Monday, June 2, 2014

Who Starts at Catcher in This Year's MLB All-Star Game?

So on the heels of my post yesterday about which second basemen deserve to start this year's MLB All-Star Game, I decided to write about which catchers I think should make their respective All-Star clubs.

And also just like yesterday, the battle for National League starter isn't even close.

It should be Jonathan Lucroy.

I looked at six different statistical categories for qualifying MLB catchers and Lucroy led in five of the six.*  The only category he didn't lead was on-base percentage, where his .387 average was second to Carlos Ruiz's .403.

So since he leads all major league catchers in an entire host of statistical categories, I think Lucroy is most-deserving of the starting catcher's spot for the N.L. in this year's All-Star Game.

The American League, on the other hand, has three catchers who all have pretty good arguments to start in Minnesota.

There's Yan Gomes and Salvador Perez, who are tied for the best defensive Wins Against Replacement (dWAR) of qualifying A.L. catchers.  Gomes and Perez are also within 0.1 win of each other in total Wins Against Replacement (1.4 to 1.3).

On the other hand, Kurt Suzuki has some pretty good credentials this season as well, leading qualifying American League catchers in on-base percentage (OBP), on-base plus slugging (OPS), and OPS+.

So with that, I'm picking Suzuki to start this year's All-Star Game.

This is a little rare for me.  Usually, I go with the player with the best statistics, and based on that, I originally chose Gomes as the starter.  

But Suzuki has never made an MLB All-Star Game.  He's in his age-30 season and through June 1st has career bests in OBP, OPS, OPS+, and batting average.

Plus, the All-Star Game is being held in Minnesota this season. He'd get to play in front of his home crowd!

Gomes and Perez are rising stars, one of whom (Perez) has already made one All-Star Game.   They'll probably have more chances to play in the Mid-Summer Classic.***

Suzuki on the other hand is already in his eighth MLB season. Who knows what's going to happen to him for the rest of his career?  So for once, I'm going with how I feel about the player and the situation, instead of listening to what the stats tell me, and picking Kurt Suzuki to start this year's MLB All-Star Game for the American League.

*The six categories I used were as follows: on-base percentage (OBP), slugging percentage (SLG), on-base plus slugging (OPS), OPS+, Wins Against Replacement (WAR), and defensive Wins Against Replacement (dWAR).

**All of the statistics that I used in this post came from and are current through June 1st.

***But since Yan Gomes has never made an MLB All-Star Game either, I would choose him as the backup catcher for the A.L.

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