<
>

Which division has the best All-Star team?

A reader asked in one of my recent chats what All-Star teams would look like for each division. So here are they. Rather than using some sort of subjective rating, I turned to Dan Szymborski's ZiPS system. You can get in-season projected WAR totals at FanGraphs, incorporating what has happened so far in the season.

So we'll use Dan's numbers to pick our lineups: Eight regulars, one bench player, five starting pitchers and three relievers and then add up the cumulative WAR to which All-Star team is best.

AL EAST

C -- Russell Martin, Blue Jays: 3.7

1B -- Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: 2.6

2B -- Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 4.5

3B -- Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays: 5.6

SS -- Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: 2.8

LF -- Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox: 3.3

CF -- Adam Jones, Orioles: 5.6

RF -- Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 4.3

DH/Bench -- Evan Longoria, Rays: 4.0

SP -- Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees: 3.6

SP -- Chris Archer, Rays: 2.7

SP -- CC Sabathia, Yankees: 2.1

SP -- Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays: 1.9

SP -- Jake Odorizzi, Rays: 1.9

RP -- Dellin Betances, Yankees: 1.6

RP -- Brad Boxberger, Rays: 1.0

RP -- Andrew Miller, Yankees: 0.9

Comment: Not surprisingly, that looks like a pretty weak group of starters. There may be some better options there, like Alex Cobb if he gets back soon, and I'm not a big believer in Sabathia putting up even 2 WAR, but those are the numbers.

Total WAR: 52.1

AL CENTRAL

C -- Salvador Perez, Royals: 4.7

1B -- Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 6.2

2B -- Ian Kinsler, Tigers: 3.8

3B -- Mike Moustakas, Royals: 3.0

SS -- Alcides Escobar, Royals: 2.4

LF -- Alex Gordon, Royals: 4.4

CF -- Lorenzo Cain, Royals: 4.5

RF -- J.D. Martinez, Tigers: 2.8

DH/Bench -- Jose Abreu, White Sox: 4.5

SP -- Corey Kluber, Indians: 5.6

SP -- Phil Hughes, Twins: 4.7

SP -- David Price, Tigers: 4.4

SP -- Chris Sale, White Sox: 4.2

SP -- Jeff Samardzija, White Sox: 4.2

RP -- Greg Holland, Royals: 1.5

RP -- David Robertson, White Sox: 1.1

RP -- Wade Davis, Royals: 1.1

Comment: Kansas City's defensive excellence shows up here, with five guys in the starting nine. ZiPS loves Hughes because of his strikeout/walk ratio, but he'll be hard-pressed to repeat last year's season. I'd take Carlos Carrasco of the Indians over him. No Indians position players, as ZiPS isn't high on Michael Brantley repeating his 2014 or Jason Kipnis bouncing back to All-Star level.

Total WAR: 63.1

AL WEST

C -- Stephen Vogt, A's: 3.1

1B -- Albert Pujols, Angels: 3.3

2B -- Robinson Cano, Mariners: 5.1

3B -- Kyle Seager, Mariners: 4.2

SS -- Brad Miller, Mariners: 2.6

LF -- Dustin Ackley, Mariners: 1.9

CF -- Mike Trout, Angels: 9.6

RF -- Nelson Cruz, Mariners: 3.6

DH/Bench -- Jose Altuve, Astros: 3.9

SP -- Felix Hernandez, Mariners: 6.1

SP -- Garrett Richards, Angels: 3.2

SP -- Sonny Gray, A's: 3.2

SP -- Collin McHugh, Astros: 2.7

SP -- Dallas Keuchel, Astros: 2.7

RP -- Danny Farquhar, Mariners: 1.0

RP -- Joe Smith, Angels: 0.6

RP -- Fernando Rodney, Mariners: 0.6

Comment: Once you get past Trout, Cano and Cruz's blazing start, that lineup doesn't look too impressive. Ackley is the best left fielder in the division? First base is also pretty weak unless Pujols has a strong year or Prince Fielder bounces back. Two Astros in the rotation? Maybe they do have a chance in what could be a wide-open division.

Total WAR: 57.4

NL EAST

C -- Travis d'Arnaud, Mets: 2.5

1B -- Freddie Freeman, Braves: 3.8

2B -- Dee Gordon, Marlins: 2.3

3B -- David Wright, Mets: 3.7

SS -- Ian Desmond, Nationals: 4.1

LF -- Christian Yelich, Marlins: 3.1

CF -- Juan Lagares, Mets: 2.5

RF -- Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins: 5.7

DH/Bench -- Bryce Harper, Nationals: 3.9

SP -- Max Scherzer, Nationals: 6.7

SP -- Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: 4.4

SP -- Jacod deGrom, Mets: 4.1

SP -- Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals: 3.6

SP -- Matt Harvey, Mets: 3.3

RP -- Jason Grilli, Braves: 0.9

RP -- Ken Giles, Phillies: 0.9

RP -- Steve Cishek, Marlins: 0.6

Comment: You have to love that rotation, and I'd bet on Harvey beating that 3.3 WAR. In his first three starts, he has 24 strikeouts and one walk in 18 innings. Andrelton Simmons is projected at 3.3 WAR; but maybe we want to put him at shortstop. Him and Lagares on the same team with that staff? You won't have to score many runs.

Total WAR: 56.1

NL CENTRAL

C -- Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 4.5

1B -- Joey Votto, Reds: 5.3

2B -- Kolten Wong, Cardinals: 2.9

3B -- Matt Carpenter, Cardinals: 4.6

SS -- Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals: 3.8

LF -- Starling Marte, Pirates: 3.7

CF -- Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 5.6

RF -- Jason Heyward, Cardinals: 3.7

DH/Bench -- Anthony Rizzo, Cubs: 4.6

SP -- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: 4.6

SP -- Johnny Cueto, Reds: 4.0

SP -- Jon Lester, Cubs: 3.8

SP -- Lance Lynn, Cardinals: 3.6

SP -- Jake Arrieta, Cubs: 3.1

RP -- Aroldis Chapman, Reds: 2.1

RP -- Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals: 1.1

RP -- Jordan Walden, Cardinals: 0.9

Comment: Solid all the way around, with good defense and Votto looking like the MVP-caliber Votto of the past. You can throw Matt Holliday in left field -- same projected WAR as Marte -- but I like Marte's youth and early power so far. I'd consider Gerrit Cole for the rotation as well and the early returns spell breakout seasons.

Total WAR: 61.9

NL WEST

C -- Buster Posey, Giants: 4.9

1B -- Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers: 5.3

2B -- Howie Kendrick, Dodgers: 4.3

3B -- Nolan Arenado, Rockies: 3.9

SS -- Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 5.0

LF -- Justin Upton, Padres: 3.5

CF -- Joc Pederson, Dodgers: 3.8

RF -- Yasiel Puig, Dodgers: 5.0

DH/Bench -- Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks: 5.0

SP -- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: 6.2

SP -- James Shields, Padres: 4.3

SP -- Madison Bumgarner, Giants: 3.9

SP -- Zack Greinke, Dodgers: 3.9

SP -- Tyson Ross, Padres: 2.7

RP -- Yimi Garcia, Dodgers: 1.3

RP -- Craig Kimbrel, Padres: 1.2

RP -- Adam Ottavino, Rockies: 1.1

Comment: Gonzalez's hot start pushes him past Goldschmidt for higher projected WAR; I'd still go with Goldschmidt by season's end. Keep an eye on Rockies left fielder Corey Dickerson, off to a nice start with a .321 average and five home runs. Garcia over Kimbrel as the division's best reliever? ZiPS is buying the 14 K's in 8.1 IP so far.

Total WAR: 65.3

The rankings

1. NL West: 65.3

2. AL Central: 63.1

3. NL Central: 61.9

4. AL West: 57.4

5. NL East: 56.1

6. AL East: 52.1

Congratulations, NL West, you have the best divisional All-Star team. What's shocking is how poor the AL East fares. Who says the Red Sox and Yankees are buying all the best players?