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All-Time DROP Leaders

For my latest post in SI.com’s The Strike Zone blog I created a new statistic designed to identify the best late-round picks in the history of Major League Baseball’s annual amateur player draft. That statistic, DROP (Draft Round Opportunity Points) simply multiplies a player’s career wins above repacement (Baseball-Reference version) by the round in which they were drafted. It’s a blunt tool, but an effective one. You can read more about it and the all-time top 10 in DROP in my Strike Zone post. Meanwhile, here is a more extensive leader list that didn’t fit over there:

Player Team Pos Year Rd Pick# bWAR DROP
Mike Piazza LAD 1B 1988 62 1,380 59.4 3,683
Keith Hernandez STL 1B 1971 42 785 60.0 2,520
Mark Buehrle CWS P 1998 38 1,139 56.8 2,158
Kenny Rogers TEX P 1982 39 816 51.4 2,005
John Smoltz DET P 1985 22 574 69.5 1,529
Ryne Sandberg PHI 2B 1978 20 511 67.5 1,350
Andy Pettitte NYY P 1990 22 594 60.8 1,338
Orlando Hudson TOR SS 1997 43 1,280 30.9 1,329
Albert Pujols STL 3B 1999 13 402 94.5 1,229
Kenny Lofton HOU OF 1988 17 428 68.2 1,159
Roy Oswalt HOU P 1996 23 684 50.2 1,155
Al Cowens KCR SS 1969 75 1,028 15.2 1,140
Brett Butler ATL OF 1979 23 573 49.4 1,136
Jeff Conine KCR 3B 1987 58 1,226 19.4 1,125
Bret Saberhagen KCR P 1982 19 580 59.2 1,125
Mark Grace CHC 1B 1985 24 622 46.1 1,106
Jeff Kent TOR SS 1989 20 523 55.2 1,104
Buddy Bell CLE 2B 1969 16 375 66.1 1,058
Jorge Posada NYY SS 1990 24 646 42.7 1,025
Ken Griffey Sr. CIN OF 1969 29 682 34.4 998
Nolan Ryan CIN P 1965 12 295 81.8 982
 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Lists

 

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Deleted Scenes: The Early History of Wrigley Field

I got a little carried away when I put together my list of the ten greatest games in Wrigley Field history for the old ballpark’s 100th anniversary on April 23, 2014, spilling more than 600 words on the early history of the ballpark before getting to my list. I couldn’t argue when that was excised from the published piece, but still think the fact-heavy intro is worth sharing here.

Commissioned by Charles Weeghman, the proprietor of the Chicago lunchroom chain Weeghman’s Cafés, the ballpark now known as Wrigley Field opened on April 23, 1914 as the home of Chicago’s entry into the new Federal League, a rival league created to challenge the National and American, the latter then entering just its 14th season. Weeghman owned the Chicago Federals and gave his own name to the ballpark at the corner of West Addison and North Clark Streets, which upon its inauguration had a single-decked grandstand and an official capacity of just 14,000 people.

For Weeghman’s Park’s first game, the eighth game of the 1914 season for Chicago, which opened on the road, roughly 21,000 people squeezed into the new ballpark to watch the Joe Tinker-managed Chi-Feds beat the Kansas City Packers 9-1 on a Thursday afternoon behind a complete game by ace Claude Hendrix, a former Pirate who would be the new league’s best pitcher that season. The Chi-Feds finished a close second in the final standings in 1914 and, rechristened the Whales, claimed the Federal League pennant in 1915. That December, the two established leagues bought out the Federal League and, as part of the settlement, allowed Weeghman to purchase the Cubs for $500,000 from former congressman Charles Taft, half-brother of the former president, who had been the team’s caretaker for the previous two seasons.

Weeghman effectively merged the Whales into the Cubs, naming Tinker the team’s new manager, adding several Whales players, including Hendrix, to the Cubs’ roster, and moving the team into his new concrete and steel ballpark from the old, wooden West Side Grounds that had housed the Cubs since 1893. Over the next century, the ballpark would undergo numerous updated and renovations, not to mention name changes.

After Weeghman sold his majority share of the Cubs to minority partner and chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. following the 1918 season, the ballpark was rechristened Cubs Park before ultimately taking Wrigley’s name in 1926. The upper deck was added in 1927. The marquee was installed in 1934. The bleachers and manual scoreboard were installed and the ivy on the outfield walls was planted in 1937, the latter in part by future Hall of Fame owner Bill Veeck, who was then the son of club president William Veeck Sr. The clock atop the scoreboard came along in 1941. Originally reddish-brown, the scoreboard and clock were painted green in 1944. Lights, famously, didn’t bring night baseball to the ballpark until August of 1988.

For fifty years, from 1921 to 1970, the ballpark was home to the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, who derived their nickname from the association with the Cubs after moving into Wrigley (they had previously been the Staleys, after the food-starch company that founded the team). During that time, the ballpark hosted six NFL title games (five won by the Bears), the last coming in 1963. In fact, until 2003, more NFL games had been played at Wrigley Field than at any other venue. Outside of the title games, the most notable football game in Wrigley Field history may have been the Bears’ 61-20 win over the 49ers on December 12, 1965, in which Bears running back Gale Sayers tied a still-standing NFL record with six touchdowns.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Deleted Scenes, Lists

 

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Mets Contracts

What follows is the list of Mets contracts that I assembled while researching my SI.com piece on David Wright and the Mets history of bad contracts. This is raw data in that the dollars and years listed are the total values of the contracts announced upon their signing, not what the Mets wound up paying or for how long. The seasons and bWAR totals, however, are only those that came with the Mets.

The top 23 contracts (24 with Wright now included) are, best I can tell, the most expensive contracts in Mets history by total dollars. The ten below that (after the break in the chart) are other contracts of lesser value from prior to 1997 that were nonetheless major deals at the time.

Player $ (in millions) Years Seasons bWAR
David Wright $            138.00 8 2013-
Johan Santana $            137.50 6 2008-

14.6

Carlos Beltran $            119.00 7 2005-2011

30.2

Mike Piazza $              91.00 7 1999-2005

17.6

Jason Bay $              66.00 4 2010-2012

1.1

David Wright $              55.00 6 2007-2012

28.8

Pedro Martinez $              53.00 4 2005-2008

7.6

Billy Wagner $              43.00 4 2006-2009

4.7

Tom Glavine $              42.50 3 2003-2006

12.5

Kevin Appier $              42.00 4 2001

3.3

Francisco Rodriguez $              37.00 3 2009-2011

2.5

Bobby Bonilla $              29.00 5 1992-1995

8.9

Robin Ventura $              23.00 3 1999-2001

10.3

Cliff Floyd $              26.00 4 2003-2006

7.0

Luis Castillo $              25.00 4 2008-2010

0.9

Todd Hundley $              21.00 4 1997-1998

2.2

Kazuo Matsui $              20.00 3 2004-2006

0.2

Mike Cameron $              19.50 3 2004-2005

3.0

Bernard Gilkey $              19.40 4 1997-1998

9.6

Roger Cedeño $              18.00 4 2002-2003

-0.9

Todd Zeile $              18.00 3 2000-2001

2.7

Dwight Gooden $              15.45 3 1992-1994

4.8

Bret Saberhagen $              15.38 3 1993-1995

9.7

John Olerud $              14.50 3 1997-1999

16.5

Pete Harnisch $                9.00 3 1995-1997

0.3

Eddie Murray $                7.50 2 1992-1993

2.3

Vince Coleman $              12.00 4 1991-1993

1.7

Frank Viola* $                7.90 3 1989-1991

9.1

Kevin McReynolds $                5.50 3 1989-1991

7.6

Ron Darling $                5.30 3 1989-1991

0.4

Dwight Gooden $                6.70 3 1989-1991

6.6

Keith Hernandez $                8.00 5 1985-1989

14.8

Gary Carter** $              10.60 5 1985-1989

10.3

George Foster $              10.00 5 1982-1986

3.4

*Viola signed a three-year deal with the Twins but was traded to the Mets mid-way through the first season. The contract figures here are for the full contract.

**Carter signed a seven-year deal with the Expos but was traded to the Mets after two seasons. The contract figures here are for Carter’s five years with the Mets only.

Update: the original version of this post listed the total value of Bobby Bonilla’s first Mets contract as $39 million. That was a typo, it was actually $29 million, corrected above.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2012 in Lists

 

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Baseball America’s Top 10 Prospects, 2000-2005, by career bWAR

Player Pos Org. BA Top 10 bWAR*
Ichiro Suzuki RF Mariners 2001 54.6
CC Sabathia LHP Indians 2001 51.0
Mark Teixeira 3B Rangers 2002-03 45.4
Rafael Furcal SS Braves 2000 37.6
Joe Mauer C Twins 2002-05 37.0
Josh Beckett RHP Marlins 2001-02 31.7
Felix Hernandez RHP Mariners 2005 31.5
Jose Reyes SS Mets 2003 29.8
Grady Sizemore CF Indians 2004 26.5
Hanley Ramirez SS Red Sox 2005 26.0
Vernon Wells CF Blue Jays 2000 25.7
Ben Sheets RHP Brewers 2001 24.4
Josh Hamilton CF Devil Rays 2001 23.3
Carlos Peña 1B A’s 2002 23.3
Alexis Rios CF Blue Jays 2004 23.3
Brandon Phillips SS Indians 2003 20.6
Prince Fielder 1B Brewers 2004 19.7
Francisco Rodriguez RHP Angels 2003 18.7
Hideki Matsui CF Yankees 2003 18.6
Pat Burrell 1B Phillies 2000 16.4
Scott Kazmir LHP Devil Rays 2005 15.2
Mark Prior RHP Cubs 2002 15.0
Gavin Floyd RHP Phillies 2003 13.9
B.J. Upton SS Devil Rays 2004 13.6
Nick Johnson 1B Yankees 2000-01 13.3
Jose Contreras RHP Yankees 2003 12.0
Rickie Weeks 2B Brewers 2004-05 12.0
Hank Blalock 3B Rangers 2002 11.6
Edwin Jackson RHP Dodgers 2004 11.4
Rocco Baldelli CF Devil Rays 2003 9.1
Rick Ankiel LHP Cardinals 2000 8.2
Corey Patterson CF Cubs 2000-01 7.6
Casey Kotchman 1B Angels 2005 6.5
Jon Rauch RHP White Sox 2001 6.2
John Patterson RHP D’backs 2000 5.0
Sean Burroughs 3B Padres 2000-02 4.8
Juan Cruz RHP Cubs 2002 4.6
Kazuo Matsui SS Mets 2004 4.5
Ian Stewart 3B Rockies 2005 3.3
Wilson Betemit SS Braves 2002 2.3
Delmon Young RF Devil Rays 2004-05 0.6
Drew Henson 3B Yankees 2002 0.0
Ruben Mateo CF Rangers 2000 -0.2
Jesse Foppert RHP Giants 2003 -0.5
Joel Guzman SS Dodgers 2005 -0.6
Andy Marte 3B Braves 2005 -1.8
Ryan Anderson LHP Mariners 2000-01 -
Greg Miller LHP Dodgers 2004 -

*Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement, career totals through the 2012 season

You can see Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects lists from 1991 to 2011 here.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2012 in Lists

 

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Slash-Stat Triple Crown Winners

Here are the 46 instances of a hitter leading his league in all three slash stats (batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage), a concept I dubbed the “Slash-Stat Triple Crown” in a post for SI.com’s Fungoes blog in September 2007. Italics indicate the hitter led the majors in that category.

Year
Player
POS
Team
Lg.
AVG
OBP
SLG
2013
Miguel Cabrera
3B
Tigers
AL
.348
.442
.636
2009
Joe Mauer
C
Twins
AL
.365
.444
.587
2004
Barry Bonds
LF
Giants
NL
.362
.609
.812
2002
Barry Bonds
LF
Giants
NL
.370
.582
.799
2000
Todd Helton
1B
Rockies
NL
.372
.463
.698
1999
Larry Walker
RF
Rockies
NL
.379
.458
.710
1980
George Brett
3B
Royals
AL
.390
.454
.664
1979
Fred Lynn
CF
Red Sox
AL
.333
.423
.637
1967
Carl Yastrzemski
LF
Red Sox
AL
.326
.418
.622
1966
Frank Robinson
RF
Orioles
AL
.316
.410
.637
1957
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.388
.526
.731
1948
Stan Musial
RF
Cardinals
NL
.376
.450
.702
1948
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.369
.497
.615
1947
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.343
.499
.634
1943
Stan Musial
RF
Cardinals
NL
.357
.425
.562
1942
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.356
.499
.648
1941
Ted Williams
LF
Red Sox
AL
.406
.553
.735
1938
Jimmie Fox
1B
Red Sox
AL
.349
.462
.704
1935
Arky Vaughan
SS
Pirates
NL
.385
.491
.607
1934
Lou Gehrig
1B
Yankees
AL
.363
.465
.706
1933
Chuck Klein
RF
Phillies
NL
.368
.422
.602
1928
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.387
.498
.632
1925
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.403
.489
.756
1924
Babe Ruth
RF
Yankees
AL
.378
.513
.739
1924
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.424
.507
.696
1923
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.384
.459
.627
1922
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.401
.459
.722
1921
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.397
.458
.639
1920
Rogers Hornsby
2B
Cardinals
NL
.370
.431
.559
1917
Ty Cobb
CF
Tigers
AL
.383
.444
.570
1916
Tris Speaker
CF
Red Sox
AL
.386
.470
.502
1914
Ty Cobb
CF
Tigers
AL
.368
.466
.513
1910
Sherry Magee
LF
Phillies
NL
.331
.445
.507
1909
Ty Cobb
CF
Tigers
AL
.377
.431
.517
1909
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.339
.420
.489
1908
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.354
.415
.542
1907
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.350
.408
.513
1906
George Stone
LF
Browns
AL
.358
.417
.501
1904
Honus Wagner
SS
Pirates
NL
.349
.423
.520
1904
Nap Lajoie
2B
Cleveland Naps
AL
.376
.413
.546
1901
Nap Lajoie
2B
Athletics
AL
.426
.463
.643
1891
Dan Brouthers
1B
Boston Reds
AA
.350
.471
.512
1882
Tip O’Neill
LF
St. Louis Browns
AA
.435
.490
.691
1883
Dan Brouthers
1B
Buffalo Bisons
NL
.374
.397
.572
1882
Dan Brouthers
1B
Buffalo Bisons
NL
.368
.403
.547
1882
Pete Browning
2B
Louisville Eclipse
AA
.378
.430
.510
1880
Piano Legs Gore
CF
White Stockings
NL
.360
.399
.463
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Lists, Supplemental Materials

 

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