Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Braves Franchise Deep Six

A few years ago I got the idea of making all-time franchise depth charts. I started with the Yankees and got six players deep at each position before I didn't feel like going further. It was fun, but for whatever reason (probably my usual lack of focus) I didn't do them for any other franchises.

I've decided to try again. If I have the drive to stick with it, I plan to create all-time teams for each franchise. There'll be the 1st Team, as well as the 2nd Team, all the way to the 6th. (Sometimes you're splitting hairs even before you get to the 6th.) I'll then post them here in chart form for easy reading. And since it's been a few years since I made my Yankees depth chart, I'm going to redo that one.

To determine rankings, I plan to take into account not just raw numbers, but longevity and peak value, meaning these lists will be subjective enough to encourage debate (should anyone but me and my few loyal readers ever see them). I also have a few other rules to note:

1. A player can only count at one position for a franchise. He can't be both the left fielder on the 1st Team and the right fielder on the 4th Team, he's got to be ranked at only one position. I want to see a variety of players, not the same guys over and over. Maybe you'd disagree, but hey, it's my project.

2. I'm only counting starting pitchers at the pitcher position.

3. A player must have played at least three seasons for the franchise at a position to qualify for the depth chart. Rogers Hornsby was with the Boston Braves in 1928, and as he was still in his prime, he put up perhaps the greatest season ever for a Braves second baseman. However, it was also his only season with the Braves franchise, so it wouldn't feel right to rank him on their depth chart.

On the subject of the Braves, they're the first team I've finished for this project, so I thought I'd share it here as my monthly post:

1stKid NicholsJoe TorreFred TenneyBobby LoweEddie MathewsJohnny LoganRico CartyAndruw JonesHank Aaron
2ndGreg MadduxDel CrandallJoe AdcockGlenn HubbardChipper JonesRabbit MaranvilleSid GordonWally BergerJason Heyward
3rdWarren SpahnBrian McCannEarl TorgesonTony CuccinelloBob ElliottRafael FurcalLonnie SmithDale MurphyDavid Justice
4thPhil NiekroJavy LopezJohn MorrillMarcus GilesDarrell EvansHerman LongRalph GarrBilly HamiltonTommy Holmes
5thTom GlavineHank GowdyFelipe AlouFelix MillanJimmy CollinsAndrelton SimmonsRyan KleskoHugh DuffyChick Stahl
6thJohn SmoltzPhil MasiFreddie FreemanJack BurdockBilly NashJeff BlauserJoe ConnollyJim O'RourkeGene Moore

It's interesting to see that a franchise as historical as the Braves is fairly weak at first base, second base and left field. Especially second base. Glenn Hubbard sticks out like a sore thumb on that 2nd Team. Why couldn't they have kept Rajah around a bit longer? At pitcher, third base and center field though, they're especially strong.

Perhaps some of you think it's too early to have Freddie Freeman or Andrelton Simmons on these charts. All I can say is that first base is weak enough for Freeman to make it, and Simmons has been great enough in his young career that I feel confident about his place here. I could easily see both of them working their way up to higher teams in future editions of these depth charts.

I hope to have more to share with you next month.