The New Originals

September 8, 2015
 
About the Title
 
I suspect many of you are familiar with the reference to "The New Originals", but just in case you’re not, it’s from the cult classic "This is Spinal Tap", a "mockumentary" about a fictional rock band.   It was the first in a series of 5 largely improvisational films, led by Christopher Guest, which included a recurring ensemble cast.  For the most part, they were fun films to watch, a very different type of experience from films that are completely scripted.  They’re not laugh-out-loud funny….the humor is more subtle and is rooted in the behavior and the conversation among the characters, stemming from the freedom that the actors are given to interpret and portray them. They tend to have a very real feel to them, like you’re eavesdropping on people and situations that are unfolding naturally as opposed to being spoon-fed a pre-determined script.
 
Courtesy of Wikipedia, here’s a handy chart of those "players" and which films they appeared in. It’s an interesting group of actors. I wouldn’t call them major stars by any stretch, but I suspect that, even if you don’t recognize the names, if you saw their faces you would say "oh, yeah….it’s that guy (or girl)!"
 
Title
This Is Spinal Tap
Waiting for Guffman
Best in Show
A Mighty Wind
For Your Consideration
Year
1984
1996
2000
2003
2006
Topic
Rock Music
Small Town Community Theater
Dog Shows
Folk Music
Show Business and Pre-award "buzz"
Actor
 
 
 
 
 
Bob Balaban
 
x
x
x
x
Ed Begley, Jr.
x
 
x
x
x
Jennifer Coolidge
 
 
x
x
x
John Michael Higgins
 
 
x
x
x
Michael Hitchcock
 
x
x
x
x
Eugene Levy
 
x
x
x
x
Jane Lynch
 
 
x
x
x
Michael McKean
x
 
x
x
x
Larry Miller
 
x
x
x
x
Catherine O'Hara
 
x
x
x
x
Jim Piddock
 
 
x
x
x
Parker Posey
 
x
x
x
x
Harry Shearer
x
 
 
x
x
Fred Willard
x
x
x
x
x
 
Outside of Guest, the only one to appear in all 5 is the wonderful Fred Willard, although several have been in the most recent 4. 
 
"This is Spinal Tap" was the first in the series, but there was 12 years before the next one ("Waiting for Guffman"). Then, they started doing them about every 3-4 years. Starting with "Best in Show", the ensemble basically didn’t change much over the remaining films, and it’s now been almost 10 years since they’ve made one.
 
In any case, "This is Spinal Tap" was the first, and I would say the consensus is that it was the best, although "Best in Show" and "Waiting for Guffman" are very close to it in their "Tomatometer" score. (Tomatometer, by the way, is the "Rotten Tomatoes" equivalent of rWAR)
 
Finally, getting to the point……
 
There’s a wonderful moment in "This is Spinal Tap" where the core members of the fictional band (played by Guest, McKean, and Shearer) are being interviewed by the film maker (played by Rob Reiner) and they are providing background on the early versions of the group, before they became a heavy metal band. They started out as more of a 1960’s British "skiffle" type of group, and they wanted to call themselves "The Originals", but there was already another band by that name, so they decided to call themselves "The New Originals", which is one of my favorite plays on words. I mean, if something is original, by definition it’s new, isn’t it? Which would make "New Originals" simply redundant. Or….is it really an oxymoron, because you can’t be the new version of something that was once original and still have it be considered truly original, can you? My brain is starting to hurt just trying to think through it…...
 
Then, as it turns out, the other band changed their name from "The Originals" to "The Regulars", which opened the door for our lads to change back to "The Originals", but, by that time, they figured "what’s the point?……."
 
While we’re on the subject of "what’s the point?"…..
 
 
Baseball’s New Originals
 
One of my favorite exercises is to come up with all-time teams. All-time teams by college, by franchise, by categories (the all-time baseball "food" team (Darryl Strawberry, Bob Lemon, etc.) and "animal" team (Chicken Wolf, Goose Goslin, etc.) are particularly fun). Whatever the premise…I’ll give it a try.
 
I was interested in finding out what would be the best "teams" if you put everyone back on his original team. What if we lived in a world where there were no trades, but also no free agency? Whoever you first signed with, that’s who you stay with….for your entire career. This is pure fantasy, of course….hard to imagine either side of the team/player relationship being entirely happy with that arrangement…but every now and then we can imagine.
 
Now, this premise of analyzing players by the organization that "produced" them may sound familiar to those who read Bill’s Abstracts, because he did this on at least a couple of occasions that I’m aware of, in the 1982 and 1984 books. In the ’82 Abstract, it was in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ entry, and in 1984 he had an article called "Where Does Talent Come From?" He also makes other references to those types of studies that he had done over the years, and some of the things that he inferred from them (for example, that there didn’t seem to be a strong connection between having a good farm system that produced a lot of talent and having a good team).
 
So, this is similar to those types of studies he did, but there are three distinctions:
 
·         He used his "Value Approximation Method". 
·         I’m leveraging rWAR
 
 
·         He was looking at single seasons.
·         I’m going to use career value
 
 
·         He determined the team to associate a player with based on the first organization that he:
a)      reaches the major league or Triple-A level, or
b)      is included in a major league transaction, or
c)       goes directly onto a major league roster
·         In this exercise, I’m going to go strictly by the player’s first organization. 
 
I’m primarily doing it this way out of convenience, as Seamheads.com has a tool specifically designed for the information I’m using. So, for example, in Bill’s study, Pedro Guerrero is considered a Dodger. In mine, he’s on the Indians.
 
 
Setup
 
Time Span
I initially was going to do this for the entire history of all the teams, but I decided to limit it to just the "Expansion Era" (1961-present), because I wanted to see how the teams compared without giving the 16 franchises that date back at least to 1901 a huge advantage over the more recent expansion teams.
 
On the other hand….I didn’t want to use 1998 (when the Diamondbacks and the Rays came into existence) as the starting point either, because that would represent fewer than 20-years worth of development, and wouldn’t be as interesting.
 
So, I settled on 1961 as the starting point, when the "new" Senators (now Rangers) and the Angels were formed in the AL, and joined a year later by the Mets and the Colt .45’s (now Astros) in the NL.
 
This gives a slight advantage over the ’69 expansion teams (Royals, Pilots/Brewers, Expos/Nationals, Padres) and the ’77 expansion teams (Mariners & Blue Jays), and a pretty significant one over the ’93 teams (Rockies and Marlins), but, again, I didn’t want to limit the # of years too much. So, my compromise was to draw the line at 1961.  There is a bias towards the more established franchises, but several of the expansion teams did quite well.
 
I only considered players whose first season in the majors was 1961 or later. So, even though they were prominent in this era, players like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, and Brooks Robinson were not part of the player pool.
 
Roster Structure
This is not a comprehensive study of all players.   I did it in the form of 25-man rosters. In other words, I wanted to see the best 25-man rosters I could make out of the choices available. 
 
I went with:
·         Starting 8 position players
·         5 man starting rotation
·         5 man bullpen that had to consist of at least 2 players who would be considered relief specialists, with remaining spots filled by either starters or relievers
·         1 reserve catcher
·         3 reserve infielders
·         2 reserve outfielders
·         1 other reserve position player, any position
 
The roster had to be constructed in such a way that every position had a backup somewhere on the team. In other words, it wasn’t enough to just have a starting shortstop….someone else on the roster had to be able to "reasonably" back up that spot. It had to look like a real team.
 
Scoring
I used rWAR as the basis for the scoring (although I tweaked the true relievers to give them a bump based on effectiveness per inning so that their scores were a little more representative), and then weighted by position to give more weight to the starters.
 
The 8 starting position players were each weighted at 6.5%, and each reserve at 1.75%
The pitchers were weighted as follows:
SP1
6.00%
SP2
5.50%
SP3
5.00%
SP4
4.50%
SP5
3.50%
RP1
3.00%
RP2
2.50%
RP3
2.50%
RP4
2.00%
RP5
2.00%
 
The total of all weights is 100%, with about 64% represented by the 15 position players, and about 36% by the 10 pitchers. The position players represent more than half of the weight because they contribute on both offense and defense. 
 
I used career rWAR, so that you got credit for the entire player’s career value.
 
Although not part of the scoring, I also leveraged data from Fangraphs the measure offense, defense, and baserunning to help me analyze which teams were better in those various phases of the game.
 
Finally, for each team, I’ll also highlight "the best who got away" and "the best who were later acquired from other teams". 
 
The best who got away captures are those players that are on this version of the team, although they typically aren’t affiliated with that franchise because they ultimately had more success elsewhere. For example, Kenny Lofton is originally an Astro, but he would never make an all-time Astro team other than this one. There is a bit of subjectivity to these selections.
 
The Best who were later acquired from other teams looks at those players that are not on this version of the team because they’re not an "original", but came over to the team later from another franchise. Using the Astros again, this would identify players like Jeff Bagwell.
 
These two lists are intended to provide a sense of how the franchise did in terms of a) not letting good players escape, and b) acquiring good players over this time frame. Again, it’s not comprehensive….just conveying a sense.
 
The Results
 
Let’s get the newer expansion teams out of the way first, because they really haven’t had enough time to come up with comparable rosters. But, they’re still interesting to look at.
 
Team MVP will be highlighted in yellow. Hall of Famers will be indicated by *
 
#30-Arizona Diamondbacks
Team Score: 17.23
Position
Player
C
Miguel Montero
1B
Paul Goldschmidt
2B
Dan Uggla
3B
Stephen Drew
SS
Mark Reynolds
LF
Carlos Gonzalez
CF
A.J. Pollock
RF
Justin Upton
SP1
Brandon Webb
SP2
Max Scherzer
SP3
Brad Penny
SP4
Jorge De La Rosa
SP5
Vincente Padilla
RP1
Byung-Hyun Kim
RP2
Jose Valverde
RP3
Chris Capuano
RP4
Brett Anderson
RP5
Wade Miley
Res C
Rod Barajas
Res IF
Lyle Overbay
Res IF
Junior Spivey
Res IF
Chad Tracy
Res OF
Gerardo Parra
Res OF
Adam Eaton
Res UT
Jack Cust
 
Best who got away: Carlos Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, Justin Upton
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Luis Gonzalez, Steve Finley
Strengths: None
Weaknesses: All
The Diamondbacks simply haven’t been around long enough to compare to the others. Webb and Scherzer, at their best, make a pretty good duo at the top of the rotation. 
 
It’s easy to forget just how good Webb was…he racked up over 33 rWAR in just 6 full seasons before getting hurt, so he has the highest career value so far, but I think Gonzalez, Goldschmidt, and Upton will all surpass him in another couple of years or so. It’s a coin toss among them, so I went with Car-Go as team MVP, but you could go with any of them.
 
A lot of these players are still active. Goldschmidt, Gonzalez, Scherzer, and Upton should still have a lot of future value to add before they’re done.
 
#29-Tampa Bay Rays
Team Score: 17.52
Position
Player
C
John Jaso
1B
Aubrey Huff
2B
Akinori Iwamura
3B
Evan Longoria
SS
Elliot Johnson
LF
Carl Crawford
CF
Josh Hamilton
RF
Melvin Upton
SP1
David Price
SP2
James Shields
SP3
Jason Hammel
SP4
Rolando Arrojo
SP5
Jeremy Hellickson
RP1
Wade Davis
RP2
Dan Wheeler
RP3
Jose Veras
RP4
Alex Cobb
RP5
Joe Kennedy
Res C
Stephen Vogt
Res IF
Derek Dietrich
Res IF
Jared Sandberg
Res IF
Tim Beckham
Res OF
Desmond Jennings
Res OF
Rocco Baldelli
Res UT
Kevin Kiermaier
 
Best who got away: Josh Hamilton, Wade Davis
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Ben Zobrist, Carlos Pena, Scott Kazmir
Strengths: Speed
Weaknesses: Everything else
Similar to the Diamondbacks, they just haven’t had enough time to develop much of a full roster. Longoria, Hamilton, and Crawford are the best players on the team, with Price and Shields as a decent duo in the rotation. Crawford and Upton help them achieve a decent speed score.

Davis, of course, famously flamed out as a starter in Tampa Bay before becoming a dominant reliever in KC.
 
#28-Colorado Rockies
Team Score: 21.01
Position
Player
C
Chris Ianetta
1B
Todd Helton
2B
Craig Counsell
3B
Chone Figgins
SS
Troy Tulowitzki
LF
Matt Holliday
CF
Juan Pierre
RF
Seth Smith
SP1
Ubaldo Jimenez
SP2
Aaron Cook
SP3
Jake Westbrook
SP4
Jhoulys Chacin
SP5
John Thomson
RP1
Pedro Strop
RP2
Luis Ayala
RP3
Jason Jennings
RP4
Shawn Chacon
RP5
Jeff Francis
Res C
Josh Bard
Res IF
Clint Barmes
Res IF
Juan Uribe
Res IF
Nolan Arenado
Res OF
Dexter Fowler
Res OF
Jody Gerut
Res UT
Everth Cabrera
 
Best who got away: Chone Figgins, Craig Counsell…but they really haven’t lost any major stars that would be affiliated more with other franchises, unless you count Holliday, but they did get 5 good years out of him.
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Larry Walker, Vinnie Castilla, Ellis Burks, Andres Galarraga
Strengths: Speed
Weaknesses: Pitching (of course)
 
Although they have a few years on the Diamondbacks and the Rays, it’s hard for the Rockies to compete. The team rates pretty well on speed with Pierre and Figgins, and Tulowitzki, Helton, and Holliday make for a pretty good power base. They rank dead last in pitching….not that that would surprise anyone. 
 
Arenado figures to rate above Figgins in the near future at 3B. He looks like the real deal. If he turns out to have the career he seems capable of, that would be a pretty good infield with Helton, Tulowitzki, Arenado as the stars, with either Figgins or Counsell at 2B.
 
#27-Florida Marlins
Team Score: 25.24
Positon
Player
C
Charles Johnson
1B
Adrian Gonzalez
2B
Luis Castillo
3B
Miguel Cabrera
SS
Edgar Renteria
LF
Josh Willingham
CF
Randy Winn
RF
Giancarlo Stanton
SP1
Josh Beckett
SP2
Livan Hernandez
SP3
Josh Johnson
SP4
Jose Fernandez
SP5
Jason Vargas
RP1
Steve Cishek
RP2
A.J. Ramos
RP3
Nate Robertson
RP4
Tom Koehler
RP5
Tony Saunders
Res C
Mike Redmond
Res IF
Kevin Millar
Res IF
Alex Gonzalez
Res IF
Gaby Sanchez
Res OF
Mark Kotsay
Res OF
Christian Yelich
Res UT
Marcell Ozuna
 
Best who got away: Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Hanley Ramirez, Cliff Floyd, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield
Strengths: The infield is pretty decent
Weaknesses: Pretty much everything else
 
The Marlins came up with a couple of real gems in Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez, but then traded them both away. Gonzalez never played for them, although they did get 5 years out of Cabrera…..but his better years were with the Tigers.
 
The infield’s not bad with A. Gonzalez, Castillo, Renteria and Cabrera, especially with 2 of the 4 still active.
 
OK…we got the ‘90’s expansion teams out of the way. From this point on, it gets a little more competitive.
 
#26-Milwaukee Brewers
Team Score: 35.22
Position
Player
C
Darrell Porter
1B
Prince Fielder
2B
Ronnie Belliard
3B
Paul Molitor*
SS
Robin Yount*
LF
Ryan Braun
CF
Gorman Thomas
RF
Gary Sheffield
SP1
Teddy Higuera
SP2
Chris Bosio
SP3
Ben Sheets
SP4
Yovani Gallardo
SP5
Bill Wegman
RP1
Doug Jones
RP2
Dan Plesac
RP3
Moose Haas
RP4
Jim Slaton
RP5
Cal Eldred
Res C
Jonathan LuCroy
Res IF
Corey Hart
Res IF
J.J. Hardy
Res IF
Jim Gantner
Res OF
B.J. Surhoff
Res OF
Greg Vaughn
Res UT
Sixto Lezcano
 
Best who got away: Gary Sheffield, Darrell Porter
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Cecil Cooper, George Scott, Don Money, Carlos Gomez, Ben Oglivie
Strengths: Power, overall offense, catching
Weaknesses: Pitching, defense
 
We have encountered our first Hall of Fame sightings with Yount and Molitor. It’s a good offense with Molitor and Yount leading the way, with a good power base of Fielder, Sheffield, and Braun. They rank as the lowest overall defensive team, however. They also rank low on pitching.
 
#25-San Diego Padres
Team Score: 36.19
Position
Player
C
Benito Santiago
1B
Derrek Lee
2B
Roberto Alomar*
3B
Chase Headley
SS
Ozzie Smith*
LF
Dave Winfield*
CF
Kevin McReynolds
RF
Tony Gwynn*
SP1
Jake Peavy
SP2
Andy Benes
SP3
Omar Olivares
SP4
Mike Caldwell
SP5
Randy Jones
RP1
Tim Worrell
RP2
Doug Brocail
RP3
Greg Harris
RP4
Eric Show
RP5
Joey Hamilton
Res C
Sandy Alomar
Res IF
John Kruk
Res IF
Carlos Baerga
Res IF
Jose Valentin
Res OF
Shane Mack
Res OF
Johnny Grubb
Res UT
Dave Hollins
 
Best who got away: Roberto Alomar, Ozzie Smith Carlos Baerga
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Trevor Hoffman, Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles,
Strengths: Defense, speed
Weaknesses: Pitching, power
 
San Diego actually produced 4 Hall of Fame players, tied for the most of any team in this study, a pretty impressive achievement. Unfortunately, they didn’t produce much outside of those 4. They weren’t able to come up with any closer-types, and their overall pitching is quite weak.
 
#24-Los Angeles/Anaheim/California Angels
Team Score: 37.14
Position
Player
C
Mike Napoli
1B
Wally Joyner
2B
Howie Kendrick
3B
Carney Lansford
SS
Dickie Thon
LF
Mike Trout
CF
Jim Edmonds
RF
Tim Salmon
SP1
Frank Tanana
SP2
Chuck Finley
SP3
Andy Messersmith
SP4
Jered Weaver
SP5
John Lackey
RP1
Francisco Rodriguez
RP2
Troy Percival
RP3
Dave LaRoche
RP4
Jarrod Washburn
RP5
Mike Witt
Res C
Brian Harper
Res IF
Darin Erstad
Res IF
Erick Aybar
Res IF
Troy Glaus
Res OF
Devon White
Res OF
Garret Anderson
Res UT
Tom Brunansky
 
Best who got away: Tom Brunansky, Brian Harper, Dickie Thon….really not too many. 
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Bobby Grich, Brian Downing, Nolan Ryan, Jim Fregosi
Strengths: Bullpen
Weaknesses: Infield
The Angels are probably one of the least exciting rosters in this study. They rate as middle-of-the-pack in most categories.
 
If you did an all-time team for this franchise, the biggest names that aren’t already on there would be Brian Downing, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich, and Nolan Ryan. They did a pretty good job of holding on to the better players that they developed. Most of the players in the roster above would likely bring "Angels" to mind when you see their names.
 
However – they have not yet come up with any home-grown Hall of Famers yet. I suspect Trout will be the first, maybe 20 years or so from now. Edmonds still has quite a bit of career value over Trout, but I went with Trout as the best player.
 
#23-Chicago White Sox
Team Score: 38.15
Position
Player
C
Brian Downing
1B
Frank Thomas*
2B
Ray Durham
3B
Robin Ventura
SS
Alexei Ramirez
LF
Don Buford
CF
Mike Cameron
RF
Harold Baines
SP1
Mark Buehrle
SP2
Doug Drabek
SP3
Alex Fernandez
SP4
Jack McDowell
SP5
Chris Sale
RP1
Rich Gossage*
RP2
Bob Wickman
RP3
Terry Forster
RP4
Joe Horlen
RP5
Denny McLain
Res C
Ron Karkovice
Res IF
Randy Velarde
Res IF
Bucky Dent
Res IF
Bill Melton
Res OF
Carlos Lee
Res OF
Magglio Ordonez
Res UT
Joe Crede
 
Best who got away: Rich Gossage, Brian Downing, Mike Cameron, Doug Drabek, Don Buford
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Chet Lemon, Paul Konerko, Wilbur Wood, Carlton Fisk
Strengths: Corner infielders, power
Weaknesses: Rotation
 
The White Sox were able to produce a couple of Hall of Famers in Thomas and Gossage, but overall they rate as pretty middle-of-the-pack. I did a little bit of a position cheat with putting Downing at catcher, but he did end up with over 600 games there in his career. 
 
One of the characteristics of the White Sox franchise through most of their history was a lack of power. Prior to 1970, when Melton hit 33, their highest single-season HR mark was 29 (Gus Zernial and Eddie Robinson, both in the early ‘50’s). Their image was epitomized by that of the "Go Go" Sox, and their best franchise players over their history were the likes of Eddie Collins, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Luke Appling, Minnie Minoso, Fielder Jones, Johnny Mostil, Willie Kamm, Ray Schalk….. players like that. Good defense, good speed, little power.
 
Over the time span we’re looking at, though, they’ve been much more successful at coming up with some decent power hitters.
 
#22-Toronto Blue Jays
Team Score: 38.18
Position
Player
C
Yan Gomes
1B
John Olerud
2B
Jeff Kent
3B
Casey Blake
SS
Tony Fernandez
LF
Shannon Stewart
CF
Vernon Wells
RF
Jesse Barfield
SP1
Roy Halladay
SP2
Dave Stieb
SP3
David Wells
SP4
Jimmy Key
SP5
Chris Carpenter
RP1
Mike Timlin
RP2
Mark Eichhorn
RP3
Woody Williams
RP4
Pat Hentgen
RP5
Todd Stottlemyre
Res C
Greg Myers
Res IF
Carlos Delgado
Res IF
Michael Young
Res IF
Orlando Hudson
Res OF
Shawn Green
Res OF
Lloyd Moseby
Res UT
Alex Rios
 
Best who got away: Jeff Kent, Chris Carpenter, Michael Young, Casey Blake
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Jose Bautista, George Bell, Roberto Alomar, Tom Henke
Strengths: Rotation
Weaknesses: Catchers, lack of true closer
 
No Hall of Famers produced yet, but Halladay could change that in the coming years. Hallday, Stieb, and Wells make for a nice top of the rotation. They do not rate as a very good offensive team
 
A lot of the top players in their history, such as Bautista, G. Bell, Alomar, and Henke, came from other organizations.
 
#21-Chicago Cubs
Team Score: 38.43
Position
Player
C
Rick Wilkins
1B
Rafael Palmeiro
2B
Scott Fletcher
3B
Josh Donaldson
SS
Shawon Dunston
LF
Lou Brock*
CF
Bill North
RF
Oscar Gamble
SP1
Greg Maddux*
SP2
Rick Reuschel
SP3
Jamie Moyer
SP4
Carlos Zambrano
SP5
Burt Hooton
RP1
Bruce Sutter*
RP2
Lee Smith
RP3
Ron Perranoski
RP4
Joe Niekro
RP5
Kerry Wood
Res C
Geovany Soto
Res IF
Mark Grace
Res IF
Don Kessinger
Res IF
Kris Bryant
Res OF
Joe Carter
Res OF
Dave Martinez
Res UT
Carmelo Martinez
 
Best who got away: There were a lot – Greg Maddux, Lou Brock, Bill North, Ron Perranoski, Joe Carter, Joe Niekro, Rafael Palmeiro, Josh Donaldson. 
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Sammy Sosa, Aramis Ramirez
Strengths: Rotation, bullpen
Weaknesses: Defense, overall quality of starting 8 position players
 
This is a roster that has produced 3 Hall of Famers (Maddux, Sutter, Brock). If we had drawn the line just a couple of years earlier, we could have included Billy Williams and Ron Santo, which would have given them 5.
 
The Cubs are certainly one team where a lot of their better "originals" have found more success elsewhere. Take another pass through that roster. I’d guess you’d probably associate less than half of those names primarily as Cubs.
 
Ironically, we tend to think of the Cubs as a pretty good offensive team and a pretty poor pitching team because of their home park, but they actually rate here as a rather poor offensive team, but with one of the stronger staffs. Maddux is obviously one of the all-time greats, but Reuschel has a very high rWAR as well, Moyer’s is over 50, and Zambrano and Hooton were quality starters as well. And the bullpen, led by Sutter, Smith, and Perranoski, is top notch as well.
 
 
#20-San Francisco Giants
Team Score: 39.89
Position
Player
C
Buster Posey
1B
Will Clark
2B
Robby Thompson
3B
Matt Williams
SS
Chris Speier
LF
George Foster
CF
Garry Maddox
RF
Bobby Bonds
SP1
Gaylord Perry*
SP2
Matt Cain
SP3
Jim Barr
SP4
Bill Hands
SP5
Tim Lincecum
RP1
Joe Nathan
RP2
Keith Foulke
RP3
Gary Lavelle
RP4
Madison Bumgarner
RP5
John Montefusco
Res C
Tom Haller
Res IF
Jack Clark
Res IF
Royce Clayton
Res IF
Bill Mueller
Res OF
Gary Matthews
Res OF
Chili Davis
Res UT
Jim Ray Hart
 
 
Best who got away: George Foster, Garry Maddox, Bill Hands, Joe Nathan, Jack Clark, Keith Foulke
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent
Strengths: Defense, bullpen, depth
Weaknesses: Speed,
 
I think Bill made the observation years ago about the great run this team had of developing outfielders in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s – a lot of those names are above: Bobby Bonds, Maddox, Matthews, Foster, Jack Clark. You can add Dave Kingman to that too. But, most of them found greater success elsewhere.
 
They have only produced one Hall of Famer over this span, although Will Clark is a popular dark horse candidate if/when he comes up for consideration somewhere down the line. Posey has a long way to go, but I think he’s tracking favorably towards a Hall of Fame career. He has an MVP, a batting title, a career .311 average (which will surely go down, but still….), he has 3 rings, and he’s still only 28. He’s looking pretty good.
 
The Giants rate pretty high defensively, with good gloves like Maddox, Thompson, Williams, Clark, and Bonds. There are a lot of Gold Gloves on this roster.
 
#19-Texas Rangers/Washington Senators v2.0
Team Score: 40.19
Position
Player
C
Ivan Rodriguez
1B
Mark Teixeira
2B
Ian Kinsler
3B
Bill Madlock
SS
Roy Smalley
LF
Rusty Greer
CF
Juan Gonzalez
RF
Sammy Sosa
SP1
Kevin Brown
SP2
Kenny Rogers
SP3
Danny Darwin
SP4
Wilson Alvarez
SP5
Ron Darling
RP1
Tom Henke
RP2
Dave Righetti
RP3
Robb Nen
RP4
Joe Coleman
RP5
Ryan Dempster
Res C
Jim Sundberg
Res IF
Mike Hargrove
Res IF
Rey Sanchez
Res IF
Edwin Encarnacion
Res OF
Ruben Sierra
Res OF
Del Unser
Res UT
Jeff Burroughs
 
Best who got away: Sammy Sosa, Bill Madlock, Edwin Encarnacion, Tom Henke, Dave Righetti, Robb Nen
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Josh Hamilton, Alex Rodriguez, Toby Harrah, Rafael Palmeiro, Buddy Bell, Charlie Hough
Strengths: Catching, bullpen
Weaknesses: Speed
 
Basically, a lot of talent left the building and succeeded elsewhere without contributing anything to the Rangers (see "Best who got away" above).
 
The Rangers do rate as the #1 overall catching team with Pudge as the #1 and a very good backup (Sundberg) as the #2. In the scoring system, this nudges them (by the slimmest of margins) past Johnny Bench/Johnny Edwards of the Reds as a catching tandem.
 
The bullpen is magnificent, with Henke, Righetti, and Nen. Henke and Nen are right around top-20 in career saves, and Righetti is #33. None of them did much of anything for Texas before becoming outstanding closers elsewhere. 
 
#18-Detroit Tigers
Team Score: 40.43
Position
Player
C
Bill Freehan
1B
Jason Thompson
2B
Lou Whitaker
3B
Travis Fryman
SS
Alan Trammell
LF
Willie Horton
CF
Curtis Granderson
RF
Kirk Gibson
SP1
John Smoltz*
SP2
Mickey Lolich
SP3
Jack Morris
SP4
Justin Verlander
SP5
Ken Hill
RP1
John Hiller
RP2
Francisco Cordero
RP3
Mike Henneman
RP4
Jim Rooker
RP5
Dick Drago
Res C
Lance Parrish
Res IF
Tony Clark
Res IF
Omar Infante
Res IF
Howard Johnson
Res OF
Bobby Higginson
Res OF
Jim Northrup
Res UT
Ron LeFlore
 
 
Best who got away: John Smoltz, Ken Hill, Francisco Cordero, Jim Rooker, Dick Drago
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Miguel Cabrera, Chet Lemon, Cecil Fielder, Tony Phillips
Strengths: Catching, double-play combination
Weaknesses: Outfield
 
The Tigers, except for Smoltz, did a pretty good job of holding on to the better players that originated with them. Most of the players on the roster are pretty identifiable, at least primarily, as Tigers.
 
I went with Trammell & Whitaker as co-MVP’s. It seemed fitting.
 
Smoltz is the only Hall of Famer out of the system, but Trammell and Whitaker get a lot of attention as being among the better players who are not currently in, and, of course, Jack Morris has a lot of supporters. If Bill Freehan ever makes it, the drinks are on me, as he is one of my favorites.
 
The rotation led by Smoltz, Lolich, Verlander, and Morris is pretty decent.
 
#17-New York Mets
Team Score: 41.80
Position
Player
C
Jody Davis
1B
Gregg Jefferies
2B
Edgardo Alfonzo
3B
David Wright
SS
Jose Reyes
LF
Ken Singleton
CF
Lenny Dykstra
RF
Darryl Strawberry
SP1
Tom Seaver*
SP2
Nolan Ryan*
SP3
Jerry Koosman
SP4
Dwight Gooden
SP5
Jon Matlack
RP1
Rick Aguilera
RP2
Jeff Reardon
RP3
Tug McGraw
RP4
Mike Scott
RP5
Randy Myers
Res C
Todd Hundley
Res IF
Dave Magadan
Res IF
Bud Harrelson
Res IF
Jose Oquendo
Res OF
Paul Blair
Res OF
Kevin Mitchell
Res UT
Carlos Gomez
 
Best who got away: Nolan Ryan, Jody Davis, Ken Singleton, Jeff Reardon, Rick Aguilera, Mike Scott, Paul Blair, Carlos Gomez.
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Mike Piazza, Keith Hernandez, John Franco, Carlos Beltran
Strengths: Pitching (especially rotation), speed
Weaknesses: Catching, overall offense
 
Meet your #1 rated pitching staff, led by Seaver and Ryan, recipients of the two highest vote %’s of any Hall of Fame player, both over 98% (not that that factored into the scoring at all). You’ve got 2 all-time greats with Seaver and Ryan, a #3 (Koosman) with more than 200 victories, a #4 (Gooden) who’s just a few wins shy of 200, and a quality #5 in Matlack. A strong rotation.
 
Unfortunately, the offense isn’t quite as good. First base is a weak spot, and the player there (Jefferies) never played a game at that position for this franchise, although that ended up being the position at which he played the most games in his career. There is some good team speed in the lineup with Reyes, Dykstra, Strawberry, Wright, and Jefferies.
 
The roster has an awful lot of players that found greater success with other franchises.
 
#16-Kansas City Royals
Team Score: 42.54
Position
Player
C
Don Slaught
1B
Mike Sweeney
2B
Frank White
3B
George Brett*
SS
U.L. Washington
LF
Johnny Damon
CF
Willie Wilson
RF
Carlos Beltran
SP1
David Cone
SP2
Bret Saberhagen
SP3
Kevin Appier
SP4
Zack Greinke
SP5
Tom Candiotti
RP1
Dan Quisenberry
RP2
Tom Gordon
RP3
Mark Gubicza
RP4
Dennis Leonard
RP5
Paul Splittorff
Res C
Mike MacFarlane
Res IF
Jeff Conine
Res IF
Mark Ellis
Res IF
Kevin Seitzer
Res OF
Alex Gordon
Res OF
Al Cowens
Res UT
Joe Randa
 
Best who got away: David Cone, Tom Candiotti, Jeff Conine, Mark Ellis
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Amos Otis, John Mayberry, Fred Patek, Jeff Montgomery, Hal McRae, Darrell Porter
Strengths: Speed, defense, rotation
Weaknesses: Power
 
The Royals rank #1 on the speed scale, led by the outfield trio of Wilson, Beltran, and Damon. All 3 played more CF than anything else in their careers, and they were all pretty speedy in their prime. The team also ranks in the top 10 on the defensive scale.
 
The rotation of Cone, Saberhagen, Appier, Greinke, and Candiotti is a good one.
 
Like many Royals teams, they’re a little short on power.
 
#15-St. Louis Cardinals
Team Score: 42.83
Position
Player
C
Ted Simmons
1B
Albert Pujols
2B
Placido Polanco
3B
Terry Pendleton
SS
Garry Templeton
LF
Jose Cruz
CF
Andy Van Slyke
RF
J.D. Drew
SP1
Steve Carlton*
SP2
Dan Haren
SP3
Jerry Reuss
SP4
John Denny
SP5
Bob Forsch
RP1
Todd Worrell
RP2
Al Hrabosky
RP3
Mike Torrez
RP4
Jeff Fassero
RP5
Nelson Briles
Res C
Yadier Molina
Res IF
Keith Hernandez
Res IF
Tom Herr
Res IF
Ken Oberkfell
Res OF
Ray Lankford
Res OF
Brian Jordan
Res UT
Todd Zeile
 
 
Best who got away: Jose Cruz, Placido Polanco, Dan Haren, Andy Van Slyke, Jerry Reuss, Mike Torrez
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, Scott Rolen, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jim Edmonds, Matt Holliday
Strengths: Defense, catching, depth
Weaknesses: Bullpen
 
They have produced one Hall of Famer in Carlton, but Pujols will certainly make it two when he’s done, and Keith Hernandez could certainly make it someday. Could potentially start him at 1B and move Pujols to LF, but Cruz rates almost as high as Hernandez in value anyway, so I left it as is.
 
It’s an interesting thing, but it seems like we always hear about how terrific the Cardinals are at developing pitchers, but how many pitchers have had great careers there over the past 50+ years? OK, Bob Gibson is one. Adam Wainwright’s another, but he also came over in a big trade with the Braves as a pretty highly regarded prospect. It just doesn’t seem like they really have ended up with many pitchers that have turned in big careers. Maybe Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, and Lance Lynn will turn that around. Guess we’ll see.
 
 
#14-New York Yankees
Team Score: 43.10
Position
Player
C
Thurman Munson
1B
Fred McGriff
2B
Robinson Cano
3B
Mike Lowell
SS
Derek Jeter
LF
Roy White
CF
Bernie Williams
RF
Bobby Murcer
SP1
Andy Pettitte
SP2
Ron Guidry
SP3
Mel Stottlemyre
SP4
Al Leiter
SP5
Jose Rijo
RP1
Mariano Rivera
RP2
David Robertson
RP3
Tim Belcher
RP4
Orlando Hernandez
RP5
Al Downing
Res C
Jorge Posada
Res IF
Don Mattingly
Res IF
Greg Gagne
Res IF
Mike Pagliarulo
Res OF
Willie McGee
Res OF
Alfonso Soriano
Res UT
Tom Tresh
 
 
Best who got away: Fred McGriff, Mike Lowell, Al Leiter, Jose Rijo, Greg Gagne, Willie McGee
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Willie Randolph, Dave Winfield, Alex Rodriguez, Graig Nettles, Mike Mussina, Rich Gossage, Dave Righetti, Rickey Henderson
Strengths: Overall offense, infield, catching, bullpen
Weaknesses: Defense, speed
 
No Hall of Famers yet out of this group, but that’s a mere formality for Jeter and Rivera, both of whom should easily get elected in their first year of eligibility. 
 
A couple of pretty good first basemen, I went with McGriff over Mattingly. Munson and Posada are a terrific catching tandem.
 
The Yankees famously had a really good run with the early-to-mid ‘90’s debuts of Williams, Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera, and Posada, all of whom made the team.
 
#13-Cincinnati Reds
Team Score: 43.97
Position
Player
C
Johnny Bench*
1B
Joey Votto
2B
Pete Rose
3B
Tony Perez*
SS
Barry Larkin*
LF
Jim Wynn
CF
Eric Davis
RF
Reggie Sanders
SP1
Charlie Leibrandt
SP2
Johnny Cueto
SP3
Mario Soto
SP4
Gary Nolan
SP5
Tom Browning
RP1
Trevor Hoffman
RP2
Aroldis Chapman
RP3
Jeff Montgomery
RP4
Don Gullett
RP5
Joaquin Andujar
Res C
Johnny Edwards
Res IF
Lee May
Res IF
Dave Concepcion
Res IF
Tommy Harper
Res OF
Paul O'Neill
Res OF
Ken Griffey Sr.
Res UT
Hal McRae
 
Best who got away: Jim Wynn, Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Montgomery, Charlie Leibrandt, Joaquin Andujar
Hal McRae
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Joe Morgan, George Foster, John Franco, Brandon Phillips
Strengths: Catching, bullpen, starting 8, overall offense
Weaknesses: Rotation, defense
 
3 Hall of Famers lead the way (Bench, Larkin, Perez) along with one should-have-been in Rose. Hoffman has good Hall of Fame credentials as well.
 
A couple of position cheats in putting Rose at 2B and Perez at 3B. However, Rose did play over 600 games at 2B, basically the same number he played at 3B, LF, or RF. And Perez played well over 700 games at 3B, including his first 4 All-Star Game seasons, so I feel OK with them there. They rank as the #4 infield in this study.
 
However, they are a little stretched defensively, and they do show as one of the weaker defensive teams. They are a little like the next team up on the list (the Pirates) – good offense, mediocre starting pitching. That’s been characteristic of both of these franchises, not just during this time frame, but their entire histories.
 
A lot of people forget that Hoffman started with the Reds….as a shortstop. Hoffman, Chapman, and Montgomery make for a nice trio in the bullpen.
 
#12-Pittsburgh Pirates
Team Score: 44.31
Position
Player
C
Jason Kendall
1B
Willie Stargell*
2B
Willie Randolph
3B
Aramis Ramirez
SS
Freddie Patek
LF
Barry Bonds
CF
Andrew McCutchen
RF
Dave Parker
SP1
John Candelaria
SP2
Tim Wakefield
SP3
Rick Honeycutt
SP4
Bob Veale
SP5
Esteban Loaiza
RP1
Kent Tekulve
RP2
Gene Garber
RP3
Steve Farr
RP4
Bronson Arroyo
RP5
Rick Reed
Res C
Manny Sanguillen
Res IF
Richie Hebner
Res IF
Gene Alley
Res IF
Don Money
Res OF
Moises Alou
Res OF
Bobby Bonilla
Res UT
Al Oliver
 
Best who got away: Willie Randolph, Moises Alou, Don Money, Barry Bonds, Tim Wakefield, Gene Garber
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Andy Van Slyke, Brian Giles, Doug Drabek, Rick Rhoden, Jason Bay
Strengths: Overall offense, depth, outfield
Weaknesses: Rotation, overall pitching
 
No surprise – this team can flat out hit, but they are pitching-challenged. This is consistent with the storyline of this franchise over its history. They’ve always been able to come up with hitters, but pitchers have been tougher to come by.
 
Stargell is the only Hall of Famer, but of course Bonds is another that is well over that line as a player. Randolph is a dark horse candidate down the road, and McCutchen, if he keeps on like he’s been going, could end up there someday.
 
I put Bonds in the "ones that got away" category even though they did get 7 years and 2 MVP’s out of him before he went to San Francisco, so he doesn’t quite fit the premise, but he just did so much after his Pittsburgh years that I decided to include him.
 
Randolph is one that got away that I’m sure they wish they’d have kept. In the early-to-mid ‘70’s, they came up with Dave Cash, Rennie Stennett, and Randolph. They traded Cash to the Phillies (for Ken Brett) in ’73 and then a couple of years later traded Randolph with Ken Brett and Dock Ellis to the Yankees for Doc Medich. Then, about a year later, they traded Medich in a huge deal with the A’s, sending Tony Armas, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti, Rick Langford and Mitchell Page to Oakland for Chris Batton, Phil Garner and Tommy Helms (who was just about done as a player). Garner was a good player for the Pirates, but essentially they traded Cash, Randolph, Armas, Bair, Giusti, Langford, and Page for Garner. I’d have to say that that series of trades was not one of their better moments.
 
#11-Seattle Mariners
Team Score: 44.44
Position
Player
C
Jason Varitek
1B
David Ortiz
2B
Bret Boone
3B
Edgar Martinez
SS
Alex Rodriguez
LF
Phil Bradley
CF
Ken Griffey Jr.
RF
Ichiro Suzuki
SP1
Mark Langston
SP2
Felix Hernandez
SP3
Derek Lowe
SP4
Mike Hampton
SP5
Mike Moore
RP1
J.J. Putz
RP2
Rafael Soriano
RP3
Bud Black
RP4
Doug Fister
RP5
Erik Hanson
Res C
Dave Valle
Res IF
Tino Martinez
Res IF
Harold Reynolds
Res IF
Omar Vizquel
Res OF
Dave Henderson
Res OF
Adam Jones
Res UT
Shin-Soo Choo
 
Best who got away: David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Mike Hampton, Adam Jones, Omar Vizquel
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Jay Buhner
Strengths: Outfield, overall offensive talent, big stars in the lineup
Weaknesses: Rotation, defense is stretched with the 2 DH’s in the lineup.
 
I suppose you could also include A-Rod in the "Best who got away"….but they did get 7 years out of him. 
 
No Hall of Famers yet, but that will change when Ken Griffey Jr. is elected. I also think Suzuki will go in right away as soon as he’s eligible. I guess we’ll have to see what the landscape is like when A-Rod is up for consideration. At this point, his election doesn’t seem likely, but that can certainly change. E. Martinez is a solid Hall of Fame candidate, and Ortiz will be too when he’s up for consideration. There will definitely be some Hall of Famers coming out of this roster.
 
The most striking thing about this team is that you’ve got two of the best DH’s ever in Edgar Martinez and David Ortiz. I didn’t designate DH’s for any teams, so I’m going to have to go with Edgar at 3B and Ortiz at 1B. Boone and A-Rod will be busy in the field. It’s an impressive lineup, though…..
 
#10-Philadelphia Phillies
Team Score: 44.46
Position
Player
C
Bob Boone
1B
Dick Allen
2B
Ryne Sandberg*
3B
Mike Schmidt*
SS
Jimmy Rollins
LF
Lonnie Smith
CF
Marlon Byrd
RF
John Briggs
SP1
Fergie Jenkins*
SP2
Cole Hamels
SP3
Rick Wise
SP4
Kevin Gross
SP5
Dave Roberts
RP1
Mike Marshall
RP2
Willie Hernandez
RP3
Michael Jackson
RP4
Grant Jackson
RP5
Randy Wolf
Res C
Darren Daulton
Res IF
Julio Franco
Res IF
Chase Utley
Res IF
Scott Rolen
Res OF
Greg Luzinski
Res OF
George Bell
Res UT
Toby Harrah
 
 
Best who got away: Ryne Sandberg, Fergie Jenkins, Willie Hernandez, Julio Franco, George Bell,Toby Harrah
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Steve Carlton, Garry Maddox, Bobby Abreu, Von Hayes, Lenny Dykstra, Von Hayes, Curt Schilling
Strengths: Infield, depth, defense, speed
Weaknesses: Outfield, bullpen
 
The Phillies rate as the #1 infield with 2 Hall of Famers (Schmidt & Sandberg), one that may well end up as one (Allen), and another that will have an interesting case (Rollins). All 4 of them have been MVP’s. In addition, the backup infielders (Rolen, Utley, and Franco) have all had very successful careers in their own right. A very deserving #1 infield.
 
However, the outfield is pretty weak with Smith, Byrd, and Briggs. The rotation after Jenkins and Hamels isn’t very strong, and neither is the bullpen.
 
The Phillies had a lot of high profile exchanges. They traded away future Hall of Famers Sandberg and Jenkins, and acquired one in Carlton (and possibly another one in Schilling).
 
#9-Los Angeles Dodgers
Team Score: 44.90
Position
Player
C
Mike Piazza
1B
Steve Garvey
2B
Davey Lopes
3B
Adrian Beltre
SS
Bill Russell
LF
Shane Victorino
CF
Matt Kemp
RF
Raul Mondesi
SP1
Pedro Martinez*
SP2
Don Sutton*
SP3
Orel Hershiser
SP4
Clayton Kershaw
SP5
Fernando Valenzuela
RP1
John Wetteland
RP2
John Franco
RP3
Bob Welch
RP4
Charlie Hough
RP5
Doyle Alexander
Res C
Russell Martin
Res IF
Paul Konerko
Res IF
Steve Sax
Res IF
Ron Cey
Res OF
Willie Crawford
Res OF
Lee Lacy
Res UT
Ken McMullen
 
Best who got away: Pedro Martinez, John Wetteland, John Franco, Paul Konerko, Shane Victorino, Charlie Hough
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Pedro Guerrero, Dusty Baker, Ron Perranoski
Strengths: Bullpen, rotation, speed
Weaknesses: Outfield
 
Overall, 2 Hall of Fame pitchers have been produced, but there could be other Hall of Famers to come with Piazza on the brink, and 2 very strong active candidates with Beltre and Kershaw. Kershaw has a long way to go….but still, 3 Cy Youngs in 4 years (and finishing 2nd in the other year), 1 MVP, 4 straight ERA titles…..he’s looking good. His top 5 comps through age 26 are Seaver, Palmer, Clemens, Pedro….and Babe Ruth (as a pitcher). Pretty nice company.
 
This rates as the #1 bullpen, with Wetteland and Franco as a nice 1-2 righty/left duo, and Welch, Hough, and Alexander giving the team either long relief and/or spot starts.
 
#8-Cleveland Indians
Team Score: 45.16
Position
Player
C
Victor Martinez
1B
Jim Thome
2B
Jason Kipnis
3B
Buddy Bell
SS
Jhonny Peralta
LF
Albert Belle
CF
Brian Giles
RF
Manny Ramirez
SP1
Luis Tiant
SP2
Tommy John
SP3
CC Sabathia
SP4
Bartolo Colon
SP5
Sam McDowell
RP1
Dennis Eckersley*
RP2
Jeff Shaw
RP3
Sonny Siebert
RP4
Greg Swindell
RP5
Charles Nagy
Res C
Ron Hassey
Res IF
Chris Chambliss
Res IF
Marco Scutaro
Res IF
Kelly Gruber
Res OF
Pedro Guerrero
Res OF
Tommie Agee
Res UT
Von Hayes
 
Best who got away: Brian Giles, Buddy Bell, Luis Tiant, Tommy John, Dennis Eckersley, Pedro Guerrero
Tommie Agee, Jeff Shaw
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Kenny Lofton, Shin-Soo Choo, Gaylord Perry, Grady Sizemore
Strengths: Overall offense, power, overall pitching staff
Weaknesses: Defense, speed
 
Yes, I was shocked they were this high, too. I think a big part of it is that a lot of their top talent has made big names for themselves with other organizations.
 
They’ve only come up with one Hall of Famer over this time frame (Eckersley), but have many other candidates that have more than their share of supporters in Tiant, John, Thome (who will be up in the next few years), Bell, and Manny (who won’t make it because of the steroid connection, but he was certainly quite the hitter).
 
It’s an interesting rotation, with Tiant, John, Sabathia, Colon, and McDowell.
 
The Indians are the lowest-ranked team in speed, and next to last in defense. In particular, their outfield is particularly slow and poor defensively.
 
#7-Houston Astros
Team Score: 45.17
 
Position
Player
C
Jerry Grote
1B
Lance Berkman
2B
Joe Morgan*
3B
Ken Caminiti
SS
Carlos Guillen
LF
Cesar Cedeno
CF
Kenny Lofton
RF
Bobby Abreu
SP1
Roy Oswalt
SP2
Johan Santana
SP3
Freddy Garcia
SP4
Larry Dierker
SP5
Don Wilson
RP1
Billy Wagner
RP2
Dave Giusti
RP3
Floyd Bannister
RP4
Ken Forsch
RP5
J.R. Richard
Res C
Cliff Johnson
Res IF
Bob Watson
Res IF
Craig Biggio*
Res IF
Doug Rader
Res OF
Luis Gonzalez
Res OF
Rusty Staub
Res UT
Ben Zobrist
 
Best who got away: Kenny Lofton, Bobby Abreu, Joe Morgan, Johan Santana, Dave Giusti, Ben Zobrist
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Jeff Bagwell, Jose Cruz, Jim Wynn, Dickie Thon, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott
Strengths: Speed, depth, outfield
Weaknesses: Defense, catching,
 
The Astros were about as shocking to me as the Indians. Again, some of this may be due to a lot of the players being much more recognized for what they did after their time with Astros. In particular, Houston got essentially nothing out of Lofton and Abreu, both of who went on to great success with other franchises.
 
By the way….which outfield is faster? Royals with Damon, Wilson, and Beltran? Or: Astros with Cedeno, Lofton, and Abreu?
 
There are two Hall of Famers in Morgan and Biggio who, unfortunately, both play the same position.   I considered moving Biggio to catcher or outfield, but decided against it. I did move Berkman from the OF to 1B, though.
 
The team also has a strong and versatile bench with Biggio, Zobrist, Staub, Watson, and L. Gonzalez.
 
#6-Atlanta Braves
Team Score: 45.54
Position
Player
C
Javy Lopez
1B
Ryan Klesko
2B
Ron Hunt
3B
Chipper Jones
SS
Rafael Furcal
LF
Brett Butler
CF
Andruw Jones
RF
Dale Murphy
SP1
Phil Niekro*
SP2
Tom Glavine*
SP3
Adam Wainwright
SP4
Jason Schmidt
SP5
Kevin Millwood
RP1
Craig Kimbrel
RP2
Clay Carroll
RP3
Ron Reed
RP4
Zane Smith
RP5
Mike Stanton
Res C
Brian McCann
Res IF
Bob Horner
Res IF
Martin Prado
Res IF
Denis Menke
Res OF
David Justice
Res OF
Dusty Baker
Res UT
Ron Gant
 
Best who got away: Adam Wainwright, Jason Schmidt, Dusty Baker, Brett Butler
Best who were later acquired from other teams: John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Darrell Evans
Strengths: Rotation, outfield depth
Weaknesses: Speed
 
Even with Smoltz and Maddux coming from other organizations, the Braves were still pretty adept at coming up with talented pitchers, including Niekro, Glavine, Wainwright, Schmidt, and Millwood.
 
The team produced 2 Hall of Famers, plus Chipper will make it 3 once he’s eligible. Dale Murphy and Andruw Jones are also interesting candidates, although Murphy didn’t make it in during his recent 15-year term on the ballot, and Jones is coming up in a few years. He’s an intriguing candidate, surely one of the best defensive CF’ers ever, but probably destined to come up short.
 
#5-Baltimore Orioles
Team Score: 46.45
Position
Player
C
Gregg Zaun
1B
Eddie Murray*
2B
Bobby Grich
3B
Doug DeCinces
SS
Cal Ripken*
LF
Boog Powell
CF
Steve Finley
RF
Jayson Werth
SP1
Mike Mussina
SP2
Jim Palmer*
SP3
Dennis Martinez
SP4
Mike Boddicker
SP5
Dean Chance
RP1
Sparky Lyle
RP2
Armando Benitez
RP3
Gregg Olson
RP4
Mike Flanagan
RP5
Dave McNally
Res C
Matt Wieters
Res IF
Davey Johnson
Res IF
Mark Belanger
Res IF
Brian Roberts
Res OF
Al Bumbry
Res OF
Nick Markakis
Res UT
Don Baylor
 
 
Best who got away: Dean Chance, Sparkly Lyle, Jayson Werth, Steve Finley
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Paul Blair, Don Buford, Ken Singleton
Strengths: Infield, rotation, defense
Weaknesses: Catching, speed
 
The Orioles have done a good job of growing and keeping their own. Of the 3 Hall of Famers, Palmer and Ripken were lifetime Orioles, and Murray spent most of his career with them too. Mussina is a potential 4th Hall of Famer, and Bobby Grich is one of the popular choices for the analytics community.
 
The Orioles didn’t have a real strong left field option, so I went with Powell, who played for 3 season there at the beginning of his career before it became "challenging" for him to continue doing so.
 
Pitching, infield, defense – those are the definite strengths of this team. Was there ever any doubt? The infield ranks #2 in this study behind the Phillies.
 
#4-Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
Team Score: 46.68
Position
Player
C
Gary Carter*
1B
Andres Galarraga
2B
Brandon Phillips
3B
Tim Wallach
SS
Orlando Cabrera
LF
Tim Raines
CF
Andre Dawson*
RF
Larry Walker
SP1
Randy Johnson*
SP2
Cliff Lee
SP3
Javier Vazquez
SP4
Steve Rogers
SP5
Scott Sanderson
RP1
Ugueth Urbina
RP2
Norm Charlton
RP3
Bill Gullickson
RP4
Shane Rawley
RP5
Jordan Zimmermann
Res C
Derek Norris
Res IF
Ryan Zimmerman
Res IF
Delino DeShields
Res IF
Tony Phillips
Res OF
Vladimir Guerrero
Res OF
Rondell White
Res UT
Bryce Harper
 
Best who got away: Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Norm Charlton, Tony Phillips
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Ron Fairly, Rusty Staub, Moises Alou, Dennis Martinez, Pedro Martinez
Strengths: Speed, defense, outfield, top of the rotation
Weaknesses: Infield, bullpen
 
Really? The Expos/Nationals are #4? I’m stunned. 
 
But, let’s look at the facts. The have come up with 3 Hall of Famers (Carter, Dawson, and Randy Johnson). 
 
Tim Raines is a strong candidate, who, although he may not make it in before his time on the BBWAA ballot expires, will remain a strong candidate for future committees. 
 
Larry Walker is another solid candidate who, while unlikely to make it on the writer’s ballot, has good credentials.
 
Vladimir Guerrero will be on the ballot in a couple of years, and stands an an excellent chance of being elected.
 
Cliff Lee, while well short of a Hall of Fame career, has a Cy Young award and several other seasons where he finished fairly high up on the ballots.
 
They also came up with Tony Phillips, certainly one of the best true, multi-positional players ever.
 
The outfield is one of the best in the study…..Raines, Dawson, and either Walker or Guerrero, depending on your taste, along with one of the most exciting young outfielders in the game today, Bryce Harper.
 
It’s an excellent record of talent origination. Unfortunately….they really haven’t done much with it over the course of the franchise’s history. The Expos made the playoffs exactly 1 time in their 35 years in Montreal, and although they’ve done a little better in Washington, they’ve still only made the postseason twice and were promptly eliminated both times.
 
#3-Minnesota Twins
Team Score: 46.97
Position
Player
C
Joe Mauer
1B
Kent Hrbek
2B
Rod Carew*
3B
Graig Nettles
SS
Jay Bell
LF
Tony Oliva
CF
Kirby Puckett*
RF
Reggie Smith
SP1
Bert Blyleven*
SP2
Frank Viola
SP3
Brad Radke
SP4
Denny Neagle
SP5
Scott Erickson
RP1
Jesse Orosco
RP2
LaTroy Hawkins
RP3
Eddie Guardado
RP4
Dave Goltz
RP5
Rudy May
Res C
Butch Wynegar
Res IF
Justin Morneau
Res IF
Chuck Knoblauch
Res IF
Gary Gaetti
Res OF
Torii Hunter
Res OF
Michael Cuddyer
Res UT
Corey Koskie
 
Best who got away: Graig Nettles, Reggie Smith, Jesse Orosco, Jay Bell
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Shane Mack, Roy Smalley, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Rick Aguilera
Strengths: They don’t have any overwhelming strengths….but they rate among the top 6-10 in several categories, including starting 8, depth, infield, outfield, offense, defense. They just rate as a pretty good team across several catgegorie.s
Weaknesses: Speed, bullpen
 
The Twins have produced 3 Hall of Famers in this time frame (Carew, Puckett, and Blyleven) along with 2 others that didn’t get much support the first time around but are popular in the analytic community in Nettles and R. Smith. Also, Tony Oliva has come close to election in the Veteran’s Committee voting, and Mauer is one who has been building a good case for quite a while, including his MVP and 3 batting titles.
 
#2-Oakland A’s
Team Score: 51.18
Position
Player
C
Gene Tenace
1B
Mark McGwire
2B
Phil Garner
3B
Sal Bando
SS
Bert Campaneris
LF
Rickey Henderson*
CF
Chet Lemon
RF
Reggie Jackson*
SP1
Catfish Hunter*
SP2
Vida Blue
SP3
Tim Hudson
SP4
Barry Zito
SP5
Mike Morgan
RP1
Rollie Fingers*
RP2
Huston Street
RP3
Rod Beck
RP4
Kevin Tapani
RP5
Rich Harden
Res C
Mickey Tettleton
Res IF
Jason Giambi
Res IF
Miguel Tejada
Res IF
Darrell Evans
Res OF
Dwayne Murphy
Res OF
Jose Canseco
Res UT
Eric Chavez
 
Best who got away: Chet Lemon, Darrell Evans, Rod Beck, Huston Street, Rod Beck, Mickey Tettleton, Phil Garner
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart, Carney Lansford
Strengths: Outfield, depth, power, plate discipline, speed
Weaknesses: Defense
 
For starters, the team has come up with 4 Hall of Famers in this time frame: Henderson, R. Jackson, Hunter, and Fingers).
 
Of course, this team has a big cloud over hanging over their heads with the likes of Canseco, McGwire, Tejada, and Giambi on it.  
 
#1-Boston Red Sox
Team Score: 62.26
Position
Player
C
Carlton Fisk*
1B
Jeff Bagwell
2B
Dustin Pedroia
3B
Wade Boggs*
SS
Jim Fregosi
LF
Carl Yastrzemski*
CF
Fred Lynn
RF
Dwight Evans
SP1
Roger Clemens
SP2
Curt Schilling
SP3
Wilbur Wood
SP4
John Tudor
SP5
Jon Lester
RP1
Jonathan Papelbon
RP2
Dick Radatz
RP3
Bob Stanley
RP4
Bruce Hurst
RP5
Anibal Sanchez
Res C
Ernie Whitt
Res IF
George Scott
Res IF
Nomar Garciaparra
Res IF
Rico Petrocelli
Res OF
Ellis Burks
Res OF
Jim Rice*
Res UT
Amos Otis
 
Best who got away: Jeff Bagwell, Jim Fregosi, Wilbur Wood, Anibal Sanchez, Amos Otis
Best who were later acquired from other teams: Reggie Smith, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Luis Tiant, Manny Ramirez
Strengths: Pretty much everything. They are rated #1 in overall offense, starting rotation, starting 8, and overall staff.
Weaknesses: Speed
 
An impressive collection of talent, led by 4 Hall of Famers in Yaz, Fisk, Boggs, and Rice, plus other strong candidates in Clemens, Bagwell, and Schilling, not to mention Evans. Basically, they blew the field away.
 
How’s this for a potential batting order?
 
1
Dustin Pedroia
2
Wade Boggs
3
Carl Yastrzemski
4
Jeff Bagwell
5
Fred Lynn
6
Dwight Evans
7
Carlton Fisk
8
Jim Fregosi
 
 
Wrapping it Up
 
Here are a couple of charts summarizing everything. 
 
First, the full listing/ranking by team score. Next to the score is the average # of team wins per season during the 1961-2014 time frame.   Note that there doesn’t appear to be a real strong connection between having a high team score and high average wins. It doesn’t prove anything….but there doesn’t seem to be a strong connection. 
 
The team with the highest average wins (Yankees) was only #14 in the team score. Now, the #2 and #3 teams in average wins per season (Dodgers and Red Sox) did end up pretty high on the team score (#9 and #1, respectively), but the Cardinals and Reds (#4 & #5 in wins) are right about where the Yankees are, in the middle.
 
The Twins, the Expos, the Astros, and the Indians, are all in the lower half of average wins per season (all below .500 winning percentage), but all were in the top 8 in team score in this study.
 
There were also some surprisingly good results by expansion franchises, particularly by Montreal/Washington, Houston, and Seattle.
 
Rank Score
Team
Team Score in New Originals Study
Avg Wins 1961-2014 Era
Rank in Average Wins
1
Red Sox
62.26
84.54
3
2
A's
51.18
80.83
9
3
Twins
46.97
79.15
15
4
Expos
46.68
76.67
21
5
Orioles
46.45
82.72
7
6
Braves
45.54
82.70
8
7
Astros
45.17
77.74
18
8
Indians
45.16
77.54
19
9
Dodgers
44.90
85.63
2
10
Phillies
44.46
79.69
14
11
Mariners
44.44
74.26
29
12
Pirates
44.31
78.63
16
13
Reds
43.97
83.70
5
14
Yankees
43.10
89.02
1
15
Cardinals
42.83
84.17
4
16
Royals
42.54
76.70
20
17
Mets
41.80
76.19
22
18
Tigers
40.43
79.93
12
19
Rangers
40.19
75.80
24
20
Giants
39.89
82.80
6
21
Cubs
38.43
75.69
25
22
Blue Jays
38.18
78.55
17
23
White Sox
38.15
80.30
10
24
Angels
37.14
79.96
11
25
Padres
36.19
73.87
30
26
Brewers
35.22
76.11
23
27
Marlins
25.24
74.68
27
28
Rockies
21.01
74.59
28
29
Rays
17.52
74.82
26
30
Diamondbacks
17.23
79.71
13
 
 
Now, I’ll be the first to admit this doesn’t "prove" a darn thing. It’s really just another way of looking at it. There does seem to be some connection between having a high team score and team success….but I don’t know that I’d call it a strong one.
 
Final chart – This shows how the various teams rank in various categories that I referenced in the earlier summaries. It’s color coded so that green represents the top third in a category, yellow the middle third, and red the bottom third.
 
There’s a lot going on there, but it just shows at a glance how the different teams compare on various elements and or position groupings. 
 
Ranks
Overall
Offense
Defense
Speed
Infield
Outfield
Catching
Rotation
Bullpen
Starting 8
Bench
Red Sox
1
1
6
26
3
3
3
1
5
1
3
A's
2
2
20
3
7
1
10
19
10
2
1
Twins
3
9
9
24
6
9
11
11
23
6
6
Expos
4
15
5
4
28
4
4
5
22
9
8
Orioles
5
14
4
16
2
20
25
7
19
8
16
Braves
6
11
14
18
18
6
15
6
15
15
11
Astros
7
5
22
2
8
5
23
20
7
7
4
Indians
8
4
29
30
17
8
14
9
6
13
19
Dodgers
9
23
2
9
13
26
5
4
1
22
10
Phillies
10
13
3
5
1
24
17
16
25
10
2
Mariners
11
7
23
25
4
10
20
21
20
5
17
Pirates
12
3
12
17
16
2
12
23
21
3
5
Reds
13
6
26
11
5
15
2
24
3
4
12
Yankees
14
8
28
28
10
16
7
13
8
14
13
Cardinals
15
21
1
14
9
12
6
14
24
12
7
Royals
16
25
10
1
21
7
22
8
9
19
21
Mets
17
16
13
7
27
17
24
2
12
25
24
Tigers
18
17
11
12
12
22
9
12
17
18
23
Rangers
19
19
19
21
23
21
1
18
2
20
20
Giants
20
18
7
23
20
13
16
17
11
21
9
Cubs
21
28
27
13
25
25
26
3
4
27
26
Blue Jays
22
22
17
27
15
23
30
10
18
24
15
White Sox
23
12
25
20
19
18
8
22
14
16
22
Angels
24
20
16
19
26
14
19
15
13
23
14
Padres
25
24
8
10
11
11
18
25
27
11
25
Brewers
26
10
30
15
14
19
13
26
16
17
18
Marlins
27
26
18
29
22
28
21
27
29
26
29
Rockies
28
27
15
6
24
29
27
30
30
28
27
Rays
29
29
21
8
30
27
29
28
28
29
30
Diamondbacks
30
30
24
22
29
30
28
29
26
30
28
 
So, congratulations to the Red Sox on being the "Best in Show" for this particular study. Hope you enjoyed.
 
 

COMMENTS (14 Comments, most recent shown first)

nettles9
Fun article. I always saw the four Guest movies as being about "big fishes in small ponds". I agree that "Spinal Tap" is separate from the other four films. "For Your Consideration" was my least favorite, with "Mighty Wind" being my favorite because of the humor and the great songs. Fred Willard plays his best characters in "Mighty Wind" and "Best In Show". The casting is great for all four Guest films, and so are their commentary tracks.
11:09 PM Sep 12th
 
hotstatrat
Awesome work, Daniel. Thanks very much.

Boston batting order:
Well, I would have Evans batting before Lynn, because it would be more efficient to have the higher OBA immediately following the OBA monsters Boggs, Yaz, and Bagwell, then have sluggers Lynn and Fisk drive in whoever remains on-base. It was cool to think about.

It is interesting what a sharp rising end of a Bell curver the Red Sox and A's made with the rest of the teams (excluding the '90s expansion teams) all pretty close in talent produced.
11:15 AM Sep 12th
 
DMBBHF
To Bob:

Yeah, I agree. That's one of the troubles with drawing a line.....someone is bound to get excluded. You identified Santo....he probably is the best player that debuted in '60. Willie Davis is another who debuted in '60 at age 20, as were Joe Torre and Jim Maloney. Marichal debuted that year at 22. But, I didn't want to try to get into exceptions, so I just went with a hard cutoff.

I did plug Santo into the Cub's roster to see what impact it would have had, and it would have bumped them up a little, about even with the Mets.

To W.T.Mons10:

In this context, "defense" is referring to position player fielding only, independent of pitching.​
11:36 PM Sep 9th
 
W.T.Mons10
I'm not clear on something. You have the Yankees' starting pitching 13th and bullpen 8th, but their defense 28th. How can their fielding be bad enough to drive their defense to 28th when their pitching is above average? After all, pitching is the most important part of defense.
8:24 PM Sep 9th
 
OwenH
Great article, Daniel. Really really fun. Also enjoyable to remember where so many of these players started their terrific careers. There's definitely something interesting to be learned here about which franchises have been "feeders" (like my Oakland A's) and which have been "eaters" (Yankees).

Plus, extensive and relevant "This Is Spinal Tap" reference? Pure gold.
11:48 AM Sep 9th
 
rgregory1956


One exceedingly teeny tiny quibble. I understand why you chose 1961 as a hard cutoff, but one might have an "out" for specific cases. Ron Santo, for example, was so good (or the Cubs were so bad) that he was brought up in 1960 as a 20-year old; he was younger than some of the guys you mentioned (like Gaylord Perry and Phil Niekro). So Santo was ignored on a "technicality", so to speak. I'd bet, depending on the age cutoff, that this quibble wouldn't effect more than a handful of teams.
8:04 AM Sep 9th
 
rucksack
This is Spinal Tap was directed by Rob Reiner and is much more the collaborative effort of him and the three principals. Guest likely learned and adapted the style for the movies that make up his series. The Guest series was co-written with Gene Levy and features a more consistent set of repertory players. The similarities between these and Tap are obvious, but it doesn't really belong with the others.​
6:22 AM Sep 9th
 
DaveFleming
Also: I'm Team Guffman all the way. I'd rate them:

1. Waiting for Guffman
2. Best in Show
3. Spinal Tap
4. A Mighty Wind
5. For Your Consideration
4:51 AM Sep 9th
 
DaveFleming
This is so much fun. I'm only to San Diego, but this is wonderful.

It's interesting that the Rockies have had a lot of success of a) keeping their good players, and b) making something out of the rejects of other teams.

I think I spend one or two hours every month pondering how the Rockies could be a good team. This added another dimension to consider....hmm.
4:49 AM Sep 9th
 
chuck
One of my favorite things here was learning that certain players came out of organizations I never knew they were with. Jimmy Wynn and Trevor Hoffman on the Reds? Reggie Smith a Twin? Johan Santana an Astro? Fun stuff.
1:42 AM Sep 9th
 
gogiggs
On the one hand, Spinal Tap!
On the other hand, what a useless waste of time.
12:11 AM Sep 9th
 
DMBBHF
Hi MarisFan,

Thanks....and I hear you about Kranepool. He certainly has a case. I definitely went "primarily" by the metric, although I did make some judgement calls in favor of some players with lesser scores just because they seemed like a better fit for a particular team.

Kranepool, I'll be honest, wasn't on my radar, not because he doesn't have a case, but because he wasn't even listed on the Seamheads tool. Here's who they had listed as players who were originally Mets and who played primarily 1B in their total careers:

Gregg Jefferies
Randy Milligan
John Milner
Mike Jorgensen
Brian Daubach
Lucas Duda

Duda has the lowest of the 6 at 5.0 rWAR for his career. Kranepool didn't even make the list, since he only totaled 4.4 for his career.

So, I don't disagree with you....he's probably as good a pick as any of the other options. I primarily didn't consider him because, when going through all those teams, I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about who might not even be listed. I was mostly focused on who would make the best roster, and not necessarily who best represented the franchise itself.
11:30 PM Sep 8th
 
MarisFan61
TYPOS -- I was so disconcerted about Jefferies getting 1B over Ed Kranepool that I typo'd on "no way," and misspelled Kranepool.
11:11 PM Sep 8th
 
MarisFan61
......and congratulations to you on doing all that work.
(Boy, must that have been a lot of work!)
And that chart at the bottom is picturesque. I'd say suitable for framing. :-)

There's some bottom-of-the-barrel scraping, especially for the newer expansion teams. I mean, Elliot Johnson? :-)

BTW I think there might not be a Met fan out there who wouldn't write you a letter saying now way Gregg Jefferies gets first base over Ed Kranpool, I don't care what any metric says.
And I'd agree. If I were doing such a thing, I'd allow for the metric to be overruled by seat-of-the-pants.

In fact, if you want to make this really fun, how about really let that happen? Let your picks be subject to change according to letters, petitions, protest marches, and death threats, with you being the arbiter in all cases as to whether any "Original" pick gets replaced. :-)
11:09 PM Sep 8th
 
 
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