Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ultimate baseball league: Round Rock Express

The Express are the first of our amalgam teams, drawn from the second failed Washington franchise and the best of the rest from the Texas Rangers.

What is there to see? Frank Howard, the 1960s home run champions who was known as the Capitol Punisher and Hondo in his day, does not have to worry about carrying around his 6-foot-7, 275-lb. body around in the outfield. Real baseball rules were late in coming for Howard, whose last season was the first season the DH was used.

Four of Round Rock's six starting pitchers are named either Rick or Dick, and one of the Ricks was kind a of dick in his youth.

  1. LF Rusty Greer,* 1996 (4.8). A one-team player is rare, but Greer was a one-organization player. On-based .387 for his career; best known for making a diving catch to secure Kenny Rogers' 1994 perfect game.

  2. 2B Ian Kinsler (pictured), 2008 (5.3). Consider the middle-infield defence spoken for.

  3. DH Frank Howard, 1969 (6.3). The first representative from the franchise's Washington days, Hondo probably was a Hall of Famer dropped into the wrong era, just going by his 10-year peak. Despite that, he hit 382 home runs before his big body betrayed him just after the DH was created. In '69, under Ted Williams' tutelage, his offensive WAR was 8.1.

  4. 1B Mark Teixeira,# 2005 (6.0). Might have a little trouble cracking the all-time Yankees lineup.

  5. 3B Ken McMullen, 1969 (6.2). Prototype third baseman from the late 1960s; homered in his final plate appearance.
  6. SS Michael Young, 2006 (4.6). Has moved all over the fielding spectrum; has anyone else ever been a Gold Glove shortstop one season and then shifted to third base the next season?

  7. CF Gary Ward, 1984 (4.4). A nondescript contact hitter who isn't even the most notable Gary Ward in baseball (that would be a legendary college coach at Oklahoma State). Ward at his best hit a somewhat empty .300.

  8. RF Gary Matthews Jr.,# 2006 (3.4). The season that led to him being rewarded with one of the worst contracts of all time.

  9. C Jim Sundberg, 1978 (4.9). Generational defensive catcher in his prime; in this realm he'll have his work cut out for him with a mediocre pitching staff.
  • LHS Pete Richert, 1965 (4.9). Apparently he was a cult hero to Strat-o-matic players, since it was damn hard to reach base against him when he was on.
  • RHS Dick Bosman, 1970 (4.4). Supposedly Ted Williams had no time for pitchers, but he and Bosman got along famously. The latter is a minor league pitching coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays, the adopted favourite team of us nerdlingers.
  • RHS José Guzmán, 1991 (4.2). Was briefly known as The Wrong Juan when his namesake was an all-star pitcher for the Jays.
  • RHS Dick Donovan, 1961 (4.0). Won the American League ERA title in '61 while pitching for an 100-loss expansion team. How did he do that? A A ridiculous BABIP and park factor helped.

  • RHS Rick Helling, 2000 (4.0). Was a 20-game winner when people still thought that had currency; Chuck Klosterman also put a hex on him.
  • LHS Rick Honeycutt, 1983 (3.8). Came to prominence as a lefty setup man for the Oakland A's turn-of-the-'90s mini-dynasty, but the finesse left-hander was an absentee ERA champion.
  • 2B Bump Wills,# 1977 (4.9). Had one of the most infamous error cards, since one of Topps executives was apparently tight with the 1979 baseball equivalent of Eklund.

  • UT Aurelio Rodríguez, 1970 (4.6). Gold Glove third baseman who would offer some late-inning defence; also ensures one of the Rangers team of having an A-Rod who's not such a douche.

  • SS Ed Brinkman, 1969 (4.3). The term good-field, no-hit shortstop was gone by the wayside. It had a lot of currency in the days of Brinkman, whose park-adjusted OPS+ was 65.

  • CF Don Lock, 1964 (3.7). OK, you try coming up with something witty about a player whose career ended 42 years ago. According to B-R, he was top-three in the AL twice in range factor

  • C Paul Casanova, 1966 (1.9). Father of former journeyman catcher Raul Casanova; catcher is apparently a weak spot for the Rangers once you get past Pudge and Sundberg.

  • LHR Darold Knowles, 1970 (2.9). One of two left-handers on this team whose greatest fame came as a supporting reliever on an Oakland team which won three consecutive pennants. Knowles
  • LHR Mike Paul, 1972 (2.9). There are no great swingman seasons anymore; in '72, Paul made 20 starts and relieved in 29 other games; his ERA (2.17) is still the team record.
  • RHR Steve Foucault, 1974 (2.7). Another member the Billy Martin Cut Short My Career Club. Foucault was a one-man bullpen for the '74 Rangers who made a run at the Reggie Jackson-Rollie Fingers Oakland A's, but was out of the game a few years later after hurling 144 innings in relief.
  • RHR Dale Mohorcic, 1987 (2.7). His Wiki says he played a California Angels pitcher in Naked Gun. Gotta call BS on that, since Mohorcic is right-handed and the Angels hurler was a lefty.

  • CL Neftali Feliz, 2010 (2.4). Room must be made for Feliz, the miscast closer of the Rangers' first pennant winner.
(* left-handed hitter; # switch-hitter)


Superfun Happy Slide said...

Where's Pete Incaviglia and Oddibe MacDowell?

Along with Ruben Serria, they were almost the second-best young outfield of the 80s.

Serria's quip about the mid 90's Yanks surely has to get him a couple of votes.

outofleftfield said...

Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Neither lived up to his early promise.