The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #20-11

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The previous ten is here.

180 down - 20 left.  So exciting!  Here are the two running rosters I'm keeping as I work through this list.

Career value:
C Rodriguez (Bench)
1B Gehrig (Anson)
2B Morgan (Gehringer)
SS Rodriguez (Ripken)
3B Mathews (Boggs)
LF Yastrzemski (Delahanty)
CF DiMaggio (Griffey)
RF Robinson (Clemente)
RHP Maddux (Seaver, Mathewson, Niekro, Perry, Blyleven )
LHP Spahn (Johnson, Carlton)

C Bench (Berra)
1B Gehrig (Pujols)
2B Morgan (Robinson)
SS Rodriguez (Vaughan)
3B Mathews (Boggs)
LF Jackson (Delahanty)
CF DiMaggio (Griffey)
RF Robinson (Flick)
RHP Mathewson (Rivera, Martinez, Walsh, Nichols, Maddux, Gibson, )
LHP Grove (Johnson)

Let's get back to the countdown.

20. Nap Lajoie 2B (WAR+WARP)223.1
OPS+ 150

Helpfully, BP is beginning the transition to new translations as I write this.  So, while I do have the previously recorded WARP total, I don't have a yearly breakdown to add to my various sublists. I've spoken to their WARP guy; the yearly breakdown will return, and when it does, I'll be able to come back and edit that material in. 

But for now, it makes the Morgan/Lajoie comparison trickier -  we do have a substantial OPS+ advantage for Lajoie, and more value in the same number of years, such that I'll take him.  But Morgan's 5 straight 20+ MVPQ seasons, unparalleled thusfar, shouldn't be easily pushed aside.

19. Mike Schmidt 3B 223.1
OPS+ 147
MVPQ 1974 (21.6), 1976 (17.4), 1977 (18.5), 1980 (18.7), 1981 (16.1)

Schmidt goes past Mathews, but just by a tiny bit - a mildly better bat, one additional MVPQ, he's just better enough to be better.

Here are the position players with 3+ MVPQ seasons.

Ken Griffey
Ed Delahanty 
Ernie Banks (4)
Ron Santo
Dick Allen
Jackie Robinson
Frank Thomas
Arky Vaughan (4)
Joe Dimaggio
Jeff Bagwell
Wade Boggs (5)
Albert Pujols (8)
Jimmie Foxx
Cal Ripken
Eddie Mathews (4)
Alex Rodriguez (6)
Joe Morgan (5)
Lou Gehrig (9)
Mike Schmidt (5)

And here are the position players with seasons where their WARP/WAR exceeded 20.  SuperMVPQ seasons.

Sosa 2001 (22.5)
Robinson 1951 (21.7)
Boudreau 1948 (22.6)
Banks 1959 (21.2)
 Santo 1967 (20.5)
Biggio 1997 (20.3)
Yount 1982 (21.1)
Yaz 1967 (22.1)
Vaughan 1935 (21.2)
DiMaggio 1941 (20.5)
Bagwell 1994 (20.6)
Pujols 2009 (21.2)
Foxx 1932 (20)
Ripken 1984 (21.3)
Ripken 1991 (23.5)
Rodriguez 2000 (21.5)
Morgan 1972 (22.2)
Morgan 1973 (20.7)
Morgan 1974 (20.1)
Morgan 1975 (24.5)
Morgan 1976 (20)
Gehrig 1927 (23.1)
Gehrig 1934 (20.8)
Schmidt 1974 (21.6)

18. Grover Cleveland Alexander RHP 231.2
ERA+ 136

Ole' Pete slides in after Nichols on the all time rotation, which bounces Gibson.

17. Rickey Henderson LF 232.5
OPS+ 127
MVPQ 1980 (17.3), 1985 (20.5, w/NYY), 1990 (20.8),

Joe Jackson has too much bat to move to the bench, so Rickey takes Delahanty's job.

16. Mickey Mantle CF 232.7
OPS+ 172
MVPQ 1955 (18.7), 1956 (24.7), 1957 (24.4), 1958 (18.7), 1961 (22.7),

The best season for a position player thusfar is Mantle's '56, and the best back to back seasons for a position player thusfar are Mantle's '56/'57.

So - Mantle or DiMaggio?


Significantly better bat.  More MVPQ.  Better peak.  Significantly more career value in a career that was longer, granted, but not crazy so.  Mantle was better.

15. Mel Ott RF 235.4
OPS+ 155

Ott and Frank Robinson had identical careers; there's barely any daylight between them.  Ott's got a tick more career value, and that's going to drive the subjective roster decision to start him.  

14. Ted Williams LF 242.8
Red Sox
OPS+ 190

I'll have to stop updating the sublists now, given the radical deconstruction of the BP database.  Fortunately the aggregate numbers have already been compiled.  The WARP scale will change, and that will probably mean I can't do an update of this list for 2012 without an overhaul (and that seems like an unlikely result) so this might be my definitive list.

Regardless - that's a 190 OPS+ and Rickey (my favorite all time non Giant) is now off the subjective team.

13. Rogers Hornsby 2B 248.5
OPS+ 175

Unsettling to write on a Tuesday that Morgan's 5 straight  seasons of 20+ MVPQ is without parallel and then on a Thursday kick him from the all time roster - but if Lajoie's 150 OPS+ requires that he start - then Hornsby's ridiculous 175, like taking Mickey Mantle's bat and putting it at second base, means Morgan's off the team.  175.  Madness.

12. Tris Speaker CF 255.5
Indians/Red Sox
OPS+ 157

Mantle keeps the starting job.

Speaker or DiMaggio?  Really hard to say - Speaker played nine more seasons allowing him to accumulate the extra value.  They had the same bat.  I'll go Speaker - losing the yearly WARP breakdown has hampered my ability to make these critical decisions at the end of the list.  

11. Eddie Collins 2B 257
Athletics/White Sox
OPS+ 142

Collins doesn't get by either Hornsby or Lajoie.

190 down.  10 to go.  Here are the lineups.

As of the all star break, 2011, here's the latest ranking for 11-20.

11.       Speaker 244.2

12.       Williams 237.7

13.       Henderson 233.4

14.       Hornsby 233.2
15.       Collins 231.9
16. Maddux 221.8
17.       Schmidt 218.1
18. Gehrig 218
19. Seaver 217.6

20.       Alexander 217

Career value:
C Rodriguez (Bench)
1B Gehrig (Anson)
2B Collins (Hornsby)
SS Rodriguez (Ripken)
3B Schmidt (Mathews)
LF Williams (Henderson)
CF Speaker (Mantle)
RF Ott (Robinson)
RHP Alexander (Maddux, Seaver, Mathewson, Niekro, Perry, Blyleven )
LHP Spahn (Johnson)

C Bench (Berra)
1B Gehrig (Pujols)
2B Hornsby (Lajoie)
SS Rodriguez (Vaughan)
3B Schmidt (Mathews)
LF Williams (Jackson)
CF Mantle (Speaker)
RF Ott (Robinson)
RHP Mathewson (Rivera, Martinez, Walsh, Nichols, Alexander, Maddux )
LHP Grove (Johnson)

Subject to change when the yearly WARP breakdown of the earlier 20th century players returns.   Next week - the list concludes.

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