Friday, April 10, 2009

Homestate Turf Wars

This post starts with a guess that the three best states to recruit high-school baseball players are California, Texas, and Florida. (Not to mention Georgia, Arizona, and Oregon.) We suspect it’s the same in football, as well. The argument in baseball is, besides the large population, the kids in those states can play ball year round.

In northern states, kids are traditionally resigned to basketball, swimming, and wrestling in the winter months. Things are changing, as some schools established indoor batting cages & pitching mounds, but nothing beats playing outside year round. We thought it could be “fun” to build All-Star teams from those three states to see how they’d look.


(I know, I know. Please bear with us)


California
C: Jason Castro* (*pictured)
1b: Adrian Gonzalez
2b: Dustin Pedroia
SS: Jimmy Rollins
3b: Evan Longoria
LF: Carlos Quentin
CF: Milton Bradley
RF: Ryan Braun
P: C.C. Sabathia


Texas
C: Kelly Shoppach
1b: Lance Berkman*
2b: Jayson Nix
SS: Cliff Pennington
3b: Chris Davis
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Chris B. Young
RF: Adam Dunn
P: Josh Beckett

Florida
C: A.J. Pierzynski
1b: Prince Fielder
2b: Howie Kendrick
SS: Khalil Greene*
3b: Chipper Jones
LF: Lastings Milledge
CF: Andrew McCutchen
RF: Elijah Dukes
SP: Zach Greinke


It looks like California is head and shoulders above the other two states. California’s only spot lacking a Major League star is Catcher. They also boast a couple of bench players in “California Phillies” Chase Utley and Cole Hamels.

Texas’ middle infield is absolutely brutal. Texas high schools must have some of the worst dirt in the country. I hypothesize that the bad hops on grounders are the reason Texas’ best athletes become football players, basketball players, track stars, pitchers, outfielders, first basemen, doctors, lawyers, astronauts… basically ANYTHING except middle infielders. All kidding aside, they had other great options at pitcher (naturally) and outfield, like Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, and Jay Bruce.

Florida’s team looks like a bit of a mess. Their outfield is talented but awfully inexperienced. Their catcher stinks. Plus, their middle infield cancels itself out because Green hits for power with an atrocious average/OBP, and Kendrick can hit for a high average, with little to no power. Their honorable mentions include A-Rod, Chone Figgins, Rickie Weeks, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and even Denard Span. Do the teams look different when viewing them as potential batting orders?


California

1. Jimmy Rollins
2. Dustin Pedroia
3. Ryan Braun
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Evan Longoria
6. Milton Bradley
7. Carlos Quentin*

8. Jason Castro
9. C.C. Sabathia


Texas
1. Chris B. Young
2. Carl Crawford
3. Lance Berkman
4. Adam Dunn
5. Chris Davis*
6. Kelly Shoppach
7. Cliff Pennington
8. Jayson Nix
9. Josh Beckett


Florida
1. Lastings Milledge
2. Howie Kendrick
3. Chipper Jones
4. Prince Fielder
5. Elijah Dukes
6. A.J. Pierzynski
7. Khalil Greene
8. Andrew McCutchen*
9. Zach Greinke


Looking at them as batting orders makes me think that Florida has a little more balance than Texas, and California still has nothing to worry about.


It could be fun to do some math and see how many runs these teams would project to score. But, I’m staying away from any math that can’t be done in my head, for now. In the meantime, we’d like to hear of anyone that we missed. Or, please feel free to request other states/countries for us to take a closer look.

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