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The 2019 All Star Game by the numbers

What do the stats tell us about who might have an edge in the Midsummer Classic?

Javier Báez takes a selfie with his childhood friend and fellow All Star Francisco Lindor
Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Every now and again I have a little too much time on my hands and start playing around with Fangraphs. Last night I was ruminating over how unfair it was that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could hit 91 home runs and not win the Home Run Derby is an excellent example of this tendency. As a result I started playing around with some tables to compare the All Star rosters and decided these might be fun tools to share with the rest of BCB. So, with no further ado, here it is — your statistical guide to the Midsummer Classic.

Starting Lineups

Let’s start with the NL Starting lineup:

NL All Star Game Starting Lineup and Stats

Name Team Starter PA HR R RBI BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Name Team Starter PA HR R RBI BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Christian Yelich Brewers 9 365 31 66 67 14.2% 18.6% .378 .332 .329 .433 .707 .451 180 5
Javier Baez Cubs 6 376 22 59 62 5.1% 28.7% .267 .357 .289 .324 .556 .361 123 3.4
Freddie Freeman Braves 3 406 23 69 68 11.3% 18.5% .275 .337 .309 .394 .584 .403 149 2.9
Cody Bellinger Dodgers 7 377 30 70 71 14.3% 14.9% .355 .328 .336 .432 .692 .449 184 5.7
Nolan Arenado Rockies 5 382 20 61 67 9.4% 13.9% .250 .317 .312 .377 .562 .384 123 3.2
Josh Bell Pirates DH 388 27 69 84 10.8% 20.4% .346 .315 .302 .376 .648 .409 156 2.8
Willson Contreras Cubs 2 302 18 41 52 10.9% 25.2% .270 .335 .286 .381 .556 .388 141 2.4
Ketel Marte Diamondbacks 4 384 20 58 53 6.8% 14.1% .249 .319 .311 .359 .559 .379 133 3.8
Ronald Acuna Jr. Braves 8 412 21 68 53 10.2% 23.3% .214 .346 .292 .377 .506 .372 129 3.2
Totals 3392 212 561 577 32.4
Select Offensive Stats Fangraphs

And the AL starting lineup:

AL All Star Game Starting Lineup and Stats

Name Team Starter PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Name Team Starter PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
George Springer Astros 9 268 18 47 46 5 11.6% 20.5% .286 .321 .303 .384 .589 .399 157 2.8
DJ LeMahieu Yankees 4 367 12 65 63 4 6.8% 14.4% .182 .369 .336 .383 .518 .379 138 3.4
Mike Trout Angels 8 391 28 71 67 8 19.4% 17.6% .344 .303 .301 .453 .646 .443 186 6.2
Carlos Santana Indians 3 378 19 60 52 3 16.9% 14.8% .243 .311 .297 .418 .540 .399 149 2.9
J.D. Martinez Red Sox DH 357 18 52 48 1 10.1% 19.0% .237 .336 .304 .376 .541 .379 134 1.8
Alex Bregman Astros 5 394 23 61 56 4 17.0% 12.9% .268 .245 .265 .393 .533 .387 149 3.8
Gary Sanchez Yankees 2 289 24 39 57 0 8.3% 28.0% .310 .255 .245 .315 .556 .355 122 1.7
Michael Brantley Astros 7 366 12 48 46 3 7.9% 9.8% .186 .336 .324 .383 .511 .376 141 2.6
Jorge Polanco Twins 6 395 13 57 42 3 8.1% 14.7% .202 .339 .312 .368 .514 .368 129 2.9
Totals 2570 137 388 368 22 21.9
Select Offensive Stats Fangraphs

The National League has a pretty sizeable WAR advantage in their starting lineup compared to the American League starting lineup. National League players have been worth 32.4 WAR so far in 2019 while American League starters have been worth about 21.9 WAR to date.

While some of this is attributable to injuries, the NL lineup has about 800 more plate appearances in 2019 than their AL counterparts, part of it is just which players won their elections. I ranked all qualified players by WAR, added in any non-qualified players who made the All Star team and then looked at how the players in the starting lineups ranked according to WAR. Admittedly this is imperfect, but it gives you a good glimpse at the overall strength of the starting lineups. The AL starting lineup includes the following players by WAR-Rank: 1, 2, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15, 30, 31. The NL starting lineup includes the following players by WAR-Rank: 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 14, 16, 22.

Advantage: NL, but beyond the starting lineups how do these two teams compare?

Pitcher comparisons

Pitcher comparisons are a little more difficult to do since they include starters, middle relievers and closers. However, I still wanted to see how these rotations compared. So I ran a list of the starting pitchers by league and sorted it by WAR. Then I added back in the relievers named to the All-Star Game where they would fit in the starter WAR rank. It’s not perfect, but it does give you an idea of the strengths of the rotations. I also kept stats like GB and HR percentage so you can get an idea of each lineups strengths and weaknesses.

First up the AL:

AL All Star pitchers

Name Team S/R W L SV IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Name Team S/R W L SV IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Gerrit Cole Astros S 9 5 0 116.2 13.1 2.31 1.31 .295 77.2% 41.7% 18.3% 3.09 3.00 2.67 3.4
Lucas Giolito White Sox S 11 3 0 100.0 10.8 3.42 0.81 .262 75.0% 37.8% 9.4% 3.15 3.20 3.91 3.1
Shane Bieber Indians S 8 3 0 112.1 11.3 1.84 1.36 .277 75.9% 46.0% 17.9% 3.45 3.35 3.04 2.9
Jose Berrios Twins S 8 5 0 117.0 8.0 1.77 1.15 .276 78.3% 40.7% 11.5% 3.00 3.83 4.34 2.7
Justin Verlander Astros S 10 4 0 126.2 10.9 1.92 1.85 .181 90.7% 34.9% 18.7% 2.98 4.19 3.67 2.2
Masahiro Tanaka Yankees S 5 5 0 105.0 7.7 2.14 1.37 .278 74.3% 46.9% 15.5% 3.86 4.24 4.18 2.1
John Means Orioles S 7 4 0 82.2 7.5 2.40 0.98 .252 81.1% 37.2% 8.1% 2.50 3.93 5.14 1.9
Liam Hendricks Athletics R 3 0 5 50.2 11.2 3.02 0.18 .291 89.4% 30.4% 1.7% 1.24 2.10 4.08 1.8
Brad Hand Indians R 4 3 23 37.1 13.3 2.41 0.48 .321 82.9% 20.0% 5.7% 2.17 1.92 3.06 1.5
Aroldis Chapman Yankees R 2 1 24 34.2 13.0 3.12 0.26 .316 77.1% 45.5% 5.3% 1.82 1.82 2.52 1.4
Ryan Pressly Astros R 2 1 3 39.2 10.7 1.36 0.91 .226 94.5% 52.1% 18.2% 1.36 2.60 2.37 1.2
Shane Greene Tigers R 0 2 22 33.0 9.3 2.73 1.09 .183 86.1% 54.7% 12.9% 1.09 3.72 3.98 0.7
952.4 24.9
Select stats Fangraphs

And the NL:

NL All Star Pitchers

Name Team All Star S/R W L SV IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Name Team All Star S/R W L SV IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Jacob deGrom Mets Y S 4 7 0 110 11.29 2.05 1.15 .302 79.5% 42.0% 14.0% 3.27 3.14 3.26 3.1
Hyun-Jin Ryu Dodgers Y S 10 2 0 109 8.17 0.83 0.83 .266 87.2% 50.7% 12.8% 1.73 2.88 3.09 3.1
Brandon Woodruff Brewers Y S 10 3 0 108 10.50 2.08 0.83 .325 73.7% 43.9% 11.2% 3.67 2.91 3.32 3.1
Walker Buehler Dodgers Y S 8 1 0 104 9.78 1.21 0.95 .286 67.7% 41.8% 11.0% 3.46 2.84 3.34 3.1
Sonny Gray Reds Y S 5 5 0 90.1 10.26 3.29 0.90 .289 73.4% 55.8% 13.8% 3.59 3.35 3.46 2.3
Mike Soroka Braves Y S 9 1 0 89.1 7.35 2.12 0.40 .266 76.5% 57.0% 7.4% 2.42 3.09 3.69 2.3
Luis Castillo Reds Y S 8 3 0 106 10.53 4.50 0.76 .224 83.2% 56.3% 13.6% 2.29 3.66 3.78 2.1
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers Y S 7 2 0 99 8.27 1.45 1.18 .278 78.3% 51.1% 16.3% 3.09 3.59 3.46 2.1
Kirby Yates Padres Y R 0 2 30 39 13.85 2.08 0.23 .280 82.8% 48.0% 3.6% 1.15 1.38 2.45 2.1
Felipe Vazquez Pirates Y R 2 1 20 38.1 14.09 2.35 0.70 .360 86.5% 38.6% 9.7% 2.11 2.11 2.67 1.4
Will Smith Giants Y R 1 0 23 36.1 13.13 1.98 0.74 .261 84.7% 44.4% 13.6% 1.98 2.02 2.13 1.3
Sandy Alcantara Marlins Y S 4 8 0 101.1 6.22 4.17 0.89 .281 72.7% 46.1% 9.7% 3.82 4.61 5.32 1.0
Totals 1029.5 27.0
Select stats Fangraphs

Here again the NL has a WAR advantage, but it is a much slighter one at 27 to 24.9 total WAR. Additionally, the AL has more specialty relief arms than the NL, so I think that advantage is probably non-existent. Interestingly, both teams are missing some power arms from their rotations who are at the top of their respective divisions. Don’t get me wrong, these rotations are great, but it’s notable that neither of the top pitcher by WAR will pitch in the All-Star Game. Max Scherzer was replaced due to a back issue and Lance Lynn did not make the team at all.

Advantage: Slight advantage to the AL. While the NL has a WAR advantage, the AL is bringing a lot of elite stopper arms to the game.

Bench comparisons

Finally, let’s take a look at the benches for each team. First up, the AL:

AL All Star Reserves

Name Team PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Name Team PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Xander Bogaerts Red Sox 388 17 67 65 3 12.9% 18.0% .240 .324 .294 .384 .535 .382 137 3.7
Matt Chapman Athletics 388 21 59 52 0 11.1% 19.1% .268 .280 .265 .353 .534 .369 135 3.6
Joey Gallo Rangers 260 20 49 46 4 18.8% 36.5% .367 .398 .275 .417 .643 .428 165 3.5
Mookie Betts Red Sox 418 13 77 40 10 16.3% 14.4% .194 .295 .272 .392 .467 .364 124 2.9
Francisco Lindor Indians 315 14 45 32 13 7.9% 16.5% .215 .317 .296 .356 .511 .356 120 2.5
Gleyber Torres Yankees 340 19 56 50 3 9.7% 22.4% .236 .329 .292 .360 .528 .368 130 2.5
Whit Merrifield Royals 414 11 62 44 13 6.5% 18.1% .188 .356 .306 .355 .495 .354 121 2.3
James McCann White Sox 251 9 38 30 4 7.2% 25.9% .186 .408 .316 .371 .502 .368 133 2.3
Daniel Vogelbach Mariners 341 21 49 51 0 17.9% 23.2% .267 .251 .238 .375 .505 .371 138 2.1
Austin Meadows Rays 305 12 36 41 8 8.9% 23.6% .212 .354 .289 .364 .502 .361 130 1.8
Jose Abreu White Sox 370 21 44 66 2 4.9% 23.0% .243 .309 .278 .316 .522 .344 117 1.0
Totals 3790 178 582 517 60 28.2
Select Offensive Stats Fangraphs

Next up the NL:

NL All Star Reserves

Name Team PA HR R RBI BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Name Team PA HR R RBI BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR
Kris Bryant Cubs 375 17 66 44 12.3% 19.5% .256 .338 .297 .403 .552 .400 148 3.7
Peter Alonso Mets 376 30 57 68 9.8% 24.5% .354 .298 .280 .372 .634 .410 161 3.6
Yasmani Grandal Brewers 341 19 45 48 14.7% 20.8% .266 .274 .259 .372 .525 .373 130 3.3
Trevor Story Rockies 349 19 68 50 8.3% 26.1% .257 .354 .292 .358 .549 .377 119 3.1
Max Muncy Dodgers 358 22 56 60 13.7% 23.5% .266 .292 .266 .366 .531 .373 135 3.0
Paul DeJong Cardinals 376 13 55 36 9.6% 19.1% .185 .291 .258 .343 .442 .335 108 2.8
J.T. Realmuto Phillies 338 10 55 42 7.1% 22.8% .166 .330 .273 .328 .438 .324 99 2.8
Jeff McNeil Mets 318 7 41 36 5.7% 11.9% .159 .385 .349 .409 .509 .390 147 2.5
Mike Moustakas Brewers 359 25 54 53 8.4% 17.0% .288 .252 .263 .334 .551 .366 125 2.4
Charlie Blackmon Rockies 341 20 67 57 5.9% 17.3% .302 .354 .330 .378 .632 .415 143 2.0
David Dahl Rockies 331 12 55 51 6.0% 26.6% .222 .391 .308 .352 .530 .365 111 1.5
Totals 3862 194 619 545 30.7
Select Offensive Stats Fangraphs

The National League advantage here is smaller, but still noticeable. They have an advantage in just about every offensive category that does not appear to be solely attributable to a slight plate appearance advantage. Each team has a few players who are in the top five in WAR on their bench (Kris Bryant, Xander Bogaerts) and each team has a couple of players who are question marks.

Advantage: NL, but it’s a lot smaller advantage than they have with their starting lineup.

Takeaways

On paper and by the numbers the NL looks to have an advantage offensively tonight while the AL has a slight edge with their pitchers. Of course as we all know baseball will baseball, so regardless of the numbers this year’s Midsummer Classic is probably anyone’s game.