photo: Ted Simmons (Getty Images)
As introduced in an earlier article, this weekend I am participating in a mock draft of the best all-time St. Louis Cardinals players with my friends at Rotowire. Over at The Cardinal Nation’s free message board, a number of readers have offered their recommendations on how I could maximize my results.
The draft guidelines are intentionally vague, as the exercise is just for fun. Rosters will not be run through a simulator covering a season or a group of them. Given that, and within the need to build a balanced roster by position, I selected career WAR as a Cardinal as my primary measure. As many readers know, there are several WAR formulas, leading to slightly different results. Since the Cardinals Hall of Fame uses the Baseball Reference version, so am I. Results should not vary substantially, either way.
As a secondary indicator, I logged how many seasons each player spent with the team. If my decision between two players needed a tiebreaker, I would probably lean toward the one who had the higher per season production.
Generally, I did not include those on my draft list with under 10 bWAR as a Cardinal, though I had to make an exception. Relief pitchers do not fare well on the WAR scale, so to include every Cardinals Hall of Famer, I had to lower my standard.
In his four seasons with St. Louis, Hall of Famer and the man who wore retired number 42, Bruce Sutter, delivered four bWAR. That presented me with a dilemma. Our rules only state that six pitchers must be selected. No breakdown between starters and relievers was dictated.
So, do I show respect for the bullpenners by including at least one of them, or do I go for the top six pitchers in Cardinals career WAR, knowing in advance that they will all be starters?
I included six of the best relievers on my candidate list, but I am going to wait to see how the draft goes in comparing the three drafted teams in total Cardinals WAR. If I can stay on top with a reliever, I will probably join in.
My draft list
Below are my positional lists to be used during the draft. Rosters include the normal eight starting position players plus a utilityman and six hurlers. The sequence is by position by total Cardinals bWAR.
Once the draft program is aired on the Rotowire Fantasy Sports Today show, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday on SiriusXM Fantasy Radio, and the follow up article at Rotowire.com is posted, I will be back with the rosters, career bWAR totals and commentary on my picks.
|Pos||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR||Pos||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR|
|McGwire||5||19||P||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR|
|2B||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR||Haines||18||36|
|3B||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR||Sallee||9||25|
|SS||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR||Dickson||9||17|
|OF||Player||StL yrs||StL WAR||Andujar||5||13|
Draft list observations
Not surprisingly, Stan Musial is on top, as the only triple-digit WAR player in team history. Next is Rogers Hornsby, Albert Pujols and Bob Gibson – hence the heads on my Cardinals Mt. Everest. No one is close to this top four.
As you may have noticed, each position’s WAR leader has a total that is roughly double compared to the number two player, if not more. The only substantial exception is catcher, at which there is only a five-WAR gap between Ted Simmons and Yadier Molina.
This distribution led me to try to secure the top performer at as many different positions as possible in my draft, therefore maximizing my total team WAR edge over the other two drafters. At least, this is the plan.
One byproduct is that I devalued pitching relatively speaking, but this decision was supported by a clustering of 14 pitchers between 20 and 29 bWAR. In all, 20 pitchers in Cardinals history logged at least 20 WAR, and only 18 will be taken in this entire draft. In other words, if I didn’t get Bob Gibson, I could wait to fill out my staff.
Another position at which I like the depth is first base, with seven players totaling at least 20 career WAR with St. Louis. And that does not include Musial, who I put in the outfield. One of these two positions is the likely source of my utility selection.
At the other end of the equation is the middle infield, with just three players at both second base and shortstop having accrued more than 20 career WAR. Again, three is the magic number as it represents the quantity of teams participating in this draft.
Among current Cardinals, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright and Matt Carpenter are likely to be chosen, with Kolten Wong and Carlos Martinez not far from consideration.
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