Franchise All Star Teams (Divisional Era Version) - Part VII - Teams #1-5

November 24, 2022
Franchise All-Star Teams of the Divisional Era
Teams #1-5
 
This is part VII of a multi-part series reviewing all-star franchise teams of the Divisional Era (1969 to present). The kickoff article explains the premise.
 
And now….your top 5 Franchise All-Star Teams of the Divisional Era…..
 
Note that some of the commentary for the Reds will be similar to what I included in the kickoff article, as in that piece I had used the Reds as my example to illustrate the concept.
 
#5-Cincinnati Reds
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
CIN
3
.511
.588
.499
.515
.464
.483
 
The Reds were one of the elite teams in the 1970’s, the team of my baseball youth. I was spoiled rotten….. 
 
Their winning percentage for the ‘70’s (plus 1969) was .588, a figure that was exceeded only by Baltimore’s .598 mark. The ‘70’s saw "The Big Red Machine" win 6 NL West titles with 3 second-place finishes. In their 6 playoff appearances in that decade, they reached the World Series 4 times, losing the first two (to Baltimore in ’70 and to Oakland in ’72), but then rebounded to win back-to-back titles in ’75 & ’76 over the Red Sox in a classic 7-game match and then sweeping the Yankees the next year. Those championship teams are often cited as among the greatest teams in history, mostly due to what has become known as "The Great Eight", the 8 regular position players (Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Dave Concepcion, Pete Rose, George Foster, Cesar Geronimo, and Ken Griffey). Great hitting, great defense, great baserunning.
 
After 1979, the times have been much leaner, with just 6 playoff appearances over the past 40+ years, despite the fact that it should be much easier to make the playoffs now with all of the extra slots. The post-1970’s highlight, of course, was "Nasty Boys" version of the team (managed by Lou Piniella) that shocked the baseball world with the 1990 World Series title, sweeping the favored A’s in the championship round. That lineup featured shortstop Barry Larkin, center fielder Eric Davis, third baseman Chris Sabo, and right fielder Paul O’Neill, starting pitchers Jose Rijo and Tom Browning, and, of course, the "Nasty Boys" themselves out of the bullpen – Randy Myers, Rob Dibble, and Norm Charlton.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Johnny Bench
82.2
6.00%
74.0
1B
Joey Votto
77.6
6.00%
69.9
2B
Joe Morgan
95.6
6.00%
86.0
3B
Pete Rose
70.6
6.00%
63.5
SS
Barry Larkin
79.3
6.00%
71.4
LF
George Foster
66.5
6.00%
59.8
CF
Eric Davis
62.5
6.00%
56.2
RF
Reggie Sanders
53.1
6.00%
47.8
DH
Tony Perez
61.2
4.75%
43.6
SP1
Jose Rijo
69.0
5.25%
54.3
SP2
Johnny Cueto
55.3
5.00%
41.5
SP3
Mario Soto
54.1
4.75%
38.5
SP4
Tom Seaver
48.4
4.50%
32.7
SP5
Tom Browning
46.1
3.25%
22.5
RP1
Aroldis Chapman
70.6
3.75%
39.7
RP2
John Franco
55.6
2.75%
22.9
P
Rob Dibble
51.2
2.00%
15.4
P
Gary Nolan
43.5
2.00%
13.0
P
Don Gullett
39.5
2.00%
11.9
Res
Jason LaRue
29.2
2.00%
8.8
Res
Brandon Phillips
48.1
2.00%
14.4
Res
Dave Concepcion
56.8
2.00%
17.1
Res
Chris Sabo
44.5
2.00%
13.3
Res
Ken Griffey
48.7
2.00%
14.6
Res
Dan Driessen
38.6
2.00%
11.6
Mgr
Sparky Anderson
n/a
n/a
944.4
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Johnny Bench
 Pete Rose
Jose Rijo
Aroldis Chapman
Jason LaRue
1B
Joey Votto
 Joey Votto
Johnny Cueto
John Franco
Brandon Phillips
2B
Joe Morgan
 Joe Morgan
Mario Soto
Rob Dibble
Dave Concepcion
3B
Pete Rose
 George Foster
Tom Seaver
Gary Nolan
Chris Sabo
SS
Barry Larkin
 Tony Perez
Tom Browning
Don Gullett
Ken Griffey
LF
George Foster
 Johnny Bench
 
 
Dan Driessen
CF
Eric Davis
 Eric Davis
 
 
 
RF
Reggie Sanders
 Reggie Sanders
 
 
 
DH
Tony Perez
 Barry Larkin
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
944.4
5
Offense
143.4
7
Defense
37.0
18
Speed
27.2
2
Infield
290.7
1
Outfield
163.9
17
Catching
82.8
2
Starting 9
572.3
2
Bench
79.8
26
Staff
292.4
20
Rotation
189.4
24
4 Starters
167.0
24
Bullpen
102.9
11
Short Relief
78.0
9
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Johnny Bench was obviously the choice at catcher. The best backup option was Jason LaRue, so we’re clearly going to play Bench until he drops. I think he’ll be OK with that.
 
Joey Votto is a pretty easy choice at first base, although they do have a Hall of Famer there in Tony Perez. Perez is missing a few years that were pre-1969, but he’s still a very good player and a valued team leader. Perez will see plenty of time at DH, 1B, and 3B.
 
Joe Morgan is the clear choice at second base, with Brandon Phillips a pretty easy choice as the backup.
 
Shortstop is in excellent hands with Hall of Famer Barry Larkin and an exceptional backup in Dave Concepcion. From the early 1970’s until the early 2000’s, Reds fans were treated to roughly 30 years of outstanding shortstop play. 
 
Third base is a decision point. The 2 strongest candidates are players who played a lot at other positions (Tony Perez and Pete Rose), with Chris Sabo as probably the best pure third baseman available. I decided to install Rose as the primary third baseman, with Perez as the primary DH and Sabo providing backup.
 
The biggest position battle in the outfield is in right field, where Reggie Sanders and Ken Griffey Sr. duked it out. It’s really more of a timeshare with the 2, especially given that they bat from different sides of the plate. The dynamic Eric Davis is the center fielder, although he’s always an injury risk, and slugger George Foster covers left field.
 
Overall, there’s good position coverage. Perez can play some third base, Rose, can also cover first base and outfield when needed (his second base days were in the ‘60’s, but the team is well covered there anyway). Dan Driessen can also play a couple of different spots.
 
The first 3 starters fall into place pretty quickly– Jose Rijo is an easy #1 for me, followed by Johnny Cueto and Mario Soto. Lots of similarity among those 3 in that they were top notch starters when healthy, but they all had their careers derailed by injuries. 
 
Rounding out the rotation is Tom Seaver and Tom Browning. It feels a little odd to me having Seaver on the Reds since his identity is so tightly aligned with the Mets, but, although he wasn’t the nearly force that he was with the Mets he did pitch in 6 different seasons with the Reds, 4 of which were pretty good, and he had three top-4 Cy Young finishes, so there’s enough there to give him the #4 slot. Browning wasn’t a great pitcher, but he was a bulldog, he’s got the most games started, innings, and pitcher wins for the franchise in this era, and he’s a lefty to boot, so he gets the #5 slot.
 
In the bullpen, a couple of left handers (of very different types) lead the way. Flamethrower Aroldis Chapman is my closer. He started out with a couple of years in a setup role, but then put together 4 straight dominant years as a closer before moving on to the Yankees. The other top lefty out of the pen was known more for his change-up than his fastball – John Franco. Franco is probably much better remembered for his 14 seasons as a Met, but his first 6 seasons were spent as a very effective relief pitcher for the Reds.
 
Continuing in the bullpen, my next choice is another hard thrower, this time from the right hand side, Rob Dibble. Dibble basically self-destructed his last year in Cincinnati, but overall he was a highly effective reliever.
 
Rounding out the staff are two pitchers from the Big Red Machine era who can spot start, one righty and one lefty: Gary Nolan and Don Gullett. Much like Rijo, Cueto, and Soto, they represent the type of pitcher Reds fans have become very familiar with – pitchers with enormous promise and potential, but who were ultimately slowed down and impacted by injuries.
 
As you might expect the Reds’ roster is overwhelmingly represented by players from the championship teams - the 1970’s "Big Red Machine" (Bench, Morgan, Rose, Perez, Concepcion, Foster, Griffey, Driessen, Nolan, Gullett) and the 1990 "Nasty Boys" champion (Larkin, Davis, Sabo, Rijo, Browning, Dibble)
 
Missed the Cut:
Ed Taubensee was considered as the backup catcher, and he would have given a lefty option to fill in for Bench on occasion, but I went with LaRue instead.
 
Sean Casey and Hal Morris were similar sweet-swinging lefty options at first base, but the team was already pretty deep there.
 
Ron Oester is a native Cincinnatian who is a member of the Reds’ Hall of Fame, but he’s well behind Morgan and Phillips.
 
Todd Frazier and Eugenio Suarez are power-hitting third basemen who were in a close battle with Sabo, but I went with Spuds.
 
Zack Cozart had some good moments with the Reds, but obviously well behind Larkin and Concepcion.
 
I also considered outfielders Adam Dunn, Jay Bruce, Cesar Geronimo, Bobby Tolan, and Ken Griffey Jr.  

Dunn did not make the team, which may surprise some of you. He was a consistent 40 HR, .380+ OBP guy, but frankly he’s not my type of player - he’s a horrible defender (although we do have the DH as an option), and I think I have better overall options. 
 
A lot of people would also opt for Griffey Jr., who did end up putting in 9 seasons with the franchise, and he had a couple of nice seasons in that time. However, he didn’t score well in my system, and I don’t think of him as a great Reds player anyway. He wasn’t the same player as he was in Seattle….not even close.
 
Danny Graves and Francisco Cordero are the top two career saves guys for the Reds in this era, but I passed on both of them. Graves is the #1 saves guy, but his ERA was near 4.00, his ERA+ was an underwhelming (for a closer) 112, and he struck out fewer than 5.0 batters per 9. He’s not my idea of a closer. Cordero was better than Graves, but he scored lower than the others I selected, and he always seemed to be walking a tightrope closing out games, so I went with the others. Raisel Iglesias was close, but Dibble just barely edged him out. Clay Carroll was another option that came up a little short for me. Two Jeffs (Jeff Shaw and Jeff Brantley) were terrific, but their time with the franchise was relatively short.
 
Among starting candidates, Luis Castillo was a decent option, but there just seemed to be not enough there during his stint with the Reds, some of which I’m sure is due to the lack of support he got. In any case, I opted for others. Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo both had some selling points, but came up short in my book.
 
"Grand" Club:
A long list…..
 
Dave Concepcion, Barry Larkin, Joey Votto, Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Brandon Phillips, Dan Driessen, Tony Perez, Ron Oester, George Foster, Ken Griffey Sr., Jay Bruce, Cesar Geronimo, Joe Morgan, Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, Hal Morris
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Barry Larkin
 
Joey Votto is a tough omission, as is Tony Perez, but I think the four above are the clear choices. They are the same 4 who were recognized in 2015 in MLB’s Franchise Four voting.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Hitting, speed, infield, overall starting lineup, bullpen
Weaknesses: Starting rotation, depth
 
The Reds are kind of the oddball of the top 5 teams in that they haven’t really been among the elite teams for at least the last 2-3 decades.   Cincinnati owes its high ranking primarily to the tremendous amount of talent that was on the roster 30-50 years ago.
 
Let’s look at that starting lineup again:
 
Batting Order
Pos
 Player
1
3B
 Pete Rose
2
1B
 Joey Votto
3
2B
 Joe Morgan
4
LF
 George Foster
5
DH
 Tony Perez
6
C
 Johnny Bench
7
CF
 Eric Davis
8
RF
 Reggie Sanders
9
SS
 Barry Larkin
 
That is one damn fine lineup, half of it pulled straight from the Big Red Machine (Rose, Morgan, Foster, Perez, and Bench). 4 Hall of Famers (Morgan, Bench, Perez, Larkin), 1 (Rose) who was clear Hall of Fame quality, and another great bat in Foster. And Votto will be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.
 
MVP’s are plentiful – Bench (2), Morgan (2), Rose (1), Foster (1), Larkin (1), and Votto (1). 
 
The top of the order is one great OBP guy after another: Votto and Morgan both drew a lot of walks with OBP’s over .400, and Rose had a .389 figure for the Reds in this era. It translates into a steady stream of baserunners to set up the middle of the lineup (Foster, Perez, and Bench).
 
And the bottom third of the order is a power/speed combination paradise – Davis, Sanders, and Larkin, all players who were all 30 HR/30 SB type of players. Sanders technically didn’t have one, as he was 28/36 in 1995, but that was a strike-shortened season, and he probably would have gotten there. In terms of career power-speed numbers, Davis is #17 all time, Sanders is #22, and Larkin is #45. Those are some pretty nice weapons to have in the lower third of a lineup.
 
There are a few teams that technically scored a little higher on offense, but I think this may be the most complete, versatile, top-to-bottom lineup of them all. They don’t rate as a real strong overall defensive unit (although Bench was terrific behind the plate and Morgan/Larkin is a good keystone combo), but they did rate as the #2 starting 9 unit overall, and the #1 infield (Votto, Morgan, Larkin Rose).
 
As it always is with the Reds, though, the albatross is pitching, and in particular, starting pitching. Rijo, Cueto, and Soto were all fine pitchers, but they all had careers that were altered and abbreviated by injuries. The same is true of Nolan and Gullett. 
 
Futures
Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo are 2 young, promising pitching prospects, but they’re just now getting started on their careers, so they’ve got a long way to go.
 
Second baseman Jonathan India was Rookie of the Year in 2021, but missed a lot of time in 2022. He’s a promising young player, but miles away from making this roster.
 
#4-Los Angeles Dodgers
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
LAD
3
.544
.561
.527
.511
.532
.580
 
Let’s start with perhaps the most impressive stat. The Dodgers have made the postseason 23 time in the 54 years of the Divisional Era – including the last 10 in a row. They have won 20 NL West titles in that same time frame.
 
They have had some droughts. They didn’t reach the postseason from 1997 through 2003, although they did finish 2nd a couple of times. But they’ve generally been in the running for the vast majority of the Divisional Era, and have a winning record in every decade of this time frame. The team’s .544 winning percentage is second only to the Yankees. They are truly one of the glamor franchises in MLB.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Mike Piazza
80.3
6.00%
72.2
1B
Steve Garvey
55.6
6.00%
50.1
2B
Davey Lopes
58.2
6.00%
52.4
3B
Ron Cey
70.5
6.00%
63.4
SS
Corey Seager
62.1
6.00%
55.9
LF
Gary Sheffield
59.0
6.00%
53.1
CF
Willie Davis
63.7
6.00%
57.3
RF
Reggie Smith
64.6
6.00%
58.1
DH
Pedro Guerrero
72.8
4.75%
51.8
SP1
Clayton Kershaw
89.8
5.25%
70.8
SP2
Orel Hershiser
65.4
5.00%
49.0
SP3
Don Sutton
69.1
4.75%
49.2
SP4
Fernando Valenzuela
59.5
4.50%
40.1
SP5
Bob Welch
60.1
3.25%
29.3
RP1
Kenley Jansen
62.0
3.75%
34.9
RP2
Eric Gagne
47.4
2.75%
19.5
P
Jim Brewer
45.4
2.00%
13.6
P
Ramon Martinez
53.0
2.00%
15.9
P
Burt Hooton
52.9
2.00%
15.9
Res
Mike Scioscia
47.1
2.00%
14.1
Res
Justin Turner
64.3
2.00%
19.3
Res
Bill Russell
50.2
2.00%
15.1
Res
Adrian Beltre
51.2
2.00%
15.3
Res
Shawn Green
52.4
2.00%
15.7
Res
Raul Mondesí
49.5
2.00%
14.9
Mgr
Tommy Lasorda
n/a
n/a
947.1
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Mike Piazza
 Davey Lopes
Clayton Kershaw
Kenley Jansen
Mike Scioscia
1B
Steve Garvey
 Pedro Guerrero
Orel Hershiser
Eric Gagne
Justin Turner
2B
Davey Lopes
 Gary Sheffield
Don Sutton
Jim Brewer
Bill Russell
3B
Ron Cey
 Mike Piazza
Fernando Valenzuela
Ramon Martinez
Adrian Beltre
SS
Corey Seager
 Reggie Smith
Bob Welch
Burt Hooton
Shawn Green
LF
Gary Sheffield
 Ron Cey
 
 
Raul Mondesí
CF
Willie Davis
 Steve Garvey
 
 
 
RF
Reggie Smith
 Corey Seager
 
 
 
DH
Pedro Guerrero
 Willie Davis
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
947.1
4
Offense
163.9
3
Defense
38.6
15
Speed
10.1
20
Infield
221.8
19
Outfield
168.5
13
Catching
86.4
1
Starting 9
514.4
10
Bench
94.4
3
Staff
338.2
5
Rotation
238.5
4
4 Starters
209.2
5
Bullpen
99.8
14
Short Relief
68.0
17
 
Position/Roster Notes:
I was a little surprised that Willie Davis came out so well as I thought of him as more of a 1960’s player, but he got in 5 pretty good seasons for the Dodgers at the beginning of this era.
 
Justin Turner played more third base than anything else, but he’ll fill the role of versatile, multi-position infielder. He can basically back up all 4 infield positions.
 
The starting infield is comprised of three-quarters of the long-running Steve Garvey/Davey Lopes/Bill Russell/Ron Cey unit that played together for so long in the ‘70’s and early ‘80’s. Russell made the team, but I have Corey Seager as the starting shortstop.
 
Missed the Cut:
Matt Kemp had some really good moments for the Dodgers including an amazing across-the-board 2011 MVP runner-up, but he was nosed out by Raul Mondesi and Shawn Green.
 
Dusty Baker and Andre Ethier are two other outfielders who got into more than 1,000 games in a Dodger uniform, but they were also edged out of a spot.
 
"Grand" Club:
Bill Russell, Steve Garvey, Eric Karros, Ron Cey, Andre Ethier, Mike Scioscia, Matt Kemp, Steve Yeager, Davey Lopes, Dusty Baker, Steve Sax, Justin Turner, Pedro Guerrero
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Clayton Kershaw, Mike Piazza, Don Sutton, Steve Garvey
 
The 4 Dodgers honored in the 2015 MLB Franchise Four voting were Jackie Robinson, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax, and Duke Snider, all of whom played prior to the divisional era, so I had to go with 4 of my own. I think I got the right four.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Starting pitching, overall hitting, depth
Weaknesses: Speed
 
The Dodgers rank as the #1 catching group in my review. Mike Piazza isn’t the #1 catcher, but the duo of Piazza and Mike Scioscia ranks first as a combined tandem.
 
You might have expected that the Dodgers would offer good pitching, and you’d be right. It all starts with Clayton Kershaw, who is supported by Orel Hershiser, Don Sutton, Fernando Valenzuela, and Bob Welch.
 
One Dodgers’ strength seems to be in their good, overall balance, a lack of a weak spot. They really don’t have a superstar/Hall of Fame regular except for Piazza, but it’s a good, deep roser.
 
The relatively low speed rating kind of surprised me because it always seemed like the Dodgers have had some good baserunning threats (Maury Wills always comes to mind), and they do have Davey Lopes and Willie Davis on the roster, but overall they just don’t rate that high in this category.
 
Futures
Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman. 3 of the best players in the game today, and they are typically the first 3 batters in the Dodgers’ lineup. All 3 are currently on another all-time roster (Betts for Boston, Turner for Washington/Montreal, Freeman for Atlanta). All 3 are good enough to make the LA all-star roster if they can string a few years together with the franchise, so we’ll have to wait and see how that unfolds.
 
Cody Bellinger got his career off to a scintillating start, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2017 and then an MVP 2 years later, all by the age of 23. But, his last 3 years have been, frankly, a disaster. The team non-tendered him this offseason, and he seems likely to move on elsewhere.
 
Max Muncy could be an interesting one to consider. He’s a low average (.231) type of hitter, but he has hit over 30 home runs in 3 different seasons, and he’s a versatile position player (1B, 2B, 3B, and a little outfield). I already have Justin Turner filling that role, so I’m not sure Muncy would ever exceed him, but he’s someone to keep in mind.
 
There are 3 intriguing starting pitchers in the current Dodgers rotation to consider: Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Tony Gonsolin
 
Buehler’s had a couple of All Star seasons and he’s only 27, but coming off an injury-plagued year. 
 
Urias has been on the scene for a while now, having just completed his 7th season for the Dodgers, and he’s still only 25. His last 2 seasons have been his best to date – in 2021, he led the league with 20 wins, and in 2022 he won the NL ERA crown with a 2.16 figure (he also had a league-best 194 ERA+). He finished 3rd in the 2022 NL Cy Young voting.
 
Gonsolin also had a remarkable 2022 season, although he was only able to start 24 times (with only 130 innings). Still, he had a sparkling 16-1 record to go with a 2.14 ERA.


#3-Atlanta Braves
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
ATL
2
.517
.462
.457
.618
.551
.525
 
Although they kicked off the Divisional Era by winning the first-ever NL West title in 1969, they were a sub-.500 team over the first 2 decades of the era. Since, then, however, they have really kicked it into gear over the past 30 years, reaching the postseason 22 times over that span.
 
The Braves were a perennial playoff participant from 1991-2005, reaching the postseason in every available season (which excludes the 1994 strike year that had no postseason). They’ve had a couple of brief 4-year droughts since then, but have made the last 5 postseasons. Their 2 World Series titles were in 1995 and 2021. One of the true elite franchises, especially over the past 3 decades.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Brian McCann
48.0
6.00%
43.2
1B
Freddie Freeman
63.9
6.00%
57.5
2B
Ozzie Albies
47.3
6.00%
42.5
3B
Chipper Jones
86.1
6.00%
77.5
SS
Rafael Furcal
53.5
6.00%
48.2
LF
Henry Aaron
72.7
6.00%
65.4
CF
Andruw Jones
77.9
6.00%
70.1
RF
David Justice
58.3
6.00%
52.5
DH
Dale Murphy
67.1
4.75%
47.8
SP1
Greg Maddux
86.1
5.25%
67.8
SP2
Phil Niekro
94.0
5.00%
70.5
SP3
Tom Glavine
79.8
4.75%
56.9
SP4
John Smoltz
84.7
4.50%
57.2
SP5
Tim Hudson
51.6
3.25%
25.1
RP1
Craig Kimbrel
87.0
3.75%
49.0
RP2
Gene Garber
33.4
2.75%
13.8
P
Max Fried
62.8
2.00%
18.8
P
Julio Teheran
47.9
2.00%
14.4
P
Rick Mahler
42.5
2.00%
12.7
Res
Javy Lopez
47.0
2.00%
14.1
Res
Bob Horner
48.4
2.00%
14.5
Res
Jeff Blauser
42.9
2.00%
12.9
Res
Darrell Evans
53.5
2.00%
16.0
Res
Martin Prado
45.9
2.00%
13.8
Res
Ron Gant
46.4
2.00%
13.9
Mgr
Bobby Cox
n/a
n/a
976.1
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Brian McCann
 Rafael Furcal
Greg Maddux
Craig Kimbrel
Javy Lopez
1B
Freddie Freeman
 Freddie Freeman
Phil Niekro
Gene Garber
Bob Horner
2B
Ozzie Albies
 Chipper Jones
Tom Glavine
Max Fried
Jeff Blauser
3B
Chipper Jones
 Henry Aaron
John Smoltz
Julio Teheran
Darrell Evans
SS
Rafael Furcal
 Dale Murphy
Tim Hudson
Rick Mahler
Martin Prado
LF
Henry Aaron
 David Justice
 
 
Ron Gant
CF
Andruw Jones
 Andruw Jones
 
 
 
RF
David Justice
 Brian McCann
 
 
 
DH
Dale Murphy
 Ozzie Albies
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
976.1
3
Offense
124.7
15
Defense
64.9
7
Speed
6.7
22
Infield
225.7
17
Outfield
188.0
8
Catching
57.3
18
Starting 9
504.7
14
Bench
85.3
20
Staff
386.1
1
Rotation
277.4
1
4 Starters
252.3
1
Bullpen
108.7
7
Short Relief
81.6
7
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Brian McCann and Javy Lopez were neck and neck for the starting catcher job. As with several other teams, there will be plenty of opportunities for both, especially with McCann as a lefty and Lopez as a righty.
 
Regarding the outfield, Andruw Jones was a no brainer in center field as he is certainly one of the best ever defensively at that position, and then I worked around that. Dale Murphy was mostly center field, a little bit of left and right, David Justice was mostly right field with some left field in his post-Atlanta days, and Hank Aaron was mostly right field but played some left at the beginning and end of his career. Aaron was up a bit in age by the time of this era, but I decided to go with him in left, Justice in right, and Murphy as the DH, but I could see there being some fluctuation in that arrangement.
 
Three second basemen (Ozzie Albies, Marcus Giles, and Glenn Hubbard) all come out fairly close. I gave the edge to Albies as he is still with the team (and only 25 years old) and should continue to build his totals.
 
Jeff Blauser and Martin Prado offer a lot of position flexibility – Blauser at SS/2B/3B, and Prado at 3B/2B/LF/1B and even a little bit of shortstop.
 
Missed the Cut:
Jason Hayward looked like he was going to be a superstar. His rookie season as a 20 year old in 2010 showed a ton of promise….a near-.400 OBP, an All-Star nod, runner-up in Rookie-of-the-year. He’s had some good moments since then, and has demonstrated very strong defensive skills, but he just never seemed to develop further as a hitter.
 
Other outfielders who had good moments but not quite enough to make the roster include Ralph Garr, Dusty Baker, and Ryan Klesko.
 
As mentioned earlier, I went with Ozzie Albies as the primary second baseman, leaving Marcus Giles and Glenn Hubbard as potential minor-league callups.
 
Terry Pendleton had an MVP award and an MVP runner-up in back to back seasons with the Braves in the early ‘90’s, but didn’t quite have enough to make the team.
 
"Grand" Club:
Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy, Andruw Jones, Freddie Freeman, Glenn Hubbard, Brian McCann, Jeff Blauser, Javy Lopez, Mike Lum, Mark Lemke
 
The Braves had some interesting 1,000 game members.  Mike Lum and Mark Lemke each had Braves rWAR figures well under 10. I really wasn’t keeping track, but I suspect those are two of the lower figures for any franchise’s 1,000 game level in my review. And Bruce Benedict just missed (982).
 
Hank Aaron, by the way, only had 797 games in this era.
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Hank Aaron, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro, Chipper Jones
 
Aaron, Chipper, and Maddux were honored in the 2015 MLB Franchise Four voting, along with Warren Spahn. I think Niekro works well for the 4th spot here. Dale Murphy, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz would all be worthy candidates as well.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Pitching, outfield, defense
Weaknesses: Speed
 
I’m guessing to the surprise of no one, the Braves have the #1 ranked pitching staff, led by the #1 starting pitcher rotation. The real-life trio of Hall of Famers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz, which I believe would be the consensus #1 starting pitcher trio if we put it to a vote, is joined by fellow Hall of Famer Phil Niekro. That gives the Braves 4 Hall of Famers in their rotation – no other franchise has more than 2. Tim Hudson, who I always associated more with the A’s but who actually pitched a little more for the Braves, rounds out the top 5. Current Braves pitcher Max Fried (who finished 2nd in the 2022 NL Cy Young award voting) actually scored a little higher than Hudson, but I thought it was a little premature to put him over Hudson just yet. Plus, Fried gives the Braves a lefty out of the pen, but he’s put together 4 straight excellent seasons, and he may force his way into the rotation.
 
The Braves also have one of the better closers in the era in Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel’s numbers are plenty good overall for his career, but his Braves’ numbers are unbelievable. His career ERA is 2.31, but his Braves ERA (4 full seasons plus a partial one) is a miniscule 1.43. His career ERA+ is an outstanding 177, but his Braves figure is 266.   His 4-year run from 2011-2014, where he led the league in saves each year and had ERAs of 2.10, 1.01, 1.21, and 1.61 is one of the great closer runs you’ll find.
 
The position players aren’t nearly of the same quality as the pitching staff, but they’re still pretty good. I have the offense about in the middle (15th), and they’re a little on the slow side (ranked 22nd in speed), but there are some good bats. At the corner infield positions, Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman are strong bookends, both of them being players who were frequently in the MVP discussion, with each of them winning the award once. High average, high OBP, good power. Chipper’s in the Hall, and I think Freeman has a good chance to join him – I’ve always thought of Freeman as a more current version of Eddie Murray.
 
The outfield has a lot to like as well, starting with the legendary Hank Aaron. Aaron doesn’t rate as strong as he would if I included his whole career, but he was still a valuable player even in the latter stages of his career. In the Divisional Era, Aaron was with the Braves from 1969-1974 (6 seasons), which were his age 35-40 seasons. He averaged about 6.3 rWAR per 162 games in that stretch, which are the highest on the roster. Even though he was in the home stretch of his career, he still hit his career high single-season home run figure (47 in 1971) in this time frame, and his 6th highest figure (44 in 1969) was also during this period. His slash line in the Divisional Era was a healthy .295/.390/.587, and his OPS+ was 164. Except for the batting average, those were actually higher than his career rate figures. No, he wasn’t the same overall player he was, but he was still a lethal hitter.
 
In addition to Aaron, the outfield boasts one of the all-time great defensive center fielders in Andruw Jones, and a 2-time MVP in Dale Murphy, although I have Murphy slotted as the primary DH, with David Justice in right field. The Braves have good power in the lineup, pretty much top to bottom.
 
The catching is in good hands with Brian McCann and Javy Lopez splitting time, and the double-play combo of Rafael Furcal and Ozzie Albies is decent. Overall, I have the starting 9 as #14, so they’re not elite, but not bad either. But, the team is really driven by their starting pitcher rotation.
 
Futures
Lots of good candidates here….
 
Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley are the obvious ones. They just completed their age 24 and 25 age seasons, respectively, and both I think are really promising candidates to make the roster in another few years….and maybe even sooner. It’s just a little too soon to put them on, but I think their time is coming.
 
Michael Harris had a tremendous rookie season in 2022, just missing a 20-20 HR/SB season in only 114 games. He looks like a future star.
 
I suppose Dansby Swanson could also make a push. His 2022 season was his best one to date, he’s had 7 seasons with the Braves, and he’s still only 28.
 
Kyle Wright finally put it all together in 2022 and posted a 21-5, 3.19 mark, but that was his first real display of quality in his MLB career, so he’ll need to keep adding to it in order to be considered.
 
Spencer Strider showed a lot to like in his first full season (11-5, 2.67, nearly 14K per 9 innings), and he’s only 23 years old. Definitely one to watch.
 
#2-New York Yankees
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
NYY
7
.562
.550
.547
.564
.597
.568
 
To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Yankees have the best winning percentage of all 30 teams in the Divisional Era (.562). They have been consistent winners in every decade, with their "worst" decade being the 1980’s at .547. They also have 7 World Series titles in the era, 3 more than the next highest teams (Boston and Oakland with 4 each).
 
Their biggest gap was from 1982-1993, when they missed the playoffs every year.   Since 1995, however, they have appeared in 24 of the last 28 postseasons.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Thurman Munson
70.0
6.0%
63.0
1B
Don Mattingly
60.5
6.0%
54.5
2B
Willie Randolph
72.6
6.0%
65.4
3B
Alex Rodriguez
76.5
6.0%
68.9
SS
Derek Jeter
76.0
6.0%
68.4
LF
Dave Winfield
52.0
6.0%
46.8
CF
Bernie Williams
64.3
6.0%
57.9
RF
Aaron Judge
83.6
6.0%
75.2
DH
Reggie Jackson
65.7
4.75%
46.8
SP1
Andy Pettitte
74.0
5.25%
58.3
SP2
Ron Guidry
71.9
5.00%
53.9
SP3
Mike Mussina
65.9
4.75%
47.0
SP4
CC Sabathia
56.2
4.50%
38.0
SP5
David Cone
56.3
3.25%
27.4
RP1
Mariano Rivera
104.8
3.75%
58.9
RP2
Rich Gossage
77.5
2.75%
32.0
P
Dave Righetti
55.4
2.00%
16.6
P
Sparky Lyle
49.9
2.00%
15.0
P
Mel Stottlemyre
46.9
2.00%
14.1
Res
Jorge Posada
60.4
2.00%
18.1
Res
Mark Teixeira
44.5
2.00%
13.3
Res
Robinson Canó
69.3
2.00%
20.8
Res
Graig Nettles
65.8
2.00%
19.7
Res
Brett Gardner
63.4
2.00%
19.0
Res
Roy White
64.0
2.00%
19.2
Mgr
Joe Torre
n/a
n/a
1018.1
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
 Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Thurman Munson
 Derek Jeter
Andy Pettitte
Mariano Rivera
Jorge Posada
1B
Don Mattingly
 Aaron Judge
Ron Guidry
Rich Gossage
Mark Teixeira
2B
Willie Randolph
 Don Mattingly
Mike Mussina
Dave Righetti
Robinson Canó
3B
Alex Rodriguez
 Alex Rodriguez
CC Sabathia
Sparky Lyle
Graig Nettles
SS
Derek Jeter
 Reggie Jackson
David Cone
Mel Stottlemyre
Brett Gardner
LF
Dave Winfield
 Dave Winfield
 
 
Roy White
CF
Bernie Williams
 Thurman Munson
 
 
 
RF
Aaron Judge
 Bernie Williams
 
 
 
DH
Reggie Jackson
 Willie Randolph
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
1,018.1
2
Offense
149.6
6
Defense
9.9
28
Speed
13.0
14
Infield
257.1
6
Outfield
179.9
9
Catching
81.1
5
Starting 9
546.8
3
Bench
110.2
1
Staff
361.1
3
Rotation
224.6
10
4 Starters
197.1
11
Bullpen
136.6
1
Short Relief
107.6
1
 
Position/Roster Notes:
I was kind of surprised that Willie Randolph rated higher than Robinson Cano, but sure enough he did. Their WAR/162 rates were almost identical (Cano was at 5.24, Randolph was at 5.17), but Randolph played about 300 more games as a Yankeed, which nudged him ahead. It was a very close call. Cano was surely the much more dangerous hitting option, but Randolph had 3 pretty significant advantages – Randolph’s OBP was about 20 points higher, Randolph was a better baserunner, and Randolph was a better defensive player. I’m satisfied with Randolph as the starter.
 
The Yankees are well covered at catcher from both sides of the plate, with Thurman Munson from the right side and Jorge Posada from the left side (he was a switch-hitter, but pretty adept both ways).
 
I did a little shuffling with the outfielders. Dave Winfield was more right field than anything, but he did play a fair amount in left field, especially upon his initial arrival in New York, so I installed him there over Roy White and Brett Gardner, who will both provided bench support.
 
I almost didn’t go with Reggie Jackson on the roster. He was only in New York for 5 years, and there were other options as well, including Bobby Murcer, who was a pretty darn good player in his own right. I ended up putting Jackson on because he is so strongly associated with the franchise. I installed him as the primary DH.
 
Most teams would feel very fortunate to have a third baseman like Graig Nettles on the roster. He did make the Yankees team, but he’s the backup to A-Rod.
 
Missed the Cut:
I did not select Rickey Henderson for the team, and I suppose I should walk through why I didn’t. There’s no doubt Henderson was good enough. He played with the Yankees from 1985-1988 and about half of 1989 before returning to Oakland, and his stat line (.288/.395/.455) was pretty much on par with his Oakland numbers. He led the league in runs and steals most of those Yankees years as well.
 
So why didn’t I pick him? For starters, he did not quite reach the 600 games threshold I put in for the "established" franchises, but he did come close (596), so I could have given him an exception. That was a minor reason.
 
The larger reason I didn’t pick Henderson is, quite frankly, I don’t think of him as a Yankee. That’s basically it. The others I selected for the team I associate strongly with the team, even multi-franchise players such as Dave Winfield or Alex Rodriguez. I think of them as Yankees. Henderson, I don’t.
 
As mentioned in the roster notes above, Bobby Murcer could have very easily made the team, but I opted for others. 
 
Another right fielder, Paul O’Neill, probably deserved to make the team as well. He was such a big part of so many successful Yankees teams, but I ran out of spots.
 
Tino Martinez is another long-time Yankee who had a lot of good moments, but I have Mattingly and Teixeira ahead of him at first base.
 
Aroldis Chapman is another multi-franchise player I could have selected, but I opted to go with lefty relievers like Dave Righetti and Sparky Lyle. I felt they fit the bill a little better.
 
There were several good starting pitchers who could have made the pitching staff, including Tommy John, Orlando Hernandez, Roger Clemens, and David Wells.
 
"Grand" Club:
Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, Brett Gardner, Graig Nettles, Roy White, Alex Rodriguez, Thurman Munson, Robinson Cano, Paul O’Neill, Bobby Murcer, Dave Winfield, Tino Martinez, Lou Piniella
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Don Mattingly, Aaron Judge
 
The 2015 MLB Franchise Four was no help here as the 4 selected in that voting were Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Mickey Mantle. So, it was totally up to me.
 
Jeter and Rivera were easy. I think Mattingly also fit the bill, even though others scored higher. I think he kind of fits the honor. Munson or Guidry might have been a decent choice as well, but I went with Judge as the 4th honoree.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths:  Bullpen, starting lineup, and depth
Weaknesses: Defense
 
One of the things I’ve always felt was true of the Yankees in this era, and in particular their dynasty of the late 1990’s, was that one of their biggest strengths was their lack of a weakness. Their excellence was due to their overwhelming "goodness". Yes, Mariano Rivera was a superstar closer, the best in the game’s history, but I just felt that they would just wear you down, not with how great they were, but with how alarmingly good they were, player after player, role after role, all down the roster.
 
Look at the 1998 Yankees, the one that won 114 games. Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer, of course. But, after him? In descending order of WAR: Paul O’Neil, Scott Brosius, Bernie Williams, David Wells, David Cone, Orlando Hernandez, Tino Martinez, Ramiro Mendoza, Jorge Posada, Chuck Knoblauch.   Lots of good players in there. But there wasn’t a 40-homer guy in the lineup….there wasn’t even a 30. But they had 10 guys who hit 10-28.
 
And that’s how this roster strikes me. The tremendous depth. Good players at every position, they just keep coming at you, relentlessly. Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, and Graig Nettles are backups. I have them ranked as the deepest roster.
 
They don’t have a single, big ace that scares you like a Pedro Martinez or a Randy Johnson, but there’s 5 good pitchers with Andy Pettitte, Ron Guidry, Mike Mussina, C.C. Sabathia, and David Cone.   Not a ton of difference among them - it’s a well-balanced, deep rotation.
 
As you might have guessed, the bullpen ranks #1. Mariano Rivera is the best closer in the history of baseball, but they also have another Hall of Fame reliever in Goose Gossage. To support those two legendary relievers, the Yankees can also throw out two outstanding lefty relievers, Dave Righetti and Sparky Lyle (Righetti could also spot start if necessary).
 
Futures
Gleber Torres has demonstrated good pop and the ability to play both middle infield positions, and he’s still only 25 years old, so he might be able to work his way onto the roster at some point.
 
Gerrit Cole has had 3 pretty good seasons with the Yankees so far. If he can put a few more together, he cold vie for a spot.
 
 
 
#1-Boston Red Sox
 
Team Performance by Decade:

Team
WS Titles
Overall W-L %
1970's*
1980's
1990's
2000's
2010's**
BOS
4
.542
.554
.525
.521
.568
.536
 
From 1969 to 1985, they won exactly 1 AL East title (1975, when they went to the World Series and lost 4-3 to the Reds in an epic battle), although they were generally a very competitive team, finishing within 10 games of first place 7 times in that span. The Red Sox reached the World Series again in 1986, again losing 4-3 in another memorable matchup with the Mets,
 
Over the past 36 seasons, the Red Sox have been playoff participants nearly half the time (16), and have seen their greatest postseason success during that time, especially in the last 2 decades. The Red Sox ended their long World Series drought (1918 being their last previous title) by breaking through in 2004. Since then, they have added World Series titles in 2007, 2013, and 2018.  
 
Boston’s 4 World Series titles in the Divisional Era tie them with the Oakland A’s for second place behind the 7 won by the Yankees. Along with the Yankees and the Dodgers, they are one of only 3 franchises to have winning records in all 5 decades of this era.
 
Roster Listing:
Pos
Player
Raw Score
Weight
Adjusted Score
C
Carlton Fisk
72.7
6.00%
65.4
1B
Carl Yastrzemski
63.5
6.00%
57.2
2B
Dustin Pedroia
66.8
6.00%
60.2
3B
Wade Boggs
91.8
6.00%
82.6
SS
Nomar Garciaparra
73.0
6.00%
65.7
LF
Manny Ramirez
63.0
6.00%
56.7
CF
Mookie Betts
81.6
6.00%
73.4
RF
Dwight Evans
74.0
6.00%
66.6
DH
David Ortiz
82.6
4.75%
58.8
SP1
Roger Clemens
95.2
5.25%
75.0
SP2
Pedro Martinez
96.2
5.00%
72.1
SP3
Luis Tiant
64.1
4.75%
45.7
SP4
Jon Lester
59.7
4.50%
40.3
SP5
Tim Wakefield
61.8
3.25%
30.1
RP1
Jonathan Papelbon
81.3
3.75%
45.7
RP2
Bob Stanley
50.7
2.75%
20.9
P
Koji Uehara
53.3
2.00%
16.0
P
Bruce Hurst
46.2
2.00%
13.9
P
Derek Lowe
51.2
2.00%
15.4
Res
Jason Varitek
44.5
2.00%
13.3
Res
Mo Vaughn
51.2
2.00%
15.4
Res
John Valentin
64.8
2.00%
19.4
Res
Kevin Youkilis
65.0
2.00%
19.5
Res
Jim Rice
62.8
2.00%
18.8
Res
Fred Lynn
72.9
2.00%
21.9
Mgr
Terry Francona
n/a
n/a
1070.0
 
Grid View:
Pos
Name
Batting Order
Rotation
Bullpen/Spot
Reserves
C
Carlton Fisk
 Wade Boggs
Roger Clemens
Jonathan Papelbon
Jason Varitek
1B
Carl Yastrzemski
 Mookie Betts
Pedro Martinez
Bob Stanley
Mo Vaughn
2B
Dustin Pedroia
 Carl Yastrzemski
Luis Tiant
Koji Uehara
John Valentin
3B
Wade Boggs
 David Ortiz
Jon Lester
Bruce Hurst
Kevin Youkilis
SS
Nomar Garciaparra
 Manny Ramirez
Tim Wakefield
Derek Lowe
Jim Rice
LF
Manny Ramirez
 Dwight Evans
 
 
Fred Lynn
CF
Mookie Betts
 Carlton Fisk
 
 
 
RF
Dwight Evans
 Nomar Garciaparra
 
 
 
DH
David Ortiz
 Dustin Pedroia
 
 
 
 
Rankings:
Category
Score
Rank
Team Score
1,070.0
1
Offense
173.1
1
Defense
65.0
6
Speed
4.8
27
Infield
265.6
4
Outfield
196.7
4
Catching
78.8
6
Starting 9
586.5
1
Bench
108.4
2
Staff
375.1
2
Rotation
263.2
2
4 Starters
233.0
2
Bullpen
111.9
6
Short Relief
82.7
4
 
Position/Roster Notes:
Carl Yastrzemski would normally be patrolling left field, of course, but in the Divisional Era he pretty evenly split his time between first base (758 games) and left field (844 games). The team has two other strong options in left field (Manny Ramirez, Jim Rice) and not as many at first base, so I’m starting Yaz at 1B, but he can certainly switch to left field late in games. But he’s my starter at first base.
 
Mookie Betts is another significant position note. Betts is definitely more right fielder than anything else, but he did play a full season as a the regular center fielder for the Red Sox, and in his career he has over 200 games played in center. I listed Betts in center and Dwight Evans in right field as that was a slightly stronger combination than Fred Lynn in center and Betts in right, but in practice I think there would be a lot of time sharing among the three, with Betts able to float back and forth, and with Lynn getting a lot of time against right handers.
 
One of the reasons John Valentin made the team was because of his flexibility in being able to cover SS, 3B, and 2B. Kevin Youkilis can help cover 1B and 3B. Betts can also help out at 2B in a pinch as well if needed.
 
Missed the Cut:
Xander Bogaerts nearly made the team, and I’ll cover him more down in "Futures".
 
Rico Petrocelli is a beloved Red Sox player who had one of the all-time great single-season performances by a shortstop in 1969 when he hit 40 home runs and had one of those rare 10.0 rWAR seasons. Petrocelli could play short and third base, but I have him just a little bit shy of making the team.
 
Reggie Smith and Mike Greenwell had some quality seasons in Boston, but the team is very deep in outfielders and I ended up not taking them.
 
Jacoby Ellsbury had one of the great "outlier" seasons in recent memory in 2011, and he was 2nd in the MVP chase that year. He was a good player and would have given this team some much-needed speed, but he didn’t do enough to justify a spot.
 
Curt Schilling certainly had some big moments in Red Sox lore, but there just wasn’t enough there for me to justify putting him on the team.
 
"Grand" Club:
Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz, Wade Boggs, Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Greenwell, Xander Bogaerts, Rick Miller, Manny Ramirez, Carlton Fisk, Mo Vaughn, Rico Petrocelli, Rick Burleson
 
Mount Rushmore Four:
Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs
 
This one was tough as far as picking the 4. The 2015 MLB Franchise Four were Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz, and Pedro Martinez.
 
Yaz has to be there even though he’s missing a lot of his better (pre-1969) seasons, including his iconic 1967 Triple Crown. However, he still got in 15 seasons in this era, and even though he’s not quite the player he was in the ‘60’s, he was still pretty darn good, and he certainly represents the Red Sox well.
 
Ortiz and Pedro have to be included as well. That left it to Boggs along with other strong contenders like Roger Clemens, Carlton Fisk, Dwight Evans, and Luis Tiant. I felt Boggs fit the honor best, although Clemens is obviously a tough omission.
 
Team Assessment:
Strengths: Rotation (especially top 2), offense, power, lineup, defense, bullpen
Weaknesses: Speed
 
The only area in which the team is not elite is speed. They have a little bit on their roster (notably Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia), but that’s about it. Speed is not their game.
 
In everything else, they rank top 10, and in most cases, top 5. I have the Braves as the #1 franchise both in terms of a 5-man and a 4-man rotation, but even the Braves can’t touch Boston’s top 2 of Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.   Luis Tiant makes for an excellent #3 starter, and postseason ace Jon Lester gives them a nice #4.
 
On offense, the Red Sox are ranked #1. Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Dwight Evans, and Mookie Betts provide plenty of pop. Wade Boggs was one of the best at getting on-base. Nomar Garciaparra was an outstanding hitter at shortstop, and Dustin Pedroia was an MVP at second base. It’s an outstanding lineup.
 
And…it’s a deep one too. The Red Sox have 3 MVP’s (Mo Vaughn, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice) on the bench. I have the team’s bench ranked #2, behind only the Yankees.
 
Futures
Xander Bogaerts probably should already be on the team. The only reason I chose John Valentin over Bogaerts was because Valentin provided some much-needed position flexibility. If Bogaerts continues to play well, he may very well force his way on the team.
 
Rafael Devers is building a very strong case as well after 6 seasons as a Red Sox player, and he’s still only 25 years old.   We might have to make room for him in the near future.
 
J.D. Martinez has had some very good seasons with the Red Sox, but he has a tough road as a DH with David Ortiz already having that role locked up.
 
Wrapping it Up
 
Now that the countdown is complete, here’s a few other tidbits.
 
How many players made more than one team? I counted 53 of them, or a little under 2 per team on average, with 3 players (Adrian Beltre, Nolan Ryan, and Alex Rodriguez) making 3 different rosters:
 
Roberto Alomar – San Diego, Toronto
Jay Bell – Arizona, Pittsburgh
Carlos Beltran – New York (N), Kansas City
Adrian Beltre – Seattle, Texas, Los Angeles (N)
Barry Bonds – Pittsburgh, San Francisco
Kevin Brown – Miami, Texas
Miguel Cabrera – Miami, Detroit
Robinson Cano – Seattle, New York (A)
Roger Clemens – Toronto, Boston
David Cone – New York (N), New York (A)
Andre Dawson – Chicago (N), Montreal
Jim Edmonds – Los Angeles (A), St. Louis
Rollie Fingers – Milwaukee, Oakland
Carlton Fisk – Chicago (A), Boston
John Franco – New York (N), Cincinnati
Brian Giles – San Diego, Pittsburgh
Zack Greinke – Arizona, Kansas City
Bobby Grich – Los Angeles (A), Baltimore
Vladimir Guerrero – Los Angeles (A), Montreal
Roy Halladay – Toronto, Philadelphia
Keith Hernandez – New York (N), St. Louis
Roberto Hernandez – Tampa Bay, Chicago (A)
Tim Hudson – Oakland, Atlanta
Torii Hunter – Minnesota, Los Angeles (A)
Bruce Hurst – San Diego, Boston
Reggie Jackson – Oakland, New York (A)
Fergie Jenkins – Chicago (N), Texas
Randy Johnson – Arizona, Seattle
Derrek Lee – Miami, Chicago (N)
Chet Lemon – Chicago (A), Detroit
Manny Machado – San Diego, Baltimore
Greg Maddux – Atlanta, Chicago (N)
Pedro Martinez – Montreal, Boston
Tug McGraw – New York (N), Philadelphia
Mike Mussina – Baltimore, New York (A)
Robb Nen – Miami, San Francisco
Jonathan Papelbon – Philadelphia, Boston
Gaylord Perry – Cleveland, Texas
Mike Piazza – New York (N), Los Angeles (N)
Manny Ramirez – Cleveland, Boston
Alex Rodriguez – Seattle, New York (A), Texas
Scott Rolen – Philadelphia, St. Louis
Nolan Ryan – Los Angeles (A), Texas, Houston
CC Sabathia – Cleveland, New York (A)
Max Scherzer – Detroit, Washington
Curt Schilling – Arizona, Philadelphia
Tom Seaver – New York (N), Cincinnati
Mark Teixeira – Texas, New York (A)
Gene Tenace – San Diego, Oakland
Justin Verlander – Detroit, Houston
Matt Williams – Arizona, San Francisco
Dave Winfield – San Diego, New York (A)
Christian Yelich – Miami, Milwaukee
 
Here’s a grid showing all 30 teams across the different category rankings I referenced as we went through the review. It’s color-coded based on how high or low a team ranked in each category, with green indicating high ranks, red indicating low, and yellow in the middle, with the more intense the color, the stronger (or weaker) the rank. Teams are listed by their overall finish (Boston first, Yankees second, and so on):
 
Team
W-L Pct.
Off
Def
Speed
Infield
Outfield
Catch
Starting 9
Bench
Staff
Rotation
4 Starters
Bullpen
Short Relief
BOS
3
1
6
27
4
4
6
1
2
2
2
2
6
4
NYY
1
6
28
14
6
9
5
3
1
3
10
11
1
1
ATL
6
15
7
22
17
7
18
14
20
1
1
1
7
7
LAD
2
3
15
20
19
13
1
10
3
5
4
5
14
17
CIN
7
8
18
2
1
17
2
2
26
20
24
24
11
10
HOU
9
7
20
17
5
8
28
8
18
17
18
18
13
13
BAL
11
26
2
30
2
28
15
9
10
15
16
16
12
12
OAK
5
10
12
6
9
2
11
4
8
26
22
22
23
22
WSN
19
11
10
3
25
6
4
11
12
13
7
9
24
27
TEX
19
5
23
16
3
27
3
7
7
23
25
25
15
14
SFG
8
2
16
24
18
1
9
5
11
25
23
23
22
19
STL
4
19
1
5
13
14
7
6
15
21
19
21
28
28
PHI
14
20
11
7
7
12
19
12
19
14
8
8
25
26
DET
23
24
3
26
8
19
12
13
14
16
15
14
20
16
LAA
10
27
8
13
26
3
25
21
9
8
12
12
5
5
KCR
26
30
4
1
24
15
10
23
4
4
9
7
3
3
CLE
15
4
30
11
11
10
17
15
6
19
21
20
21
23
MIN
17
23
19
21
22
21
8
18
13
10
11
10
9
8
CHC
18
12
26
28
12
26
16
19
25
6
13
13
2
2
TOR
13
18
17
12
14
22
23
22
16
9
6
6
16
15
SEA
27
17
21
29
16
11
27
16
21
18
20
19
17
20
NYM
12
13
22
10
21
18
14
24
24
7
3
3
19
21
CHW
15
25
27
23
20
29
21
26
22
11
14
15
8
9
MIL
23
22
25
9
15
20
22
20
23
22
26
26
4
6
PIT
19
9
14
18
28
5
13
17
5
28
30
29
18
18
SDP
29
16
24
4
27
16
24
27
17
27
27
27
10
11
COL
28
21
5
15
10
23
29
25
27
29
28
30
27
25
MIA
30
14
29
25
30
25
20
28
29
24
17
17
29
29
ARI
22
28
13
19
29
30
26
30
30
12
5
4
26
24
TBR
23
29
9
8
23
24
30
29
28
30
29
28
30
30
 
Who were the top scoring players at each position? Here’s what I came up with, with a couple of caveats. 
 
First, I put them at the position where I slotted them on each roster as opposed to the position that they may have played the most in real life. For example, Albert Pujols would have been the #1 first baseman, except I didn’t slot him as St. Louis’ starting first baseman – I had Keith Hernandez, there, and put Pujols at DH. So, I’m listing him among the DH’s, and Jeff Bagwell ends up ranking as the #1 first baseman. If I put an "*" next to a name, it means I have that player listed at a position that wasn’t their primary one in his career, but that’s where I have him on that franchise’s roster.
 
Also, it’s important to note that only the player’s performance while with the team was considered – what he did for other franchises wasn’t included. Also, only seasons since 1969 are included – anything prior to that was not part of the equation. Therefore, although Hank Aaron still makes the top 5 in left field (which is where I ended up putting him on the Braves’ roster), he’s not ranked as high as he would have been if his pre-1969 seasons had been included)
 
I’m ranking them based on the scores I came up with, which are based primarily on 1) WAR per 162 games (or WAR per innings pitched), and then also length of service with that team. I’m displaying the top 5 at each position (except for starting pitchers, where I’m listing 10), with the #1 listed first, and so on.
 
Catchers
Johnny Bench-CIN
Mike Piazza-LAD
Gary Carter-WSN/MON
Carlton Fisk-BOS
Ivan Rodriguez-TEX
 
First Base
Jeff Bagwell-HOU
Frank Thomas-CHW
Joey Votto-CIN
Jim Thome-CLE
Paul Goldschmidt-ARI
 
Second Base
Joe Morgan-CIN
Rod Carew-MIN
Chase Utley-PHI
Bobby Grich-BAL
Lou Whitaker-DET
 
Third Base
Mike Schmidt-PHI
Wade Boggs-BOS
George Brett-KCR
Chipper Jones-ATL
Sal Bando-OAK
 
Shortstops
Alex Rodriguez-TEX
Cal Ripken Jr.-BAL
Alex Rodriguez-SEA
Barry Larkin-CIN
Robin Yount-MIL
 
Left Field
Barry Bonds-SFG
Barry Bonds-PIT
Rickey Henderson-OAK
Tim Raines-WSN/MON
Henry Aaron-ATL*
 
Center Field
Mike Trout-LAA
Ken Griffey Jr.-SEA
Mookie Betts-BOS*
Andruw Jones-ATL
Kenny Lofton-CLE
 
Right Field
Aaron Judge-NYY
Larry Walker-COL
Tony Gwynn-SDP
Reggie Jackson-OAK
Sammy Sosa-CHC
 
Designated Hitters
Albert Pujols-STL*
Edgar Martinez-SEA
David Ortiz-BOS
Adrian Beltre-TEX*
Jason Giambi-OAK*
 
Starting Pitchers
Pedro Martinez-BOS
Roger Clemens-BOS
Phil Niekro-ATL
Clayton Kershaw-LAD
Randy Johnson-ARI
Greg Maddux-ATL
John Smoltz-ATL
Jim Palmer-BAL
Steve Carlton-PHI
Tom Seaver-NYM
 
Relief Pitchers
Mariano Rivera-NYY
Craig Kimbrel-ATL
Joe Nathan-MIN
Bruce Sutter-CHC
Jonathan Papelbon-BOS
 
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this series
 
Dan
 
 
 

COMMENTS (7 Comments, most recent shown first)

eppish
Great stuff!
Thanks for putting all this together.
Very interesting and entertaining to read.​
8:00 AM Nov 30th
 
Gibbo1224
Dan,

Enjoyed reading this series very much

Thanks for putting this all together​
6:15 AM Nov 30th
 
tigerlily
Great series Dan. Thanks.
2:04 PM Nov 28th
 
DMBBHF
Thanks for all of the comments guys.

Re: the simulated tournament.....I'm still deciding whether or not to try to organize one. I could do one like I've done before, but not sure how great a simulation it would really be. I'm looking at options.

Bruce - On Gardner, he rates ahead of both O'Neill and Murcer in both key elements of my scoring system, which was based on WAR per 162 games and then games played for the franchise. So, his score is higher than both of theirs. Subjectively, I would have O'Neill or Murcer ahead, but I went with the scoring system here.

Thanks,
Dan
10:16 PM Nov 27th
 
evanecurb
I enjoyed the series as well!

The Red Sox starting nine and top three pitchers are awesome. Rice and Lynn end up as reserves, and Greenwell abd Reggie Smith can’t even make the roster. Wow.

Brett Gardner over Bobby Murcer and Paul O’Neil? ?
4:11 AM Nov 26th
 
OleBiscuitPants
Dan, I've really enjoyed this series. Your recollections about these players and your team-building methodology have been fun to follow. Now if we could just arrange a simulated tournament, to see if the Red Sox really are the best ...
12:19 PM Nov 25th
 
bearbyz
Super series, thank you.
11:07 AM Nov 24th
 
 
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