Today’s Knuckleball’s All-Old Friends’ Teams Bracket
Here at Today’s Knuckle (well, actually here being summarized on BBST!) we were each asked to build a team. There were criteria for this team and they are as follows:
- Each team is made up of a lineup (no DH), 5 starting pitchers and three relief pitchers
- To be eligible for the team a player must have played at least one game with the organization at any level. Players did not have to have played in a MLB game to be eligible.
- Players were not eligible for their current teams, but were eligible for an unlimited number of former teams.
- Players were considered for their current, healthy skill level not the level that played at when with their former team.
- Only currently active players were eligible.
Not shockingly I was assigned the Oakland A’s and I put together a team of still active, former Athletics’ players. My team was ultimately ranked number one out of all 30 constructed teams (which is Awesome, right?) and will not play in the first round of the bracket.
But PLEASE REMEMBER TO VOTE NEXT WEEK FOR THE A’s TO WIN THEIR GAME! I will post the links to vote for each round of the bracket below.
To read about each team and vote for your favorites, CLICK THE LINK BELOW!
And here you can read about the number one ranked All-Old Friends Oakland Athletics Team that I put together!!
My “All-Old Friends” Oakland Athletics Team
SP: Jon Lester, LHP: 2.95 ERA
SP: Brandon McCarthy, RHP: 2.39 ERA
SP: Rich Hill, LHP: 2.25 ERA
SP: Jason Hammel, RHP: 3.23 ERA
SP: Bartolo Colon, RHP: 3.58 ERA
RP: Brad Ziegler, RHP: 2.51 ERA
RP: Dan Otero, RHP: 1.31 ERA
RP: Jerry Blevins, LHP: 2.25 ERA
- Ben Zobrist – 2B .280/.387/.452 13 HR, 53 RBI **
- Carlos Gonzalez – CF .317/.369/.557 21 HR, 68 RBI
- Brandon Moss – 1B .256/.344/.566 17 HR, 40 RBI*
- Josh Donaldson – 3B .298/.409/.578 25 HR, 74 RBI
- Yoenis Cespedes – LF .291/.365/.555 22 HR, 58 RBI
- Josh Reddick – RF .296/.368/.449 8 HR, 28 RBI *
- Kurt Suzuki – C .282/.320/.432 6 HR, 35 RBI
- Addison Russell – SS .240/.328/.401 12 HR, 65 RBI
* – Left-handed batter, ** – Switch Hitter
This team has a surprisingly great lineup and should produce plenty of runs and definitely a lot of long balls – with three, almost four, of the batters having hit over the 20 home run mark. Five members of the squad have already driven in over some, like Donaldson well over, 50 runs already this season. The team resembles the 2014 A’s quite a bit and although they faltered offensively in the second half of the season, Brandon Moss is now healthy and Donaldson has plenty of protection in the lineup. Adding Carlos Gonzalez and Ben Zobrist are definite upgrades to the 2014 Athletics’ team.
The starting rotation is certainly formidable as long as Rich Hill can stay healthy. Jason Hammel didn’t pitch well when he was a member of the Athletics but he’s been great this season back with the Chicago Cubs. Brandon McCarthy has been lights out for the Los Angeles Dodgers since returning from Tommy John surgery. Lester is an ace if there ever was one and Bartolo Colon is like a freak of nature. Yet, he’s an amazing freak of nature, making the National League All-Star team at age 43 and only having one real pitch. It’s lucky that he played for Oakland in 2012 and 2013, everyone should want the “Big Sexy” in their rotation. Did I mention that he can hit as well?
When it came to relief pitching Brad Ziegler and Jerry Blevins were automatic players that had to be on this roster. Ziegler began his career in Oakland setting records and now as a closer has set records while on the Arizona Diamondbacks before being traded to the Boston Red Sox. Blevins is a left-hander so that was a plus for him and a fan favorite in Oakland for both his personality and his always low ERA.
Dan Otero was a surprise pick. He was on the Athletics just last season but got sent to Triple-A and eventually DFA’d. It appeared he’d just forgotten how to throw strikes. Luckily he was picked up by the Cleveland Indians this year and is currently working with a 1.31 ERA. You can’t really beat that so he made the team.
There were some tough choices to make between players. Obviously, Donaldson, Reddick and Cespedes were absolutes. Moss was the only first baseman that the Athletics have had in many years with the exception of the always awful Daric Barton. He’s put up some good numbers this season and was an easy choice. Adding Cargo and Zobrist were again easy choices to make, both upgrades. The A’s only second basemen since the era of Mark Ellis are still a part of the team. Billy Burns was considered for center field but Gonzalez’s numbers are way too good to pass up.
Shortstop turned out to be the most difficult choice out of the lineup. The A’s haven’t had a franchise shortstop since Miguel Tejada departed after the 2004 season. Some candidates included Stephen Drew and Cliff Pennington. Pennington is currently hitting under the .200 mark and Drew has issues staying healthy and it’s just hard to want him in the lineup.
Other pitchers considered included the always injured Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija but Hammel’s numbers were so much better than the rest. It was surprising to include Hammel. Tyson Ross was also considered, but he has been on the 60-day disabled list this season. He may return in August but there are no guarantees.
For the bullpen Jesse Chavez and lefty-specialist Fernando Abad were candidates but Dan Otero’s 1.31 ERA this season is virtually impossible to beat.
Overall, this team could be very dangerous. There’s a lot of power and production in the lineup, however, it could use a bit more speed. The pitching is solid all the way around though and even the candidates that didn’t make the All-Former Athletics Team were worthy. This team could potentially win it all.