So, without further ado, here are the players who made my 2011 MLB End of Year All-Star Teams (in alphabetical order by position):
(If there is a large space of nothingness here, don't ask. I don't know.)
Most of the position players were chosen based on statistics comparing the top eight position players in each league (hits, runs, home runs, rbi's, walks, strikeouts, stolen bases, caught stealing, and batting average). In most cases, the players I had chosen earlier due to the one person per team rule made the top three.
In previous years, I tended to show a little more bias to Chicago players (on both sides) in cases where if I thought I could choose them over another person, I would (hey, I'm from Chicago, what can I say). But since I'm now announcing these publicly (compared to doing this privately in my mind), I thought I'd try to be as open minded as I can and pick the proper deserving players. And while there is only one White Sox player on the AL team this year (Konerko), there are two Cubs players on the NL side (Ramirez and Castro). Other one-person teams this year include the Blue Jays (Bautista), Mariners (League), Royals (Gordon), Twins (Cuddyer), Astros (Carlos Lee), Giants (Sandoval), Marlins (Stanton), Mets (Reyes), and Padres (Bell). The Rangers send seven players to the AL squad, most players from one team on either league, the Tigers and Yankees each send five. On the NL side, the Brewers have five players to the team, most in the NL, the Braves and Phillies each send four.
Lots of familiar names to recent All-Star Teams are absent this year. There is no A-Rod, no Jeter, no Ichiro, no Pujols, no Lincecum, et al. Changing of the guard perhaps? Probably. Eighteen of the thirty-six players on the AL roster, exactly half of the team, are first timers on my All-Star teams. In fact, there are 30 players on both rosters making my All-Star teams for the very first time, the most since 2009. The Pirates have more than one representative on the NL side for the first time since 2007. The Athletics have more than one rep on the AL side for the first time since 2005.
Are there snubs? You bet. There were four outfield positions filled due to the one-man requirement (Lee, Stanton, McCutchen, and Berkman). Braun was an automatic pick (I think there'd be protests if I didn't have him on). Kemp is the only Dodger outfielder on this year's team. Just like last year, it was a tossup between him and teammate Andre Ethier. Since Matt Kemp had a phenomenal season, a career year if you will, I had to choose him. Bruce, Gonzalez, and Pence were the best of the rest of the NL outfield, so they were added. I probably will get heat picking Neil Walker over Chase Utley, but Walker had the better year. My Cubs bias couldn't let me pick Darwin Barney.
On the AL, the DH spot is an issue, only because I only allow one spot on the roster for it. David Ortiz had a great year and if I allowed three DH's, he'd certainly be listed above. But Michael Young had another excellent year, with numbers that eclipse Big Papi. In the shortstop position, both real All-Stars Cabrera and Peralta are here. Derek Jeter, Alexei Ramirez, Marco Scutaro, and Andrus among others were put to the statistical comparison described above. Elvis scored the highest. And just like the Dodgers and their outfielders, it is always a tough choice between Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.
So ends the presentation for my 2011 End of Year MLB All-Star Teams. Please feel free to comment, debate, tell me that I did a good job, or that I don't know what I'm talking about and should have put in this person for another.
Later on, I will run the simulations, just like I did last off-season, for these teams to see which one is better. This off-season, I will run simulations to determine which of my All-Star teams are the best of All-Time. I just have to review the rosters, and possibly make some roster additions for the teams (like the 1988 and 1989 squads with extra pitchers). And it will give me something to do before the 2012 Topps cards come out. Hopefully, this can be accomplished without major headaches.
Let the debates continue.