This True Team idea is based off of a Twitter conversation with Jason Wojciechowski about True Teams. This past season, Grant Green - a prospect in the Oakland Athletics organization - was moved from shortstop to center field because his defense wasn't good enough. However, Billy Beane told Green that the purpose of this move was that Cliff Pennington was blocking him at short. I snarkily replied that "Cliff Pennington is a True Athletic. Can't move him from short."
Many of the players on these teams will be current players, just because they haven't had the opportunity to go elsewhere just yet. The average amount of current players per team is nine.
We often hear about a player being a True Yankee, but what about the rest of the teams? I'll run through each team in alphabetical order.
Here are the links to the previous posts in this series:
1. The player must have played for the team in question for their entire career, as found by the "C" column in the Franchise Encyclopedia on baseball-reference. The reason for this is simply to make the data gathering process as simple as possible. Unfortunately, this strict rule leads to the omissions of players such as Willie Mays and Hanley Ramirez.
2. Players are ranked based on fWAR for batters and rWAR for pitchers (this is based on the relative ability to gain these values. Plus, pitcher WAR is not available on Fangraphs as far back as it is on baseball-reference.)
3. Pitchers are defined as starting pitchers if they have started more than 60% their career appearances.
4. For hitters, the position they play on the All-True Team may not have been their main position in real life, but they must have played there at some point in their career.
5. If two players are similar in overall WAR, their length of career will be the deciding factor as to which one makes the team.
6. A 25-man roster will be chosen for each team. This includes a starting player for each defensive position, five starting pitchers, five relief pitchers and seven bench players. These bench players will be the seven best remaining players.
7. A Mr. Team may be chosen if their career WAR is greater than 30% of the total All-Team WAR. There will be nine Mr. Teams chosen.
|BENCH (C)||Bruce Benedict||8.3|
|BENCH (3B)||Randy Johnson||2.3|
|BENCH (OF)||Chet Ross||4.3|
|BENCH (RP)||Bruce Cunningham||2.1|
|BENCH (RP)||Max Leon||3|
|BENCH (RP)||Jose Alvarez||2.6|
|BENCH (2B)||Ed Fitzpatrick||2.3|
Team Established: 1876
Total Team WAR: 231.7
Total WAR Rank: 18/30 teams
Mr. Brave: Chipper Jones. Jones has nearly 38% of the True Team WAR, making him the second Mr. Team in this series. Of course, if Aaron, Matthews, Spahn and Smoltz were included, Jones would not even be the best player on this team.
Team MVP: Chipper Jones, 87.5 WAR
Number of Active Players: 9. This is the same as the average for all true teams.
Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Hank Aaron (94% of PA, 149.9 WAR on ATL), Eddie Matthews (94% of PA, 104.6 WAR on ATL), Warren Spahn (96% of IP, 92.7 WAR on ATL), John Smoltz (98% of IP, 64.6 WAR on ATL)
The Braves are severely penalized by the strict 100% rule, as at least four hall of fame players are missing from the list. Once again, the reason for this strict rule is due to the ability to gather the data. I can look up a few of the players one-by-one, but I don't have the capability to find all players who have played at least 90% of their career on one team. If I could do so, I would have. Since I don't have the ability to do this to the entire data set, it is unfair to cherry pick a few of the great players if I am trying to compare the teams.
The Braves have a long history of many great players (45 have entered the hall of fame already), but unfortunately those great players have left the team at the end of their careers.
There won't be many conclusions drawn here, but feel free to discuss this team in the comments. Anyone I missed, any surprises, any memories of specific players?
Read about the Braves on SBNation at Talking Chop!
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