All-Stars: National League

peter · June 22, 2005 at 9:05 am · Filed Under General baseball 

“Democracy is on trial, on a more colossal scale than ever before.”

–Charles Fletcher Dole, The Spirit of Democracy 1845 (?)

I was at the Reds and Cardinals game last night. Watching such fascinating things you never imagine can happen like Jason Marquis giving up two home runs in 2+ innings. Or So Taguchi collect three consecutive singles, all to right field (one bounced off Brandon Claussen, but still wound up in right field). And Albert Pujols leg out a double, steal third and score on a popfly that can’t have traveled anymore than 200 feet.

And pondering such questions of the universe as: Why does Tony LaRussa bat Jason Marquis ninth in the lineup, when his .978 OPS is second on the team? Or why is Einar Diaz (Einar Diaz!!) hitting for Brad Thompson with two on and two out with the Cardinals down 6 runs in the sixth?

No matter. And there were no ushers busily distributing All-Star ballots. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times at Great American Ballpark.

Ah yes, the National League All-Stars. Again, here are each of the top-five ballot placers at each position (so many too close to call!), with their Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP1 as provided by Baseball Prospectus) in 2005, 2004 and 2003. We here at USS Mariner laboratories encourage you, the fan, to watch as many games as you can, talk to as many educated fans as you can, and come to your own conclusions about who you, the fan, believe are the true All-Stars. And remember: It’s only an exhibition game, and on July 12 there will be 80-90 All-Stars in attendance. (Sorry, that cynicism slipped through.)

First Base
Albert Pujols – 4.7, 10.4, 11.6
Derrek Lee – 6.7, 7.4, 8.6
Doug Mientkiewicz – 1.1, 0.1, 4.9
Hee Choi – 1.4, 4.0, 1.5
Jeff Bagwell – 0.6, 3.9, 6.0

Carlos Delgado – 3.7, 6.1, 8.0
Todd Helton – 2.9, 12.3, 12.4

Second Base
Jeff Kent – 4.3, 7.6, 5.4
Mark Grudzielanek – 3.0, 2.4, 4.7
Craig Biggio – 1.8, 3.9, 4.2
Todd Walker – 1.2, 3.2, 2.1
Marcus Giles – 3.0, 5.3, 10.0

Mark Loretta – 2.0, 11.5, 7.2

Third Base
Scott Rolen – 1.2, 10.4, 8.6
Aramis Ramirez – 3.5, 5.5, 3.7
Troy Glaus – 2.3, 2.0, 1.8
Chipper Jones – 1.8, 4.3, 6.1
David Wright – 2.6, 2.3

Cesar Izturis – 2.4, 4.5, 2.1
David Eckstein – 2.3, 2.8, 3.4
Nomar Garciaparra – -0.2, 2.7, 6.2
Clint Barmes – 2.4, 0.5
Rafael Furcal – 3.0, 5.1, 5.1

Khalil Greene – 0.6, 5.5, 0.1
Jimmy Rollins – 1.8, 5.4, 4.9

Mike Piazza – 1.6, 2.8, 2.5
Paul LoDuca – 2.3, 5.0, 5.5
Michael Barrett – 1.8, 4.8, 0.9
Ramon Hernandez – 1.9, 5.1, 5.7
Yadier Molina – 1.7, 1.2

Carlos Beltran – 1.7, 9.0, 7.2
Jim Edmonds – 3.9, 11.0, 8.3
Bobby Abreu – 5.1, 9.7, 7.8
Miguel Cabrera – 3.6, 6.7, 2.2
Ken Griffey, Jr. – 2.2, 3.4, 2.1
Larry Walker – 1.4, 4.2, 4.4
Milton Bradley – 3.3, 5.4, 5.5
Pat Burrell – 2.6, 4.3, 2.9
Cliff Floyd – 3.2, 3.2, 4.4
Andruw Jones – 3.7, 6.6, 8.2
J.D. Drew – 3.8, 10.1, 3.4
Corey Patterson – 1.3, 4.9, 2.9
Jeromy Burnitz – 3.2, 5.2, 3.0
Reggie Sanders – 2.6, 3.4, 5.3
Carlos Lee – 2.7, 7.5, 4.5

Barry Bonds – 0.0, 15.1, 12.5
Mike Cameron – 2.2, 5.2, 6.4


23 Responses to “All-Stars: National League”

  1. Ralph Malph on June 22nd, 2005 12:20 pm

    Why does Tony LaRussa bat Jason Marquis 9th?

    Answer 1: LaRussa is a dolt.

    Answer 2: The pitcher has to hit 9th. Isn’t that a rule or something?

    Answer 3: LaRussa believes Marquis’ career OPS of .572, with 5 BB and 46 K in 181 AB means more than this year’s 36 AB?

    Answer 4: Molina’s feelings would be hurt if he had to hit behind the pitcher.

    On the other hand, Marquis is clearly a guy who has learned to hit at the major league level — he went 1 for his 33, and 6 for his first 71, before starting to hit.

    Over the past two seasons his line in 108 AB is:
    314/330/444 with 1 HR and 16 RBI’s

  2. Evan on June 22nd, 2005 1:24 pm

    A pitcher likely gets a disproportionate number of RBI opportunities because guys get intentionally walked in front of him.

    That would likely stop if LaRussa drew attention to Marquis’s (that’s Marquis’s – he’s not plural) proficiency by batting him higher in the order). Maybe that’s LaRussa’s plan – he’s hoping no one else notices that Marquis can hit.

  3. Brent Overman on June 22nd, 2005 1:26 pm

    Remember, Ralph Malph, it’s LaRussa who years back thought it was a good experiment to bat the pitcher 8th so he could have two consecutive leadoff hitters!

  4. paul on June 22nd, 2005 2:48 pm

    Tony La Russa:

    26 years as a manager
    2,159 wins, 4th all-time
    Playoff appearances in 5 out of the last 9 years
    9 playoff appearances total
    3 AL pennants
    1 NL pennant
    1 World Series win

    Yup, he’s a dolt, all right. Seems to me, dude kinda knows what he’s doing at this point. I’ll give him the benefit of a few doubts. I think #2 has the theory about right…

  5. Evan on June 22nd, 2005 2:58 pm

    Excepting the pitcher’s spot, how static are LaRussa’s lineups usually? He could be the sort of manager who thinks everyone should have a fixed spot. Putting Marquis somewhere else would require moving another guy out of his regular spot.

  6. Jeremy on June 22nd, 2005 3:12 pm

    #4 Paul,

    Yeah, some dolt, huh?

    Tony LaRussa just wins. Yet for some reason, he still doesn’t get as much credit as he should. For christ’s sake, there’s a few Cardinals fans who just don’t care for the guy.

    Not to go Rick Pitino here, but Whitey Herzog isn’t walking through that door, Cards fans.

  7. David J Corcoran on June 22nd, 2005 3:23 pm

    Jason Marquis usually pinch runs. Maybe it’d be smarter to hit him.

  8. paul on June 22nd, 2005 3:31 pm

    To me, if a manager wins almost 2200 games, he’s earned the right to bat a pitcher 8th, or something “crazy” like that – if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t, but full marks to the man for trying unorthodox things to see what happens.

    La Russa has a bad case of Bobby Cox Syndrome – in this country, there’s winning, and there’s Winning It All. Neither of those two does the latter often enough to be taken seriously by an American sports fan public that doesn’t recognize (or care) that winning consistently is a huge challenge, and that Winning It All isn’t the one and only signifying mark of a successful career.

  9. DMZ on June 22nd, 2005 4:56 pm

    “Tony LaRussa just wins. Yet for some reason, he still doesn’t get as much credit as he should. ”

    Are you nuts? Seriously. George Will worships at his altar. There are books out about what a genius he is. In any discussion of the best managers in baseball, he’s always, always mentioned as one of (if not the) best.

    That doesn’t mean he’s beyond criticism, though. All managers have their strengths and flaws, and LaRussa has his. He’s won a lot with them, but if someone gets frustrated that LaRussa has some crazy fixation for a playing a guy and his -.500 OBP because the guy is 37, switch-hits and plays every position on the field, that’s an entirely legit complaint.

  10. Jeremy on June 22nd, 2005 5:39 pm

    #9 Derek,

    No, I’m not nuts.

    Nobody is beyond criticism, not even LaRussa. But I do believe that he is the best manager in the game today. He’s taken 3 organizations to the playoffs (White Sox 1983; Athletics 1988-1990, 1992; Cardinals 1996, 2000-2002, 2004).

    I can understand why there are some fans who aren’t big fans of the man. I just choose to look beyond his personality and look at his resume instead. Paul (#6) already posted the numbers.

    I’m a LaRussa fan. As I said earlier in this thread, he just wins.

  11. Jeremy on June 22nd, 2005 5:45 pm

    I meant Paul (#4, not 6)

  12. paul on June 22nd, 2005 6:00 pm

    Agreed with both Derek and Jeremy – nobody is beyond criticism. I’m all for legit complaints and arguments, and La Russa does make strange moves sometimes; but when those arguments are prefaced by “(name) is a dolt”, or somesuch, to me that minimizes the force of the argument a bit.

  13. Ralph Malph on June 22nd, 2005 6:26 pm

    In a not very successful attempt to be funny I put up a series of theories as to why LaRussa batted Marquis 9th. I was not stating an opinion of LaRussa’s abilities. Obviously my attempt at humor fell flat and I didn’t express myself very well. And obviously LaRussa, one of the top managers in the game based on his record, isn’t a “dolt”.

    Having said that, though, my opinion of LaRussa fell greatly after reading Three Days in August, which is just a terrible book in my opinion. It may well be the author’s fault for doing a bad job of portraying him, but I hated the book and finished it not liking LaRussa very much (as portrayed in the book).

  14. paul on June 22nd, 2005 7:32 pm

    Ralph –

    sorry for the misreading. I guess I just go all kneejerky, which is annoying because I usually have a better sense of humor than that.

    “Three days in august” was a very badly written book – I don’t like Bissinger’s style much – but you’re right, La Russa didn’t come out looking very good, which is disappointing….

  15. Dead Ball Tim on June 22nd, 2005 8:38 pm

    I know its all been said before and nobody cares… but I have no use whatsoever for the All-Star Game. I just don’t get it. Is the criteria for being an All-Star mere popularity? Or is it bestowed on a player for having a good stretch from April to June? Or is it for lifetime achievement and just being a good guy? All of the above, none of the above, WTF? The promo and the hype for this silly exhibition begins to sound like a Don King prizefight while the players wink at each other and mug for the camera. It doesn’t match up no matter how much they say it ‘counts’. So hey kids, lets practice some good old fashioned democracy and fill out about 5,000 ballots apiece for your favorite guy. You can stuff the box all you want. This, after all, is what baseball is all about. Bring your money.

  16. DMZ on June 22nd, 2005 8:43 pm

    What’s the criteria for being president?

    It’s a game where the fans, in all their imperfectness, choose the players they want to see play an exhibition game. That’s not so bad.

  17. Dead Ball Tim on June 22nd, 2005 9:47 pm

    The criteria for being president? Apparently nothing at all. White-knuckle drunk playboy seems to be good enough. I was hoping that baseball could be better than that… What was I thinking?

  18. Michael on June 23rd, 2005 1:00 pm

    I think LaRussa likes the idea of “fixed” spots for the most part as well as player feelings. If he moves Marquis up then others move down and someone will be slighted by the move (Molina). In my opinion he should bat Marquis higher but maybe that would give him (Marquis) an even bigger head than he already has!

  19. Vincent on June 23rd, 2005 4:43 pm

    La Russa actually doesn’t usually ‘fix’ spots as much as you think. Pujols has rather regularly been in the #3, but I’ve seen Edmonds at #2, #4, #5, and Rolen has jumped from 4-5 a few times. (I prefer Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds as 3, 4, 5).

    I would like Marquis higher in the order, but I think Molina’s average is mistaken, given his awful open to the season (1/33?) – think back to last year, did any pitcher see Jeter’s .200 average and think he was an easy out?

  20. Cardinal John on June 24th, 2005 11:28 am

    Apparently, Marquis waits to do batting practice with the regulars after the other pitchers take their hacks.

    Honestly, I think its great to have someone with such a great OBP batting 9 spot-getting someone onboard (who ain’t a slacker on the bases–last year’s playoffs not-with-standing) before the remarkable high averages produces some nice results.

    As for La Russa, there are tons of people across the Cardinal Nation that aren’t big fans of his. However, there are a bazillion more that love him. The comment that mentions his likeness to Bobby Cox is right on the money. I have found that the biggest complaint about him is that he tinkers around too much with the lineup and with bullpen subs based on lefty-righty matchups. Moving Marquis up would only sick the dogs on him even worse–not that he has ever cared about fan opinion. I mean looked at that hair…and sunglasses during every night game?


  21. Marcus on June 25th, 2005 1:43 am

    Hey, guys, I’m new here so bear with me.

    You’re all overanalyzing the whole Marquis batting 9th thing. The 9 spot is pretty much never messed with in the NL, and its not like leaving Marquis there is costing them games. Besides, Marquis doesn’t pitch complete games, so lets say he gets knocked out by the 5th inning or so, now you have a reliever batting there.

    Plus, having Marquis bat 9th is still the smartest plan. If he gets on its creates better running situations for the top of the order coming up. Would you like to see Molina (no speedster by any means) trying to motor down to second on a hit-and-run?

    Also, the reason you see Edmonds and Rolen and Sanders shift around in the order so much is usually because someone like Walker or one of the previously mentioned batters is on the bench getting some rest. When all the regulars are playing at once though, it almost always stays the same (lefty pitcher nonwithstanding).

    Oh, sidenote, whoever said that the pitcher batting 9th is a rule is a “dolt.”

    – MJF

  22. Matt on June 26th, 2005 10:45 am

    LaRussa utilizes his bench far too much for his lineups to ever be considered “static.” I mean, this year I’ve seen Reggie Sanders bat 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th.

    Pujols is the one constant, and that’s just because he plays 99.9% of the time.

  23. Marcus on June 27th, 2005 9:06 am

    I know he uses his bench a lot, that’s why I said when “when all the regulars are playing at once.”