Daily Notes: Every Team Minus Its Best Player

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Parallel Universe: Every Team Minus Its Best Player
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

Parallel Universe: Every Team Minus Its Best Player
Regarding Parallel Universe, Its Definition
Parallel universe is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as a “hypothetical self-contained separate reality in which Biff Tannen has become wealthy and corrupted, and changed Hill Valley into a chaotic dystopia.”

Regarding Parallel Universe, Another Possible Definition
Another possible definition of parallel universe is “a reality not entirely unlike the present one, except in which every major-league team’s best player has been replaced by a freely available one instead.”

Regarding That Second Definition
What this edition of the Notes considers is that second, less common definition of parallel universe.

Table: Every American League Team Minus Its Best Player
Here’s a (sortable) table including: every AL team’s present record, its best player (by WAR), the respective WARs of those best players, and every team’s record (noted as MW and ML, for “minus” wins and losses) were said best player never to’ve been born at all.


Team W L WIN% Player WAR MW ML MWin%
Texas 67 46 .593 Josh Hamilton 4.0 63 50 .558
New York 67 47 .588 Robinson Cano 5.4 62 52 .540
Chicago 62 51 .549 Chris Sale 4.1 58 55 .512
Tampa Bay 62 52 .544 Ben Zobrist 3.5 59 56 .513
Baltimore 62 53 .539 Adam Jones 3.7 58 57 .507
Oakland 61 53 .535 Josh Reddick 3.9 57 57 .501
Detroit 61 54 .530 Justin Verlander 5.2 56 59 .485
Los Angeles 60 55 .522 Mike Trout 6.9 53 62 .462
Boston 57 59 .491 David Ortiz 2.9 54 62 .466
Toronto 54 60 .474 Edwin Encarnacion 3.9 50 64 .439
Cleveland 53 62 .461 Shin-Soo Choo 2.5 51 65 .439
Seattle 53 63 .457 Felix Hernandez 4.4 49 67 .419
Kansas City 49 65 .430 Alex Gordon 3.9 45 69 .396
Minnesota 49 65 .430 Josh Willingham 3.7 45 69 .397

Other Table: Every National League Team Minus Its Best Player
Here’s a (sortable) table including: every NL team’s present record, its best player (by WAR), the respective WARs of those best players, and every team’s record (noted as MW and ML, for “minus” wins and losses) were said best player never to’ve been born at all.


Tm W L Win% Player WAR MW ML MWin%
Washington 71 44 .617 Gio Gonzalez 4.1 67 48 .582
Cincinnati 69 46 .600 Joey Votto 4.8 64 51 .558
Atlanta 66 48 .579 Michael Bourn 5.1 61 53 .534
Pittsburgh 64 50 .561 Andrew McCutchen 5.9 58 56 .510
San Francisco 63 52 .548 Buster Posey 5.0 58 57 .504
St. Louis 62 53 .539 Matt Holliday 4.8 57 58 .497
Los Angeles 62 53 .539 Clayton Kershaw 3.9 58 57 .505
Arizona 58 57 .504 Miguel Montero 3.9 54 61 .470
New York 55 60 .478 David Wright 5.8 49 66 .428
Philadelphia 52 62 .456 Carlos Ruiz 5.0 47 67 .412
Miami 52 63 .452 Giancarlo Stanton 3.5 49 67 .422
Milwaukee 52 61 .460 Ryan Braun 5.5 47 67 .412
San Diego 51 65 .440 Chase Headley 5.0 46 70 .397
Chicago 44 69 .389 Alfonso Soriano 2.9 41 72 .364
Colorado 41 71 .366 Carlos Gonzalez 3.0 38 74 .339
Houston 38 78 .328 Jed Lowrie 2.5 36 81 .306

Sample Observation
There are a number of observations one can make from the above pair of tables — including, for example, how, if the Nationals didn’t have Gio Gonzalez, how the Reds would have the best record in the majors.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Los Angeles (NL) at Pittsburgh | 19:05 ET
Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker entered Sunday slashing .286/.349/.443 in 459 plate appearances, good for a 114 wRC+. He exited that same game hitting .294/.358/.460, with a 121 wRC+, in just six additional plate appearances — on account, largely, of how he went 5-for-5 with a walk during it (box). Walker now enters the week with a 3.8 WAR after beginning Sunday with a 3.4 mark.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: None, really — although the Pittsburgh camera angle is one of the league’s best.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 4.0.

Note: the following Game Scores include the poorly conceived playoff-odds adjustment discussed in a recent edition of Daily Notes. Also note: the following table is entirely sortable.


Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Aaron Harang LAN 1 1 4 5 6 PIT Jeff Karstens 19:05
Ryan Dempster TEX 6 7 5 6 7 NYA David Phelps* 19:05
Jake Peavy CHA 6 5 4 6 5 TOR Carlos Villanueva 19:07
Cole Hamels PHI 9 5 4 2 5 MIA Nathan Eovaldi 19:10
Eric Stults SD 2 6 2 7 3 ATL Mike Minor 19:10
Arm. Galarraga* HOU 2 4 3 0 9 CHN Jeff Samardzija 20:05
Anibal Sanchez DET 7 5 3 4 0 MIN Samuel Deduno 20:10
Mike Fiers MIL 7 8 4 8 4 COL Jeff Francis 20:40
Justin Masterson CLE 5 4 5 7 4 LAA C.J. Wilson 22:05
Alex Cobb TB 7 4 5 4 4 SEA Blake Beavan 22:10
Gio Gonzalez WAS 9 6 5 3 3 SF Ryan Vogelsong 22:15

To learn more about Pitcher and Team NERD scores click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


30 Responses to “Daily Notes: Every Team Minus Its Best Player”

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  1. MikeS says:

    I like this thought experiment.

    If I may suggest another, what if every teams worst player – either lowest WAR or some other definition of worst regular, were replaced by a replacement player, a league average player, or even the best player at that position in baseball. That would look at every teams opportunity for improvement where as this looks at their fragility.

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  2. odditie says:

    Hmm…seems as though this isn’t a real parallel universe. You didn’t adjust things back to .500 so now we have 1590-1849 for the league wide record.

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    • Perhaps it is actually a chaotic dystopia, then.

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    • Aaron (UK) says:

      Yes, we need to use WASP* here.

      *Wins Above Star Player

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    • Jack says:

      I don’t see why this is an issue. I fully expect the Cubs and the Astros to both lose today’s game. They just might play each other a lot more in this dystopia.

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    • jfree says:

      Those extra lost wins are carried over to next year’s perpendicular universe – when every team’s worst player will disappear into the ether. Now if the Gods can somehow make sure the Cubs lose their two worst players, then we’re talking World Series for them.

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  3. RJD81 says:

    While I also like the idea of looking at the impact of a teams worst player, or qualifying player, I think it is of little use because a player is only allowed to be horrible for so long before they are replaced. In a lot of cases the replacement is not much better, however, that is not always the case. It might be better to look at the teams worst position and the opportunity for improvement by a replacement level player on that position.

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    • RangersAplogist says:

      @RJD81, unless of course you are Ron Washington and insist on playing the worst player in the game in Michael Young…I would love to see if you replaced the worst player with a better replacement on the Rangers. It wouldn’t be too hard, you could take any other player in baseball and plug him into Young’s spot and they are an instant upgrade.

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      • Eric says:

        I still don’t understand the world where Young plays almost every day while Gentry continues to sit on the bench given their respective years.

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  4. CurtisStarkeyFan4LIFE!!!!!!! says:

    Are you, koan master odditie, suggesting that data, stats, and philosophical baseball nonsense was discussed just 98 years post Columbus’ arrival in North America? I don’t want this to turn into a re-imagining of the series finale of Lost. Fuck it. We’re trying to combine science-fiction with baseball, and that’s gonna sell a whole-lotta-t-shirts.

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  5. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen are single-handedly generating playoff races.

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  6. Deam says:

    Was wondering about Wieters for the Orioles. Could you post that info?

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  7. Nate says:

    I just can’t come to terms with a universe where the Pirates could lose the value of their best player and STILL be projected over .500!! what a world! what a world!

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  8. byron says:

    I’d rather see this with the players replaced by their actual backups, rather than replacement-level players.

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  9. Jeff Mathis does Steroids says:

    There are a number of observations one can make from the above pair of tables — including, for example, how, if the Nationals didn’t have Gio Gonzalez, how the Reds would have the best record in the majors.

    Isn’t that assuming that if he wasn’t there he would be replaced with a replacement level pitcher? Thats pretty presumptuous. If they had never traded for Gonzalez they would have John Lannon, Brad Peacock, and (I don’t know if you have heard of this guy) Tommy Milone. If they had a 1.8 WAR Tommy Milone in the rotation right now you would have to assume that they would have the exact same record as the Reds.

    Also, if they had never made that trade, they would have had Derek Norris to fall back when Ramos got hurt on instead of the replacement level Jesus Flores. Or, heaven forbid, Kurt Suzuki.

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    • byron says:

      The exercise wasn’t “what if the specific transaction in which a team acquired its best player were reversed?” but “what would happen if the best player on each team suddenly disappeared?” As I said above, I do wish he had looked at actual backups (Lannan, in your example).

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  10. Jenkins says:

    So if the Astros added M Trout, R Cano, D Wright, C Ruiz, J Hamilton, CarGo and C Kershaw they would be 72-44 right now… a half game ahead of Washington for best record..??? Can’t decide if I am more surprised in how bad Houston is or how good Washington is??

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  11. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Jon Miller on the radio, after Adam LaRoche’s flyout in the 4th inning: “it’s been that kind of a night for the Giants.”

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  12. Michael says:

    Isn’t this missing:

    1. Value subtracted be scaled by Team WAR? [Nats Team WAR may not be equal to team win %]

    2. Correlation affect between players?

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  13. MJ says:

    I thought David Price had a higher WAR than Zobrist.

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