Saturday, April 28, 2018

Looking at Franchises' Best Players - National League West

I have some actual free time this weekend, so let's try and finish another of these. Moving to the NL West, with a couple of stories franchises, and three, let's say less-storied teams and leave it at that.

Los Angeles Dodgers (existed since 1884):

Top Player: Don Drysdale (67.2 WAR)

#24 Player: Pedro Guerrero (32.7)

# of Players >30 WAR: 29

# of Players >50 WAR: 8 (Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese, Duke SNider, Jackie Robinson, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Wheat, Dazzy Vance, Willie Davis

# of Players >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of the Top 9? Four pitchers - Drysdale, Kershaw, Vance, and Koufax -say no. But they do have a complete outfield, and 3/4ths of an infield.

Notes: I would have expected the Dodgers' top player to have more WAR than that. A bit like the White Sox and the Athletics. Not a high peak, but a lot of guys bunched together. It drops off fast in the last third of the list, though. Gil Hodges is 14th at 44.3 WAR, but by 16th, Fernandomania is down to 36.9 WAR.

Koufax and Don Sutton tied with 49 WAR apiece.

I remember Guerrero from his years with the Cardinals, which, outside of his first full season in 1989, did not go well. Across 5 seasons, he was worth 1.7 WAR total. But that 1989, he hit .311 with 17 HRs and 42 doubles. His poor defense negated a lot of the value of his hitting, though. Steve Garvey, who is 17th, is in a similar boat. He spent his last five years with the Padres, and was worth 1.4 WAR total across those years.

The next three guys after Guerrero would have been Davey Lopes, Maury Wills, and Mike Piazza.

Kershaw is the only active player on the list. He should pass Jackie Robinson in the next month. If he can post a 5.5 WAR season, he'll pass Duke Snider. So he has a real good shot of surpassing Drysdale, ultimately. Also, I didn't realize Kershaw had been worth almost 2 WAR with his bat.

San Diego Padres (existed since 1969):

Top Player: Tony Gwynn (69.2 WAR)

#24 Player: Will Venable (12.8)

Players with >30 WAR: 2

Players with >50 WAR: 1

Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? There's 5 pitchers on the list, including one closer (Trevor Hoffman naturally), so no.

Notes: That is pretty disappointing. Just for comparison, the Royals have also been around since '69. They also have one player above 50 WAR, but Brett is almost 20 ahead of Gwynn. And they had 8 players above 30 WAR. Hell, the Mariners have existed 8 years less, and they have 4 players above 50 WAR.

For the record, the other player above 30 WAR is Dave Winfield.

Chase Headley (11th) and Adrian Gonzalez (6th) are the only active players on the list. Neither is doing well so far this year. Gonzalez has been worth -0.4 WAR so far for the Mets, and Headley is back with the Padres, and at -0.1 WAR. If Headly could manage even 1 WAR this year, he'd jump to 8th, behind Andy Benes, and ahead of Randy Jones. If he can manage 1.5 WAR, he'd pass Gonzalez. He was worth 1.8 last year for the Yankees, and 2.6 the year before, so there's a decent chance he has that in him.

One advantage to the Padres being a young franchise is I at least vaguely remember most of these guys. Benes was a Cardinal for 5 years. Jake Peavy is third on the franchise list. Ryan Klesko is 18th. I hated Ryan Klesko when he was on the Braves. I think because he seemed like a such a big, clumsy, swing-and-miss guy, and I hate watching those guys play ball.

As low as the bar is for entry, I thought Ozzie Smith might make the list, despite only being a Padre for 4 seasons, and not being able to hit a lick while he was there. He ended up at 11 WAR, so if he'd stuck around one more year, maybe. 5 of those 11 came in 1980, his best season hitting (when he was still almost 30% below league average by OPS).

San Francisco Giants (existed since 1883):

Top Player: Willie Mays (154.8 WAR)

#24 Player: Art Devlin (34.3)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 34

# of Players with >50 WAR: 11 (Mays, Bonds, Mel Ott, Christy Mathewson, Amos Rusie, Carl Hubbell, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey, Bill Terry Roger Conner, Mickey Welch)

# of Players with >100 WAR: Mays, Bonds, Ott, Mathewson

Can you make a starting lineup out of the Top 9? Too many pitchers and outfielders, not enough middle infielders. As in, no middle infielders or catchers.

Notes: Matt Cain just missed 30 WAR. Madison Bumgarner is a good enough hitter it boosted him by 6 WAR above what his pitching stats provide. If he'd been healthy this year, he would almost certainly made it to the Top 24.

Position players with >30 WAR outside the Top 24 included Matt Williams, Robby Thompson, Jeff Kent, and Jack Clark.

There's an almost 35 WAR drop from Mathewson to Rusie, but Rusie was valuable enough he'd have been top player on several of the teams we've looked at so far.

Frankie Frisch is 19th on the Giants' list, with 37.8 WAR. He was almost that valuable for the Cardinals, so we'll see if he make it on their list.

I'm also curious to see how high Bonds ranks on the Pirates' list. They've had some pretty great players, though. Barry's father, Bobby Bonds, is 18th on the Giants.

All I know about Travis Jackson, who is 13th at 44 WAR, is his picture makes him look a little like actor Telly Savalas.

Will Clark is 21st. A lot of Cardinals' fans hated him for the issues the Giants and Cardinals had in the late 1980s. I don't really remember those years, other than I liked Will Clark's swing. Designed for line drives, with just a slight uppercut. Jim Edmonds' swing reminded me of it a little, although Jim had more of an uppercut on his. Clark did have one really great half-season for the Cardinals before he retired, filling in for an injured Mark McGwire on the 2000 Cardinals.

Buster Posey is the only active player in the top 24, at 17th. He's been worth 9 wins the last two years, so about 4.5 per year. He's already at 0.6 this year, so he's probably good for another 4 this season. That'd be enough to get him to 14th, moving past Mike Tiernan, Art Fletcher, and Larry Doyle.

Colorado Rockies (existed since 1993):

Top Player: Todd Helton (61.2 WAR)

#12 Player: Jhoulys Chacin (14.9)

# of Players with >30 WAR: 3

# of Players with >50 WAR: 1

# of Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? Very close. But they have two pitchers - Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook - and two third basemen - Nolan Arenado and Vinny Castilla. No catcher, no second baseman.

Notes: My rough estimate is that Armando Reynoso is 24th, at around 8.5 WAR.

Larry Walker is 2nd in the franchise, at 48 WAR. I expect he'll be on the Expos' list as well. Arenado is 4th. He probably won't catch Tulowitzki this year, as Tulo is about 11 WAR right now, but probably by the end of next year. Carlos Gonzalez is 5th, but I doubt he'll climb any higher.

DJ Lamehieu and Charlie Blackmon, 10th and 11th, respectively, will both probably pass Cook and Castilla this season. Jimenez and Matt Holliday will probably take another year.

Arizona Diamondbacks (since 1998):

Top Player: Randy Johnson (50.8 WAR)

#12 Player: Stephen Drew 13.2

# of Players 2ith >30 WAR: 4

# of Players with >50 WAR: 1

# of Players with >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? No. Four starting pitchers and three centerfielders.

Notes: The 4 pitchers were Big Unit, Brandon Webb, Schilling, and Dan Haren. The centerfielders, Steve Finley, A.J. Pollock, and Chris Young.

The #24 spot probably goes to one of the following three pitcher: Patrick Corbin, Ian Kennedy, or Byung-Hyun Kim. Probably Kim, as both Corbin and Kennedy were able to add to their 8.3 pitching WAR with some hitting. Plus, Corbin is still playing for the D'backs.

Matt Williams couldn't make the Giants' Top 24, but he'd have been 23rd for Arizona. Zack Grienke is moving up the list as well, at roughly 9 WAR right now.

Pollock (6th) and Paul Goldschmidt (2nd) are the only active players currently on Arizona in the top 12. Pollock is at least a couple years away from catching Schilling for 5th. Goldschmidt, even at his 5+ WAR per season pace, is at least 3 years away from catching Randy Johnson.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home