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2012 All Stars by WAR

Instead of debating who should and should not have made the All Star team, I decided to make an infographic. It is a simple scatter plot, with a player's career WAR on the x-axis, and their WAR so far this season on the y-axis. The colored boxes signify quadrants, which I will explain more after the graphic. You can also click on the picture for a larger view:

The quadrants are not evenly sized because I divided them based on the medians for career and season WAR, respectively. Career WARs varied greatly, with more players lower on the scale. This makes sense since it takes time to accumulate large career WAR totals, and some All-Stars are young, while others are grizzled veterans.

Season WAR is one way to measure how great the player's current season is. Career WAR is a way to measure their past performance, and the kind of reputation they have earned/accumulated.

The following are the All-Stars listed by quadrant, along with a suggested way to interpret what each quadrant represents:
Green quadrant (high season WAR, high career WAR) - These are players who have had great career that are also having terrific seasons. In other words, these players are no-brainer, bona fide All Stars:

  • Jose Bautista, OF, TOR
  • Adrian Beltre, 3B, TEX
  • Carlos Beltran, OF, STL
  • Ryan Braun, OF, MIL
  • Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE
  • Miguel Cabrera, 3B, DET
  • Matt Cain, SP, SF
  • Robinson Cano, 2B, NYY
  • Cole Hamels, SP, PHI
  • Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX
  • Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD
  • Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT
  • Yadier Molina, C, STL
  • David Ortiz, DH, BOS
  • Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI
  • Justin Verlander, SP, DET
  • Joey Votto, 1B, CIN
  • Jered Weaver, SP, LAA
  • David Wright, 3B, NYM

Yellow quadrant (high season WAR, low career WAR) - Two types of players are likely to land in this group: mediocre players having fluky great seasons, and future stars just beginning to emerge. Take your guesses on who is who:

  • Melky Cabrera, OF, SF
  • Starlin Castro, SS, CHC
  • R.A. Dickey, SP, NYM
  • Gio Gonzalez, SP, WAS
  • Matt Harrison, SP, TEX
  • Jim Johnson, RP, BAL
  • Adam Jones, OF, BAL
  • Wade Miley, SP, ARI
  • David Price, SP, TB
  • Chris Sale, SP, CHW
  • Giancarlo Stanton, OF, MIA
  • Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS
  • Mike Trout, OF, LAA
  • Mark Trumbo, 1B/3B/OF, LAA
  • CJ Wilson, SP, LAA

Red quadrant (low season WAR, high career WAR) - These are players that have been better in the past. Maybe this could be re-named the Derek Jeter Memorial Quadrant, considering he is the point way out in the lower right part of the box. Here are the others that join him this season:

  • Prince Fielder, 1B, DET
  • Rafael Furcal, SS, STL
  • Curtis Granderson, OF, DET
  • Felix Hernandez, SP, SEA
  • Derek Jeter, SS, NYY
  • Matt Kemp, OF, LAD
  • Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX
  • Paul Konerko, 1B, CHW
  • Joe Mauer, C, MIN
  • Mike Napoli, C, TEX
  • Joe Nathan, RP, TEX
  • Jonathan Papelbon, RP, PHI
  • CC Sabathia, SP, NYY
  • Dan Uggla, 2B, ATL

White quadrant (low season WAR, low career WAR) - These are the weakest All-Star selections, if not downright bad:

  • Jose Altuve, 2B, HOU
  • Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX
  • Jay Bruce, OF, CIN
  • Billy Butler, DH, KC
  • Aroldis Chapman, RP, CIN
  • Ryan Cook, RP, OAK
  • Ian Desmond, SS, WAS
  • Adam Dunn, OF, CHW
  • Joel Hanrahan, RP, PIT
  • Carlos Gonzalez, OF, COL
  • Craig Kimbrel, RP, ATL
  • Bryan Lahair, 1B/OF, CHC
  • Lance Lynn, SP, STL
  • Chris Perez, RP, CLE
  • Buster Posey, C, SF
  • Fernando Rodney, RP, TB
  • Pablo Sandoval, 3B, SF
  • Huston Street, RP, SD
  • Matt Wieters, C, BAL

Relief pitchers show up frequently in the white quadrant, leading me to believe that WAR undervalues their abilities (and I'm not the first to wonder that). I'm a fan of the yellow quadrant myself, but that's probably not surprising since I'm such a big fan of following up-and-coming prospects. It is also good to see a healthy green quadrant, although the large white quadrant leaves plenty of room for snub debates.