Wojciechowski: Searching for the most balanced MLB teams of the past 60 years

From Jason Wojciechowski at Baseball Prospectus on December 21, 2012:

You’re familiar, I’m quite sure, with the sacrosanct quintet of “tools” that the very best baseball players are said to possess, the running and the hitting and the power and the throwing and the fielding that only a very few athletes pull together in one package on the field of play. You’re also familiar with the idea that tools are (a) not all there is the universe and (b) not equally valuable. Examine, for instance, 2012’s top five position players by WARP:

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Buster Posey
  3. Robinson Cano
  4. Miguel Cabrera
  5. Ryan Braun

Trout and Cano are not known for their arms, Posey, athletic though he may be for a catcher, doesn’t have wheels, Braun is not considered a stellar glove-man (though he is certainly better in left field than his brutal play at third base might have indicated he was capable of), and Cabrera … well, that’s a two-tool talent if ever there was one. And yet that two-tool talent won the MVP award! (Shh now, there there, it’s all right, my statnerd friends. This too shall pass.) The reason, of course, is because at the top of the charts, most of a player’s value comes from his bat being significantly better than the bats of others.


That relatively familiar ground having been trod, the question that interests me is where we might find the Willie Mays of baseball teams. Which squads have excelled in every phase of the game? As it happens, we keep, right here on this site, a variety of team-level statistics that can help us address this very question.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19222

Originally published: December 21, 2012. Last Updated: December 21, 2012.