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NL Team of the Future

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by user Timothy Moreland(Bball3345)

Here is a link to the AL version of this AL Team of the Future



Rules

I will assemble a team of players to build the best team for the next five years. Salaries are not a factor.

Whether or not the player will play for a major league team all five years or start for them is not a factor; therefore, i can select minor leaguers who may not be in the majors for two more years if I feel they are the best player to have. They will be starters on my team.

The players do not have to be a certain age. Although, selecting Roger Clemens may be a bad move because he would more than likely retire or fade very quickly.

Part One

I will pick a Catcher and 1B just like I did for the AL team:

Catcher

Brian McCann: A relatively easy pick. Catcher has to be a young player when forecasting five years in the future and offensively I do not see anyone in his league, besides Joe Mauer who is off in his own world. McCann was relatively impressive as a 21 year old in the majors last year for Atlanta. His slugging should be in the mid-.400s and eventually approach .500+ as he matures. He could reach the 20 HR plateau as soon as this year. His defense is average but he makes up for any defensive deficiencies with his potent bat.

Honorable Mentions: Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit

First Base

Albert Pujols: The easiest pick I will ever have to make in my life. He is twice as valuable as the closest 1B. He is the most valuable player in baseball and will definitely be over the next five years. If he is indeed only 26, then we are about to see him enter his prime. That is a scary thought. He is good for 40 HRs and .330/.430/.600, which could be conservative. He even had 16 SBs last year and is a positive in the field. I am one to believe he is older than he says he is but that does not take away from the fact he is the most complete, dominant player in the game.

Honorable Mentions: Derrek Lee, Ryan Howard(Bigtime HR Upside...as in 60 HR territory some day), Todd Helton, Prince Fielder

Part Two

Second Base

Marcus Giles...This was a tight three way race between Chase Utley, Rickie Weeks, and Marcus Giles. I think Weeks has the biggest offensive upside. In 246 PA last year at AAA, he hit .320/.435/.655. He struggled somewhat in his first year in the majors, but managed an OBP 100 points higher than his average. If he can get his average up to around .300, then he has a shot at a high-.300, maybe .400 OBP. His power potential puts him as a 20 HR hitter with 30 as his absolute ceiling, which is strong for a 2Bmen. He strikes out a lot, but that should not hurt him. Defensively, he is a liability. Chase Utley does not have the upside of Weeks because he is 4 years older at 27. Last year was Utley's breakout but I would expect his numbers to stay stable or drop a little across the board. He has more power than Weeks but not as strong of an OBP or as much speed; although, Utley does contribute on the basepaths(16 SB/3 CS last year). Marcus Giles is a year older than Utley and has similar upside; however, Giles is a great fielder. Also, he has proven himself to be a top offensive player over the last three years. He has the least HR power of the three, but hits a lot of doubles(45 in 2005, 49 in 2003). His stolen bases are in the teens. I would have to go with Giles because his fielding is far above the rest of two and he has proven his offensive ability repeatedly in the majors. You can't go wrong with any of the three.

Honorable Mentions: Rickie Weeks, Chase Utley

Third Base

David Wright...This was a heck of a lot easier than 2B. What can't he do? Hit for power? He had 27 HRs and slugged .523 last year. His upside is probably the mid-30's. Get on base? His OBP was .388 last year and I wouldn't be surprised to see him top the .400 mark in the near future as he matures. How about steal bases? There is no way he can do that too, right? He had 17 last year and the Mets are not afraid to run. I bet he becomes a 20/20 player. He is just a hitter who can't field, right? Well, scouts compared him to Scott Rolen in the field and we all saw his barehand play of the year last year. His defensive stats peg him as an average fielder but I wouldn't doubt he learns to become a gold glover. There is not a 3B even in his league in the NL and, o yeah, he is only 23 years old.

Honorable Mentions: Ryan Zimmerman, Aramis Ramirez, Edwin Encarnacion

Part Three

Shortstop

Rafael Furcal...Another tight three way race like 2B was. Rafael Furcal(28), Jose Reyes(23), and Jimmy Rollins(27) are all still young and have the close to the same offensive potential. So far, Jose Reyes has not proven himself outside of SB's so I can't justify selecting him over proven guys like Furcal and Rollins. Furcal(.267 EQA) and Rollins (.262 EQA) have produced nearly identical throughout their careers and the same goes for last year(Furcal .274 and Rollins .268). SB production again is too close to call. As well as there being only a one year age difference. Fortunately, Furcal made a huge jump in one area of his game last year: defense. When Furcal first came up, he had tremendous range due to his outstanding speed; however, he messed up routine plays and made a lot of throwing mistakes. Last year, he cut down on those errors and maintained his range transforming him into one of the most valuable defensive players in the game. Rollins, on the other hand, is not a strong defender. This difference was more or less the only difference between these two guys.

Honorable Mentions: Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, Joel Guzman

Left Field

Miguel Cabrera...Yes! Another easy one! I think outside of Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera may be the one person I would want on my team. At only 23 years of age, Cabrera has gone from producing like a solid starter in 342 PA's his first year to becoming a star in his first full year to emerging as a superstar at the plate last year. He has hit 33 HRs in both of his full years while climbing above the hundred mark in runs and RBIs both years. His OBP has climbed from from a somewhat-low .325 to a very respectable .366 to an extremely valuable .385. Likewise, his slugging has gone from .468 to .512 to .561 as he added 12 more doubles last year in the same number of plate appearances. Cabrera has been a liability in the OF defensively; although, he is a much better LF than RF for whatever reason. Outside of defense, there is little else that can be found in terms of faults in his game.

Honorable Mentions: Adam Dunn, Jason Bay, Lance Berkman

Part Four

Center Field

Andruw Jones...His defense was not as unearthly as previous years but the tradeoff was his best offensive season to date. At only 29 years old, there should be plenty left in Andruw to be one of the best bats and fielders in center. Edmonds is a better player but the fact he is 36-years-old scared me away. Jones at 33 is preferable to Edmonds at 40.

Honorable Mentions: Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, Chris Young

Right Field

Bobby Abreu...This pick was not as easy as it may seem. It all depends on how Abreu ages. Offensively, Abreu is a star but he is past his prime at 32-years-old. Last year, his age showed a little in the field. However, there was no reason to go with J.D. Drew or Brian Giles because Drew is injury prone and Giles is three years older than Abreu.

Honorable Mentions: J.D. Drew, Brian Giles, Jeremy Hermida

Complete NL Lineup

C Brian McCann

1B Albert Pujols

2B Marcus Giles

3B David Wright

SS Rafael Furcal

LF Miguel Cabrera

CF Andruw Jones

RF Bobby Abreu

Date

Mon 03/06/06, 3:33 pm EST



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