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All True Pirates Team


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 | Dodgers | Giants | Indians | Mariners | Marlins | Mets | Nationals (Expos) | Orioles | Padres | Phillies


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.


Position Player WAR
C Jack Shepard 4
1B Willie Stargell 70.9
2B Bill Mazeroski 39.5
SS Gene Alley 26.5
3B Pie Traynor 42.2
LF Carson Bigbee 15.6
CF Andrew McCutchen 12.9
RF Roberto Clemente 91.3
SP Sam Leever 29.6
SP Vern Law 27
SP Ray Kremer 24.8
SP Francisco Cordova 12.7
SP Paul Maholm 11.1
CL Bob Moose 8.8
RP Steve Swetonic 7.3
RP Ed Bahr 2.8
RP Evan Meek 2.8
RP Marc Wilkins 2.5
BENCH (2B) Jim Viox 11.6
BENCH (OF) Clyde Barnhart 11.3
BENCH (1B) Jim Nealon 4.7
BENCH (2B) Neil Walker 4.7
BENCH (SP) Nick Maddox 7.3
BENCH (SP) Steve Blass 7.1
BENCH (SP) Randy Tomlin 6.1


Team Established: 1882

Total Team WAR: 485.1

Total WAR Rank: 9/30 teams

Mr. Pirate: N/A. Roberto Clemente only has 19% of the total team WAR.

Team MVP: Roberto Clemente, 91.3 WAR.

Number of Active Players: 4. This is five fewer than the average for all true teams.

Free Agent: Paul Maholm. Maholm had an option for the 2012 season which was declined by the Pirates. He has not signed anywhere yet. He would be replaced in the rotation by Nick Maddox and Jose Tabata would join the team. Ryan Doumit was also a free agent and on this team but has signed with the Minnesota Twins.

Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Lloyd Waner (93% of PA, 28.2 WAR in PIT), Babe Adams (99% of IP, 45.9 WAR in PIT), Bob Friend (96% of IP, 49.9 WAR in PIT), Roy Face (96% of IP, 16.9 WAR in PIT), Wilbur Copper (92% of IP, 42.8 WAR in PIT), Rip Sewell (99% of IP, 21 WAR in PIT)

Even though the Pirates have not made the playoffs since 1992, they do have a long history of many great players. Of the 11 most players ranked by plate appearances for the Pirates franchise, 10 of them are in the hall of fame. Unfortunately, many of those players don't even qualify for the 90% threshold. Behind the strength of Clemente and Stargell, the Pirates sneak into the all-time all-team top ten. The pitching is solid as well with three starters over 20 career WAR.

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 Pirates on SBNation at Bucs Dugout!

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