Which is the better strategy for building a good team — a “stars and scrubs” approach, or a balanced roster with few stars? Jonah Keri and Neil Paine recently tackled that question for FiveThirtyEight.com, and their answer is a complex one. One can build a good team with either approach, although the “stars and scrubs” strategy might not be financially feasible for many small-market teams. And based on fWAR, the most balanced rosters (such as that of the 1976 Pirates) tend to be much better teams than the most unbalanced rosters (such as that of the 2004 Diamondbacks, which featured Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb and little else). Johnson finished second in Cy Young balloting that year and led the league with 290 strikeouts, and yet the Diamondbacks still finished 51-111, proving pretty clearly that it’s almost impossible for one player to carry an entire 25-man roster. Here are more notes from around baseball.
- The Phillies have suspended outfielder Tyson Gillies for three games for doing damage to a bat rack and wall after striking out four times in a Triple-A game, Matt Gelb of the Inquirer reports. Gillies was one of three players the Phillies acquired when they shipped Cliff Lee to the Mariners in 2009. At 25, he continues to struggle at the Triple-A level and still hasn’t made it to the big leagues.
- The Rockies have placed pitcher Brett Anderson on the 60-day disabled list, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Anderson had surgery on a fractured finger. The Rockies acquired Anderson from the Athletics in December for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen, and it looks like they’re going to get very little out of him in the first half of the season.