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Baseball-Reference front page "team" building

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  • LHP - Randy Johnson (R/L)
    RHP - Adam Wainwright (R/R)

    C - Miguel Montero (L/R)
    1b - Adam LaRoche (L/L)
    2b/LF - Eddie Burke (L/R)
    2b/SS - Jose Reyes (B/R)
    SS - Roger Metzger (B/R)
    3b - Alex Bregman (R/R)
    LF - Kendrys Morales (B/R)
    CF - Gene Richards (L/L)
    RF - Tommy McCarthy (R/R)
    DH - Jim Bottomley (L/L) [player manager]

    Lineup against RHP, and/or offensive emphasis:

    McCarthy, 9
    Richards, 8
    Bregman, 5
    Bottomley, DH
    Morales, 7
    LaRoche, 3
    Reyes, 6
    Montero, 2
    Burke, 4

    Lineup against LHP, and/or defensive emphasis:

    McCarthy, 9
    Richards, 8
    Bregman, 5
    Bottomley, DH
    Morales, 7
    LaRoche, 3
    Reyes, 4
    Montero, 2
    Metzger, 6

    Obviously two fantastic pitchers. If I have to tell you about Randy Johnson, what are you doing here? Wainwright only suffers in comparison to the Big Unit, but when healthy, he's pitched at a HOF level; he just hasn't been healthy enough to put up the indisputable counting stats. But Waino is fantastic. As a bonus, he's also a great fielder and a threat at the plate (things decidedly not true of Johnson).

    Defensively, LaRoche & McCarthy are stars on the right side, and Bregman is a star on the left. The team lacks a true center fielder, so we have to shift Richards over from left; he'll be a bit exposed there. We're overstocked on first basemen; LaRoche is the best fielder of the three, so he stays put. Morales played a little bit (a very little bit) of outfield, so we'll put him in left to keep his bat in the lineup. Bottomley's bat needs to stay in the lineup even more, so he'll DH. Up the middle, we have two shortstops; Metzger is the better fielder (marginally; he was sure-handed, but his range was actually below average), and Reyes played some second, so we'll go with that arrangement. We also have Eddie Burke, who was mostly a left fielder but also played some second; he can be a late innings defensive replacement for Morales, but can also play second with Reyes shifting to shortstop if we want to get more offense in the lineup, particularly against right-handers. Behind the plate, Montero is a mediocre backstop.

    McCarthy, Richards, Reyes, Burke, & Metzger all run well; Reyes paced the NL in stolen bases three straight seasons with a high of 78, while McCarthy led the AA in 1890 with 83, ten below his personal best of 93 in 1888. The 1-2 guys hit for a good average and get on base a lot; for that matter, that's true of Reyes too, once a NL batting champion, but he just got squeezed out of the top of the lineup. Actually the primary reason I moved Jose down was that he had more pop than Tommy or Gene. The heart of the lineup, Bregman, Bottomley, Morales, & Laroche, have most of the serious home run power, but there's extra-base power up and down the lineup; Richards, Bottomley, Reyes, and Metzger all led their leagues in triples at least once -- Reyes four times, Metzger twice; while Bregman & Bottomley both led in doubles. Bottomley is downright lousy with black in between 1925 & 1928, leading in doubles, total bases, and RBI twice, and home runs, hits, triples, and games played once. Montero is a good hitter for a catcher, average overall, while Burke was a little below average, and Metzger, despite the triples (partly an Astrodome artifact), was really rather poor at the plate.

    This team will contend for sure. We'll let Sunny Jim manage; he's well situated to do so as the designated hitter, and he did manage a partial season for a brutally bad Browns team in 1937, taking over for his friend Rogers Hornsby (one may have had to be sunny to get along with Rogers). He'll have better luck sending Unit and Waino out to the mound and having a loaded lineup -- these guys will make a run at the pennant for sure.


    • Pitchers - Chick Fraser (R/R), Pat Malone (L/R), Death Valley Jim Scott (R/R)

      C - Elrod Hendricks (L/R) [player-manager]
      1b - Moose Skowron (R/R)
      2b - Aaron Hill (R/R)
      3b - Sal Bando (R/R)
      SS - Arky Vaughn (L/R)
      LF - Ray Grimes (R/R)
      CF - Raul Mondesi Sr. (R/R)
      RF - Giancarlo Stanton (R/R)
      DH - Aramis Ramirez (R/R)


      Mondesi, 8
      Grimes, 7
      Vaughn, 6
      Stanton, 9
      Bando, 5
      Ramirez, DH
      Skowron, 3
      Hill, 4
      Hendricks, 2

      Three good, interesting pitchers from way back, and a very imposing lineup. I had two third basemen, two first basemen, and two right fielders, so some shuffling was necessary. Mondesi is the stronger outfielder than Stanton (although they're both pretty good), so he'll shift to center. Skowron and Bando are the best gloves among the corner infielders by a considerable margin, so they'll play their usual positions. Then we're left with two guys who've never played the outfield; one will have to be sent to left, the other will DH. Aramis was slow as molasses, and Grimes, at least by the stat lines and vital statistics, looks to have at least average wheels; I'll have to trust him to go to left field and muddle through.

      Fraser was a wild-throwing workhorse who pitched eleven straight seasons from 1986-1906 for mostly terrible teams, never hurling fewer than 223 innings, and exceeding 300 innings four times. Generally below average, he led the NL in walks three times, although in fairness they were in seasons where he threw 349, 331, & 334 innings; he's also second all-time in hit batsmen, and led the NL in wild pitches his first two seasons. He lost 20 games five times, including his last three consecutive seasons of heavy usage. Then in 1907 & 1908, he lucked out and landed as a spot starter on the juggernaut Cubs, winning two World Series in his baseball senescence; he appeared in one last game in 1909, throwing three innings and yielding only an unearned run mopping up in a rout, and left the majors for good.

      Malone was a very successful pitcher with the Cubs, especially under Joe McCarthy. After a sterling 1928 rookie campaign where he won 18 games with an ERA under three, he led the NL in wins In both 1929 (22) and 1930 (20), also scoring crowns in complete games, shutouts, and strikeouts those seasons. When McCarthy was pushed out in a Hornsby coup, Malone was not as successful without the steady hand of Marse Joe; he was eventually reunited with McCarthy in the Bronx, where he mostly worked out of the bullpen for the 1936 & 1937 champions. A "here it is, hit it" fastballer, he was constantly in trouble due to the drinking which would eventually kill him at the young age of 40.

      Death Valley Scott, who acquired the nickname as a result of confusion about his true birthplace of Deadwood, South Dakota, may well have been the best pitcher of the three, despite pitching the least MLB innings of them; he had extended turns in the minors both before and after his MLB career, spent entirely with the White Sox in the fallow period between their 1906 and 1917 titles. A hard thrower who mixed in curves, screwballs, and spitters, he won twenty games twice, and lost twenty-one once, in the same year he won twenty. That season he became the first and only pitcher to lose 20 games with an ERA under two. He left the White Sox to enlist when the U.S. entered WWI, and missed out on the World Series; when the war ended, he resumed his career in the Pacific Coast League, toiling there very successfully for nearly a decade.

      The fielding, despite being a little bit of a struggle is pretty good; everyone in the infield is well above average, Hendricks was a very good catcher, Mondesi & Stanton are both superior gloves, and if Grimes struggles, at least he's stashed away in left. Offensively, the lineup is a gauntlet. Mondesi has power and speed leading off, Grimes is a highly successful short career batsman at #2, Vaughan is a dynamic superstar hitting third, and Stanton provides awesome power at cleanup. Bando, Ramirez, and Skowron are all above average power bats, Hill is similar but less consistent, and Hendricks is a pretty good hitting catcher for a career backup. After he was done catching, Hendricks spent 28 years as the bullpen coach in Baltimore; he's more than ready to manage.


      • C - Terry Kennedy (L/R)
        1b - Ken Keltner (R/R)
        2b - Jimmy Collins (R/R)
        3b - Evan Longoria (R/R)
        SS - Zoilo Versalles (R/R)
        LF - Marcell Ozuna (R/R)
        CF - Jacoby Ellsbury (L/L)
        RF - Jerry Mumphrey (B/R)
        DH - Hal McRae (R/R) [player-manager]

        P/1b/OF - Jack Stivetts (R/R)
        P - Johnny Cueto (R/R)
        P - Mike Hampton (R/L)


        Ellsbury, 8
        Mumphrey, 9
        Collins, 4
        McRae, DH
        Longoria, 5
        Ozuna, 7
        Keltner, 3
        Kennedy, 2
        Versalles, 6

        Three great third basemen, but I'll have to relocate two. Collins is the best fielder of all, and he's the one that best fits the "profile" of a second baseman, so he'll go there. Longoria is a better fielder than Keltner, so we'll leave him at the harder position and shift Keltner to first. Collins & Keltner are both great gloves in general; I'd imagine they'd manage to get the knack of the different positions well enough. Everyone else is pretty much playing their natural position; Kennedy is a pretty good catcher, Versalles is a very good, if occasionally erratic, shortstop, McRae is a DH by necessity following his gruesome broken leg, and the outfield has three center fielders, two of which have Gold Gloves. The defense will be somewhere between very good and great!

        The offense is fantastic. A ton of team speed at the top of the lineup with Ellsbury & Mumphrey, and in Versalles in the 9-hole as well. Collins & McRae are great overall hitters, and they can run a bit too. Longoria, Ozuna, Keltner, and Kennedy are bringing power, and Versalles is the guy with the MVP award on his mantle.

        The pitching is outstanding too. Stivetts is a 200 games winner, strikeout king, ERA champion, and a six time 20 game winner, and also a four-time 25-game winner, and also a two-time 30 game winner, Happy Jack is also a fantastic hitter with extra-base power, sporting a career BA of .298 and a career OPS+ of 106. Cueto is an active pitcher, also with a strikeout crown; he's reminiscent of Luis Tiant a bit; he has a similar delivery and also, while still a hard thrower, pitches with the same sort of cleverness, varying speed and location to frustrate and bewilder batters. Mike Hampton was a stocky little lefty who mostly pitched to contact with a baffling changeup that was usually low and away; he would be considered a great hitting pitcher, if he weren't on the same team as Stivetts, but he's still does well for himself. All three pitchers are also nimble, sure-handed fielders who make a positive difference with their glove.

        This team will make a run at the pennant for sure. McRae had managing gigs with Tampa Bay and Kansas City; we'll give him the lineup card here too.


        • Pitching staff:

          Starters - Greg Maddux, Catfish Hunter, Dave Stewart, Tom Bradley

          Relievers - Kent Tekulve, Greg Minton, Luis Arroyo

          Spare position players - Alan Trammell, Robin Ventura, Carlos Santana, Jamey Carroll, Dick Wakefield

          How fierce is the top three in the rotation? Can you believe Mad Dog has the fewest 20-win seasons among them. Tom Bradley elicited a "Who?" thought bubble; not the five term Mayor of Los Angeles, he was basically a .500 pitcher from the early 1970s for the Indians and Giants.

          The relief corps is really strong. Tekulve was an amazing submarine-style pitcher with a rubber arm that appeared in 90 games a few seasons, and with great effectiveness too. Minton was an elite fireman, mostly for the San Francisco Giants, during the late 1970s & 1980s. Arroyo is the little lefty that had one brilliant season with the 1961 Yankees, an all-time great squad; he led the AL in games pitched, games finished, and saves with a 15-5 record & an ERA barely over two.

          The stray position players would comprise a very good infield, especially on the left side. Wakefield had a 200 hit season for Detroit in 1943.
          Last edited by Cougar; 03-29-2020, 12:36 AM.


          • Pitchers - Chuck Finley (L/L), Bob Rush (R/R), Brad Lidge (R/R)

            C - Mike Napoli (R/R)
            1b - Pete Alonso (R/R)
            2b - Luis Alicea (B/R)
            3b - Whitey Kurowski (R/R)
            SS - Alcides Escobar (R/R)
            LF - Rondell White (R/R)
            CF - Sam Jethroe (B/R)
            RF - Andre Dawson (R/R) [player-manager]
            DH - Ken Singleton (B/R)


            Jethroe, 8
            White, 7
            Dawson, 9
            Alonso, 3
            Singleton, DH
            Kurowski, 5
            Napoli, 2
            Alicea, 4
            Escobar, 6

            Really solid team. Two good starters, both far better than their W-L records, and an up-and-down closer who, when up, was positively dominant. Nice lineup; the top three batters are the outfielders, all of which offer both speed and power, then we have the breakout Alonso at cleanup, followed by two poorly remembered players who were very good hitters in Singleton and Kurowski, then to the primarily defensive positions, where Napoli is still a compelling threat at catcher, Alicea is a steady hitter at second base, and Escobar brings good speed but a pretty weak bat at shortstop.

            The defense is mediocre, with a few exceptions. Escobar had a short peak as a good fielding shortstop, during which he won a Gold Glove and manned short for the 2015 WS champion Royals. Dawson was a fantastic fielder in center, but then as his knees rapidly degraded in the mid 1980s he lost most of his range and was moved to right, where his arm was still a weapon but he couldn't get to much. And White was just a rather good outfielder.

            Hawk is the team's greatest player, pending Alonso's continued development, and he was famed as an inspiring team leader, so he seems the best choice to manage.


            • Pitchers (all L/L) - Denny Neagle, Mike McCormick, Gene Bearden

              C - Julio Franco (R/R) [player-manager]
              1b - Dan Brouthers (L/L)
              2b - Charlie Neal (R/R)
              3b - Tony Taylor (R/R)
              SS - Hanley Ramirez (R/R)
              LF - Joe Kelley (R/R)
              CF - Gary Matthews Jr. (B/R)
              RF - Buck Freeman (L/L)
              DH - Sam Crawford (L/L)

              So, an absolutely outrageously fun lineup, but no catcher at all. Obviously this calls for a fudge.

              The corner outfielders and basemen were almost all (Brouthers, Crawford, Freeman) left-handed; Kelley was right-handed, and also played all over the diamond other than catcher, so he was a candidate. But no one else was primarily a left fielder. The only true center fielder was Matthews, although several could cover it in a pinch; as such, one prefers to keep Sarge Jr. there.

              The skill infielders (Franco, Neal, Ramirez, Taylor) were all very versatile, each with significant experience at a minimum of three infield spots, as well as some brief stints in the outfield, usually left. None were primary third basemen, but Taylor did play a number of seasons there, and played the position well - he was probably a better fielder at third than second - so he'll slot at the hot corner.

              None of the remaining are especially good fielders - Neal is primarily a second baseman, Ramirez more a shortstop than anything else, and Franco a SS/2b/1b hybrid - but each of them enjoyed brief fielding peaks where they fought their way to about average. Hanley is the best shortstop of the three, so he'll go there. Neal and Franco are about equally good at second base, but Franco, also a shortstop, presumably has a stronger arm, which would be helpful behind the plate.

              So Julio will don the tools of ignorance. To thank him, we'll also recognize his vast and varied experience in the game, including a brief managing stint in the Rookie League and a longer, one-season tour in the Mexican League, by have him lead this squad.

              He'll catch an all-southpaw pitching staff of three guys with twenty-win seasons and two with ERA titles. Neagle, the one who didn't win an ERA crown, nonetheless probably had the strongest overall career; his rate stats are inflated by his ERA and his late career tour of duty in Coors Field, but WAR loves him best. A control pitcher with a typical repertoire, he was arguably the best pitcher in the 1997 Braves staff, which is saying something when your teammates are Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. (It would be a poor argument, because Maddux was still at the peak of his powers and IMO was clearly the top dog; however, Neagle was probably in a three-way tie for second best with Smoltz and Glavine.)

              McCormick was a teenage bonus baby with a blazing fastball that had early success, leading the NL in ERA in 1960. Heavily used at an early age, his rotator cuff gave way in the early 1960s; in time, he reinvented himself as a craftsman with a tricky screwball, and won the Cy Young award in 1967 when he led the NL in wins with 22. Soon thereafter, his arm gave out completely and his career came to an end.

              Gene Bearden, a wounded war veteran with a metal hinge in his knee and a silver plate in his head, had a single season for the ages as a rookie in 1948. Bearden had mastered a slow, "dead fish" knuckleball that hitters couldn't touch; he led the AL in ERA and won his twentieth game in a one-game playoff for the pennant against the Red Sox, and then pitched ten and two-thirds scoreless innings in the subsequent World Series over the Braves, earning a win and then a save closing out the clinching game. The next season, new Yankee manager Casey Stengel, who taught Bearden his money pitch when he managed him on the Oakland Oaks, told his charges to lay off the knuckler, as it inevitably dove out of the strike zone, and then to tee off on Bearden's unimposing fastball when they reached a three-goal count. Bearden's Achilles heel soon became known throughout MLB, and he was never effective again.

              These three fine pitchers would not enjoy an especially strong defense, but they would benefit from a devastating offensive attack.


              Franco, 2
              Ramirez, 6
              Brouthers, 3
              Crawford, DH
              Kelley, 7
              Freeman, 9
              ​​​​​​Matthews, 8
              Neal, 4
              Taylor, 5

              ​​​​​​​The top six are awesome; 3-6 are just a dead ball murderer's row. The fielding is mediocre at best, although two-thirds of the outfield (Kelley & Matthews) is pretty good, but with the lineup, it'll do just fine.


              • Three catchers and only one outfielder, and a corner one at that. I was going to take a pass, but there are some favorites of mine in here, so I'll close one eye and push it through.

                C - Mickey Owen (R/R)
                1b - Bill White (L/L)
                2b - Gene DeMontreville (R/R)
                3b - Billy Martin (R/R)
                SS - Tony Fernandez (B/R) [player-manager]
                LF - Elston Howard (R/R)
                CF - Giancarlo Stanton (R/R)
                RF - Jack Warner (L/R)

                Pitchers (all R/R) - Kevin Brown, Claude Hendrix, George Zettlein, Santiago Casilla

                The pitching is really good. Brown is a HOF quality hurler, throwing hard, nasty stuff with sinking action, while alienating all around him. Hendrix was a talented spitballer from the 1910s; off the mound, he was considered the best fielding pitcher of his day, and was a great hitting pitcher. Zettlein was a great, flamethrowing pitcher during baseball's late 1860s "prehistory" and through the NA era, winning the first ERA title in 1871; at the formation of the National League, he had one ineffective 4-20 season and moved on to his life's work. Casilla was a gifted reliever for the Bochy dynasty Giants; as I've written before, it's gobsmacking that he never was named to an All-Star team.

                Lineup, Hendrix not starting:

                DeMontreville, 4
                Fernandez, 6
                Stanton, 8
                White, 3
                Howard, 7
                Martin, 5
                Warner, 9
                Owen, 2
                Pitcher, 1

                Lineup, Hendrix starting:

                DeMontreville, 4
                Fernandez, 6
                Stanton, 8
                White, 3
                Howard, 7
                Hendrix, 1
                Martin, 5
                Warner, 9
                Owen, 2

                The interior fielding is very good; Owen, White, and Fernandez (RIP) are all great fielders, and DeMontreville and Martin are perfectly competent. The outfield is a good fielding corner man in center, and two catchers in the corner, though at least Howard played a fair bit of left field while he awaited Berra's need to get out from behind the plate. But Ellie still covered left field like a catcher. Warner played one game in right field.

                The hitting has two speedy good hitters batting first and second, than Stanton mashing in the three hole, White cleaning up behind him, Howard doing the last of the offensive heavy lifting, and Martin, Warner, and Owen all trailing off behind; Warner bats in the middle of them so the lineup goes R-L-R. Hendrix is a better hitters than all three bottom order guys, so when he starts, the pitcher will bat sixth.

                Martin is the obvious choice to manage, but who wants to be obvious? Let's give Fernandez a shot at it; he just got some tips from St. Peter.


                • Pitchers - Jack Morris (R/R), Cannonball Ed Morris (B/L), Howie Pollet (L/L), Bill Singer (R/R)

                  C - Rick Cerone (R/R)
                  1b - Cecil Cooper (L/L)
                  2b - Jamey Carroll (R/R)
                  3b - Alex Bregman (R/R)
                  SS - Orlando Cabrera (R/R)
                  LF - Gus Zernial (R/R)
                  CF - Johnny Hopp (L/L)
                  RF - Grady Hatton (L/R) [player-manager]

                  Lineup against RHP:

                  Hopp, 8
                  Hatton, 9
                  Cooper, 3
                  Bregman, 5
                  Zernial, 7
                  Cabrera, 6
                  Cerone, 2
                  Carroll, 4
                  Pitcher, 1

                  Lineup against LHP:

                  Cabrera, 6
                  Hopp, 8
                  Bregman, 5
                  Zernial, 7
                  Cooper, 3
                  Hatton, 9
                  Cerone, 2
                  Carroll, 4
                  Pitcher, 1

                  We had two third basemen and were shy an outfielder. Bregman could well be the best player on the team (time will tell), so one doesn't want to move him, which consigns Hatton to the outfield. An outstanding career baseball man who had a very successful minor league managing career, a noble if futile tenure on the expansion Astros of the 1960s, and a long successful career as a hyper-competent scout for Houston and San Francisco, interrupted only by short stints in the Astro front office and the Houston first base coach's box, Hatton will handle right field just fine, and will also manage this fine team. Hopp, a sure-handed center fielder, will help him out, as well as slow-footed Zernial in left. Cerone is an ordinary, competent catcher, and the infielders are uniformly above average gloves.

                  Hopper is an excellent guy to bat high in the order. Hatton is a steady #2 hitter, and also a reasonable #6 against lefties. Cabrera is the team's best base stealer and hits well with a platoon advantage; when lower in the lineup, he's got enough pop to keep pitchers honest. Cooper, Bregman, and Zernial are a wonderful troika at the heart of the order; moving Coop lower against lefties makes sense. Cerone and Carroll are reasonably good hitters for their positions.

                  Jack Morris...the man, the myth, the the team ace. Ed Morris was probably the best LHP of the 19th century; I suppose Ted Breitenstein might have sone supporters, but I'd go with Cannonball Ed. Howie Pollet was one of the lithe little lefties that Branch Rickey bred in the Cardinal farm system like rabbits. Singer was a tall SoCal starter for the Dodgers and Angels in the 1960s and 1970s with two 20-win seasons.


                  • Didn't have a first baseman, but shifting Laughing Larry over from second doesn't seem too preposterous.

                    Ashburn, DeGrom, Doyle, and Rosario bat left-handed, everyone else bats right-handed. Everyone throws right-handed.

                    C - Yadier Molina
                    1b - Larry Doyle [player-manager]
                    2b - Bill Mazeroski
                    3b - Alex Bregman
                    SS - Elvis Andrus
                    LF - Eddie Rosario
                    CF - Richie Ashburn
                    RF - Ellis Burks
                    DH - Derek Bell

                    Pitchers - Jacob DeGrom, Jim Clancy, Jose Berrios

                    The reigning repeat Cy Young winning righthander is a pretty good start to the pitching staff. Jim Clancy, an original Blue Jay, is an innings-eating #2. Berrios is a promising #3.

                    The up-the-middle defense is outrageously great; Yadier, Maz, and Whitey are all-time gloves at their positions, and Elvis is a quite good shortstop in his own right. Bregman at third and Burks in right are Gold Glove caliber too. Rosario is a perfectly competent left fielder, and then there's Doyle at first.

                    ​​​​​​​Doyle was a below average fielder at the keystone, and he has no experience at first, but it's generally the case that downshifting on the defensive spectrum nearly from end to end works out ok, unless the person is just too old a dog to learn new tricks; we'll assume Larry's not that old a pooch.


                    Ashburn, 8
                    Doyle, 3
                    Bregman, 5
                    Burks, 9
                    Rosario, 7
                    Bell, DH
                    Molina, 2
                    Mazeroski, 4
                    Andrus, 6

                    Ashburn is a fantastic on-base man, who both hits for a high average and draws copious walks, and then runs the bases brilliantly. Doyle is a batting average champion and an extra-base machine with good speed of his own. Bregman appears on his way to being one of the great hitting third basemen ever. Burks is a very good cleanup man, Rosario is developing nicely as a middle-of-the-order power bat, Bell & Molina are steady contributors, Mazeroski is a below-average bat, but from time to time he can come through in the clutch. Andrus may still be improving as a hitter, and he offers good speed where the lineup rolls over.

                    This is one of our youngest teams ever; six of our twelve players are active. Doyle managed a couple of years in the minors after learning under McGraw; we'll give him the keys to the car.
                    Last edited by Cougar; 03-31-2020, 09:51 PM.


                    • Pitchers - Christy Mathewson (R/R) [player-manager], Jerry Nops (L/L), Henry Boyle (R/R), Darold Knowles (L/L)

                      C - Gus Triandos (R/R)
                      1b - George Altman (L/R)
                      2b - Hughie Critz (R/R)
                      3b - Fernando Vina (L/R)
                      SS - Gil McDougald (R/R)
                      LF - Bob Bescher (B/L)
                      CF - Richie Ashburn (L/R)
                      RF - Bibb Falk (L/L)


                      Bescher, 7
                      Ashburn, 8
                      Falk, 9
                      McDougald, 6
                      Altman, 3
                      Triandos, 2
                      Vina, 5
                      Critz, 4
                      Pitcher, 1

                      Mathewson is, I believe, the only player here who managed, and he's the best player in a rout; only Ashburn is in the same ZIP code. He's in charge, and this weakish team will only go as far as he carries it.

                      Nops and Boyle are the other two starters; they both had a few pretty good seasons in short, unremarkable careers. Knowles was a pretty good left-handed reliever.

                      The defense is very strong at the skill positions; Ashburn, Critz, and McDougald are great. Triandos is just okay behind the plate, and Falk & Bescher are ordinary in the corners. Vina didn't play much third, but he was very good at second, so he should be fine there. Altman didn't play much first, but neither did anyone else, except Triandos & he's got to catch; Altman will muddle through.

                      Bescher and Ashburn are both great people at the top of the order. Falk, McDougald, and Altman are all pretty good guys to bat 6th or so, but they're the heart of the order. The actual #6, Triandos, has good pop and takes walks. Vina is a decent hitter, and Critz is in the lineup for his glove.

                      Big Six has his work cut out here. There will have to be a whole lot of small ball.
                      Last edited by Cougar; 04-01-2020, 06:08 AM.


                      • Manager & pinch runner - Tommy Dowd (R/R)

                        Starting Pitcher - Joe Coleman (R/R)
                        Relief Pitcher - Mike Williams (R/R)

                        Catcher - Gary Carter (R/R)
                        First Baseman - Scott Brosius (R/R)
                        Second Baseman - Mark Ellis (R/R)
                        Third Baseman - Heinie Groh (R/R)
                        Shortstop - Craig Reynolds (L/R)
                        Left Field - Billy Hamilton (b. 1866, L/R)
                        Center Field - Sam West (L/L)
                        Right Field - David DeJesus (L/L)
                        Designated Hitter - Jim Thome (L/R)


                        West, 8
                        Groh, 5
                        Hamilton, 7
                        Thome, DH
                        Carter, 2
                        DeJesus, 9
                        Brosius, 3
                        Ellis, 4
                        Reynolds, 6

                        Coleman was a hot young prospect who was developed carefully and steadily by the expansion Senators in the late 1960s. Traded to Detroit, he won 62 games between 1971-1973 pitching 280+ innings each season for arm-flayer Billy Martin; his best pitch was a diving forkball. In 1974 his ERA climbed to the mid-fours & he only went 14-12, but he still threw 286 innings, though by then his manager was Ralph Houk.. Then, for some strange reason, he lost all his effectiveness and stumbled to an early retirement. He then became a very successful pitching coach. Mike WIlliams was your standard Eck-era one-inning closer; he tended to give up a lot of runs, but successfully saved 85% of his opportunities.

                        They'll pitch in front of a brilliant defense. Groh, Ellis, and Brosius are all brilliant fielding infielders; Brosius is shifting to first in deference to Groh. (If we were to play without the DH, Brosius would sit in deference to Jim Thome.) Craig Reynolds is merely a good shortstop, but that's fine. Gary Carter is one of the great backstops of all time. The outfield has three excellent centerfielders covering the pasture from left to right in Hamlton, West, and DeJesus.

                        Considering the defense, it's remarkable how good the offense is. West played a long career for mostly moribund Senator and Brown teams between 1927-1942; he was a .300 hitter with good extra base power and patience. West was fast, but didn't run much, as he played in a down period for stolen bases. Groh was very similar to West, except he did run a lot, as a Dead Ball era player. But neither ran nearly as much, or as well, as Billy Hamilton, the third-place hitter, who stole over 900 bases. Hamilton profiles like a leadoff hitter, but when a guy hits .344 with a 141 OPS+ buoyed by an absurd .455 OBP, he's just the best hitter on the team and should be batting third accordingly. Thome and his awesome power hit cleanup, with Carter being a second high quality cleanup-type hitter batting 5th. The remainder of the lineup are pretty much just average hitters for their positions (remembering that Brosius's position is really third base).

                        There's really nowhere for Dowd to play; he's a worse hitter than any of the other outfielders, and even than the very ordinary Ellis at second base, and he's not much of a fielder either. He certainly isn't going to supplant Thome at DH. He did manage the St. Louis Brown Stockings for a little while in the 1890s, and he could run like the wind. So we'll let Dowd manage so he has something to do, and he can pinch run if say, Thome draws a walk in a close game in the late innings - kind of a 19th century Herb Washington.


                        • C - Joe Girardi (R/R)
                          1b - Glenn Davis (R/R)
                          2b - Leo Durocher (R/R) [player-manager]
                          3b - Al Smith (R/R)
                          SS - Frankie Crosetti (R/R)
                          LF - Gus Zernial (R/R)
                          CF - Charlie Abbey (L/L)
                          RF - Sammy Sosa (R/R)
                          DH - Hunter Pence (R/R)

                          RH Starter - Tully Sparks (R/R)
                          LH Starter - Patsy Flaherty (L/L)
                          Reliever - Roger McDowell (R/R)


                          Crosetti, 6
                          Smith, 5
                          Sosa, 9
                          Davis, 3
                          Zernial, 7
                          Pence, DH
                          Abbey, 8
                          Girardi, 2
                          Durocher, 4

                          The pitchers are decent, but not particularly imposing. Sparks was the top pitcher for the Phillies in the first decade of the twentieth century. Flaherty was a journeyman who specialized in "quick pitches" and picking off baserunners. McDowell was the sinkerballing right-handed half of Davey Johnson's closer tandem for the Mets of the mid 1980's; a charismatic prankster and man-about-town, McDowell became famous to a second generation as the "Second Spitter" in the Seinfeld episode spoofing JFK assassination theories, but also became a highly successful pitching coach with the Braves, succeeding Leo Mazzone, a tough act to follow.

                          Crosetti doesn't hit quite as well as one would like a leadoff man to hit, but he's not that far off, and he does have good speed. Then we just have a cavalcade of sluggers: Smith, Sosa, Davis, Zernial, and Pence. Abbey is a guy who plays centerfield, which this team needed; beyond that he's an uninteresting replacement level guy who had one big season in 1894, which is impressive until you remember that everyone had a big season in 1894. Stevie Wonder would have had a big season in 1894. It was the biggest offensive season in baseball history, surpassing the 1929-1931 boom and the 1998-2001 hormone bath. Anyway, Abbey, the team's only LHB (unless you count Flaherty, who was actually a good hitting pitcher) bats 7th, then defensive specialists and managerial candidates Girardi & Durocher bat 8th and 9th, and they hit like defensive specialists or middle-aged managers.

                          The defense is quite good, with Girardi, Durocher, and Crosetti bring great glove up the middle. It's poorly remembered, but Sosa in his twenties, before he totally hulked out, was a very good right fielder; additionally, Davis was somewhat surprisingly a decent fielder at first base. That's the end of the good news. Abbey was mediocre in center. Smith preferred the outfield and disliked playing third base, and it showed. And Zernial was a big, slow plodder in left.

                          There aren't many managers Joe Girardi would take a back seat to, but Leo Durocher is one of them. Leo the Lip was a legend and an important actor in MLB for nearly half a decade, from Ruth and Gehrig's Yankees to the space age Astros of Cesar Cedeno and Bob Watson.

                          If the pitching holds up, this team should contend.
                          Last edited by Cougar; 03-31-2020, 09:20 PM.


                          • Pitchers (all R/R) - Curt Schilling, Dwight Gooden, Joe Kelly

                            C - Carlos Delgado (L/R)
                            1b - Jim Thome (L/R)
                            2b - Lonny Frey (B/R)
                            3b - Bill Melton (R/R)
                            SS - Troy Tulowitski (R/R)
                            LF - Zach Wheat (L/R) [player-manager]
                            CF - Jim Gilliam (B/R)
                            RF - Dave Winfield (R/R)
                            DH - Topper Rigney (R/R)


                            Frey, 4
                            Rigney, DH
                            Wheat, 7
                            Winfield, 9
                            Thome, 3
                            Delgado, 2
                            Tulowitski, 6
                            Melton, 5
                            Gilliam, 8

                            Two long-time Dodgers boxed out of managerial opportunities (not necessarily unjustly, just unfortunately) by long-serving Hall of Famers are the candidates for manager here. Gilliam, Alston's long-time loyal lieutenant and first base coach, lost the contest to succeed Walter Alston to Tom Lasorda, but was retained. But sadly, he was then was cruelly struck down in his prime just two years later by a cerebral embolism.

                            Wheat wanted to succeed Wilbert Robinson, more as a rival than a protege; as this began to become a live possibility, Uncle Robby was exceedingly disdainful of Wheat, perceiving the threat, and there was a great deal of quiet friction between manager and star. Wheat came close to ousting Uncle Robby during an ownership shuffle in the 1925 when Charles Ebbets died; new team president Ed McKeever actually named Wheat manager and he ran the team for two weeks, but McKeever caught pneumonia at Ebbets's funeral and passed himself, and Robinson was reinstated, with Wheat's brief tenure being wiped from the record in what sounds in the SABR bio like a Stalin-esque maneuver. Wheat was later named a coach by McKeever's brother (who must have inherited an ownership stake) later in Uncle Robby's tenure, but was cold-shouldered by Robby and his allies in the Dodger organization, and never got a shot at the big chair again.

                            Gilliam got the more raw deal -- at least Wheat lived -- but I was still torn. I did a search and saw I had Gilliam on a team I built in the early morning on New Year's Day (I presume because my life is sad and awful to the point of ineffability). This was before I was regularly choosing team managers. I edited the old post to make Gilliam the manager of that team, and now I can give Wheat the gig here. This is still probably unfair to Junior, because his team is pretty awful -- he's got 19th century pitchers covering left and right fields -- and this team is dadgum good, but I'll watch for other opportunities for him too. Meanwhile, Buck gets his shot at last.

                            In a bit of positional chicanery, I'm also featuring Gilliam in center field; he played a lot of left and a little right, but only had five brief cameo appearances in center. I'd initially had Gilliam at third base, shifting Melton to right and Winfield to center. But Gilliam was such a smart, versatile player that I'd far rather have him out of position, where he'll still probably do just fine, than put both Melton and Winfield in spots where they'll be exposed. I'm also using Carlos Delgado at catcher, which seems like a pure cheat, but really isn't -- Delgado came up as a catcher and was converted to first base. Now, he was converted to first because he was a dreadful catcher, but there's no one else on the roster who played there, so he has the short straw. I'm guessing Gilliam will manage to be average in center field, while Delgado will be more obviously poor behind the plate.

                            As for the rest of the defense, it's very strong up the middle with Tulo and Frey, and Wheat is a very good left fielder. Thome and Melton are both below average defenders. Winfield's defense has become very controversial of late; he was fast and had a strong arm, so he looked good out there and won seven Gold Gloves. But the new metrics are placing him amongst the worst right fielders ever, on a career basis. I haven't researched it that closely, but I infer he got bad jumps and ran bad routes; I certainly remember him missing the cutoff man a lot, but I'm not sure if the new measures pick up on that. As is typical, both camps are partly right; as a young player, mainly with the Padres, Winfield's awesome native athleticism allowed him to overcome any deficiencies he had in instinct or technique, but as he got older, he declined precipitously, as often happens.

                            The pitchers will make the defense look good. Schilling is likely a matter of months from getting his well-earned Hall call, and Gooden was of course one of only a small handful of the greatest young pitchers ever. I don't know if anyone in my lifetime has ever been better than Gooden was in 1985. Joe Kelly is the third pitcher; once a talented prospect, he's now likely closer to retirement than rookie status, and despite a few stretches of good performance, he's pretty much just a replacement level guy.

                            The lineup is downright awesome. The only batter who has an OPS+ that's below average is Gilliam, and he was an OBP heavy guy (so underweighted by OPS) and was so legendarily good at "the little things", like helping a baserunner (like Maury Wills) steal a base, hitting behind a baserunner, generating other "productive outs" like sacrifice flies and bunts, avoiding double plays, that I'm virtually certain OPS+ is undervaluing him.

                            Frey was another hitter in Junior's mold, good at drawing walks, bunting, etc., but he was also fast enough to lead the NL in stolen bases. Topper Rigney, a shortstop with a pretty good glove but one nowhere closes to Tulo's, who had a short career for reasons that seem opaque, is yet another strong OBP man. Then Wheat is an awesome all-around hitter; a power hitter by deadball standards, he hit more doubles and triples than home runs, even into the live ball era, but basically he's just a great one, maybe a Gwynn with a little more power, or a Clemente with a little less; Enos Slaughter actually seems like the closest fit.

                            Then there's the cavalcade of sluggers 4-6. Winfield has 465 HR, Thome has 612, Delgado has 473. They all hit for good averages too; Thome a little less, but he walks a lot, as does Delgado. I've got Winfield a little higher in the lineup because he runs well. Tulowitski and Melton are also blends of good OBP and power, but to a lesser extent than the HOF quality guys ahead of them, which shouldn't be considered a slight. And then Junior Gilliam, whom we've already discussed at some length, is the "second leadoff man" where the lineup rolls over.

                            The lineup will generate an absurd amount of runs, and Schill & Doc will dominate from the mound. Catcher defense is the only obvious deficiency, and that's survivable. I think this is a championship squad.


                            • Manager & backup infielder - Jerry Coleman (R/R)

                              Pitchers (both R/R) - Chick Fraser, Elmer Riddle

                              C - Candy LaChance (B/R)
                              1b - Nate Colbert (R/R)
                              2b - Alexei Ramirez (R/R)
                              3b - Eric Chavez (L/R)
                              SS - Greg Gagne (R/R)
                              LF - Aaron Rowand (R/R)
                              CF - Paul Hines (R/R)
                              RF - Harold Baines (L/L)
                              DH - Mike Pagliarulo (L/R)


                              Rowand, 7
                              Chavez, 5
                              Hines, 8
                              Baines, 9
                              Colbert, 3
                              LaChance, 2
                              Pagliarulo, DH
                              Gagne, 6
                              Ramirez, 4

                              Pitching is thin; Fraser has a long write-up a dozen posts up. Riddle, a live-armed sinkerballer, had a couple very good seasons with the Reds in the early 1940s, including an ERA crown in 1941, then an arm injury all but ended his career; he had several lost seasons, then he had a little comeback with Pittsburgh in the late 1940s, making an All-Star team in 1948.

                              The defense is pretty good, specifically on the left side, where Gagne, Chavez, and Rowand are all great. Hines, Ramirez, and Baines are all pretty good, Colbert is probably not much better than mediocre, and LaChance is an inexperienced catcher, who nonetheless seems satisfactory.

                              Not a whole lot of team speed; Rowand, Hines, LaChance, and Ramirez can run a little, but no big-time basestealers.

                              The hitting is pretty good; Rowand is an adequate leadoff man. Chavez walks a lot and has power in the #2 spot; he's a little slower than one usually wants. Hines is a fantastic all-around offensive force batting third, Baines is a classic leadoff man, and Colbert is a tremendous power bat. Candy, Pags, Gagne, and Alexei are all basically competent bottom-of-the-order hitters, no more.

                              Coleman, this team's HOFer if one counts the Frick Award, had his greatest success in the broadcast booth, but Ray Kroc drafted him into managing in 1980. It did not go tremendously well. Nevertheless, we'll give him another shot here.


                              • Pitchers - Jim Hearn (R/R), Jerry Nops (L/L), Allan Sothoron (B/R), Jack Bentley (L/L)

                                C - Bob Swift (R/R) [player-manager]
                                1b - Alvin Davis (L/R)
                                2b - Charlie Gehringer (L/R)
                                3b - Don Money (R/R)
                                SS - Javier Baez (R/R)
                                LF - Harmon Killebrew (R/R)
                                CF - Ellis Burks (R/R)
                                RF - Rickie Weeks (R/R)
                                DH - Jack Bentley (L/L)

                                Lineup, with DH or when Bentley starts:

                                Gehringer, 4
                                Burks, 8
                                Davis, 3
                                Killebrew, 7
                                Baez, 6
                                Money, 5
                                Weeks, 9
                                Bentley, 1/DH
                                Swift, 2

                                Lineup, without DH, Bentley not starting:

                                Gehringer, 4
                                Burks, 8
                                Davis, 3
                                Killebrew, 7
                                Baez, 6
                                Money, 5
                                Weeks, 9
                                Swift, 1
                                Pitcher, 1

                                This one requires little explanation. Swift was a longtime coach and minor league manager; he got his shot in the majors with the Tigers in 1966 when Chuck Dressen's health gave out, but he himself got terminal lung cancer in short order. Pitching is ordinary, four guys with shortish careers and a smattering of good seasons. Defense is great up the middle, weaker to the sides, though Money is pretty good at third. Offense is very imposing. These guys will mostly have to outscore opponents.



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