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!