I recently went on a long road trip to go see family, it seems whenever i go on these long trips i always bring my ESPN Basesball Reference and refresh my self on baseball history. While going over some stats i came up with a series of posts that i would like to start. I want to go team by team and put together what i think would be the best team from the modern era for each one. So to start it off i will warm myself with any easy one for me by begining with the Cubs. This team will consist of a 5 man rotation a closer and the full lineup. Here we go.....
1. Ryne Sandberg-2B-This was by far the easiest pick, Sandberg may be the best 2nd baseman of all time and definatly the best in Cubs history (Sorry Glen Beckert). His career .285/.344/.452 slash line may not look like a typical leadoff hitters but his basestealing abilities and the fact that there are better RBI guys in this lineup makes him the best fit for this spot. His 9 consecutive gold gloves and career FLD rating over 60 (Stat from Fangraphs.com) solidifies the Cubs infield defense.
2. Mark Grace-1B- While Mark may not be the sexiest pick on this team he may be one of the more consistent bats. A Cubs career slash line of .307/.386/.445 fits well into the 2 hole. He may not have had blazing speed but he got on base and played good defense at first with 4 gold gloves and a career FLD rating over 70 solidifies first.
3. Billy Williams-LF- He may be the pest pure hitter on this team, with a Cubs slash line of .296/.364/.503 he is the definition of a 3 hole hitter. There have been no other Cubs Left fielders that can compare to Billy in terms of of longetivity and production. His defense may be somewhat lacking with a career -41 FLD rating but his good outways his bad.
4. Sammy Sosa-RF- This was definatly the toughest pick, i wanted to put the Hawk here so bad but Sammy defined the Cubs in the 90's and early 2000's. Even with the steroids and character issues at the end of his career, he was still one of the best hitters to play the game. His Cubs career slash line of .284/.358/.569 proves that he is the perfect middle of the order bat. For most of Sammy's career he carried his teams and had little help, i can only imagine what Sammy in his prime could do on a team like this. His career 91 FLD rating also proves he gives us solid defense as well.
5. Ron Santo-3B- This was one of the easier choices although Aramis Ramirez gave him a run for his money. Santo would have to be my favorite player on this team because i love his personality but he is also one of the best pre-steroid era third basemen. His Cubs career slash line of .279/.366/.472 is solid especialy considering the stellar defense he provides with 5 gold gloves and a career 22 FLD rating.
6. Ernie Banks-SS- I couldnt leave off the best SS of all time, although he did play significant time at first his prime years were at short. His .274/.330/.500 slash line is great although on this team it only gets him in the 6 hole but there will still be plenty of oportunities for RBI's hitting behind Ronny. He adds to an already stellar infield defense with a gold glove and a career 54 FLD rating. Mr. Cub would finally get to the playoffs on this team.
7. Rick Monday-CF- When i started looking at the list of modern day Cubs CF i really couldnt find any that i like to go with this team. But then i saw Monday's name which whenever i see it i think of his heroic efforts to prevent a flag being burned rather than his baseball career. But i chose Monday mainly for his offense which was at his best when he was a Cubs hitting at a .270/.366/.460 clip. According to Fangraphs.com his defense was abismal though with a career -110 FLD rating which gives us a somewhat weak outfield defense.
8. Jody Davis-C- Catcher is a tough position to get quality players at, and there were only 3 names that i even considered to start at catcher. Because i Knew that i couldnt put Gaby Hartnett because i wanted modern players. So it came down to Randy Hundley, Jody Davis, and Geovany Soto. Soto went out because i dont think he has had a long enough career to out him on this list. So i compared Jody and Randy and Jody Davis's numbers are just flat out better than Randy's. With a .251/.313/.416 slash line he may be the worst hitter on this team but he gives us excellent defense behind the plate with a career 39 FLD rating and for a catcher thats not a bad stat line anyway. I think Geovany Soto may eventualy be the man to put here but he needs to play at a high level for another 4 years before I'll consider him.
Ill post the rotation tommorow