« Where Are They Now? | Main | CJ »

September 30, 2011

"Old Times Were Good Times"

In January 2010, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan solicited votes for Texas's All-Decade team (2000-2009) from media, club officials and former players. I was flattered to be among the voters. The rules were to pick one player at each position, five starting pitchers, a closer and a setup man. I partially wrote a blog entry on my selections to be published in conjunction with the announcement, but I didn't follow through when T.R. announced the winners. Given Texas's great fortune during the past two seasons, I thought a review of the 2000-2009 All-Decade Team would be entertaining.

My team:

C -- Ivan Rodriguez
1B -- Mark Teixeira
2B -- Ian Kinsler
3B -- Michael Young
SS -- Alex Rodriguez
OF -- Kevin Mench
OF -- Marlon Byrd
OF -- Gary Matthews
DH -- Rafael Palmeiro

SP -- Kenny Rogers
SP -- Kevin Millwood
SP -- Vicente Padilla
SP -- Rick Helling
SP -- Scott Feldman
CL -- Francisco Cordero
SU -- Frank Francisco

My selections mirrored the collective panel save one: I picked Kevin Mench over Josh Hamilton in the outfield, which in retrospect seems ridiculous. In my defense, through 2009, Hamilton's output with Texas was limited to one MVP-quality season and one injury-plagued mess the following year. Mench trailed Hamilton in OPS by only 30 points and led all outfielders with 80 homers. I rewarded longevity.

Under the guidelines, the other panelists and I couldn't find room for Hank Blalock, who essentially was replacement level after the 2004 All-Star break. My reasoning was that A-Rod and Kinsler had to man the middle infield, but Young was too good leave off, even though he'd played only one season at third.

What makes the list memorable is the rotation. Rogers and Millwood were easy choices, as was Helling, even though Texas non-tendered him after 2001. After those three… I remember distastefully picking Padilla over Doug Davis, Feldman over Ryan Drese. Beyond them, we're dealing with Ismael Valdez, Kam Loe, and, God help us, Brandon McCarthy (who seems like a great guy and subsequently righted his ship in Oakland). As I'd noted, simply finding 162 innings, irrespective of quality, from a homegrown pitcher daunted Texas for most of the decade.

Below are all of Texas's rotation performances (by rWAR, minimum 20 starts) from 2000-2011. Eight of the top 22 occurred in the last two seasons.

#
Player
WAR
GS
Year
IP
ERA
ERA+
1
C.J. Wilson
5.0
34
2011
223.1
2.94
152
2
Ryan Drese
4.7
33
2004
207.2
4.20
120
3
Kenny Rogers
4.7
33
2002
210.2
3.84
124
4
Kenny Rogers
4.5
34
2000
227.1
4.55
110
5
C.J. Wilson
4.4
33
2010
204.0
3.35
129
6
Kenny Rogers
4.4
30
2005
195.1
3.46
134
7
Matt Harrison
4.0
30
2011
185.2
3.39
131
8
Rick Helling
4.0
35
2000
217.0
4.48
112
9
Kenny Rogers
3.6
35
2004
211.2
4.76
106
10
Alexi Ogando
3.5
29
2011
169.0
3.51
127
11
Ismael Valdez
3.5
23
2002
146.2
3.93
122
12
Colby Lewis
3.4
32
2010
201.0
3.72
116
13
Kevin Millwood
3.4
31
2009
198.2
3.67
127
14
Doug Davis
3.4
30
2001
186.0
4.45
106
15
John Thomson
3.2
35
2003
217.0
4.85
104
16
Kevin Millwood
3.1
34
2006
215.0
4.52
102
17
Vicente Padilla
3.0
33
2006
200.0
4.50
103
18
Derek Holland
2.7
32
2011
198.0
3.95
113
19
Scott Feldman
2.7
31
2009
189.2
4.08
114
20
Chris Young
2.6
31
2005
164.2
4.26
109
21
Colby Lewis
2.2
32
2011
200.1
4.40
101
22
Tommy Hunter
2.2
22
2010
128.0
3.73
116
23
Rick Helling
1.8
34
2001
215.2
5.17
91
24
Vicente Padilla
1.0
29
2008
171.0
4.74
94
25
Kevin Millwood
0.7
29
2008
168.2
5.07
88
26
John Koronka
0.6
23
2006
125.0
5.69
81
27
Chan Ho Park
0.6
20
2005
109.2
5.66
82
28
Brandon McCarthy
0.5
22
2007
101.2
4.87
94
29
Darren Oliver
0.4
28
2001
154.0
6.02
78
30
Chan Ho Park
0.3
25
2002
145.2
5.75
83
31
Ismael Valdez
0.2
22
2003
115.0
6.10
83
32
Kenny Rogers
0.1
20
2001
120.2
6.19
76
33
Kevin Millwood
0.0
31
2007
172.2
5.16
89
34
Scott Feldman
(0.6)
25
2008
151.1
5.29
84
35
Colby Lewis
(0.6)
26
2003
127.0
7.30
69
36
Kameron Loe
(0.7)
23
2007
136.0
5.36
85
37
Vicente Padilla
(0.9)
23
2007
120.1
5.76
79
38
Darren Oliver
(1.0)
21
2000
108.0
7.42
68
39
Derek Holland
(1.3)
21
2009
138.1
6.12
76
40
Scott Feldman
(1.4)
22
2010
141.1
5.48
79

Here's the aggregation of those pitchers by years. One year sticks out, yes?

Year
20-Game Starters
Combined rWAR
2000 3 7.5
2001 4 5.7
2002 3 8.5
2003 3 2.8
2004 2 8.3
2005 3 7.6
2006 3 6.7
2007 4 -1.1
2008 3 1.1
2009 3 4.8
2010 4 8.6
2011 5 17.4

Neil Young, "Lookout Joe," from Tonight's the Night, 1973.

Posted by Lucas at September 30, 2011 01:00 AM