The goal of All-Star Analysis of Players (ASAP) is to identify baseball Hall of Fame players as early as possible before they are actually inducted into the Hall of Fame. The ASAP system described here identifies players who are half-way to Hall of Fame status.
How It Works
An all-star team is constructed for each major league for each year.
The number of players to select for an all-star team is standardized depending on the number of teams in the league:
(Total # players on all-star team) = (number of teams in the league) x 3
The number of pitchers on a team has changed over the years. In 1885, only 22% of the players on an average baseball team were pitchers. Today, that number is close to 50%. From 2016 to present, the number I use is 48%:
(Number of pitchers on all-star team) = (Total # players on all-star team) x 0.48
Any decimals are rounded to the nearest whole number.
Selecting All-Star Teams
Now that we know how many position players and how many pitchers to select for each team, we select players to build the teams. I simply use the official All-Star roster as a base. Then you have to add or subtract players as needed to reach the target numbers on each team.
For example, I determined that the 2015 National League all-star team roster should have 23 position players and 22 pitchers. However, the 2015 National League All-Star team only had 20 position players and 14 pitchers. So I need to find 3 more position players and 8 more pitchers to fill out those extra spots. To do this, I look at the WAR numbers at the end of the season to find players who excelled but didn’t make it to the All-Star game. These are players who were perhaps not as popular, or simply didn’t have a good first half, but probably should have been All-Stars.
Sometimes more all-stars were selected than can fit on one of our teams. This happened all the time in the 1930’s through 1960’s, when there were fewer teams and sometimes an excessive number of players were selected for the All-Star Game (or more than one All-Star Game was played each year, like in 1959-1962). In these situations, I look at the year-end WAR numbers for players on the team and actually remove the weakest players.
For some seasons, like any season before 1933, or in 1945 during World War II, no All-Star Game was played. For these seasons, I would look at the year-end WAR numbers and choose an all-star team from scratch. When selecting an all-star team from scratch, it is important to choose a proper starting team having the best position player at each of the eight starting positions (and perhaps also choosing a starting player for the designated hitter position), as well as a starting pitcher.
Spreadsheet of All-Stars
After the all-stars are selected, I enter them into a big spreadsheet. For each year a player is an all-star starter, he gets 1.01 points. For each year he is simply on the all-star team, but not a starter, he gets 1.00 points. The reason I do this is to create a tie-breaker. That separates a player like Cal Ripken with a 16.15 score from a player like Barry Bonds with a 16.12 score.
Finding Future Hall of Famers
Now comes the fun part. To get the number of new future Hall of Famers to pick each year, divide the total number of major league teams by 6, and round to nearest whole number. This season there are 30 teams. 30 divided by 6 is a nice round 5. So we’re going to choose 5 players this year.
For a player to be chosen, he needs to have the highest all-star score among players who have never been selected before. He also needs to be an all-star on the year of selection.
How to Use ASAP
In 2015, I selected Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Rodriguez, and Clayton Kershaw. Remember, these players are not yet shoo-ins for the Hall of Fame. They are only half way there. If any of them retires today, they will likely not make it to Cooperstown. They need to continue playing as well as they have been playing for at least another four or five years to be Hall of Fame-worthy.
ASAP intentionally picks future Hall of Famers when they reach the half-way mark to make sure nobody slips through the cracks. While not every player picked with this system will be Hall of Famers, every Hall of Famer was picked out of the crowd by ASAP. This is important to me because I collect Hall of Fame autographs. If I can identify a future Hall of Famer a decade or more in advance, I will be more likely to acquire the autograph at a reasonable price or effort.