Welcome. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be analyzing the cases of dozens of baseball players, trying to determine who would be the best starter at each position. 11 players will be selected, the nine usual positions plus a relief pitcher and a designated hitter, creating the Splash 11.
What is the Splash 11?
The Splash 11 is my attempt to put the 11 best players onto a team. For generations, baseball fans have argued between players. For the Yankees, who was better DiMaggio or Mantle? Red Sox fans, would you take Clemens or Martinez? I aim to answer the age-old questions by using stats. Baseball is the rare sport that stats can paint in a clear light. As opposed to football or basketball, stats can reliably used to determine the better player. In terms of stats I will be using, rate stats will be the driving force. Traditionalists may prefer counting stats, but counting stats can often be accumulated because a player plays for 20 seasons.
OPS+ and ERA+ will be integral stats to the process. While normal OPS and ERA can fluctuate with era, OPS+ and ERA+ are adjusted based on the league at the time. Above 100 means the player is above average. Below 100 means the player is above average.
For accolades, they will not be the deciding factor in the selection process. In some cases, awards were not around for players to win. While it is impressive that Barry Bonds and Rogers Clemens won seven MVPs and Cy Youngs respectively, neither award has been around since the beginning of baseball. In lieu of using MVPs and Cy Youngs (among other awards), the aforementioned era-adjusted stats along with the help of rWAR and fWAR will help.
The Splash 11 will be determined by a handful of factors. Statistically speaking, each player must be dominant. While pure hitting will help, base-running and fielding will help some potential inclusions.
There will be no “shoe-horning” of players into the list. Legitimacy at a position will be determined based on the primary position a player played. For example, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams are ineligible for the designated hitter role. Outfielders will be split into three positions because defensive responsibilities are different.
Preliminary cases will be made for six players at each position. In the future, other players will be added. In particular, it was difficult to choose just six starting pitchers, so the case will be made for more of them in the future.
As players are written about, links to the accompanying articles will be added.
Also, be sure to check out the Overtime Heroics Forums page to join me and many others in some good discussion.