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 (OF)||Eric Thames||0.9|
|BENCH (3B)||John Hattig||0.3|
|BENCH (OF)||John-Ford Griffin||0.2|
Team Established: 1977
Total Team WAR: 62.7
Total WAR Rank: 30/30 teams
Mr. Blue Jay: N/A. The player with the highest WAR is Ricky Romero, who only has 18% of the team total, which is less than the required 30%.
Team MVP: Ricky Romero, 11.5 WAR.
Number of Active Players: 12. This is three higher than the average for all true teams.
Players That Just Missed: Lloyd Moseby (88% of PA, 28.7 WAR in TOR), Willie Upshaw (88% of PA, 15.1 WAR in TOR), Dave Stieb (99% of IP, 53.6 WAR in TOR), Jim Clancy (88% of IP, 23.5 WAR in TOR). These are the solid players that Toronto is missing on their team. In fact, Stieb's career WAR rivals that of the entire current team. Each of them played elsewhere at the end of their career, so they didn't make the cut.
There is no such thing as a True Blue Jay (except maybe Luis Leal?). 22 of the 25 players have accumulated fewer than five career WAR and only two have more than 10 WAR (and just barely).
This is the worst of the True Teams and boy, is it bad. Let's put this in perspective: The total sum of each player's CAREER WAR here is 62.7. According to Fangraphs, the 2011 Texas Rangers accumulated a total of 60.6 WAR this SEASON.
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 Blue Jays on SBNation at Bluebird Banter!