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Hardball Retrospective – What Might Have Been – The “Original” 2001 Rangers

In “Hardball Retrospective: Evaluating Scouting and Development Outcomes for the Modern-Era Franchises”, I placed every ballplayer in the modern era (from 1901-present) on their original team. I calculated revised standings for every season based entirely on the performance of each team’s “original” players. I discuss every team’s “original” players and seasons at length along with organizational performance with respect to the Amateur Draft (or First-Year Player Draft), amateur free agent signings and other methods of player acquisition.  Season standings, WAR and Win Shares totals for the “original” teams are compared against the “actual” team results to assess each franchise’s scouting, development and general management skills.

Expanding on my research for the book, the following series of articles will reveal the teams with the biggest single-season difference in the WAR and Win Shares for the “Original” vs. “Actual” rosters for every Major League organization. “Hardball Retrospective” is available in digital format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes and KoboBooks. The paperback edition is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CreateSpace. Supplemental Statistics, Charts and Graphs along with a discussion forum are offered at TuataraSoftware.com.

Don Daglow (Intellivision World Series Major League Baseball, Earl Weaver Baseball, Tony LaRussa Baseball) contributed the foreword for Hardball Retrospective. The foreword and preview of my book are accessible here.

Terminology

OWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “original” teams

OWS – Win Shares for players on “original” teams

OPW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “original” teams

AWAR – Wins Above Replacement for players on “actual” teams

AWS – Win Shares for players on “actual” teams

APW% – Pythagorean Won-Loss record for the “actual” teams

Assessment

The 2001 Texas Rangers 

OWAR: 48.4     OWS: 278     OPW%: .513     (83-79)

AWAR: 34.2      AWS: 219     APW%: .451     (73-89)

WARdiff: 14.2                        WSdiff: 59  

The “Original” 2001 Rangers placed third in the American League West behind Seattle and Oakland. Sammy “Say It Ain’t” Sosa (.328/64/160) established personal bests in batting average, runs scored (146), RBI and bases on balls (116) while placing runner-up in the MVP balloting. Rich Aurilia (.324/37/97) contributed career-highs in nearly every batting classification including 114 tallies and 206 safeties. Juan “Igor” Gonzalez (.325/35/140) achieved his third All-Star invite and finished fifth in the American League MVP race. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (.308/25/65) merited his tenth straight Gold Glove Award. Jose Hernandez swatted 26 two-baggers and 25 big-flies. The “Actuals” lineup featured Alex Rodriguez (.318/52/135) who paced the circuit in four-baggers and runs scored (133). Rafael Palmeiro (.273/47/123) surpassed the century mark in walks and equaled his single-season HR total. Frank Catalanotto batted at a .330 clip and ripped 31 two-base hits.

Ivan Rodriguez rated thirteenth among backstops according to “The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” top 100 player rankings. “Original” Rangers registered in the “NBJHBA” top 100 ratings include Sammy Sosa (45th-RF), Juan Gonzalez (52nd-RF) and Ruben Sierra (70th-RF). Moreover, Alex Rodriguez (17th-SS), Rafael Palmeiro (19th-1B), Ken Caminiti (25th-3B) and Andres Galarraga (42nd-1B) achieved the distinction among members of the “Actuals” roster.

  Original 2001 Rangers                              Actual 2001 Rangers

STARTING LINEUP POS OWAR OWS STARTING LINEUP POS AWAR AWS
Rusty Greer LF -0.04 5.64 Frank Catalanotto LF 2.19 16.86
Mark Little CF 0.39 2.69 Gabe Kapler CF 0.85 12.52
Sammy Sosa RF 9.56 43.85 Ricky Ledee RF -0.48 2.21
Juan Gonzalez DH/RF 4.21 23.5 Ruben Sierra DH 0.82 9.21
Carlos Pena 1B 0.21 2.01 Rafael Palmeiro 1B 3.62 24.62
Benji Gil 2B/SS 0.99 6.69 Randy Velarde 2B 1.57 8.75
Rich Aurilia SS 5.46 32.44 Alex Rodriguez SS 8.2 34.67
Mike Lamb 3B -0.03 6.37 Mike Lamb 3B -0.03 6.37
Ivan Rodriguez C 3.92 19.8 Ivan Rodriguez C 3.92 19.8
BENCH POS OWAR OWS BENCH POS AWAR AWS
Rey Sanchez SS 2.37 13.45 Michael Young 2B 0.09 6.32
Jose Hernandez SS 2.7 12.63 Rusty Greer LF -0.04 5.64
Ruben Sierra DH 0.82 9.21 Bill Haselman C 0.09 3.71
Chad Kreuter C 1.28 9.03 Ken Caminiti 3B -0.07 3.66
Dean Palmer DH 0.14 4.53 Andres Galarraga DH -0.71 3.22
Bill Haselman C 0.09 3.71 Chad Curtis CF 0.14 2.04
Jeff Frye 2B -0.45 3.61 Carlos Pena 1B 0.21 2.01
Fernando Tatis 3B -0.26 2.25 Doug Mirabelli C -0.09 1.31
Ruben Mateo RF -0.61 1.31 Ruben Mateo RF -0.61 1.31
Andy Barkett LF 0.11 1.26 Scott Sheldon 3B -0.56 0.89
Kevin L. Brown C 0.11 1.09 Bo Porter LF -0.18 0.77
Craig Monroe RF 0.03 0.61 Craig Monroe RF 0.03 0.61
Warren Morris 2B -0.43 0.53 Mike Hubbard C 0.06 0.41
Cliff Brumbaugh RF -0.39 0.24 Marcus Jensen C -0.27 0.29
Scott Podsednik LF -0.06 0.04 Chris Magruder LF -0.32 0.12
Kelly Dransfeldt SS -0.03 0.04 Kelly Dransfeldt SS -0.03 0.04
Cliff Brumbaugh RF -0.16 0.02

Kevin J. Brown (10-4, 2.65) fashioned a 1.141 WHIP in an abbreviated season (19 starts). Robb Nen (3.01, 45 SV) struck out 93 batters in 77.2 innings and topped the circuit in saves. Jeff Zimmerman (2.40, 28 SV) was nearly unhittable out of the bullpen, producing a 0.897 WHIP.

  Original 2001 Rangers                            Actual 2001 Rangers 

ROTATION POS OWAR OWS ROTATION POS AWAR AWS
Kevin J. Brown SP 2.66 10.63 Doug Davis SP 2.6 9.25
Doug Davis SP 2.6 9.25 Rick Helling SP 1.67 8.01
Jim Brower SP 1.47 8.13 Darren Oliver SP -0.06 3.78
Rick Helling SP 1.67 8.01 Kenny Rogers SP -0.37 1.96
Ryan Dempster SP 0.53 7.65 Aaron Myette SP -0.79 0.19
BULLPEN POS OWAR OWS BULLPEN POS AWAR AWS
Robb Nen RP 1.3 13.82 Jeff Zimmerman RP 3.13 13.09
Jeff Zimmerman RP 3.13 13.09 Mike Venafro RP 0.24 4.77
Danny Patterson RP 1.29 6.66 Pat Mahomes RP -0.13 3.56
Scott Stewart RP 0.73 5.53 Juan Moreno RP 0.44 3
Mike Venafro RP 0.24 4.77 Chris Michalak RP 0.49 1.82
Darren Oliver SP -0.06 3.78 Danny Kolb RP 0.16 0.85
Bobby Witt SP 0.5 2.53 Jeff Brantley RP 0.09 0.68
Kenny Rogers SP -0.37 1.96 J. D. Smart RP -0.15 0.26
Scott Eyre RP 0.34 1.82 Mark Petkovsek RP -1.42 0.22
Brian Bohanon SP 0.11 1.78 Francisco Cordero RP 0.06 0.1
Joey Eischen RP 0 1.27 Rob Bell SP -1.14 0.08
Danny Kolb RP 0.16 0.85 R. A. Dickey RP -0.17 0.01
Luis Pineda RP -0.01 0.65 Kevin Foster RP -0.32 0.01
Mark Petkovsek RP -1.42 0.22 Joaquin Benoit SP -0.2 0
Billy Taylor RP 0.01 0.1 Tim Crabtree RP -0.39 0
R. A. Dickey RP -0.17 0.01 Justin Duchscherer SP -0.8 0
Joaquin Benoit SP -0.2 0 Ryan Glynn SP -0.51 0
Ryan Glynn SP -0.51 0 Jonathan Johnson RP -0.44 0
Jonathan Johnson RP -0.44 0 Mike Judd SP -0.33 0
Brandon Knight RP -0.54 0 Brandon Villafuerte RP -0.51 0
Matt Whiteside RP -0.61 0

 Notable Transactions

Sammy Sosa 

July 29, 1989: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Wilson Alvarez and Scott Fletcher to the Chicago White Sox for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique.

March 30, 1992: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with Ken Patterson to the Chicago Cubs for George Bell.

Rich Aurilia

December 22, 1994: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Desi Wilson to the San Francisco Giants for John Burkett.

Juan Gonzalez

November 2, 1999: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Danny Patterson and Gregg Zaun to the Detroit Tigers for Alan Webb (minors), Frank Catalanotto, Francisco Cordero, Bill Haselman, Gabe Kapler and Justin Thompson.

November 1, 2000: Granted Free Agency.

January 9, 2001: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Indians. 

Robb Nen

July 17, 1993: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Kurt Miller to the Florida Marlins for Cris Carpenter.

November 18, 1997: Traded by the Florida Marlins to the San Francisco Giants for Mick Pageler (minors), Mike Villano (minors) and Joe Fontenot.

Rey Sanchez 

January 3, 1990: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Chicago Cubs for Bryan House (minors).

August 16, 1997: Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the New York Yankees for Frisco Parotte (minors).

November 3, 1997: Granted Free Agency.

January 22, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Francisco Giants.

November 5, 1998: Granted Free Agency.

December 11, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the Kansas City Royals.

October 29, 1999: Granted Free Agency.

December 7, 1999: Signed as a Free Agent with the Kansas City Royals. 

Jose Hernandez 

April 3, 1992: Selected off waivers by the Cleveland Indians from the Texas Rangers.

June 1, 1993: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Chicago Cubs for Heathcliff Slocumb.

July 31, 1999: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Terry Mulholland to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later, Micah Bowie and Ruben Quevedo. The Atlanta Braves sent Joey Nation (August 24, 1999) to the Chicago Cubs to complete the trade.

November 5, 1999: Granted Free Agency.

December 16, 1999: Signed as a Free Agent with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Kevin J. Brown 

October 15, 1994: Granted Free Agency.

April 9, 1995: Signed as a Free Agent with the Baltimore Orioles.

November 3, 1995: Granted Free Agency.

December 22, 1995: Signed as a Free Agent with the Florida Marlins.

December 15, 1997: Traded by the Florida Marlins to the San Diego Padres for Steve Hoff (minors), Derrek Lee and Rafael Medina.

October 26, 1998: Granted Free Agency.

December 12, 1998: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Honorable Mention

The 2007 Texas Rangers 

OWAR: 36.9     OWS: 249     OPW%: .496     (80-82)

AWAR: 27.8      AWS: 225     APW%: .463     (75-87)

WARdiff: 9.1                        WSdiff: 24  

Texas finished a distant sixteen games behind Seattle in ’07. Carlos Pena (.282/46/121) registered 99 tallies and achieved personal-bests in virtually every offensive category. Mark Teixeira tagged 30 long balls, drove in 105 baserunners and contributed a .306 BA. Ian Kinsler swiped 23 bases in 25 attempts, scored 96 runs and clubbed 20 dingers during his sophomore season. Travis “Pronk” Hafner blasted 24 dingers and eclipsed the century mark in RBI for the fourth consecutive campaign. Ivan Rodriguez drilled 31 two-base hits while third-sacker Edwin Encarnacion delivered a .289 BA with 16 jacks. Aaron Harang (16-6, 3.73) posted a career-best 1.144 WHIP and placed fourth in the Cy Young balloting. Joaquin Benoit whiffed 87 batsmen over 82 innings while furnishing a 2.85 ERA along with a WHIP of 1.171.

On Deck

What Might Have Been – The “Original” 2003 Indians

References and Resources

Baseball America – Executive Database

Baseball-Reference

James, Bill. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, NY.: The Free Press, 2001. Print.

James, Bill, with Jim Henzler. Win Shares. Morton Grove, Ill.: STATS, 2002. Print.

Retrosheet – Transactions Database 

The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet. Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at “www.retrosheet.org”.

Seamheads – Baseball Gauge

Sean Lahman Baseball Archive