The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #60-51

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The previous ten is here.

I'm keeping two running rosters as the list unfolds.  The first is straight from the list, the all time 25 man career  value roster; the second is a subjective/peak roster, where I'm looking at the best players ever at their best.  And - since last we checked in, I've made a change at third base.

Career value:
C Carter (Berra)
1B Mize (Thome)
2B Carew (Frisch)
SS Smith (Larkin)
3B Jones (Molitor)
LF Delahanty (Raines)
CF Griffey (Edmonds)
RF Jackson (Waner)
RHP Ryan (Mussina, Clarkson, Martinez, Drysdale, Rivera, Smoltz, )
LHP Glavine (Hubbell)

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

The change is Dick Allen, moving into the backup spot at third, and Santo moving to start - with Rolen now off the team.  In the Chipper Jones discussion I reviewed Dick Allen once again - to me, he's Shoeless Joe's bat at third base, or as close as we can get.  And that's just too much bat to keep off this roster, even at the cost of Rolen's glove.

Let's see if that roster holds up as we get all the way to the top 50 baseball players of all time.

60. Johnny Bench C (WARP+B-R WAR)=156
Translated BA/OBP/SLG .278/.354/.530
MVPQ 1972 (19.6), 1974 (17)

I don't have a catcher in the Top 50, it isn't ideal, WAR insufficiently is rewarding their defensive value, not by a lot, but by enough to notice.  The two top catchers ever are right here in this section.  Bench doesn't surprise you, as by acclamation he's given the crown of best catcher ever (but not here, not today).

Bench goes right by Yogi into the starting catching spot on the peak list - better bat, better glove, more value in fewer years, better top end seasons, that kicks Piazza off the team.

59. Charlie Gehringer 2B 157.3
OPS+ 124
MVPQ 1934 (18.1), 1937 (17.1)

Can't quite beat out Carew for the backup spot, I'll take Rod's .400+ translated OBP over Gehringer's better glove.  

58. Carl Yastrzemski LF 157.5
Red Sox
MVPQ 1967 (22.1), 1968 (18.9)

Look what we have here.  A 20+ season, Yaz in '67 - so we can add that to the list of such years, post 19th century version:

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)

Yaz doesn't make the subjective team; he doesn't have the bat to go by Delahanty.  

57. Ivan Rodriguez C 160.4
MVPQ none Best season 1998 (15.3)

Pudge is going to be your career value winner behind the plate; his bat can't crack the Bench/Berra subjective roster.

56. Al Kaline RF 161
MVPQ none, Best season 1961 (13.5)

Nothing wrong with Kaline, he just wasn't quite as good as Sheffield for that backup RF job.

55. Roberto Clemente RF 162.1
OPS+ 130
MVPQ 1967 (17.3)

Clemente, however, clips Sheff - Gary still had the better bat, but Clemente's value in fewer years, with an equal peak, nudges him into the backup RF spot behind Flick, whose bat Clemente just wasn't close to matching.

54. George Brett 3B 163.2
OPS+ 135
MVPQ 1979 (16.6), 1980 (18.8)

Brett's combination of bat and glove goes by Santo/Rolen/Chipper - Dick Allen's magic stick remains an outlier, but it's time to drop him back off the roster, he just didn't have the third base glove to go one more round.

53. Pete Rose Uti 164
OPS+ 118
MVPQ none, Best season 1973 (15.7)

Rose's most valuable attribute, besides the longevity, was the ability to play all over the diamond.  He's a souped up Tony Phillips (who was more valuable than you think).  You wouldn't put Rose on the all time roster, he just wasn't that kind of player with his relatively soft career bat.

52. Dan Brouthers 1B 164.1
MVPQ 1886 (17.4), 1892 (18.7)

Hey, my favorite sublist.  3/4/5 career translated slashlines.

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

Brouthers and his 170 OPS+ slide right into the all time 1B spot right here; his career slugging is less than both Mize and McGwire, but the value and OBP get him the nod.

51. Robin Roberts RHP 164.2
ERA+ 113
MVPQ 1953 (18.8)

Roberts falls short of knocking off the last man in the subjective rotation, Halladay, meaning the pitching remains constant as we hit the top 50.

50 players left on the list.  Here are the two rosters.

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)

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