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MLB is doing a 'dream bracket' battle - interesting to see rosters.  I'm sure everyone here has opinions on it.

The teams are at 
Jays ranked #11...
Note: Roger Clemens (Red Sox), Fred McGriff (Rays) weren't listed for some reason, but they did allow players on multiple teams (Roberto Alomar is with the Jays, O's, Cleveland [3 years], and Padres [3 years there]).  I mean, what idiot would pick Jim Clancy over Roger Clemens (no insult to Clancy as I enjoyed him as a Jays but he isn't in Clemens league).  Olerud is on the Mets and Mariners too btw.

Greatest team ever is always fun to debate.  The bench here is screwed up as no one can cover SS/2B (yeah, Martin can, and Bell played a bit at 2B but really now).  I'd also take Kelly Gruber over Mulliniks (more positional flexibility) and maybe Orlando Hudson over Carter so there is an actual middle infielder on the bench.  B.J. Ryan might be nice to give a LH in the pen over David Wells (more of a starter).  I'm sure everyone has a few nitpicks here too.  So go at it and give reasons.  More fun that way.
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Lylemcr - Friday, April 17 2020 @ 01:30 AM EDT (#387004) #
Wow! To have carter on the bench... There has to be a better choice than clancy.

Eichcorn has to be in the bullpen
Thomas - Friday, April 17 2020 @ 08:39 AM EDT (#387005) #
If MLB is allowing players on multiple teams (it would be more fun if they didn't), then I agree that not having Clemens on the team makes absolutely no sense. He had two years in Toronto and was phenomenal in both! And had a pretty fine career, too.

John, I'm puzzled by your choice of Gruber over Mulliniks. Why do you value positional flexibility in the abstract over more superior hitting skills and experience at the position where this team needs a backup?

I'm not sure if we are supposed to be evaluating their time as a Blue Jay or their career. Either way, Gruber had a career OPS+ of 102 and his OPS+ with Toronto was 102 (he only spent one season with California). Mulliniks had a career OPS+ of 107 and with the Blue Jays it was 114.

As for the claim Gruber has more positional flexibility, that may be true, but Mullinks has more experience at SS, which is exactly what this imaginary team needs. Mullinks started 134 games at SS in his career and amassed over 1,400 innings there, as well as nearly 100 innings at 2B. Gruber has experience at all three outfield positions (I had no idea), which Mullinks doesn't, but this team already has three outfielders on the bench. And Gruber accumulated 117 innings at 2B, so that's marginally more than Mullinks' 91. But Gruber has only 120 innings at SS.

Mulliniks is the better hitter and has 10 times more defensive experience at the exact position this team lacks a backup, which is why he's think a much better choice than Gruber.

By the way, Mulliniks had three plate appearances for the 1992 Blue Jays. Does anyone know if he got a World Series ring? I hope he did.
Mike Green - Friday, April 17 2020 @ 09:28 AM EDT (#387006) #
Barfield was better than Bell.  Barfield to right, Bautista to left. White in center.  Hudson for Carter. 

And now the big one.  I want Olerud, McGriff and Delgado on this club.  The best career among Olerud, McGriff, Delgado and Edwin belongs to Johnny O (defence being the key).  McGriff and Delgado were both substantially better hitters than Bell. George doesn't make my club, and I use Wells as my fourth outfielder, with Delgado as my LH DH/fifth outfielder/emergency catcher.  Olerud and McGriff share the first base duties, and Edwin Encarnacion becomes a platoon DH (did you know that he was 25-1 stealing bases against LH pitchers over his career- smart player).
mathesond - Friday, April 17 2020 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#387010) #
No room for Molitor on the team? Ah well, first-division problems :)
bpoz - Friday, April 17 2020 @ 12:27 PM EDT (#387011) #
J Williams tried G Bell as a DH and it did not work out.

The current team, 2020, does not have an adequate CF IMO. Many Bauxites agree with me on this point. So in our CF history, up to and including Pillar who does "not" stack up as "adequate".

S Stewart had a weak arm IMO.
Pillar had a very poor OBP.
Bosetti? I don't know.
Reed Johnston also not sure.

You cannot have everything but IMO Fisher and maybe T Hernandez may be too poor at catching the ball when hit to them, so far, it seems to me. Although 30-40 Hr & 100+ RBI from T Hernandez may be worth his catching flaws.
John Northey - Friday, April 17 2020 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#387012) #
For Gruber vs Mulliniks - I loved watching Mulliniks play way back when but ...
  1. dWAR: Gruber 3.2, Mulliniks 0.3 - (-0.3 in Toronto) Rance didn't make errors, but also didn't reach much.  Rance had 81 2/3 Innings at SS in his Jays career, just 6 innings after 1983 (once the Jays were a contender). Gruber had 120 innings at SS, all from 1984 on, most in 1987 (21 games) when the Jays should've won the division.
  2. Gruber was pretty much equal vs LHP and RHP, Mulliniks was always platooned.
IMO, Gruber was the better hitter and fielder.  No contest.  Mulliniks was an excellent platoon player but that is all he was, never an all-star or gold glove contender.
Thomas - Saturday, April 18 2020 @ 12:40 AM EDT (#387014) #
Fair points, John, although I don't necessarily agree with your conclusion.

My retort would be that you are overselling the difference in platooning considering Mullinks was the heavy side of a platoon. Sure he struggled against LHP, but most left-handed batters do. He's the heavy side of a platoon and he compliments an otherwise mostly right-handed bench, except for Olerud. And I don't prioritize range quite as much as you do, given Donaldson's ability to go to his left.

Agree to disagree.
John Northey - Saturday, April 18 2020 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#387015) #
No problem there.  We each view things differently.  To be honest I was surprised when I looked up games at SS and saw how many Gruber had.  I totally forgot he played there so much in '87.  The Jays had Fernandez and Lee to cover SS so what was Gruber doing there during a year when he didn't hit that well?  I figure we can write it off to more Jimy Williams nonsense.  What a disaster as manager he was.
lexomatic - Monday, April 20 2020 @ 04:08 AM EDT (#387016) #
I dunno JohnBut the defense would have to be pretty bad for me not to want Gruber's bat over Lee's in 87. I'm assuming he played most when Fernandez was injured.
John Northey - Monday, April 20 2020 @ 04:32 PM EDT (#387017) #
In 1987: Fernandez 112 OPS+ (213 hits the record to that point for hits by a SS in a season); Lee 67 OPS+ but 0.5 dWAR in just 56 games, Gruber 77 OPS+ 0.5 dWAR in 138 games (most at 3B).  Only other one used at SS that year was Rance for 1 inning in a 15-4 loss on Aug 6.

This was a weird season - Garth Iorg had collapsed with the bat to a 44 OPS+ (210/262/284) but got into 122 games anyways and it isn't like he got off to a good start or anything (083/207/083 on May 1st).  June & July his only good months - 622 and 817 OPS those months but 458 in August and 176 in September and was allowed to be the final out of the season.  Even with Gruber on the bench.  One wonders what Williams was drinking that day or what Iorg had on him to get that bad a player in the lineup when clearly better options were available.

The year Cecil Fielder played  at 3B (and even 2B the following year), Willie Upshaw was a regular at 1B (with an 87 OPS+) despite a young Fred McGriff and Cecil Fielder on the bench (130+ OPS+ each). 

Magpie - Friday, April 24 2020 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#387050) #
The Jays had traded Damaso Garcia away and handed the second base job to Mike Sharperson, who was found wanting after little more than a month, and banished forevermore. They would eventually trade him to the Dodgers for a wild right-hander named Guzman. Both Sharperson and Guzman would play in the 1992 All-Star Game. How about that?

Anyway, Iorg took over at second base and was, as many have noted, terrible. The Jays eventually solved the problem in the middle of the diamond by summoning Nelson Liriano from Syracuse to be the team's third different regular at second base in the same season. Williams would also spend 1988 changing his regular second baseman every few weeks or so. Strange times.

1987 was Gruber's first full season, and most of his work came after he took over Iorg's job as the RH bat in the third base platoon. All his action at SS came during a two week period in August when Fernandez was in and out of the lineup for reasons that have long since escaped me.

Moving along - there's a very fine interview with Carlos Delgado in the Athletic. (Can't do hyperlinks in Chrome, sorry.) Highly recommended. He has, as you might expect, some interesting things to say about hitting. He's a little disappointed at his one-and-done showing on the HoF ballot, hopes the Veterans Committee will give him a look. But he's pretty cool with everything. (Me, I think he's got the Tony Oliva problem - he got started a little late, and injuries finished him a little early. It all took a big bite out of the numbers that get added up, from HRs and RBIs to WAR.)
Magpie - Friday, April 24 2020 @ 12:10 PM EDT (#387051) #
I suspect that the reason it was Gruber filling in at shortstop in August 1987 was because Fernandez was day to day (he didn't go on the DL) and Lee was in Syracuse at the time. He spent about half the year there. He was with the major league team from the end of May through the end of July, and again as a September call-up.
Magpie - Friday, April 24 2020 @ 12:15 PM EDT (#387052) #
Lord knows I'm as willing to pile on Jimy Williams as the next fella, but Kelly Gruber was not regarded as a good, or even competent, hitter in 1987. Much of his September action came as a pinch runner, but he did hit a lusty .107/.286/.286 down the stretch.
grjas - Friday, April 24 2020 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#387056) #
It's rather telling that none of these pitchers played here in the last ten years, and few played on the team since the 80s or 90s.
John Northey - Friday, April 24 2020 @ 08:38 PM EDT (#387057) #
Of course, that is a killer group of pitchers.  A HOF'er (Halladay), a guy in the Hall of Merit (better than many HOF'ers - Stieb), a Cy Young winner (Hentgen), and 2 guys who won ERA titles (Key & Guzman). 

For the top 10 bWAR seasons by Jay pitchers, the top 3 are all in the 90's (Clemens 2 plus Hentgen's), 2 Halladay years are the only top 10 from the 2000's, 3 Stieb seasons, Key 1987, and Eichhorn's crazy 1987 season (157 innings ERA under 2 all in relief).
Top pitching years in the 10's (top 50 are listed on BR) are Ricky Romero 2011 (#14 overall), Marcus Stroman 2017 #25, Aaron Sanchez 2016 #26, J.A. Happ 2016 #35, Shaun Marcum 2010 #41, Marco Estrada 2015 #46, Marco Estrada 2016 #48.  Romero is a great 'what the heck happened' guy, as is Sanchez (both looked to be on the path to greatness before collapsing)  Odd to see Estrada on the top 50 list twice.

It is hard to develop pitchers and this shows it.  In the 80's the Jays went by the work the crap out of them until they fall apart method and it worked well.  No one would do that today, but maybe it had merit.
Michael - Friday, April 24 2020 @ 10:36 PM EDT (#387059) #
I concur on the recommendation for the Athletic interview with Delgado. I only subscribed to The Athletic a few months ago due to all the recommendations that I'd seen on this site, and have to say that despite there being no baseball (or other sports) and thus there being likely less things to produce material, and despite the fact that I've only had time to read only a subset of the articles, I've really enjoyed the articles I've read quite a lot and am enjoying the subscription. In addition to the Delgado interview, I also liked the Lott article on John Lannan on mental skills, psychology, and resiliance.
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