Just Dropped In To See What Position My Position Was In

December 2, 2015
My apologies to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition for the parodied lyrics.  (Kenny Rogers the singer, that is…..not the lefty pitcher)
 
 
A quick note:  This article really isn’t that long…..but there are many tables that add to the length.  I’m including them because some people really like to absorb the full information, while others I’m sure prefer the commentary.  As always, feel free to skip the tables if you’re just interested in the highlights.
 
 
Linebacker U.
 
I’ve always been fascinated with schools and pro franchises that have had sustained excellence at specific positions.  For as long as I can remember, Penn State has been referred to as "Linebacker U." for their tradition of producing outstanding players at that position.  I believe it began during early in the Paterno era.  The program has produced such outstanding pro linebackers as Jack Ham, Dave Robinson, Matt Millen, Cameron Wake, Shane Conlan, Ralph Baker, NaVorro Bowman, Lance Mehl, LaVar Arrington, Greg Buttle, and Paul Posluszny, along with College Football Hall of Famer Dennis Onkotz (although some of these players, like Robinson and Millen, actually played primarily at other positions in college).   Ham and Robinson are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
It’s an impressive list, although there are other schools that can also stake a legitimate claim for that title.  For example, Alabama has produced LB stars such as Lee Roy Jordan, Derrick Thomas, Cornelius Bennett, E.J. Junior, DeMeco Ryans, among others.  Ohio State has produced several Pro Bowlers, including Randy Gradishar, Pepper Johnson, Chris Spielman, Mike Vrabel, and Jim Houston.  Miami of Florida?  Ray Lewis, Ted Hendricks, Jessie Armstead, Johnathan Vilma, Dan Conners, and Jon Beason.
 
Similarly, many college programs can lay claim to being "Quarterback U.":
 
  • Stanford has come up with 4 College Football Hall of Famers in John Elway, John Brodie, Jim Plunkett, and Frankie Albert, and maybe a future 5th one in Andrew Luck.  Elway is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Purdue has produced 2 Pro Football Hall of Famers in Bob Griese and Len Dawson, along with another certain future Hall of Famer in Drew Brees.  In addition, the school has produced another successful pro in Jim Everett, as well as College Football Hall of Famers Mike Phipps and Mark Herrmann (Griese is also in the College Hall)

  • Alabama QB’s include 2 Pro Football Hall of Famers in Bart Starr and Joe Namath, another solid candidate in Ken Stabler, along with Richard Todd, who had a decent pro career.

  • Notre Dame has a long list of successful college and pro QB’s.  The most successful pros were Hall of Famer Joe Montana along with Daryle Lamonica and Joe Theismann, and they’ve had 4 Heisman Trophy winners at QB (Angelo Bertelli, Johnny Lujack, Paul Hornung (who, of course, was more of a RB in the pros), and John Huarte).
 
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, as many other schools such as USC, Miami of Florida, Brigham Young, Florida, and Florida State, among others, have their own cases as Quarterback U. 
 
In the NBA, another example of this type of sustained excellence at a position would be centers for the Lakers (both Minneapolis and Los Angeles).  Beginning with George Mikan, the Lakers have had the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pau Gasol manning the center position.
 
The point is that there are certain teams that have had impressive collections of talent at particular positions.  I was interested in how the various baseball franchises stacked up against each other, which led to this review.
 
Quint Essentials
(or, Franchise Fives)
 
In other studies, in order to give more recent franchises a fighting chance, I limited the years to 1961-present.  In this one, I decided to use all of Major League history, focusing on the 8 NL and 8 AL franchises that date back to at least 1901, as well as the 8 expansion franchises from the ‘60’s and the 2 from the ‘70’s.  This gives us 26 franchises in total.  I did consider players for those franchises that played prior to 1901, so, for example, Cap Anson does qualify for the Cubs, Roger Connor for the Giants, etc.  I did not include the more recent expansion teams (Rockies, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Rays) since they really haven’t had much time to accumulate significant depth at the positions. 
 
I used rWAR compiled with the franchise only as a mechanism for isolating the top players at each position (excluding DH), taking 5 at each field position and at relief pitcher, and 10 at starting pitcher.  rWAR compiled with other franchises didn’t count.  For example, Joe Morgan ended up making the 2B lists for both the Reds and the Astros, but only his 57.8 rWAR compiled with Reds counted for the Reds, and only the 30.6 rWAR compiled with the Astros counted for the Astros.  I used both Seamheads.com and Baseball-reference.com as sources in compiling this information.
 
In coming up with "scores" for each player/position/team, I used rWAR for the franchise as one component, and average rWAR/season * 10 as the other.  I did this to balance cumulative vs. rate performance. If 2 players accumulated 30 rWAR for a team, but one did so over 10 seasons and the other did so over 5 seasons, the one who did so over 5 seasons will rate higher.  I took average rWAR per season times 10 to reflect what 10 years’ worth of that level of play would represent.
 
The harmonized mean of the 2 components (rWAR and rWAR/season*10) was calculated to come up with a blended "score" for each player.  Those were then averaged for the 5 players at each position for each franchise to come up with a team position score.  This put a premium on not just having one or two outstanding players at a position (although of course that helps), but rather on having true depth.  The teams were being scored as a group, not just coming up with an all-time great.
 
In presenting the results, I’ll also provide the "index" of each team relative to the average at that position.  For example, an index of 1.25 would mean that the team’s score at that position is 25% higher than the overall average score at that position, and a 0.80 would mean that the team’s score is 20% lower than the position average.
 
For each position, we’ll review:
"The Cream of the Crop" – The #1 rated group, along with the franchise’s "score" at that position and the relative index vs. the position average.
"Contenders" - #2 through #5 for each group, at least
"Worst of the Core 16" – The lowest ranked group of the 16 franchises that date back to at least 1901.
"Best of the Expansions" – There is no doubt that this study favors the 16 older franchises that have more than 100 years of history to draw from, where as the 10 expansion teams that are included have less than 60.  So, in order to give them some recognition, we’ll call out the highest ranked group of the 10 expansion teams in the study.
 
Time to go around the horn…..
 
Catchers
 
Position average score: 19.7
 
The Cream of the Crop: New York Yankees
Franchise score: 36.7
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.86
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Yogi Berra
Bill Dickey
Thurman Munson
Jorge Posada
Elston Howard
 
Contenders: Giants, Reds, Dodgers, Tigers
 
The Yankees’ group scored 86% better than the position, an impressive accomplishment.  They have the 2 Hall of Famers in Berra and Dickey, Munson is probably in the top 15 all-time at the position, Posada is probably top 20, and Howard is probably in the top 30.  An easy #1 choice as the best group
 
I had anticipated the Reds, with Johnny Bench and Ernie Lombardi, would be #2, but the Giants had greater depth.  The Giants came up with Buck Ewing, Buster Posey, Roger Bresnahan, Chief Meyers, and Tom Haller.  By this scoring methodology, the Giants edged the Reds as a group.
 
The Dodgers are led by Roy Campanella, Mike Piazza, and Mike Scioscia, while the Tigers are led by Bill Freehan, Lance Parrish, and Johnny Bassler.
 
All of the contenders scored between 30%-50% above the average.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns
 
This franchise’s top 5 were a pretty unimpressive group: Chris Hoiles, Rick Dempsey, Hank Severeid, Matt Wieters, Gus Triandos.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Texas Rangers/Washington Senators
 
The Rangers/Senators were ranked #12, finishing higher than 5 of the "core" franchises, a pretty impressive accomplishment.  It’s a lopsided group, but their top 2 of Ivan Rodriguez and Jim Sundberg carried them to this spot.  The other 3 (Mike Napoli, Gerald Laird, and Geno Petralli) didn’t help much.  From 1976 – 2001, the Rangers dominated the AL Gold Glove for catchers, as Pudge (10) and Sundberg (6) combined to win 16 of the 26 awards during that span (Rodriguez took home another 3 with the Tigers later on).
 
Position note:  Darrell Porter made the top 5 of 3 different franchises:  Royals, Brewers, and Cardinals.
 
Full Catcher Listing:
Rank
Team
Team Score
Pos. Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Yankees
36.7
1.86
Y. Berra
B. Dickey
T. Munson
J. Posada
E. Howard
2
Giants
29.6
1.50
B. Ewing
B. Posey
R. Bresnahan
C. Meyers
T. Haller
3
Reds
28.6
1.45
J. Bench
E. Lombardi
E. Bailey
B. Hargrave
H. Peitz
4
Dodgers
26.0
1.32
R. Campanella
M. Piazza
M. Scioscia
J. Roseboro
S. Yeager
5
Tigers
25.7
1.31
B. Freehan
L. Parrish
J. Bassler
M. Tettleton
I. Rodriguez
6
Athletics
25.2
1.28
M. Cochrane
G. Tenace
T. Steinbach
W. Schang
F. Hayes
7
Pirates
23.4
1.19
J. Kendall
M. Sanguillen
T. Pena
F. Carroll
G. Gibson
8
Braves
23.3
1.18
J. Torre
B. McCann
D. Crandall
J. Lopez
P. Masi
9
Twins
/ Senators
23.1
1.17
J. Mauer
E. Battey
M. Ruel
B. Wynegar
B. Harper
10
Cardinals
22.2
1.13
T. Simmons
Y. Molina
T. McCarver
D. Porter
W. Cooper
11
Cubs
19.9
1.01
G. Hartnett
J. Kling
J. Davis
R. Hundley
B. O'Farrell
12
Rangers / Senators
19.6
1.00
I. Rodriguez
J. Sundberg
M. Napoli
G. Laird
G. Petralli
13
White Sox
19.5
0.99
C. Fisk
S. Lollar
R. Schalk
A. Pierzynski
R. Karkovice
14
Phillies
19.4
0.98
J. Clements
D. Daulton
C. Ruiz
S. Davis
A. Seminick
15
Indians
19.3
0.98
S. O'Neill
V. Martinez
C. Santana
J. Romano
S. Alomar
16
Red Sox
19.0
0.96
C. Fisk
J. Varitek
R. Ferrell
R. Gedman
B. Carrigan
17
Orioles
/ Browns
18.6
0.94
C. Hoiles
R. Dempsey
H. Severeid
M. Wieters
G. Triandos
18
Mets
17.1
0.87
M. Piazza
J. Stearns
J. Grote
G. Carter
T. Hundley
19
Padres
16.3
0.82
G. Tenace
T. Kennedy
B. Santiago
R. Hernandez
N. Hundley
20
Nationals
/ Expos
14.5
0.74
G. Carter
B. Schneider
W. Ramos
D. Fletcher
 Fitzgerald
21
Royals
14.5
0.73
D. Porter
S. Perez
M. Macfarlane
E. Kirkpatrick
J. Wathan
22
Brewers
14.0
0.71
J. Lucroy
B. J. Surhoff
D. Porter
D. Nilsson
C. Moore
23
Angels
11.4
0.58
B. Boone
M. Napoli
L. Parrish
C. Iannetta
B. Molina
24
Blue Jays
9.6
0.49
E. Whitt
G. Zaun
D. Fletcher
P. Borders
B. Martinez
25
Astros
8.6
0.43
A. Ashby
J. Castro
C. Johnson
J. Edwards
J. Ferguson
26
Mariners
7.6
0.39
D. Wilson
D. Valle
K. Johjima
T. Lampkin
B. Stinson
 
 
First Basemen
 
Position average score: 27.5
 
The Cream of the Crop: St. Louis Cardinals
Franchise score: 45.9
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.67
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Albert Pujols
Johnny Mize
Keith Hernandez
Ed Konetchy
Jim Bottomley
 
Contenders: Giants, Tigers, Yankees, Athletics
 
In a pretty competitive battle, the Cardinals scored a little higher than the Giants, but they’re both pretty impressive quintets.  The Cardinals boast 2 Hall of Famers (Mize & Bottomley) plus a sure future one in Pujols, along with the player that would probably be the consensus pick as the greatest defensive 1B ever in Hernandez.
 
4 of the 5 Giants listed are in the Hall of Fame (McCovey, Connor, Terry, and Cepeda), and the 5th player (Will Clark) certainly has his supporters as well.  If you wanted to argue for the Giants as the better group, I wouldn’t put up much of a figth.
 
The Tigers, Yankees and Athletics are all 35-45% above the position average. 
 
Worst of the Core 16: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are a woeful #21 out of the 26 teams, finishing behind 5 of the expansion teams.  The best of their bunch are John Kruk, Fred Luderas, and Ryan Howard
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Texas Rangers/Washington Senators
Similar to the catchers, the Rangers/Senators finished around the middle of the pack, this time at #13, led by Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Teixeira, Pete O'Brien, Mike Hargrove, and Will Clark.
 
Position Note:  John Olerud made 3 quintets:  Blue Jays, Mets, and Mariners, and Wally Joyner made 3 (Angels, Padres, and Royals).  In both cases, all 3 teams were expansion franchises.
 
Full First Basemen Listing:
Rank
Team
Team Score
Pos. Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Cardinals
45.9
1.67
A. Pujols
J. Mize
 Hernandez
J. Bottomley
E. Konetchy
2
Giants
42.1
1.53
W. McCovey
B. Terry
R. Connor
W. Clark
O. Cepeda
3
Tigers
39.7
1.44
 Greenberg
M. Cabrera
N. Cash
R. York
L. Blue
4
Yankees
39.4
1.43
L. Gehrig
 Mattingly
W. Pipp
B. Skowron
J. Giambi
5
Athletics
37.1
1.35
J. Foxx
 McGwire
J. Giambi
H. Davis
S. McInnis
6
Orioles
/ Browns
35.5
1.29
E. Murray
G. Sisler
B. Powell
R. Palmeiro
G. McQuinn
7
Cubs
35.3
1.28
C. Anson
F. Chance
M. Grace
Cavarretta
D. Lee
8
Reds
33.6
1.22
J. Votto
T. Perez
 Kluszewski
McCormick
J. Beckley
9
Dodgers
31.3
1.14
G. Hodges
S. Garvey
D. Camilli
J. Daubert
J. Fournier
10
Twins /
Senators
29.8
1.08
H. Killebrew
J. Judge
K. Hrbek
M. Vernon
J. Morneau
11
White Sox
28.9
1.05
F. Thomas
P. Konerko
D. Allen
E. Sheely
Z. Bonura
12
Red Sox
28.6
1.04
J. Foxx
K. Youkilis
M. Vaughn
P. Runnels
G. Scott
13
Rangers / Senators
27.5
1.00
R. Palmeiro
M. Teixeira
P. O'Brien
M. Hargrove
W. Clark
14
Pirates
25.2
0.92
J. Beckley
E. Fletcher
 Grantham
G. Suhr
Clendenon
15
Blue Jays
25.0
0.91
C. Delgado
J. Olerud
F. McGriff
Encarnacion
L. Overbay
16
Indians
24.7
0.90
J. Thome
H. Trosky
E. Morgan
M. Hargrove
G. Burns
17
Astros
24.4
0.89
J. Bagwell
B. Watson
G. Davis
L. May
R. Knight
18
Braves
24.1
0.88
F. Tenney
J. Adcock
E. Torgeson
J. Morrill
F. Freeman
19
Brewers
21.0
0.76
C. Cooper
G. Scott
P. Fielder
R. Sexson
J. Jaha
20
Padres
18.9
0.69
A. Gonzalez
N. Colbert
R. Klesko
F. McGriff
W. Joyner
21
Phillies
18.2
0.66
J. Kruk
R. Howard
F. Luderus
D. Camilli
D. Hurst
22
Mets
17.8
0.65
 Hernandez
J. Olerud
D. Magadan
J. Milner
 Kranepool
23
Angels
16.4
0.60
W. Joyner
R. Carew
A. Pujols
K. Morales
M. Trumbo
24
Royals
15.9
0.58
M. Sweeney
 Mayberry
E. Hosmer
W. Joyner
W. Aikens
25
Mariners
15.1
0.55
A. Davis
J. Olerud
B. Bochte
T. Martinez
R. Sexson
26
Nationals / Expos
13.9
0.51
R. Fairly
N. Johnson
 Galarraga
Jorgensen
A. LaRoche
 
Second Basemen
 
Position average score: 26.4
 
The Cream of the Crop: New York Yankees
Franchise score: 44.6
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.69
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Robinson Cano
Willie Randolph
Joe Gordon
Tony Lazzeri
Gil McDougald
 
Contenders: Reds, Tigers, Indians, Cardinals
 
Similar to catchers, the Yankees are very deep at 2B.  You could reasonably argue for any of the 5 as to who was the best in franchise history.  They’re all in a very tight cluster.  Randolph had the most rWAR with the franchise, but Gordon had the highest average per season, and Cano had the best blend.  Gordon and Lazzeri are in the Hall of Fame, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Randolph there someday as well.  I also think Cano has an excellent chance at Cooperstown eventually.  McDougald probably won’t make it, but he was a 5-time All Star and an extremely valuable member of 5 World Series champions.  A very deep and talented quintet, a pretty decisive winner at this position.
 
For the Reds, Morgan is better than any of the Yankees 5, but as a group they can’t compete.  Still, with Bid McPhee, Lonnie Frey, Brandon Phillips, and Miller Huggins, it’s a good group.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
The best 2B in franchise history is probably still Bobby Lowe, who played primarily for the franchise in the 1890’s.  The Braves are behind 3 expansion teams at this position.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Houston Astros
The Astros check in at #13 with a score about 6% above average, finishing above 4 of the more established franchises, a solid performance for an expansion team.  They have one Hall of Famer in Biggio, and another (Morgan) who became one primarily due to his performance with the Reds, although Morgan was a very valuable and underrated member of the Astros for many years.  Bill Doran is a solid #3, and they have one of the more exciting young players in the game right now in Jose Altuve.
 
Position Note: Roberto Alomar made 3 quintets:  Blue Jays, Padres, and Indians.
 
 
Full Second Basemen Listing:
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Pos. Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Yankees
44.6
1.69
R. Cano
 Randolph
J. Gordon
T. Lazzeri
 McDougald
2
Reds
37.4
1.42
J. Morgan
B. McPhee
L. Frey
B. Phillips
M. Huggins
3
Tigers
37.0
1.40
 Gehringer
L. Whitaker
D. McAuliffe
P. Polanco
D. Easley
4
Indians
35.7
1.35
N. Lajoie
B. Avila
C. Baerga
R. Alomar
J. Gordon
5
Cardinals
35.7
1.35
R. Hornsby
F. Frisch
Schoendienst
T. Herr
M. Huggins
6
Giants
34.6
1.31
F. Frisch
L. Doyle
J. Kent
Thompson
E. Stanky
7
Cubs
34.4
1.30
R. Sandberg
B. Herman
J. Evers
R. Hornsby
F. Pfeffer
8
Dodgers
34.1
1.29
J. Robinson
J. Gilliam
D. Lopes
T. Daly
J. Lefebvre
9
Twins / Senators
33.2
1.26
R. Carew
B. Myer
C. Knoblauch
B. Harris
B. Dozier
10
White Sox
32.5
1.23
E. Collins
N. Fox
R. Durham
D. Buford
F. Isbell
11
Athletics
32.4
1.23
E. Collins
M. Bishop
D. Murphy
M. Ellis
T. Phillips
12
Red Sox
28.2
1.07
B. Doerr
D. Pedroia
B. Goodman
J. Reed
H. Ferris
13
Astros
28.1
1.06
C. Biggio
J. Morgan
B. Doran
J. Altuve
A. Howe
14
Orioles / Browns
27.3
1.03
B. Grich
D. Pratt
B. Roberts
D. Johnson
 McManus
15
Phillies
24.6
0.93
C. Utley
N. Lajoie
T. Taylor
J. Samuel
D. Cash
16
Pirates
23.2
0.88
 Mazeroski
C. Ritchey
J. Ray
N. Walker
P. Garner
17
Angels
23.1
0.88
B. Grich
H. Kendrick
A. Kennedy
B. Knoop
M. Izturis
18
Rangers / Senators
21.6
0.82
I. Kinsler
J. Franco
B. Wills
McLemore
B. Allen
19
Braves
18.6
0.70
B. Lowe
G. Hubbard
M. Giles
M. Prado
T. Cuccinello
20
Blue Jays
16.9
0.64
R. Alomar
A. Hill
O. Hudson
D. Garcia
R. Goins
21
Mets
16.5
0.63
E. Alfonzo
D. Murphy
Backman
J. Kent
R. Hunt
22
Mariners
16.1
0.61
B. Boone
 Reynolds
R. Cano
J. Cruz
J. Lopez
23
Nationals / Expos
14.4
0.54
J. Vidro
R. Hunt
M. Lansing
D. DeShields
D. Espinosa
24
Royals
13.5
0.51
F. White
J. Offerman
C. Rojas
Grudzielanek
A. Callaspo
25
Padres
12.8
0.48
R. Alomar
M. Loretta
T. Flannery
A. Wiggins
Q. Veras
26
Brewers
10.3
0.39
J. Gantner
R. Weeks
F. Vina
R. Belliard
R. Theobald
 
Third Basemen
 
Position average score: 26.8
 
The Cream of the Crop: Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
Franchise score: 44.6
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.66
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Eddie Mathews
Chipper Jones
Bob Elliott
Billy Nash
Darrell Evans
 
Contenders: Phillies, Cubs, Athletics, Yankees
 
The Braves were a fairly easy choice at the position, with Hall of Famer Mathews and future Hall of Famer Jones both being among the best ever at the position.  I think both would be in most people’s top 5 or 6 at the position all time (I would guess most people would put Schmidt, Brett, Mathews, Boggs, Jones, and Brooks Robinson as a consensus top 6, possibly Beltre or Santo also in consideration).   Elliott, the 1947 NL MVP, is a solid #3, Nash was one of the better pre-1900 3B’s, and Evans had some of his most valuable seasons playing third for the Braves.
 
The Phillies had a pretty good top trio of Schmidt, Allen, and Rolen, but not quite the equal of the Braves. 
 
Worst of the Core 16: Detroit Tigers
Third base has been a traditional weak spot for the Tigers, who are 12th or better at every other position.  They are ranked 19th at 3B, with Travis Fryman and George Kell as their best options.
 
The Reds aren’t much higher, finishing 18th.  Heinie Groh is their top option at 3B, but it drops pretty quickly after him.  Pete Rose and Tony Perez, both of whom had some success at the position, are classified at other positions.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Texas Rangers/Washington Senators
Once again the Rangers/Senators ranked the highest among expansion teams, ranked 11th at 3B.  Looking at rWAR, Adrian Beltre’s top 2 years were at LA and Boston, respectively, but his next 5 highest have been his years at Texas.  Buddy Bell is a strong #2.
 
Position Note: Adrian Beltre ended up in the top 5 on 3 teams: Dodgers, Mariners, and Rangers.
 
Full Third Basemen Listing:
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Braves
44.4
1.66
E. Mathews
C. Jones
B. Elliott
B. Nash
D. Evans
2
Phillies
37.5
1.40
M. Schmidt
D. Allen
S. Rolen
W. Jones
P. Polanco
3
Cubs
36.7
1.37
R. Santo
S. Hack
Williamson
A. Ramirez
 Zimmerman
4
Athletics
36.0
1.34
H.R. Baker
S. Bando
E. Chavez
C. Lansford
J. Dykes
5
Yankees
33.2
1.24
 Rodriguez
G. Nettles
R. Rolfe
H. R. Baker
C. Boyer
6
Orioles / Browns
32.7
1.22
B. Robinson
H. Clift
M. Mora
D. DeCinces
M. Machado
7
Red Sox
32.4
1.21
W. Boggs
J. Collins
L. Gardner
F. Malzone
M. Lowell
8
Cardinals
32.0
1.19
K. Boyer
S. Rolen
J. Torre
W. Kurowski
K. Oberkfell
9
Indians
30.3
1.13
A. Rosen
K. Keltner
B. Bradley
B. Bell
T. Harrah
10
Giants
29.6
1.11
A. Devlin
M. Williams
J. Ray Hart
 Thompson
F. Lindstrom
11
Rangers / Senators
27.2
1.01
B. Bell
A. Beltre
McMullen
H. Blalock
S. Buechele
12
White Sox
26.5
0.99
R. Ventura
W. Kamm
P. Ward
B. Melton
L. Tannehill
13
Brewers
26.0
0.97
P. Molitor
J. Cirillo
D. Money
K. Seitzer
S. Bando
14
Pirates
25.9
0.97
P. Traynor
T. Leach
B. Elliott
B. Bonilla
R. Hebner
15
Dodgers
25.2
0.94
R. Cey
A. Beltre
G. Pinkney
J. Johnston
C. Lavagetto
16
Twins / Senators
24.2
0.90
G. Gaetti
C. Koskie
B. Lewis
E. Yost
O. Bluege
17
Royals
23.9
0.89
G. Brett
K. Seitzer
J. Randa
P. Schaal
 Moustakas
18
Reds
23.3
0.87
H. Groh
C. Sabo
T. Frazier
A. Latham
G. Hatton
19
Tigers
22.4
0.84
T. Fryman
G. Kell
R. Boone
 McManus
B. Inge
20
Mets
22.4
0.84
D. Wright
H. Johnson
R. Ventura
W. Garrett
B. Bonilla
21
Nationals / Expos
21.9
0.82
T. Wallach
 Zimmerman
B. Bailey
L. Parrish
A. Rendon
22
Angels
20.6
0.77
T. Glaus
C. Figgins
D. DeCinces
K. McMullen
D. Chalk
23
Padres
17.3
0.64
C. Headley
K. Caminiti
P. Nevin
R. Ready
L. Salazar
24
Astros
15.8
0.59
D. Rader
K. Caminiti
M. Ensberg
D. Walling
P. Garner
25
Blue Jays
15.7
0.59
K. Gruber
R. Mulliniks
Donaldson
B. Lawrie
R. Howell
26
Mariners
13.6
0.51
A. Beltre
K. Seager
M. Blowers
J. Presley
B. Stein
 
Shortstops
 
Position average score: 25.7
 
The Cream of the Crop: Pittsburgh Pirates
Franchise score: 44.6
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.74
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Honus Wagner
Arky Vaughan
Jay Bell
Dick Groat
Gene Alley
 
Contenders: Indians, Orioles/Browns, Giants, Cubs
 
Again, a pretty easy verdict at this position, as the Pirates not only have the best SS ever in Wagner, but another (Vaughan) whom some would consider as high as #2.
 
The Indians 3 through 5 options (Turner, Chapman, Vizquel) are probably a little better than the Pirates, but their top 2 (Boudreau and Sewell), while solid Hall of Famers, aren’t enough to rate ahead of Pittsburgh.
 
The Orioles/Browns have Cal Ripken plus some pretty nifty fielders with Mark Belanger and Bobby Wallace, as well as sluggers Miguel Tejada and Vern Stephens.  Overall, a very solid #3 group.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins rates the best in franchise history, but it gets thin after him.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Texas Rangers/Washington Senators
OK…this franchise is getting a little redundant at this point….but I promise this is their last mention.  They definitely will not have this status at the outfield positions, starting pitching, or relievers.
 
A-Rod helps the cause here even though he only spent 3, shall we say, "notorious" seasons here, but they also came up with Toby Harrah and Michael Young among their top 5.
 
Position Note:  There weren’t any three-peats at SS….but A-Rod made two lists (Rangers and Mariners) while also making the 3B quintet for the Yankees.  Ozzie Smith rates as the #1 for both the Padres and the Cardinals.
 
Full Shortstop Listing:
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Pirates
44.6
1.74
H. Wagner
A. Vaughan
J. Bell
D. Groat
G. Alley
2
Indians
37.5
1.46
L. Boudreau
J. Sewell
T. Turner
O. Vizquel
R. Chapman
3
Orioles / Browns
36.5
1.42
C. Ripken
B. Wallace
M. Belanger
V. Stephens
M. Tejada
4
Giants
36.0
1.40
G. Davis
A. Fletcher
T. Jackson
A. Dark
D. Bartell
5
Cubs
35.4
1.38
E. Banks
J. Tinker
B. Dahlen
W. English
 Hollocher
6
Red Sox
34.3
1.33
 Garciaparra
J. Cronin
R. Petrocelli
J. Pesky
J. Valentin
7
White Sox
34.2
1.33
L. Appling
L. Aparicio
G. Davis
A. Ramirez
B. Weaver
8
Yankees
30.8
1.20
D. Jeter
P. Rizzuto
Peckinpaugh
T. Kubek
F. Crosetti
9
Cardinals
29.9
1.16
O. Smith
M. Marion
Templeton
S. Hemus
E. Renteria
10
Tigers
29.6
1.15
A. Trammell
D. Bush
B. Rogell
H. Kuenn
C. Guillen
11
Dodgers
29.2
1.14
P. W. Reese
M. Wills
B. Dahlen
B. Russell
R. Furcal
12
Athletics
27.1
1.05
 Campaneris
E. Joost
M. Tejada
J. Barry
M. Bordick
13
Rangers / Senators
26.7
1.04
A. Rodriguez
T. Harrah
M. Young
E. Andrus
S. Fletcher
14
Braves
26.5
1.03
H. Long
J. Logan
Maranville
R. Furcal
J. Blauser
15
Twins / Senators
25.7
1.00
J. Cronin
C. Travis
R. Smalley
G. McBride
G. Gagne
16
Reds
25.4
0.99
B. Larkin
Concepcion
R. McMillan
 Cardenas
B. Myers
17
Angels
22.2
0.87
J. Fregosi
E. Aybar
D. Schofield
D. Eckstein
 Disarcina
18
Phillies
20.9
0.82
J. Rollins
L. Bowa
G. Hamner
D. Bancroft
M. Doolin
19
Brewers
19.7
0.77
R. Yount
J. Valentin
J. J. Hardy
B. Hall
 Hernandez
20
Mariners
17.5
0.68
A. Rodriguez
O. Vizquel
C. Guillen
B. Ryan
B. Miller
21
Blue Jays
16.5
0.64
T. Fernandez
A. Gonzalez
Y. Escobar
M. Scutaro
M. Lee
22
Royals
13.5
0.53
F. Patek
A. Escobar
Washington
R. Sanchez
K. Stillwell
23
Astros
12.5
0.49
D. Thon
A. Everett
D. Menke
C. Reynolds
C. Correa
24
Mets
12.4
0.48
J. Reyes
B. Harrelson
K. Elster
R. Tejada
B. Bailor
25
Nationals / Expos
12.0
0.47
I. Desmond
O. Cabrera
C. Speier
H. Brooks
S. Owen
26
Padres
10.8
0.42
O. Smith
G. Templeton
K. Greene
E. Cabrera
D. Jackson
 
Left Fielders
 
Position average score: 26.9
 
The Cream of the Crop: Boston Red Sox
Franchise score: 48.0
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.79
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Ted Williams
Carl Yastrzemski
Manny Ramirez
Jim Rice
Mike Greenwell
 
Contenders: Pirates, Cardinals, Athletics, Reds
Some really strong teams at this position.  The top 6 teams all indexed more than 40% above the average.
 
As you might have anticipated, the Red Sox take the prize at this position, as their tradition in LF is well-known.  Except for an odd year or two here and there, from around the time that Williams first played LF (1940) until 2008, when Ramirez last played for the Sox, LF was manned by one of the 5 players mentioned above.  The 5 players totaled 78 years of service for the team.  Their index of 1.79 vs. the position average is extremely high.
 
And yet, there are other worthy challengers:
 
The Pirates were 62% above the average with a 3-time MVP while with the team (Bonds), 3 Hall of Famers (Stargell, Clarke, Kiner), and a player who averaged over 30 HR’s a year for the team and compiled a .426 OBP with them (Brian Giles).
 
The Cardinals have 4 Hall of Famers (Musial, Medwick, Brock, Hafey) plus Matt Holliday. 
 
The A’s have 2 strong Hall of Famers in Rickey Henderson and Al Simmons, plus Bob Johnson, who was a heck of a player. 
 
The Reds have one of their stronger positions as both Frank Robinson and Pete Rose are both slotted here, as LF was the position at which they played the most games for the Reds (Robinson had 696 games in LF vs. 533 in RF, while Rose had  644 in LF, 629 at 3B, 627 at 2B, 555 in RF, and nearly 200 at 1B).  If you were doing an all-time Reds team, one of them would surely move elsewhere.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
The Braves are down at #18, with Rico Carty as their best option, followed by Sid Gordon and Lonnie Smith
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Houston Astros
The Astros placed 12th, ahead of the Cubs, White Sox, Twins/Senators, Indians, and Braves.  Jose Cruz and Lance Berkman lead the way.
 
Position Note: Bonds is #1 for 2 teams, the Giants and the Pirates, and even though his totals are much higher with the Giants, the Pirates quintet rates much higher as the #2 through #5 (Stargell/Clarke/Kiner/Giles vs. Burns/Mitchell Irvin/Lockman) strongly favors the Pirates.
 
Also, there are 3 Williams (Ted, Billy, Ken) that are #1 for their respective franchises at this position, along with a Belle (Albert) and a Bell (George).
 
Full Left Fielder Listing:
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Red Sox
48.0
1.79
T. Williams
Yastrzemski
M. Ramirez
J. Rice
Greenwell
2
Pirates
43.5
1.62
B. Bonds
W. Stargell
F. Clarke
R. Kiner
B. Giles
3
Cardinals
39.9
1.49
S. Musial
J. Medwick
L. Brock
C. Hafey
M. Holliday
4
Athletics
39.4
1.47
R. Henderson
A. Simmons
B. Johnson
T. Hartsel
J. Rudi
5
Reds
38.3
1.43
F. Robinson
P. Rose
G. Foster
B. Bescher
A. Dunn
6
Giants
37.8
1.41
B. Bonds
G. Burns
K. Mitchell
M. Irvin
 Lockman
7
Phillies
33.3
1.24
E. Delahanty
S. Magee
D. Ennis
G. Luzinski
P. Burrell
8
Yankees
32.9
1.22
C. Keller
R. White
B. Meusel
B. Chapman
B. Gardner
9
Dodgers
30.3
1.13
Z. Wheat
P. Guerrero
J. Sheckard
A. Galan
D. Baker
10
Tigers
28.5
1.06
B. Veach
W. Horton
T. Phillips
B. Higginson
R. Colavito
11
Orioles / Browns
27.2
1.01
K. Williams
G. Stone
D. Buford
B. J. Surhoff
B. Nieman
12
Astros
27.0
1.00
J. Cruz
L. Berkman
L. Gonzalez
M. Alou
C. Lee
13
Cubs
27.0
1.00
B. Williams
Stephenson
H. Sauer
J. Sheckard
A. Galan
14
White Sox
26.7
0.99
M. Minoso
J. Jackson
B. Falk
C. Lee
T. Raines
15
Twins / Senators
26.3
0.98
G. Goslin
H. Manush
S. Mack
L. Hisle
R. Sievers
16
Brewers
24.5
0.91
R. Braun
B. Oglivie
G. Jenkins
J. Briggs
G. Vaughn
17
Indians
22.6
0.84
A. Belle
J. Heath
 Jamieson
D. Mitchell
J. Vosmik
18
Braves
21.4
0.80
R. Carty
S. Gordon
L. Smith
M. West
R. Garr
19
Nationals / Expos
19.7
0.73
T. Raines
W. Cromartie
M. Alou
B. Wilkerson
M. Jones
20
Rangers / Senators
19.3
0.72
F. Howard
R. Greer
A. Oliver
C. Hinton
D. Murphy
21
Angels
17.4
0.65
B. Downing
G. Anderson
Reichardt
L. Wagner
J. Rivera
22
Mets
15.2
0.57
C. Jones
McReynolds
B. Gilkey
S. Henderson
C. Floyd
23
Blue Jays
14.0
0.52
G. Bell
S. Stewart
R. Johnson
 Catalanotto
D. Collins
24
Padres
13.8
0.52
G. Richards
B. Roberts
C. Martinez
G. Vaughn
S. Hairston
25
Mariners
12.5
0.47
R. Ibanez
P. Bradley
R. Winn
T. Paciorek
McLemore
26
Royals
11.7
0.43
A. Gordon
B. Jackson
R. Ibanez
L. Smith
T. Poquette
 
Center Fielders
 
Position average score: 30.2
 
The Cream of the Crop: New York Yankees
Franchise score: 52.8
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.74
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Mickey Mantle
Joe DiMaggio
Bernie Williams
Earle Combs
Rickey Henderson
 
Contenders: Indians, Tigers, Braves, Giants
 
A true glamour position, with the Yankees once again leading the way with 2 of the top 5 MLB CF’ers of all time. 
 
The Indians come in at a strong #2, led by 3 Hall of Famers in Speaker, Averill, and Doby, and Lofton had a career that’s worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. 
 
The Tigers and Giants are led by Cobb and Mays respectively, of course, but the Braves are more of a "group" value.  Their #1 (Andruw Jones) can’t compete with most of the upper echelon CF’ers, but #2 – 5 are all solid with Dale Murphy, Wally Berger, Hugh Duffy, and Billy Hamilton, who wasn’t quite the force with the Braves that he was with the Phillies, but he was still pretty good.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland A’s
Kind of a nondescript group for a franchise that’s been around so long.  Dwayne Murphy and Billy North are the best options
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: California/LA Angels, KC Royals
Mike Trout is already the #1 for the Angels.  If he ends up with the kind of career that he’s projected to have, the Angels will move way up the list by the time he’s done.
 
Position Notes: Tris Speaker was the #1 CF for 2 of the top 6 teams (Indians, Red Sox).  Even with dividing his career into 2 different franchises, by this method "Cleveland" Tris Speaker would rank #4 among CF’ers, and "Boston" Tris Speaker would rank #7. 
 
Mike Cameron made 3 teams (Mariners, Padres, Brewers), even though for the last 2 teams, he only played 2 seasons for each of them, which I think says more about the lack of other options on the Padres and Brewers than it did about Cameron (although he was a pretty decent player)
 
Full Center Fielder Listing
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Yankees
52.8
1.74
M. Mantle
J. DiMaggio
B. Williams
E. Combs
Henderson
2
Indians
47.7
1.58
T. Speaker
E. Averill
K. Lofton
L. Doby
G. Sizemore
3
Tigers
38.9
1.28
T. Cobb
C. Lemon
 Granderson
A. Jackson
R. LeFlore
4
Braves
38.7
1.28
A. Jones
D. Murphy
W. Berger
H. Duffy
B. Hamilton
5
Giants
38.6
1.27
W. Mays
B. Thomson
Van Haltren
C. Davis
Seymour
6
Red Sox
37.8
1.25
T. Speaker
R. Smith
F. Lynn
D. DiMaggio
J. Ellsbury
7
Phillies
36.7
1.21
R. Ashburn
B. Hamilton
R. Thomas
C. Williams
G. Maddox
8
Dodgers
35.5
1.17
D. Snider
W. Davis
M. Griffin
P. Reiser
M. Kemp
9
Pirates
32.6
1.08
M. Carey
McCutchen
A. Van Slyke
A. Oliver
L. Waner
10
Twins / Senators
31.7
1.05
K. Puckett
C. Milan
T. Hunter
C. Tovar
S. Spence
11
Reds
31.7
1.05
V. Pinson
E. Roush
E. Davis
C. Seymour
B. Holliday
12
Cubs
31.0
1.02
H. Wilson
J. Ryan
A. Pafko
G. Gore
B. Lange
13
Cardinals
30.6
1.01
J. Edmonds
C. Flood
R. Lankford
W. McGee
T. Moore
14
Angels
30.6
1.01
M. Trout
D. Erstad
J. Edmonds
T. Hunter
D. White
15
Royals
29.0
0.96
A. Otis
W. Wilson
C. Beltran
L. Cain
J. Damon
16
Orioles/Browns
28.8
0.95
P. Blair
B. Anderson
A. Jones
Jacobson
B. Shotton
17
Astros
28.0
0.92
C. Cedeno
J. Wynn
S. Finley
M. Bourn
C. Everett
18
White Sox
26.9
0.89
F. Jones
C. Lemon
J. Mostil
L. Johnson
J. Landis
19
Mariners
25.0
0.83
K. Griffey
M. Cameron
F. Gutierrez
R. Jones
D. Henderson
20
Athletics
23.9
0.79
D. Murphy
B. North
A. Strunk
D. Henderson
R. Monday
21
Nationals / Expos
22.3
0.74
A. Dawson
M. Grissom
R. White
D. Span
Santangelo
22
Mets
22.1
0.73
C. Beltran
M. Wilson
L. Dykstra
T. Agee
L. Mazzilli
23
Blue Jays
21.1
0.69
V. Wells
L. Moseby
D. White
J. Cruz
C. Rasmus
24
Rangers / Senators
16.8
0.55
J. Hamilton
D. Lock
G. Matthews
 McDowell
M. Byrd
25
Brewers
16.0
0.53
C. Gomez
G. Thomas
D. May
D. Hamilton
M. Cameron
26
Padres
13.1
0.43
McReynolds
S. Finley
D. Jackson
M. Cameron
M. Kotsay
 
Right Fielders
 
Position average score: 27.6
 
The Cream of the Crop: New York Yankees
Franchise score: 46.6
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.69
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Babe Ruth
Tommy Henrich
Roger Maris
Hank Bauer
Paul O'Neill
 
 
Contenders: Giants, Tigers, Braves, Pirates
 
The Yankees take the top spot at their 4th position, led by the Babe, but with 4 pretty good players offering support.  There’s not a whole lot of difference among Henrich, Maris, O’Neill, and Bauer.
 
The Giants and the Tigers offer some stiff competition for the Yankees.  The Giants offer up Mel Ott plus 4 others (Bonds, Tiernan, Youngs, and J. Clark) who all exceeded 30 rWAR with the franchise. 
 
The Tigers counter with 3 Hall of Famers in RF (Kaline, Heilmann, and Crawford) who all exceeded 60 rWAR with the team, with Gibson and Northrup rounding out the quintet.  Subjectively, I’d probably have them at #2.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox check in at #19, with their best options being Magglio Ordonez and Harold Baines.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
The Expos/Nationals rank #12, and have a quality group led by Vladimir Guerrero, followed by Larry Walker, Bryce Harper, Rusty Staub, and Ellis Valentine.  Some pretty strong throwing arms in that bunch.  They could move up quite a bit if Harper has the kind of career being projected for him.
 
Position Notes: Rusty Staub made 3 teams:  Expos/Nationals, Astros, and Mets.
 
Full Right Fielder Listing
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Yankees
46.6
1.69
B. Ruth
T. Henrich
R. Maris
H. Bauer
P. O'Neill
2
Giants
42.2
1.53
M. Ott
B. Bonds
M. Tiernan
R. Youngs
J. Clark
3
Tigers
41.6
1.51
A. Kaline
 Heilmann
S. Crawford
K. Gibson
J. Northrup
4
Braves
41.1
1.49
H. Aaron
T. Holmes
D. Justice
J. Heyward
C. Stahl
5
Pirates
38.3
1.38
R. Clemente
P. Waner
D. Parker
K. Cuyler
W. Westlake
6
Phillies
36.0
1.30
B. Abreu
J. Callison
C. Klein
G. Cravath
S. Thompson
7
Cubs
32.9
1.19
S. Sosa
 Nicholson
K. Cuyler
K. Kelly
F. Schulte
8
Indians
32.2
1.17
J. Jackson
M. Ramirez
E. Flick
R. Colavito
S. Choo
9
Red Sox
30.2
1.09
D. Evans
H. Hooper
J. Jensen
T. Nixon
B. Freeman
10
Athletics
29.3
1.06
R. Jackson
J. Canseco
E. Valo
W. Moses
S. Seybold
11
Dodgers
28.7
1.04
C. Furillo
D. Walker
B. Herman
R. Mondesi
S. Green
12
Nationals / Expos
27.9
1.01
V. Guerrero
L. Walker
B. Harper
R. Staub
E. Valentine
13
Twins / Senators
27.6
1.00
S. Rice
T. Oliva
B. Allison
T. Brunansky
J. Stone
14
Orioles / Browns
27.3
0.99
F. Robinson
 Singleton
N. Markakis
J. Tobin
 Rettenmund
15
Cardinals
25.9
0.94
E. Slaughter
B. Jordan
J. D. Drew
G. Hendrick
 Cunningham
16
Padres
25.8
0.93
T. Gwynn
D. Winfield
B. Giles
W. Venable
C. Denorfia
17
Blue Jays
24.5
0.89
J. Bautista
J. Barfield
A. Rios
J. Carter
S. Green
18
Reds
22.0
0.80
K. Griffey
R. Sanders
I. Goodman
C. Walker
J. Bruce
19
White Sox
21.4
0.78
M. Ordonez
H. Baines
F. Robinson
H. Hooper
C. Reynolds
20
Mariners
19.7
0.71
I. Suzuki
J. Buhner
L. Roberts
N. Cruz
D. Tartabull
21
Astros
19.6
0.71
T. Puhl
H. Pence
R. Hidalgo
K. Bass
R. Staub
22
Angels
18.8
0.68
T. Salmon
V. Guerrero
B. Abreu
B. Bonds
K. Calhoun
23
Rangers / Senators
16.3
0.59
J. Gonzalez
R. Sierra
N. Cruz
J. Burroughs
J. King
24
Mets
15.8
0.57
 Strawberry
R. Staub
Youngblood
Granderson
R. Swoboda
25
Brewers
15.7
0.57
S. Lezcano
J. Burnitz
C. Hart
N. Aoki
R. Deer
26
Royals
11.1
0.40
D. Tartabull
A. Cowens
J. Dye
J. Eisenreich
P. Kelly
 
 
Starting Pitchers
 
Position average score: 35.1
 
The Cream of the Crop: Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
Franchise score: 51.8
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.48
 
Franchise 5 (well, 10) at this position:
Warren Spahn
Greg Maddux
Kid Nichols
Phil Niekro
Tom Glavine
John Smoltz
Vic Willis
John Clarkson
Jim Whitney
Tommy Bond
 
Contenders: Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers, Athletics
 
For starting pitchers, I decided to go 10 deep rather than just 5.  The Braves had the top crew, led by a parade of Hall of Famers:  The first 8 (Spahn, Maddux, Nichols, Niekro, Glavine, Smoltz, Willis, and Clarkson) are all in the Hall.  A deserving #1 group.
 
The Red Sox might be a surprise #2 to some, since you tend to think of offense rather than pitching with this franchise, but it’s a solid group.  In addition to one of the best pitchers ever in Roger Clemens, the team also has Hall of Famers Cy Young, Pedro Martinez, and Lefty Grove (who is more linked with the A’s, but he had some really good years in Boston too).  Luis Tiant completes the top 5.
 
The Giants are also deep in Hall of Famers: Mathewson, Marichal, Hubbell, Rusie, G. Perry, McGinnity, M. Welch, and Keefe.  They rate just a hair behind Boston.
 
Worst of the Core 16: Pittsburgh Pirates
Most of the Pirates’ top pitchers were active in the early 1900’s, including Wilbur Cooper, Jesse Tannehill, Deacon Phillippe, Babe Adams, and Sam Leever.  John Candelaria is the only one on the list active in the past 40 years.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: New York Mets
No surprise there.  Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Al Leiter, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, Ron Darling….some pretty good names.
 
Position Notes: Nolan Ryan made 3 teams:  Angels, Astros, and Rangers.
 
Full Starting Pitcher Listing
 
Note – unlike the other tables, the starting pitcher list includes 10 names for each team rather than 5.  1-5 are on each team’s first line, then it wraps around for 6-10:
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1 / 6
2 / 7
3 / 8
4 / 9
5 /  10
1
Braves
51.8
1.48
W. Spahn
G. Maddux
K. Nichols
P. Niekro
T. Glavine
 
 
 
 
J. Smoltz
V. Willis
J. Clarkson
J. Whitney
T. Bond
2
Red Sox
45.3
1.29
C. Young
R. Clemens
P. Martinez
L. Grove
L. Tiant
 
 
 
 
J. Wood
D. Leonard
J. Lester
M. Parnell
T. Wakefield
3
Giants
44.1
1.25
Mathewson
J. Marichal
C. Hubbell
A. Rusie
G. Perry
 
 
 
 
 McGinnity
J. Antonelli
M. Welch
T. Keefe
M. Cain
4
Dodgers
43.7
1.24
S. Koufax
D. Drysdale
C. Kershaw
D. Vance
D. Sutton
 
 
 
 
N. Rucker
 Hershiser
Valenzuela
J. Pfeffer
B. Grimes
5
Athletics
43.3
1.23
L. Grove
E. Plank
R. Waddell
E. Rommel
C. Bender
 
 
 
 
T. Hudson
B. Zito
C. Hunter
V. Blue
R. Walberg
6
Phillies
43.1
1.23
P. Alexander
R. Roberts
S. Carlton
C. Hamels
J. Bunning
 
 
 
 
C. Schilling
C. Ferguson
Buffinton
A. Orth
C. Short
7
White Sox
42.3
1.20
E. Walsh
T. Lyons
B. Pierce
E. Cicotte
W. Wood
 
 
 
 
R. Faber
M. Buehrle
D. White
T. Lee
G. Peters
8
Cubs
41.5
1.18
F. Jenkins
M. Brown
Alexander
R. Reuschel
H. Vaughn
 
 
 
 
 Zambrano
C. Griffith
G. Maddux
C. Root
C. Passeau
9
Twins / Senators
40.8
1.16
W. Johnson
B. Blyleven
J. Kaat
J. Santana
B. Radke
 
 
 
 
C. Pascual
F. Viola
J. Perry
D. Goltz
D. Leonard
10
Indians
39.8
1.13
B. Feller
S. Coveleski
A. Joss
W. Ferrell
E. Wynn
 
 
 
 
 McDowell
B. Lemon
G. Uhle
M. Harder
W. Hudlin
11
Yankees
39.6
1.13
W. Ford
R. Ruffing
A. Pettitte
R. Guidry
B. Shawkey
 
 
 
 
L. Gomez
Stottlemyre
Mussina
R. Caldwell
W. Hoyt
12
Tigers
38.6
1.10
Newhouser
T. Bridges
G. Mullin
M. Lolich
D. Trout
 
 
 
 
J. Verlander
J. Morris
B. Donovan
J. Bunning
H. Dauss
13
Cardinals
37.0
1.05
B. Gibson
D. Dean
Brecheen
Wainwright
M. Cooper
 
 
 
 
L. Jackson
H. Pollet
M. Lanier
B. Sherdel
J. Haines
14
Reds
36.9
1.05
B. Walters
N. Hahn
J. Rijo
J. Maloney
E. Rixey
 
 
 
 
R. Lucas
D. Luque
 Derringer
T. Mullane
F. Dwyer
15
Orioles / Browns
33.8
0.96
J. Palmer
 Mussina
U. Shocker
N. Garver
J. Powell
 
 
 
 
H. Howell
L. Stewart
 Weilman
D. McNally
M. Flanagan
16
Pirates
33.2
0.94
W. Cooper
J. Tannehill
B. Adams
S. Leever
B. Friend
 
 
 
 
 Candelaria
E. Morris
 Phillippe
R. Sewell
V. Law
17
Mets
33.0
0.94
T. Seaver
D. Gooden
J. Koosman
J. Matlack
A. Leiter
 
 
 
 
 Fernandez
D. Cone
R. Reed
T. Glavine
R. Darling
18
Angels
30.9
0.88
N. Ryan
C. Finley
F. Tanana
J. Weaver
M. Langston
 
 
 
 
J. Lackey
 Washburn
D. Chance
M. Witt
Messersmith
19
Blue Jays
27.9
0.79
D. Stieb
R. Halladay
R. Clemens
J. Key
P. Hentgen
 
 
 
 
J. Guzman
J. Clancy
 Alexander
D. Wells
L. Leal
20
Royals
27.8
0.79
Saberhagen
K. Appier
M. Gubicza
Z. Greinke
D. Leonard
 
 
 
 
C. Leibrandt
L. Gura
P. Splittorff
S. Busby
A. Fitzmorris
21
Mariners
26.7
0.76
Hernandez
R. Johnson
J. Moyer
M. Langston
F. Garcia
 
 
 
 
M. Moore
E. Hanson
 Iwakuma
F. Bannister
J. Beattie
22
Astros
25.4
0.72
R. Oswalt
D. Wilson
L. Dierker
M. Scott
N. Ryan
 
 
 
 
J. R. Richard
J. Niekro
 Hampton
S. Reynolds
K. Forsch
23
Nationals / Expos
24.3
0.69
S. Rogers
D. Martinez
P. Martinez
J. Vazquez
Zimmermann
 
 
 
 
Hernandez
J. Fassero
B. Smith
S. Strasburg
B. Gullickson
24
Rangers / Senators
22.0
0.63
C. Hough
K. Rogers
F. Jenkins
G. Perry
N. Ryan
 
 
 
 
K. Brown
Y. Darvish
J. Guzman
J. Matlack
R. Helling
25
Padres
21.0
0.60
J. Peavy
A. Ashby
A. Benes
R. Jones
B. Hurst
 
 
 
 
J. Hamilton
G. Harris
E. Whitson
E. Show
D. Dravecky
26
Brewers
19.9
0.57
T. Higuera
B. Sheets
C. Bosio
Y. Gallardo
M. Caldwell
 
 
 
 
L. Sorensen
B. Wegman
M. Haas
J. Slaton
C. Eldred
 
Relief Pitchers
 
Position average score: 14.0
 
The Cream of the Crop: New York Yankees
Franchise score: 22.7
Franchise index vs. position average: 1.61
 
Franchise 5 at this position:
Mariano Rivera
Rich Gossage
Dave Righetti
Sparky Lyle
Johnny Murphy
 
Contenders: Red Sox, Royals, White Sox, Cubs
 
The Yankees again?  Yep.  Hard to argue, though, as Rivera is probably the consensus top reliever ever, and Gossage is one of the few relievers in the Hall of Fame.  Righetti, Lyle, and Murphy round out a talented group.
 
The Red Sox are a fascinating collection.  For a few years, Dick Radatz was compiling historic relief seasons.  Ellis Kinder had a few seasons where he started a fair amount, but then turned his attention to relieving, and he was terrific. Jonathan Papelbon has been one of the more consistent career relievers we’ve seen, and is on the verge of the top 10 all time in saves.  Bob Stanley was a terrific, versatile pitcher, who was a real workhorse out of the pen in the late ‘70’s/early ‘80’s.  A very valuable pitcher to have on a staff.
 
I’ll cover the Royals below. 
 
Worst of the Core 16: Philadelphia Phillies
Ron Reed, Turk Farrell, Jim Konstanty rate the highest of this group.  Not a good tradition in Philly.
 
Best of the Expansion Teams: Kansas City Royals
The Royals are ranked 3rd, which is by far the highest rank of any expansion team at any position.  They’ve had some terrific relievers, led by Dan Quisenberry.  Soon after Quisenberry dropped out of the closer role, the Royals stuck Jeff Montgomery into the slot and got more than a decade of quality closing out of him.  Later, the Royals got 5 terrific years out of Joakim Soria, and more recently, terrific bullpen efforts led by Greg Holland and Wade Davis.  A fine tradition of bullpen specialists.
 
Position Notes: I thought there might be more relievers making multiple teams, but the only ones to make two different franchises are John Franco, Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers, Stu Miller, and Tug McGraw.
 
Full Relief Pitcher Listing
 
Rank
Team
Team Score
Index
1
2
3
4
5
1
Yankees
22.7
1.61
M. Rivera
R. Gossage
D. Righetti
S. Lyle
J. Murphy
2
Red Sox
22.5
1.60
D. Radatz
E. Kinder
J. Papelbon
B. Stanley
D. Lowe
3
Royals
17.4
1.24
 Quisenberry
 Montgomery
J. Soria
G. Holland
W. Davis
4
White Sox
16.0
1.14
H. Wilhelm
K. Foulke
T. Forster
R. Hernandez
 Thornton
5
Cubs
15.6
1.11
B. Sutter
L. Smith
C. Marmol
S. Marshall
D. Elston
6
Angels
15.3
1.09
F. Rodriguez
T. Percival
B. Lee
S. Shields
D. Aase
7
Orioles / Browns
15.1
1.07
S. Miller
H. Wilhelm
G. Olson
D. Hall
J. Johnson
8
Giants
15.1
1.07
R. Nen
S. Miller
G. Lavelle
M. Grissom
G. Minton
9
Reds
14.3
1.02
J. Franco
A. Chapman
J. Shaw
C. Carroll
R. Dibble
10
Tigers
14.2
1.01
J. Hiller
 Henneman
W. Hernandez
A. Lopez
T. Fox
11
Blue Jays
14.1
1.00
T. Henke
D. Ward
M. Eichhorn
P. Quantrill
S. Downs
12
Pirates
14.0
1.00
K. Tekulve
R. Face
A. McBean
R. Hernandez
D. Giusti
13
Dodgers
13.7
0.97
R. Perranoski
E. Gagne
H. Casey
J. Brewer
C. Labine
14
Twins / Senators
13.3
0.95
J. Nathan
R. Aguilera
E. Guardado
Worthington
G. Perkins
15
Indians
13.2
0.94
D. Jones
J. Mesa
R. Narleski
D. Mossi
E. Plunk
16
Astros
13.1
0.93
B. Wagner
D. Smith
J. Sambito
O. Dotel
L. Andersen
17
Athletics
12.7
0.90
D. Eckersley
R. Fingers
 Duchscherer
A. Bailey
J. Berry
18
Padres
12.5
0.89
T. Hoffman
H. Bell
M. Davis
S. Linebrink
M. Adams
19
Mets
12.4
0.88
T. McGraw
J. Orosco
J. Franco
A. Benitez
 Lockwood
20
Braves
12.3
0.87
C. Kimbrel
G. Garber
R. Camp
S. Bedrosian
Remlinger
21
Brewers
11.9
0.85
D. Plesac
R. Fingers
K. Sanders
C. Crim
M. Fetters
22
Nationals / Expos
11.5
0.82
T. Burke
J. Reardon
T. Clippard
M. Rojas
McGaffigan
23
Rangers / Senators
11.2
0.80
J. Russell
F. Cordero
J. Wetteland
D. Knowles
N. Feliz
24
Cardinals
11.1
0.79
L. McDaniel
T. Worrell
 Isringhausen
T. Wilks
A. Hrabosky
25
Phillies
10.3
0.74
R. Reed
T. Farrell
J. Konstanty
R. Madson
T. McGraw
26
Mariners
9.2
0.65
J. J. Putz
J. Nelson
A. Rhodes
M. Jackson
Vande Berg
 
Wrapping it Up
 
Here’s a final chart showing each franchise and their rankings at each position.  The green indicates the top third, yellow is the middle third, and red the bottom third.  The list is sorted by the best "average rank" across all 10 positions.
 
Of the 16 "core" teams, the only one that did not make the top 5 at any position was the Minnesota Twins/Washington Senators franchise.  Their best finish was 9th (catcher, 2B, and starting pitcher).
 
The best overall performance by an expansion franchise was the Texas Rangers/Washington Senators, who finished in the "middle third" in all of the "infield" positions and at catcher, but finished in the bottom third in all 3 OF and both pitching positions.
 
The Mariners, despite having a lot of stars (A-Rod, Griffey Jr., Suzuki, Big Unit, King Felix) were dead last by this methodology.
 
 
 
Overall
Team
Avg. Rank
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
LF
CF
RF
SP
RP
Best Position
1
Yankees
4.1
1
4
1
5
8
8
1
1
11
1
C
2
Giants
4.8
2
2
6
10
4
6
5
2
3
8
1B
3
Red Sox
7.3
16
12
12
7
6
1
6
9
2
2
LF
4
Tigers
7.8
5
3
3
19
10
10
3
3
12
10
RF
5
Cubs
7.8
11
7
7
3
5
13
12
7
8
5
3B
6
Dodgers
9.2
4
9
8
15
11
9
8
11
4
13
C
7
Athletics
9.4
6
5
11
4
12
4
20
10
5
17
LF
8
Pirates
9.6
7
14
16
14
1
2
9
5
16
12
SS
9
Indians
9.8
15
16
4
9
2
17
2
8
10
15
CF
10
Cardinals
10.1
10
1
5
8
9
3
13
15
13
24
1B
11
Reds
10.4
3
8
2
18
16
5
11
18
14
9
2B
12
Braves
10.7
8
18
19
1
14
18
4
4
1
20
3B
13
Orioles/Browns
10.9
17
6
14
6
3
11
16
14
15
7
SS
14
White Sox
11.5
13
11
10
12
7
14
18
19
7
4
RP
15
Twins/Senators
12.0
9
10
9
16
15
15
10
13
9
14
2B
16
Phillies
12.1
14
21
15
2
18
7
7
6
6
25
3B
17
Rangers
18.1
12
13
18
11
13
20
24
23
24
23
3B
18
Angels
18.3
23
23
17
22
17
21
14
22
18
6
RP
19
Astros
19.0
25
17
13
24
23
12
17
21
22
16
LF
20
Royals
19.8
21
24
24
17
22
26
15
26
20
3
RP
21
Blue Jays
19.8
24
15
20
25
21
23
23
17
19
11
RP
22
Mets
20.9
18
22
21
20
24
22
22
24
17
19
SP
23
Nationals/Expos
21.2
20
26
23
21
25
19
21
12
23
22
RF
24
Brewers
21.2
22
19
26
13
19
16
25
25
26
21
3B
25
Padres
22.2
19
20
25
23
26
24
26
16
25
18
RF
26
Mariners
23.0
26
25
22
26
20
25
19
20
21
26
CF
 
Finally, what were the best franchise/position performances?  I think the position index is more relevant than just the raw score.  Going strictly by the position index, I have them as the following:
 
  1. Yankees Catchers – 1.86
  2. Red Sox Left Fielders – 1.79
  3. Yankees Center Fielders – 1.74
  4. Pirates Shortstops – 1.74
  5. Yankees Second Basemen – 1.69
 
So, I am officially recognizing the Yankees as "Catcher U.", the creamiest of the position crop.  If you want to claim it’s really the Red Sox LF’er…..well, I wouldn’t argue much.
 
That’s it.  Hope you enjoyed.
 
 
 

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