it):

C Buster Posey (Giants) – 1.4
1B Joey Votto (Reds) – 2.6
2B Brandon Phillips (Reds) – 1.3
3B Pablo Sandoval (Giants) – 1.5
SS Jose Reyes (Mets) – 1.5
LF Ryan Braun (Brewers) – 2.2
CF Matt Kemp (Dodgers) – 2.5
RF Carlos Beltran (Mets) – 1.9
DH Lance Berkman (Cardinals) – 2.0

C Ramon Hernandez (Reds) – 1.4
C Yadier Molina (Cardinals) – 1.3
1B Gaby Sanchez (Marlins) – 1.9
1B Prince Fielder (Brewers) – 1.4
2B Neil Walker (Pirates) – 1.3
3B Chipper Jones (Braves) – 1.2
SS Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies) – 1.3
INF Ryan Roberts (Diamondbacks) – 1.3
OF Drew Stubbs (Reds) – 1.9
OF Andrew McCutchen (Pirates) – 1.8
OF Matt Holliday (Cardinals) – 1.8
OF Kosuke Fukudome (Cubs) – 1.3

Roy Halladay (Phillies) – 2.7
Kyle Lohse (Cardinals) – 2.4
Josh Johnson (Marlins) – 2.4
Cole Hamels (Phillies) – 2.1
Jaime Garcia (Cardinals) – 2.0
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) – 2.0
Hiroki Kuroda (Dodgers) – 1.7
Wandy Rodriguez (Astros) – 1.7

Francisco Rodriguez (Mets) – 1.7
Jonny Venters (Braves) – 1.4
Drew Storen (Nationals) – 1.4
Ryan Madson (Phillies) – 1.2
Mike Adams (Padres) – 1.0

– The Cubs and Padres were the only teams with iffy choices here.  Actually, the Cubs’ Carlos Marmol ranked as the No. 5 reliever at 1.1, but I went for Adams instead there and choice Fukudome as a reserve outfielder.

– Sandoval rates as the NL’s top third baseman despite having played in just 24 games.  Chipper and Placido Polanco both came in at 1.2 WAR.

– Some may be surprised to see Reyes on top of Tulo at shortstop, but Reyes actually has the better OPS of the two now, .840 to .837.  Factor in the park effects and Reyes has been clearly better offensively. 

– Tulo actually turned out to be the Rockies’ lone player on the squad, though both Jhoulys Chacin (1.6) and Matt Lindstrom (1.0) were close to making it.

Dan Straily suspended five games, Don Mattingly one for throwing at Buster Posey

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that Marlins pitcher Dan Straily has been suspended five games and Don Mattingly one game for throwing intentionally at Giants catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday in San Francisco. Straily plans to appeal his suspension, so he will be allowed to take his normal turn through the rotation until that matter is settled.

Everything started on Monday, when the Marlins rallied in the ninth inning against closer Hunter Strickland. That included a game-tying single from Lewis Brinson, who pumped his fist and yelled in celebration. Strickland took exception, jawing at Brinson who was on third base when the right-hander was taken out of the game. Strickland went into the clubhouse and punched a door, breaking his hand.

The next day, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez hit Brinson with a fastball, which prompted warnings for both teams. The next inning, Straily hit Posey on the arm with a fastball, which led to immediate ejections for both him and Mattingly.

Neither Rodriguez nor Giants manager Bruce Bochy were reprimanded, which is ludicrous because it was plainly obvious Rodriguez was throwing at Brinson. But neither team had been issued warnings. Essentially, Major League Baseball is giving free reign for teams to get their revenge pitches in. Furthermore, Straily’s five-game suspension is hardly a deterrent for throwing at a hitter. The Marlins could simply give Straily an extra day of rest and it’s like he was never suspended at all.

Beanball wars are bad for baseball. It puts players at risk for obvious reasons. When players have to miss time due to avoidable injury, self-inflicted (in the case of Strickland) or not (if, for example, Posey had a hand or wrist broken from Straily’s pitch), the game suffers because it becomes an inferior product. That’s, of course, second behind the simple fact that throwing at a player is a tremendously childish way to handle a disagreement. When aimed intentionally at another human being, a baseball is a weapon. That’s especially true when it’s in the hands of someone who has been trained to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 MPH.

Commisioner Rob Manfred has spent a lot of time trying to make the game of baseball more appealing, such adding pitch clocks and limiting mound visits. He should spend some time addressing the throwing-at-batters problem.