Retro's pre-2007 ranking of the 100 Greatest Royals in his terrific retrospective series is based on Win Shares and "slight adjustments" according to subjective analysis. A quick review: Retro's #100, Jay Bell, has 21 Win Shares in his single season as a Royal, 1997. The most recent article in the series highlighted the career of Tom Gordon as a Royal; he's ranked #28 on the list with 72 Win Shares accumulated from 1988 through 1995.
Although I believe Retro has already mentioned that when he gets around to updating his list he'll probably use other methods, perhaps making use of historical WAR, I wanted to check what the numbers look like today if they were compiled with current data using the same methods. So I dug out my Win Shares Digital Update for the data through 2001 and went to billjamesonline.net for data for 2002-2010, in an effort to find out who among the recent Royals would be added, who has already surpassed Tom Gordon's total at #28 or has a chance to do so within a year or two, and also approximately where David DeJesus would be ranked now that he has moved on to greener and golder pastures. And of course to answer the burning question, what about the Royal Beloved of $36 Million, Jose Guillen?
But before we get to all that, here are Win Shares totals accumulated as Royals for a number of well-known Royals of the past as well as a selection of Royals of the last decade, for illustrative purposes. I don't mean to give away the as-yet-unrevealed ranking of Retro's top 27; I'm simply listing a handful of Royals who are obviously in there somewhere together with some who obviously aren't, to provide a gauge for what follows.
|Tony Pena, Jr||15|
As above, the lowest Win Shares total on Retro's Greatest 100 is Jay Bell's 21, which is also Jim Sundberg's total at #93. (Four other Royals not on Retro's list achieved that total: Lockhart, Slaught, B. Martinez, and B. Boone.) How many Royals not on the 2007 list have surpassed that total? I count 11: David DeJesus (at a total of 103), Xaq Greinke (74), Joakim Soria (57), Billy Butler (53), Mark Grudzielanek (35), Gil Meche (32), Alex Gordon (32), Alberto Callaspo (31), Mike Aviles (29), Jose Guillen (24), and Esteban German (24).
So do they bump the lowest 11 guys off the list? Not quite, because there are only 7 players on Retro's list with fewer than Guillen's and German's 24: Bell, Meacham, Quinn, Grimsley, Orta, McReynolds, and Sundberg. Five players are tied with Guillen and German at 24: Affeldt, Burgmeier, Hedlund, Wohlford, and Tom Goodwin, who was missing from Retro's list but is here rightfully restored to the ranking. (John Buck was still below that line through 2006 but finished his Royals career with 43. Also, although Rey Sanchez was ranked at #99, I think Retro might have overlooked his 2001 contribution; his total is 31.) So in all there are now 104 Royals with at least 24 Win Shares, 97 of whom have more.
You can call it a seven-way tie at #98, or you can apply your own "subjective analysis" to pick three of them to round out the Greatest 100. Retro's highest-ranked among those guys was Wohlford, formerly at #86, with Hedlund at #88, Burgmeier at #90 and Affeldt at #92. Goodwin might deserve special consideration for being named Player of the Year in 1996, while Guillen might deserve special examination for any number of reasons. Your call.
DeJesus crossed the "Flash Gordon line" in 2008, Greinke this year. At established levels of performance, barring career interruptions and changes in uniform, both Soria and Butler might also reach that level in 2011, surely in 2012 otherwise. A-Gor would have to dominate for two whole years to reach that mark.
Table of career totals of Win Shares for 2010 Royals, minimum 1, with current all-time ranking:
|251. B. Pena||6|