The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #50-41

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The previous ten is here.

150 down.  50 to go.  Fun list to put together, particularly fun with the running rosters I'm keeping; the first is straight from this list - it's the all time team straight from this roster, it changes with every additional player down as we move up the list.  The second is a subjective/peak list - so a guy like Shoeless Joe Jackson's maintaining a lock on left field despite being long passed by on the career list.

Career value:
C Rodriguez (Bench)
1B Brouthers (Rose)
2B Gehringer (Carew)
SS Smith (Larkin)
3B Brett (Jones)
LF Yastrzemski (Delahanty)
CF Griffey (Edmonds)
RF Clemente (Kaline)
RHP Roberts (Ryan, Mussina, Clarkson, Martinez, Drysdale, Rivera )
LHP Glavine (Hubbell)

C Bench (Berra)
1B Brouthers (Mize)
2B Robinson (Carew)
SS Banks (Smith)
3B Brett (Santo)
LF Jackson (Delahanty)
CF Griffey (Hamilton)
RF Flick (Clemente)
RHP Rivera (Martinez, Walsh, Feller, Clarkson, Marichal, Halladay, )
LHP Hubbell (Newhouser)

50. Eddie Plank  LHP (WARP + B-Ref WAR)164.5
ERA+ 122
MVPQ 1904 (18.1)

The 50 best careers in MLB history start with a lefty from the Progressive Era; Hubbell and Newhouser each had a better adjusted ERA and a better peak, that keeps them ahead of Plank despite the value disparity in not too much longer a career for the Athletic.   He had a significantly better career than either, but if you're drafting - narrowly - you'd stick with the lefties on the roster.   However, what we will do is add Plank as a third lefty, as he'd slot narrowly ahead of Marichal on the all time pitching rotation - and that drops Doc Halladay, who you didn't know was this good historically, from the subjective team.

49. Frank Thomas  DH/1B 166.1
White Sox
OPS+ 156
Translated BA/OBP/SLG: .313/.431/.605
MVPQ 1991 (16.9), 1992 (16.5), 1994 (16.7), 

Hurt gives us the opportunity for two sublists.  The first, my oft-stated favorite - the translated .300/.400/.500 slashline:

Will Clark
Jackie Robinson
Dick Allen (3/4/6)
Joe Jackson (3/4/6)
Elmer Flick
Gary Sheffield
Edgar Martinez
Manny Ramirez
Chipper Jones
Dan Brouthers
Frank Thomas (3/4/6)

And - Frank's got 3 MVPQ seasons, and now that's a good new sublist to create - several groups back, I did a "who had multiple seasons" list - but 3 is now a better benchmark.

Ken Griffey
Ed Delahanty 
Pedro Martinez
John Clarkson (4)
Ernie Banks (4)
Ron Santo
Carl Hubbell 
Ed Walsh (5)
Dick Allen
Jackie Robinson
Hal Newhouser
Bob Feller
Bob Caruthers
Frank Thomas

Dick Allen and Frank Thomas are the only two on both lists - meaning that perhaps, again, I need to rethink taking Allen off the roster; it could be that the distance between his bat and Santo's is too great., not to mention that, like Thomas and Shoeless Joe, Allen transcends that list - with a translated SLG of over .600.  Hell, do you take Dick Allen over Santo?  And George Brett?  Is Dick Allen still the best third baseman?  Or is the defensive liability just too great, and you'd put him behind Brett/Santo and Chipper Jones and maybe Scott Rolen too?

Frank's the new best first baseman ever - he and Brouthers are really comparable, but you'll take Frank by a hair, knocking Mize from the roster.

48. Fergie Jenkins RHP 167
ERA+ 115
MVPQ 1971 (20.7)

With Plank joining the subjective roster - it's Marichal on the outer edge, and Fergie can't quite pass him by.

47. Arky Vaughan SS 168.6
MVPQ 1934 (18.2), 1935 (21.2), 1936 (18.1), 1938 (16.9) 

'Member how just a moment ago was the 3+ MVPQ list?  Did you notice the only position player so far with more than 3 MVPQ seasons was Banks?  Here's Arky Vaughan.  And notice he topped 20 in '35, meaning we can refresh the other list - the post 19th century players with a combined WARP/WAR season of over 20.

Sosa 2001 (22.5)
Feller 1946 (21.3)
Marichal 1966 (20.6)
Robinson 1951 (21.7)
Walsh 1908 (22.5)
Walsh 1910 (22.1)
Walsh 1912 (22.2)
Boudreau 1948 (22.6)
Banks 1959 (21.2)
 Santo 1967 (20.5)
Biggio 1997 (20.3)
Martinez 2000 (20.2)
Yount 1982 (21.1)
Yaz 1967 (22.1)
Vaughan 1935 (21.2)

See how Banks, our starting subjective SS is also on that list - but as good a bat has Banks had, he's not on the 3/4/5 slashline list, until now, the only middle infielder thereon was Robinson.  Arky Vaughan, solidly, is the new starting shortstop on the subjective team - knocking Ozzie from the backup job.  

46. Joe DiMaggio CF 170.6
MVPQ 1937 (19.5), 1939 (18.5), 1941 (20.5), 

4 MVPQ, one of them a 20+ year.  We just got through talking about Arky Vaughan - and now here's DiMaggio with the same top end numbers.  Only 13 seasons for Joe D to accumulate all this value; he pretty easily blows right into that all time CF spot.  

45. Jeff Bagwell 1B 171.3
MVPQ 1994 (20.6), 1996 (17.2), 1999 (16.8), 

Bagwell's on the 3/4/5 list, the 3 MVPQ list, and the 20+ season list.   He and Hurt are tight, and Thomas has a better bat, but we'll say Bagwell's ability to hold the position puts him past Thomas on the all time team.

44. George Davis SS 173.5
Giants/White Sox
Can't get Davis past Banks, that SS tandem is hard to crack.

43. Wade Boggs 3B 173.6
Red Sox
MVPQ 1985 (16.1), 1986 (16), 1987 (16.7), 1988 (16.8), 1989 (16.2), 

Lord, look at that Boggs run - 5 MVPQ seasons right in a row.  I've got to put him ahead of Brett just on the overwhelming nature of his top end.  Would have liked a little more power - but holy crap, 5 in a row.  

42. Roger Connor 1B 174.2
Like the other 19th century Giant, Davis, from a couple of spaces above - Connor's going to find himself narrowly on the outside looking in at his position - particularly given what's happening next...

41. Albert Pujols 1B 176.2
MVPQ 2003 (19.2), 2004 (17.8), 2005 (16.7), 2006 (17.8), 2007 (18.5), 2008 (18.9),  2009 (21.2), 2010 (17.3)

Take a look at this.

This is why this is a fun list - because when you get here, and see Pujols with 8 MVPQ seasons out of 10 seasons in MLB it's just jarring - here are all these true baseball legends, and then clearly a step up is Pujols.  

Of the two seasons that missed - one was pretty close to an MVPQ - and the other, his rookie season, the worst season he ever had in the bigs - was just a little bit less than Al Kaline's best year ever.

Yeah - if Pujols retired right now, he'd have the 41st best career ever.  And if you were drafting, out of all of these 160 players - DiMaggio and Shoeless Joe and Bob Feller and Bench and Yogi and Jackie too - out of all them, you'd take Albert Pujols.  I don't know if you give him 300 million dollars after the 2011 season or whatever the number is going to be, but let's recognize who Albert Pujols is.  With only 40 players left to be named - he's the best player on this list.  

Career value:
C Rodriguez (Bench)
1B Pujols (Connor)
2B Gehringer (Carew)
SS Davis (Vaughan)
3B Boggs (Brett)
LF Yastrzemski (Delahanty)
CF DiMaggio (Griffey)
RF Clemente (Kaline)
RHP Jenkins (Roberts, Ryan, Mussina, Clarkson, Martinez )
LHP Plank (Glavine, Hubbell)

C Bench (Berra)
1B Pujols (Bagwell)
2B Robinson (Carew)
SS Vaughan (Banks)
3B Boggs (Brett)
LF Jackson (Delahanty)
CF DiMaggio (Griffey)
RF Flick (Clemente)
RHP Rivera (Martinez, Walsh, Feller, Clarkson, Marichal )
LHP Hubbell (Newhouser, Plank)

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