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Using True Talent to Select the 2010 All-Stars: NL Pitchers

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We continue our use of in-season ZiPS, Oliver, and CHONE to select All-Stars.  While we the fans don't a pitching ballot, let's pick them anyway.  I'm using projected FIP, after doing a park adjustment for home runs (but not K's and BB's).  Again, I'm not worried about playing time here: the question is who is the best when they are available to pitch.  Obviously, durability, including innings per start, is very important....but I'm not looking at it here.

I'll choose five starting pitchers and three relievers.

Starting pitcher: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
3rd inning: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
4th inning: Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins
5th inning: Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
6th inning: Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks

Name Org FIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Tim Lincecum SFN 2.92 10.4 3.2 0.5
Roy Halladay PHI 3.08 7.6 1.5 0.7
Josh Johnson FLO 3.33 8.4 2.7 0.6
Adam Wainwright STL 3.44 8.0 2.5 0.6
Dan Haren ARI 3.57 8.6 1.7 1.1
Chris Carpenter STL 3.58 7.0 2.2 0.6
Ubaldo Jimenez COL 3.63 7.9 3.8 0.5
Clayton Kershaw LAN 3.64 9.4 4.7 0.5
Chad Billingsley LAN 3.81 8.5 3.6 0.8
Yovani Gallardo MIL 3.83 9.5 4.2 0.8

Lincecum's an interesting case.  We all know what he's done the last several years.  But people are worried.  He's lost a lot of velocity, and this year has been walking guys much more often than in the past.  The projections still love him, though.  I have to admit that I think I've almost completely overlooked how good Josh Johnson is.  But I would never have pegged him as the third best NL starter, and maybe not in the top-10.  But there he is.  Haren still also rates well despite early season struggles with the homer.  

Ubaldo at #7 might raise some eyebrows, but the projections are forecasting (based on past history) a walk rate that's roughly a batter more per nine innings than he's done this season.  Kershaw is a case where innings per start might be a major factor this approach overlooks, but I still would be delighted to have the guy on my team.

Now the relievers:

7th inning: Hong-Chih Kuo, Los Angeles Dodgers
8th inning: Billy Wagner, Atlanta Braves
9th inning: Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers

Name Org FIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Jonathan Broxton LAN 2.35 11.8 2.8 0.4
Billy Wagner ATL 2.96 11.2 3.2 0.7
Hong-Chih Kuo LAN 3.13 9.9 3.1 0.6
Heath Bell SDN 3.16 9.5 3.0 0.6
Luke Gregerson SDN 3.21 9.4 3.0 0.5

How much are our perceptions of reliever quality colored by who gets the tag of "closer"?  Hong-Chih Kuo (or is it Kuo Hong-Chih?) is not exactly a household name, but he strikes out more than a batter an inning with good control and neutral ground ball rates.  He rates as the third best reliever in the league.  That he is on the same team as the incomparable Broxton is all that separates him from stardom, and probably a bigger paycheck.  Luke Gregerson is in a similar position.