On the heels of a thrilling Championship Sunday in the NFL, as I awoke on what is a rainy and windy day it got me thinking. Since the stage is set for the Super Bowl and football season is coming to a close I can’t help but turn an eye towards Spring Training. Thinking of Spring Training got me on the subject of all the really exceptional wealth of talent in the Majors today. During a recent conversation with a buddy of mine I brought up the question: If you could assemble a starting line up of the best players right now to win ONE game who would you have? Keep in mind that you have a separate line up for the AL and NL. You cannot have any wrong answers here… this is your team! I’ll give you my team(s) and then feel free to give it a try in the comments section. This is similar to what Harold Reynolds and Al Leiter did on MLB Network*
C Joe Mauer – Clearly the best catcher. Pure hitter and a hard nose ‘Baseball Player’
1B Kevin Youkilis - No matter if you love or hate him, a clutch hitter who can play the corner infield positions at a gold glove caliber level
2B Aaron Hill – 37 doubles, 36 HRs 108 RBIs along with 95 runs scored by a second baseman… I’ll take it
3B Alex Rodriguez – Arguably one of the greatest players in the game with at least 35 HRs and 100 RBIs each year with two MVPs in his pocket and the big game jinx off his back
SS Derek Jeter - Based on name alone he would suffice. Multiple gold gloves and clutch moment after clutch moment. In addition the intangibles and leadership. The Captain.
LF Carl Crawford – Speed, power, solid defense, and a table setter
CF Adam Jones – A rising star who appears to have all the tools to be a special player for a long time. Developing power, speed, and superb defensive skills.
RF Ichiro Suzuki – Set a precedent for Japanese players to come to the Majors and have success offensively. A career low batting average of .303 in what was considered an ‘off’ year. 200+ hits in all 9 seasons, an All-Star. Need I say more?
SP Felix Hernandez - One of the best young pitchers in the game today. Power arm who could have – and arguably should have – won the CY Young Award in 2009. King Felix is my guy in a big game.
My NL line up will be soon to follow so check back here later on to see how it shakes out.
Feedback is much encouraged so let me know what you think and give it a shot yourself.
And now for the NL. In my opinion, this team wasn’t as clear cut as the AL. Sure, it has its no-brainers but a lot of guys would’ve filled out these positions. Lets take a look and then discuss how it would match up against the AL’s starting 9.
Yadier Molina – The best of the Molina catching trio. Exceptional handling of the pitching staff and a weapon behind the plate.
1B Albert Pujols - The best player in the game right now.
2B Chase Utley – Can do a lot of things for you. Hit the ball for power to all fields, runs well, and plays great defense
3B David Wright – Tough choice here. I almost went with Ryan Zimmerman of the Nats. To me, Wright is more suited for the big stage and brings all 5 tools.
SS Hanley Ramirez – The best pure athlete virtually goes unnoticed in Florida. He’s primed and ready for the big stage.
LF Manny Ramirez – Believe it or not, it was a really tough call here because of Manny’s history. In the scenario of having to win one game I wouldn’t want to have to question if a player is going to show up and give effort. Unfortunately with Manny, you would have to ask that question. All that aside, when he is in the line up and does decide to play he is a force to say the least.
CF Shane Victorino – “The Flyin’ Hawian” can do a lot of things for you and is a great table setter. His high energy style is infectious and can go a long way in building team chemistry.
RF Hunter Pence – Probably the least known commodity of the group. Pence is a solid player who can do some damage with the bat and displays a little power. Much like Victorino, he’s a good team guy.
P Roy Halladay – The newest Philadelphia Phillie is the same ace that dominated in Toronto. He’s a finisher, tossing multiple complete games year in and year out. As always, health is the key with him. In a big game, I’m calling on Doc to give my team the best chance to win.
There you have it. What do you think? If I had to win a game those are the two line ups I’d want to run out to give me the best chance to win. Now begs the question, who would win if these teams faced off against one another?