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.
Total Team WAR: 766.6
Total WAR Rank: 2/30 teams
Mr. Red Sock: N/A. Ted Williams only has 18% of the total team WAR.
Team MVP: Ted Williams, 139.8 WAR.
Number of Active Players: 8. This is one fewer than the average for all true teams.
Free Agent: Jason Varitek. Varitek is nearing the end of his career and may possibly retire. Jonathan Papelbon was originally on this team, but he has since signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. His removal from the team did not change the Red Sox ranking at all.
Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Dwight Evans (97% of PA, 70.4 WAR in BOS), Frank Malzone (97% of PA, 23.9 WAR in BOS), Tim Wakefield (93% of IP, 29.6 WAR in BOS), Ike Delock (98% of IP, 9.7 WAR in BOS)
As was evident in earlier posts, international players like Matsuzaka who began their professional career elsewhere are eligible for these lists.
Yastrzemski and Rice were both primarily left fielders, but they played enough time at first base and right field respectively in their careers to allow Williams to play left.
Carrigan is the lone player on the team who played for the team when they were named the Boston Americans from 1901 - 1907.
This is a very good team led by multiple hall-of-famers and completed by multiple very good players. The relief pitching is very thin, but that's normal everywhere.
Johnny Pesky doesn't make this list because only 86% of his plate appearances were as a Red Sox player. By WAR, roughly 93% of his value did come as a Red Sox player.
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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