Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, September 13, 2019

How many bad teams would it take to beat the Astros, Dodgers or Yankees?

A more complicated way is to ask this: How many of these bad teams would it take to make up one of these great teams? Would a playoff superteam of the Royals, Orioles, Tigers and Marlins be able to hang with the super playoff teams in Houston, New York and Los Angeles? In an era of total teardowns on the bleak side of the standings and insatiable depth hoarding on the bright side of them, is there room for any good players on a last-place roster?

To answer this question took 17 tabs in a spreadsheet.

Here were the rules: We built 25-man rosters for the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers and Tigeroyiolins—on second thought, that’s the only time we’ll attempt to call them that. Henceforth, they will be the Superteam—based entirely on 2019 stats: a starter at every position, four bench players covering infield, outfield and catcher, a four-man starting rotation (because only four are needed in the postseason) and an eight-man bullpen. We prorated each player’s 2019 WAR for a full, healthy season in the role he is assigned to: 600 plate appearances for starters (except 500 for the catcher), 250 for bench players, 175 innings for starting pitchers and 65 for relievers (except 95 for one designated swingman).* The plan was to see how many bad teams it takes to compete with the Astros, Dodgers and Yankees.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 13, 2019 at 06:34 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2019 at 10:10 PM (#5879066)
Making it a "playoffs" thing seems a bit silly so I'll ignore that, let's see what I can do.

Let's look at the candidates.

Marlins: There's almost nobody you really want on your team, especially not in the immediate term. Alfaro, Garrett Cooper, Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas are having solid seasons But Anderson (3.8 WAR, 2.2 WAA) is the only one having a substantially above-average season, playing a mix of 3B and RF. He'll make our team as a Zobrist-y type player if nothing else. (He's on the 60-day IL so he's not gonna help us in the playoffs but no matter.)

On the pitching side, noboy's having a legit good season. Alcantara and Smith are doing OK on poorer-peripherals and would be 5th starter candidates on a super team (or #2 starters on the Yanks :-). Jarlin Garcia is the only reliever getting legit good results but again the peripherals are less promising. Still a LHR candidate.

Orioes: Sim to Marlins. Hanser Alberto is having a fine season at 2B (3/1.3); Mancini is a starting DH candidate otherwise a bench bat; C Pedro Severino is above-average and would be useful paired with Alfaro. Ooh, I almost missed Villar who's had a really nice season as well at 3.7/1.6. Alberto, Villar, Anderson give us a pretty useful rotation of 3 guys across 2B, 3B and LF/RF.

John Means probably will head our rotation at 4.1/2.8 although FIP is much less kind. Bundy is above-average somehow and Givens and Castro (also looking much better by bWAR than trad stats).

We're at least getting close to a WC contender. I'm not clear if we get to use guys like Cashner -- good for the O's, terrible for Red Sox. Might matter if we get to the Jays and Stroman ... and arises immediately with Castellanos and the Tigers.

Tigers: A useless offense. Even with Castellanos' big Cub surge, he only gets to 2.9/0.6 on the year and brings the same defensive concerns as Mancini. Seriously the only "position" players with positive WAR are two pitchers with 2 PA each (Gregory Soto 2-2 so he's in the DH mix :-).

But the pitching is reasonable. Boyd 3.6/2.0, Norris 2.3/1.1, Turnbull 1.8/0.6, Greene 1.7/1.0. Greene is a classic FIP example -- a 3.68 FIP in Det resulted in a 1.18 ERA; a 3.62 FIP in Atl has resulted in a 4.19 ERA.

So we've got a reasonable looking rotation already of Means, Boyd, Norris, Turnbull, Bundy, Cashner, Alcantara and Smith. We're OK at C and we've got a good chunk of 2B, 3B, RF, LF, DH covered with limited but above-average (in 2019) guys. We're up to about 9-10 WAA already, now if the Royals can just supply us with 15 average players ...

Royals: Alas they supply us with more of the same in position players. Merrifield is probably the legit best player we've uncovered so far -- he's 2B and RF. Hunter Dozier is having a nice season with lousy defense at 3B. Jorge Soler might be our best bat but is a DH or poor corner. Mondesi is doing well though (2.6/1.2) so he looks like our SS. Maldonado could be in the backup C mix.

Montgomery has pitched well as a SP for them after stinking with the Cubs. Keller and Duffy throw their name into the rotation mix. Ian Kennedy has transitioned into a very nice reliever season and looks like our closer at the moment. A couple of other relievers are getting good results on poor peripherals but are at least in contention for some back-end work.

At this point, we're getting there but we still don't have a real CF or 1B (maybe Castellanos?), the OF defense is terrible and the bullpen is weak. It's probably not true but my impression has always been that you could count on crappy teams turning up some good relievers but that's not true this year.

So on to the Jays: Gurriel is another solid-hitting, poor defensive OF but probably takes the starting LF spot (on the IL though). If we're doing one year only, I'm not sure we have room for Vlad ... but we would like some fans to turn out so I'm sure we'll work something out. Sogard is continuing to have a nice season but how many 2B do we need? Teoscar Hernandez is not good but might be the closest thing to a CF yet. Smoak is having a worse season than Garrett Cooper.

Stroman was excellent even if we include the Mets stint. Giles had been excellent, Hudson, Font will come in handy.

We should be pretty close at this point, especially if Castellanos (or maybe Hunter Dozier) can pick up 1B. We're below-average in CF, probably no better than average at C and 1B but should be able to mix and match our way to 8-10 WAA on the position player side. The rotation is pretty deep but the bullpen isn't, still we've probably pushed out to about 8 WAA there. So we must be close to 95-100 wins.

Still, no superstar, no fear factor. Seattle is the next stop and they're really no help. Kyle Seager is having a nice season at 3B ... one of these guys has to be able to pick up 1B, right? Tom Murphy can take over as platoon C with Severino. JP Crawford is close to Mondesi. More SP depth.

Next are the Rox and we'll count Arendado as our superstar and he and Story take over the left side of the IF (both over 5 WAR this season). Tony Wolters pulls us a bit closer to average at C, Blackmon goes into the decent bat/crap defense OF mix. Jon Gray (60-day IL) and German Marquez (10-day IL) take over the front of the rotation.

So now we're talking.

C: Severino/Murphy/Wolters
1B: Realistically probably Seager, Cooper if you want a real 1B
2B: Merrifield plus Villar and Alberto
SS: Story, Mondesi
3B: Arenado
OF: still a mess. Anderson is probably our best, beyond that a mix of Blackmon, Castellanso, Soler, Mancini, etc. Teoscar is our CF unless Crawford or Mondesi or Alberto or ... can take it. One of the bats takes any DH slot we might have.

No worse than average anywhere, average or better on the bench.

SP: Gray, Marquez, Means, Boyd, probably Norris with lots of depth
RP: Weak but Giles and Kennedy then some above-average guys plus any rotation losers who transition well.

We should be well above 100 wins now.

On Seager to 1B -- he's got positive career dWAR, never substantially below-average dWAR, lots of 3B have made that tranistion successfully in the past. But Cooper has been average there for the Marlins this year plus surely at least one of Merrifield or Anderson or Castellanos (former lousy 3B) or Alberto or Villar or Dozier could pick it up if we get desperate.

   2. bookbook Posted: September 13, 2019 at 11:14 PM (#5879074)
Nelson Cruz as an M (alum)? I see you have no DH, but could he learn 1b on the fly? He can stand in left OR right field!
   3. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 14, 2019 at 12:02 AM (#5879079)
Sogard is continuing to have a nice season but how many 2B do we need?

Sogard was traded to the Rays back in July.
   4. filihok Posted: September 14, 2019 at 12:02 PM (#5879106)
I did this before the season with the Dodgers and the NL West.
The NL West All Stars projected for about 2 more wins than LA
   5. Davo Posted: September 14, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5879127)
I was thinking about this in a different way:

Suppose before setting their 25-man rosters before the playoffs, the Tigers announced that their entire team was available for the Astros to pick from. IOW: Houston has to pick a 25-man playoff roster, and they get to choose between every player on the Astros AND every player on the Tigers.

Contracts and team control don’t matter. All Tigers go back to Detroit after the World Series. Also, all the Tigers promise to play hard.

How many Tigers would Houston pick?

I honestly think the MAX would be 2, and even that we’re looking at extremely minor improvements. (I think Matt Boyd could be Houston’s emergency long-man , and Niko Goodrum probably edges Myles Straw as the super-utility man.)

What do you guys think?
   6. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5879153)
Sogard was traded to the Rays back in July.

Where he has continued to do well. Whether we get to use him or not is up to the rule-making committee but we don't need him. Castellanos was traded to the Cubs -- who just might make the playoffs ... not clear we need him either.

All in all, I wasn't expecting so many 2B and so few relievers. The OF was pretty much exactly what I expected although I was thinking somebody must have a CF who was average thanks to excellent defense.
   7. Dale Sams Posted: September 14, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5879281)
You raided the Jays and didn't get Bichette?? You're fired.
   8. bookbook Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5879317)
Dang it. I meant Encarnacion.
   9. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: September 15, 2019 at 10:10 AM (#5879318)
Nelson Cruz as an M (alum)? I see you have no DH,


You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.



<< Back to main


All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF


Thanks to
for his generous support.


You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-26-2020
(28 - 6:27pm, Feb 26)
Last: Tom Nawrocki

NewsblogYankees’ Luis Severino headed for Tommy John surgery
(41 - 6:19pm, Feb 26)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogCan Cleveland Afford Francisco Lindor?
(42 - 5:59pm, Feb 26)
Last: snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster)

NewsblogRob Manfred has a history of botching investigations
(3 - 5:53pm, Feb 26)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogWe Provide Leverage: A Thought Experiment
(17 - 5:42pm, Feb 26)
Last: Walt Davis

Newsblog‘The wall won’ _ Kemp tries to revive career with Marlins
(1 - 5:42pm, Feb 26)
Last: A triple short of the cycle

NewsblogMadison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name
(73 - 5:27pm, Feb 26)
Last: Banta

NewsblogOT - Soccer Thread - January, 2020
(673 - 5:25pm, Feb 26)
Last: The_Ex

NewsblogAgent Scott Boras to honor Kobe Bryant's wish with internship for Lexi, daughter of late John Altobe
(13 - 5:19pm, Feb 26)
Last: gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread 2020
(1477 - 5:13pm, Feb 26)
Last: Tom Cervo, backup catcher

NewsblogMLB was told about the Astros’ system years ago and did nothing
(24 - 4:01pm, Feb 26)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (February 2020)
(154 - 3:53pm, Feb 26)
Last: the Centaur Nipple Paradox (CoB).

NewsblogWhich MLB Teams Will Disappoint in 2020?
(23 - 3:08pm, Feb 26)
Last: Rusty Priske

NewsblogHow Giants, Farhan Zaidi might choose to use new 26th roster spot
(24 - 12:19pm, Feb 26)
Last: Cris E

NewsblogPosnanski: Baseball 100 Rules
(752 - 12:03pm, Feb 26)
Last: TomH

Page rendered in 0.3406 seconds
46 querie(s) executed