Now please understand that I am by no means a baseball expert. I couldn't tell you who's the better pitcher between two players, or if this guy has more power than that guy. I can't defend the position as to what's better, a power hitter with a low average, or a contact hitter with a high average. The teams I conjured up is all in fun, and was a private thing for me that I started when I was younger. And now that I've "sniff" grown up, I feel confident enough to say, "Yes, I played with baseball cards when I was a kid. And yes, I had fun." One day, I hope to pass that fun along to my children, regardless of what they collect. I think they have the imagination concept down, but I want to help them express their thoughts with other mediums (in their writing assignments for example).
To recap, here is my American League relief corps:
- Scot Shields, Angels
- Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
- Mariano Rivera, Yankees
- Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
- Joakim Soria, Royals
And the National Leauge bullpen:
- Carlos Marmol, Cubs
- Brad Lidge, Phillies
- Jose Valverde, Astros
- Brian Wilson, Giants
- Kerry Wood, Cubs
Starting with the American League six-man rotation, we have:
- Cliff Lee, Indians (22-3. 2.54 ERA, 170 K's)
- Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (20-11, 2.78 ERA, 206 K's, 9 CG's)
- Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox (18-3. 2.90 ERA, 154 K's)
- Gavin Floyd, White Sox (17-8, 3.84 ERA, 145 K's)
- Joe Saunders, Angels, (17-7, 3.41 ERA, 103 K's)
- A. J. Burnett, Blue Jays (18-10, 4.07 ERA, 231 K's)
Honorable mentions go out to (meaning, if I had more space, I'd would have added) Jon Lester (16-6, 3.21, 152 K's), Mike Mussina (20-9, 3.37, 150 K's), Ervin Santana (16-7, 3.49, 214 K's), James Shields (14-8, 3.56, 160 K's), and Mark Buehrle (15-12, 3.79, 140 K's).
In the National League, my All-Star six man rotation includes:
- Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks (22-7, 3.30 ERA, 183 K's)
- Tim Lincecum, Giants (18-5, 2.62 ERA, 265 K's)
- Ryan Dempster, Cubs (17-6, 2.96 ERA, 187 K's)
- Edinson Volquez, Reds (17-6, 3.21 ERA, 206 K's)
- Johan Santana, Mets (16-7, 2.53 ERA, 206 K's)
- Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (16-10, 3.14 ERA, 201 K's)
Honorable mentions go out to Ted Lilly (17-9, 184 K's, but 4.09 ERA stands out), Roy Oswalt, (17-10, 3.54, 165, was a toss up between him and Billingsley), Dan Haren (16-8, 3.33, 206 K's), Carlos Zambrano, (14-6, 3.91, 130), and C. C. Sabathia (11-2, 1.65, 128 K's).
Now I know what you're thinking, C. C. should have been on the team, and yeah, he has a strong case. Had he pitched a full year in Milwaukee with the dominance that he showed there, no doubt. But because he pitched in the American League for half the season, and he showed mere mortal numbers at that, he is not on the team. If he was traded to the Brewers earlier in the season, instead of being a mid-season acquisition, he would have made the team. Now if he stays in the NL (or even if he goes back to the American League) for a full year, and performs the same way he did in the second half this year, then he's on the squad. Period.
There were very many good pitchers to choose from in 2008. It's really hard to whittle down to the best six in each league. The Sabathia situation makes things very complicated. And you could definitely replace one person with another on either side and there would still be a debate as to who's a better pitcher.
So the pitching staff is done. Next, we'll get to the position players. The first step is to ensure that every team has a representative, regardless of what position he plays. At this point, seven AL teams and eight teams from the NL need to have a player. I have a few people in mind. Who will they be? Tune in some time tomorrow and find out.