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---MLB All-Time League

Greetings, baseball fans. Welcome to the central hub and information center for the highly
anticipated “MLB All-Time League.”
The premise is a fictional, hypothetical league in which all thirty teams are comprised of the
best players to ever dawn each club’s uniform. In other words, Chipper Jones and Hank
Aaron bat in the same Braves lineup, and Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw pitch in the
same rotation (with Eric Gagne closing). And yes, Matt Belisle and Pedro Astacio have joined
forces (alas!).
With the power of a Playstation 3 and the immense editability of SCEA’s MLB The Show, I
have spent many hours crafting and tweaking this all-time roster and making it into a (virtual)
reality. The schedule mirrors the 2014 MLB schedule, and all 162 games and the postseason
will be simulated. Injuries have been disabled, but fatigue is a factor. For this reason, each 25
man roster includes a backup catcher, with the consequence being that some potent bats did
not make the cut. There are, however, Triple A rosters, which essentially function as an
honorable mention for key players who were left off the big league roster (see: Joe Torre and
Bob Tewskbury on St. Louis AAA roster). Also, to account for the large talent pool, the
Designated Hitter rule will be applied to both the NL and the AL.
Roster Construction
Because the rosters span the course of each team’s history, older franchises are at an obvious
advantage: the White Sox, for example, were established in 1900, giving them considerably
more seasons to “acquire” talent than, say, the Marlins, who were established in 1993.
However, in the same manner that predatory lions and frolicking gazelles both play a role in
the animal kingdom, so exist the uneven rosters of the current Houston Astros and St. Louis
Cardinals, or, in the case of the All-Time League, the Andy-Ashby-fueled Padres and the
Christy-Matthewson-led Giants. And while not every team boasts a rotation of hall-of-famers
or a lineup of MVP’s, even the worst teams put forth respectable lineups. The 30th ranked
Diamondbacks, for instance, have a 3-4 of Paul Goldschmidt and (prime, roided?) Luis
Gonzalez, and a fireballing Curt Schilling leading the rotation. Similarly, when facing the 26th
ranked Brewers in the first inning, opposing pitchers are tasked with facing Robin Young,
Paul Molitor, and Ryan Braun in succession. If one of them gets aboard, Prince Fielder is
waiting. In other words, even the most impotent lineups are... potent.
(Player Selection:) Players are selected based on a combination of peak performance and
overall career. The same player cannot play for more than one team. For instance, John
Olerud had many excellent seasons with the Mets and Mariners, but he had his best statistical
season (and won two championships) with the Blue Jays, and therefore is on the Blue Jays
roster. While peak play is crucial, gut feeling and legacy is also considered. Randy Johnson,
for instance, won a World Series and 4 Cy Young Awards for the Arizona Diamondbacks,
and yet when I picture Randy Johnson, he is wearing a Seattle Mariners cap. In this exercise,
emotion and nostalgia sometimes weigh more than logic (also, the prospect of a Randy/Felix
Hernandez 1-2 was tantalizing). Thus, The Big Unit joins Griffey Jr., Edgar, and Ichiro in
Seattle. I’m sure this particular choice will be contested.
Player attributes, batting stances, and pitching deliveries have all been edited to reflect each
player in their prime (or their best season with the team). A player like Brett Boone, who had
one phenomenal season amidst a mostly mediocre career, is ranked highly. Similarly, the
Orioles’ Chris Davis has elite power attributes, based solely on his monstrous 2013 season.
This is not Texas Rangers’ Chris Davis, it is 2013 Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis. The idea is
that each player is at the peak of their powers. Barry Bonds, for instance, is modeled after his
Ruthian performance in the early 2000’s. He lacks the ‘plus’ speed and fielding ability of his
youth, but makes up for it with the best power/discipline stats out of any player in the league.
His build (and head) are also thicker.
It should also be mentioned that team needs were taken into consideration. A prime example
is the Cleveland Indians. Rocky Colavito had several big power seasons for Cleveland and
had a significantly better career than Michael Bourn-- however, the Indians are loaded with
outfield power (Ramirez, Belle, Speaker), but lacked a speedy player on the bench (for
situational baserunning). Because of this need, the speedy Bourn made the big league roster
instead of Colavito. Also, in a few circumstances, players were given extra “believable”
position eligibility in order to get them in the lineup. For example, Bobby Grich is starting at
SS instead of 2B to account for Chone Figgins, and Phil Rizzuto is starting at third base for
the Yankees in order to spare their potent lineup from being contaminated by Scott Brosius
(however clutch).
While I tried to avoid “era bias”, players from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were viewed
with extra skepticism. Still, many ‘pioneers‘ made the cut: Indians fans will be happy to see
Nap Lajoi manning second base, and the Red Sox will go to war with an intimidating 1-2-3 of
Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, and Cy Young. Also, infamous Negro League catcher Josh
Gibson has been added to the Tampa Bay Rays (if this rings unfair, I have two words for you:
Akinori Iwamura).
After constructing and editing the rosters for all thirty teams, I ranked each team’s position
players and pitching on a scale to 100. The ‘position player’ ranking accounts for offensive
potency, defensive ability, and overall lineup/bench depth. The pitching rankings reflect the
rotation and the bullpen.
Using the principle that offense and pitching each account for 50% of the game, I added the
two scores and divided by two, revealing each team’s overall ranking. For instance, the
Cincinnati Reds scored a 98 on ‘position players’ and an 81 for pitching, which gives them an
overall score of 89.5-- or in scholastic terms, a B+. In another example, the Colorado Rockies,
despite an explosive offense( 91) are a mere 75 overall due to their awful pitching (59).
In addition to posting the team rankings and Power Rankings, I’ve included the lineups,
rotations, and bullpens for each team. I’d love to hear some feedback, as well as some of the
glaring omissions (to my knowledge, I am missing Richard Hidalgo, David Cone, and Aubrey
Huff). Also, if you believe that I have incorrectly assigned a particular player to a particular
team, please let me know (for example, I’m sure many people would assign Steve Finley to
San Diego- where he had a 30-20 season and finished top 10 in MVP voting- instead of
I will also list the top rated players on each team’s Triple A club-- speak up if you believe a
player deserves a promotion! (and who should he replace?) Also, next to each player will be
their overall ranking (out of 100). Which players are ranked too high or too low?
I’d also love feedback on the batting orders and rotations. Should Joe Jackson lead off in
front of Eddie Collins, or should Collins lead off and Jackson bat second? Is Jose Fernandez
single dominant season enough to crack the Marlins rotation over World Series champ Livan
Also, which franchise has the best team? Which divisions are the toughest? (I’m leaning NL
Central). Which two teams do you think will meet in the World Series? Which team is the
worst? Any feedback would be awesome. And once I gather some external opinions, I’ll make
the new edits, and let the simulation begin. The season will have quarterly updates, with an
extra detailed update at the all-star break (and all-star rosters).