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An All-World Lineup

All-World Fantasy: Cherry picking the best for a global lineup

First of all, you people are crazy. When I put out the baseball challenge here asking people to try and beat my all-world lineup (a lineup of current players all from different countries) and my all-world roster (25 players in history from 25 different countries), I didn’t really expect many to do it. It’s so nerdy. I figured that I would get 10 or 20 responses from people with the same obsessive tendencies that I have.

Instead: Hundreds and hundreds of people sent in lineups.

I didn’t see that coming at all — there was something about this idea (thought up by my editor Matt Meyers) that seemed to appeal to intense baseball fans. We’re proud that baseball really is a world game. True, it’s not especially popular in Europe (something that Italian Baseball Superstar Mark Teahen will change) but in Latin America, in Asia, in North America, young baseball players dream of playing in the big leagues, and that’s a very cool part of the sport.

I’ve written all about the all-world lineup construction — I know the original plan was to talk about anyone who beat my team, but in truth the many lineups were so similar (for the most part) that it’s hard to differentiate. What I found interesting was your chosen lineup showed whether you thought catcher or shortstop was more important (do you choose Puerto Rico’s Yadi Molina or Carlos Correa), whether you valued the game’s greatest superstar or the best pitcher on the planet (Mike Trout vs. Clayton Kershaw) and so on.

Several people sent in my exact team with the exception of pitcher — they chose Colombian Jose Quintana and I took Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka. That’s a close one.

Anyway, here’s the lineup piece. The 25-man roster piece is coming soon.







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52 Responses to An All-World Lineup

  1. Mike says:

    Close! You should have picked Yasmani Grandal as your catcher (and Cuban), over Ruiz and Cespedes. Grandal had 2.8 WAR last year, Cespedes had 2.9, and Ruiz had 0.2. If you go Grandal at catcher, and take Kepler (2.4 WAR in 2016), you’re coming out ahead (though you would be relying on the youngster).

  2. AaronB says:

    I started doing a team and just got sidetracked…but some names I considered:

    SP: I came down to two, Tanaka and Julio Teheran of Colombia. I went with Teheran

    Altuve and Votto were easy picks for me as well, but then things get interesting…

    I throw out another Cuban, Aledmys Diaz for SS. That’s if you wanted to free up one of those from Puerto Rico for another position. After looking through things, I actually settled on Correa at SS, because I thought my OF was actually a bit thin. So by not taking Diaz, I could take Cespedes for the OF.

    I debated C like crazy, and decided to go for broke with the young gun, Gary Sanchez of the DR. By doing this, I realize I eliminate a lot of impact DR players, but was I was just trying to think outside the box.

    That’s as far as I got though. As for closer, don’t forgot about South Korea’s Seung-hwan Oh. All he did last season was pick up 19 saves (remember he didn’t start the season as closer) with a WHIP of .916, FIP of 2.13, 11.6 K’s/9 totaling 103 K’s in just 79 2/3 IP. No, he’s not as good, but he’s another quality South Korean player if you want to go a different direction.

  3. Johnny P says:

    “That said, I took Correa, who might win the AL MVP Award this year.”

    Oh please. Everyone said that about him last year, and you know how many MVP votes he got? Zero. Not even one top ten vote.

    He’s a very good player, but the hysteria that has followed him ever since he came up has been ridiculous.

  4. invitro says:

    Joe’s team beat my team like a drum. The only possible omission I see is RP Seung-hwan Oh, South Korea, whose WAR topped Jansen’s by 0.3 in 2016. Kepler’s WAR topped Choo’s by 2.1 in 2016, so I think Joe’s team with those two changes has the maximum 2016 WAR. Can anyone beat it? (Joe’s team still looks like the very best, if Choo is healthy, he should get 2.5 WAR.)

    Here are all the players mentioned in either Joe’s article, or the comments to his original article, with their 2016 WAR, and ineligible players (AGonzalez, Machado) omitted:

    3.0 Gary Sanchez, Dominican Republic
    2.9 Yadier Molina, Puerto Rico
    2.8 Salvador Perez, Venezuela
    2.8 Yasmani Grandal, Cuba
    1.8 Carlos Ruiz, Panama
    1.7 Russell Martin, Canada
    -0.8 Yan Gomes, Brazil

    4.9 Miguel Cabrera, Venezuela
    4.0 Joey Votto, Canada

    7.7 Jose Altuve, Venezuela
    7.3 Robinson Cano, Dominican Republic
    2.1 Jonathan Schoop, Curacao

    6.4 Adrian Beltre, Dominican Republic
    2.3 Jung Ho Kang, South Korea

    5.9 Carlos Correa, Puerto Rico
    5.7 Francisco Lindor, Puerto Rico
    4.2 Andrelton Simmons, Curacao
    3.7 Xander Bogaerts], Aruba
    3.4 Javier Baez, Puerto Rico

    2.9 Yoenis Cespedes, Cuba

    10.6 Mike Trout, USA

    2.4 Max Kepler, Germany
    1.5 Ichiro Suzuki, Japan
    0.3 Shin-Soo Choo, South Korea

    5.6 Clayton Kershaw, USA
    5.4 Masahiro Tanaka, Japan
    5.2 Jose Quintana, Colombia
    2.5 Yu Darvish, Japan

    2.8 Seung-hwan Oh, South Korea
    2.5 Kenley Jansen, Curacao
    2.0 Roberto Osuna, Mexico

    • invitro says:

      Add in RF:
      2.3 Paulo Orlando, Brazil

    • Ryan says:

      Using this:

      Joe’s team: 47.5 WAR

      Joe’s team with your two changes (Kepler for Choo, Oh for Jansen): 49.9

      One more optimization: Since you subbed Oh for Jansen, you can now sub in Simmons for Bogaerts, to increase the overall WAR up to 50.4 – although I would think you would play Simmons at short and move Correa to DH in that setup.

      • invitro says:

        Excellent catch! Correa has been a much better hitter than Bogaerts, too. New best 2016-WAR lineup (OPS+ in [brackets]):
        4.0 1B Joey Votto, Canada, CIN [160]
        10.6 CF Mike Trout, USA, LAA [174]
        7.7 2B Jose Altuve, Venezuela, HOU [154]
        5.9 DH Carlos Correa, Puerto Rico, HOU [123]
        2.9 LF Yoenis Cespedes, Cuba, NYM [133]
        6.4 3B Adrian Beltre, Dominican Republic, TEX [128]
        2.4 RF Max Kepler, Germany, MIN [98]
        1.8 C Carlos Ruiz, Panama, SEA [95]
        4.2 SS Andrelton Simmons, Curacao, LAA [92]
        5.4 SP Masahiro Tanaka, Japan, NYY
        2.8 RP Seung-hwan Oh, South Korea, STL

        • Mike says:

          If you drop Ruiz for Yasmani Grandal (Cuba, 2.8 WAR), and then replace Cespedes with Pablo Orlando (Brazil, 2.3 WAR), you’ll pick up an extra .4 WAR.

  5. Tom says:

    My team was close to Joe’s. I had Grandal at catcher, Ichiro in LF and Paulo Orlando in RF. I thought about not having Ichiro, and instead using Tanaka as a pitcher (I used Quintana). Tanaka and Quintana are very close in war, Orlando and Kepler are also close and both play RF. Frankly I missed Kepler or would have thought more about him. As it was, I wanted Correa at SS and Votto at 1b which meant I could not use Cespedes (I saw either/or situations with Correa at SS and Molina at C, and also with Votto at 1b and Russell Martin at C, and i think Grandal is the only other real option at C). I think Ichiro will have a better year than Choo.

    I think so many did this because it was fun and educational.

    Joe there is only one way to judge these teams – a column in October 2017 which lists the best team(s) by war!

  6. BraveArnie says:

    Guys, I am so surprised Ohtani is not even mentioned?

  7. KHAZAD says:

    According to ZIPs projections for 2017, Joe’s team is projected for 39.7 WAR.

    Even after making a couple of adjustments for rules I misunderstood (I didn’t realize that you could include an American Player, or that you could take a wild card in lieu of a player who is actually a DH) my team only is projected for 38.

    • KHAZAD says:

      However, looking at it a little more closely, you could take Joe’s team and swap Choo for Kepler and Ruiz for Gomes and Tanaka for Quintana and add another 1.8 WAR, for a total of 41.5. I think that’s the best you could do.

      • invitro says:

        Gomes is only 1.5 WAR, we can do better. Drop him, add Gary Sanchez, his projection is 4.0. Sanchez is Dom. Rep., so we’ll have to drop Beltre, but no big deal… his 3.5 is replaced by Jung Ho Kang’s 3.2, for a net difference of +2.2, big! New lineup:

        4.0 C Gary Sanchez, Dominican Republic, NYY
        4.6 1B Joey Votto, Canada, CIN
        5.8 2B Jose Altuve, Venezuela, HOU
        3.2 3B Jung Ho Kang, South Korea, PIT
        6.5 SS Carlos Correa, Puerto Rico, HOU
        4.1 LF Yoenis Cespedes, Cuba, NYM
        9.0 CF Mike Trout, USA, LAA
        2.0 RF Max Kepler, Germany, MIN
        3.8 DH Xander Bogaerts, Aruba, BOS
        3.9 SP Jose Quintana, Colombia, CHW
        1.5 RP Kenley Jansen, Curacao, LAD
        48.4 TOTAL projected 2017 WAR by ZIPS

        Note: my total of 48.4 is a lot more than 2.2 above your 41.5. Did I make a mistake?

        • KHAZAD says:

          I was using ZIPs which has been the best at predictive WAR (which is of course still inexact.

          ZIPs has Gomes at 1.3 and Beltre at 3.3,while Sanchez is at 3.4 and Kang at 2.7.

          Still an overall gain of 1.5 WAR, for a ZIPS total of 43. Good Job, I forgot all about Kang.

          • KHAZAD says:

            I belatedly saw you were using ZIPS. Don’t know where you got your numbers and why they are different. They may be the initial numbers. I went to Fangraphs, then to projections, then to ZIPS.

          • invitro says:

            I’m not very familiar with ZIPs, but I used the ones in the articles here: . I’m looking at the page you give… I see that Trout has 8.0 instead of 9.0, so yeah they’re different. Why would they change (so much) in just a month?

  8. Scott P. says:

    Wait, your 25-man lineup includes a designated hitter? I thought the idea was to construct a baseball team.

  9. Richard says:

    These sorts of things are the perfect way to while away the days in the off-season.

    How about a team of players who never appeared in a World Series (no active players; they still have a chance… Banks, Santo, Griffey Jr., Kiner….)? A team consisting entirely of players named Joe (Morgan, DiMaggio, Medwick….)?

    • invitro says:

      Guess the theme:
      C ?
      1B Willie Aikens, KC/CAL
      2B Pete Rose, CIN/PHI
      3B Hank Thompson, SF
      SS Wil Cordero, MON/CLE/BOS
      LF Mel Hall, CLE/NYY/CHC
      CF Milton Bradley, MON/CLE/LAD/OAK/SD/TEX/CHC/SEA
      RF Darryl Strawberry, NYM/NYY/LAD
      DH Orlando Cepeda, SF/STL
      SP Denny McLain, DET
      RP Julio Machado, NYM/MIL

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        Straw is my guy but I can’t figure this one out.

      • truebloo says:

        My first guess is players who later have their sons play, but Griffey and Bonds should be in that case.

        • truebloo says:

          Ok, here is my second guess: Jim Leyritz for catcher, completing our All Time Prison Team?

          • invitro says:

            I’ll have to look up Leyritz. I couldn’t find a catcher. But yes… All-Prison team. I tried to go with most serious crimes, and all of these are very serious, except Strawberry’s, and I guess Rose’s. There were no other 2B I could find, and CF and RP are crammed full of criminals. I had fun with this one — I only knew about half of these. For example, I did not know that Mel Hall was in prison for 45 years! (For raping two girls.)

          • truebloo says:

            Ok, Leyritz appears to have been acquitted of DUI/involuntary manslaugter. The other one I found was Ramon Castro, but he took a plea. So, catcher is still up for grabs.

          • invitro says:

            I learned something today. Catchers don’t play basketball, they don’t commit crimes, they just catch.

    • invitro says:

      1B Howie Schultz, BRO/PHI
      2B/3B/CF Danny Ainge, TOR
      SS Dick Groat, PIT/STL/PHI
      LF Cotton Nash, MIN
      RF Frank Baumholtz, CHC/CIN
      C Hector Villanueva, CHC
      SP Ron Reed, ATL/PHI
      SP Gene Conley, MLN/BOS/PHI
      SP Steve Hamilton, NYY
      SP Mark Hendrickson, TBD/BAL
      RP Dave DeBusschere, CHW
      PR Chuck Connors, CHC

      • Crazy Diamond says:

        Ainge and Hendrickson were basketball players. Hmm. If they were basketball players, I would think Kenny Lofton (ASU!) would’ve been included. I think Dave Winfield was drafted by the NBA, too, wasn’t he?

        • invitro says:

          Good, but… all these guys actually played in the NBA. Well, not Hector. It’s gonna be hard to find a basketball-playing catcher, probably. 🙂 If I went with college players, I’d probably have to go with Gwynn, too, and Boudreau.

    • Mike says:

      A 25 man roster where every player’s last name starts with a different letter.

    • invitro says:

      Guess the theme… I think this one might be tough.
      C Roger Bresnahan, WHS
      1B George Sisler, SLB
      2B Johnny O’Brien, PIT
      3B Jimmie Foxx, PHI
      SS Bobby Wallace, CLV
      LF Jesse Burkett, NYG
      CF Rick Ankiel, STL
      RF Sam Rice, WSH
      C Brent Mayne, COL
      IF Chris Davis, BAL
      IF High Pockets Kelly, NYG
      IF Wilson Valdez, PHI
      OF Lefty O’Doul, BOS
      OF Rocky Colavito, NYY

    • invitro says:

      I’ve got a fever… and the only cure is another themed team!
      C Charles Johnson
      1B Lou “Iron Horse” Gehrig
      2B Felix “The Cat” Millan
      3B Don Money
      SS Ernie Banks
      LF Bo Jackson
      CF Marvin Benard
      RF Paul Householder

      C Doggie Miller
      CI Ed “Battleship” Gremminger
      MI Edgar Renteria
      UT Kevin Orie
      OF Byron Buxton
      OF Dave Parker
      OF Wes Parker

      SP Dean Chance
      SP James Shields
      SP Chan Ho Park
      SP Chris Short
      SP Daisuke Matsuzaka
      P Matt Shoemaker
      P Tacks Neuer
      RP Dan Wheeler
      RP Jailen Peguero
      RP Lance Broadway
      CL Roberto “Little Cannon” Osuna

      MGR Harry “The Hat” Walker

  10. invitro says:

    Some boring random baseball jottings… Joe hooked me on the WBC at least a little bit and I’m watching Israel-Netherlands right now, playing in Seoul. There must be at least 50 fans in the stadium. The Dutch are the Curacao/Aruba connection and a few stars from Joe’s contest are playing, along with a Van Mil or two. Israel has Sam Fuld, Ike Davis, Jason Marquis, and most of the rest are American minor leaguers, so I guess it’s pretty traditional to be rather loose with the country affiliation? I do see one guy actually from Israel on the roster. Both the Dutch and “Israel” uniforms are snappy. Snappier still were a row of blonde Dutch girls in the crowd (player wives, or fans who flew to Seoul?), and some old guys wearing orange royal garb and crowns.

    Warmed up with the afternoon’s D’Backs-Mexico game. Another recent Joe article subject, Greinke, was pitching. He didn’t seem to care too much about the game, which is probably good… with the focus on pitch counts, I’m guessing pitchers don’t throw more than a handful of spring training innings at full strength. Arizona still has the worst uniforms in baseball, even the modified spring training ones.

    I tried working up a couple of theme teams using just memory, no research. I’m pretty bad at recalling players from memory, so these are not very impressive attempts, and they’re half-hearted, but maybe someone will want to improve them. The themes should be self-explanatory…

    C Jarrod Saltalamacchia (14)
    1B Doug Mientkiewicz (12)
    2B Mark Grudzielanek (12)
    3B ?
    SS Nomar Garciaparra (11)
    LF Carl Yastrzemski (11)
    CF ?
    RF Darryl Strawberry (10)
    SP William VanLandingham (13)
    SP Noah Snydergaard (11)
    SP Fernando Valenzuela (10)
    SP Mark Hendrickson (11)
    RP Dan Quisenberry (11)
    RP Dave DeBusschere (11)

    C ?
    1B Jeff King
    2B Max Bishop
    3B Ray Knight
    SS Jean Segura (Ruy Lopez de Segura)
    LF ?
    CF Devon White
    RF ?
    SP Bud Black
    SP Don Larsen (Bent Larsen)
    SP ?
    RP ?
    RP ?

    • Pat says:

      Probably Edwin Encarnacion (11) at 3B and Curtis Granderson (10) at CF, although there might be better choices.

      Roy White (White King) at LF, Ival “Old Mate” Goodman (RF), Jim Rooker (SP), Mel Queen Jr. (SP or RF—he actually played both), Charlie Chech (RP). You don’t have a spot for UI, but Foster Castleman (2B, 3B, SS) would suffice.

    • Pat says:

      Assuming you can’t find a real answer for catcher, I might go with “Deacon” McGuire, who’s got more than 1,600 games there. Then of course there’s Deacon White, which sort of spells “White Bishop” and is pretty good for a bench player in the Hall (800+ games at 3B, 400+ at C, also OF, 1B, and 2B, and even a couple games at SS and P).
      … actually, his pitching career has one of the more interesting lines I’ve seen:

      1890 (BUF), aged 42, 0-0, 9.00 ERA 1 G, 0 GS, 1 GF, 18 H, 15 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 8.0 IP.

    • Pat says:

      And nuts, there’s no evidence that I can find that one-time minor leaguer Anthony Passanante went by the nickname “En Passant.”

  11. Richard says:

    Yelling “Hey Joe!” into this dugout gets tired very fast.

    1B: Joey Votto (best I can do)
    2B: Joe Morgan
    SS: Joe Cronin
    3B: Joe Torre (he’s the manager, too)
    LF: Joe Medwick
    CF: Joe DiMaggio
    RF: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson
    C: Joe Mauer

    Starting pitchers: Joe “Iron Man” McGinnity, “Smokey” Joe Wood, “Bullet” Joe Bush, and Joe Neikro.
    Closer: Joe Nathan

    Bench: Joe Carter, Joe Rudi, Joe Gordon, Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista….

    Joe Buck and Joe Garagiola are covering the game on TV; Joe Nuxhall is at the radio mike. Joe Durso and Joe Falls are in the press box.

    • invitro says:

      Nice, but… Jose Cruz wants to have a tryout against Carter and Rudi. As do Joe Sewell and Joe Tinker against Jose Reyes. Jose Rijo says ignore his Oakland stats, and focus on his Reds days, but I still don’t know if he beats Niekro. 🙂

    • Brett Alan says:

      I believe there’s another guy in the press box, recently signed with the MLB Network. He also has a blog of some sort….

  12. Tom says:

    How about we develop a similar All-World roster, but include all players from the entire history of the game? gonna work on it on the train ride today

  13. Tom says:

    Anybody still following this stuff? Paulo Orlando off to a terrible start while Kepler is playing very well. Beltre out injured. Ichiro doing nothing yet. And Tanaka and Quintana both getting shelled, Quintana worse. So my choices do not look good for now. I will just keep telling myself small sample size, small sample size …

    And Joe, Please the Court, is there a column on the 25 man all time international roster anywhere in our future? Or when you said it was coming “soon” did that mean “never”? Just kidding. Kind of.

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