Emma: Baseball's WAR All-Star Team

It's the annual time to reflect on the greatness of Mike Trout.

Chris Emma
July 09, 2019 - 10:48 am
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(670 The Score) White Sox ace Lucas Giolito sat alongside team television broadcaster Jason Benetti on Monday night for ESPN's alternative, stats-heavy broadcast of the Home Run Derby.

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Benetti reminded the first-time All-Star Giolito that he earned a 30 on his ACT in high school, then asked why he fell shy of a perfect 36 score.

"Math," Giolito replied.

"You know (30) is good, right?"

The 24-year-old Giolito has enjoyed a tremendous turnaround this season in part because of the way he has embraced finding the "why" with his results. He spent the offseason working with Rapsodo to understand how his delivery could be refined for better movement for his pitches. 

Baseball is becoming a more mindful game these days, and that certainly includes the players too. The quantifiable statistics like home runs and RBIs, wins and ERA only matter so much these days as the game and its players seek complete meaning in their performance.

It's why there's such a great appreciation for Angels star Mike Trout, the Mickey Mantle of this generation, playing in his eighth All-Star Game on Tuesday night. His consistent greatness is showcased in every metric available.

With that in mind, the All-WAR Team is a reflection of how baseball continues embracing value beyond the box score. 

All WAR figures are courtesy of FanGraphs.

C -- Yasmani Grandal, Brewers, 3.3 WAR

Credit goes to the bright Brewers front office for signing Grandal away from the Dodgers on a one-year deal in January. Grandal has been a tremendous value for the Brewers.

Grandal has a .373 weighted on-base percentage and 130 weighted-runs-created-plus, both second to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras at their position, but the major reason for his greater cumulative value is due to the defensive assets he brings. Grandal is second in MLB in pitch framing, according to Inside Edge.

1B -- Pete Alonso, Mets, 3.6 WAR

Lost in the Mets' utter dysfunction has been the sensational rookie season of first baseman Pete Alonso, whom many fans first got to know for the first time when he won the Home Run Derby on Monday.

Alonso has a .354 isolated power mark this season, better than Aaron Judge's .343 mark that he posted two years ago in breaking the rookie home run record with 52.

2B -- Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks, 3.8 WAR

The selection of Marte comes with the acknowledgement that he has split time almost evenly between second base and center field. Marte has produced negative defensive value at second while bringing plus value in center.

But Marte's all-around game deserves respect. His .379 wOBA is tied with the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu for tops among players eligible at second base.

SS -- Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox, 3.7 WAR

Bogaerts didn't get the nod as an American League starter at shortstop, but found his way to the roster after Hunter Pence removed due to injury.

Bogaerts leads all shortstops in the game with a .382 wOBA and 137 wRC+ while bringing plus value at his position and on the basepaths. At the least, he can get some rest this week to continue his pace.

3B -- Alex Bregman, Astros, 3.8 WAR

Arguably the deepest position in baseball these days is third base, which includes the likes of Nolan Arenado, Kris Bryant, Matt Chapman, Rafael Devers, Anthony Rendon, Yoan Moncada and more. But the leader of this group is Bregman, the second overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.

Bregman is among the top third basemen in baseball at just about every offensive metric, but the most impressive stat to his case is something else. He's the only third baseman with a higher walk rate (17 percent) than strikeout rate (12.9 percent).

OF -- Mike Trout, Angels, 6.2 WAR

We're watching the career of one of baseball's all-time greatest players in Trout, who at 27 has already accumulated a 71.1 career WAR. That puts him in the company of Hall of Famers, even with Sam Crawford and ahead of Ron Santo.

There's plenty about Trout's season to appreciate, but he has been so consistently great that the career work as a whole must be viewed. Trout's Baseball Reference similarity scores through the age of 26 include the following players as the four most similar: Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr., Mantle and Hank Aaron.

OF -- Cody Bellinger, Dodgers, 5.7 WAR

Los Angeles area residents have enjoyed the treat of watching baseball's two best players this season on a nightly basis. While Trout has done this annually, Bellinger has gone from very good to great in 2019.

With a 5.7 WAR, Bellinger is on pace to topple his career WAR entering this season. He's second in MLB in wOBA (.449) and wRC+ (184).

OF -- Christian Yelich, Brewers, 5.0 WAR

Yelich was a deserving All-Star selection last July in his first season with the Brewers, but nobody could've ever imagined what would follow in the next 12 months.

Since the 2018 All-Star Game, Yelich has hit 56 home runs (.389 ISO), recorded 134 RBIs (198 wRC+) and slashed .346/.440/.736 (.474 wOBA).     

P -- Max Scherzer, Nationals, 5.5 WAR

There's no debate about who's the best pitcher in baseball this season. That would be the 34-year-old Scherzer, who's enjoying another exceptional season and one far above his pitching peers.

Scherzer has a MLB-leading 2.00 FIP and has recorded 12.60 strikeouts per nine innings.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.