MLB Franchise Four: Tampa Rays and Toronto Blue Jays

Another entry in my ongoing series on the MLB Franchise Four initiative. I’ll finish off the AL East with a look at the Rays and Jays.

Tampa Bay Rays Franchise Four

As one of the most recent additions in the majors, the Rays list of nominees isn’t nearly as impressive as most clubs, but here they are:

  • Carl Crawford
  • Scott Kazmir
  • Carlos Pena
  • Ben Zobrist
  • David Price
  • Evan Longoria
  • James Shields
  • Melvin Upton, Jr.

And here’s my ballot:

  1. Carl Crawford. Franchise leader in many significant offensive categories, including hits, runs, and steals.
  2. Evan Longoria. The current face of the franchise is also the team leader in HR and RBI. I suspect he’ll end up surpassing Crawford in hits and runs eventually.
  3. James Shields.
  4. David Price. Shields and Price rank #1 and #2 in most of the important pitching categories for this team. Pretty easy choices here.

Toronto Blue Jays Franchise Four

Here are the Jays nominees:

  • Roberto Alomar
  • Jose Bautista
  • Carlos Delgado
  • Dave Stieb
  • Roy Halladay
  • Tony Fernandez
  • George Bell
  • Joe Carter

An impressive list of players. I was a bit surprised to see Bautista at first, but he’s been racking up numbers for the past several seasons. Given my theory of recency bias, I’d be shocked if he isn’t recognized. And where’s Vernon Wells? He compiled some great numbers. Alomar is a great player, but his career was split among several clubs, so I couldn’t justify voting for him.

Here are the players I voted for:

  1. Carlos Delgado. He sits atop the team leaderboard in the power categories and he deserves to be one of the players recognized.
  2. Dave Stieb. Stieb is the pitching version is Delgado — the team leader in the starting pitching categories.
  3. Roy Halladay.
  4. Joe Carter. You could probably make a case for Fernandez, but I chose to recognize Carter primarily on the basis of the ’93 World Series homer. Plus, he had some great seasons in Toronto.
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