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 (SP)||Brett Anderson||6.1|
|BENCH (SP)||Rollie Naylor||6.1|
|BENCH (SP)||Dallas Braden||5.6|
|BENCH (C)||Earle Brucker||5.4|
|BENCH (C)||Joe Astroth||5|
|BENCH (SP)||Jing Johnson||3.9|
|BENCH (1B)||Troy Neel||3.6|
Team Established: 1901
Total Team WAR: 197.0
Total WAR Rank: 19/30 teams
Mr. Athletic: N/A. The player with the highest WAR is Eddie Rommel, who only has 21% of the team total, which is less than the required 30%.
Team MVP: Eddie Rommel, 42.1 WAR
Number of Active Players: 9. This is the average for all true teams.
What did I say? Cliff Pennington, starting short stop on the True Athletic team. That alone makes this exercise worth it. This team is much more solid than the Astros team, but lacks a true superstar. Rommel, Dick Green and Kurt Suzuki are the only players with more than 10 career WAR.
It's also interesting to note (and you'll see this in the final overview post of this series) that the Athletics have the worst True Team of the "Old Guard." Teams that were established after 1960 are at an extreme disadvantage in this exercise because of the advent of free agency. However, two of those teams are actually better than the A's. This is even more interesting because the Athletics have the largest pool of True A's at 491 players. Lots of players stick around for a while, it's just that none of them are all that good (maybe that's why).
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 Athletics on SBNation at Athletics Nation!