AL All-Zero-to-Three Team

Last time, we looked at the top projected National League players with zero-to-three years of service time. Today, the American League.

(Note: Players signed to long-term contracts before they reach arbitration aren’t eligible. These players must all make the league minimum salary, or close to it, without a long-term commitment. Eligible players are those projected on Opening Day 25-man rosters by MLBDepthCharts.com.)

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Position: Player – Marcel Forecasted wOBA/FIP

Catcher: Carlos Santana (CLE) – .364 wOBA
First Base: Daric Barton (OAK) – .342 wOBA
Second Base: Gordon Beckham (CHW) – .331 wOBA
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (TEX) – .320 wOBA
Third Base: Danny Valencia (MIN) – .346 wOBA
Left Field: Brett Gardner (NYY) – .341 wOBA
Center Field: Austin Jackson (DET) – .341 wOBA
Right Field: Matt Joyce (TB) – .347 wOBA
Designated Hitter: Mitch Moreland (TEX) – .347 wOBA

Bench: John Jaso (TB) (.338 wOBA), Cliff Pennington (OAK) (.319 wOBA), Julio Borbon (TEX) (.322 wOBA), Will Rhymes (DET) (.330 wOBA), Brent Morel (CHW) (.330 wOBA), Travis Snider (TOR) (.338 wOBA)

Starting Pitcher: Clay Buchholz (BOS) – 3.91 FIP
Starting Pitcher: Justin Masterson (CLE) – 3.94 FIP
Starting Pitcher: Kyle Drabek (TOR) – 3.95 FIP
Starting Pitcher: Gio Gonzalez (OAK) – 3.96 FIP
Starting Pitcher: Doug Fister (SEA) – 3.96 FIP

Bullpen: Neftali Feliz (TEX) (3.25 FIP), Andrew Bailey (OAK) (3.39 FIP), Kevin Jepsen (LAA) (3.48 FIP), Daniel Bard (BOS) (3.56 FIP), Jordan Walden (LAA) (3.69 FIP), Sergio Santos (CHW) (3.69 FIP)

A few comments:

–Four A’s make the cut, but just one starting pitcher (Gio Gonzalez) is among them. Blame Marcel not believing Trevor Cahill‘s batted ball results were for real (projected 4.31 FIP) and Brett Anderson failing to grab the role of undisputed pre-arb ace (projected 3.45 FIP) because the A’s wisely locked him last April, after just over one season of service time. Oakland is young, and potentially good.

–The Rays get a lot of hype for their young starting pitching, but Marcel’s not buying it, projecting FIP results over 4.00 for both Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson (David Price doesn’t qualify because he signed a major league deal when he was drafted). Any fielding-independent projections are going to necessarily ding Rays pitchers, because much of their pitching success is due to their perennially solid defense. Matt Garza‘s move to the Cubs will be an interesting test; NL competition, but no more Rays vacuum cleaners behind him, plus a much tougher park for pitchers.

–Four Rangers make the squad, not counting underrated set-up man Alexi Ogando, who just missed. The lineup, meanwhile, is stacked with players in their prime, including Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Adrian Beltre. No Cliff Lee, and the rotation is now terribly shallow. But the Rangers still have a great chance to repeat as AL West champs.

–The team everyone’s picking to win the AL pennant, the Red Sox, places just two players on the team, set-up man Daniel Bard. That’s a testament to the many star players Boston has at or near peak age. Still, it’s always nice to have some youth and upside on the roster, especially as insurance against injuries or regression by older talent. The good news is the Red Sox do have solid hedges for their two biggest lineup risks: Jed Lowrie‘s (projected .336 wOBA) standing by in case Marco Scutaro turns into a pumpkin, and Ryan Kalish (projected .338 wOBA) is one of several young outfielders who could spell J.D. Drew if the right fielder’s hamstring problems persist.



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Jonah Keri is the author of The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First -- now a National Bestseller! Follow Jonah on Twitter @JonahKeri, and check out his awesome podcast.


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Kyle H
Member
Kyle H
5 years 5 months ago

WOah Hellickson and Matusz under Doug “Double” Fister?

Xeifrank
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

I believe even Marcels has Matusz at 3.92 (FIP) which would put him 2nd on the starting pitching list. And like others have mentioned Marcels is probably not the best projection system to use for players with minimal MLB stats, especially Hellickson. Here are the three projections on Fangraphs for Hellickson (FIP)

Marcel: 4.08
ZIPS: 3.58
Fans: 3.52
Bill James: 3.45

This team will be significantly weaker without Hellickson in the rotation.

vr, Xeifrank

SeanP
Member
SeanP
5 years 5 months ago

Matusz signed a major league deal.

SeanL
Guest
SeanL
5 years 5 months ago

Santana over Wieters?

Greg P
Guest
Greg P
5 years 5 months ago

Without a doubt

Nate
Guest
Nate
5 years 5 months ago

2 Red Sox made the list – you’ve got Buchholz down as being on San Diego.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
5 years 5 months ago

Since when did Clay Buchholz change teams?

Xeifrank
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

I will run a sim tonight of NL Zero to Three vs AL Zero to Three. That way the roster can iron itself out in the comments.

Isaac
Guest
Isaac
5 years 5 months ago

What about Phil Hughes?

Judy
Guest
Judy
5 years 5 months ago

I don’t think Hughes qualifies, too much service time.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
5 years 5 months ago

Wow. The NL certainly appears to have the better young talent.

While, it’s likely not enough difference to shift the “balance of power”, but it can’t hurt.

Judy
Guest
Judy
5 years 5 months ago

The Rays screwed over the AL team with those LTCs to Price and Longoria.

Judy
Guest
Judy
5 years 5 months ago

How come Jed Lowrie didn’t make the team?

John
Guest
John
5 years 5 months ago

How did you treat cases like Brian Duensing? Marcel obviously predicts a split role between the pen and rotation again w/ fairly good results (4.00 FIP).

Big Jgke
Member
Big Jgke
5 years 5 months ago

I’m surprised that Brett Cecil couldn’t crack this squad.

matt1101
Guest
matt1101
5 years 5 months ago

What about Ricky Romero? (2 years)

Xeifrank
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

5 year deal = disqualified

matt1101
Guest
matt1101
5 years 5 months ago

Oh whoops, didn’t see that. Thanks

Brendan
Guest
Brendan
5 years 5 months ago

we can discount Ricky Romero for his team-friendly contract, but I don’t really get the point. Marcel projects him as better than any of those 5 SPs.

brendan
Guest
brendan
5 years 5 months ago

point is: these guys make the min salary with only a one-yr committment. they are cheapo even compared to a reasonable deal like romero’s. (-different brendan)

Brendan
Guest
Brendan
5 years 5 months ago

but i’m pretty sure romero makes close to the min salary next year, and its not like he’s going to be released afterwards, just like these other pitchers.

i understand it’s a ridiculous point to argue, because who really cares, but i’m slightly confused

Jonah Keri
Guest
Jonah Keri
5 years 5 months ago

Matusz is disqualified for being on a major league contract (and thus not making league minimum), not for his projection.

Joe
Guest
Joe
5 years 5 months ago

Now the real question is; Would you take this roster over any roster in baseball?

Terminator X
Guest
Terminator X
5 years 5 months ago

Do you mean “any” or “every”? This team is obviously better than several teams out there, as we’re looking at a pitching staff (judged by FIP) in the top 5-10 of MLB and an offense in the same area as well (by wOBA). Combine that with oodles of good-to-great fielders and tons of depth on both sides of the roster and this team looks like one of the top teams in the regular season, but they may be hurt in the playoffs by lack of star power, especially in the rotation.

Assuming you mean ignoring contracts and just as a 1-year experiment. If I was starting a new franchise and was given the option of having this team or taking the roster of another team, I would choose this in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t even blink.

Xeifrank
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

The “NL Zero to Three” roster done late last week would probably be the 2nd best team in the NL (1. Phillies). My simulation showed the Phillies beating the NZt3 team on average between 52 and 53 percent of the time.

From the looks of it, the AZt3 team doesn’t look as strong as the NZt3 team. I will run a head to head sim of the two make believe teams tonight.

If there is a consensus on a league average American League team, I can run the AZt3 team against them too (Angels?).

Xeifrank
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Simulation Results

NL Zero to Three
vs
AL Zero to Three

See which team is stronger.

Xeifrank
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

And for a reference, the AL Zero to Three team matched up against the LA Angels (a likely .500 team) won 51.77% of the games on average. So this AL Zero to Three team would be slightly better than a league average AL team. The NL Zero to Three team likely 2nd best in the NL, trailing only the Phillies.

Sarah S
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Hello Everyone, First time poster and glad to be a part of the threaded!

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