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:
Angels | Astros | Athletics | Blue Jays | Braves | Brewers | Cardinals | Cubs | Diamondbacks
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.
|SS||Pee Wee Reese||69.7|
|BENCH (SS)||Bill Russell||33|
|BENCH (C)||Mike Scioscia||29.8|
|BENCH (IF)||Jim Lefebvre||21.4|
|BENCH (OF)||Harry Lumley||20|
|BENCH (OF)||Johnny Frederick||18.3|
|BENCH (SP)||Chad Billingsley||13.7|
|BENCH (1B)||Del Bissonette||12.3|
Team Established: 1884
Total Team WAR: 683.9
Total WAR Rank: 4/30 teams
Mr. Dodger: N/A. The player with the highest WAR is Pee Wee Reese, who only has 10% of the team total, which is less than the required 30%.
Team MVP: Pee Wee Reese, 69.7 WAR
Number of Active Players: 6. This is three fewer than the average for all true teams.
Free Agent(s): Jonathan Broxton. Broxton had an injury-plagued year and may sign anywhere that will take him. If he leaves the Dodgers, he will be replaced by Tim Crews (2.8 career WAR).
Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Zack Wheat (97% of PA, 69.3 WAR on Dodgers), Gil Hodges (98% of PA, 49.7 WAR on Dodgers), Duke Snider (93% of PA, 71.2 WAR on Dodgers), Johnny Podres (90% of IP, 27.3 WAR on Dodgers), Dazzy Vance (93% of IP, 55.9 WAR on Dodgers), Watty Clark (95% of IP, 25.1 WAR on Dodgers),
The Dodgers are the first to be posted of the elite top 5 true teams. They don't have any 75+ WAR players, but they do have a solid gathering of 30+ WAR players. The only real weak spot on this team is relief pitching, but with a rotation of Drysdale, Koufax and Rucker, do you even need relievers?
When we add in the "Just Missed" players, the team looks even better. There are two players with more than 70 WAR and all six are over 25. Looking back at all of the great players that have played in Dodger blue (and green!) makes the Frank McCourt divorce saga even sadder.
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 Dodgers on SBNation at True Blue LA!
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