Building A New Team Efficiently Part One: The Lineup

Building A New Team Efficiently Part One: The Lineup

Time to start a project I’ve been thinking about forever. After all the off-season is a good time to work on such things, as there is plenty of time to kill before things start up again. I waited until after the winter meetings to let a few moves get out of the way.

The project:

John Mozeliak calls you into his office. “Ahh, hello. I understand you’re applying for an internship with our club. Well, for every candidate, I have a project. You have to construct a 25 man roster of players, along with an explanation why you chose each player. Sounds easy enough, right? Not so fast. You are the GM of an expansion, small market team with a very limited budget. As such you only have 90 million dollars to spend this year. You can poach players from other teams, but given how much each team values its rookies and pre-arbitration players, you’re only allowed to take five of those from other teams. The rest of your players must at least be in their first year of arbitration or a veteran signed to a contract.

Every player you sign has to have already been signed so they have a set value for the 2015 season. However given that it’s still the off-season, choices you make can be replaced with other options once those players have signed, but you have to give me an explanation why you made the change.

Now, given that I’m a busy guy, I don’t want an e-mail every time you make a move. Rather send me four emails: One for each section of the team: The core lineup, the rotation, the bench, and the bullpen.

The roster I like best will be instrumental in determining which intern I hire.

I suggest you start with the core lineup and your rotation, as the bench and bullpen are generally easier to fill.

Another thing: If you’re hired we’ll monitor your team’s progress during the season a teaching point, using WAR and other stats and compare them to other teams.

I expect your first email within the week.

Good Luck!”

Note: Since arbitration isn’t done yet for all players, I’m using an algorithm developed by MLB Trade for now that is very accurate in projecting salaries. Once each player’s salary is issued, I’ll use the actual amount and adjust the total remaining amount accordingly.

Also, if a player has had his arbitration years bought out, he counts as a veteran, as he’s signed a contract.

The core starters:

Position Name Salary Status
First Base Carlos Santana 6,000,000 Veteran
Second Base Brian Dozier 540,000 Pre-Arb
Third Base Anthony Rendon 1,800,000 Pre-Arb
Shortstop Alcides Escobar 3,000,000 Veteran
Left Field Michael Brantley 5,750,000 Veteran
Center Field Leonys Martin 4,750,000 Veteran
Right Field Jason Heyward 7,800,000 Veteran
Catcher Yan Gomes 1,000,000 Veteran


Arranged in a lineup and using last years’ stats, it would look like this: I also included Defensive Runs Saved to give you an idea of the players overall value.

Bats Name OBP Slugging Percentage SB/CS DRS
Left Heyward .351 .384 20/4 32
Right Dozier .345 .416 21/7 0
Switch Santana .365 .427 5/2 -4
Left Brantley .385 .506 23/1 0
Right Rendon .351 .473 17/3 12
Right Gomes .313 .472 0/0 2
Left Martin .325 .364 31/12 15
Right Escobar .317 .377 31/7 -4


There’s a good offensive balance here, even there isn’t a mega slugger in the lineup. There’s speed, with six guys with 17 or more stolen rebases last year. There’s power, with five guys who hit over 20 home runs last year and three guys with a .470 slugging percentage or higher overall, and there’s good on base skills, with five players with a .345 OBP or higher.

As for defense, it grades out above average, with three plus defenders, two average defenders and two slightly below average. Overall this group had 53 runs saved in 2014.

Overall it’s a well-balanced group of eight, capable of winning the game multiple ways. All of this for around 31 million dollars, by far the most expensive part of the team.

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Last updated: 10/06/2022