Which Dodgers Should be Considered All-Stars?

Last year, the Dodgers sent Andre Ethier and Jonathon Broxton to the All-Star Game in Anaheim.  Hong-Chih Kuo and Rafael Furcal also made it to the game as manager picks or as replacements.  During the game, Ethier had a hit in 2 Plate Apperances (and, humorously enough, he played Center Field), while Furcal had a walk in one.  Kuo nearly lost the game for the NL Team by giving up a run in the 5th inning, and Broxton actually closed out the game, thanks to a nice play by CenterRight Fielder Marlon Byrd.  All in all, the Dodgers represented themselves fairly well in the game, and considering that the All-Star Game is really for the fans, the game was entertaining and served it’s purpose.  And I’m just going to say the the starting NL Outfield of Ryan Braun in LF, Ethier in CF, and Corey Hart in RF may have been the worse defensive Outfield ever assembled.

So what about this year?  Do any Dodgers deserve to go to the All-Star Game?  While choosing things like All-Stars tends to be very subjective and allows for way too much Home-Team bias, I’m going to do it anyway.  Mostly because it lets me look at the Dodgers who are having the best seasons so far.

Let’s start with the two easiest choices: Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp.  The two slugging Outfielders are actually 4th and 5th on the ballot, behind Braun, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman.  Kemp should definitely be ahead of Ethier, as he’s just plain been a better hitter, and he’s done all his damage from Center Field, which is a more defensive position.  Ethier, while he is a good hitter, has lower power numbers, and struggles to hit lefties, not to mention he plays below-average defense in RF (Kemp plays about average defense in CF).  Kemp has more Home Runs, RBI’s, and Stolen Bases, while Ethier has the higher average.  To me, Ethier is just riding the popularity that he gained with his 30 game hitting streak, and that’s why he has more votes than Kemp.  Regardless, I think they’ll both get in, which is all that really matters to me, as both are more than deserving.

As for the Dodger pitching, the obvious choice here is Clayton Kershaw.  Simply put, he’s been really good.  He’s number 8 in the NL in terms of ERA, which is a sparkling 2.62, and unlike most of the pitchers above him, he has an equally low FIP of 2.62.  FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is a stat that looks at a pitcher purely from the stuff that he controls, which are Strikeouts, Walks, and Home Runs.  It then offers a recalculated ERA based on how the well the pitcher is doing.  It shows how a pitcher “would” be pitching if he had the same defense as everyone else.  x-FIP is a stat that does the same thing, and then puts every pitcher in the same “average” ballpark, which can reveal pitchers who have a tough time in hitters parks, or pitchers who have been enjoying a huge pitchers park.  Kershaw is again amongst the top 6 in terms of x-FIP.  While there have been a lot of good pitchers this year, I fully believe Kershaw should be amongst the pitchers on the All-Star Ballot.  He’s been really good, and he’s only getting better, as his last start against Florida showed.

This is where it starts to get interesting though.  The Dodgers have a host of “good” starting pitchers, but no ace besides Kershaw.  Guys like Kuroda and Billingsley aren’t bad, and any team would love to have ’em, but ERA’s in the Mid-3’s don’t make you an All-Star.  The Bullpen has been completely turned over since the start of the year, with Matt Guerrier being the only survivor.  He’s certainly reliable and nice to have, and he’s already pitched in 26 games, but he’s not exactly elite.  He, like Bills and Kuroda, is merely “good”.  Reliability is nice, but you’re not going to be very effective against elite hitters if you’re depending on inducing ground balls.  If Kenley Jansen were still healthy, and hadn’t had his two collapses, you could make a case for him.  But no pitcher is going to be an All-Star if they have a 6.43 ERA (Note, ERA isn’t the best stat to use, but it’s especially mis-leading with relievers, because one bad appearance keeps your ERA high for the rest of the year).  Besides, even though he strikes out ludicrous amounts of batters, he also walks way too many as well.  I can just imagine the NL fans everywhere holding their breath every time he let’s a pitch go, realizing that neither they nor even Kenley himself know where that ball is going.  Lastly, if Billy Beane was making this team, a case could be made for Jamey Carroll, as he has the 3rd highest OBP among NL Shortstops, but fans (including me) don’t want to see Jamey Carroll as an NL All-Star, they’d rather see Troy Tulowitzki, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Stephen Drew.  Hanley and Tulo aren’t even having good years so far, but they’re fan favorites.

So this year, the only Dodgers worth mentioning as possible All-Stars, are Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw.  And I’m not gonna lie, a starting Outfield of Kemp, Braun, and Holliday would be pretty tough to go against.  And later on, you can bring in Berkman and Ethier to smash righty pitching.  That’d be pretty nice for NL Manager Bruce Bochy.  And if you need an inning or two, Kershaw is right there to be used.  Bochy can certainly attest to Kershaw’s dominance, considering Kershaw has a sub-2 ERA against the Giants.

Who do you think should be the All-Stars from your team?  Tell me who and why with a comment!

 

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