Coco Crisp, Mark Ellis, and Eric Chavez's All-Star Non-Histories

By Jason Wojciechowski on July 10, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Today I saw someone on Twitter mention, after Erick Aybar was chosen as Alex Gordon's All-Star Game replacement, that Coco Crisp never seems to get any love despite being a fantastic player. As you might know, Crisp is reasonably far up the list of active leaders in the Baseball Reference flavor of WAR. Crisp, though, has never made an All-Star team. I decided to find out whether he was the active leader in bWAR with no All-Star Games on his career record. Turns out he's not, but it also turns out that the list goes like this:

bWAR rank among active 0 ASG players Player bWAR overall active bWAR rank
1 Eric Chavez 37.4 27
2 Mark Ellis 33.6 36
3 Coco Crisp 30.7 39

Surely a coincidence! Surely!

So far my word count is only 173, so I need to fluff this out a bit, right? How about some lists of the players who've made All-Star teams instead of the three above Ultimate A's Heroes in seasons in which our heroes accumulated at least 4.0 WAR (or are on pace for same)?

Year Usurper Usurper WAR Chavez WAR Usurper career WAR
2001 Cal Ripken -0.6 6.0 95.5
2001 Troy Glaus 5.2 6.0 37.9
2002 Shea Hillenbrand 4.2 4.2 6.2
2002 Tony Batista 3.0 4.2 13.7
2002 Robin Ventura 3.7 4.2 55.9
2003 Troy Glaus 1.3 5.3 37.9
2003 Hank Blalock 6.4 5.3 13.5
2004 Alex Rodriguez 7.6 5.5 116.0
2004 Hank Blalock 4.6 5.5 13.5
2005 Alex Rodriguez 9.4 4.8 116.0
2005 Shea Hillenbrand 1.8 4.8 6.2
2005 Melvin Mora 4.2 4.8 28.2

In rank order, then, by how little we should feel ashamed for putting the player in the All-Star game over Chavez:

  1. Alex Rodriguez: second-best player many of us have ever seen
  2. Cal Ripken: all-time great, beloved, though crummy by the time he was in competition with an ascendant Chavez
  3. Robin Ventura: incredibly underrated player. Hall of Nearly Great type of player.
  4. Hank Blalock: his career should have gone better than this
  5. Troy Glaus: gaudy power numbers overshadowed that Chavez was usually better than him
  6. Melvin Mora: cool super-utility player, neat crazy run from 2003-04, but c'mon
  7. Shea Hillenbrand: nooope; nooooooooope
Year Usurper Usurper WAR Ellis WAR Usurper career WAR
2005 Brian Roberts 7.2 4.7 30.3
2005 Alfonso Soriano 1.6 4.7 27.1
2007 Placido Polanco 6.1 4.8 41.4
2007 Brian Roberts 4.2 4.8 30.3
2008 Dustin Pedroia 6.9 4.0 41.5
2008 Ian Kinsler 4.7 4.0 38.4

Not a lot of travesty in that list. It would have been nice to see Ellis get the nod in 2005 over Soriano, but it's exactly the pattern you expect: Ellis derived his value from his leather, Soriano from his wood.

Year Usurper Usurper WAR Crisp WAR Usurper career WAR
2013 Mike Trout 8.9 4.3 25.4
2013 Adam Jones 4.1 4.3 22.0
2013 Jose Bautista 4.2 4.3 26.3
2013 Nelson Cruz 2.2 4.3 14.8
2013 Alex Gordon 3.9 4.3 25.6
2013 Torii Hunter 1.7 4.3 49.0
2014 Jose Bautista 3.5 2.0 26.3
2014 Mike Trout 5.1 2.0 25.4
2014 Adam Jones 3.1 2.0 22.0
2014 Nelson Cruz 2.9 2.0 14.8
2014 Michael Brantley 3.9 2.0 10.1
2014 Yoenis Cespedes 2.5 2.0 8.0
2014 Alex Gordon 3.6 2.0 25.6

Same list as for Eric Chavez: top of the list, I don't feel bad about, bottom of the list, feel like Crisp should be making the team ahead of:

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Jose Bautista
  3. Adam Jones
  4. Alex Gordon
  5. Michael Brantley
  6. Nelson Cruz
  7. Yoenis Cespedes
  8. Torii Hunter

Hunter's got that end-of-a-long-career thing going for him, but in no small part, this is, yet again, the power game winning out over speed and defense.

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