Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Royals Franchise Deep Four

Of the four 1969 expansion franchises, I've saved the most successful for last. Let's see how strong their all-time teams look.

1stBret SaberhagenSalvador PerezJohn MayberryFrank WhiteGeorge BrettFreddie PatekWillie WilsonAmos OtisDanny Tartabull
2ndKevin AppierDarrell PorterMike SweeneyMark GrudzielanekKevin SeitzerRey SanchezAlex GordonCarlos BeltranAl Cowens
3rdMark GubiczaMike MacfarlaneEric HosmerCookie RojasJoe RandaAlcides EscobarLou PiniellaLorenzo CainJermaine Dye
4thZack GreinkeJohn WathanWally JoynerCarlos FeblesMike MoustakasU.L. WashingtonBo JacksonJohnny DamonJeff Francoeur

Some of the guys on the first team were far and away the best choices; White, Brett, and Patek all blew away their closest competition. Who would've thought that Mark Grudzielanek and Rey Sanchez would make the 2nd Team?

Corner outfield was a bit tricky, as often is the case. Their right fielders weren't the deepest group, for instance. I only chose Jeff Francoeur for the 4th Team based on one good season that was better than anything any of the other candidates had done, despite spending the rest of his Royals tenure adding negative value. David DeJesus might've been a better choice in left field than either Piniella or Jackson, but he seemed to fit better in center field, where he ended up just missing the cut. If I were doing a 5th Team for the Royals, DeJesus would definitely be there, yes sirree.

Salvador Perez and Darrell Porter are currently pretty close, but I decided to give it to Perez since he's having a great season so far, and if he keeps it up, he should find himself well ahead of Porter by the end of it. And besides, he's already a Kansas City folk hero. Of the young Royals crop currently defending their World Series title, he's the only one who's made it to the 1st Team. Truly a feather in his backward catcher's helmet.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Brewers Franchise Deep Four

Checking off those 1969 newcomers, we're now on the once-American League expansion franchise Seattle Pilots, who are now the National League Central's Milwaukee Brewers.

1stTeddy HigueraJonathan LucroyCecil CooperRickie WeeksPaul MolitorRobin YountRyan BraunGorman ThomasSixto Lezcano
2ndBen SheetsDarrell PorterGeorge ScottJim GantnerJeff CirilloJose ValentinBen OglivieCarlos GomezJeromy Burnitz
3rdChris BosioB.J. SurhoffPrince FielderRonnie BelliardDon MoneyJ.J.HardyGeoff JenkinsDave MayCorey Hart
4thMike CaldwellTed SimmonsRichie SexsonFernando VinaSal BandoPat ListachGreg VaughnMarquis GrissomRob Deer

Interestingly, there's no position that stands out here as being particularly strong. The Brewers have had a pretty mediocre history. But at least Brewer fans can currently appreciate watching the greatest catcher and left fielder in franchise history while they're still around.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Nationals Franchise Deep Four

Time for another installment of Deep Six/Four/Three Later On, this time for the Nationals franchise! This one is very heavy on the franchise's Expo predecessors, but several Nats ended up on the 1st Team. Let's see how this goes:

1stSteve RogersGary CarterNick JohnsonJose VidroRyan ZimmermanIan DesmondTim RainesAndre DawsonVladimir Guerrero
2ndDennis MartinezBrian SchneiderRon FairlyRon HuntTim WallachOrlando CabreraMoises AlouMarquis GrissomRusty Staub
3rdPedro MartinezWilson RamosAndres GalarragaDelino DeShieldsBob BaileyChris SpeierWarren CromartieRondell WhiteLarry Walker
4thJavier VazquezDarrin FletcherMike JorgensenMike LansingLarry ParrishHubie BrooksMack JonesDenard SpanEllis Valentine

Not a bad group at some of these positions. Center and right fields were both quite good, as was pitcher. It's a shame the Expos couldn't hold on to Pedro Martinez, or he'd probably get a spot on the 1st team easily.

First base was a bit disappointing, as Andres Galarraga had the longevity, but not the consistent star-level play that he would later be known for in Colorado. It seems a shame to give the top spot to the oft-injured Nick Johnson, though he had some darn good numbers when he actually made it onto the field.

Catcher was pretty weak after Gary Carter. We'll see if Wilson Ramos can ever up his production enough to make it to the 2nd Team, though he's highly unlikely to catch Carter at this point.

Of course, the real shame is that Bryce Harper isn't here anywhere, due to his being flipped around the outfield so far in his young career. Once he settles in to a regular position and plays it for several seasons, he'll probably end up on the 1st Team somewhere. Could it be right field, which is already probably the franchise's strongest spot?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Padres Franchise Deep Four

We're now at the 1969 expansion wave, and the first one I thought I'd do was the San Diego Padres. Let's see what this one ended up as.

1stJake PeavyGene TenaceAdrian GonzalezRoberto AlomarKen CaminitiOzzie SmithGene RichardsKevin McReynoldsTony Gwynn
2ndAndy AshbyTerry KennedyNate ColbertMark LorettaPhil NevinKhalil GreeneCarmelo MartinezDarrin JacksonDave Winfield
3rdAndy BenesBenito SantiagoRyan KleskoTim FlanneryChase HeadleyGarry TempletonGreg VaughnMark KotsayBrian Giles
4thEd WhitsonNick HundleyFred McGriffQuilvio VerasSean BurroughsEverth CabreraCarlos QuentinCameron MaybinOllie Brown

Interesting results. The middle infield of their 1st Team has two guys that were associated with other franchises. Alomar and Smith were good enough in short periods of time to earn the top spots.

Some of these required a lot of debate over longevity vs. peak. The Padres are a decidedly non-storied franchise, so many of these guys didn't have long tenures in San Diego. Ed Whitson got the nod over franchise icon Randy Jones just because of his two great years at the end of his career, which topped Jones' short peak. But I might've given it to Jones on a different day. At the keystone, Mark Loretta had an argument for the top spot, but Alomar had three years of star-level play, which bettered Loretta's two, despite Loretta's good years being better than Alomar's. It's all subjective.

In left field, it's safe to say these guys ain't the Red Sox. Gene Richards was an easy choice for the top spot, despite being rather obscure today. At the other side of the outfield though, the Padres have probably their deepest position: Their all-time greatest player, followed by a Hall of Famer, followed by a guy who had an extremely underrated career, followed by an early star.

I predicted Steve Finley would take the top spot in center field, but he ended up not making the list at all, since WAR didn't think very highly of his defense. I never even thought about the possibility of Darrin Jackson making the 2nd Team, but WAR loved his defense that much.

The hot corner has been a pretty good position for the Friars. Their top four players all manned the position from the 1990s onward. Graig Nettles came close, but Burroughs barely beat him out. If only the Padres had someone good there now...

First base and catcher were also surprisingly strong positions. Hats off to the Padres. They're an oft-overlooked team, but their talent acquisition has been pretty good over the years.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Astros Franchise Deep Four

Finally we've reached the last member of MLB's first expansion wave, the Houston Astros!

1stRoy OswaltJason CastroJeff BagwellCraig BiggioMorgan EnsbergDickie ThonJose CruzCesar CedenoTerry Puhl
2ndLarry DierkerAlan AshbyLance BerkmanJoe MorganKen CaminitiAdam EverettLuis GonzalezJim WynnKevin Bass
3rdMike ScottBrad AusmusGlenn DavisBill DoranDoug RaderCraig ReynoldsCarlos LeeSteve FinleyHunter Pence
4thRoger ClemensJohnny EdwardsBob WatsonJose AltuveEnos CabellRoger MetzgerAl SpanglerMichael BournRusty Staub

The Astros have a fine stable of second basemen. Even the guy on their 4th Team has been a star. First base and center field aren't too shabby either.

Jose Cruz is a solid 1st Teamer in left field, but after him, the list isn't too impressive. Al Spangler? Really? Part of what hurt them was Lance Berkman and Bob Watson being better fits for first base.

Morgan Ensberg and Dickie Thon are both pretty top-heavy value-wise, but their peaks were strong enough for me to put them on the 1st Team. I expected Ken Caminiti to be the top third baseman, but Ensberg was just better. Adam Everett had a better career than most people remember, making him a fine 2nd Teamer.

I was surprised that catcher was such a weak position. Turns out the Astros have never had a real star behind the dish. Jason Castro got the top spot mainly from his big season in 2013, because he's about the same as the rest of the pack otherwise. Come on, Astros. Get some better catchers!