All League Minimum Team, now with 2010 Values and Full Rotation!

Purely out of interest i decided to compile a team of the best players who earned the league minimum ($400,000) in 2009. Obviously using the players who earned just $400,000 and not a penny more would be a) boring and b) pretty much impossible unless you can consider an army of second-rate relievers a team. Also, i wondered if it was possible for a GM to create such a team using savvy (read: Lucky) Draft picks and clever FA pick-ups, well we'll see...

Pos Player Draft Team Salary WAR
C Pablo Sandoval Amateur Free Agent Giants  $  401,750.00 4.8
1B Joey Votto 2002 44th Reds  $  437,500.00 4.5
2B Ben Zobrist* 2004 184th Rays  $  415,900.00 7.1
3B Evan Longoria* 2006 3rd Rays  $  500,000.00 6.6
SS Elvis Andrus# Amateur Free Agent Rangers  $  400,000.00 2.4
OF Justin Upton* 2005 1st Dbacks  $  412,000.00 5.2
OF Adam Jones* 2003 37th Orioles  $  435,000.00 2.5
OF Matt Kemp 2003 181st Dodgers  $  467,000.00 5.8
Bench Adam Lind 2004 83rd Blue Jays  $  411,800.00 3.3
Bench Jacoby Ellsbury 2005 23rd Red Sox  $  449,500.00 2.1
Bench Mark Reynolds 2004 476th Dbacks  $  422,500.00 2.2
Bench Hunter Pence* 2004 64th Astros  $  439,000.00 1.7
Hon. Bench Skip Schumaker 2001 164th Cardinals  $  430,000.00 1.5
SP Jair Jurrjens Amateur Free Agent Atlanta  $  450,000.00 5.3
SP Yovani Gallardo 2004 46th Brewers  $  414,000.00 2.4
SP Clayton Kershaw 2006 7th Dodgers  $  404,000.00 4.2
SP Brett Anderson 2006 55th Athletics  $  400,000.00 3.8
SP Matt Garza 2005 25th Rays  $  433,300.00 3.4
RP Andrew Bailey#* 2006 188th Athletics  $  400,000.00 3.9
RP Brad Ziegler 2003 595th Athletics  $  405,000.00 1.3
Total Payroll  $      8,528,250.00
Total WAR 74 WAR Values from Baseball Reference and FanGraphs
*All Star


Obviously the WAR values for the bench guys would be much lower had they played the season on the bench rather than on the field, so take the total WAR value with a bucket of salt.

And this is the list of players i decided were eligible, this is not a complete list of all players who earned around the league minimum last year, just the ones i thought were best and worth considering. Think of it as a list of honourable mentions.

James Loney 1B
Joey Votto 1B
Ben Zobrist 2B
Howie Kendrick 2B
Chris Coghlan 2B/OF
Skip Schumaker 2B/OF
Ryan Theriot 2B/SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Mark Reynolds 3B/1B
Jeff Mathis  C
Kurt Suzuki C
Pablo Sandoval C/3B/1B
Matt Kemp CF
Adam Jones OF
Franklin Guttierez OF
Hunter Pence OF
Jacoby Ellsbury OF
Justin Upton OF
Micheal Bourn OF
Nelson Cruz OF
Nyjer Morgan OF
Shin-Soo Choo OF
Adam Lind OF/DH
David Aardsma RP
JA Happ SP
Jair Jurrjens SP
Jared Weaver SP
Joe Saunders SP
Yovani Gallardo SP
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Brendan Ryan SS
Elvis Andrus SS
Yunel Escobar SS
Erick Aybar


A few notes: 1B seems to be the shallowest position, neither player is particularly great either, Votto only played 130ish games but still put up very good numbers, whereas Loney played nearly every game but his numbers weren't brilliant.

 I picked Reynolds over Longoria for two reasons, although Longo made the All Star team and Reynolds didn't i think the DBacks man had the better year and because i personally like Reynolds as a player and think he's very undervalued. People can't seem to see past his trend of breaking his own strikeout records for some reason. Annoyingly, the more stats i look at the more Longoria is the better player... *EDIT*:Sometimes you have to admit you're wrong. I don't think i can justify keeping Reynolds in there over Longoria, almost every conventional and sabrmetrical says Longo is the better player.

 Surprisingly only 4 of these guys were taken in the 1st round of the draft (Ellsbury, Upton, Longoria and Garza). And with the exception of the Ellsbury-Upton-Garza clash in the 1st Round of the 2005 Draft (even though the Boston's 23rd pick (Ellsbury) that year was compensatory) all of these guys could have ended up on the same team. Its extremely unlikely, but it could've happened.

 Skip Schumaker is given an honoury bench spot for being my favourite player ever. More on that later.

 So there you go, For around $8.5mil (Which is incidently, roughly what the Cards will pay Kyle Lohse next year... ouch) you could have 6 All Stars and a Rookie of the Year, i know that sounds like a Marlins fan's wet dream, but its true. I will gladly read any and all suggestions/disagreements/hate mail.

 On why i didn't include the NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan; when the Marlin-er first won the award i was a huge fan and supported the decision, however with time my feeling has cooled somewhat for a couple of reasons. First, the number of games 128 is good but not great and second his defence, we all know he is a second baseman and was pushed into the OF, however the incumbent Marlins 2B-man is Dan "The Butcher" Uggla, if Coghlan can't beat the "Chris Duncan of the Infield" to the position then he's probably not too good.

 And finally, if this is recieved well i spin the long yarn about how a British guy became a baseball fan, let alone a Cardinals fan. If that wasn't tantilising enough it will be titled 'How i was almost a Phillies Fan'.

 Thanks to Fourstick for the reliever ideas.

And as requested, here are the WAR values for these guys in 2010. Unfortunatley i can't find decent values for the pitchers.Most of these guys will still be earning around the minimum next year, those going to Arb can obviously expect raises, Longo is guaranteed $950,000.


Pos Player WAR
C Pablo Sandoval 3.3
1B Joey Votto 3.6
2B Ben Zobrist 3.8
3B Evan Longoria 5.1
SS Elvis Andrus 1.5
OF Justin Upton 3.8
OF Adam Jones 3.4
OF Matt Kemp 4
Bench Adam Lind 2.1
Bench Jacoby Ellsbury 3.9
Bench Mark Reynolds 3.3
Bench Hunter Pence 2.7
Hon. Bench Skip Schumaker 1.6
SP Jair Jurrjens N/A
SP Yovani Gallardo N/A
SP Clayton Kershaw N/A
SP Brett Anderson N/A
SP Matt Garza N/A
RP Andrew Bailey N/A
RP Brad Ziegler N/A
WAR values from CHONE Projections

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