New to Pursue the Pennant and it’s successor DYNASTY League Baseball? DYNASTY League Baseball is an extremely realistic Baseball simulation game that has it’s roots in the original Pursue the Pennant board game that debuted in 1985 and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Hobby Games of the last 50 years.
In the DYNASTY League Baseball Online Greatest Teams leagues you will choose from one of 76 of the Greatest Teams in Baseball history and then Manage your team in a 12 team league that is divided up into AL and NL Divisions of 6 teams.
1) You will have fun learning Baseball history
Instead of reading about Baseball history in the process of managing your team and playing other great teams you will learn who the great historical players were and why they were so great because you are playing against the likes of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Stever Carlton, Tom Seaver and Dizzy Dean.
2) You will learn how Major League scouts evaluate a players “baseball tools” and the strengths and weaknesses of the greatest baseball players of All-Time.
3) You will learn offensive strategies by managing real MLB players.
When should you steal, hit and run, take the extra base, pinch hit, pinch run, sacrifice bunt and suicide squeeze? What is the best lineup and batting order for my team? When should I platoon vs. left-handed and right-handed pitchers and with which players?
4) You will learn defensive strategies by managing real MLB players.
When should you warm-up a relief pitcher, bring in a relief pitcher, bring in a defensive replacement, throw through or cut-off a throw, bring the infield in, set the infield corners in or call for the intentional walk? What is the best pitching rotation for my team?
5) You will learn which Major League ball parks are hitters or pitchers parks and the various outfield and foul territory dimensions.
As you play out your season you will be playing in historical ball parks from every era in Baseball history.
6) You will learn how a players fielding range, fielding percentage, throwing arm, double play pivot and catcher’s handling of pitchers effects various plays.
7) You will learn how power hitters, contact hitters, high on base hitters, clutch hitters, spray and pull hitters effect each at bat.
8) You will learn how control pitchers, ground ball pitchers, fly ball pitchers, strikeout pitchers, pitchers who rarely walk the lead off batter, pitchers who rarely give up HR with runners on base and pitchers who are tough in jams effect each plate appearance.
9) You will learn how fast and slow basestealers, baserunners with good and bad instincts effect steal attempts and taking the extra base. You will also learn how important both a pitchers ability to hold baserunners and catchers and outfielders throwing arms are.
10) You will learn about Baseball statistics and why they are important in evaluating players and making managerial decisions.
Do you know what OBP and SLG are, how they are calculated and why they are one of the best offensive indicators? Baseball is more than just physical tools it is a cerebral sport where at times the smartest teams and players can beat a more physically talented team.
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were the teams of the 00’s
The Atlanta Braves were the team of the 90’s.
The St. Louis Cardinals were the team of the 80’s.
The New York Yankees were the team of the late 70’s
The Cincinnati Reds were the team of the mid 70’s
The Oakland A’s were the team of the early 70’s.
The St. Louis Cardinals were the team of the late 60’s
The New York Yankees were the team of the early 60’s
The New York Yankees were the team of the 50’s
Through out baseball history there have been gaps between the have and have-nots. Didn’t the Red Sox SELL Babe Ruth to the rich Yankees? For DYNASTY League Baseball and Fantasy teams the salary cap provides a level playing field. Here are a few history lessons from Baseball’s real life counter parts and how they built their dynasties.
Rule #1: Overall top to bottom talent is more important than a star player or two. A single baseball player does not make that much difference to any team.
Larry Bird transformed a bad team and sent new banners to the rafters for the Boston Celtics. Lew Alcindor came to the Milwaukee Bucks and brought the fastest ever championship to an expansion team. Michael Jordan three peated, left to play baseball and what happened? The Bulls completely unraveled. Jordan came back and three peated again. It might be argued that any of these players might be worth as much as 30 wins in a season.
Think of any baseball player who has had that impact?
How many wins did MVP Robin Yount give the Brewers in 1982? 6.6 wins. How about the best defensive shortstop in baseball in 1982, Ozzie Smith? Four wins. Well, he must have saved 100 runs with his defense though? Thirty Four runs saved by the best defensive shortstop of All-Time in 1982.
Whitey Herzog reshuffled the Cards so to speak in a series of trades by trading away Garry Templeton, Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons and it’s top prospect David Green. In return he received Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Dave LaPoint. What Herzog created, was a much more balanced team. Despite giving away a considerable amount of talent, the team top to bottom was more talented.
Well we all know how important it is to have that big closer in the bullpen. Wrong again. Bruce Sutter left the Cardinals for Ted Turner’s coffers in 1984. In 1984 the Cards had won 84 games, but many perceived the loss of Sutter would result in the Cards winning only 68 or 70 wins in 1985. Instead, Herzog used a “bullpen by committee” to register 101 wins on what is arguably the best Cardinals team of All-Time.
Rule #2 Evaluate players keeping in mind the most important situations in baseball
DYNASTY League baseball includes the most important situational statistics that lead to runs scored beyond what would normally be expected. These ratings can boost a player’s performance beyond his normal “card or file” numbers.
Clutch hitting (clutch rating)
Pitching out of a Jam (jam rating)
Not walking the leadoff man (off rating)
Not giving up HR with runners on base (on rating)
If your players have these ratings, keep in mind that these all important situational statistics can turn a pitcher with a average or poor hits per 9 inning (greater than 9.0), walks per 9 innings (greater than 3.0) or HR per 9 innings (greater than 1.0) into an effective pitcher if used properly.One of my favorite examples of a pitcher who benefits by being able to pitch in situations is the 1982 Cy Young winner – Pete Vuckovich.
Vuckovich had an 18-6 W-L record, but gave up 9.4 H/9 and 4.1 BB/9. That’s 13.5 baserunners per 9 IP and yet Vuckovich still had a very good ERA of 3.34. How did he do that? Well, if you check the 1982 DYNASTY Vuckovich card or file you’ll see he has both a jam and on Situation rating. With runners in scoring position and 2 outs, Vuckovich would pitch differently working the corners and not giving into the hitters and making them hit his pitch. With runners on base you just were not going to get a FAT pitch to hit so the HR’s he gave up usually were with no one on or one runner on.
Rule #3: The most efficient offenses win more games.
Tony LaRussa and Walt Jockety should take notes on how Herzog built the team of the 80’s. The Cardinals of 1980 were a team of high average hitters. They were capable of large outbursts of offense where they would score 10-12 runs, but would score two runs the next game and three the next. The offense was inconsistent and resulted in losing records. In fact, they scored more runs in 1980 than when the Cards won the Championship in 1982. Herzog reshuffled the Cards so to speak and created a much more consistent offense capable of generating more one-run innings that would win more close ball games. An offense that generates four runs every game (4,4,4,4) will win many more games than an offense that scores the majority of its runs in one game (13,1,1,1)
It’s ironic that the LaRussa-Jocketty front office has created a very atypical Cardinals team that resembles an Earl Weaver team built around power and the big inning. So does this mean that the one-run offense is preferred over the big inning offense? Not necessarily. Gene Mauch won 93 games with the 1982 California Angels while leading the league in one run innings. Remember that it takes more runs per game to win with a big inning offense than a one-run offense. The best offenses are those that can play equally effectively at both the one run innings and big innings.
The ultimate proponent of the three run inning, Earl Weaver would rarely use a one-run strategy such, as a bunt or hit and run. Baltimore lead the league in 1982 with 62 three-run innings. Milwaukee’s Brew Crew finished second with 53. Mauch’s California Angels had 283 one-run innings while Baltimore had 218.
Herzog, while known for using basestealers Lonnie Smith, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith for his one-run strategies, fully understood the importance of a player like George Hendrick or Jack Clark to create the big inning as well. The Cardinals were capable of generating one run when they needed it in close games, but also had the big inning threat to break open a game.
Harvey’s Wallbangers of 1982 were second in the AL in one-run innings. While almost every player in the lineup was capable of the long ball, the offense was also capable of generating one-run. In one of the most classic of speed vs. power, one-run inning vs. big inning World Series matchups, it was Herzog’s offense that triumphed.
The Big Red Machine had power with Bench, Foster and Perez, but it also had speed and great baserunning with Morgan, Concepcion and Rose. Sparky Anderson’s team had an almost perfect balance of power and speed that gave it the capability to play for the big inning, but also the one-run inning when needed.
Rule #4 The best indicator of overall offensive value is OBP plus SLG.
I hear about people who count the hit and walk numbers on each DYNASTY League Baseball card. Save yourself the time. All you need to look at is to add up the OBP and SLG of the player (OPS) to evaluate the player’s overall offensive value. Each DYNASTY League Baseball hitter’s card can’t be looked at on it’s own. It needs it’s other half — a pitcher’s card representing the league average. The DYNASTY League Baseball system needs to be thought of as if each batter vs. pitcher matchup is one card from 0-999.
Rule #5 Understand what it takes to win at home and on the road.
Too often I hear how you need to build your team to fit your ballpark without an equal understanding of what it takes to win on the road.
DYNASTY League Baseball makes over 200 ballpark adjustments so that the player will perform just as he did in the ballpark he played in. If DYNASTY League Baseball didn’t adjust for ballpark effects, the player’s statistics would be above or below the actual numbers and the simulation’s accuracy would be compromised.
Below: Home runs will fly out of Great American Ball park in DYNASTY League Baseball Online
Rule #6 Understand the value of scarcity.
Why is gold valuable? It’s scare. Why is pitching valuable in the 90’s? It’s scarce. In 1997, Roger Clemens is worth his weight in gold. In 1968, Carl Yastrzemski is worth his weight in gold as the only .300 hitter in the AL.
All of the DYNASTY League Baseball player cards and files are normalized for the league average. What this means is that Clemens performance, or DYNASTY League Baseball card or file, would be better in 1997 than if he had pitched in 1967 and had the same stats. So if you are looking at statistically similar players from different years keep in mind the league average for that year.
If you look at cf Paul Blair from the DYNASTY League Baseball 1969 season set, his A+ range is rare. Only the very best players of All-Time receive an A+ range rating. Some years no one receives an A+ rating at a particular position. This full spectrum of range ratings is unique to DYNASTY Baseball. Blair’s rare A+ range rating makes him particularly valuable in a key defensive position.
Rule #7 Don’t create a platoon weakness. Exploit your opponents platoon weakness.
I heard many instances of Cardinal players saying that having Herzog as manager was worth several wins a season. How many wins is the best manager worth? A random batting order compared to a lineup is known to generate a difference of only about 5% in terms of runs scored. In game strategies can make a critical difference in close games or in keeping games close and giving your team the opportunity to win. It’s possible that an outstanding manager can win 5-10 more ball games than a poor one.
Jim Leyland typically runs his lineups left, right, left and he feels the acquisition of LH hitter Darrell Daulton late in the 1997 season as a key to Florida’s Championship season. Daulton gave Florida another LH bat that would be effective vs. RH pitching. Leyland’s batting order logic minimized the effectiveness of a pitching move against his team beyond the first batter pitched to.
Earl Weaver had a three-headed platoon in left field of Gary Roenicke, John Lowenstein and Benny Ayala. This flexibility gave him firepower to counter moves in the late innings.
Manager Mike Hargrove and GM John Hart are astute baseball people, but I believe Cleveland lost the World Series in 1997 because it lacked LH reliever bullpen depth. Paul Assenmacher was the only lefty out of the bullpen. In order for your bullpen to match-up vs. batters in the late innings, you need to have at least two and probably three LH pitchers who are effective at getting out LH hitters. You should have at least one lefty whose sole purpose it to pitch to and get our one LH hitter late in the game.
You can manage one of the existing historical Dynasty teams in the new Greatest Team leagues coming to DYNASTY League Baseball Online this month.
This spring current season draft leagues will launch at DYNASTY League Baseball Online with a new integrated live draft room and profile based computer manager.
Thank you to all of the great fans of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball for 25 fantastic fun years of playing!
Some of the history is captured at the DYNASTY League Baseball reviews and feature link with a new column just added “Yanks Control Board Meeting” from Michael Bauman of the Milwaukee Journal and MLB.com that left us all smiling.
We are celebrating 25 years of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball during the AT&T Park Tour Tournament Express September 11-13. Your invitation to this amazing event is at the DYNASTY League Baseball League link.
If you are on Facebook, you can read about the AT&T Park Tour Tournament event at the DYNASTY League Baseball Fan page.
The Tour Tournament leads off Friday, September 11 from Union Station in Los Angeles, CA with connections from San Diego, Anaheim and Santa Barbara where we will board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight premier train with first class accomodations and private roomettes.
If you live in the San Franciso bay area there is an opportunity to join us on Saturday, September 12 for the Tour of AT&T Park, Greatest Teams bracket tournament and Dodgers vs. Giants game.
All of you native Giant and A’s fans in the bay area we want you to join our group coming from Los Angeles!
If you live in other parts of the country please contact us so we can help you connect into Los Angeles or San Diego.
As our on-board chef prepares breakfast, we’ll watch some of the most spectacular scenery in the USA roll by in the Dining car. After breakfast, we’ll head to the one of a kind Pacific Parlour car (the only passenger Parlour car on Amtrak) accessible to first class passengers only and ideal for gaming. In fact, it has a cabinet of board games. The Pacific Parlour car will be serving appetizers, wine and cheese so prepare to be pampered. This doesn’t even happen in the Legend seats at Yankee Stadium!
Our Greatest Teams tournament will allow you to select from any of the great teams. I’ll be on the tour tournament event of course and will be skippering the 1985 Cardinals. You’ll have your chance to play me with your favorite greatest team as well as all the other fans on the trip which will be some of the top competition.
On Saturday September 12 we’ll head out to AT&T Park for a tour. On your behind-the-scenes ballpark tour of sensational AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, you will get to go places only the players and staff go including:
The Field Warning Track
Indoor Batting Cages
The Visitors’ Clubhouse
The Press Box
The Luxury Suite
Ballpark Features and Views
After the tour, we’ll be starting up a local mini-Greatest Team bracket style tournament right at AT&T Park that DYNASTY League Baseball fans from the Bay Area can join in with the group from San Diego and Los Angeles.
The tournaments will include play with the Board version, Windows version and the debut on the new Online version using the Giants Wi-Fi broadband wireless network at AT&T Park.
After the tournament our group will see the Dodgers battle the Giants at AT&T Park.
At the league page there are links to recaps of previous tour tournaments which have some incredible stories to be told.
Stadium Express are just a few of many stories. Above, Dan Treuden (middle) and Mike Mack (right) join me with the Green Monster looming behind before the hurricane hit on the Fenway Park Oympic Stadium Express Tour Tournament.
AT&T Park Express Tour Tournament includes:
– Greatest Teams tournament
Team selections are at this MLB.com News Blog:
– Round trip first class rail fare with private roomette and chef prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner on both Friday and Sunday.
– Two nights San Francisco Hilton Garden Hotel
– Tour of AT&T Ball Park
– Club Level ticket to Giants vs. Dodgers September 12, 2009
Double occupancy: $448
Tour, Tournament and Game only on September 12 for local DYNASTY League Baseball fans in the Bay area: $124
Space is limited…
Team selections on first come basis.
Deadline for reservations is Monday June 15, 2009
Call 561-494-2711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
See you in September!
The DYNASTY League Baseball 1957 season board version card set is being re-released this Summer in the new color format with updated vs. LH and vs. RH batting and pitching splits. The 1957 season Windows version will also be updated with new vs. LH and vs. RH splits.
What would have it been like to sit in the empty chair and have dinner with Eddie Mathews (middle) in what looks like a typical German restaurant in Milwaukee?
First off, you haven’t eaten unless you’ve been to one of Milwaukee’s famous German restaurants the king of which is Karl Rausch’s.
Most of you are like me. We never had the chance to see the great stars of the 1950’s. So here is your chance to learn a bit more`and take in some of the images of what Baseball was like in 1957.
My Grandfather from my father’s side of the family owned an Optical company near Mitchell St. in Milwaukee. In the 1950’s, Mitchell St. was a thriving area and some of the Milwaukee Braves would come in as customers including Eddie Mathews. The unique thing about the Milwaukee Braves and their fans is that it was a mutual love affair. It was more than the Milwaukee attendance records that were set while outdrawing larger markets in Chicago and New York. The fans loved the Braves and the Braves loved the fans.
From the new book “Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak” author William Povletich explains the love affair: “People ask me what the common theme is for all the guys I talked to, and it’s almost like they all have been brainwashed with the same script,” Povletich said. “It’s ‘We loved Milwaukee. When we came here our money was no good. They installed lockers in the dugout and filled it with meat and dairy products and ice cream. When we came home from a game, there’d be cases of beer on our front porch.
Shortly after Pursue the Pennant began in September of 1984, Bob Allen and I took the Amtrak train from Milwaukee to Chicago to meet with the Advertising agency that we were designing the Pursue the Pennant logo and Ad campaign with. Bob was the Milwaukee Braves PR Director for all 13 winning seasons of Milwaukee Braves history from 1953-1965 and was also Hank Aaron’s agent. He actually had the Milwaukee Braves Championship trophy in his house! Bob did not want to have the Braves memorabilia taken to Atlanta when the Braves were hijacked to the deep south.
Bob Allen borrowed his 1957 Official scorebook to me so I could research the Milwaukee Braves vs. LH and vs. RH splits. I sent copies of his scorebook to retrosheet.org to help with the project of finding original scorebooks from past seasons.
Bob Allen appears in the dugout at the start of this incredible video with rare color footage of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Joe Torre and Eddie Mathews in Milwaukee County Stadium. How lucky is this kid? Best day ever? You bet. When you get right down to it isn’t this really what Baseball is all about?
My parents took me to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play vs. the Atlanta Braves in August of 1973. I became a Cardinals fan in 1967, but had never seen them play in St. Louis. We went to the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel that the Braves were staying at and sure enough here comes Hank Aaron walking through the lobby. Hank was in the midst of his chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record. I went up and told him I was from Milwaukee and Hank signed my baseball.
Later that day we went to Stan Musial’s restaurant and as soon as we walked in there was “Stan the Man”.
Stan was extremely friendly and asked me where I was from and “Can you hit?” I said, “Yeah!” Stan signed the same baseball Hank signed. Best day ever? Certainly right at the top of the list.
This Spring while at the St. Louis Cardinals camp in Jupiter, FL I ran across Peter Gammons and told him about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves winning the DYNASTY League Baseball ESPN.com Greatest Teams bracket style tournament. Peter’s reaction was, “How did that happen?”
Peter would put the 1939 Yankees at the top of his list, but what about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves?
Below are Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract rankings for the Milwaukee Braves:
BILL JAMES POSITIONAL RANKINGS INDEX
Del Crandell, C____________30
Red Schoendienst, 2B_______28
Eddie Mathews, 3B___________3
Johnny Logan, SS___________39
Hank Aaron, RF______________2
Joe Adcock, 1B_____________43
Bobby Thomson, RF__________59
Warren Spahn, P_____________5
The big three of Eddie Mathews (3), Hank Aaron (2) and Warren Spahn (5) may be the highest ranking trio of any greatest team.
By comparison, the 1939 New York Yankees big three had Joe DiMaggio (5), Joe Gordon (16) and Bill Dickey (7) as their highest ranking trio. Below: Joe DiMaggio playing casino on a train trip with teammates. Too bad Joe and the rest of the Yankees didn’t have a copy of the DYNASTY League Baseball board version on the train to have their own tournaments! The 1950’s marked the last decade that players would travel by train. In 1957, the furthest most western team was still Kansas City.
From the Wisconsin Historical Society:
The Milwaukee Braves were already a very good baseball team when Albert “Red” Schoendienst joined them in June of 1957. Featuring future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Eddie Matthews and Henry Aaron and a strong supporting cast, the Braves had dueled the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1956 National League pennant, losing by a single game on the last day of the season.
Schoendienst, a 12-year veteran and 10-time All-Star, was just what the Braves needed. Acquired from the New York Giants, Red brought sharp hitting and excellent fielding to the second base position, along with a wealth of baseball knowledge and understated experience. Many people consider Scheondienst the player who transformed the Braves from a competitive team in 1956 to World Champions in 1957.
Henry Aaron recalled, “I’ll never forget it. Red came in to the clubhouse and put on the Braves’ uniform, and it made us all feel like Superman. We knew he was going to mean so much to our ballclub that wouldn’t show up in the boxscore. He provided the leadership in the clubhouse and on the field. He was never a rah-rah college kind of guy, but he definitely became the leader of that ballclub.”
Above: 1957 World Series hero Lew Burdette and wife celebrate winning the championship in Milwaukee.
What about some of the great stars of the 1950’s that Eddie Mathews and the Braves played against? Let’s take a look:
Above: Pull up a chair. Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle all part of the new 1957 season DYNASTY League Baseball re-release.
Above: Mickey Mantle had one of his best seasons in 1957. .421 BA with A Power vs. LH and .339 with A Power vs. RH on his DYNASTY League Baseball player card. Where do you think this ball is heading?
Above: Maybe the bleachers in Old Yankee Stadium, one of the parks included in the new ULTIMATE Ball Park charts for the 1957 season.
Above: Before his knee injury, Mickey Mantle could really run and was the fastest player in the AL earning a 10 Baserunning rating on his 1957 DYNASTY League Baseball player card.
Above: Ted Williams hitting in Old Comiskey Park. Williams had one of his best seasons in 1957 hitting .388 with an OBP of .528 and SLG of .731. With RSP, Williams hit .373 with an .800 SLG easily earning him a Clutch hitting rating on his 1957 DYNASTY League Baseball card.
Left: The joy of Willie Mays playing for the New York Giants in Wrigley Field. 1957 was the last year the Giants would play in New York before moving to San Francisco. Has there ever been a better defensive CF (Mays A+/65/-3 defensive player ratings)?
What couldn’t Willie Mays do? Run (10 Baserunning rating),
hit (.333 BA), hit for power (A Power), get on base (.411 OBP), and hit in the Clutch (Clutch hitting rating earned in part by hitting .361 with a .701 SLG in Close and late situations).
You’d be hard pressed to come up with better CF than in the 1950’s with Mantle, Mays and Duke Snider.
Above: Polo Grounds DEEP CF distance of 430 feet for a HR off the DYNASTY League Baseball ball park chart.
Left: Duke Snider hit 40 HR in 1957 (A Power) in the last year the Dogers would play in Brooklyn.
Above: Ebbets Field. Has anyone hit a 395 foot HR into the DeSoto car dealership in RF using the DYNASTY League Baseball Greatest Team Ball Park charts?
Left: Frank Robinson in the Crosley Field clubhouse. The clubhouse is typical of what they looked like in the 1950s’.
I had the chance to meet Frank Robinson while working for the Baltimore Orioles and he is a super guy – friendly and open. On the field he was a tremendous team leader (A Intangible rating) and a fierce competitor who would cut your heart out.
Perhaps one of the most overlooked stars. Somehow he was not elected on the MLB All-Century team even though his 586 HR ranked him 5th on the All-Time HR list. Bill James ranks Frank Robinson as the third best RF of All-time.
Left: Frank Robinson is ripped! Robinson was a tremendous athlete and fierce competitor having played with Celtics Bill Russell on his high school basketball team.
In 1957, Robinson was coming off his previous rookie of the year season with the Reds and hit .322. Robinson was also an outstanding outfielder with the Reds (A+/80/-2).
Above: Ernie Banks playing shortstop. Other shortstops had more range (Banks has B range on his 1957 player card), but how many hit 43 HR?
Above: Mr. Cub. Fans could literally reach out and touch the players at Wrigley Field.
Hope you enjoyed dinner with Eddie Mathews and remember this is the Milwaukee Braves in the 1950’s so remember to pick up the check!
With the 2008 AL and NL Gold Glove ratings being awarded here are a few highlights from the 2008 season DYNASTY League Baseball fielding ratings that have been awarded.
One of the more challenging fielding ratings to rate is a players Range rating. No one statistic can accurately rate a player’s fielding range. So how are Range ratings determined in DYNASTY League Baseball?
DYNASTY League Baseball uses a players Zone rating and his Range factor to determine where the player grades out on a historical scale. From there, the grade is cross-checked with input from major league scouts, beat writers, broadcasters and even players and managers. In 2008, more use is being made of John Dewan’s +/- fielding ratings as another source to check against.
OK, now onto the good stuff…
Albert Pujols. We all know he is the best hitter in Baseball. Do you know how great a fielder Albert Pujols is? Here is how Pujols ranked in +/- the last three years among first basemen:
Pujols zone rating in 2008?
.935 which ranks first among all regular first basemen.
Want more? Pujols Range factor at 1b was 10.64, again easily ranking first among all first basemen. Range factor at 1b can be misleading, but the fact that Pujols ranks so high in +/-, Zone rating and Range factor gives him a clean sweep.
Pujols not only has great range, but also rarely makes an an error fielding at a .996 clip with only 6 errors.
The NL Gold Glove first base award went to Adrian Gonzalez (B+ / 85), but the greatest hitter in Baseball is also the greatest fielding first baseman.
Pujols 1b: A+ / 85
St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Derrick Goold has a great blog on “Adding to St. Louis Cardinals’ golden history of Gloves” that includes the All-Time Gold Glove team leaders.
The Phillies and Rays were two of the best defensive teams in Baseball in 2008 so it is no surprise that both teams ended up in the World Series. Emerging as one of the prime fielding second basemen in Baseball is Chad Utley. Utley’s 5.18 Range factor and .844 Zone rating were both excellent. What stands out even more is Utley’s +47 +/- rating which ranked 1st among all second basemen by a wide margin (Mark Ellis +26 2nd).
Utley 2b: A / 75
One overlooked defensive outfielder is the Orioles Jay Payton. Payton put up outstanding to excellent Range factors in both LF (2.96) and CF (3.14) and also has a good arm allowing only 11 extra bases in 40 opportunites to advance (.275) in LF and (.432) in CF.
Look at some of the fan expressions as Jay Payton makes a great leaping catch at the wall.
Payton scored +6 with his +/- rating.
OK, the guy has Range, but does he commit a lot of errors a la Arizona’s Justin Upton (5 Error rating on a scale of 100)? Zero errors. A pristine perfect 1.000 fielding .pct earned Payton a 100 Error rating.
Payton lf: A / 100 / -1
cf: A / 100 / -1
Thankfully the Gold glove voters did not award the AL Gold Glove to Derek Jeter who once again had one of the worst Range factors (4.05) in Baseball. You saw how great Pujols was at first base. Now compare Jeters +/- rankings the last three years among regular shortstops to Pujols:
What Jeter did do well in 2008, was to make the plays hit to him as his .979 Fielding .pct earned him an 80 Error rating.
Jeter ss: D / 80
Player who has not received a Gold Gold yet and most deserves it?
Yadier Molina finally broke through in 2008 with a Gold Glove even though he had better defensive years previously.
Range Error Throw Passed Ball Handling
Yadier Molina A+ / 40 / -1 / B / A
Carl Crawford has been one of the premier defensive left fielders in Baseball for years in the anonymity of what has been Tampa Bay Rays Baseball. In 2008, Crawford lead regular LF in Range (2.28), Zone rating (.909) and +/- (+23). We have been watching or for many fans not watching one of the great defensive left fielders not only among current players, but of All-Time.
Crawford lf: A+ / 70 / 0
Who has Baseball’s best OF throwing arm?
It may well be Rick Ankiel.
The Pitcher turned Outfielder was featured in two amazing ESPN web gems throwing out a runner at 3rd from the warning track. Ankiel ranked 3rd best among CF in preventing runner advancement (.468) and the only question with his rifle arm is if it ranks with Roberto Clemente (-4 with that rating being reserved for the best of All-Time).
Rick Ankiel -3 Throwing arm (scale of -4 best of All-Time to +4 horrible)
Even though Brandon Inge has been moved all over the field defensively he still continues to amaze at third base even in a part-time role. In 51 games at third, Inge made only one error.
Inge 3b: A+ / 100
Among AL regulars at third base, Adrian Beltre had an excellent defensive season ranking first in Zone rating (.844) and +/- (+32).
Beltre 3b: A / 80