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All True Tigers 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 | Pirates | Rangers | Rays | Red Sox | Reds | Rockies | Royals


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 Bill Freehan 52.8
1B Charlie Gehringer 88.1
2B Lou Whitaker 74.3
SS Alan Trammell 69.5
3B Brandon Inge 16
LF Bobby Higginson 19.2
CF Mickey Stanley 16.9
RF Al Kaline 101.9
SP Tommy Bridges 50.7
SP Justin Verlander 27.2
SP Hooks Dauss 26.7
SP Fred Hutchinson 22.7
SP Vic Sorrell 16.3
CL John Hiller 28.2
RP Johnny Gorsica 5.4
RP Joel Zumaya 4.4
RP Zach Miner 2.9
RP Al Alburquerque 1.6
BENCH (OF) Pat Mullin 13.3
BENCH (OF) Gates Brown 12.4
BENCH (3B) Bob Jones 8.3
BENCH (C) Alex Avila 7.1
BENCH (OF) Austin Jackson 6.9
BENCH (SP) Ed Summers 9.8
BENCH (SP) Mark Fidrych 9.8
TOTAL 692.4


Team Established: 1901

Total Team WAR: 692.4

Total WAR Rank: 3/30 teams

Mr. Tiger: Tony. Al Kaline only has 15% of the total team WAR.

Team MVP: Al Kaline, 101.9 WAR.

Number of Active Players: 6. This is three fewer than the average for all true teams.

Free Agent: Joel Zumaya. Zumaya did not pitch last season, but he is scheduled to throw in front of scouts for a few teams next week. The Tigers have a "standing minor league contract offer" for him.

Players That Just Missed (90% of Career on Team): Ty Cobb (93% of PA, 157.1 WAR in DET), Donie Bush (97% of PA, 45.7 WAR in DET), Harry Heilmann (94% of PA, 72.9 WAR in DET), Norm Cash (98% of PA, 64.3 WAR in DET), Hal Newhouser (98% of IP, 55.3 WAR in DET), Dizzy Trout (95% of IP, 42.2 WAR in DET), Mickey Lolich (92% of IP, 44.2 WAR in DET), George Mullin (92% of IP, 26 WAR in DET)

Despite just missing multiple hall-of-fame players, the Tigers still come in at third overall in total True Team WAR. The only real weakness here is at third base, where Brandon Inge is the best option. Somehow, I would be okay with that if Gehringer, Whitaker and Trammell were my other infielders.

Gehringer was primarily a second baseman, but he did play nine games at first base in 1931. There is not any data on Whitaker that shows he played anywhere else besides second.

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 Tigers on SBNation at Bless You Boys!

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