In a hypothetical scenario, let’s pretend that MLB expanded upon the traditional 25-man roster and allowed for 30 positional players to be on the active roster. If you were in charge of baseball operations and could create a dream lineup consisting of one player from each organization, who would you choose?
1B/OF Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
Trey Mancini is one of the few bright spots in the Orioles organization. In the last three seasons, Mancini has demolished 83 home runs and has driven in 233 RBI in 1901 plate appearances. Mancini has slashed at .275/.333/.479/.812 with a .343 wOBA, 113 wRC+ and a 4.9 fWAR, while achieving 179 extra-base hits.
Although Mancini possesses a productive bat, his defensive numbers are atrocious at best. In 3368.2 innings played in the outfield and at first base, Mancini has cost his team 20 runs and has accumulated a dreadful -19.1 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, Mancini was in the bottom 94% for outs above average. Still, possessing a reliable bat is essential in today’s game of baseball, so there is that.
SS Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
As a Yankee fan, it pains me to admit that Xander Bogaerts is a thrilling hitter to watch. In the last five seasons, Bogaerts has demolished 94 home runs and has driven in 452 RBI in 3286 plate appearances. Bogaerts has slashed at .296/.359/.469/.828 with a 354 wOBA, 118 wRC+ and a 24.4 fWAR, while achieving 305 extra-base hits .
Just like Mancini, Bogaerts has noticeable issues defensively. In 7533.1 innings played at shortstop, Bogaerts has cost his team 58 runs and has accumulated a -0.1 ultimate zone rating. His UZR is in significantly better shape than Mancini, but the amount of runs he has cost his team is appalling to word it pleasantly. In 2019, Bogaerts was in the bottom 85% for outs above average.
OF Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Aaron Judge has been a guardian angel for the New York Yankees and has been one of the most significant figures in baseball since his rookie season in 2017. In the last three seasons, Judge has demolished 106 home runs and has driven in 236 RBI in 1623 plate appearances. Judge has slashed at .278/.398/.565/.963 with a .401 wOBA, 155 wRC+ and a 18.0 fWAR, while achieving 174 extra-base hits.
Judge is also a spectacular defender. In 3027.2 innings played in the outfield, Judge has saved 45 runs and has accumulated a 27.8 ultimate zone rating. Among outfielders with 500 or more innings played, Judge ranks fifth in defensive runs saved and third in UZR. In 2019, Judge was in the top 6% for outs above average.
As magnificent of a player Judge is, he still has negative qualities. Since 2018, he has endured a chip fracture in his right wrist, shoulder pain and has experienced issues with his abdominal oblique. Regardless of the talent that Judge possesses, if he can’t remain healthy and stay on the field, his talent won’t amount to much.
OF Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays
Even when Austin Meadows was playing rookie ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system, he had an aptitude for consistent hitting and has been a sleeper since. Last season, Meadows demolished 33 home runs and drove in 89 RBI in 591 plate appearances. Meadows has slashed at .291/.364/.558/.922 with a .380 wOBA, 142 wRC+ and a 4.0 fWAR, while achieving 69 extra-base hits.
Meadows’ weakness is his inability to play the field effectively. In 1132.1 innings played, Meadows has cost his team 14 runs and has accumulated a -8.2 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, Meadows was in the bottom 80% for outs above average. Luckily for Meadows, he’s only 24 years old and has plenty of opportunities to repair his defense.
SS Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
Bo Bichette has established a substantial reputation in a limited frame of time. It only took Bichette to maneuver his way from rookie ball to the majors in four years, which is more difficult than people realize.
In his major league debut last season, Bichette demolished 11 home runs and drove in 21 RBI in 212 plate appearances. Bichette slashed at .311/.358/.571/.930 with a .384 wOBA, 142 wRC+ and a 1.7 fWAR, while achieving 29 extra-base hits.
Sure, it’s a relatively small sample size, but Bichette’s 12 extra base hits on Aug. 8, 2019, was a MLB record for a player in their first 11 games. Bichette is also a solid defender. In 361.2 innings played, Bichette saved four runs, but accumulated a -1.2 ultimate zone rating. Just like Meadows, Bichette is young and has more than ample opportunities to improve upon his defense.
2B/3B Yoán Moncada, Chicago White Sox
I could've easily chosen Yasmani Grandal, but decided to choose Yoán Moncada since he has been associated with the Chicago White Sox organization since 2017. Moncada didn’t explode onto the major league scene until last season, but has immense potential.
In that time frame, Moncada demolished 25 home runs and drove in 79 RBI in 559 plate appearances. Moncada slashed at .315/.367/.548/.915 with a .379 wOBA, 141 wRC+ and a 5.7 fWAR, while achieving 64 extra-base hits.
Like many players on this list, Moncada has a hot bat, but questionable defense. In 2891.4 innings played at both second base and third base, Moncada has cost his team 12 runs and has accumulated a 0.6 ultimate zone rating. However, last season Moncada was in the top 13% for outs above average.
SS Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians
Francisco Lindor has been the principal staple of the Cleveland Indians organization since 2015.
In the last five seasons, Lindor has demolished 130 home runs and has driven in 384 RBI in 3244 plate appearances. Lindor has slashed at .288/.347/.493/.840 with a .354 wOBA, 119 wRC+ and a 27.2 fWAR, while achieving 323 extra-base hits.
Lindor is also a superb defender. In 6189.2 innings played, Lindor has saved 44 runs and has accumulated a 48.3 ultimate zone rating. Among qualified shortstops since 2015, Lindor ranks fourth in defensive runs saved and second in UZR. Last season, Lindor was in the top 3% for outs above average.
1B/3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
How could I forget about “Miggy” and the dominance he has displayed for a majority of his career. Miguel Cabrera is only one of 15 baseball players to ever be awarded the triple crown, which requires a player to lead the league in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
Since 2003, Cabrera has demolished 477 home runs and has driven in 1694 RBI in 10236 plate appearances. Cabrera has slashed at .315/.392/.543/.935 with a .395 wOBA, 146 wRC+ and a 70.6 fWAR, while achieving an absurd 1071 extra-base hits.
Although Cabrera has produced a Hall of Fame career through his offensive contributions, he’s an atrocious defender and that’s being polite. In 15732.3 innings played at first base and third base, Cabrera has cost his team 85 runs and has accumulated a -21.9 ultimate zone rating.
Age has also not been kind to Cabrera. In the last three seasons, his numbers have plummeted significantly, showing signs that he might call it quits in the next few years.
DH/OF Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals
Alike Moncado, Jorge Soler has tremendous potential, but didn’t fully breakout until last season. In that time frame, Soler demolished 48 home runs and drove in 117 RBI in 679 plate appearances. Soler slashed at .265/.354/.569/.922 with a .378 wOBA, 136 wRC+ and a 3.6 fWAR, while achieving 82 extra-base hits.
At this point, I sound like a broken record, but Soler is also a dreadful defender. In 2493.1 innings played in the outfield, Soler has cost his team 33 runs, accumulated a -11.5 ultimate zone rating and was in the bottom 4% for outfielder jump. Sounds like a recurring theme of poor defense heavily influences this article.
OF Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins
Max Kepler is another heavily slept on candidate. Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz would all be acceptable choices, but Kepler broke out last season and I imagine will only improve upon his game.
Last season, Kepler demolished 36 home runs and drove in 90 RBI in 596 plate appearances. Kepler slashed at .252/.336/.519/.855 with a .355 wOBA, 121 wRC+ and accumulated a 4.4 fWAR, while achieving 68 extra-base hits. Kepler walked above league average and struck out below league average.
Kepler was also a solid defender last season. In 1111.0 innings played in the outfield, Kepler saved eight runs, accumulated a 12.7 ultimate zone rating and was in the top 8% for outs above average.
3B Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of an exasperated mob exploring any reason to prove me wrong. I’m well aware Alex Bregman was guilty of abusing a loophole in the system and had prior knowledge of each pitch thrown, but that doesn’t mean his numbers will drop like flies.
According to Fangraphs, ZiPS is projecting that Bregman will regress slightly. Bregman is expected to demolish 34 home runs, drive in 110 RBI and slash at .287/.399/.550/.949 with a .395 wOBA, 152 wRC+ and a 7.1 fWAR.
The last four seasons back up these predictions. In that time frame, Bregman demolished 99 home runs and drove in 320 RBI in 2238 plate appearances. Bregman has slashed at .286/.384/.527/.911 with a .384 wOBA, 146 wRC+ and 20.5 fWAR, while achieving 250 extra-base hits.
Although there are no predictions for how well Bregman will perform defensively, his numbers at third base convey him as a questionable defender. In 3419.2 innings played at the hot corner, Bregman has saved 13 runs, but has accumulated a -7.8 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, Bregman was in the top 20% for outs above average.
OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Is a dream team list complete without one of the best baseball players to ever exist? Mike Trout has enjoyed success throughout his entire career and is anticipated to pass all-time greats Frank Thomas, Ozzie Smith and Pete Rose in fWAR this season.
In the last nine seasons, Trout has demolished 285 home runs and has driven 752 RBI in 5273 plate appearances. Trout has slashed at .305/.419/.581/1.000 with a .419 wOBA, 172 wRC+ and a 73.4 fWAR, while achieving 582 extra-base hits.
In 9839.1 innings played in the outfield, Trout has saved 10 runs and has accumulated a 16.1 ultimate zone rating. In 2019, Trout was in the bottom 80% for outs above average and in the bottom 77% for outfielder jump. Even if Trout dropped off the face of the earth defensively, he would still be the most productive and reliable player in baseball.
3B Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
As discussed in previous articles I have written, Matt Chapman is criminally underrated and deserves to shine bright in the spotlight.
In the last three seasons, Chapman has demolished 74 home runs and has driven in 199 RBI in 1612 plate appearances. Chapman has slashed at .257/.341/.500/841 with a .355 wOBA, 127 wRC+ and a 15.5 fWAR, while achieving 186 extra-base hits.
Defensively, Chapman is a sorcerer and executes the most difficult plays with ease. In 3336.2 innings played at third base, Chapman has saved 79 runs, accumulated a 35 ultimate zone rating and remains the most consistent defender in the last three seasons. If it wasn’t apparent on how absurd Chapman is, he was also in the top 1% for outs above average in 2019.
C Tom Murphy, Seattle Mariners
This might come as quite the shocker, but there is a valid reasoning for this decision. Among hitters on the Seattle Mariners last season with at least 200 plate appearances, Tom Murphy led the team in fWAR. Even hitters like Daniel Vogelbach, Kyle Seager and Omar Narvaez, which all received beyond 400 plate appearances, didn’t pass Murphy in fWAR.
Last season, Murphy demolished 18 home runs and drove in 40 RBI in 281 plate appearances. Murphy slashed at .273/.324/.535/.858 with a .355 wOBA, 126 wRC+ and a 3.2 fWAR, while achieving 31 extra-base hits.
In terms of catching, Murphy was in the top 27% for framing pitches, but was in the bottom 30% for pop time. Murphy saved seven runs, accumulated 3.5 framing runs, 4.7 fielding runs above average and allowed three passed balls in 576.0 innings played.
OF Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
Last, but certainly not least, the human acknowledged for blasting baseballs out of the earth's atmosphere and for possessing outrageous barrel percentages. From 2017-18, Joey Gallo was in the top 1% for barrel percentage, averaging 22.3% on 122 barrels and averaging an exit velocity of 93.5 mph.
In the last three seasons, Gallo has demolished 103 home runs and has driven in 221 RBI in 1406 plate appearances. Gallo has slashed at .222/.344/.544/.888 with a .369 wOBA, 123 wRC+ and a 8.7 fWAR, while achieving 165 extra-base hits.
Gallo also owns a cannon of an arm and plays solid defense. Last season, Gallo saved five runs, saved three outfield arm runs, accumulated a 5.2 ultimate zone rating and a .954 revised zone rating.
Numerous players from the American League also fit the criteria concerning a dream squad, but these were my selections based on advanced analytics. Who would be in your dream squad?