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The by-now-familiar boilerplate: the inspiration here is Bill James' The Bill James Guide to Managers, which contains several of these "teams" for various historical managers. The idea is to find the peak player at each position and put together a “best-of” team. Previously I’ve compiled teams for Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa.

This was the most surprising of the three managerial all-star teams we’ve done so far, because there wasn’t the same range of great players and seasons to choose from as there was for Cox and LaRussa; I’m pretty sure either of their teams would lick Piniella’s in any seven-game series. There is a reason that both of those managers are going to go to the Hall of Fame and Piniella might not; they’ve had the horses, or created them (if you chose to give them that much credit) while Piniella worked with some lesser rosters. Here is Sweet Lou’s team, featuring fewer Yankees than I expected:

    YR AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG TAv
C Geovany Soto 2008 494 66 141 35 2 23 86 62 121 0 .285 .364 .504 .290
1B Don Mattingly 1986 677 117 238 53 2 31 113 53 35 0 .352 .394 .573 .328
2B Bret Boone 2001 623 118 206 37 3 37 141 40 110 5 .331 .372 .578 .315
3B Chris Sabo 1991 582 91 175 35 3 26 88 44 79 19 .301 .354 .505 .308
SS Alex Rodriguez 1996 601 141 215 43 1 36 123 59 104 15 .358 .414 .631 .329
LF Bip Roberts 1992 532 92 172 34 6 4 45 62 54 44 .323 .393 .432 .312
CF Ken Griffey, Jr. 1997 608 125 185 34 3 56 147 76 121 15 .304 .382 .646 .325
RF Ichiro Suzuki 2001 692 127 242 34 8 8 69 30 53 56 .350 .381 .457 .294
DH Edgar Martinez 1995 511 121 182 52 0 29 113 116 87 4 .356 .479 .628 .355

 

    YR WL SV IP H BB SO ERA SNLVAR/WXRL
SP Randy Johnson 1995 18-2 0 214.3 159 65 294 2.48 8.6
SP Jamie Moyer 2002 13-8 0 230.2 198 50 147 3.32 7.5
SP Freddy Garcia 2001 18-6 0 238.2 199 69 163 3.05 7.3
SP Ryan Dempster 2008 17-6 0 206.2 174 76 187 2.96 6.8
SP Jose Rijo 1990 14-8 0 197.0 151 78 152 2.7 6.3
RP Randy Myers 1990 4-6 31 86.2 59 38 98 2.08 5.4

Notes, you gotta have notes:

  • It’s nice to see some pre-strike seasons make one of these lists.
  • I admit I had forgotten that Chris Sabo had had three five-win seasons or had ever had a TAv as high as .308.
  • It seems wrong that A-Rod pushes Barry Larkin off of Piniella’s list, but Rodriguez was just a whole other level of hitter. It’s possible I should have picked Rodriguez’s 2000 over his 1996, but as far as offense goes it seems like splitting hairs. VORP says he was the better hitter in 1996, and that was my measure of choice for this particular exercise.
  • With a good second half, Geovany Soto will replace himself on this list. Lou is helping him by batting him seventh and eighth, a position which seems to be netting him some extra walks. Piniella’s best catcher not named Soto is… no one.  Dan Wilson 1996 (.285/.330/.444, .254 TAv) or 1986 platoon catcher Ron Hassey would have to make the list.
  • Yes, really, Bip Roberts. But for Junior Griffey, Sweet Lou’s outfielders have been an uninspiring lot. Because I chose not to let the players on teams with more than one manager “belong” to anyone, Piniella doesn’t get to claim Rickey Henderson’s or Dave Winfield’s 1988, both of which would otherwise be on this list (displacing Bip and Ichiro). Dan Pasqua '86 was a slightly better hitter than Bip, but he was a defensively challenged platoon player. Bip was an everyday sub in 1992, playing several positions, but spent most of his time (69 games) in left. If we chose to bump (bip?) him for a pure outfielder and kept away from the aforementioned Yankees he shared with Billy Martin due to George Steinbrenner’s whim, Carl Crawford ’05 would claim the position.  
  • Going strictly by offense, the right fielder should really be Aubrey Huff 2003. Huff played 102 games in right that year and spent the other third of the season at DH and first base. His TAv was .301. I chose to heed WARP this time and go for the full-service outfielder who is a better player overall in most years.
  • I thought Dave Righetti’s then-record 46 saves and 106.2 innings of 1986 would earn him a place on this list, but his 4.5 WXRL falls short of Myers’ 1990.

The Chat Note

I've been forced to reschedule tomorrow's (Tuesday's) chat due to an accident in which I fell and slammed my back and ankle in a way that makes simple things like breathing, walking, turning over in bed, and passing the mustard across the table seem much like being racked. The only time the local orthopedist could fit me in fell right in the middle of the chatting hour. The good news is that unless said doctor orders me to have my spine surgically replaced with a curtain rod, I'll be here to take your questions on Friday instead. I appreciate your patience with your dead-eyed, de-thyroided, and now lame correspondent.

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rawagman
7/19
to a quick recovery!
hotstatrat
7/20
Here! Here!
fgreenagel2
7/20
Hopefully you'll heal like Bullseye did and return to your assassin-like writing...
doctawojo
7/20
I completely forgot that Sweet Lou managed the (Devil) Rays. The lack of Tampans on this team probably illustrates why.
mattymatty2000
7/20
Feel better, Steven!
SaberTJ
7/20
Get well soon.
SaberTJ
7/20
Can we do a Mike Hargrove All - Stars?
PBSteve
7/20
Seriously?
PBSteve
7/20
Thanks to everyone for the good wishes. I don't think I'm going to end up in traction or anything--it's just one of those things that seem to happen to me. Some people's bodies quit on them at 40, some at 50, some don't ever quit. My warranty seems to have expired at 30. Still, I'm happy to be here and I expect to be in fighting trim for Friday's chat. "You are old, father William," the young man said, "And your hair has become very white; And yet you incessantly stand on your head Do you think, at your age, it is right? "In my youth," father William replied to his son, "I feared it might injure the brain; But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none, Why, I do it again and again."
cubfan131
7/20
Just out of curiosity I went and did a quick Dusty Baker All-Stars. If only he had better options at C and CF this team could probably any of the manager all star teams a run for their money. Tav C 2006 Michael Barrett .292 1B 2005 Derrek Lee .343 2B 2000 Jeff Kent .336 SS 2001 Rich Aurillia .317 3B 2004 Aramis Ramirez .305 LF 2002 Barry Bonds .451 CF 2003 Corey Patterson .281 RF 2000 Ellis Burks .340 DH 2009 Joey Votto .335 SNLVAR/WXRL SP 1993 Bill Swift 7.7 SP 2003 Mark Prior 7.6 SP 2003 Kerry Wood 7.4 SP 2001 Russ Ortiz 7.1 SP 2004 Carlos Zambrano 6.9 CL 1993 Rod Beck 7.4
mattymatty2000
7/20
Presenting, The Lloyd McClendon All Stars! ... Thank you very much!