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!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dusty Baker, the Ultimate #12

Remember when I was doing Ultimate Number Player photo collages? Heck, I barely remember it meself. But thanks to some dedicated YouTubers who've uploaded classic baseball games (most likely without the express written consent of Major League Baseball), I've been able to find photographic evidence of some players having worn certain numbers for certain teams. One of those is the great Dusty Baker, who I named the Ultimate #12 in this post without a photo to accompany it. Fear no longer. I have just the photo you've waited almost three years for:

#12 Dusty Baker photo 12 - dustybaker.jpg

We've got him wearing it with the Braves, the Dodgers, the Giants, and the Athletics.

And just for kicks, Baker has worn it at all his managerial stops as well: The Giants, the Cubs, the Reds, and now the Nationals. Why don't we get a photo collage of that as well?

#12, manager Dusty Baker photo 12 - dustybaker - manager.jpg

Dusty's getting up there in years, so it's quite possible that Washington will be the last managerial stop of his career. Hopefully I won't have to amend this collage at any point.

Truly this man exemplifies all it means to wear the dozen digits... wait a minute. Baker... dozen... baker's dozen? Ohhhhh, Dusty. You clever sneak.

Good luck with the Nationals, Dusty Baker! Let's see if you can't get them that pennant they've been waiting for!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Mets Franchise Deep Four

No, I didn't forget about this project. Just been doing other stuff lately. Today we're going to look at our amazin' friends in Flushing. Who are their best by position?

1stTom SeaverMike PiazzaKeith HernandezEdgardo AlfonzoDavid WrightJose ReyesCleon JonesCarlos BeltranDarryl Strawberry
2ndJerry KoosmanJohn StearnsJohn OlerudWally BackmanHoward JohnsonBud HarrelsonKevin McReynoldsTommie AgeeRon Swoboda
3rdDwight GoodenTodd HundleyDave MagadanRon HuntWayne GarrettKevin ElsterSteve HendersonLenny DykstraJoel Youngblood
4thJon MatlackGary CarterEd KranepoolFelix MillanRobin VenturaRey OrdonezBernard GilkeyMookie WilsonRusty Staub

The Mets have one heck of a 1st Team: Two Hall of Famers, one borderline guy who I think should be in, another guy who'll have a good argument once he retires, another guy who could qualify with a few more good seasons, and four other fine players.

Catcher surprised me. I thought Hall of Famer Gary Carter would end up on the 2nd Team, but the Mets really got him at the decline phase of his career. Stearns and Hundley were much better players than they get credit for. And Jerry Grote just missed the cut.

Center field was surprisingly deep. Angel Pagan, Juan Lagares, and Lee Mazzilli were all worthy of honorable mentions.

Right field and shortstop were the two weakest positions. After the 2nd Teams, there wasn't a lot to get excited about. You never realize how shallow some teams are at certain spots.

Second base didn't have any really outstanding players, but it had a lot of good ones. Jeff Kent just missed the cut, as you can see.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Congratulations to Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr.

The news just came in today that Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. are the latest additions to the Hall of Fame. I have fond memories of these guys' heyday, back when I was a kid in the '90s. Congratulations go out to both of them. It's well-deserved.

As far as this blog is concerned, it's time for an update. Check out this classic Baseball Junk Drawer list:

Hall of Famers' First Major League Home Runs