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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Should Ohtani be on the All Star team?

Sure, right? Look how well he's doing. Let's see how Ohtani compares to Designated Hitters (DH) and starting pitchers and whether he has even played enough to qualify to be among the leaders.

At least 50% games as DH and enough Plate Appearances (PA) to qualify as a leader in averages:

RkPlayerOPS+YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBIBBIBBSOHBPSHSFGDPSBCSBAOBPSLGOPSPos
1J.D. Martinez170201830BOSAL542352113767141194821256102500.318.379.6641.042*D7/9
2C.J. Cron126201828TBRAL542452213260100123214059802411.271.335.480.814*D3/H
3Nelson Cruz120201837SEAAL43187167154280102810135901510.251.326.479.805*D
4Khris Davis119201830OAKAL482131902545100134016055502700.237.310.495.805*D/7
5Shin-Soo Choo113201835TEXAL56257220345811092433159301420.264.366.436.802*D9
6Edwin Encarnacion108201835CLEAL50217196284770143617159300500.240.310.490.800*D/3
7Victor Martinez82201839DETAL4919117113437042216319103800.251.314.363.677*D/H
Shohei Ohtani has only 121 PA and does not come close to qualifying. The fewest among the DH qualifiers is 187. The top ten in PA by any batters so far in 2018 all have at least 255.

Ohtani has OPS+ 156. The DH leader in OPS+ J.D. Martinez leads the American League in Home Runs and RBI. This season Martinez has started 29 games as DH and 26 in the outfield. So why not put Martinez in the outfield and let Ohtani DH? The starting outfielders in the American League are likely to be Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts (currently on 10 day DL). No, Martinez clearly deserves to to be a starting All Star at DH.

91 pitchers have enough innings to qualify for leadership in ERA. The fewest among them is 57 innings. Ohtani has pitched only 45 innings and does not qualify. The most innings is 81.

Ohtani's ERA+ is 130. 23 qualifying pitchers are higher. Here are the tops:

RkPlayerERA+YearAgeTmLgGGSCGSHOGFWLW-L%SVIPHRERBBSOERAFIPK%BB%BAbipHRBFAB2B3BIBBHBPSHSFGDPSBCSPOBKWPBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+PitStr
1Justin Verlander346201835HOUAL121211072.778081.143121015981.112.2232.3%5.0%.21153032811020412111201.153.205.256.462301221826
2Jacob deGrom249201830NYMNL1111000401.000065.147121119851.522.1332.8%7.3%.2973259235501311442000.200.267.260.527521013685
3Corey Kluber223201832CLEAL121210082.800084.261211910882.023.1327.6%3.1%.23911319308800100802002.198.226.331.557461202813
4Max Scherzer209201833WSNNL121211091.900079.2492017191201.921.9638.7%6.1%.26763102871731400430002.171.232.314.546511282883
5Gio Gonzalez191201832WSNNL111100062.750064.155171528632.103.0823.2%10.3%.29232722411701003602002.228.305.336.641791129687
6Luis Severino188201824NYYAL121211081.889078.055202021922.312.2830.3%6.9%.27643042801120111621002.196.254.293.547481175793
7Jake Arrieta182201832PHINL101000052.714058.148201419402.163.1817.2%8.2%.271223320911000131123102.230.290.311.60170897566
8Aaron Nola180201825PHINL121200072.778078.155191918742.182.6324.9%6.1%.2584297274700122783201.201.251.270.521481169780
9Mike Foltynewicz176201826ATLNL121211053.625069.050211730802.223.1028.2%10.6%.27152842501030111421205.200.287.324.611731203738
10Gerrit Cole174201827HOUAL121211061.857081.2482120201162.202.5638.2%6.6%.25293042801200310653003.171.234.311.545531237834
11Trevor Bauer172201827CLEAL111100043.571072.157242125862.612.6728.6%8.3%.29343012701602411431006.211.287.315.601601204763
So Ohtani does not come close to deserving to be an All Star as a pitcher.

But the selection by the fans is largely a popularity contest. The Major League encourages fans to vote early and often. It's hardly a serious merit based process. The team manager selects non starters, so should that manager select Ohtani?

If Ohtani is selected, what player would he replace as backup DH? The DH group includes C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis, all with comparable OPS+ to Ohtani in way more PA.

So the people who blithely insist that Ohtani must be on the All Star team should step back and think it over.

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