Blog Entry

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

Posted on: July 6, 2011 2:49 pm
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By Matt Snyder


Because we like to have fun, we're going to put together an All-Star team of players 30 and older and pit it against a team of players who haven't yet hit the 30-year-old plateau. Without going back and looking, it feels like back in the late-90s and early-2000s -- the stained PED era -- the team of players over 30 would have been chock full of long-time sluggers and power pitchers. Things have shifted a bit now and it feels like a young man's game again. Let's see if this holds true for the 2011 season.

We'll go with two per position, five starting pitchers, three closers and two non-closing relievers -- ending with a starting lineup for each squad. If that's all you're interested in, definitely feel free to scroll down and find the lineups. Selection criteria is on this season's performance, so you'll find some serious studs excluded -- like Felix Hernandez. Still, there is plenty of talent to go around, especially the under-30 starting pitchers. But no more hints ...

Over-30

Catcher: Not that it's shocking, given the physical demands of the position, but it was pretty slim pickings here. There are only a handful of regular catchers over 30, and of those, none of them are real-life All-Star caliber. In fact, my first step in compiling these teams was to go through each roster and just list every name I thought I'd even remotely consider. When initially finished going through all 30 big-league clubs, I had zero names listed here. Selections: Ramon Hernandez and A.J. Pierzynski get the nod over Jason Varitek and a few others.

First base: No shortage of sluggers at this position, even north of 30. I whittled the bunch down to five names: Mark Teixeira, Paul Konerko, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols and Todd Helton. Selections: No snub for the duo this time around, because I'm going with Konerko and Teixeira. By the end of year, I full expect Pujols to overtake at least one of them, if not both.

Second base: Only two guys really deserved mention, so it was easy. Selections: Ben Zobrist and Brandon Phillips.

Third base: This position wasn't too difficult, as four names surfaced: Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez. Selections: A-Rod and Youk.

Shortstop: Here's another position where the age really seemed to matter. Pop Quiz: What shortstop over the age of 30 has the highest OPS? Answer: Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers. Seriously. Only three other legitimate (if we can call it that) options surface: Derek Jeter, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Theriot. Selections: We'll give Rollins the start and back him up with Carroll. Carroll's average (.296) and OBP (.365) are very solid for a guy who came into the season as a backup utility man.

Outfield: Unlike shortstop and catcher, the guys manning the outfield have seemed to age just fine. We had to leave Josh Hamilton and Shane Victorino off. Selections: Curtis Granderson, Jose Bautista, Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran. It was very tough to take Cruz and Beltran over Victorino and we could argue the merits of the three players all night. It's a toss up and any disagreement holds plenty of water.

DH: Just like in reality, since most of these guys are aging sluggers, we've got David Ortiz and Victor Martinez as the top two.

Starting pitchers: The interesting thing I found here was the lack of depth. Going just on this year's performance -- too little, too late for Chris Carpenter, for example -- the top three guys who missed the cut here were Wandy Rodriguez, Ryan Vogelsong and Kyle Lohse. I didn't list any other names in my initial trip through each roster. On the flip-side, I listed 20 on the under-30 starting pitcher brainstorm. But the top five here might well be superior to the top five under-30. It's just top-heavy to look at starters over 30, and that's why many clubs are reluctant to give long-term deals to starting pitchers. Selections: CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Dan Haren, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.

Relief pitcher: There's good quality here, but again, not a ton of depth. Kyle Farnsworth, Ryan Madson and J.J. Putz just missed the cut. We're going three closers and two non-closers here. Selections: Mariano Rivera, Heath Bell, Francisco Cordero, Mike Adams and Brad Ziegler.

Starting lineup
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Jose Bautista, RF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. Lance Berkman, LF (hopefully no one hits it out there)
8. Ben Zobrist, 2B
9. Ramon Hernandez, C
SP: Roy Halladay (tough, tough call and no wrong answer)

That's an impressive lineup, especially the 2-8 slots. Let's see how the young guys stack up.

Under-30

Catcher: There's lots of good young talent here, and we aren't even looking at Joe Mauer this year. We have Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana and Miguel Montero, among others, but the two picks here are the ones the fans just named starters for the real All-Star Game. Selections: Brian McCann and Alex Avila.

First base: With all due respect to the Morses, Smoaks and Sanchezes of the world, there are only four names to be considered here. It's ridiculous to leave two out, but I have to -- per my own rules. Selections: Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez would possibly win MVPs of their respective leagues if the voting was held now, so they are the picks -- which leaves Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto out in the cold.

Second base: Lots of good, young talent here and we might be listing Dustin Ackley and Brett Lawrie here next year, but we're looking at the body of work for 2011. The five names that stand above the rest are Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Howie Kendrick, Danny Espinosa and Rickie Weeks. Selections: Cano and Weeks by the slimmest of margins over Kendrick. An absolute coin flip.

Third base: Evan Longoria should be easy here, but he's had a down year. Then again, look around. The best three names I have are Pablo Sandoval, Mark Reynolds and Chase Headley. Reynolds has huge power, but is an error and strikeout machine. Headley is great at getting on base, but has essentially no home run power at this point in his career. Sandoval's played just over half his team's games, due to an injury. Longoria's down, sure, but he's still a solid defender and has shown flashes with the bat. Selections: We'll start Sandoval but keep Longoria around as the second selection here. I could certainly see the arguments for Headley or Reynolds, though.

Shortstop: Again, there's good, young talent up the middle of the diamond. That isn't surprising. We had to leave off the likes of Starlin Castro and Yunel Escobar. J.J. Hardy was a really tough omission, too, but it essentially boils down to a three-man race for the two spots. And with all due respect to the other guys, Jose Reyes is an easy start. So it's Troy Tulowitzki vs. Asdrubal Cabrera. They're pretty close across the board. Where one gives something up, the other gains somewhere else (i.e. Tulo has more power, but Cabrera has more steals). We have another complete toss-up, and while I'd take Tulowitzki moving forward, this a first-half award.  Selections: Reyes and Cabrera.

Outfield: I'm not going to list every name I considered, because it was a very crowded field. Rest assured, I didn't forget anyone. The toughest omissions were Alex Gordon, Hunter Pence and Andre Ethier. Selections: Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Quentin and ... Andrew McCutchen. Clint Hurdle would be pleased.

DH: Billy Butler of the Royals is the only option, but you know what? Let's say this is the NL team in our faux-game and just pick two hitters from any position to use here. Hmmmm, I think I'll go with Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto. If we're going to cheat like that -- and I will because I can -- Prince Fielder becomes the DH while Cabrera and Votto both make the team as backups.

Starting pitchers: As mentioned earlier, this is easily the most stacked position of this entire exercise. Here are five guys who didn't make it: Jon Lester, James Shields, Tim Lincecum, Tommy Hanson and Matt Cain. Decent rotation, huh? And that's still omitting Gio Gonzalez, Ian Kennedy, Michael Pineda and a host of others. Selections: Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, Cole Hamels, Jair Jurrjens and Clayton Kershaw.

Relief pitcher: There's more depth here, as we had to leave out the rocket arms of Carlos Marmol, Drew Storen, Fernando Salas and several more. Again, three closers and two non-closers. Selections: Joel Hanrahan, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Perez, Jonny Venters and David Robertson.

Starting lineup
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, DH
5. Matt Kemp, CF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Justin Upton, RF
8. Brian McCann, C
9. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
SP: Justin Verlander

So, which team is better? You make the call, but I'm going with the young blood.

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 1:23 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 8:49 am
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 10:03 am
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

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Since: Jun 28, 2011
Posted on: July 8, 2011 8:07 pm
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

intresting article... i agree that i see the young guys winning a single exhibition... i think the older boys would have them though in a 7 game series.... I think the patient older hitters would get to some of those younger starting pitchers and vice versa... could you imagine trying to get ahead in a series where you the four starters you faced were Halladay, CC, Lee and Beckett... all four of them would possibly pitch right up to the 8th and then who else do you trust more than MO to close it...



Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: July 8, 2011 6:26 pm
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

good grief...baseball is supposed to be fun



Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:57 am
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

It seems like a lot of people are forgetting that his picks are based on the first half of the season. Paul Konerko isn't better than Pujols, but he's had the better first half of the season. He's not picking on overall talent or career accomplishments, but only what has been done so far this season.



Since: Aug 17, 2009
Posted on: July 7, 2011 5:10 pm
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

I wonder how he left Antonio Bastardo off the list...I mean dude is so shut down relief this year and he doesn't get even mentioned...



Since: Dec 22, 2008
Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

Wow, that seems like a dramatic reaction to a fun article. Maybe you should take it easy.



Since: Apr 11, 2010
Posted on: July 7, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

Your under 30 SP is severly flawed and shoud read as follows:

Felix Hernandez
Jon Lester
Tim Lincecum
Clayton Kershaw
Justin Verlander





Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: July 7, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Over-30 All-Stars vs. Under-30 All-Stars

 Interesting list, but how do you leave Lester off the best 5 pitchers under 30 when he has the highest career winning percentage?  More importantly and more ridiculous is the fact that Felix Hernandez didn't even get a mention.  That is downright ridiculous because he is, for my money, the best overall pitcher in the AL the last couple years, and he does it with absolutely no run support.


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