Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Comparing active rosters to all-time WAR leaders

How does your team stack up?
(Tom Forget /
June 29, 2020

With players reporting to summer camps soon, and the season a few weeks away, it's that magical time of year when a young person's fancy turns to statistical records. (What? You didn't think it was love, did you?) With baseball season around the corner, it's time to dive into the

With players reporting to summer camps soon, and the season a few weeks away, it's that magical time of year when a young person's fancy turns to statistical records. (What? You didn't think it was love, did you?)

With baseball season around the corner, it's time to dive into the rosters for all 30 clubs. Today, we're going to see how many players each team needs to cumulatively pass its all-time WAR leader.

A couple of notes: We'll be using Baseball-Reference WAR, and will only be counting the numbers they put up with their current team. Also, we'll be using the currently listed active rosters. Obviously, things are fairly fluid right now, and the 60-man player pools are a new wrinkle. However, most of the players that have put up serious numbers are listed.

As for why we're doing this? Well, because it's fun, that's why. It also helps remind us of just how good these team legends were, and it gives us a nice snapshot of where each team is entering the 2020 season.

Let's dive in:

Angels: Mike Trout (72.8 WAR)

Players needed to equal/pass: 1

Uh, well, this is an awkward place to start because every hit that Mike Trout registers (and each one he takes away) is only going to continue raising the bar that he has set for himself. I believe this is what physicists refer to as a paradox.

Chuck Finley is second all-time on the Angels' WAR leaderboard with 51.8, which Trout passed during the 2017 season.

Astros: Jeff Bagwell (79.9)

Players needed: 3

José Altuve (36.7)
George Springer (25.4)
Carlos Correa (24.5)

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the Astros don’t need many players to pass Bagwell. After all, the Astros won their first title in 2017, were in the World Series last year, and are among the favorites in 2020, too.

A’s: Eddie Plank (77.6)

Players needed: 7

Marcus Semien (20.5)
Matt Chapman (19.8)
Matt Olson (12.2)
Sean Manaea (8.5)
Khris Davis (7.8)
Mark Canha (6.1)
Ramón Laureano (5.9)

Billy Beane has kept the team competitive by refusing to stick with players for long, so don’t expect Semien or Chapman to pass Plank’s record.

Blue Jays: Dave Stieb (56.8)

Players needed: N/A

Cavan Biggio (2.9)
Randal Grichuk (2.6)
Ken Giles (2.5)
Bo Bichette (2.3)
Teoscar Hernández (2.1)
Danny Jansen (1.6)
Trent Thornton (1.7)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1.5)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (1.5)
Ryan Borucki (1.4)
Sam Gaviglio (1.5)
Reese McGuire (1.2)
Matt Shoemaker (1.2)
Wilmer Font (0.9)
Rowdy Tellez (0.3)
Billy McKinney (0.3)

This would have been much easier last year, when Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar were all on the team. Instead, the entire roster didn't even reach the halfway point to the great mustachioed Stieb’s mark, with the active players reaching just 25.5 WAR.

Braves: Hank Aaron (142.6)

Players needed: N/A

Freddie Freeman (35.7)
Ozzie Albies (11.0)
Ender Inciarte (10.6)
Ronald Acuña Jr. (9.9)
Nick Markakis (8.2)
Mike Soroka (5.4)
Mike Foltynewicz (5.0)
Dansby Swanson (4.6)
Johan Camargo (4.3)
Max Fried (3.8)
Sean Newcomb (3.6)
Tyler Flowers (2.9)
Adeiny Hechavarría (1.1)
Luke Jackson (0.9)
Shane Greene (0.3)
Grant Dayton (0.2)
Jeremy Walker (0.2)
Adam Duvall (0.1)
Austin Riley (0.1)

The Braves couldn’t do it, with the active roster accumulating "only" 107.9 WAR. That's not a knock -- not only is the team loaded with young stars, but Hank Aaron is one of the all-time greats for a reason.

If you were to include the career totals of offseason acquisitions Marcell Ozuna (18.5) and Cole Hamels (58.5), they would have done it, but those are not the rules we're working with.

Brewers: Robin Yount (77.3)

Players needed: 4

Ryan Braun (46.8)
Christian Yelich (14.3)
Lorenzo Cain (11.7)
Josh Hader (6.7)

With Braun still putting up strong numbers (Braun hit 22 home runs with an .849 OPS last year) paired with Yelich -- arguably the best player this side of Trout -- the Brewers were able to quickly reach Yount's team-leading total.

Cardinals: Stan Musial (128.3)

Players needed: 5

Adam Wainwright (40.5)
Yadier Molina (40.1)
Matt Carpenter (28.3)
Kolten Wong (15.6)
Carlos Martínez (16.0)

Want proof of just how good St. Louis has been at developing players? Look no further.

Many teams would have had trouble surpassing Musial's WAR total. Instead, it took only five active Cardinals to do it -- and Carpenter was drafted in the 13th round.

Cubs: Ron Santo* (72.1)

Players needed: 3

Anthony Rizzo (33.9)
Kris Bryant (23.9)
Kyle Hendricks (19.4)

This is a great example of the job Theo Epstein has done acquiring talent since joining the Cubs before the 2012 season. All three players were acquired under Epstein’s watch. Epstein even acquired Rizzo twice -- once when Epstein drafted him as GM of the Red Sox, and again when he traded for him with the Cubs.

*According to official statistics, Cap Anson is the team's all-time WAR leader with 84.7, but since his career never reached what is considered the modern era (beginning in 1901), we're not listing him. Also, he was a complete and unrepentant racist, who was responsible for the game's segregation beginning in the 19th century.

D-backs: Randy Johnson (50.9)

Players needed: 5

David Peralta (13.2)
Ketel Marte (12.6)
Nick Ahmed (10.4)
Robbie Ray (9.5)
Jake Lamb (8.5)

While Peralta’s team-leading WAR may not seem overly impressive, it becomes moreso when you remember he was signed out of independent ball. After being released by the Cardinals (never getting a single at-bat in their system), Peralta spent two years destroying independent teams before signing with Arizona in 2013.

Dodgers: Pee Wee Reese (68.2)

Players needed: 2

Clayton Kershaw (67.9)
Justin Turner (27.4)

We could have a new all-time Dodgers leader this year -- and almost certainly would in a full campaign. Though Kershaw posted his lowest single-season WAR total last season since his rookie campaign, the title will surely be his soon enough if he remains healthy.

Giants: Willie Mays (154.6)

Players needed: N/A

Buster Posey (41.8)
Brandon Crawford (24.0)
Brandon Belt (23.0)
Pablo Sandoval (21.7)
Hunter Pence (10.6)
Johnny Cueto (8.2)
Jeff Samardzija (7.4)
Evan Longoria (4.2)
Mike Yastrzemski (2.8)
Tony Watson (2.0)
Donovan Solano (1.4)
Alex Dickerson (1.0)
Dereck Rodríguez (0.9)
Tyler Rogers (0.7)
Austin Slater (0.7)
Mauricio Dubon (0.5)
Sam Coonrod (0.4)
Trevor Gott (0.2)
Wandy Peralta (0.2)
Andrew Suárez (0.1)

The Giants came so agonizingly close (151.8), but in the end, couldn’t make up for the loss of Madison Bumgarner this offseason. Of course, it’s fairly amazing that the team nearly pulled it off considering just how good Mays was, and that the team has failed to win 80 games three years in a row.

Indians: Nap Lajoie (79.8)

Players needed: 3

Carlos Santana (28.9)
Francisco Lindor (27.6)
José Ramírez (25.7)

The Indians' success of the last few years was often attributed to the team's strong rotation, but the position players were pretty good, too. Santana, Lindor and Ramírez are arguably just as fearsome as the mid-90s Indians clubs that featured Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Kenny Lofton.

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr. (70.6)

Players needed: N/A

Kyle Seager (32.5)
Mitch Haniger (10.6)
Marco Gonzales (6.1)
Tom Murphy (2.7)
Taijuan Walker (2.6)
Dee Gordon (1.4)
Austin Nola (1.4)
J.P. Crawford (1.1)
Tim Lopes (0.9)
Dan Altavilla (0.9)
Austin Adams (0.7)
Brandon Brennan (0.5)
Yusei Kikuchi (0.6)
Daniel Vogelbach (0.5)
Matt Magill (0.4)
Kyle Lewis (0.3)
Justin Dunn (0.2)
Zac Grotz (0.2)
Taylor Guilbeau (0.2)
Justus Sheffield (0.2)
Dylan Moore (0.1)

This would have been a much different story a year earlier when Félix Hernández's 50.1 WAR could have been included, but such is life for a rebuilding club.

While it appears that Griffey will remain the M's all-time WAR leader for at least a few more years, it's still not a bad showing for "Corey's Brother," who ranks fifth on the Mariners' all-time position player leaderboard.

Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton (35.7)

Players needed: N/A

Brian Anderson (6.7)
Miguel Rojas (5.9)
Sandy Alcantara (3.2)
Caleb Smith (2.3)
Garrett Cooper (1.7)
Jon Berti (1.6)
Jorge Alfaro (1.3)
José Ureña (1.2)
Pablo López (1.2)
Drew Steckenrider (0.6)
Harold Ramirez (0.3)
Chad Wallach (0.2)

The Marlins' current roster only has a combined 26.2 WAR -- not only less than Stanton's total in Miami, but less than the cumulative WAR of the team's offseason acquisitions of Corey Dickerson, Jonathan Villar, Jesús Aguilar and Francisco Cervelli (40.6)

Mets: Tom Seaver (78.8)

Players needed: 5

Jacob deGrom (35.5)
Noah Syndergaard (15.7)
Michael Conforto (12.4)
Steven Matz (8.0)
Jeff McNeil (7.9)

This is proof of just how good Seaver was. deGrom has arguably been the most dominant starter in the game since his rookie season in 2014, and he’s still less than halfway to Seaver’s total.

Nationals: Gary Carter (55.8)

Players needed to reach: 2

Ryan Zimmerman (38.5)
Max Scherzer (36.2)

We shouldn’t be surprised considering that the franchise only went to the postseason once before Zimmerman was on the team -- and that was when they were the Expos in 1981.

Orioles: Cal Ripken Jr. 95.9

Players needed: N/A

Chris Davis (12.5)
Trey Mancini (6.6)
Mychal Givens (6.5)
John Means (4.8)
Richard Bleier (3.3)
Miguel Castro (3.0)
Hanser Alberto (2.9)
Renato Núñez (1.8)
Asher Wojciechowski (1.5)
Pedro Severino (1.0)
Alex Cobb (0.8)
Anthony Santander (0.8)
Austin Wynns (0.7)
Shawn Armstrong (0.4)
Paul Fry (0.3)
Hunter Harvey (0.3)
Austin Hays (0.2)
Chance Sisco (0.1)
DJ Stewart (0.1)

It's no shock that the rebuilding Orioles (47.6 WAR) couldn't pass Ripken. It is, however, a little shocking that they have combined to play fewer career games than the shortstop did.

Padres: Tony Gwynn 69.2

Players needed: N/A

Wil Myers (8.5)
Kirby Yates (5.5)
Craig Stammen (4.6)
Fernando Tatis Jr. (4.1)
Drew Pomeranz (3.3)
Joey Lucchesi (2.8)
Matt Strahm (2.8)
Chris Paddack (2.7)
Manny Machado (2.6)
Eric Hosmer (1.2)
Dinelson Lamet (1.1)
Greg Garcia (0.9)
Austin Hedges (0.7)
Michael Baez (0.6)
José Castillo (0.6)
Francisco Mejía (0.5)
Franchy Cordero (0.3)
Andres Munoz (0.2)

While Gwynn's place atop the Padres' all-time leaderboard is safe, the ongoing development of Tatis Jr. and the stacked Padres Minor League system means better days are around the corner.

Phillies: Mike Schmidt (106.9)

Players needed: N/A

Aaron Nola (19.4)
Héctor Neris (6.4)
Vince Velasquez (5.1)
Rhys Hoskins (4.7)
J.T. Realmuto (4.5)
Bryce Harper (4.0)
Jake Arrieta (3.8)
Zach Eflin (3.0)
Vìctor Arano (2.5)
Seranthony Domínguez (2.3)
Adam Haseley (1.8)
Scott Kingery (1.8)
Tommy Hunter (1.7)
Andrew McCutchen (1.6)
Jean Segura (1.5)
Adam Morgan (1.4)
Nick Pivetta (1.0)
José Alvarez (0.8)
Roman Quinn (0.8)
Ranger Suarez (0.7)
Jay Bruce (0.3)

The Phillies (69.1) may not have been able to match Schmidt’s WAR or his mustache, but Nola could soon pass Curt Simmons (24.4) for 10th on the Phillies' pitching leaderboard.

Pirates: Honus Wagner (120.1)

Players needed: N/A

Jameson Taillon (8.2)
Adam Frazier (6.2)
Gregory Polanco (6.2)
Trevor Williams (5.7)
Bryan Reynolds (4.1)
Joe Musgrove (3.2)
Josh Bell (3.0)
Richard Rodríguez (2.7)
Chad Kuhl (2.3)
Kevin Newman (2.2)
Jacob Stallings (1.9)
Keone Kela (1.6)
Chris Archer (1.3)
Kyle Crick (1.3)
Steven Brault (1.0)
Chris Stratton (0.6)
Erik González (0.5)

The Pirates' roster could only muster up 52 WAR -- less than half Wagner’s total. That may have something to do with the complete overhaul of the team’s front office and coaching staff over the offseason -- and also a reminder of just how good the Flying Dutchman was.

Rangers: Ivan Rodriguez (50.0)

Players needed: 3

Elvis Andrus (30.9)
Mike Minor (11.1)
Shin-Soo Choo (8.4)

Andrus is already ninth all-time on the Rangers’ position players list and, with 10 more WAR, would find himself right next to Adrian Beltre. That seems especially fitting.

Rays: Evan Longoria (51.8)

Players needed: 5

Kevin Kiermaier (25.7)
Blake Snell (10.3)
Willy Adames (5.6)
Joey Wendle (5.6)
Charlie Morton (4.9)

Kiermaier is not just the Rays’ active WAR leader, but he’s second only to Lorenzo Cain among active outfielders in defensive WAR. That's not surprising when he does things like this:

Reds: Pete Rose (78.1)

Players needed: 3

Joey Votto (62.0)
Eugenio Suárez (14.1)
Luis Castillo (8.1)

Entering his age-36 season, Votto will probably not pass Rose for the top of the Reds’ all-time WAR leaderboard. But with just 1.9 more, he’ll pass Frank Robinson for fourth on the team’s all-time charts.

Red Sox: Ted Williams (121.9)

Players needed: 6

Dustin Pedroia (51.6)
Xander Bogaerts (21.5)
Jackie Bradley Jr. (15.9)
Chris Sale (15.3)
Andrew Benintendi (9.9)
J.D. Martinez (9.8)

It’s sad to think that this is likely the number Pedroia will finish his career with. Injuries have kept Pedroia off the field for all but nine games over the last two seasons and he wasn't listed on the Red Sox's initial 60-player pool. That quick end to his career could also be the difference between the Laser Show reaching the Hall of Fame or simply residing in the hearts of Red Sox Nation for all eternity. When you think about it, that isn’t so bad.

Rockies: Todd Helton (61.8)

Players needed: 3

Nolan Arenado (37.5)
Trevor Story (18.6)
Charlie Blackmon (17.1)

Arenado has averaged 6.3 WAR every year since 2015. Should he not opt out of his contract following the 2021 season, Arenado could pass Helton for the Rockies’ all-time lead in just four more years.

Royals: George Brett (88.6)

Players needed: 5

Alex Gordon (35.1)
Salvador Perez (22.1)
Danny Duffy (17.3)
Whit Merrifield (13.3)
Ian Kennedy (7.3)

Gordon will go down as the player that defines this era of Royals teams and still he will likely not come halfway to Brett’s WAR total. Brett was a peerless hitter.

Tigers: Ty Cobb 144.7

Players needed: N/A

Miguel Cabrera (51.3)
Matthew Boyd (7.7)
Daniel Norris (5.5)
Niko Goodrum (2.8)
Jeimer Candelario (2.6)
Spencer Turnbull (2.3)
Jacoby Jones (1.6)
Cameron Maybin (1.3)
Jordy Mercer (1.2)
Jordan Zimmermann (1.2)
Nick Ramirez (0.9)
Tyler Alexander (1.0)
Buck Farmer (0.5)
Victor Reyes (0.4)
Gregory Soto (0.4)
José Cisnero (0.3)
David McKay (0.2)

It was obvious that the rebuilding Tigers (81.2 total WAR) wouldn’t be able to pass one of the greatest players to ever step on the field. But that Cabrera almost doubles the WAR of all of his teammates combined was a little more surprising.

Twins: Walter Johnson (164.5)

Players needed: N/A

Max Kepler (11.5)
Eddie Rosario (10.7)
Byron Buxton (9.8)
Jorge Polanco (7.8)
Miguel Sanó (7.8)
José Berríos (7.1)
Taylor Rogers (6.4)
Mitch Garver (5.1)
Jake Odorizzi (4.7)
Nelson Cruz (4.4)
Trevor May (2.1)
Marwin Gonzalez (1.8)
Ehire Adrianza (1.5)
Willians Astudillo (0.9)
Devin Smeltzer (0.8)
Randy Dobnak (0.7)
Zack Littell (0.4)
Sergio Romo (0.4)
Cody Stashak (0.4)
Tyler Duffey (0.1)

The Twins put together 84.4 WAR as a team -- which is a pretty respectable total -- but be honest: If you were asked who Minnesota's active WAR leader was, would you really have said Kepler?

White Sox: Luke Appling (77.1)

Players needed: N/A

José Abreu (20.9)
Tim Anderson (8.7)
Yoán Moncada (7.7)
Carlos Rodón (6.8)
Lucas Giolito (5.7)
Reynaldo López (4.0)
James McCann (3.7)
Aaron Bummer (3.0)
Leury García (2.4)
Evan Marshall (1.8)
Eloy Jiménez (1.5)
Alex Colomé (1.1)
Jimmy Cordero (1.1)
Adam Engel (0.7)
Danny Mendick (0.5)
Jace Fry (0.2)

The White Sox came close -- racking up 69.8 WAR -- but weren’t able to top Appling. The additions of Dallas Keuchel, Nomar Mazara, Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal (cumulative career WAR 74.3) will likely change that next season.

Yankees: Babe Ruth (142.6)

Players needed: 13

Brett Gardner (42.3)
Aaron Judge (19.1)
Masahiro Tanaka (16.8)
Luis Severino (11.6)
Gary Sánchez (11.2)
Aaron Hicks (9.1)
Gleyber Torres (6.7)
DJ LeMahieu (5.9)
Aroldis Chapman (5.5)
Chad Green (5.3)
Giancarlo Stanton (4.7)
Gio Urshela (3.9)
Mike Tauchman (3.8)

On a team of stars, it's remarkable just how good Gardner has been for his career. It's also notable that he's still over 100 WAR behind Ruth. In case you forgot, that dude was something else.

Michael Clair writes for He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.