ASG Worthy? Clay Holmes
The Yankees will be sending 6 representatives to the 2022 Midsummer Classic. This week, we're going to see if each player is worthy to go.
The History of All-Star Selections/Voting:
Starting in 1933, outside of a few instances (1945 and 2020), the All-Star Game has been a yearly occurrence at about the halfway point during the MLB season. In the early years, the All-Star teams were quite small (18 players in 1933. 20 from 1934-1938, 25 from 1939-1981) and in recent years rules have been implemented that each MLB team must have at least one representative at the game. In 1982, the rosters were expanded to 30 active players then it moved to 32 in 2003, 33 in 2009, and has been at 34 since 2010.
Alongside roster changes and expansions, the league has also had many different solutions to how a player makes the All-Star team. In the first two years, the fans voted for the 18 starters- including the starting pitcher- while the rest of the roster was compiled by the manager. This changed from 1934-1946 where the full roster was selected by the manager of the team. In 1947 fans were allowed to vote again for the starting 8 (no pitchers)...which was then stopped after Cincinnati Reds fans "stuffed the ballot" in 1957. It then became a decision by the managers and MLB again through 1969. In 1970 fan voting came back for the starting 8, though from then until 2003, the managers solely selected the back-up players. In 2003 the players were also given a voice in the voting process for the non-starters. The final voting changes occurred from 2002 to 2018 where fans had a vote for the final player on the roster, and a new rule for 2022 (and going forward) where the commissioner of the MLB is allowed to make a "legacy selection" for the All-Star Game. (This year the selected legacy players are Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.)
All-Star Flubs and Snubs:
Now, with a history that is nearly 90 years going and the many many changes to team sizes, selection processes, and even positions to vote/select for (the outfield used to be separated by specific position), there should be an expectation that there are some players who snuck their way onto the team and others who should've been slam-dunk choices.
Take 2015 for example. The Kansas City Royals rallied their troops and got shortstop Alcides Escobar elected as the starting shortstop for the All-Star Game. By that time in the season, Escobar was hitting to a respectable .290/.327/.372/.700 quadruple slash and as a glove-first player with a 98 OPS+ it was not seen as out of the picture. However, at that same point in the season Xander Bogaerts (who didn't make the team at all) was hitting to a .304/.338/.411/.750 quadruple slash. (To put it into perspective, that .050 difference in OPS is the same between 2022 Giancarlo Stanton and 2022 Eugenio Suarez.)
Also to that point, let's highlight 2022 All-Star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and non-all-star Ty France. Vladito is hitting to a .266/.346/.483/.829 quadruple slash with 19 home runs and 54 RBI's while France is hitting to a .306/.379/.460/.840 quadruple slash with 10 home runs and 45 RBI's. Are they comparable? Yes. However, did fan voting for a Toronto Blue Jay help elevated Guerrero over a more deserving player? Also, yes.
All that being said, let's see if the 6 Yankees 2022 All-Star Game selections are worthwhile.
The 2022 Statistics of Clay Holmes:
Even on the heels of an outing that nearly raised his 2022 season ERA by a full point, Clay Holmes has still been the best reliever in the MLB this season. Such it is when you pitch few innings and allow 4 runs without getting any outs. Alas...
Nobody saw this coming. Clay Holmes came to the New York Yankees in what at-the-time was a small move to make room on the 40-Man roster for Hoy Jun Park and Diego Castillo. At the time, Holmes had a combined 5.57 ERA over parts of 4 MLB seasons and nearly 120 innings. Since coming to the Yankees, he's completely changed that. At this point in the season, Clay Holmes is pitching to the following line: (Key: Leads MLB, Leads AL Starting Pitchers)
41 Games, 20 Games Finished, 16 Saves, 4-1 Record, (.800 Winning Percentage), 1.31 ERA (289 ERA+), 2.00 FIP, 41.1 Innings Pitched, 44 Strikeouts (9.58 K/9), 0.871 WHIP, +1.8 bWAR/+1.4 fWAR
Across qualified American League relievers (by Fangraphs) Clay Holmes has the:
1st in Games Played
22nd in Games Finished (Emmanuel Clase leads with 36)
Tied for 7th in Saves (3 tied for 1st with 19)
Tied for 5th in Wins (Adam Cimber leads with 8)
5th in ERA (Ryne Stanek leads at 0.59)
5th in ERA+ (Ryne Stanek leads with 659)
4th in FIP (Reynaldo Lopez leads with 1.74)
9th in Innings Pitched (Keegan Akin leads with 50.2)
13th in Strikeouts (Shane McClanahan leads with 147)
42nd in K/9 (Andres Munoz leads with 13.75)
8th in WHIP (Eli Morgan leads with 0.63)
With 3 relievers who made the American League All-Star Game, it was no question a week ago when Clay Holmes had a 0.46 ERA. Now, however there could be a case raised that after a 4-run, 0-out performance his stock has dropped. Thus comes a vital problem with the All-Star Game: validity and reliability. By playing with the grammar surrounding statistics, these two terms would mean if a player is reliable they are consistent and if a player is valid they are playing accurately to their skill level. Up until that game, Holmes was reliable (it was expected that he was going to finish games easily) and valid (his advanced numbers supported his dominance). Since that game, Holmes is not perfectly reliable and valid anymore. Without going on a large tangent about statistics and p-values and 95% and yadda yadda yadda, I think it's fair to say when the All-Star teams were announced it was a clear and obvious thing that Holmes would be an All-Star. Since then, there are questions, but we can forgive one very bad outing.
So, after looking at the All-Stars for the New York Yankees, they are 6 for 6 with deserving players. That's awesome.