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All-Joy Team: Leaderboards and You

What you’re reading when you’re reading these words is Carson Cistulli’s most recent submission to the All-Joy Team. If you’re unfamiliar with the project, then you’ll want to read the introductory posts (yes, plural!) some time before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

In the meantime, you’ll be fine knowing that this is an attempt to compile a 25-man roster of current players most capable of providing joy to the sabermetrically inclined.

After reaching some pretty frenzied heights in our most recent episode of All-Joy Team — i.e. the hit show that everyone’s talking about — today we take a more conservative, but no less legitimate tact.

For each of the five players below (1B, CF/LF, SP, RPx2), I’ve used leaderboards to some end. Of course, as a new season unfolds, this sort of search will produce different results, will identify new players as All-Joy worthy. Is that a problem? maybe you’re asking. To which I reply: absolutely not. Like with the seasons — that, or NBC’s late-night programming — change is the rule and not the exception for the All-Joy Team.


1B, Brian Myrow, Pittsburgh (1,3)

One Method:

1. Go to the CHONE projections here at FanGraphs.
2. Sort all hitters by wOBA.
3. Find the first player to’ve recorded exactly zero MLB plate appearances last year.
4. Ta-da!


1. Go to BP’s Minor League Equivalent Average page.
2. Painstakingly, copy and paste the Peak Translation hitting leaders for each league into your off-brand spreadsheet program.
3. Sort by EqA.
4. Find the first hitter over 27.
5. Hint: It’s also the only hitter over 27.
6. Ta-da!

The player upon whom you’ll settle in either case is Brian Myrow.

True Fact: If you confront Sean Smith about Myrow’s optimistic CHONE projection, he will stab you in the eye.


LF/CF*, Chris Heisey, Cincinnati (1,4)

The Method:

1. Go to the CHONE projections here at FanGraphs.
2. Sort all hitters by WAR.
3. Find the first player to’ve recorded exactly zero MLB plate appearances last year.
4. If he’s also a former 18th round draft pick, that’s even better.
5. Ta-da!

True Fact: Heisey is currently towards the bottom of a pretty crowded outfield depth chart in Cincinnati. His fate is also largely, tragically in the hands of Dusty Baker. Translation: Pray for him.

Note: Exact position TBD.


SP, Billy Buckner, Arizona (2,4)

The Method:

1. Go to the Pitcher Leaderboards for 2009 here at FanGraphs.
2. Set the Min IP to 50 and sort by name.
3. Export both the Advanced and Basic pages to CSV.
4. Attempt to open both documents by means of your off-brand spreadsheet program.
5. Wait like eleventy minutes for said documents to open.
6. Copy the data from the Basic stats over into the Advanced one.
7. Subtract xFIP from ERA for all players.
8. Sort by difference.
9. Find the first pitcher with an xFIP under 4.00.
10. Also, he can’t have won a Cy Young before.
11. Ta-da!

Quick Quiz: Can you guess the former Cy Young-er just above Buckner in ERA-xFIP?

True Fact: Billy Buckner once played for the Royals but escaped by means of an elaborate, Shawshank Redemption-type plan.


RP, Brandon League, Toronto (2,4,5)
RP, Kevin Jepsen, LA Angels (2,4)

The Method:

1. Actually, it’s identical to the Buckner method until Step 9. You just find the first relief pitcher instead.
2. Actually, Jepsen and League have basically the same difference (around 1.40).
3. Ta-da?

True Facts: League’s splitter was the toughest pitch to hit in 2009. Also, he was hand-picked by Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik, who is never wrong. Kevin Jepsen, for his part, throws what I’m prepared to call a “dazzling” cut fastball. Also, he made Jeter look silly in last year’s ALCS.