All Time Baseball (ATB) is a fantasy league played using a computer simulation called, Diamond Mind Baseball. Owners draft any player-season in the history of the sport (within some playing time limitations) and then create lineups, rotations, and depth charts, and finally turn their managerial preferences loose on the game egine to simulate a full seasons worth of games. All results, box scores, and statistics are posted weekly to a centralized website.

You may recall my request for new owners a few weeks ago and our league had the good fortune to have several Razzball readers apply for ownership. With this in mind I thought a general update would hold some interest and while our draft is still going strong, round 20 of 30, we can pause and take a look back at the all important first round. There is no need to dissect all 20 picks and commentary will provided for the more interesting ones.

Please note that while similar to fantasy drafts, ATB requires a full 30 man squad with all positions filled (i.e., RF, CF, LF not 3 OF) plus defense counts. It isn’t only about which player had the best offensive statistics as all owners have to take into consideration offense, defense, and league context.

Pick #1 – Babe Ruth, 1921 – LF
.378 / .509 / .846, 59 HR, 177 R, 171 RBI, +4 NSB, 1.355 OPS, Av LF

Historically in ATB, Ruth is the common number one overall draft pick with the only question being the year chosen. Many point to Ruth’s 1927, sixty-home run season as his best, though most ATB’ers recognize that 1920 and 1921 were better seasons, and one can even make a case that 1923, 1926, and 1919 where superior when taking league and park context.

Ruth 1921 was the choice for this draft and it was of course a monster. One item to note however, is that he played in the Polo Grounds in a year that inflated HR totals for lefties by about 70% which is taken into consideration by the game engine. The right field line was just 256 feet away from home plate this year.

Pick #2 – Barry Bonds, 2002 – LF
.370 / .582 / .799, 49 HR, 117 R, 110 RBI, +7 NSB, 1.381 OPS, Av LF
It’s an interesting question – which of Bonds’ seasons is his best. This owner chose to foresake the moster 74 HR year of 2001 but was it the right choice? Let’s see how each season compared to the league average in their slash stats:

2001 2002 2004
AVG 27% 45% 39%
OBP 57% 77% 84%
SLG 114% 105% 100%

These figures depict how much better each is when compared to the league average player at the time. 2001 lags behind both 2002 and 2004, and the choice between the latter two are a matter of preference – what would you rather, a better batting average and slugging or a better on-base percentage?

Pick #3 – Mickey Mantle, 1956 – CF
.353 / .464 / .705, 52 HR, 132 R, 130 RBI, +9 NSB, 1.169 OPS, Vg CF
Mantle likely isn’t as good of an offensive player as Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, or perhaps even Jimmie Foxx, but his combination of high average, power, and Very Good defense is very hard to pass up. ATB is a league that considers many aspects of the game, and defense is key.

Pick #4 – Pedro Martinez, 2000 – SP
18-6, 1.74 ERA, 217 IP, 128 H, 32 BB, 284 K, 5.3 H/9, 11.8 K/9
Hands down, Martinez is easily the best pitcher in the 10 year history of ATB. Year in and year out he performs better than any pitcher, and some believe with two offensive studs in Bonds and Ruth, Pedro is the most unique player in the game and is a #1 overall pick. In 2000, his incredible 0.74 WHIP was 114% better than the league average; the next closest pitcher of all time relative to league average is Greg Maddux, whose figure is ‘only’ 70% better. Further, Martinez had an extremly high strikeout rate and the two combined make him unstoppable.

Pick #5 – Ted Williams, 1941 – LF
.406 / .549 / .735, 37 HR, 135 R, 120 RBI, -2 NSB, 1.284 OPS, Av LF

Pick #6 – Randy Johnson, 1999 – SP
17-9, 2.48 ERA, 271 IP, 207 H, 70 BB, 364 K, 6.9 H/9, 12.1 K/9
Johnson’s selection is our first potential owner error. It’s a matter of preference in roster construction as to which direction you want to go in – best batter, best pitcher, positional scarcity – but Johnson is historically not the second best pitcher in the game. Maddux is “1 B” to Martinez’s” 1 A” and while Johnson is a very good pitcher, his WHIP was 1.02, by no means of historical significance.

Pick #7 – Rogers Hornsby, 1924 – 2B
.424 / .503 / .696, 25 HR, 121 R, 94 RBI, -7 NSB, 1.199 OPS, Av 2B

Pick #8 – Greg Maddux, 1995
19-2, 1.63 ERA, 210 IP, 147 H, 23 BB, 181 K, 6.3 H/9, 7.8 K/9

Pick #9 – Addie Joss, 1904
14-10, 1.59 ERA, 192 IP, 160 H, 30 BB, 83 K, 7.5 H/9, 3.9 K/9
Joss is one of my all-time favorites, a deadball era pitcher that pitched in a ballpark that slightly favored batters in 1904. He didn’t strike out a lot of batters, a common theme during his era, but that doesn’t really matter if one keeps his ERA under 2.00, a feat Joss accomplished an incredible four times.

One quibble with this selection is in the choice of year. In 1908 Joss went 24-11 with a 1.16 ERA and 0.81 WHIP. This year, 1904, he went 14-10 with a 1.59 ERA. Either appear to be great however.

Pick #10 – Honus Wagner, 1908
.354 / .411 / .542, 10 HR, 100 R, 109 RBI, +32 NSB, .954 OPS, Ex SS
Is a batter who hits just 10 HR a stretch for the 10th pick overall? Not when it fills a need at the most scarce offensive position in the game, save catcher. Plus, Wagner is one of the few middle infielders awarded the best defensive rating available and it’s not as if he was weak with the stick.

Roughly speaking, his batting line in 1908 is equivalent to a current line of .385 / .450 / 750. Now imagine Ozzie Smith with this line and you have the Flying Dutchman.

Pick #11 – Jimmie Foxx, 1932
.364 / .466 / .749, 58 HR, 151 R, 169 RBI, -4 NSB, 1.215 OPS, Vg 1B
I am not a fan of counting stats when evaluating players, but my goodness – 58 HR, 151 R, 169 RBI all with Very Good defense .

Pick #12 – Willie McCovey, 1969
.320 / .453 / .656, 45 HR, 101 R, 126 RBI, 0 NSB, 1.108 OPS, Av1B
McCovey is not good enough for the 12th overall pick, but there’s a reason he was selected here. An owner dropped out of the league the day of the draft and didn’t let the commissioner know. We scrambled to find another owner, and did, but he didn’t get a chance to make his first round selection until well into the second round.

The laugh’s on us though, in pre-season exhibition play McCovey’s ‘regular season pace’ was 76 HR and 173 RBI. He’s since been traded to another division.

Pick #13 – Lou Gehrig, 1927
.373 / .471 / .765, 47 HR, 149 R, 175 RBI, +2 NSB, 1.236 OPS, Av1B
Only three players in history have slugged as high as Gehrig, and him dropping outside the Top-10 makes the Yankee first basement a steal. Further, his ATB track record is extremely good making him a low risk pick as well.

Pick # 14 – Ty Cobb, 1909
.377 / .427 / .517, 9 HR, 116 R, 107 RBI, +34 NSB, .944 OPS, VgCF

Pick # 15 – Arky Vaughan, 1935
.385 / .488 / .607, 19 HR, 108 R, 99 RBI, +2 NSB, 1.095 OPS, VgSS

Pick #16 – Walter Johnson, 1913
36-7, 1.14 ERA, 346 IP, 232 H, 38 BB, 243 K, 6.0 H/9, 6.3 K/9
The “Big Train” was awesome in 1913, and he is widely regarded as one of the Top-5 pitchers of all time, many believe he’s the best ever.

Pick #17 – Tip O’Neil, 1887
.435 / .494 / .691, 14 HR, 167 R, 123 RBI, +15 NSB, 1.185 OPS, AvLF
A relative unknown, Tip O’Neill was a star in the American Association during the mid to late 1880s. His batting average is the second best single season mark of all time. While displaying little power, O’Neill is an ideal #2 hitter in a potent lineup, and a #3 batter in a moderate one.

Pick #18 – Christy Mathewson, 1905
31-9, 1.28 ERA, 339 IP, 252 IP, 64 BB, 206 K, 6.7 H/9, 5.5 K/9

Pick #19 – Joe DiMaggio, 1939
.381 / .444 / .671, 30 HR, 108 R, 126 RBI, +17 NSB, 1.115 OPS, ExCF

Pick #20 – Tommy Bond, 1876
31-13, 1.67 ERA, 408 IP, 355 H, 13 BB, 88 K, 7.8 H/9, 1.9 K/9
The last pitcher taken in the first round of the 10th ATB draft is the first “deadball era” hurler we’ve seen. Bond was a work-horse, pitching in over 400 innings and starting 65% of his team’s games. As a testament to the times, be assured his 13 BB in so many innings is not a typo. Bond also has three seasons of 500+ innings to his credit and in 1878 started 59 of 60 games for his Boston Red Caps.

  1. Grey

    Grey says:

    This looks like a lot of fun. Kinda wish I would’ve tried it. Looks like I definitely would’ve been able to grab Reggie in the first round.

  2. Not Burns says:

    Call me crazy, but I think a stud workhorse like Walter Johnson is the centerpiece of a championship team.

  3. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Not Burns: Oh, and Addie Joss is?! Actually, he might be. I have no idea.

  4. Lou says:

    I think Reggie had 150 RBI so one year too. Went nuts anyway, whatever the final number was.

  5. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Lou: Think that might’ve been Ks. Either way, he was awesome.

  6. Ivar says:

    I had a great time drafting this year (my second year) and tried to grab hitters with big power numbers and pitchers with low WHIP and high K/9 rates. Major change from my first season, where I made some poor choices based on name recognition. After all, you are free to draft from essentially everyone who ever played the game.

  7. I would’ve drafted Josh Gibson with my 1st round pick.

    If you didn’t allow it, I’d brand it “Blood Diamond Mind Baseball Draft”.

  8. Eephus says:

    Any plans for an All-Time Razzball League? Not sure what the parameters would be, but that league would be awesome.

    Can ’84 Ted Simmons stand the test of time as THE worst DH ever? Will Kevin Jarvis win the Anti-Cy Young?

  9. Wow, the all-time razzball league does sound like a good idea. maybe next off-season depending on the popularity of Razzball – Season 2…

  10. Doug Ault says:

    @Lou: Sorry for going AWOL for the league.I’m not a flake when it comes to following through on leagues I join,but a perfect storm of issues kept me from the commitment I had made to your league.I personally hate when people do that to me,I hope it didn’t cause division balance issues.

  11. Lou says:

    @ Doug: Thanks for following up, hope everything has calmed down for you. We were able to get another owner in by the second round and he proceeded to make 47 trades (small exaggeration) so he kept it interesting and did his best to make up for the missed 1st rounder.

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