Polo Grounds

Polo Grounds

Friday, April 22, 2016

The All-Dave team

(My goal during the 2016 season is to write one blog post per week and publish them every Friday. Many of them will be Hall of Fame evaluations, but I am happy to get feedback on anything you all want to read about, or specific players you would like me to evaluate. Thanks for reading!)

"Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
Had twenty-three sons and she named them all Dave?
Well, she did. And that wasn’t a smart thing to do."
- "Too Many Daves" (Dr. Seuss)

While a family of 23 young boys named Dave McCave would be quite the nightmare, a baseball team full of Daves actually wouldn't be too bad. Being a biblical name, Dave/Davids have been around for centuries, and there have been Daves at the MLB level basically forever. But what does a roster look like if you take the 25 best Daves of all-time? Let's take a look:

Catcher: Dave Nilsson (1992-1999) 10.5 WAR, 1999 All-Star.

First Base: Dave Kingman (1971-1986) 17.3 WAR, 3 time All-Star, 2 time HR Champion (1979, 1982)

Second Base: Davey Lopes (1972-1987) 42.2 WAR, 4 time All-Star, 1978 Gold Glove Award, SB leader (1975, 1976)

Shortstop: Dave Bancroft (1915-1930) 48.5 WAR, 2 top 10 MVP finishes, 2004 hits, 1971 Hall of Fame Inductee

Third Base: David Wright (2004-active) 49.9 WAR, 7 time All-Star, 4 top 10 MVP finishes, 2 gold gloves, 2 silver sluggers

Left Field: Dave Parker (1973-1991) 39.9 WAR, 7 time All-Star, 1978 MVP Award, 3 other top 5 MVP finishes, 3 Gold Gloves, 3 Silver Sluggers, 2 batting titles

Center Field: Dave Winfield (1973-1995) 63.8 WAR, 12 time All-Star, 3 top 5 MVP finishes, 7 Gold Gloves, 6 Silver slugger Awards, 3110 hits, 2001 Hall of Fame Inductee

Right Field: David Justice (1989-2002) 40.5 WAR, 3 time All-Star, 2 Silver Slugger Awards, 1990 Rookie of the Year

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (1997-active) 51.1 WAR, 9 time All-Star, 5 top 5 MVP finishes, 6 Silver Slugger Awards, 2006 HR champ

Batting order: (162 game averages)

1. Winfield - CF                    .283/.353/.475   25 hr 100 rbi   130 OPS+
2. Wright - 3B                       .298/.377/.492   25 hr 100 rbi   134 OPS+
3. Ortiz - DH                         .284/.378/.548   36 hr 116 rbi   140 OPS+
4. Justice - RF                      .279/.378/.500   31 hr 102 rbi   129 OPS+
5. Parker - LF                       .290/.339/.471   22 hr 96 rbi     121 OPS+
6. Nilsson - C                        .284/.356/.461   20 hr 91 rbi    110 OPS+
7. Kingman - 1B                   .236/.302/.478   37 hr 101 rbi   115 OPS+
8. Bancroft - SS                    .279/.355/.358   3 hr 50 rbi       98 OPS+  (12 SB)
9. Lopes - 2B                        .263/.349/.388   14 hr 55 rbi     107 OPS+ (50 SB)

Man oh man this team would mash. There are 100 different ways to set up this batting order, but no matter how you set it up, this team is going to get guys on base and score some runs. Winfield is a first ballot Hall of Famer, and even though he's not a traditional lead-off guy, I think he'd serve this team well there. He is followed by David Wright and David Ortiz, two active guys who have put together Hall of Fame credentials (although neither is likely to make it: Wright because he's been too injury prone, Ortiz because of steroids). Follow that up with David Justice and Dave Parker, two great hitting corner outfielders who both could make an argument for HOF induction (Parker in my opinion should be in - Justice is close). Dave Nilsson left the MLB in the prime of his career, but was able to put up some excellent numbers in his brief 8 years here in America, including an outstanding .356 OBP. Kingman was Adam Dunn before Adam Dunn, a guy who couldn't do anything but hit home runs, which he did in droves. Follow that up with our other Hall of Famer, Dave 'Beauty' Bancroft, an outstanding defensive SS who narrowly edged Dave Concepcion for the starting role, and Davey Lopes, a speed demon and good defensive 2B who rounds out the order quite nicely.


Dave Valle - C
Dave Concepcion - SS
Dave Henderson - CF
Davey Johnson - 2B/1B
Dave Magadan - 1B/3B
David DeJesus - OF

There were a lot of good options to make the bench on this squad. In fact, outside of Concepcion and Dave Henderson, every other spot was a toss up. Valle was a solid catcher for the M's and serves as valuable insurance behind the dish. Concepcion was a no-brainer, he narrowly missed starting and was an excellent defensive SS. Davey Johnson and Dave Magadan give this team plenty of depth in the infield, as well as good options to pinch hit off the bench. Likewise, both Henderson and DeJesus have experience in center field, which helps give them some defensive options. Neither were slouches with the bat either. Overall, not a bad group of guys to have represent you on the pine.

Narrowly missing the cut: David Bell, Dave Cash, David Murphy, and David Eckstein.


David Cone (1986-2003) 5 time All-Star, 1994 Cy Young Award, 2 time strikeout leader (1990, 1991) Two 20 win seasons (1988, 1998) 5 World Series Rings, 121 ERA+

Dave Stieb (1979-1998) 7 time All-Star, 4 top 10 Cy Young finishes, 1985 ERA leader, 122 ERA+

David Price (2008-active) 5 time All-Star, 2012 Cy Young, 2 time ERA leader (2012, 2015) 2014 Strikeout leader, 20 wins in 2012, 124 ERA+

Dave Stewart (1978-1995) 1989 All-Star, 4 top 5 Cy Young finishes, 4 consecutive 20 win seasons, 1989 WS MVP, 2 time ALCS MVP (1990, 1993) 100 ERA+

David Wells (1987-2007) 3 time All-Star, 2 top 3 Cy Young finishes, 239 Wins, 2 World Series rings, 108 ERA+

Another situation, similar to the batting order, where you could rearrange the rotation and still get the same results. I went R/R/L/R/L, but any of Stieb, Price, Stewart or Cone could be the ace. Currently this rotation has 0 Hall of Famers, but you could make a case that they should have 3, and Price is well on his way if he continues to pitch like he has. Stieb was one of the most dominant pitchers of the 1980's, racking up seven all-star appearances and twice leading the league in ERA+, with a blistering 171 in 1985. Stewart was a postseason machine, and four consecutive 20 win seasons shows he knew how to pitch in the regular season as well. Price has been a top 5 pitcher in the game for the last 7 seasons, and at age 30 still has a lot of years ahead of him. David Cone, in my opinion, should be in the Hall of Fame. He was a top 5 pitcher throughout the 90's, a strikeout machine, and won 5(!) World Series championships. He'd be in if I had any say. Wells was an extremely solid LHP in his prime. He threw forever, racking up 239 wins over 20 years in the bigs and is about as solid of a #5 starter as you can find.


Dave McNally (1962-1975)
Dave Dravecky (1982-1989)
David Robertson (2008-active)
Dave Smith (1980-1992)
Dave Righetti (1979-1995)

The bullpen was very hard to choose, there have been a lot of Dave/Davids who have pitched in the Major Leagues, so picking the best ones was somewhat of a toss up. I know it is kind of cheating, but McNally and Dravecky were too good to leave off this roster, so I selected them as relievers even though they were both starters for the majority of their careers. Either of these two could step into the rotation and it wouldn't miss a beat. Righetti is one of the best relievers in the games history, having made the "Eckersley" transition from frontline starter to lights out closer look very seamless. Dave Smith amassed over 200 saves and was one of the first to do so, and David Robertson has looked like an outstanding shut down reliever since his debut with the Yankees in 2008.

Future additions

Currently, the only Dave/David in the Minors who seems likely to make an impact at the MLB level is Colorado Rockies outfield prospect David Dahl. Dahl was the 10th overall pick in the 2012 MLB draft and was ranked as a top 100 prospect from 2013-2015 by Baseball America, MLB.com and baseballprospectus.com. A ruptured spleen has slowed his development through the minors, but Dahl has still managed to hit .306 and steal 60 bases over his 286 MiLB games (as of 4/18). The Rockies will give him some time to prove himself (he hasn't played above AA yet) but it wouldn't be surprising to see him get a chance at the MLB level sometime in 2017. He may never crack a starting spot in the all-Dave lineup over Parker, Justice or Winfield, but he certainly has the potential to produce at a solid level in the Major Leagues.

Final Thoughts

This team wouldn't beat the all Mike/Michael team, or the all John team, or even the all Will/Willie team, but it would hold its own against a lot of other "Name" teams. I certainly wouldn't want to face a line-up with David Wright, Dave Winfield and David Ortiz in the middle of it, nor would I want to face a pitching staff with Dave Stieb, David Price and David Cone 1-3.

As always, I welcome feedback of any kind. This was a fun team to make, and there is certainly a lot of debate about who would start, what the batting order looks like, and even a few players who just barely missed the cut. Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

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