Previously I commented on how the All-Star game appears to have lost its focus. It has drifted away from a showcase of the game’s best talent, and turned into a...well, I'm not really even sure. But it's not showcasing the best talent.
Some of that has come from the fan voting. It's a sure fire way to make sure that the best players are ignored in favor of popular or well-promoted players. Which is too bad. Even if fans think they want to watch a game played by popular Instagrammers, imagine if they actually watched a game played by super-talented players.
Which is why we can't vote. You have to use stats.
Now, which ones to use is the tricky part. The last time I posted this, and wrote a letter to Bud Selig about it, I suggested using stats over the previous two seasons. But, I'm trying to figure out how much the 2019 season should influence the 2019 all stars. On the one hand, I don't like the idea of selecting a two month fluke to the team. But, I also don't like the idea of selecting a guy who's missed the season with injury just because he was good last year. So, I think my ever-evolving opinion has found a compromise.
Here we go.
Set rosters at 30 players. To select the starters, look at WAR over the previous 24 months. So, for the 2019 game, look at stats from June 1, 2017 - June 1, 2019. The player with the highest WAR over that timeframe at each position is the starter. For the NL, select the eight positional starters, then select the next best hitter at any position to be DH. Do the same for the pitcher, but select the top five highest WARs in each league.
As for the reserves, change the timeframe. Look at WAR from the previous twelve months. In this case, from June 1, 2018 - June 1, 2019. Select the player with the highest WAR at each position to be the reserve. Do the same for the back-up NL DH, and select another five pitchers in each league. This allows some sort of bias for the recently talented crew, but not enough to bypass an established star.
That should give you 18 position players, and ten pitchers on each team.
What about the other two slots? This is where I cave to the social media crowd. Those two slots in each league would be open to a vote. This is where fans can select an aging star that they need to see again. CC Sabathia might have been a selection this season. Or, maybe a young stud that they need to see right away. Someone like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Or, a popular star that has fallen on some rough times. Maybe someone like Bryce Harper. Those two slots would give MLB the chance to involve the fans in the same way they do now, but still assemble two quality teams of players.
And there it is. A 30-man roster of the best players the league has to offer. It gives the chance for MLB to introduce fans to players they might not otherwise follow. It's the way to grow the game.
Why wouldn't they implement this for next season?