The Indians are off to a great start, and for most fans, this would be cause for celebration. However, if you’re a Tribe fan (or a fan of any Cleveland sports team), waiting for the other shoe to drop is second nature. However, there are reasons to like the Indians this year. Reason number 1 I like the Tribe this year is: We aren’t loaded with All-Stars. No, really. That’s a good thing.

I read a quote from manager Manny Acta a few days ago where he said: ““The guys with good individual numbers go to the All-Star Game. The guys on great teams win championships.” This sounds “right,” but it also sounds like something you’d expect a major league manager to say. This started me thinking on whether there is a correlation between the number of All-Stars on a team and the team’s won-loss record. I mean, great teams should be stocked with All-Star caliber players, right? Well, yes and no.

I made a quick spreadsheet (Excel=nerd plaything), and looked at the number of All-Stars per team and the W-L percentage. For 2010, the American League looks like this:

Team    # all-stars    W-L %
TB           4                    .593
NYY      7                    .586
MIN       2                    .580
TEX        6                    .556
BOS        6                    .549
CWS       2                    .543
TOR        3                   .525
DET        3                    .500
OAK       2                    .500
LAA       2                    .494
CLE        1                     .426
KC          1                     .414
BAL       1                     .407
SEA       1                     .377

Yes, yes, I see our guys down there at the bottom with one All-Star selection, right along side Kansas City, Baltimore, and Seattle. What interests me more are the Twins, who only had two All-Stars but had a .580 W-L percentage, putting them ahead of Texas, who had six All-Stars and went to the World Series, and ahead of Boston (HA!), who also had six All-Stars.

The National League has even more pronounced discrepancies.

TEAM    # all-stars    W-L %
COL         2                    .706
PHI         3                    .625
FLA        2                    .600
SF            2                    .588
WAS       1                     .533
CIN        4                     .529
MIL       3                     .529
CHC       1                     .500
STL        5                     .500
PIT        1                      .471
ARI       1                      .467
ATL       5                     .444
LAD      4                     .444
SD          2                     .438
HOU      1                      .353
NYM     2                      .294

You could be Atlanta with five guys going to the All-Star Game and still being playing well under .500, or you can be Colorado can have the best record in baseball and do it with two All-Stars. I think I’ll take the latter. What this little number breakdown says to me is that the whole really is greater than the sum of its parts. Having a bunch of guys in the All-Star Game?  It just doesn’t matter.

So let the fans in the big markets vote in truckloads of Yankees and Red Sox. That’s fine. Let the guys with the good individual numbers go to the All-Star team. I’m looking forward to my great team winning championships (or at least making the playoffs).

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