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
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 (2B)||Don Johnson||7|
|BENCH (SS)||Starlin Castro||5.6|
|BENCH (SS)||Lennie Merullo||3.9|
|BENCH (2B)||Darwin Barney||2.6|
|BENCH (RP)||Doyle Lade||2.5|
|BENCH (RP)||Zip Zabel||2.1|
|BENCH (2B)||Bob Glenalvin||2|
Team Established: 1876
Total Team WAR: 324.5
Total WAR Rank: 14/30 teams
Mr. Cub: N/A. The player with the highest WAR is Ernie Banks, who only has 23% of the team total, which is less than the required 30%.
Team MVP: Ernie Banks, 74.1 WAR.
Number of Active Players: 9. This is the same as the average for all true teams.
Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Phil Cavarretta (97.5% of PA, 38 WAR in CHC), Gabby Hartnett (97.7% of PA, 55 WAR in CHC), Billy Williams (90.4% of PA, 67.8 WAR in CHC), Ryne Sandberg (99.9% of PA, 62.6 WAR in CHC), Frank Chance (99.4% of PA, 53.2 WAR in CHC), Ron Santo (95.6% of PA, 80.2 WAR in CHC), Charlie Root (98.1% of IP, 38.6 WAR in CHC), Kerry Wood (92.6% of IP, 23.7 WAR in CHC)
The Cubs ranking surprised me a little bit. With all of their history going back to 1876, I thought they would have a much better showing here. As it stands, they are right around the middle of the pack. They have not had many superstars stick around their entire career except for Banks and the outfield is absolutely atrocious.
Sandberg only had six plate appearances in Philadelphia before becoming a Cub and he did stay until the end of his career. However, the other players on the just missed list all left the team for one or two years.
Zambrano presents an interesting case. He had a(nother) outburst this season and left the team. He has threatened to retire, but the last news is that he will waive his no-trade clause and may end up somewhere else. If that happens, Jim St. Vrain (1 career WAR) would replace him.
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?
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