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 (3B)||Jared Sandberg||2.5|
|BENCH (OF)||Fernando Perez||0.9|
|BENCH (OF)||Justin Ruggiano||0.6|
|BENCH (SS)||Elliot Johnson||0.2|
|BENCH (C)||Shawn Riggans||-0.1|
|BENCH (RP)||Jake McGee||0.1|
|BENCH (RP)||Jason Childers||-0.1|
Team Established: 1998
Total Team WAR: 116.2
Total WAR Rank: 26/30 teams
Mr. Ray: N/A. Evan Longoria only provides 23% of the total WAR for this team.
Team MVP: Evan Longoria, 26.9 WAR.
Number of Active Players: 16. This is seven more than the average for all true teams and is tied for the second most active players in this series.
Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Carl Crawford (91% of PA, 36.8 WAR in TB), John Jaso (100% of PA, 3.1 WAR in TB), Rocco Baldelli (92% of PA, 7.7 WAR in TB)
John Jaso was originally the starting catcher on this team, but he was traded to the Seattle Mariners. The Rays are the second best post-1980 True Team. If Carl Crawford was added to the team, they would be first, but he will probably end up spending a large amount of the rest of his career with the Red Sox.
The Rays are known for trading their best players away once they become too expensive, so that fact along with the fact that they have only existed for 13 years explains why they don't have a very good team in this exercise.
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 Rays on SBNation at DRaysBay!
Follow me on Twitter at Steal of Home!