Blog Entry

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 12:19 am

By Matt Snyder

Well that was fun. An entire month of Homegrown teams has now been concluded. Now it's time to see how this thing would play out -- and let's avoid any "realistic" talk. Nothing about this is realistic. It's an exercise intended for fun and entertainment.

If you need to review the teams, go check out our landing page, where there's a link to the Homegrown unit from each of the 30 teams.

We'll run through this thing division by division, then the playoffs and then pick a Homegrown World Series champion. I encourage the comments section at the bottom of this post to be used for you readers to do this on your own as well, doing as much as every single divisional breakdown or as little as simply posting your World Series picks. Let's get interactive and discuss, as this is a truly subjective exercise. I also have no doubt some people will post comments telling us we're idiots for predicting the Mariners to win the AL West, for example, thinking this is predictions for the real 2012 season. When that happens, please direct them to this paragraph. Thanks in advance for your help.

[Note: I'll put our staff rankings in parentheses, but those are the average of rankings by three of us -- editor Michael Coulter and bloggers C. Trent Rosecrans and myself. The picks below are only mine, so there could be some differences.]

1. Blue Jays (5)
2. Rays (6)
3. Red Sox (7)
4. Yankees (16)
5. Orioles (30)

We do an exercise like this and we end up right back where reality is: With the AL East having three of the best 10 teams in baseball. Of course, the Yankees aren't included this time, so there is some variety here ... except for last place.

1. Royals (10)
2. Indians (11)
3. Tigers (17)
4. White Sox (24)
5. Twins (27)

The division lacks elite teams and I could see arguments for either the Royals or Indians. Maybe even the Tigers. I ultimately went with the Royals because I like their lineup and getting Zack Greinke back atop the rotation gives a boost.

1. Mariners (1)
2. Angels (15)
3. Rangers (23)
4. A's (26)

I feel like Seattle would have this thing clinched in early September. The other three aren't even close here.

1. Braves (2)
2. Phillies (8)
3. Nationals/Expos (9)
4. Mets (14)
5. Marlins (20)

Very strong division here, as I wrote that the Mets Homegrown unit would challenge for the NL wild card. It's just that three teams in this division (and two more in the West) happen to very clearly be better.

1. Cardinals (13)
2. Pirates (12)
3. Astros (21)
4. Reds (18)
5. Brewers (25)
6. Cubs (29)

Like the AL Central, this is a sub-par division. In the rankings where three of us voted, the Pirates edged out the Cardinals, but I still think the Cardinals' Homegrown team is a bit better and these are my picks. Definitely feel free to do something different in your own picks below -- and I know my boy Trent would. I do think 83-85 wins would take this thing, though, and the winner would be destroyed in the first round of the playoffs.

1. Diamondbacks (3)
2. Dodgers (4)
3. Rockies (19)
4. Giants (22)
5. Padres (28)

Two-horse race here, as both the D-Backs and Dodgers came out ranked in our top four overall. The other three teams in this division aren't even .500 ballclubs in this exercise.


AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays
NL Wild Card: Los Angeles Dodgers

Blue Jays over Royals in 3
Mariners over Rays in 5

D-Backs over Cardinals in 3
Braves over Dodgers in 5

Mariners over Blue Jays in 7

Braves over D-Backs in 6

Mariners over Braves in 7

Can we say it was a pitchers' duel for the ages in Game 7 with Adam Wainwright vs. Felix Hernandez? Sure, why not? This is just for fun anyway.

So those are my picks. Again, make your own below and we can compare.


I probably don't have to do this, but I felt like clarifying a few things. First of all, you know how sometimes people leave comments like "it must be a slow news day!" like it's some kind of huge insult? Yeah, it's actually true some of the time -- especially in the offseason. Aside from the whirlwind that is the Winter Meetings -- and this year's version was insane -- the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas in baseball can be a collective "slow news day." And we knew this. So we came up with the idea to run this series, as it would give us something of substance every single day for 31 days (including this recap).

Now, we didn't just do it to kill time. That would be a waste of readers' time. We wanted to do something that was a bit unique, interesting and also fun. Making fictional lineups is pretty fun for any die-hard baseball fan. Think about, is an "All-Star team of players over 30 years old" really worth anything but a fun discussion? No. It's entertainment for those of us who love talking baseball. That's what the Homegrown series was all about. If you aren't a die-hard fan or hate ever thinking about something unrealistic, it's not for you, and that's OK.

Most of the feedback we got was good. Some was really bad, but that's the way things go. No exercise is ever going to be universally accepted, especially when the Internet provides the cloak of anonymity and someone can just type "this is awful, you suck" and then move along to the next page. For everyone who weighed in, thanks for the feedback. We appreciate all comments, both good and bad -- but mostly, we were happy to see that so many did find it interesting and fun. That was the goal.

As for any "flaws" in this exercise, if one was trying to draw some broad, sweeping conclusion, there would be many flaws. The Yankees, for example, are generally always picking in the last few picks of the first round in the MLB Draft and also lose picks frequently as they sign top-shelf free agents. On the other hand, teams like the Rays, Pirates and Royals have enjoyed quite a few chances to pick toward the top of the draft and to also nab supplemental picks as free agents depart. Plus, there's a reason there are real-life trades: Because no team could possibly have enough foresight on how prospects turn out and put together a well-rounded roster from draft/international signings only.

Also, in an effort to avoid inconsistency, we only used the 40-man rosters and major-league free agents. If a player is retired or in the minors and not yet on a 40-man roster, we didn't use him. Several Giants fans, for example, really wanted prospect Gary Brown to be used as the center fielder, but he's not on the 40-man (yet). I understand that if this was a realistic scenario, the ballclub might more quickly promote a guy to fill a hole, but, again, this wasn't meant to be "realistic" in any stretch of the term. And on Brown specifically, he spent 2011 in High-A ball, so he's hardly big-league ready.

We knew all of these so-called "flaws" heading in. I cannot possibly stress enough that the object of this series was for entertainment and nothing more. There's no need to go thinking too hard about it or getting worked up about your favorite team being either over- or underrated. Who cares? This isn't reality. Take the series for what it's meant to be.

Most of all, we thank our readers for taking part in this fun little exercise and encourage each and every one of you to post your rankings or standings or simply pick a World Series champion below. The beauty of it is there's no wrong answer, as it is entirely subjective. Get the discussion going as you sit in the office with nothing to do on the last day before Christmas weekend.

We have had a few requests for possibly doing these again next year -- but instead placing the players on the team they debuted in the majors with. That's definitely something we'll look into. We take all feedback seriously here at Eye On Baseball.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: January 1, 2012 12:39 am

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

I am a Cubs fan and it is sad to see how even our homegrown team would be awful. In recent years with Hendry, us Cubs traded for free agents either far after their prime or after fluke years...or gave unproven and inconsistent players large, long contracts. It has just seemed like the team needs to spend money just because they have it...Hopefully Theo raises the franchise to where it should be...113 year drought. This year the Cubs will suck, but in 3 or 4 we could be wild-card or even division winners. I just hope fans don't get frustrated with Theo when the Cubs don't win for 2-3 years and hopefully he doens't get pressured into trying to do too much. Fun series during the offseason. I agree with whoever said next year it should be players traded before they became great, (Sandberg)

Since: Apr 13, 2008
Posted on: December 25, 2011 12:26 am

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

Poor Mariners!!! Great series thou...two thumbs up!!!

Since: Jan 12, 2010
Posted on: December 24, 2011 4:33 am

M's The best

Great series of articles, read them everyday from sunny old England, and loved my Mariners winning, which is slightly depressing as a realistic hope is to come 3rd in the AL West next season, What if.....

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: December 23, 2011 5:16 pm

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

i thought this was a cool series to read, especially in the depths of the offseason...maybe next offseason, do a series that features teams made up of the players they traded or released before they became great, and stretch it out over the history of the franchise...for instance, the starting 2B for the Phillies would be Ryne Sandberg...

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:00 pm

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

I'm sad to see the end of the series come. I have been refreshing every day waiting for the latest installment. I enjoyed it.

Since: Dec 21, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:00 pm

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

maybe, matt, but the royals have some guys who could surprise.  lets face it, the central doesnt light anyone on fire.

Since: Dec 23, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:40 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:38 am

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

I thought this was a terrific series of analysis' and it shows the fluid nature of baseball rosters (along with the ability/luck? of the scouting departments).  A lot of the time teams trade players well before they hit their stride for more established players so its easy to forget who was brought into the league by whom.  This exercise was great in reminding everyone who their favorite teams brought into the league and whether they were smart in retaining them, or had to trade them.  Its the nature of baseball and this exercise brought that to light.  Thanks!

Since: Dec 7, 2008
Posted on: December 23, 2011 8:40 am

I enjoyed reading 2 or 3 of the reports

I confess I didn't read every article. I only looked at the ones for the teams I follow and knew something about. It was very entertaining and thought provoking. To take it through a mock playoffs and world series championship, icing on the cake. Wonder if it will change anything about the way General Managers go about their business. Having a strong farm system and being loyal to the guys you bring up through it, seems to be the key at least in an "unrealistic world."

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 12:55 am

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?

This was fun and unique. Thanks for acknowledging your critics but most of them never read past line 3.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or