Analyzing Successful Major League Team’s Rosters: Part 1

Analyzing Successful Major League Team’s Rosters: Part 1

Over the next few articles, I’m looking to look at how successful major league teams have constructed their rosters in today game. To begin with, we’re going to take a look at the construction of pitching staffs. Well, what is the most effective way to construct a pitching staff? It may take some time to get to this conclusion but to start with, let’s look at the rosters of the four American League playoff teams of 2006. For this analysis, we’re going to break the rosters into four main categories; Drafted by the Team or Undrafed Free Agent Signing, Obtained through a “prospect” trade, obtained through a major league “established” trade, and lastly free agent signings.

Detroit Tigers


  • Joel Zumuya
  • Justin Verlander
  • Fernando Rodney
  • Jeremy Bonderman
  • Wilfredo Ledezma
  • Andrew Miller
  • Zach Miner

Prospect Trade

  • Jaime Walker
  • Nate Robertson
  • Mike Maroth
  • Jason Grilli

Free Agent Acquisition

  • Kenny Rogers
  • Todd Jones

Minnesota Twins:


  • Johan Santana
  • Jesse Crain
  • Juan Rincon
  • Brad Radke
  • Matt Garza
  • Scott Baker
  • William Eyre
  • Dennys Reyes
  • Pat Neshek

Prospect Trade

  • Boof Bonser
  • Fransico Liriano
  • Matt Guerrier

Established Trade

  • Joe Nathan

New York Yankees


  • Mariano Rivera
  • Scott Proctor
  • Chien-Ming Wang
  • Jeff Karstens

Free Agent Acquisition

  • Mussina
  • Johnson
  • Pavano
  • Wright
  • Myers
  • Kyle Farnsworth

Oakland Athletics:


  • Ron Flores
  • Rich Harden
  • Barry Zito
  • Joe Blanton

Prospect Trade

  • Justin Duchscherer
  • Kiko Calero
  • Kirk Saarloos
  • Danny Haren

Established Trade

  • Brad Halsey

Free Agent

  • Esteban Loaiza

I was expecting something along these lines, but nothing this drastic. It appears that the majority of these pitching staffs have been “raised” by the teams in question, either through the draft, undrafted free agents or through young prospect trades. Very few key successful components have been obtained through the free agent market. In fact, it would be safe to say that only three players (Loiaza, Jones & Rogers) made significant, positive impacts to their respective staffs. We won’t draw a conclusion this early in the game, but the evidence is already starting to mount.

Coming up on Tuesday, we’re going to look at offensive side of the American League playoff rosters, and see what we find. While the Yankees have spent large sums on free agents, Jeter, Posada, & Cano are all examples of “raised” players. What about the other playoff rosters? It may not be as cut and dry as you think.

Parting Questions. What do you think of the construction of the above pitching rosters? Does this make you question the construction of your favorite team’s current pitching staff?

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3 replies on “Analyzing Successful Major League Team’s Rosters: Part 1”
  1. says: Early

    Drafts are good but they are all prospects when they are drafted. I want to know how these teams go about developing their pitchers instead just sending them to the doctor to get operated on ala JP Riccardi when they don’t improve with poor instruction.

  2. says: Kman

    Prospect development is important, so they need to do something with their minor league pitching coaches, as they clearly aren’t getting the job done. For an example of this, check the large number of Arms that have found success once leaving the Jays organization.

    But the draft is where you land your talent and strong scouting is where you identify worthy trade opportunites. The lack of success points to this as well.

  3. says: Riley

    Just as an FYI for the the Tigers list. Jeremy Bonderman was not drafted by the Tigers, but rather by the A’s (an interesting dynamic in itself), and should be listed under the “prospect trade” category. The A’s sent him to Detroit, along with Fraklyn German and Carlos Pena, as part of the Jeff Weaver deal with the Yankees in 2002. Oakland received Ted Lilly as their part of the trade.

    Nice comparisons overall. In light of this year’s free agent pitching insanity, it shows you how much drafting or raising quality young pitching talent can really matter.

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