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."
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.
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.
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 (RP)||Mike Ignasiak||0.7|
|BENCH (2B)||Ron Theobald||4.4|
|BENCH (C)||Jonathan Lucroy||2.8|
|BENCH (RP)||Jaime Cocanower||1.6|
|BENCH (SP)||Don August||1.2|
|BENCH (RP)||Mark Kiefer||0.9|
|BENCH (OF)||Dan Thomas||0.9|
Team Established: 1969
Total Team WAR: 282.4
Total WAR Rank: 15/30 teams
Mr. Brewer: N/A. The player with the highest WAR is Robin Yount, who only has 26% of the team total, which is less than the required 30%.
Team MVP: Robin Yount, 74.1 WAR
Number of Active Players: 7. This is two fewer than the average for all true teams.
Free agent: Prince Fielder. If (when) he leaves, Joey Meyer (0.6 career WAR) would become the starting first baseman.
Players That Just Missed: Geoff Jenkins (94% of PA, 26.9 WAR in MIL), Charlie Moore (97% of PA, 11.7 WAR in MIL), Moose Haas (93% of IP, 14.4 WAR in MIL)
This is a pretty solid team put up by the Brewers as every offensive spot except for left field has a good player. The pitching depth is not quite there, though. The Brewers have the best True Team of the teams established since 1960, just edging out another team from the Midwest.
That is a terrible defense, though. In order to make everything work, I had to shoehorn Gantner in at short stop, a position he played only seven times in his career. So to recap: there's a DH at 1B, a 2B at SS and a LF at 3B. Not a very grounder-friendly infield. Somewhat like the 2011 Brewers, actually.
This post was especially fun for me, since I grew up in Wisconsin. Names like Higuera and Nilsson stick out to me. Unfortunately, Pat Listach, Jeff Cirillo, Fernando Vina and Cal Eldred weren't eligible.
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?
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