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 | Pirates | Rangers | Rays | Red Sox | Reds | Rockies | Royals | Tigers | Twins | White Sox
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 (SS)||Phil Rizzuto||47.2|
|BENCH (OF)||Earle Combs||46.3|
|BENCH (1B)||Don Mattingly||45.8|
|BENCH (OF)||Tommy Henrich||44.6|
|BENCH (C)||Thurman Munson||44.4|
|BENCH (IF)||Gil McDougald||44.2|
|BENCH (SS)||Frankie Crosetti||35.8|
Team Established: 1901
Total Team WAR: 1179
Total WAR Rank: 1/30 teams
Mr. Yankee: N/A. Lou Gehrig only has 11% of the total team WAR.
Team MVP: Lou Gehrig, 125.9 WAR.
Number of Active Players: 6. This is three fewer than the average for all true teams.
Free Agent: Jorge Posada. Posada is nearing the end of his career and could retire instead of signing elsewhere.
Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Yogi Berra (99% of PA, 71.5 WAR in NY), Tony Lazzeri (97% of PA, 55 WAR in NY), Lefty Gomez (99% of IP, 43.2 WAR in NY), Johnny Murphy (95% of PA, 13.3 WAR in NY)
So this is why there's such a thing as a "True Yankee." The difference between the Yankees (1) and the Red Sox (2) is the same as the difference between the Red Sox and the Phillies (13). There are just no weaknesses on this team as even the bench is full of 35+ win players. There are eight more players who didn't make the team at all who have more than ten career wins.
In order to make the best lineup, I had to put DiMaggio in left field, Posada at second base, White at third base and Williams in right field. If you're picky, you can move Posada to the bench and let McDougald play second base. It doesn't change the total WAR at all.
A majority of the active players on this team are relievers. The other two active players are almost done with their careers.
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 Yankees on SBNation at Pinstripe Alley!
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