Balanced Lineups

While the Braves do not have a MVP candidate, their lineup, when healthy, is as deep as anyone’s in the game.  To show that, I did a Play Index search for this year’s teams to see who had the most position players with at least 1.5 WAR so far.

Rk Year Tm Lg #Matching
1 2012 Atlanta Braves NL 8
2 2012 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim AL 6
3 2012 Texas Rangers AL 6
4 2012 Toronto Blue Jays AL 6
5 2012 Arizona Diamondbacks NL 5
6 2012 Boston Red Sox AL 5
7 2012 Cleveland Indians AL 5
8 2012 Minnesota Twins AL 5
9 2012 Seattle Mariners AL 5
10 2012 St. Louis Cardinals NL 5
11 2012 Chicago White Sox AL 4
12 2012 Cincinnati Reds NL 4
13 2012 Kansas City Royals AL 4
14 2012 Milwaukee Brewers NL 4
15 2012 New York Mets NL 4
16 2012 Pittsburgh Pirates NL 4
17 2012 Tampa Bay Rays AL 4
18 2012 Washington Nationals NL 4
19 2012 Baltimore Orioles AL 3
20 2012 Chicago Cubs NL 3
21 2012 Detroit Tigers AL 3
22 2012 Miami Marlins NL 3
23 2012 Houston Astros NL 3
24 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 3
25 2012 New York Yankees AL 3
26 2012 San Francisco Giants NL 3
27 2012 Colorado Rockies NL 2
28 2012 Philadelphia Phillies NL 2
29 2012 San Diego Padres NL 2
30 2012 Oakland Athletics AL 1
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/7/2012.

It’s amazing to see how little records correlate with this list.  The A’s, Giants, Yankees, Dodgers, Tigers, and Orioles are all above .500 yet near the bottom of the list.  It’s also weird to see the Indians, Twins, and Mariners towards the top.  The all-time record for a team is ten, done 14 times, last by the 116-win 2001 Seattle Mariners.  The Rays were able to get nine players to reach that mark last season.

There are a couple caveats to this table, but for the most part, it shows the lack of a hole by position.  Andrelton Simmons makes the list, mostly due to a freakishly high defensive rating.  1.5 is a fairly arbitrary number cherry-picked to provide the best case for my point.  It also doesn’t mean there isn’t ever a hole in the lineup at a certain time (yes, Uggla, that is directed towards you).

I think it’s more surprising having a NL team so high, since there is no DH to help pad the totals.  It has been an interesting year for the Braves, not relying on pitching nearly as much as years past.  However, this great balance gives the Braves multiple ways to make up for the lost pitching.

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  • Carlos Collazo

    Lately the Braves have had really good teams, we just get overlooked because we never have the “superstars” on the team. Hopefully Jason Heyward will start to change that.