Friday, November 17, 2017

Looking At Franchise's Best Players - American League West

Baseball-Reference has started including, on each team's franchise page, a list of their top 24 (or 12, in a few cases) players, as measured by Wins Above Replacement. So I'm going to go through each division and look at some of the results. We'll take it one division at a time.

Los Angeles Angels (existed since 1961):

Top Player: Mike Trout (55 WAR)

#24 Player: Doug DeCinces (18 WAR)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 10

# of Players with >50 WAR: 2 (Trout and Chuck Finley)

# with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup out of the Top 9? No. Four pitchers (Finley, Nolan Ryan, Jered Weaver, Frank Tanana).

Comments: Does it speak more to how great Mike Trout is that he's already the most valuable player in team history, or to how the Angels have had any longtime standout players in their 55+ year history? There are some pretty good players on there - Nolan Ryan (#5), Brian Downing (#6), Vlad Guerrero (#16), Jim Edmonds (#22) - just none of them were there for long. Everybody from #11-22 has a WAR somewhere in the 20s, which suggest either they were really good for a few years, or unspectacular for several years.

Rod Carew's number was retired by the team, but is not in the top 24, as he generated 17.3 WAR for the Angels (versus around 64 WAR for the Twins).

Oakland Athletics (counting time in Philadelphia and KC, existed since 1901):

Top Player: Eddie Plank (76 WAR)

#24: Barry Zito (30 WAR)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 24

# of Players with >50 WAR: 8 (Plank, Rickey Henderson, Jimme Foxx, Lefty Grove, Eddie Collins, Sal Bando, Al Simmons, Eddie Rommel).

# of Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup out of their Top 9? No. Three pitchers (Plank, Lefty Grove, Eddie Rommel), only two outfielders.

Comments: It appears the A's need to look into exploiting the untapped "Eddie" market. Seems to have worked out pretty well for them in their Philly days.

I expected the A's to have someone with a higher total, but instead it's a deep roster, but with a low peak. Their 24th most valuable player would be 11th on the Angels list. Eddie Collins, their #5 player, would be first on L.A.'s, (until about one month into next season at the rate Trout accumulates value).

The list skews old, which may be a recurring theme. It seems like it was easier for players in the early 20th Century to accumulate value compared to now. Maybe because there was so much bigger of a gap between guys who were actually good, and the guys who wouldn't have been in the league if black players weren't barred from playing. The best guys padded their numbers against the Sisters of the Poor.

Anyway, only 10 of Oakland's guys played recently enough to get a color picture. Sal Bando and Bert Campaneris played long enough ago to have been Kansas City Athletics. Eric Chavez, Tim Hudson, and Barry Zito are the only ones to play for them in the 21st Century. Rickey Henderson finished 2nd overall; I expect to see him on at least one more team's Top 24.

Texas Rangers (since 1961, including time as the Washington Senators):

Top Player: Ivan Rodriguez (49 WAR)

#24: Kevin Brown (17 WAR)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 10

# of Players with >50 WAR: 0

# of Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup out of their Top 9? No. Two pitchers, two catchers, no outfielders

Comments: With all the big offensive numbers members of the Rangers have put up, I'd expected somebody to be further up there. I also expected Nolan Ryan to be on here somewhere, but no, he generated 15 WAR for the Rangers. Still got his number retired by them. Someone who will be on two lists is Fergie Jenkins, who ranks 17th here, and will come in significantly higher on the Cubs' list.

Alex Rodriguez is tied with Michael Young for 13th on the list. Adrian Beltre is third, behind Pudge and Rafael Palmeiro. He's only three WAR behind Palmeiro, so he might be able to catch him, depending on how much he's got left in the tank. I keep expecting him to show his age. Other than him, Elvis Andrus is the only person currently on their roster on the list, at #11.

Charlie Hough and Kenny Rogers are the most valuable pitchers in franchise history, at 33 and 32 WAR, which puts them 7th and 8th, respectively. Fairly light on pitchers, only 5 total (Yu Darvish being the only one I haven't mentioned so far).

Seattle Mariners: (since 1977):

Top Player: Ken Griffey Jr. (70 WAR)

#24 Player: Nelson Cruz (13 WAR)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 7

# of Players with >50 WAR: 4 (Griffey, Edgar Martinez, Ichiro, King Felix)

# of Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting line of their Top 9? While I'm loathe to doubt Ichiro, three pitchers (Felix, Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer), no catcher, and they'd have to risk playing Edgar Martinez somewhere on the field.

Comments: It drops off fast. Felix is at 52 WAR, the next guy is the Big Unit at 39 WAR. By the time you reach Alvin Dark in the 12th spot, you're below 20 WAR. Which reflects the relatively short time the franchise has existed, as well as the fact they were pretty awful for the first 15 years.

Alex Rodriguez is on here, at #6. Adrian Beltre is also here, at #10 (21 WAR). Robinson Cano is #11, if he replicates last year, he'll jump to 9th. If Nelson Cruz can duplicate his results last year, that would get him to around 17th or 18th. Kyle Seager is in 8th, he's probably a couple of seasons away from catching Moyer, maybe more if this year is indicative of his level of play going forward.

Speaking of people on multiple teams' lists, Mark Langston is on here (19 WAR) and on the Angels' (26 WAR) list, and he's in 13th place for both teams. Kind of a neat coincidence.

Houston Astros (since 1962):

Top Player: Jeff Bagwell (79 WAR)

#24 Player: Richard Hidalgo (17 WAR)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 10

# of Players with >50 WAR: 3 (Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Jose Cruz)

# of Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of the Top 9? Nope. Two pitchers (Roy Oswalt and Larry Dierker), and no shortstops or third basemen.

Comments: Jose Altuve is 11th right now, at 29 WAR. He should pass Dierker (32 WAR) in 8th easily next year.

Nolan Ryan may not have made it with the Rangers, but he does qualify with Houston, coming in 15h with 23 WAR. J.R. Richard in 18th is the last player above 20 WAR. There's a pretty big drop between Jim Wynn at 7th and Dierker, from 41 to 32 WAR. Cesar Cedeno and Lance Berkman both got close to 50, but didn't quite make it.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home