Canadians are always dreaming up a lotta ways to ruin our lives. The metric system, for the love of Pete! Celsius! Neil Young!
-Quote from the movie Canadian Bacon
In case you didn't know, today is Canada Day. Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun has his annual All-Canadian Team, which he fondly concludes "ought to be able to beat Italy". I thought it would be fun mess with Sky's WAR Spreadsheet and find out how well an All Canadian roster would do if they were a major league team.
The coolest part to me about this team is that its closer is R.J. Swindle, BtB heartthrob. Getting down to business, an All-Canuck roster would should win 85 games. I think they definitely have Italy beat.
Quick methodology explanation: I used the ZiPS updated projections for all the hitters that were available, as well as the UZR/150 numbers for their fielding. For the minor leaguers without projections, I used current MLE's in lieu of ZiPS. For pitchers, I used FIP rather than projected ERA, and again went to MLE's if there was no projection data available.
[More fudging on my part: Outside of accounting for the good base-running of Martin and the slowness of Matt Stairs...sorry, Sky. Francis is off the team, because of injuries. Maybe maybe my estimates for plate appearances isn't that great. I also threw in replacement players, whose ERA's are higher than usual replacement players because you might have to scour the lower minors or maybe even the independent leagues to find Canadian pitchers. Get over it, it's Canada Day for crying out loud.]
That is a rather awesome lineup with Russell Martin, Jason Bay, Joey Votto and Justin Morneau at the top. A Thorman/Stairs platoon could put up some good offensive numbers, but at the expense of some defense. Michael Saunders is one of those players I'm rooting for be "freed". The 9th spot of the lineup is a glaring weakness --- Cale Iorg was the best option they could find for a SS, who is 24 years old and has a .280 wOBA in AA. I was half-tempted to put Stubby Clapp on the roster in his place. 2B Brett Lawrie and OF Nick Weglarz are like the Futures Game roster, but they got squeezed off, although Elliot has Weglarz on his team.
The rotation could be pretty sick if everyone could stay healthy, the problem is that Canadian pitchers just seem to be injury prone. Rich Harden and Erik Bedard are two potential aces, but again, injury prone. Blake Hawksworth and Hill are OK options at the back of the rotation, but again, injuries. And then you have Jeff Francis.
The bullpen is pretty rough, although Phillippe Aumont could be really, really good. He's just 20, Harry has looked at him before. To the frustration of Mariners fans, Aumont was moved to the bullpen to be fast-tracked to the big leagues.
This team is a few pieces away from pretend-contending, but the Canadians have nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to baseball players. They could be ashamed of Mike Myers for The Love Guru, but not for their homegrown players.