Franchise All Star Teams (Divisional Era Version) - Part IV - Teams #16-20

September 24, 2022
Franchise All-Star Teams of the Divisional Era
Teams #16-20
 
This is part IV of a multi-part series reviewing all-star franchise teams of the Divisional Era (1969 to present). The kickoff article explains the premise.
 
A quick note from last time. I gave a hint about one of the 5 teams coming up in the #16-20 group being a squad that had one of the top 5 overall winning percentages for franchises in the Divisional Era, but I had a scoring adjustment that boosted them to #15, so you won’t see them until the next article.
 
Picking up the countdown with #20…..
 
#20-Toronto Blue Jays
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
TOR
2
.496
.343
.523
.513
.497
.498
 
Toronto’s heyday was from the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s, as they went to the postseason 5 times in the 9-year period of 1985-1993, culminating with their back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993. After those 2 titles, they didn’t make the postseason for another 21 years, but have appeared in 3 of the last 7.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Ernie Whitt
40.6
6.00%
36.6
1B
Carlos Delgado
59.4
6.00%
53.5
2B
Roberto Alomar
60.0
6.00%
54.0
3B
Josh Donaldson
74.0
6.00%
66.6
SS
Tony Fernandez
59.8
6.00%
53.8
LF
George Bell
43.7
6.00%
39.4
CF
Devon White
63.1
6.00%
56.8
RF
Jose Bautista
65.5
6.00%
58.9
DH
Edwin Encarnacion
65.5
4.75%
46.7
SP1
Dave Stieb
77.9
5.25%
61.3
SP2
Roy Halladay
74.6
5.00%
55.9
SP3
Roger Clemens
72.1
4.75%
51.4
SP4
Jimmy Key
57.6
4.50%
38.9
SP5
Pat Hentgen
54.5
3.25%
26.6
RP1
Tom Henke
67.2
3.75%
37.8
RP2
Duane Ward
40.9
2.75%
16.9
P
Juan Guzman
50.7
2.00%
15.2
P
Jim Clancy
51.8
2.00%
15.5
P
David Wells
41.5
2.00%
12.5
Res
Gregg Zaun
39.2
2.00%
11.7
Res
Fred McGriff
61.4
2.00%
18.4
Res
Aaron Hill
42.4
2.00%
12.7
Res
Kelly Gruber
39.7
2.00%
11.9
Res
Jesse Barfield
59.1
2.00%
17.7
Res
Vernon Wells
50.6
2.00%
15.2
Mgr
Cito Gaston
n/a
n/a
886.0
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Ernie Whitt
 Roberto Alomar
Dave Stieb
Tom Henke
Gregg Zaun
1B
Carlos Delgado
 Tony Fernandez
Roy Halladay
Duane Ward
Fred McGriff
2B
Roberto Alomar
 Jose Bautista
Roger Clemens
Juan Guzman
Aaron Hill
3B
Josh Donaldson
 Carlos Delgado
Jimmy Key
Jim Clancy
Kelly Gruber
SS
Tony Fernandez
 Edwin Encarnacion
Pat Hentgen
David Wells
Jesse Barfield
LF
George Bell
 George Bell
 
 
Vernon Wells
CF
Devon White
 Josh Donaldson
 
 
 
RF
Jose Bautista
 Devon White
 
 
 
DH
Edwin Encarnacion
 Ernie Whitt
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
886.0
20
Offense
111.6
18
Defense
37.3
17
Speed
13.4
14
Infield
227.9
14
Outfield
155.1
22
Catching
48.3
23
Starting 9
466.2
22
Bench
87.7
16
Staff
332.0
9
Rotation
234.1
7
4 Starters
207.6
7
Bullpen
97.9
16
Short Relief
69.9
15
 
Position/Roster Notes:
The most significant roster decision was the inclusion of Roger Clemens, so I’d better start there. In my kickoff article, I mentioned there were a few instances where I made the decision to override the minimum service time thresholds. In my guidelines for pre-1990’s expansion franchises, the thresholds for Toronto pitchers were 3 seasons and either 75 games started or 150 relief games. Clemens only pitched 2 years with Toronto and had 67 games started.
 
However…they are arguably the 2 greatest pitching seasons in franchise history. Clemens’ 1997 season (21-7, 2.05, 11.9 WAR) is almost certainly #1, and his 1998 follow-up performance (20-6, 2.65, 8.1 WAR) is possibly #2, with other strong contenders being the Cy Young seasons posted by Pat Hentgen in 1996 and Roy Halladay in 2003. 
 
And, those weren’t just any run-of-the-mill seasons. Clemens achieved the pitching Triple Crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts) in both seasons and was named the runaway Cy Young Award winner both times, getting 25 of the 28 first place votes in 1997, and then winning unanimously in 1998. 
 
That was just too much for me to ignore. One Cy Young season for the franchise I might have let pass. But two absolutely dominant performances like that? I decided to waive the roster requirement and put him on the team, although I did apply a penalty (much as I did with Roberto Clemente for Pittsburgh and Fernando Tatis Jr. for San Diego for similar roster exceptions).
 
The Blue Jays are one of the few teams in this exercise to not have any position players accumulate a WAR of 40.0 or higher while with the franchise.   The highest raw WAR total belongs to Jose Bautista with 38.3. The position player with the highest score in my system is Donaldson, who was only in Toronto for 4 seasons, but in one of them he was league MVP and in the next one he got a 4th place finish, so he was very productive while he was with the team.
 
There were some notable position battles. In right field, Bautista (who can also play 3B) and Barfield were pretty close, but I gave the starting nod to Bautista. In center field, Wells is probably the better offensive player and had more time with the franchise, but I went with White instead.
 
Missed the Cut:
The team had several good outfield options. Probably the most notable cut is Joe Carter. Because the scoring system is largely WAR-based, Carter doesn’t score well at all. If it were up to the Toronto fan base, Carter would probably be on the team somewhere. He averaged right around 30 HR and 100 RBI a season with the Blue Jays, and of course hit that iconic World Series-winning home run, and if his score was closer to the others above him, I probably would have put him on the team, but I just couldn’t justify it.
 
Lloyd Moseby is another prominent outfielder who missed the cut. He has the 6th highest raw WAR total for the franchise, but the other outfielders I kept ahead of him had higher scores in my system, with the exception of George Bell, but I opted for Bell. Other outfielders who received serious consideration include Alex Rios, Shannon Stewart, and Shawn Green.
 
I ended up going with Fred McGriff over John Olerud as the backup first baseman. Both are similar in that their careers were pretty well broken up over several franchises. I have Olerud on Seattle’s roster, and I went with McGriff here for Toronto, but it was close.
 
Roberto Osuna and Billy Koch both had 100 saves or more with the Blue Jays, but did not make the roster.
 
"Grand" Club:
Tony Fernandez, Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells, Lloyd Moseby, Jose Bautista, Ernie Whitt, George Bell, Rance Mulliniks, Willie Upshaw, Joe Carter, Jesse Barfield (Edwin Encarnacion just missed with 999)
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Roy Halladay, Dave Stieb, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Delgado
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Starting rotation
Weaknesses: Catching
 
The decision to include Clemens means that the Blue Jays can throw out a top 3 of Stieb, Halladay, and Clemens, which matches up with just about anyone, even factoring in the penalty I applied to Clemens. With Key and Hentgen rounding out the rotation, I have the Toronto quintet as the #7 rotation. Henke and Ward head up the bullpen. For what it’s worth, Toronto does rank #6 overall for in the divisional era for team ERA+ (103). It’s a good staff.
 
I have the catchers (Whitt & Zaun) as #23, but really the team doesn’t have a lot of true weaknesses. It’s a good, overall, middle-of the pack type of team. Bautista, Delgado, Encarnacion, Bell, and Donaldson provide a lot of power. The team has some good speed options (Alomar, White, Fernandez) and some strong defenders as well (White, Barfield, Alomar, Fernandez).
 
The team doesn’t have a lot of true stars outside of the starting pitchers, with Alomar being the only Hall of Famer (although McGriff could make it someday). As a side note, those two are kind of unusual in that both Alomar and McGriff have the distinction of never playing more than 5 seasons with a single franchise. Alomar had 5 seasons with Toronto with no more then 3 with any other team, and McGriff had 5 each with Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta. Very unusual for players of that caliber.
 
Futures
There are some intriguing options on the current Blue Jays roster, led by the "second generation" duo of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette (Cavan Biggio is a third "second generation" player on the current roster, but he’s older than the other two and hasn’t been nearly as impressive).
 
I actually came pretty close to putting Guerrero Jr. on the team, as he passed the 450 game threshold this year and he’s already been so impressive with 2 All Star nods and an MVP runner-up. I decided it may just be a bit premature, but he’s knocking on the door.
 
Bichette is making a strong case as well. He’s not quite to 400 games yet, but he’s been very impressive so far, and he plays a position (shortstop) where Toronto doesn’t have many good options after Tony Fernandez.


 
 
#19-Chicago Cubs
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
CHC
1
.489
.494
.472
.476
.499
.501
 
The Cubs started off the Division Era with a pretty good team, finishing with a winning record each season from 1969-1972, although they were probably most well known as the team that failed to win the division in 1969 despite being up 9 games to the Mets as late as mid-August. 
 
The Cubs were generally bad from 1973-1983, but have had their moments since then, going to the postseason 11 times between 1984-2021. Their peak, of course, was the stretch from 2015-2018 when they made the postseason every year, highlighted by their long-awaited World Series title in 2016.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Willson Contreras
54.5
6.00%
49.1
1B
Mark Grace
61.1
6.00%
54.9
2B
Ryne Sandberg
77.9
6.00%
70.1
3B
Kris Bryant
64.1
6.00%
57.7
SS
Javier Baez
52.9
6.00%
47.6
LF
Billy Williams
53.6
6.00%
48.3
CF
Rick Monday
34.7
6.00%
31.2
RF
Sammy Sosa
74.9
6.00%
67.4
DH
Anthony Rizzo
61.6
4.75%
43.9
SP1
Fergie Jenkins
65.9
5.25%
51.9
SP2
Rick Reuschel
72.7
5.00%
54.5
SP3
Carlos Zambrano
65.6
4.75%
46.7
SP4
Greg Maddux
60.3
4.50%
40.7
SP5
Kerry Wood
56.9
3.25%
27.7
RP1
Bruce Sutter
81.5
3.75%
45.8
RP2
Lee Smith
65.0
2.75%
26.8
P
Carlos Marmol
44.3
2.00%
13.3
P
Ted Lilly
52.2
2.00%
15.7
P
Ryan Dempster
49.2
2.00%
14.8
Res
Jody Davis
40.3
2.00%
12.1
Res
Derrek Lee
51.0
2.00%
15.3
Res
Starlin Castro
30.3
2.00%
9.1
Res
Aramis Ramirez
48.5
2.00%
14.6
Res
Ron Santo
52.5
2.00%
15.8
Res
Andre Dawson
45.8
2.00%
13.7
Mgr
Joe Maddon
n/a
n/a
888.7
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Willson Contreras
 Mark Grace
Fergie Jenkins
Bruce Sutter
Jody Davis
1B
Mark Grace
 Ryne Sandberg
Rick Reuschel
Lee Smith
Derrek Lee
2B
Ryne Sandberg
 Billy Williams
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Marmol
Starlin Castro
3B
Kris Bryant
 Sammy Sosa
Greg Maddux
Ted Lilly
Aramis Ramirez
SS
Javier Baez
 Kris Bryant
Kerry Wood
Ryan Dempster
Ron Santo
LF
Billy Williams
 Anthony Rizzo
 
 
Andre Dawson
CF
Rick Monday
 Rick Monday
 
 
 
RF
Sammy Sosa
 Willson Contreras
 
 
 
DH
Anthony Rizzo
 Javier Baez
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
888.7
19
Offense
126.0
12
Defense
17.2
27
Speed
3.5
28
Infield
230.3
12
Outfield
146.9
27
Catching
61.2
16
Starting 9
470.2
20
Bench
80.5
25
Staff
337.9
6
Rotation
221.6
13
4 Starters
193.9
13
Bullpen
116.3
2
Short Relief
85.9
3
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Lots to talk about here…..
 
The Cubs have a lot of big names on the roster, including Hall of Famers Sandberg, B. Williams, Jenkins, Maddux, Sutter, L. Smith, Santo, and Dawson. That’s a lot of Hall of Famers.
 
However….there are some mitigating circumstances. Two of those (Maddux and Dawson) were more prominent with other franchises (Braves and Expos, respectively), although they had enough success in Chicago to justify making the Cubs’ roster. However, they do not get full credit for their exploits with the other teams – only what they did for the Cubs. That’s why Maddux is the #4 starter and Dawson is a reserve. Don’t get me wrong….Maddux was still really good with the Cubs (including winning one of his 4 Cy Young awards), but his legend is mostly attributable to his time with the Braves. Similarly, Dawson was a good player with Chicago and won a much-debated MVP award with the team, but most of his legend is attributable to his time with the Expos.
 
Santo, Williams, and Jenkins have a different dynamic. They were all great stars and Hall of Famers, but they’re missing the pre-1969 portions of their careers. Williams and Jenkins still did enough 1969 and later to warrant their positions (Williams as the starting LF and Jenkins at the top of the rotation), but it does impact their scores. And, in Santo’s case, it pushes him below Bryant at third base. 
 
Speaking of third basemen, I did also put Aramis Ramirez on the team. Along with Bryant and Santo, that make 3 third basemen, although Bryant can also play outfield.
 
Ernie Banks, by the way, is another Cubs legend who did manage to play into this era (retiring after 1971), but by 1969 his best years were well in the rear view mirror.
 
Missed the Cut:
Leon Durham is one of the bigger names that didn’t make the final roster. He had 8 mostly solid years for the Cubs, but I just didn’t have a spot.
 
I have Starlin Castro backing up both middle infield positions behind starters Ryne Sandberg and Javier Baez because the Cubs just don’t have very many other middle infielders that offer much value. The next best options would have been Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist, Shawon Dunston, Ivan de Jesus, and Don Kessinger, none of whom generated much of a score.
 
Among the pitchers I passed on were Mark Prior, Bill Hands, Milt Pappas, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta, and Rick SutcliffeRandy Myers had a couple of big save years, but I opted for others.
 
"Grand" Club:
A fairly short list: Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, Anthony Rizzo, Shawon Dunston, Aramis Ramirez, Don Kessinger
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Sammy Sosa
 
Santo would have merited strong consideration if more of his career had landed in this era.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Bullpen, power
Weaknesses: Speed, defense
 
The Cubs rank very high in bullpen/short relief with Sutter and Smith leading the way. And the rotation of Jenkins, Reuschel, Zambrano, Maddux, and Wood isn’t bad either.
 
It’s a decent hitting lineup with some pretty good pop, but outside of Sandberg and Baez, the defense in the starting lineup is a bit shaky, and there’s not much speed on the roster outside of Sandberg and Sosa.
 
Futures
Of current Cubbies, Contreras is already on the roster, and there’s not much else to see here.
 
#18-Minnesota Twins
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
MIN
2
.491
.514
.468
.464
.532
.474
 
The Twins opened the Divisional Era strong, taking the first 2 AL West titles in 1969 and 1970, led by the likes of Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Rod Carew, Jim Kaat, and Jim Perry.   From 1971-1986, they were mostly out of the running for pennant chases, but then shocked the world with 2 World Series titles in a 5-year span (1987 and 1991). It’s an interesting footnote that their 2 titles came in decades in which they had their lowest winning percentages. They had better overall winning percentages in the 1970’s and the 2000’s.
 
After the 2 championships, the Twins were absent from the postseason for 10 seasons, but from 2002-2010, they made the playoffs 6 times, reaching the ALCS once but losing in the ALDS the other 5 seasons. After 6 more absent seasons, they made the playoffs 3 times in 4 seasons (2017-2020). They currently hold the "distinction" of having lost their last 18 postseason games.
 
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Joe Mauer
71.1
6.00%
64.0
1B
Kent Hrbek
57.4
6.00%
51.6
2B
Rod Carew
86.8
6.00%
78.2
3B
Gary Gaetti
49.1
6.00%
44.2
SS
Roy Smalley
43.6
6.00%
39.2
LF
Shane Mack
58.1
6.00%
52.3
CF
Torii Hunter
48.1
6.00%
43.3
RF
Kirby Puckett
68.5
6.00%
61.6
DH
Harmon Killebrew
55.5
4.75%
39.5
SP1
Bert Blyleven
72.5
5.25%
57.1
SP2
Johan Santana
72.2
5.00%
54.1
SP3
Brad Radke
69.9
4.75%
49.8
SP4
Frank Viola
54.1
4.50%
36.5
SP5
Dave Goltz
51.8
3.25%
25.2
RP1
Joe Nathan
85.8
3.75%
48.2
RP2
Rick Aguilera
53.9
2.75%
22.2
P
Eddie Guardado
36.3
2.00%
10.9
P
Glen Perkins
37.1
2.00%
11.1
P
Kevin Tapani
48.2
2.00%
14.5
Res
Butch Wynegar
41.0
2.00%
12.3
Res
Justin Morneau
44.8
2.00%
13.4
Res
Chuck Knoblauch
73.2
2.00%
22.0
Res
Brian Dozier
50.4
2.00%
15.1
Res
Cesar Tovar
48.2
2.00%
14.5
Res
Tony Oliva
40.0
2.00%
12.0
Mgr
Tom Kelly
n/a
n/a
893.0
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Joe Mauer
 Rod Carew
Bert Blyleven
Joe Nathan
Butch Wynegar
1B
Kent Hrbek
 Joe Mauer
Johan Santana
Rick Aguilera
Justin Morneau
2B
Rod Carew
 Kirby Puckett
Brad Radke
Eddie Guardado
Chuck Knoblauch
3B
Gary Gaetti
 Harmon Killebrew
Frank Viola
Glen Perkins
Brian Dozier
SS
Roy Smalley
 Kent Hrbek
Dave Goltz
Kevin Tapani
Cesar Tovar
LF
Shane Mack
 Shane Mack
 
 
Tony Oliva
CF
Torii Hunter
 Gary Gaetti
 
 
 
RF
Kirby Puckett
 Torii Hunter
 
 
 
DH
Harmon Killebrew
 Roy Smalley
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
893.0
18
Offense
100.2
23
Defense
33.1
21
Speed
9.0
21
Infield
213.2
23
Outfield
157.3
21
Catching
76.3
8
Starting 9
474.0
19
Bench
89.3
13
Staff
329.7
10
Rotation
222.8
11
4 Starters
197.5
10
Bullpen
106.9
9
Short Relief
81.3
7
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Much like the Cubs, the Twins have some 1960’s holdovers who lose some of their better years but still had enough to make the team, notably Killebrew and Oliva.
 
Killebrew was more of a 1960’s player, but I felt he did enough to justify making the team and serving as the team’s primary DH. He was the AL MVP in 1969 and followed it up with a 3rd place finish in 1970 and also led the league in RBI in 1971.
 
Oliva is a similar story. In the first 3 seasons of this era, Oliva was still a big star, hitting .323 over that span with good power, one batting title, and having an MVP runner-up in 1970. He wasn’t the same after his big injury in 1972, but he did enough to merit making the roster. He would likely split time at DH with Killebrew, and also play some right field.
 
Speaking of right field, I have both Hunter and Puckett in the starting lineup. Pucket won 6 Gold Gloves, but Hunter won 7 of his own with the team, and I think Hunter is the better option defensively in center field, so I moved Puckett to right field.
 
Smalley gets the nod as the starting shortstop, and I don’t have a true backup there, but Dozier played 83 games there (all in one season) and Knoblauch can be an emergency backup. Tovar also made the roster and he offers a lot of position flexibility.
 
Missed the Cut:
Corey Koskie, Larry Hisle, John Castino, Steve Braun, Tom Brunansky, Greg Gagne, and Brian Harper, and Michael Cuddyer are among the more prominent players who missed the cut.
 
"Grand" Club:
Joe Mauer, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Torii Hunter, Rod Carew, Gary Gaetti, Justin Morneau, Randy Bush, Roy Smalley, Greg Gagne, Michael Cuddyer
 
Bush is the surprise to me in the list above. He played 12 seasons with the Twins and played about 1,200 games, only had a couple of seasons where he was regarded as the primary option at his position, and only had a career total rWAR of 1.4. I did a quick check, and there are only 21 non-pitchers in the Divisional Era who has a lower figure in 1,000 or more games (Doug Flynn being the lowest with a negative 6.9).
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Joe Mauer, Harmon Killebrew
 
I almost went with Bert Blyleven or Johan Santana since Killebrew’s missing a lot of years due to the 1969 cutoff, but I decided to grandfather him in. Tony Oliva was another similar candidate who, like Killebrew, is more of a 1960’s player.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Short relief, catching
Weaknesses: Speed, defense
 
Nathan rates as one of the top relievers in my scoring system, and his ERA for the Twins (7 seasons) is an impressive 2.16, and his 6-year stretch from 2003-2009 (1.87 ERA, about 40 saves a year) stacks up with just about closer you can find. The catching is mostly Mauer, with Wynegar backing up.
 
The rotation’s pretty solid, with Blyleven and Santana leading the way. Radke is I believe a very underrated pitcher because his raw ERA (4.22) isn’t very impressive, but his ERA+ is a healthy 113. (fun query…..I pulled a list of pitchers in the Divisional Era with ERA’s of 4.00 or higher but also ERA+ of 110 or higher (minimum 1,000 innings). It’s a short list: Radke, Kelvim Escobar, Juan Guzman, and Orlando Hernandez. Escobar, Guzman, and Hernandez all had pretty similar career records (Guzman and Hernandez are on each other’s top 10 Similarity Score lists) including career rWARs very close to each other (between 23.0-25.0), but Radke’s 45.6 rWAR was nearly twice as high). Viola is a pretty good #4 starter, and Goltz isn’t bad either.
 
The offense is in the lower third of the rankings. I didn’t get around to ranking teams by "power", but in looking through the order it looks like the Twins wouldn’t rate real high relative to the other franchises. Killebrew, Hrbek, and Gaetti have some nice power, of course, but they just don’t have as much as most of the other teams. It looks to be a little more of a high batting average type of offense, led in that regard by Carew, Mauer, Puckett, and Mack.
 
They do have a few players who can run well (Carew, Knoblauch, Mack, Hunter, Tovar), but overall they’re in the bottom speed tier. Gaetti and Hunter are quality gloves, but overall the team ranks pretty low on defense.
 
Futures
Byron Buxton is an interesting one. He’s in his 8th season with the Twins, but he still hasn’t reached the 600-game threshold that I use for minimum qualification. He’s an impressive defensive player, and provides a good power/speed combination, but he’s only reached 100 games in a season one time. I’ll have to give him a little more time.
 
Jorge Polanco offers some interesting versatility options with his ability to play both shortstop and second base, and he’s still only 28 years old.
 
#17-Cleveland Guardians/Indians
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
CLE
0
.494
.453
.455
.537
.504
.527
 
The Divisional Era did not start out well for Cleveland. In the first 25 seasons of the era (1969-1993), the franchise only finished within 10 games of first place one time, and they never finished higher than 4th place.
 
Things started to turn in 1994. It was a strike season, but before the strike happened, Cleveland had a 66-47 record, and was only a game behind the White Sox in the AL Central. They had turned the corner, and have been very competitive most of the last 3 decades. 
 
In the 27 years since 1994, Cleveland has made the postseason 12 times, reaching the World Series 3 times, although they did not win any of those. They won 5 straight AL Central crowns from 1995-1999 under Mike Hargrove, and had another streak of 3 straight under Terry Francona from 2016-2018.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Victor Martinez
48.1
6.00%
43.3
1B
Jim Thome
72.9
6.00%
65.6
2B
Carlos Baerga
45.5
6.00%
40.9
3B
Jose Ramirez
71.3
6.00%
64.1
SS
Francisco Lindor
68.2
6.00%
61.4
LF
Albert Belle
59.9
6.00%
53.9
CF
Kenny Lofton
77.4
6.00%
69.7
RF
Manny Ramirez
62.1
6.00%
55.9
DH
Travis Hafner
65.2
4.75%
46.5
SP1
Corey Kluber
66.4
5.25%
52.3
SP2
Gaylord Perry
65.7
5.00%
49.3
SP3
CC Sabathia
56.4
4.75%
40.2
SP4
Bartolo Colon
57.8
4.50%
39.0
SP5
Charles Nagy
51.5
3.25%
25.1
RP1
Doug Jones
53.2
3.75%
29.9
RP2
Cody Allen
45.3
2.75%
18.7
P
Greg Swindell
45.1
2.00%
13.5
P
Tom Candiotti
52.4
2.00%
15.7
P
Carlos Carrasco
51.0
2.00%
15.3
Res
Carlos Santana
52.7
2.00%
15.8
Res
Andre Thornton
40.3
2.00%
12.1
Res
Asdrubal Cabrera
48.0
2.00%
14.4
Res
Omar Vizquel
51.4
2.00%
15.4
Res
Grady Sizemore
61.3
2.00%
18.4
Res
Shin-Soo Choo
60.0
2.00%
18.0
Mgr
Mike Hargrove
n/a
n/a
894.5
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Victor Martinez
 Kenny Lofton
Corey Kluber
Doug Jones
Carlos Santana
1B
Jim Thome
 Jose Ramirez
Gaylord Perry
Cody Allen
Andre Thornton
2B
Carlos Baerga
 Jim Thome
CC Sabathia
Greg Swindell
Asdrubal Cabrera
3B
Jose Ramirez
 Manny Ramirez
Bartolo Colon
Tom Candiotti
Omar Vizquel
SS
Francisco Lindor
 Albert Belle
Charles Nagy
Carlos Carrasco
Grady Sizemore
LF
Albert Belle
 Travis Hafner
 
 
Shin-Soo Choo
CF
Kenny Lofton
 Francisco Lindor
 
 
 
RF
Manny Ramirez
 Victor Martinez
 
 
 
DH
Travis Hafner
 Carlos Baerga
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
894.5
17
Offense
153.8
4
Defense
0.8
30
Speed
15.0
12
Infield
232.0
11
Outfield
179.5
10
Catching
59.1
17
Starting 9
501.4
15
Bench
94.1
8
Staff
299.1
19
Rotation
205.9
21
4 Starters
180.8
20
Bullpen
93.2
21
Short Relief
62.1
23
 
Position/Roster Notes:
I’m definitely stretching the defense at catcher by having both Martinez and Santana on the roster, but they had by far the two highest scores of anyone who could be reasonably considered a "catcher". If I wanted a more adept defensive backstop, I could have turned to Yan Gomes, Ray Fosse, or Sandy Alomar Jr.
 
There are some interesting multi-position players: Thome can also play third base, Ramirez can also play short and second base, and Cabrera can back up both middle infield positions.
 
Missed the Cut:
Buddy Bell had some good seasons with Cleveland, but he came up a little short. He’ll definitely be on the Rangers, so don’t weep for him.
 
Brett Butler and Michael Brantley were quality players, but the team is already very deep in outfielders already.
 
Jason Kipnis was a close call, but ultimately I went with Cabrera.
 
"Grand" Club:
Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, Carlos Santana, Kenny Lofton, Brook Jacoby, Andre Thornton, Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis, Julio Franco, Travis Hafner, Rick Manning, Michael Brantley
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Jose Ramirez
 
I wasn’t sure about Jose Ramirez on this list at first, but it’s starting to grow on me. He’s now #7 on Cleveland’s games played list in the Divisional Era, and by end of next year he might be top 5. He hasn’t won an MVP award, but he’s had 3 years in the top three, and he’s . He’s got 4 All Star Games in his pocket, he’s got power, he’s got speed, he’s not a bad defensive player, and he’s only 29. I like him more and more for this status.
 
Omar Vizquel is another candidate for this status, although I know a lot of people don’t consider him a great player, and I think the 4 above are better options. Vizquel was one of the ones honored as Cleveland’s "Franchise Four" in the MLB voting (along with Bob Feller, Tris Speaker, and Thome). He’s one of the few defensively skilled players on the roster.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Hitting(!), depth
Weaknesses: Defense, short relief
 
Let there be no doubt about the game that this franchise is playing – they live to pummel you, but then give it back to you on defense. And I’m not real confident in that bullpen either.
 
Definitely one of the more impressive lineups in the field, right down to the catching duo of Martinez and Santana, both of who are fine designated hitters but don’t offer much in the way of keeping the other team off the scoreboard. But that lineup……wos! Top to bottom, this team can outright hit.
 
And, of course….a lot of this team actually did play together for a while…..Lofton, Thome, Manny Ramirez, Belle, and Baerga were all with the team in the early-to-mid 1990’s, terrorizing opposing pitchers. Hafner and Martinez came along about a decade later, and then Lindor and Jose Ramirez about a decade after that.
 
In pitching, Kluber, Perry, and Sabathia are a decent trio at the top, each taking home at least 1 Cy Young. Kluber had a great 5-year run (2014-2018) where he averaged 17-9, 2.85, with a 151 ERA+, winning 2 Cy Youngs, but also having two other seasons with a 3rd place finish and then placing 9th in the other season. A great run. 
 
I don’t think a lot of people associate Perry much with Cleveland – he spent many more seasons in his career with the Giants, but since our scope is limited to just the Divisional era, he actually won’t be making the San Francisco roster, and he spent more time and pitched more games and innings pitched with Cleveland than he did with any other team in this era. Perry spent 3 full years then plus part of a fourth, and in that time he won a Cy Young (1972) and finished 4th and 7th in 2 of the other seasons. His 1972 (24-16, 1.92, 168 ERA+) is one of the truly great pitching seasons of this era, but it’s often overshadowed by the even better and more famous season by Steve Carlton of the Phillies in that same year. 
 
Sabathia’s Cy Young season was 2007, his last full season with the team, and he’s a pretty good #3 starter. I think he’s easily the #2 left-handed starting pitcher in Cleveland’s history – I’d put him behind only Sam McDowell.
 
Overall, though, Cleveland’s offense will be the driving force of how well they do.
 
Futures
Probably the player with the best shot to make the roster at some point is starting pitcher Shane Bieber. Bieber won the Cy Young award in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, and he’s been an All Star in 2 other seasons. In his 5 seasons with Cleveland, he’s current sporting a sparkling 3.17 ERA and a 136 ERA+. He just missed making the team already, so he’s a good bet to make the team sometime in the future.
 
Andres Gimenez is another future possibility. He took a big step forward in 2022, making the All Star team in his age 23 season. I’ll keep an eye on him.
 
#16-Kansas City Royals
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
KCR
2
.479
.519
.529
.468
.415
.466
 
The Royals are one of the teams with the biggest differences between their overall winning percentage and their place in my rankings. Their .479 overall winning percentage in the Divisional Era was only good for 26th place among the 30 franchises, where as their roster rank is #16, a difference of +10. That’s the 2nd biggest positive gap of any franchise (the biggest one is yet to come).
 
The Royals were a very good franchise out of the gate, and were a winning team for much of the 1970’s and 1980’s.  They had a very successful run in the 10-year period of 1976-1985, winning 6 AL West titles and going to the postseason 7 times in those 10 years, culminating with their World Series title in 1985.
 
After a nearly 30-year absence from the postseason, they had a brief resurgence in the mid-2010’s, going to back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning the title in the latter one. 
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Salvador Perez
55.5
6.00%
50.0
1B
Mike Sweeney
45.3
6.00%
40.8
2B
Frank White
53.0
6.00%
47.7
3B
George Brett
86.4
6.00%
77.8
SS
Freddie Patek
42.1
6.00%
37.9
LF
Willie Wilson
60.5
6.00%
54.5
CF
Carlos Beltran
60.4
6.00%
54.3
RF
Amos Otis
61.7
6.00%
55.5
DH
Hal McRae
60.7
4.75%
43.2
SP1
Kevin Appier
75.7
5.25%
59.6
SP2
Bret Saberhagen
71.1
5.00%
53.3
SP3
Mark Gubicza
63.8
4.75%
45.5
SP4
Zack Greinke
61.9
4.50%
41.8
SP5
Dennis Leonard
52.7
3.25%
25.7
RP1
Dan Quisenberry
67.2
3.75%
37.8
RP2
Jeff Montgomery
60.5
2.75%
25.0
P
Joakim Soria
71.1
2.00%
21.3
P
Charlie Leibrandt
53.1
2.00%
15.9
P
Paul Splittorff
51.6
2.00%
15.5
Res
Darrell Porter
55.8
2.00%
16.7
Res
John Mayberry
49.7
2.00%
14.9
Res
Whit Merrifield
43.7
2.00%
13.1
Res
Kevin Seitzer
47.0
2.00%
14.1
Res
Lorenzo Cain
64.8
2.00%
19.4
Res
Alex Gordon
53.5
2.00%
16.1
Mgr
Ned Yost
n/a
n/a
897.4
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Salvador Perez
 Carlos Beltran
Kevin Appier
Dan Quisenberry
Darrell Porter
1B
Mike Sweeney
 Hal McRae
Bret Saberhagen
Jeff Montgomery
John Mayberry
2B
Frank White
 George Brett
Mark Gubicza
Joakim Soria
Whit Merrifield
3B
George Brett
 Mike Sweeney
Zack Greinke
Charlie Leibrandt
Kevin Seitzer
SS
Freddie Patek
 Amos Otis
Dennis Leonard
Paul Splittorff
Lorenzo Cain
LF
Willie Wilson
 Salvador Perez
 
 
Alex Gordon
CF
Amos Otis
 Willie Wilson
 
 
 
RF
Carlos Beltran
 Frank White
 
 
 
DH
Hal McRae
 Freddie Patek
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
897.4
16
Offense
44.9
30
Defense
70.7
5
Speed
32.0
1
Infield
204.1
25
Outfield
164.4
15
Catching
66.7
10
Starting 9
461.7
23
Bench
94.4
7
Staff
341.4
4
Rotation
225.9
9
4 Starters
200.2
8
Bullpen
115.5
4
Short Relief
84.1
4
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Merrifield is the utility guy, but he’s more of a 2B/OF type, so the team doesn’t have a true backup shortstop on the roster. White will have to provide backup duties to Patek there.
 
The team is very deep in center fielders – all 3 outfield spots played primarily center field (although Wilson spent significant time in left). I put Otis as the starting center fielder, moved Wilson to left, and put Beltran in right. Beltran didn’t play much right field until his post-Royals career, but I thought he was a better fit out there than Otis.
 
Perez and Porter came out almost exactly even in the scoring system. I named Perez as the starting catcher, but it would probably be a pretty even time share, especially since they bat from opposite sides of the plate. Same thing at 1B….Sweeney and Mayberry make for a pretty even time share, and they also bat from opposite sides.
 
The top 8 pitchers are right handers, so Leibrandt and Splittorff had the advantage for the last 2 open spots on the staff as lefty options.
 
Missed the Cut:
I mentioned the team’s tremendous depth in center field when reviewing the starting outfield, but it goes deeper than that. Beyond Wilson, Otis, and Beltran (and also Cain, another primary CF who was named as a reserve), David DeJesus and Johnny Damon were strong candidates to make the team.
 
Bo Jackson had some big highlights in his 5 seasons with the Royals, but ultimately didn’t do enough to merit making the roster.
 
Eric Hosmer, Alicedes Escobar, Billy Butler, and Joe Randa all played more than 1,000 games with the Royals, but none of them could crack the roster.
 
Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera combined for some terrific bullpen work on those mid-2010’s Royals squads, but I went with other options on the roster. Starting pitchers Larry Gura and Steve Busby just missed out on joining the staff as well.
 
"Grand" Club:
George Brett, Frank White, Amos Otis, Hal McRae, Willie Wilson, Alex Gordon, Mike Sweeney, Freddie Patek, Alicedes Escobar, Salvador Perez, Billy Butler, Eric Hosmer, Joe Randa
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
George Brett, Bret Saberhagen, Frank White, Dan Quisenberry
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Speed, defense, bullpen
Weaknesses, Power, offense
 
Kansas City’s game, as you would expect, is built around pitching, speed, and defense, with a definite lack of power. 
 
Kansas City is basically the opposite of the prior team in the review (Cleveland). Well, not quite in all areas….Cleveland has decent speed (#12) overall, although the Royals are #1. But, comparing the 2 teams in several areas:
 
·         Cleveland’s game is hitting (#4 in offense) with a ton of power, where as the Royals rank as the #30 hitting team with a definite shortage of power hitters. Several of the starters are also less-than-stellar at getting on base (Perez, Wilson, White, and Patek are all in the .290-.310 OBP range)
 
·         Cleveland can’t play defense (#30), but the Royals are one of the better defensive teams at #5.
 
·         Cleveland doesn’t have great relief pitching. The Royals (led by Quisenberry, Montgomery, and Soria, have a top notch bullpen.
 
 
Defensively, there are Gold Gloves everywhere. Every position player except for Patek and Sweeney has at least one Gold Glove (although Beltran didn’t win one until after his stint with the Royals).   Patek was a good defender at short, but he had the bad luck to be up against Mark Belanger who basically owned the award in the AL during the 1970’s. In any case, it’s an exceptionally strong defensive unit, with essentially 3 center fielders (Wilson, Otis, and Beltran) patrolling the outfield, one of the elite all-time second basemen in White (who may be only behind the great Bill Mazeroski as a defensive second baseman), and Perez is one of the few 5-time Gold Glove winners at catcher. A very strong defensive squad.
 
Speed? Well, all 3 outfielders (Wilson, Otis, Beltran) can scoot, as could Patek. Merrifield has led the AL in steals multiple times, and Cain can also run. White and Brett were good baserunners. So were McRae and Gordon.  
 
The pitching staff is pretty talented as well. Appier is the type of pitcher who doesn’t get a lot of attention for his career, as he only had 169 wins and a not-too-attractive 3.74 ERA, but his career rWAR is in the mid-50’s, and his ERA+ was 121, both very solid figures (130 with the Royals). He’s a quality starter. 
 
Saberhagen was injured a lot, but he still ended up just under 60 rWAR for his career and he won 2 Cy Young awards. Gubicza is a solid #3, and Greinke is a very good #4 (Greinke doesn’t rate higher because generally his Royals’ years, aside from his amazing 2009 Cy Young season, weren’t as outstanding as his later ones with other clubs, but he was still pretty good).
 
As mentioned earlier, the bullpen is led by three closers who had pretty long stints with the team – Quisenberry was the closer pretty much from 1980-1986, Montgomery was basically the closer from 1989 until his career concluded in 1999, and Soria had a nice 5-year run from 2007-2011. 
 
The Royals would be a very interesting entry in a tournament, as they are playing a different brand of ball than most teams. Despite some talented hitters like Brett and Beltran, they could struggle to score runs, but they can definitely run the bases and can definitely play some D. A fun team to watch.
 
Futures
Bobby Witt Jr. is probably the primary one to watch here. He certainly has the pedigree, the son of a former big leaguer and the 2nd overall of the 2019 draft. 2022 represents Witt’s rookie season, and he debuted with 20 home runs and 27 steals (so far). He also plays shortstop, which is certainly an area on the franchise’s all star team that is ripe for the picking.
 
Wrapping it Up
 
Well, we’re halfway through. Teams #11 through 15 are next up. 
 
As a hint, the next group of five franchises has collectively won 12 World Series titles in the Divisional Era, with each of them winning at least one.
 
Thank you for reading.
 
Dan 
 
 

COMMENTS (20 Comments, most recent shown first)

ForeverRoyal
Stupid fast typing. 10 - Howser. Duh.
10:06 PM Oct 14th
 
ForeverRoyal
Thanks for the response and sorry for my delayed response.

Regarding Howser vs Ol’ Ned. Howser would have certainly won more games if he hadn’t gotten sick. Though it is nice he came back to manage the 86 All-Star game as his final game. He was simply a better manager than Ned. Also, I would point out that we have retired just three numbers in our history… 5 - Brett, 20 - White, and 10 - Hosmer.

As for 77’s point about Mayberry vs Sweeney, I don’t mind the argument of platooning Sweeney and Mayberry, but I also would have put Mayberry on the list as the starter.
10:06 PM Oct 14th
 
wovenstrap
I can see that! You did a great job BTW.
2:13 PM Oct 4th
 
DMBBHF
Oh yeah....one more comment.....

wovenstrap,

Yes, Clase is a good call-out. I should have referenced him in the "Futures" section for Cleveland. He's definitely had an impressive start to his career.

Dan
12:13 PM Oct 3rd
 
DMBBHF
guyarrigoni,

Agreed, Marmol and Strop are close, in different ways. They ended up with very similar scores in my system, with Marmol getting a slight edge, although that's not why I went with him. If players were close, I tended to go with players who I felt were better represented the franchise, meaning that Marmol tended to be in a more prominent role, finishing about half of his Cubs' appearances, while Strop was around one-fourth. In some ways, I do think Strop would probably be easier on my nerves if I were the Cubs' manager, but I decided to go with Marmol. But your point is well taken.

wovenstrap,

I can appreciate that it's pretty clear cut in your mind between Francona and Hargrove, but for me it was a bit of a coin flip. Hargrove's success with the team, taking a franchise that had been so bad for so long and taking them to 5 straight AL Central crowns made a big impact on me going through that period of time. I think you make some fine points, and I won't argue with your conclusion, but it was a tossup for me.

Thanks,
Dan
8:35 AM Oct 3rd
 
wovenstrap
Oops, Hargrove's W/L is 791-591. Closer, for sure. But Francona is still better.
7:40 PM Sep 28th
 
wovenstrap
Also, Hargrove is a distant #2 to Francona as the Cleveland manager.

Here are some stats:

Hargrove
591-550, .550, 2 pennants
1st (5)
2nd (1)

Francona
839-669, .556, 1 pennant
1st (4)
2nd (2)

There are more rounds in the playoffs in Francona's era, which is relevant to Francona only making it to 1 World Series. Also, let's be honest, Francona's teams have done better with less talent. Subjectively, Francona is also a better manager.

7:34 PM Sep 28th
 
wovenstrap
Clase has a good shot at passing Cody Allen as the Guardians' all-post-divisional-era reliever.
7:23 PM Sep 28th
 
guyarrigoni
I was surprised to see Carlos Marmol on the Cubs team instead of Pedro Strop. Both were with the Cubs for 8 years and their numbers are close. Pedro was the epitome of consistency, Carlos was spectacular when he was good and bad.
2:47 PM Sep 27th
 
DMBBHF
Thanks for all the comments, guys....

garywmaloney,

Just to be sure I understand, are you saying you're having a hard time believing it because Cleveland and Chicago were better/more successful organizations than the Expos/Nationals and Rangers/Senators? Or because you feel that they would be able to field better rosters from this era? If it's the former, I should mention that all 4 of those franchises were pretty close in terms of overall winning percentages in this era (they were all right around .490). Ultimately it came down to the roster selections and how I scored them, but I can certainly see why there might be some surprises.

Bruce,

Vaughn will be the first one called up from the Minors. If they use him out of the pen, it would be a nice contrast to Doug Jones.

Stevez9753,

Yes, the Expos/Nationals are still to come. If you're an fan, you'll probably be happy with where they ended up.

FrankD,

Thanks for the reply. It's definitely interesting to see what choices others would make. Gagne would be a reasonable reserve for this team, and, as you said, he'd give them some defensive value. For me, it came down to deciding between him and Dozier. Since Dozier could play both 2B and SS, I placed some value on that, and felt that Dozier was the better overall player. But Gagne is perfectly reasonable.

77Royals,

3 things....

1) We're actually in agreement on Otis. I initially put Beltran in CF and Otis in RF when I was filling out the roster template because I had it in my head that Beltran had better defensive stats (which, if you put any stock in the Rfield component of WAR, he does). And Beltran really didn't play ANY right field for the Royals (just 3 games). But, ultimately, I did put Otis back in CF and Beltran in RF because Beltran did play quite a bit of RF with other teams.

I even made the statement under the team roster notes that "I put Otis as the starting center fielder, moved Wilson to left, and put Beltran in right. Beltran didn’t play much right field until his post-Royals career, but I thought he was a better fit out there than Otis." The problem was, I didn't update the roster accordingly when I copied into the article, so that's my fault. But, we do agree.

2) Regarding "no one in the real world would ever pick Sweeney at 1B over Mayberry".....well, I don't see that at all. There isn't that much difference between them, and not sure why you think it would be that clear-cut a decision, regardless of real-world or fictional world. I think they were pretty similar in value, and with one a righty and one a lefty, a timeshare would seem to make most sense, which is how I positioned it in the team notes.

3) Regarding "all you're doing is listing the guys with the highest scores and filling in blanks"....no, that's not what I'm doing.

Dan
5:52 PM Sep 26th
 
garywmaloney
I am having a hard time believing the Expos / Nationals and Senators / Rangers rank ahead of the Indians and Cubs.
11:33 PM Sep 25th
 
tigerlily
I'm really enjoying this series Dan. Thanks for all the work!
2:00 PM Sep 25th
 
evanecurb
Rick Vaughn belongs on the Indians. Control is overrated. Intimidation is key.
11:28 AM Sep 25th
 
Stevez9753
Can you cover the Expos at some point?
10:55 AM Sep 25th
 
FrankD
Interesting and fun artticles. I would differ with you on the Twinkies although I respect that you followed your own criteria. I would put Gagne as at least back up SS although he may have not played as many games for the Twins as other candidates. He was key to 2 WS championships. And having him on the Twinkies roster would alleviate your 'weak on defense' statement.
12:49 AM Sep 25th
 
77royals
Amos Otis played 42 games in Right Field, in his last season with the team.

He is a center fielder. Only a center fielder.

Putting him at another position is ridiculous. All you are doing is listing the guys with the highest scores and filling in blanks.

Might as well put Brett at SS. And no one in the real world would ever pick Sweeney at 1B over Mayberry.
5:42 PM Sep 24th
 
DMBBHF
ForeverRoyal,

Thank you for the reply and comments. I can certainly appreciate the perspective of someone who is part of the fanbase and a lot closer to the franchise than I am, so if Howser is your clear choice for the Royals' manager, I won't try to argue it, but will share what I was considering.

Howser was my initial gut choice as well, and I looked hard at Whitey Herzog too for the success he had with the team. But, as an outsider, in reviewing each team, I tried to take as many things into consideration as possible. Yost's 10 years vs. 6 for Howser had some role in my choice, as well as his appearing in 2 World Series vs. 1 for Howser. Certainly Howser's teams won a higher percentage overall, and Yost's last 2 seasons were clunkers, but up until those last 2 he pretty much had a .500 record, and considering what they were like prior to his tenure, I thought it was actually a pretty good performance.

So, I went with Yost, but certainly appreciate where you're coming from. It's definitely a shame he had to give up managing when he did.

Regarding the bullpen, I just ran out of spots. If I had scored Davis strictly as a reliever, instead of his total KC record, that might have made the difference, because he was definitely a beast as a reliever, but I didn't get that granular with it. I certainly wouldn't debate too hard putting Holland or Davis over someone like Soria, or maybe even dropping one of the 2 lefties if I had to.

jeffsol,

Thank you for the reply. I can see going with Bautista in LF and starting Barfield over Bell, although I tried hard not to go with a starter that didn't have much direct experience at a position. I did do some of what I would call "position cheats" in order to get a clearly better player in the lineup, but tried to be judicious about using those. Bautista only had 9 career games in LF (42 for Toronto), so I felt it was a little too much of a stretch in order to justify Barfield over Bell. But, again, I wouldn't die on the hill with that sentiment, either, especially in a theoretical exercise like this. I can certainly see going that way.

With Minnesota, in terms of starting Knoblauch and moving Carew to 1B, I think you meant to say Hrbek instead of Morneau, correct? (I already have Morneau on the bench) Yes, that's certainly another way to go. I considered it, but I felt the team was already a little short in the power department and needed Hrbek's pop. But, I can see the logic of your suggestion.

Thanks,
Dan
3:12 PM Sep 24th
 
ForeverRoyal
Thanks for doing this. Overall, really nice work. I will, however, take exception to Ol’ Ned being listed as the Royals Manager. While he’ll hold a special place in our hearts for not screwing up 2014 and 15, Dick Howser is our all-time manager.

Also, someone from Hydra should have made the roster. They were integral to our last championship run. Wade Davis was virtually un-hitable.

Lastly, personally, I’d have found a way to get Hosmer on the roster. But that’s just a matter of taste. Howser is the bigger oversight.
12:27 PM Sep 24th
 
jeffsol
Thanks for all the work on this - it’s been really enjoyable so far. How do you think about moving a player off their most okayed position? In KC, you essentially chose 3 CF (maybe 2.5 - Wilson played a lot of LF). But for Toronto, it seems obvious the team is better if you sit Bell, move Bautista to LF and start Barfield in RF. Likewise the Twins are likely better with Knoblauch at 2B and Carew at 1B with Morneau coming off the bench.
12:13 PM Sep 24th
 
jeffsol
Thanks for all the work on this - it’s been really enjoyable so far. How do you think about moving a player off their most okayed position? In KC, you essentially chose 3 CF (maybe 2.5 - Wilson played a lot of LF). But for Toronto, it seems obvious the team is better if you sit Bell, move Bautista to LF and start Barfield in RF. Likewise the Twins are likely better with Knoblauch at 2B and Carew at 1B with Morneau coming off the bench.
12:13 PM Sep 24th
 
 
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