Joe Posnanski’s 32-Best in 2011

Joe Posnanski, the Ted Williams of baseball scribes, offered his list of baseball’s 32-best players in 2011. Why 32?

I have little doubt that the following list is also a mess … but at least I know what I want: I am putting together my prediction for the 32 best players in baseball in 2011. That’s all. I’m not considering seasons beyond. I’m not thinking about who is best to build my team around in 2014. Everything is built around 2011.

Cliff Lee came in at #16, Chase Utley at #12, and Roy Halladay at #2. Three players in the top-32? Not too shabby. I was surprised to see Poz rank Utley between Troy Tulowitzki (#11) and Tim Lincecum (#13) since the list is focused only on the short-term, and Utley’s short-term future is very much unknown. I’m also surprised Cole Hamels didn’t make the list, but Matt Cain did.

I have a few other minor quibbles but generally speaking I think Poz did a fantastic job ranking the top-32. Tango offers a good way to look at these types of lists:

Are his top 5 in my top 10? Are his top 10 in my top 30? Are his top 20 in my top 50? Are his top 30 in my top 80? Are his top 40 in my top 100?
Because that is really how the talent is spread out.

The Phillies’ NL East foes each had one player make the list: Brian McCann (#24) for the Atlanta Braves; David Wright (#21) for the New York Mets; Ryan Zimmerman (#18) for the Washington Nationals; and Hanley Ramirez (#7) for the Florida Marlins.

. . .

Elsewhere, Justin Bopp looked at the infield components for Ultimate Zone Rating from 2006-10, the popular defensive metric created by Mitchel Lichtman, found at FanGraphs. Range runs accounted for 65 percent of all defensive runs saved, while error runs came in at 26 percent and nine percent for double play runs.

Luckily for us, he created an example graphic for an individual player and he just so happened to be a Phillie. Click to view the full-scale version at Beyond the Box Score.

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  1. Css228

    April 01, 2011 02:15 PM

    I think Cain is on it because Posnanski doesn’t buy into most Sabermetric measures and by traditional standards Cain looks pretty decent.

  2. Richard

    April 01, 2011 07:56 PM

    “because Posnanski doesn’t buy into most Sabermetric measures”


  3. Css228

    April 02, 2011 12:54 PM

    like xFIP, he wrote a whole article about wanting more quasi traditional stats than that

  4. Richard

    April 03, 2011 06:29 AM

    maybe he doesn’t like xFIP, but half the articles he writes about baseball are arguments in favor of various “Sabermetric measures”, hence saying he “doesn’t buy into” most of them is silly

    and, besides, Fangraphs spent many articles exploring reasons why Cain, and Giants pitchers in general, have low HR rates, lower than even their park would indicate… and they readjusted xFIP anyway, to account for the lower overall MLB HR rates over the last three years…

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