Team USA would win about 127 games

Inspired by Ground Ball With Eyes’ look at the 1992 Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Softball Team, I decided to take a look at how well Team USA’s World Baseball Classic team would do if they were playing a season of Major League Baseball. So, I decided to, similar to how GBWE took a look at SNPP by using WAR, I will do the same thing. Baseball-Reference puts a team of “replacement level” players as being about a 52-win team, so presumably by adding up all the 2012-season Wins-Above-Replacement-Level of Team USA’s players and then adding them to those 52 wins that a replacement level team would be getting.

And the result of this little bit of research is this: Team USA would, if participating in Major League Baseball, be the greatest team ever assembled, going 127-35 (or maybe 126-36, depends on how you round).

Now, obviously, this isn’t a perfect way of determining how good the team would be, and it uses a 28-man roster instead of the 25 to 40 players that would be on a real MLB roster during a season. And, of course, it’s unlikely that all of the players would get as much playing time as they did on their usual teams, since obviously they couldn’t all be starters or all be the closer.

Still, when you hear somebody talk about how disappointing Team USA is and how it lacks some stars, consider that this team would be a runaway division winner.

Go below the jump if you want to see the WAR of every member of Team USA.

(This is either the overall WAR for Position Player or the pitching WAR + the Defensive WAR)
Jeremy Affeldt: 0.7

Heath Bell: -0.6

Mitchell Boggs: 1.8

Steve Cishek: 0.9

Tim Collins: 0.9

R.A. Dickey: 5.6

Luke Gregerson: 1.9

Derek Holland: 1.7

Craig Kimbrel: 3.2

Chris Perez: 0.5

Glen Perkins: 1.2

Vinnie Pestano: 2.1

Ryan Vogelsong: 1.7

Gio Gonzalez: 4.5

Ross Detwiler: 1.6

J.P. Arencibia: 1.4

Jonathan Lucroy: 3.5

Joe Mauer: 4.1

Willie Bloomquist: -0.4

Brandon Phillips: 3.5

Jimmy Rollins: 2.3

Mark Teixeira: 3.6

David Wright: 6.7

Ben Zobrist: 5.5

Ryan Braun: 6.8

Adam Jones: 3.4

Giancarlo Stanton: 5.4

Shane Victorino: 1.1

Total: 74.6 wins above replacement (or about 126 or 127 wins)

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7 thoughts on “Team USA would win about 127 games

  1. Your analysis is flawed because like you said not all of them could be starters nor pitch high leverage innings as relievers if they were on the same team.

    That being said, on paper the US has hands down the best team in the tournament. If that team played in the MLB, they’d be favored to win the WS. I really doubt there is any other team in this tournament that could even play .500 ball in the majors .

  2. USA offense is potent, very potent. The pitching doesn’t seem out of this world. Its good but not the best. I would argue that Japan and Cuba would be able to be above 500 in MLB. Japan will win closer games cause of their disciplined approach to the game. Dominican and Venezuela would have been above 500 had their pitching showed up.

    • I am thinking of possibly taking a look at the DR in a similar fashion, but I agree that Japan and Cuba would definitely be able to be above .500 in a 162 game season against MLB.

    • Mex I don’t even think that on paper Cuba or Japan is better than DR or Venezuela.

      Cuba and Japan do not have any hitters as good as Cabrera, Cano, Sandoval, Encarnacion, Gonzalez, Reyes, etc.

      Think about for an instance, Yovanni Cespedes was pretty much the best hitter in the Cuban League, and here he is just a good hitter but not a top tier hitter. Japan has Kaz Matsui as their starting SS… you know DR and Venezuela are way better than that.

      When it comes to pitchers its the same thing, Cuba doesn’t have anyone as good as Wandy Rodriguez or Anibal Sanchez now that Chapman is not there.

      • Furthermore,

        You are saying that USA pitching is “good but not the best” based on what? they have pretty much the best starting rotation and bullpen in tournament. Think about it for an instance, Japan won two tournaments with Daisuke MAtsuzaka as the ace of the staff and most pitchers in the USA rosters are better than MAtsuzaka…

        The DR has the second best pen(Rodney, Valverde, Herrera, Casilla, Dotel, Strop, Simon, Veras, thats 8 solid arms)

        The main advantage that Japan and Cuba have in this tournament i that their players are in much better shape and this has been proven to be huge in the previous two tournaments. But if this tournament was played when everyone was in mid season form, I’d say USA would have hands down the best team, then Venezuela, then the DR and then maybe Japan.

      • Ill have to clarify what I wanted to say about the US pitching, they are not the best they could have sent. Verlander, Holliday, Kershaw…to name a few would have really made this team the clear winners. Your reasoning is good, however what also helps, especially Cuba, is that they have been playing together as a team for a while. So lets say Venezuela and DR are better then Cuba and Japan, why don’t you think that they would be above .500. Remember above .500 doesn’t mean WS contender or even playoff contender. Not saying being .500 is easy either. I will have to respectfully disagree with you on this one.

  3. My point is that Venezuela nor DR would play.500 in a complete 162 game season(look at those starting rotations), but Cuba and Japan are even worse than DR and Ven, so they wouldn’t crack .500 either.

    Cuba has several players in its line up that are definitely MLB caliber players(Despaigne, Abreu, Gurriel) but then half of their line up (2B, SS, C and probably CF) wouldn’t make an MLB roster, not even as bench players and considering that none of the top guys were better than Cespedes in the Cuban league, you could argue that none of them would be stars in the MLB, Most likely they’d be solid above average MLB players. So in a best case scenario that is an average MLB line up… most likely scenario a slightly below average, and their pitching is definitely below average for the MLB, just look at those games against Taiwan recently and quite frankly we have had several guys from the Cuban national team which have deserted lately(Yuniesky Maya comes to mind) that haven’t really been that good, only the top talents(Chapman) have been good in the majors, but there is not another Chapman in that roster right now. I don’t see how they could crack .500 with below average offense and what would be a very weak pitching staff for an MLB team.

    Japan in the other hand might have decent pitchers, but their offense doesn’t even come close to an MLB-average offense. And once again, that pitching might not be that great either for an MLB team, considering that Daisuke and Darvish were by far the best pitchers in the Japanese league when they pitched there, and they are not exactly at the same level as real MLB aces.

    As I said the main advantage Cuba and Japan have right now is that their players are in better shape, but player by player none of those teams are even top 3.

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