Friday, June 22, 2018

Looking at Franchises' Best Players - National League East

At this rate, I might finish this series sometime before the end of this season. By which point some of it will be out of date. Oh well.

Atlanta Braves (existed since 1876 in three different cities and a bunch of names):

Top Player: Hank Aaron (142.5 WAR)

#24 Player: Billy Nash (28.7)

# of Players >30 WAR: 22

# of Players >50 WAR: 10 (Aaron, Kid Nichols, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones)

# of Players >100 WAR: 2 (Aaron and Nichols)

Can you make a starting lineup of the Top 9? 5 of them are pitchers, so no.

Notes: I knew the Braves started in Boston, I didn't realize they'd been around as long as they had.

Nos. 6-11 are all players from my lifetime - #11 is Dale Murphy - but after that, it goes back to older players, mostly much older players. Freddie Freeman (#22) is the only guy who played for the Braves in the last 40 years from #12-24.

There's that old baseball saying about "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain," so I expected to see Johnny Sain on here. He was on the Braves for 7 years (plus he lost 3 seasons to military service), but only accumulated about 24 WAR during that time. I'm guessing that refrain was limited to '46-'48, when he was worth 7, 4.1, and 8.5 WAR. The next year he was below replacement level in 243 innings, which is kind of impressive.

As for Spahn, he's at 99.1 WAR, so just missed being the 3rd Brave with 100+ WAR.

Joe Torre is ranked 20th. I can already tell you he won't make either the Cardinals' or Mets' lists.

Smoltz, Maddux, and Glavine are all within 6 WAR of each other. When I was younger, Smoltz was the only one of the three I could stand, because he was the one I thought wasn't relying on the ump calling strikes on pitches six inches off the plate. Friggin' Maddux.

Chipper Jones is at 85.7 WAR, which is more than I would have expected. I think I pictured him as a poor third baseman, and figured his defense would have limited his value more. He is running negative values for his defense for his career, but it's like -0.9 dWAR for his entire career. Over 19 seasons, that's basically holding average.

New York Mets (existed since 1962):

Top Player: Tom Seaver (78.9)

#24 Player: Ron Darling (16.9)

# of Players >30 WAR: 6

# of Players >50 WAR: 2 (Seaver and David Wright)

# of Players >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? 4 pitchers, so no dice. They do have three-quarters of an infield, though.

Notes: I doubt Seaver is going to make it onto the Reds' list. They've had too much good history, too many good players who were with the team longer.

Considering the Mets were almost always bad in the '60s and '70s, it won't surprise you most of these guys are from the '80s or more recently. There's only 6 guys on here from the first 20 years: Seaver, Jerry Koosman (#4), Jon Matlack (#10), Jon Stearns (#18), Bud Harrelson (#19), and Cleon Jones (#20).

Glavine is on here, at #22, right behind John Olerud. Olerud was #13 on Seattle's list, and #19 on the Blue Jays'. Never in any place for too long, and never a phenomenal player, but always steadily productive wherever he played.

Rick Reed's #23. If I remember right, he couldn't be in the MLBPA because he was a replacement player during the brief stint the owners tried that in 1995. I understand they'd see him as a scab, but I can't fault the guy for taking his shot to get to the majors.

Carlos Beltran's ranked 6th on the Mets' list, he was 14th on the Royals list.

As far as active players, Jacob DeGrom is tied with Howard Johnson with 22 WAR for 14th. He should be able to pass Mike Piazza this year, but I doubt he'll catch Al Leiter until next season. Jose Reyes is 9th, but he's played badly enough this year he's sliding backwards. Does David Wright still qualify, or did he officially retire finally?

Philadelphia Phillies (existed since 1883):

Top Player: Mike Schmidt (106.8 WAR)

#24 Player: Chris Short (29.4)

# of Players >30 WAR: 23

# of Players >50 WAR: 7 (Schmidt, Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, Chase Utley, Pete Alexander, Ed Delahanty, Richie Ashburn)

# of Players >100 WAR: 1 (Schmidt)

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? 3 of their Top 5 are pitchers, so no. They needed a shortstop and a catcher. Jimmy Rollins was 10th, so they were almost there.

Notes: 11 of the 24 are from recent enough their picture is in color, which is better than I would have expected. The Phillies have been around a long time. Of course, they've been pretty miserable for most of their history.

Of active players, Utley is 4th, narrowly ahead of Pete Alexander (61.8 to 61.5). Cole Hamels is 11th. Almost halfway between Rollins and Johnny Callison.

Bobby Abreu is 9th. I knew Abreu was in Philly for awhile, and that he was a stead, pretty good player. It's still weird to see him that high up the list of a franchise that's existed over 130 years. I could Abreu up near the top of some franchise without a lot of history. I underestimated him.

On less a pleasant note, loudmouth buffoon and failed businessman Curt Schilling ranks 15th.

Washington Nationals (existed since 1969, as the Expos):

Top Player: Gary Carter (55.8 WAR)

#24 Player: Bryn Smith (17.2)

# of Players >30 WAR: 7

# of Players >50 WAR: 1 (Carter)

# of Players >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? No. They do have two pitchers, Steve Rogers and Dennis Martinez, but they also have 4 outfielders and no middle infielders.

Notes: Tim Raines (49.2) and Andre Dawson (48.4) both just missed the 50 WAR mark.

Steve Rogers is one of the only guys on here I've never heard of, along with Bob Bailey (#21) and Ron Fairly (#23). I do remember Bryn Smith because he was on the Cardinals for a couple years in the early '90s. 1991 went pretty well, 1990 not so much.

Given that the Nationals have been pretty good this decade, there are quite a few active players on here. Anthony Rendon is #22, and could probably pass Bailey and Rusty Staub this year. Jordan Zimmerman is 13th, with Gio Gonzalez right behind him, but probably not for much longer. #9-11 goes Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, and Max Scherzer. Ryan Zimmerman is #6, but he'll pass Tim Wallach here soon. Or maybe not, he's been exactly replacement level this year. He only needs 0.3 WAR to do it, though!

So many guys I have fond memories of on here. Vlad Guerrero is 7th, Larry Walker is 12th, after ranking 2nd for the Rockies. Vlad was just a lot of fun to watch, even when he's hitting a homer off a pitch your team throws a foot off the plate. Livan Hernandez is 17th, and Pedro Martinez is 19th. I'm certain we'll see Livan on the next team's list, and Pedro was #8 on the Red Sox' list. I thought maybe DeLino DeShields would be on here, but no dice.

Miami Marlins (existed since 1993):

Top Player: Giancarlo Staton (35.2 WAR)

#12 Player: Marcell Ozuna (14.1)

# of Players >30 WAR: 1

# of Players >50 WAR: 0

# of Players >100 WAR: 0

Can you make a starting lineup of their Top 9? Not quite. No catcher, and either no third baseman or no first baseman, depending where you play Miguel Cabrera. Two second basemen though, Luis Castillo and Dan Uggla, which is unusual.

Notes: Best estimate is the #24 player would be Dee Gordon, at 8.9 WAR.

Either I remembered Livan Hernandez as being a Marlin a lot more than 4 years, or being a much better pitcher (3.3 WAR). Both probably. Whoops.

5 of the top 12 are still active, if we count Hanley Ramirez. Of course, because this is the Marlins we're talking about, none of those 5 are actually still with the team. They traded away Nos. 1 (Stanton), 6 (Christian Yelich), and 12 (Ozuna) this offseason. The Marlins: always getting rid of good players before they do something inconvenient like build a winning tradition. Yes, I know it's actually about trading them before they get expensive. The fact the Marlins are almost always a fucking trash fire is merely an unexpected side effect, right?

Kevin Brown's #10 on the list, after being #24 on the Rangers' list. The Marlins let him sign with the Dodgers on a $105 million contract, and I think he made about one start for each million. OK, that's an exaggeration. He made 164 starts over the duration of the contract. Sucks for the Dodgers and Yankees.

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