Franchise All Star Teams (Divisional Era Version) - Part III - Teams #21-25

September 11, 2022
 
Franchise All-Star Teams of the Divisional Era
Teams #21-25
 
This is part III of a multi-part series reviewing all-star franchise teams of the Divisional Era (1969 to present). The kickoff article explains the premise.
 
One quick note…..I relabeled the "Franchise Four" section of each team’s summary to "Mount Rushmore Four" because "Franchise Four" was the term used by MLB several years ago to honor 4 players from each franchise.   Again, the 4 I’m identifying are limited to the Divisional Era.
 
Picking up the countdown with #25…..
 
#25-Pittsburgh Pirates
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
PIT
2
.487
.566
.470
.488
.421
.474
 
In the divisional era, the Pirates have basically had 3 periods of success: 
 
·         They were at their best in the 1970’s, with their .566 winning percentage (including the 1969 season) placing them 3rd behind the Orioles and the Reds. They made the postseason 6 times, and won the World Series in 1971 and 1979. 

·         After going 0 for 10 in the 1980’s with mostly losing teams, they opened the 1990’s with 3 consecutive NL East titles, but lost in the NLCS each time (once to the Reds, and twice to the Braves)

·         After 20 consecutive losing seasons from 1993-2012, and having the 2nd worst winning percentage in the decade of the 2000’s, they did make the postseason 3 straight years from 2013-2015 as a wild card, but couldn’t get past the NLDS.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Jason Kendall
55.2
6.00%
49.7
1B
Willie Stargell
64.8
6.00%
58.3
2B
Johnny Ray
45.1
6.00%
40.6
3B
Bobby Bonilla
49.6
6.00%
44.6
SS
Jay Bell
48.6
6.00%
43.7
LF
Barry Bonds
93.1
6.00%
83.8
CF
Andrew McCutchen
65.2
6.00%
58.7
RF
Roberto Clemente
58.7
6.00%
52.8
DH
Dave Parker
63.4
4.75%
45.1
SP1
John Candelaria
59.2
5.25%
46.6
SP2
Doug Drabek
49.2
5.00%
36.9
SP3
Rick Rhoden
47.6
4.75%
33.9
SP4
Jim Rooker
40.8
4.50%
27.6
SP5
Dock Ellis
36.1
3.25%
17.6
RP1
Kent Tekulve
52.4
3.75%
29.4
RP2
Mark Melancon
64.8
2.75%
26.7
P
Dave Giusti
34.7
2.00%
10.4
P
Francisco Cordova
47.5
2.00%
14.3
P
Tony Watson
49.0
2.00%
14.7
Res
Manny Sanguillen
50.0
2.00%
15.0
Res
Al Oliver
50.2
2.00%
15.1
Res
Josh Harrison
38.6
2.00%
11.6
Res
Richie Hebner
46.8
2.00%
14.1
Res
Brian Giles
68.0
2.00%
20.4
Res
Andy Van Slyke
60.6
2.00%
18.2
Mgr
Danny Murtaugh
n/a
n/a
829.8
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Jason Kendall
 Andrew McCutchen
John Candelaria
Kent Tekulve
Manny Sanguillen
1B
Willie Stargell
 Roberto Clemente
Doug Drabek
Mark Melancon
Al Oliver
2B
Johnny Ray
 Barry Bonds
Rick Rhoden
Dave Giusti
Josh Harrison
3B
Bobby Bonilla
 Willie Stargell
Jim Rooker
Francisco Cordova
Richie Hebner
SS
Jay Bell
 Dave Parker
Dock Ellis
Tony Watson
Brian Giles
LF
Barry Bonds
 Bobby Bonilla
 
 
Andy Van Slyke
CF
Andrew McCutchen
 Jason Kendall
 
 
 
RF
Roberto Clemente
 Johnny Ray
 
 
 
DH
Dave Parker
 Jay Bell
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
829.8
25
Offense
138.7
9
Defense
43.4
15
Speed
10.3
18
Infield
187.2
28
Outfield
195.4
5
Catching
64.7
13
Starting 9
477.4
18
Bench
94.3
8
Staff
258.1
28
Rotation
162.6
30
4 Starters
145.0
29
Bullpen
95.5
18
Short Relief
66.6
18
 
Position/Roster Notes:
The first thing to address is the elephant in the room, that being Roberto Clemente. I went back and forth on whether to include him. Clemente did play 4 seasons in this era before his tragic death: 1969-1972. And, he was a formidable player, even as he was getting up in years (these were his age 34-37 seasons). However, for the established, "original" 16 franchises, I used a guideline of a minimum of 4 years and 600 games for position players. Clemente only had 480.
 
However, I decided to include Clemente. Even though those were the last 4 seasons of his career, he was just too good in those years: .339/.387/.521, 153 OPS+. He was an All-Star all 4 seasons. He could still field, and he could still throw. Ultimately, I felt like he belonged. However, I did apply a penalty to his score in order to justify including him.
 
If Clemente had not made the team, Parker would have been the right fielder and Oliver would have been the DH, but since he did, I moved Parker to DH and Oliver to the bench.
 
I went with Bell at shortstop, with Jack Wilson probably the second best option. I didn’t want two pure shortstops (Bell didn’t really play elsewhere much until he played for Arizona), so I went with Harrison as the team’s super-utility guy, and he can back up at shortstop.
 
Catcher was a 3-way battle with Kendall, Sanguillen, and Tony Pena. I went with Kendall as the starter and Sanguillen as the backup.
 
Bonilla split time between 3B and OF, but the team has plenty of outfielders, so he ended up in a battle with Hebner and Bill Madlock at 3B, and I went with Bonilla.
 
In the bullpen, there was some pretty stiff competition for the closer role. The Pirates had 4 players with 130 of more saves – Kent Tekulve, Mike Williams, Dave Giusti, and Mark Melancon. I went with Tekulve as the closer Melancon as the setup, and Giusti as another bullpen arm. I wanted a lefty arm in the bullpen as well, and I went with Tony Watson.
 
Missed the Cut:
Jack Wilson could have made the team, but he only played shortstop, and even though that was a need, I went with other options. 
 
Tony Pena was one of 3 pretty equal options at catcher along with Kendall and Sanguillen, but I went with the 2 who had a little longer tenure.
 
Starling Marte, Jason Bay and Richie Zisk had several good years, but this team was already swimming in outfielders.
 
Bill Madlock and Phil Garner were both key players on the ’79 championship team who could have made the roster, but I went with others.
 
Felipe Vazquez, Mike Williams, and Ramon Hernandez were other bullpen arms who were considered.
 
"Grand" Club:
Willie Stargell, Andrew McCutchen, Dave Parker, Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen, Jason Kendall, Jack Wilson, Kevin Young, Richie Hebner, Jay Bell, Rennie Stennett, Andy Van Slyke, Barry Bonds
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Barry Bonds, Dave Parker
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Outfield, depth
Weaknesses: Starting rotation, infield
 
This team is absolutely swimming in excellent outfielders, starting with Bonds (3-time MVP while with the franchise), a couple of other MVP’s (McCutchen and Parker), an all-time great in Clemente who was at the tail end of his career, and Giles, Oliver (who also played first base), and Van Slyke. It’s more of a high average than a huge home run hitting offense, with several players who were .300 (or near .300) hitters with the franchise.
 
However, I have them with the lowest ranked starting rotation of all 30 teams. Candelaria was a quality pitcher and Drabek did take home a Cy Young, but overall, in a competition like this, the rotation is relatively weak.
 
Futures
Bryan Reynolds has been a quality player in his young career. He could eventually make the team, but the team is already so deep in outfielders, he’s got a tough road ahead of him.
 
Ke’Bryan Hayes had a splashy debut in 2020 (.376 in 24 games), but he hasn’t really shown much hitting prowess since. 
 
#24-Milwaukee Brewers/Seattle Pilots
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
MIL
0
.483
.452
.514
.480
.458
.514
 
The Brewers had success in the early 1980’s with the "Harvey Wallbangers" crew let by Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, reaching their lone World Series in 1982, losing to the Cardinals in a tough 7-game battle. They then went on a 25-year hiatus, occasionally posting winning records, but often very much out of the pennant chases. Since 2008, they’ve been doing pretty well, reaching the postseason in 6 of 14 seasons, and are in the Wild Card hunt this year.
 
Roster Listing:
 
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Jonathan Lucroy
44.8
6.00%
40.3
1B
George Scott
56.4
6.00%
50.7
2B
Jim Gantner
42.4
6.00%
38.1
3B
Paul Molitor
75.2
6.00%
67.7
SS
Robin Yount
79.2
6.00%
71.2
LF
Ryan Braun
65.0
6.00%
58.5
CF
Carlos Gomez
52.6
6.00%
47.3
RF
Christian Yelich
58.7
6.00%
52.8
DH
Cecil Cooper
60.5
4.75%
43.1
SP1
Teddy Higuera
62.4
5.25%
49.1
SP2
Ben Sheets
55.0
5.00%
41.2
SP3
Chris Bosio
47.1
4.75%
33.6
SP4
Bill Wegman
43.8
4.50%
29.5
SP5
Mike Caldwell
43.0
3.25%
21.0
RP1
Josh Hader
71.0
3.75%
40.0
RP2
Rollie Fingers
64.1
2.75%
26.4
P
Dan Plesac
52.8
2.00%
15.8
P
Ken Sanders
58.5
2.00%
17.5
P
Yovani Gallardo
41.2
2.00%
12.4
Res
B.J. Surhoff
36.3
2.00%
10.9
Res
Prince Fielder
39.5
2.00%
11.9
Res
Jeff Cirillo
55.5
2.00%
16.6
Res
Don Money
53.3
2.00%
16.0
Res
Geoff Jenkins
44.2
2.00%
13.3
Res
Ben Oglivie
44.5
2.00%
13.4
Mgr
Craig Counsell
n/a
n/a
838.3
 
Grid View:
 
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Jonathan Lucroy
 Paul Molitor
Teddy Higuera
Josh Hader
B.J. Surhoff
1B
George Scott
 Robin Yount
Ben Sheets
Rollie Fingers
Prince Fielder
2B
Jim Gantner
 Christian Yelich
Chris Bosio
Dan Plesac
Jeff Cirillo
3B
Paul Molitor
 Ryan Braun
Bill Wegman
Ken Sanders
Don Money
SS
Robin Yount
 Cecil Cooper
Mike Caldwell
Yovani Gallardo
Geoff Jenkins
LF
Ryan Braun
 George Scott
 
 
Ben Oglivie
CF
Carlos Gomez
 Jonathan Lucroy
 
 
 
RF
Christian Yelich
 Carlos Gomez
 
 
 
DH
Cecil Cooper
 Jim Gantner
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
 
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
838.3
24
Offense
101.1
22
Defense
19.9
26
Speed
16.1
11
Infield
227.8
15
Outfield
158.7
19
Catching
51.2
22
Starting 9
469.8
21
Bench
82.0
23
Staff
286.5
23
Rotation
174.4
26
4 Starters
153.4
26
Bullpen
112.1
5
Short Relief
82.2
6
 
Position/Roster Notes:
The Brewers are pretty deep in first base options, with the top 3 being Scott, Cooper, and Fielder. I put all 3 on the roster, and I opted for Scott at first base (he was the best defensive player), Cooper at DH, although in practice I think Cooper and Scott would split a lot of time at first base, and Fielder would get plenty of opportunities at DH.
 
LuCroy gets the nod at starting catcher, with Surhoff backing him up and also providing cover at 3B, 1B, and OF. Money also offers a lot of position flexibility – he was primarily a third baseman, but also put in a lot of time at 2B, 1B, SS, and OF. Cirillo is another nice player off the bench. The two big stars (Yount and Molitor) also played multiple positions while with the franchise.
 
Missed the Cut:
I was a big fan of Sixto Lezcano, but I just ran out of space. I also didn’t have room for Gorman Thomas, Jeromy Burnitz, Richie Sexson, or Corey Hart. More on them when I do the team assessment…..
 
"Grand" Club:
Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Jim Gantner, Ryan Braun, Cecil Cooper, Charlie Moore, Geoff Jenkins, Don Money, Ben Oglivie, Rickie Weeks, Gorman Thomas, B.J. Surhoff
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, Ryan Braun, Teddy Higuera
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Bullpen/short relief, speed(?)
Weaknesses: Starting rotation, defense
 
The team has 3 MVP’s in the lineup: Yount (twice), Braun, and Yelich. I was surprised how high the Brewers ranked in the speed category, because one of the stronger images I have of them (once you get past the obvious icons of Yount and Molitor) is a bunch of sluggers, an endless stream of Gorman Thomas, Prince Fielder, Richie Sexson, Jeromy Burnitz, Corey Hart, Geoff Jenkins, Rob Deer….guys like that. However….Molitor and Gomez were very good baserunners. Yount, Yelich, and Braun were all pretty consistent double-digit base stealers. They score much higher than I thought they would.
 
The starting rotation ranks pretty low. Higuera and Sheets are solid starters although they both had pretty brief careers, and it goes down pretty quickly after that.
 
The bullpen ranks pretty high. Hader was an amazing closer for the Brewers, although he’s recently been imploding in late 2022 (albeit that’s largely occurred with the Padres after the big trade). Still, he was so good with the Brewers. Fingers qualifies for the team and brings a Cy Young & MVP to the awards cabinet. Plesac and Sanders were both very effective for the team.
 
Futures
It was just a tad early for me to include Brandon Woodruff and the 2021 Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes, but they both could make the team with another good year or two. The same goes for Devin Williams, who’s been awesome out of the bullpen.
 
#23–Chicago White Sox

Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
CHW
1
.494
.464
.486
.520
.529
.473
 
The White Sox have had intermittent success in the divisional era. From 1969-1982, they did not make the postseason. In 1983 they broke through with a 99 win season, but lost to Baltimore in the playoffs. They have made the postseason 6 times since then, with the highlight being their 2005 championship team that swept the Astros in the World Series. As you can see from the table above, they were a pretty solid team in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Over the past 3 seasons, they’ve had a very strong team as well, playing at a .550 level (roughly translates to a 90-win per season team).
 
Roster Listing:
 
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Carlton Fisk
50.5
6.00%
45.5
1B
Frank Thomas
80.6
6.00%
72.6
2B
Ray Durham
44.4
6.00%
40.0
3B
Robin Ventura
66.4
6.00%
59.8
SS
Tim Anderson
50.5
6.00%
45.5
LF
Carlos Lee
39.9
6.00%
35.9
CF
Chet Lemon
61.1
6.00%
55.0
RF
Magglio Ordonez
53.3
6.00%
48.0
DH
Harold Baines
53.8
4.75%
38.3
SP1
Mark Buehrle
72.5
5.25%
57.1
SP2
Wilbur Wood
70.7
5.00%
53.0
SP3
Chris Sale
69.1
4.75%
49.2
SP4
Jack McDowell
50.1
4.50%
33.8
SP5
Alex Fernandez
48.2
3.25%
23.5
RP1
Keith Foulke
70.3
3.75%
39.6
RP2
Roberto Hernandez
58.8
2.75%
24.2
P
Bobby Jenks
55.4
2.00%
16.6
P
Jose Quintana
54.2
2.00%
16.3
P
Bobby Thigpen
38.1
2.00%
11.4
Res
A.J. Pierzynski
32.7
2.00%
9.8
Res
José Abreu
54.4
2.00%
16.3
Res
Jose Valentin
49.0
2.00%
14.7
Res
Alexei Ramírez
45.7
2.00%
13.7
Res
Paul Konerko
48.9
2.00%
14.7
Res
Lance Johnson
48.1
2.00%
14.4
Mgr
Ozzie Guillen
n/a
n/a
848.9
 
Grid View:
 
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Carlton Fisk
 Ray Durham
Mark Buehrle
Keith Foulke
A.J. Pierzynski
1B
Frank Thomas
 Robin Ventura
Wilbur Wood
Roberto Hernandez
José Abreu
2B
Ray Durham
 Magglio Ordonez
Chris Sale
Bobby Jenks
Jose Valentin
3B
Robin Ventura
 Frank Thomas
Jack McDowell
Jose Quintana
Alexei Ramírez
SS
Tim Anderson
 Harold Baines
Alex Fernandez
Bobby Thigpen
Paul Konerko
LF
Carlos Lee
 Carlos Lee
 
 
Lance Johnson
CF
Chet Lemon
 Carlton Fisk
 
 
 
RF
Magglio Ordonez
 Chet Lemon
 
 
 
DH
Harold Baines
 Tim Anderson
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
 
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
       848.9
23
Offense
         94.1
25
Defense
         11.7
28
Speed
           6.5
23
Infield
       217.8
20
Outfield
       138.9
29
Catching
         55.3
21
Starting 9
       440.5
26
Bench
         83.6
22
Staff
       324.8
12
Rotation
       216.6
14
4 Starters
       193.2
15
Bullpen
       108.1
8
Short Relief
         80.4
8
 
Position/Roster Notes:
3 of the biggest names on offense are first basemen: Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, and Jose Abreu. I put all 3 on the roster, but only Thomas starts (I installed Harold Baines as the primary DH).
 
Ramirez and Valentin both offer some position flexibility, so that helped their cases in making the roster.
 
Lots of good candidates for the bullpen. I went with Foulke as the closer as I saw him as the most effective of the primary candidates, but I also went with Hernandez (who’s also the closer for Tampa Bay), Jenks, and Thigpen, who’s the franchise saves leader.
 
Missed the Cut:
Dick Allen would have been an interesting selection with his amazing 1972 MVP performance (when he came pretty close to a Triple Crown) and then leading the league again a couple of years later in home runs, but he fell well short of the games played threshold (he only had 348).
 
Speaking of leading the league in home runs, just prior to Allen’s feats, Bill Melton caused quite a stir when he had back-to-back seasons of 33 home runs in 1970 & 1971, the latter leading the league. It marked the first time a White Sox player had hit 30 or more homers in a season, and if memory serves, I believe it was the first time a White Sox player had ever led the league.
 
Tim Raines was considered – he had 5 pretty good seasons with the White Sox, but he wasn’t near the force he had been with Montreal.
 
Ozzie Guillen is #6 on the White Sox all-time games played list, carrying on the team’s tradition of strong defensive shortstops (Luis Aparicio, Luke Appling, Chico Carrasquel, and Ron Hansen), but Ozzie was a pretty limited offensive player, so I opted for others like Anderson and Ramirez who had more well-rounded games.
 
Other starting pitchers who were considered were Jon Garland, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Richard Dotson, and two additional leties – Britt Burns and Wilson Alvarez.
 
Matt Thornton was a solid lefty reliever for 8 seasons with the White Sox – he’s not a closer, was more of a middle reliever type, but was a consistently good performer.
 
"Grand" Club:
Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas, Ozzie Guillen, Harold Baines, Carlton Fisk, Robin Ventura, Jose Abreu, Alexei Ramirez, Ray Durham, A.J. Pierzynski, Magglio Ordonez
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, Paul Konerko, Harold Baines
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Left handed starting pitching, bullpen
Weaknesses: Outfield, defense
 
In the kickoff article, I mentioned how my first exposure to the all-time White Sox franchise team (in the early 1970’s) was that their identifying characteristic was a severe lack of power.   They were a speed, defense, and pitching franchise. It was a franchise of Eddie Collins and Luis Aparacio and Minnie Minoso and Luke Appling and Ray Schalk and Johnny Mostil and Willie Kamm and Fielder Jones.
 
To illustrate that, here are the home run totals for each of the "original" 16 franchises for 1901-1968:
 
Team
League
HR
New York Yankees
AL
7,421
San Francisco Giants (also New York)
NL
6,943
Chicago Cubs
NL
5,608
Detroit Tigers
AL
5,435
Cleveland Guardians (Indians)
AL
5,365
Philadelphia Phillies
NL
5,295
Los Angeles Dodgers (also Brooklyn)
NL
5,259
Atlanta Braves (Also Bos & Mil)
NL
5,196
Boston Red Sox
AL
5,187
St. Louis Cardinals
NL
5,185
Oakland Athletics (Also Phi & KC)
AL
5,076
Cincinnati Reds
NL
4,862
Baltimore Orioles (Browns)
AL
4,848
Pittsburgh Pirates
NL
4,437
Minnesota Twins (Senators)
AL
4,114
Chicago White Sox
AL
3,543
 
Yes, the Yankees hit more than twice as many home runs over that time frame as the White Sox did. Through 1968, the all-time White Sox home run leaders were Minnie Minoso (135) and Sherm Lollar (124). They were the only two players with more than 100.
 
The Yankees, on the other hand, had 19 (!) players with more than 100 home runs. Tom Tresh was #17 on the Yankees’ list with 140. He would have led the White Sox. So would have Hank Bauer, and Bill Skowron, and, well, you get the idea.
 
Since 1969, however, the White Sox have been transformed. They are 8th in home runs among those 16 franchises since 1969. Minnie Minoso is now down to #13 on their home run list. They’re not at the top of the power hitting teams, but at least they’ve had several players like Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko, Jose Abreu, Harold Baines, Robin Ventura, and Carlos Lee to bolster the lineup. They may not quite be Charles Atlas, but they’re no longer the 98-pound weaklings. 
 
The White Sox rotation has 3 left handers at the top: Buehrle, Wood, and Sale, and Quintana can also spot start. None of them are likely Hall of Famers, but they’re all more than solid. I alluded to the bullpen earlier, and they rank pretty high as well. Overall, it’s a good staff.
 
Futures
The White Sox already have some good relievers, but Liam Hendricks might make a push for the team if he can continue to perform.  
 
Starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease could eventually merit inclusion as well, but they’re not there yet.
 
#22-New York Mets
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
NYM
2
.498
.486
.523
.486
.504
.486
 
In contrast to most of the franchises reviewed so far in the countdown, the Mets have been pretty consistent over the decades. They had winning records in both the 1980’s and the 2000’s, and in the other 3 decades they weren’t much under, posting .486 winning percentages each time. 
 
The Mets have made the postseason just 9 times in the Divisional Era, but they have gone pretty deep during those opportunities. They’ve gone to 5 World Series, losing 3 times and winning twice: the 1969 "Amazin’" version, and then again with the monster 108-win 1986 squad. And, they’re currently in first place in 2022, and look to be on track to their first 100-win season since 1988.
 
Roster Listing:
 
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Mike Piazza
53.0
6.00%
47.7
1B
Keith Hernandez
59.8
6.00%
53.8
2B
Edgardo Alfonzo
57.5
6.00%
51.8
3B
David Wright
69.8
6.00%
62.8
SS
Jose Reyes
50.4
6.00%
45.3
LF
Kevin McReynolds
42.1
6.00%
37.9
CF
Carlos Beltran
70.5
6.00%
63.4
RF
Darryl Strawberry
67.2
6.00%
60.5
DH
Howard Johnson
52.3
4.75%
37.3
SP1
Tom Seaver
83.8
5.25%
66.0
SP2
Jacob deGrom
79.8
5.00%
59.9
SP3
Dwight Gooden
67.3
4.75%
47.9
SP4
Al Leiter
59.3
4.50%
40.0
SP5
Jerry Koosman
59.9
3.25%
29.2
RP1
Tug McGraw
50.1
3.75%
28.2
RP2
John Franco
41.3
2.75%
17.0
P
Armando Benitez
61.2
2.00%
18.4
P
Sid Fernandez
56.0
2.00%
16.8
P
David Cone
48.2
2.00%
14.5
Res
John Stearns
49.3
2.00%
14.8
Res
Pete Alonso
45.8
2.00%
13.7
Res
Jeff McNeil
44.3
2.00%
13.3
Res
Cleon Jones
39.9
2.00%
12.0
Res
Tommie Agee
49.9
2.00%
15.0
Res
Mookie Wilson
44.0
2.00%
13.2
Mgr
Davey Johnson
n/a
n/a
880.4
 
Grid View:
 
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Mike Piazza
 Edgardo Alfonzo
Tom Seaver
Tug McGraw
John Stearns
1B
Keith Hernandez
 Keith Hernandez
Jacob deGrom
John Franco
Pete Alonso
2B
Edgardo Alfonzo
 Carlos Beltran
Dwight Gooden
Armando Benitez
Jeff McNeil
3B
David Wright
 Darryl Strawberry
Jerry Koosman
Sid Fernandez
Cleon Jones
SS
Jose Reyes
 Mike Piazza
Al Leiter
David Cone
Tommie Agee
LF
Kevin McReynolds
 David Wright
 
 
Mookie Wilson
CF
Carlos Beltran
 Howard Johnson
 
 
 
RF
Darryl Strawberry
 Kevin McReynolds
 
 
 
DH
Howard Johnson
 Jose Reyes
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
 
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
880.5
22
Offense
130.7
12
Defense
19.3
26
Speed
14.4
12
Infield
213.8
21
Outfield
161.8
18
Catching
62.5
14
Starting 9
460.6
24
Bench
81.9
24
Staff
338.0
6
Rotation
243.1
3
4 Starters
214.2
3
Bullpen
94.8
19
Short Relief
63.6
21
 
Position/Roster Notes:
During his time with the Mets, Alfonso was about 50% second base and about 50% third base (with a touch of shortstop), but the team needs him more at second, so that’s where he landed.
 
I went with Johnson at DH because he’s a little more experienced, but Alonso would get plenty of time there as well. Johnson can be the backup shortstop (he had 273 games there, which was plenty for me).
 
Missed the Cut:
I think a lot of folks would put Gary Carter on the team, but Stearns had a better score and more time with the franchise, so I opted for him. Jerry Grote was another option at catcher.
 
Bud Harrelson could have made the team as a backup shortstop, but I decided to let Johnson provide backup duty to Reyes there. Daniel Murphy and Wally Backman had some good moments, but not enough to make the team.
 
Michael Conforto was in contention for a backup outfield spot, but I went with other options.
 
Jon Matlack, Johan Santana, and Rick Reed were strongly considered for the pitching staff, but there were better options.
 
In the bullpen, Jesse Orosco was a tough cut for me, as was Billy Wagner, but I felt McGraw and Franco were better options.  Wagner will show up on the Astros.
 
"Grand" Club:
David Wright, Jose Reyes, Howard Johnson, Mookie Wilson, Darryl Strawberry, Edgardo Alfonso, Ed Kranepool, Bud Harrelson
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Tom Seaver, David Wright, Darryl Strawberry, Jacob deGrom

I’m sure many would support Piazza and Hernandez for this honor, but I like the 4 above better. I still think of Piazza as more of a Dodger and Hernandez as more of a Cardinal. Beltran is another one who might have a legitimate claim.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Starting Pitching, speed
Weaknesses: Defense, depth
 
When I think of the Mets, I think of big time, hard throwing, dominating right handed pitchers. Seaver (3 Cy Youngs), Gooden (1 Cy Young), and deGrom (2 Cy Youngs) is a pretty dynamic trio when they’re on their games. 
 
If you go by rWAR, the Mets have 4 of the top 25 single-season performances in the Divisional ERA: Gooden 1985 (#1 with 12.2), Seaver 1973 (#9 with 10.6), Seaver 1971 (#14 with 10.2), and deGrom 2018 (#25 with 9.5). Boston has 3 (2 by Pedro Martinez and 1 by Roger Clemens), and no other franchise has more than two. The two lefties (Koosman and Leiter) round out a rotation that ranks right up with the best of them from this era.
 
There’s also some pretty good speed on the team, more than I thought there would be. Reyes, Wright, Beltran, Strawberry, Johnson, Wilson, and Agee all provide pretty decent speed, and Stearns was one of the better base-stealing catchers you’ll see.
 
In addition to the strong starting pitching, one thing that is particularly notable about the Mets is the depth of their left-handed hurler options, both starters and relievers. Koosman, Leiter, Fernandez, McGraw, and Franco are the 5 lefties that are on the roster, but in addition to them, there are starters Jon Matlack and Johan Santana (not as good as his Minnesota version, but still pretty good) and Jessie Orosco, Billy Wagner, and Randy Myers in the bullpen.
 
The lefty options in the bullpen are particularly intriguing to me. The top 15 career saves leaders include Franco (#1), Wagner (#2), Myers (#3), McGraw (#10) and Orosco (#15). All 5 were significant pitchers for the Mets. Ultimately, I went with McGraw and Franco as the ones who fit the team best.
 
Futures
Alsonso, McNeil, and deGrom are already on the team. Francisco Lindor, who will be Cleveland’s roster, has played two seasons for the Mets and is still only 28 years old. He hasn’t done quite as well for the Mets as he did for Cleveland, but he’s the type of player who could push for a roster spot if he stays with the franchise for a number of years.
 
Brandon Nimmo could be a future consideration as well, but not sure if he’ll get there. Edwin Diaz had a rough season in his first year as a Met in 2019, but he’s been better since, and could force his way into consideration with a few more seasons.
 
 
#21-Seattle Mariners
 
Team Performance:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
SEA
0
.472
.386
.430
.495
.517
.475
 
The Mariners had their lone winning decade in the 2000’s, highlighted by the 2001 team that tied the 1906 Cubs for the most wins (116) in a single season. The Mariners have only been to the postseason 4 times in their 45 seasons, and all of those were packed into the 7-year stretch of 1995-2001. Most of the rest of their existence has been pretty far removed from contention.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Dan Wilson
32.9
6.00%
29.6
1B
Alvin Davis
42.3
6.00%
38.1
2B
Robinson Canó
62.7
6.00%
56.5
3B
Kyle Seager
58.6
6.00%
52.8
SS
Alex Rodriguez
87.8
6.00%
79.0
LF
Raul Ibanez
35.2
6.00%
31.7
CF
Ken Griffey Jr.
88.6
6.00%
79.8
RF
Ichiro Suzuki
72.1
6.00%
64.9
DH
Edgar Martinez
87.6
4.75%
62.4
SP1
Felix Hernandez
72.9
5.25%
57.4
SP2
Randy Johnson
66.9
5.00%
50.2
SP3
Jamie Moyer
60.6
4.75%
43.2
SP4
Freddy Garcia
48.6
4.50%
32.8
SP5
Mark Langston
48.0
3.25%
23.4
RP1
J.J. Putz
56.1
3.75%
31.6
RP2
Edwin Díaz
58.4
2.75%
24.1
P
Kazuhiro Sasaki
35.8
2.00%
10.8
P
Arthur Rhodes
51.3
2.00%
15.4
P
Hisashi Iwakuma
50.2
2.00%
15.1
Res
Dave Valle
28.5
2.00%
8.5
Res
John Olerud
48.1
2.00%
14.4
Res
Bret Boone
48.6
2.00%
14.6
Res
Adrian Beltre
56.9
2.00%
17.1
Res
Jay Buhner
43.7
2.00%
13.1
Res
Nelson Cruz
53.2
2.00%
16.0
Mgr
Lou Piniella
n/a
n/a
882.3
 
Grid View:
 
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Dan Wilson
 Ichiro Suzuki
Felix Hernandez
J.J. Putz
Dave Valle
1B
Alvin Davis
 Edgar Martinez
Randy Johnson
Edwin Díaz
John Olerud
2B
Robinson Canó
 Alex Rodriguez
Jamie Moyer
Kazuhiro Sasaki
Bret Boone
3B
Kyle Seager
 Ken Griffey Jr.
Freddy Garcia
Arthur Rhodes
Adrian Beltre
SS
Alex Rodriguez
 Alvin Davis
Mark Langston
Hisashi Iwakuma
Jay Buhner
LF
Raul Ibanez
 Raul Ibanez
 
 
Nelson Cruz
CF
Ken Griffey Jr.
 Robinson Canó
 
 
 
RF
Ichiro Suzuki
 Kyle Seager
 
 
 
DH
Edgar Martinez
 Dan Wilson
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
 
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
882.3
21
Offense
116.6
17
Defense
31.3
22
Speed
2.9
29
Infield
226.4
16
Outfield
176.4
11
Catching
38.2
27
Starting 9
494.8
16
Bench
83.7
21
Staff
303.8
18
Rotation
207.0
20
4 Starters
183.6
19
Bullpen
96.9
17
Short Relief
66.4
20
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Buhner might have been a better choice over Ibanez in left field, but I felt that would be too much of a stretch to put him there. 
 
Cano vs. Boone was a pretty good battle at second base, but I think Cano is the better of the two. Cano is primarily thought of as a Yankee, of course, but his 5 seasons in Seattle were pretty good as well, fairly comparable in overall value to his New York seasons, maybe a bit below defensively.
 
I’m not crazy about the backup infielder options, especially at shortstop, so rather than go with someone like Jose Lopez or Omar Vizquel and drop someone like Cruz or Beltre or someone else, I’m going to use Seager as the emergency backup to A-Rod.  I considered someone like Mark McLemore, who was such a super-utility player for a few years, but decided there just wasn’t enough there.
 
The Seattle years weren’t Beltre’s best years, but he was still pretty decent and won a couple of Gold Gloves there, so I have him as a backup to Seager.
 
Missed the Cut:
Outfielders Mike Cameron and Phil Bradley were pretty good outfielders who would have given the team some much-needed speed, but they got caught in a numbers game as I went for other options.
 
Julio Cruz, Carlos Guillen, Harold Reynolds, and Omar Vizquel were all considered as options, but they didn’t do enough to make the team.
 
Ken Phelps, the inspiration for a team of his own, was in contention, but I just didn’t have a slot for him.
 
Starting pitchers Erik Hanson, Mike Moore, Floyd Bannister and reliever Jeff Nelson were options for the pitching staff.
 
 
"Grand" Club:
Edgar Martinez, Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr., Kyle Seager, Jay Buhner, Dan Wilson, Alvin Davis, Harold Reynolds, Raul Ibanez
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez, Felix Hernandez
 
Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson could easily have been included, but I felt like the 4 above were more iconic for the franchise. Johnson was terrific for Seattle, especially in the back half of his time with the franchise, but most of his amazingness was realized with Arizona.  Similar with A-Rod….he was probably the best player pound for pound, but Griffey Jr., Ichiro, and Martinez all played more than twice as many games with the Mariners, and I think they are more representative of the franchise than A-Rod is. I think I’ve got the right quartet.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Outfield, Star Power
Weaknesses: Catching, speed
 
Superstars are abundant on the Mariners. The top 4 in the batting order (Ichiro, Martinez, A-Rod, and Griffey Jr.) is pretty awesome. 
 
Griffey Jr. is either the #1 or #2 centerfielder in this era, depending on how you would rank Mike Trout.  Martinez is probably the #1 DH, depending on where you would rank David Ortiz and depending on whether you would consider Frank Thomas to be a DH or not. The Mariners’ version of A-Rod is certainly in the running for the overall #1 shortstop of the era among all teams, although he only was with the Mariners for 7 years, which knocks him below Cal Ripken in the scoring methodology (although they’re very close). And, Suzuki is a bona fide icon as well, collecting over 3,000 MLB hits, taking home 10 straight Gold Gloves, and winning a couple of batting crowns despite not starting his MLB career until age 27. 
 
Johnson was certainly the better pitcher over the course of his entire career, but most of his glory was with the Diamondbacks, and Hernandez had a higher score (Hernandez had about 50% more time than Johnson – 50% more seasons, 50% more innings pitched). They had identical 3.42 ERA’s with the franchise.  So, I have King Felix #1, and Big Unit #2, with Moyer completing a solid trio.
 
The team is kind of good all-around without a bunch of strong strengths or weaknesses outside of catching and overall team speed. They rank in the high teens to the low 20’s in most of the categories.
 
Futures
Center fielder Julio Rodriguez is already a star at age 21, surpassing 20 HR and 20 stolen bases in his rookie season. We’ll definitely keep an eye on him. J.P. Crawford is a shortstop worth tracking to see if he can merit a backup position. Right fielder Mitch Haniger has had some good moments, and he might work his way onto the roster.
 
Wrapping it Up
 
Teams #16 through 20 are next up. As a hint, the next group of 5 franchises will feature one expansion franchise and 4 of the "original" franchises, and together they have won a collective 8 World Series titles in this era, and one of the five actually is in the top 4 in overall winning percentage during this era.
 
Thank you for reading.
 
Dan 
 
 

COMMENTS (9 Comments, most recent shown first)

bdhopkin
Thanks for the reply... yeah, that's exactly the gist of my comment. Trying to break down the most useful each player was for one team (maybe 'valuable' or more precisely 'productive') and using that in the franchise thereof and not both, or all. It does damage some rankings, but also lifts some teams prospects. Hypothetically, seeing Randy Johnson and his Diamondbacs vs. Randy Johnson and his Mariners seems fun. I'm a more realistic kind of fantasy guy, if that mkes sense. Let's get the best valued version of Randy on the team with which he recorded the most value (by whichever measurement deemed fit), and his number 2 team (even if he is the highest valued) can't have his production. They would have to find the highest valued after to use as an ace.

It's tough for many players and teams, Johnson (D-backs? Mariners?) included, and may tip the teeter toward teams that have a lot of career players. But that is kind of my point.

Love this series..
8:18 PM Sep 13th
 
OleBiscuitPants
Wonderful series, Dan. It's always fun to speculate about all-time teams, and starting from 1969 is a great equalizer. I suspect we'll see the usual suspects at the top of the list, but I'm curious to see which newer teams sneak in to the upper half. Blue Jays?Astros?

Looking forward to the rets of the series.
12:17 PM Sep 13th
 
DMBBHF
Thanks for all the comments, guys.

LanceRichardson,

Thank you for the comment. I can understand the perspective of wanting to put Giles above Clemente, and I'll concede that Giles was a more well-rounded offensive threat than Clemente was in their respective Pirates' years in this era. Comparing Giles' Pirates years to Clemente's 4 years from this era, Giles has an advantage of about 40 points of OBP and about 70 points of slugging percentage. Those are impressive. However, even with those advantages for Giles, their OPS+'s are pretty close (158 to 153). But the thing that got my attention is that when you look at their total value, Clemente's WAR/162 was quite a bit higher (8.4 to 5.9) as he has a huge defensive advantage. Giles' figure is still very good, but Clemente's is a top-5 figure for this era. I put a lot of weight on that.

On top of that, I also put a lot of weight on what I think would happen if these mythical rosters were actually assembled. I have no doubt that the Pirates would have Clemente as the starting right fielder. Giles would get plenty of time, with a lot of it probably coming as a bit of a time share with McCutchen in center, and Clemente was only good for 120 games a year in those final seasons of his career, which would allow others like Giles and Parker and Van Slyke to get in some playing time. But right field in Pittsburgh is Clemente's domain. I'm comfortable I have the right guy listed as the starting right fielder.

Manush,

Scott and Cooper are both in the starting lineup, but I put Cooper as the DH because I think Scott is empirically the better defensive player, both by the stats and by reputation, although Cooper did win a couple of Gold Gloves himself. If I didn't have the DH as an option, I would have gone with Cooper as the first baseman and Scott as his backup.

Regarding the Big Unit not being on the Mariners' Rushmore....well, all I can say is that the fans agreed with me (or, I guess technically I agree with the fans), as the MLB Franchise Four voting also went with Griffey Jr., Edgar, Ichiro, and King Felix, with Johnson missing the cut. That doesn't make it correct, but I think it's reasonable. Johnson was terrific in the latter part of his time with the franchise, but I think the other 4 are better choices for the Franchise when you take everything into consideration.

Bruce,

re: A-Rod not being on the Mariners' Rushmore....see above :) To me, the Mount Rushmore isn't just about who was better, I think there's an element of who was more "iconic", for lack of a better word. Maybe even "beloved", or just who is more associated with the franchise. I think in that regard, the four I went with are better representatives. They're not necessarily the 4 best players.

bdhopkin,

Just to be clear, are you saying you would prefer that I limit the players' eligibility to no more than one franchise, so that Bonds could make the Giants or the Pirates, but not both? If so, that's certainly one way to go, but I preferred not having to make that choice, and I think it really hurts the franchise that loses out. There are so many players who were so integral to multiple franchises, that I felt it would distort too much based on who I decided would win the sweepstakes on players like Bonds or A-Rod or Big Unit, or so many others. I'd rather have the opportunity for all the franchises to have the full range of candidates available to best represent this era.

bhalbleib,

I believe you're correct about Old Comiskey - my understanding is that it was pretty spacious and home runs were hard to come by, and that surely played a role in the team characteristics.

Thanks,
Dan
1:05 AM Sep 13th
 
bdhopkin
Love the series, any and all new content on this site is suoer appreciated. This may have been covered, but why not make it an 'each player only one franchise' list? I think it makes it more interesting in the final countdown... example being Bonds can only take his score for the Pirates or the Giants TO the roster of the Pirates or Giants, can't bring his stats/scores to each team. I do this kind of scratch nonsense about once a year, myself.

Love it anyway, thanks again.
6:48 PM Sep 12th
 
bhalbleib
An observation about the ChiSox. My recollection is that Old Comiskey wasn't all that great of a place to hit Home Runs, whereas New Comiskey (or whatever it is called now) is a great place to hit home runs. That might have something to do with the shift in power numbers (further I think Old Comiskey might have moved the plate forward at some point in the 70s, which would have changed how it played too before the new ball park.)
12:00 PM Sep 12th
 
evanecurb
Mariners' DH may be the easiest selection you will need to make during this entire process. ARod not on the Mariners' Rushmore? Poor ARod. Nobody likes him, do they?
10:56 AM Sep 12th
 
Manushfan
Big Unit not one of your Mt Rushmore Mariners-don't see it. Most of this is pretty good, though again moving the goalpost so it's 1969 is silly to my thinking. But hey it's your project, I can shaddap. And Boomer over Cooper--not so sure about that either. Pretty okay overall though. I liked the nod to Baines
10:46 AM Sep 12th
 
evanecurb
Rennie Stennett played 1,000 games with the Bucs, but Omar Moreno didn't. Who knew? In addition to the outfielders who made the team, the Pirates had Richie Zisk, Jason Bay, and Brian Giles. Lotsa hitters. Lots of 'em.
10:46 AM Sep 12th
 
LanceRichardson
I'm enjoying the project, but am stunned (STUNNED!) that you have Clemente ahead of Giles. I might not have put him ahead of Van Slyke, either. But late career Clemente (still very good) was no match for peak Giles.
12:30 AM Sep 12th
 
 
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