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Where did the All-Stars come from?

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Looking back at their prospect reputations

Ben Zobrist turned out to be a steal for the Rays, via Houston
Ben Zobrist turned out to be a steal for the Rays, via Houston

This really has nothing to do with the Rays other than Ben Zobrist and Matt Moore being in the All-Star Game, but I thought this would be a nice chance to take a different look at the players that will be or should've been on the field tonight. The first four charts available here have all the basic info I collected for each All-Star, separated into batters and pitchers as well as players that were taken through the amateur draft and those that were signed as international free agents. The original organization is the team that signed that player to become a professional, the top 100 column is for players that appeared in Baseball America's annual top 100 list, and the column following that is for the top spot a player occupied in a team's top 30 on Baseball America. I wish I could've found a signing bonus for everyone, but it's not always easy. The last two un-named sheets are where I dumped all the data to make the charts.

I wasn't sure what to do with Yu Darvish's bonus. Instead of including his entire contract, I just used his 2012 salary. There are really no other anomalies that need to be pointed out, aside from maybe talking about Hisashi Iwakuma. According to Baseball America, he was signed too late to appear on a top 30, but I'm sure he would've been on there at some point. Among the players I couldn't find bonuses for, I was most surprised by Carlos Beltran and Cliff Lee. I know they were drafted pretty long ago at this point, but I still figured I would be able to find the information for a pair of prominent players.

I attempted to make these final few charts interactive but to no avail. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Obviously most of the league's best players were drafted pretty early on. The two who were drafted beyond the 20th round are who you might've expected: Steve Delabar and Sergio Romo, a pair of relievers. No undrafted players are in this All-Star Game, but maybe someday we'll see Brandon Beachy or Tim Collins participate.

On the IFA side, it's not a surprise that two thirds of the international players come from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. Remember that Puerto Ricans are subject to the draft, and a quick count indicates there are three Puerto Rican players in this year's All-Star Game (Carlos Beltran, Edwin Encarnacion and Yadier Molina.) The players that fit into the 'other' category are Everth Cabrera (Nicaragua), Grant Balfour (Australia), Aroldis Chapman (Cuba, not Andorra where he established residency after defecting), and Mariano Rivera (Panama).

Of course, most All-Stars were once the top prospect in their organizations. Some players may have gotten stuck behind another elite prospect in the organization, but since I took the highest ranking from any year in a player's minor league career, that shouldn't have bee much of a factor. The four that never appeared on a team's top 30? Iwakuma as already explained, Delabar of course, Greg Holland and Marco Scutaro.

I went to a bar graph for this one, but I really wasn't sure if that was the best way to express this. Only two All-Stars were ever the number one prospect in baseball, and those were Joe Mauer and Bryce Harper. The highest ranked IFA in this year's edition is Felix Hernandez who rose as high as number two while a minor leaguer with Seattle. It shouldn't be too shocking that a lot of All-Stars never made a top 100 since there are always a lot of talented prospects in the minors at any given time. Relievers like Delabar or Mark Melancon rarely appear on this list, but for one big surprise, how about Robinson Cano? He was a solid prospect coming through the Yankees organization, but he has certainly outperformed prospect expectations.

This is for all the players I could find signing bonus info for. The IFA arm bar is quite inflated by Chapman's bonus over $16 million because otherwise, international free agents hardly get paid compared to their counterparts in the draft. There are the outliers like Zobrist or Matt Carpenter that get small bonuses and develop into All-Stars, but obviously with all the first round picks that we saw earlier, the bonuses are going to be pretty high. This just exemplifies how teams can still hit it big on the international market without spending big dollars. Miguel Cabrera signed for a then-record $1.9 million for a player out of Venezuela, but that's not a huge deal compared to a handful of players who have signed since then. Seattle got David Ortiz for $10k, and the Yankees got the best closer ever for $3k.