Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Donruss Rated Rookies 1984-1989

Being 9 years old in 1984, I was playing Little League and living and breathing baseball.  My Chicago Cubs were enroute to the NLCS and Donruss had introduced a new subset, the Rated Rookie.  I started baseball cards heavily in 1986 and the Jose Canseco was card every kid chased.  As a member of the bash brothers, Canseco and McGwire were at the core of my colelctions.

Recently I was thinking about the Donruss Rated Rookies from the 80's.   I am sure that there is a future blog of Rated Rookies that should have been like Will Clark, Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin and even Don Mattingky.  But for this blog, I focised on the 118 players who were Rated Rookies from 1984-1989.

Here are some stats of these cards/players.
  • 118 Rated Rookies (not counting Danny Tartabull twice)
  • Career WAR 1633.8 (13.84 average per player)
  • 43 players with a career WAR 10 or higher
  • 43 players with a career WAR of less than 1 (26 are negative WAR)
  • Greg Maddux had the highest WAR with 106.6 (27th all time)
  • Gary Thurman had the worst WAR with a -2.4
  • Only 4 Hall of Famers

What was the best crop of Rated Rookies?  1987 which has the highest total WAR, highest individual player WAR and most players with WAR of 10 or higher.  1985 was the worst.

YearPlayerWARTotal War# over 10 WAR
1987Greg Maddux106.6459.311
1989Randy Johnson101.1427.19
1988Roberto Alomar67250.96
1986Fred McGriff52.6226.37
1984Tony Fernandez45.8215.87
1985Danny Tartabull23.354.42

Considering only those players with a career WAR of 10 or higher

The Cubs lead  with the most players finishing with a career WAR of 10+ as well as the highest combined WAR.

# Of PlayersTeamCombined WAR
3Blue Jays108

The Tigers, Pirates, Phillies, Giants, Astros and the Braves did not have any Rated Rookies from 1984-1989 with a career WAR of 10 or higher.

Looking by position of the players with a career WAR of 10 or more, most of them were infielders and they had the highest combined and average WAR.  But considering that 44% of players on the field are infielders, there were a higher percentage of pitchers, given there is only 1 on the field at t time.

#PositionCombined WARAverage

Was there a certain card number that had more success than others?  Given there were roughly 6 Rated Rookies for card numbers 28-47 (3 for 47 and 2 for 27) there were 8 card numbers that had a total WAR of 100+.  Card #34 ranked the highest with a 134.4.

Card #WARPlayer 1Player 2Player 3
34134.4Roberto AlomarKevin McReynoldsTerry Steinbach
43129.4Rafael PalmeiroAl LeiterTodd Worrell
33120.8Ken Griffey Jr.Andres GalarragaDaryl Boston
39120.3Jose CansecoCris CarpenterGreg Gagne
31119.9Gary SheffieldBenito SantiagoLance Johnson
36112.7Greg MadduxBrad KomminskLarry Sheets
42112.1Randy JohnsonJohn FarrellChris James
28105.2Fred McGriffB.J. SurhoffSandy Alomar Jr.

Who were the biggest surprises on the list?  Clearly I had not been paying attention to Angels or Cardinals baseball because I had no idea these 5 guys had such productive careers.

9 - Devon White 47.3
17 - Cris Carpenter 34.2
25 - Lance Johnson 26.4
33 - Dick Schofield 18.8
34 - Mark McLemore 17.4

Note that stats for Cris Carpenter are actually for Chris Carpenter.  This changes rankings throughout the blog. 

Who were the guys that I knew were sneaky good that most people would forget about because they did not have flashy careers? Lead by Sid Fernandez, this list of low key guys amassed solid careers after starting off as Rated Rookies.

18 - Sid Fernandez 32.8
20 - Greg Swindell 30.5
21 - Kevin McReynolds 30.1
23 - Jack McDowell 27.8
26 - Greg Gagne 26.3

Here is the full list of every Rated Rookie from 1984-1989 ranked by career WAR.

RankYearCard #PlayerWAR
1198736Greg Maddux106.6
2198942Randy Johnson101.1
3198933Ken Griffey Jr.83.8
4198743Rafael Palmeiro71.9
5198834Roberto Alomar67
6198746Mark McGwire62.2
7198931Gary Sheffield60.5
8198628Fred McGriff52.6
9198738Devon White47.3
10198840Mark Grace46.4
11198432Tony Fernandez45.3
12198639Jose Canseco42.4
13198843Al Leiter40
14198637Paul O'Neill38.8
15198945Tom Gordon35
16198728B.J. Surhoff34.4
17198939Cris Carpenter34.2
18198444Sid Fernandez32.8
19198633Andres Galarraga31.7
20198732Greg Swindell30.5
21198434Kevin McReynolds30.1
22198734Terry Steinbach28
23198847Jack McDowell27.8
24198731Benito Santiago27.4
25198831Lance Johnson26.4
26198439Greg Gagne26.3
27198527Danny Tartabull23.3
28198932Erik Hanson22.1
29198944Pete Harnisch20.6
30198430Ron Darling19.6
31198441Joe Carter19.6
32198935Gregg Jefferies19.6
33198435Dick Schofield18.8
34198635Mark McLemore17.4
35198630Jose Guzman16.6
36198437Tim Teufel15.3
37198729Randy Myers15.3
38198841Jody Reed15
39198928Sandy Alomar Jr.13.7
40198539Shawon Dunston11.5
41198643Todd Worrell10.9
42198741Jerry Browne10.3
43198745Duane Ward10.1
44198946Gregg Olson9.8
45198934Greg Harris9
46198735Bo Jackson8.3
47198938Felix Jose7.1
48198842John Farrell6.3
49198431Dion James6.2
50198837Kevin Elster6.2
51198645John Habyan6.1
52198829Jeff Treadway6.1
53198528Mike Bielecki5.9
54198640Juan Nieves5.4
55198839Kirt Manwaring5.2
56198943Mike Harkey4.8
57198530Jeff Reed4.4
58198533Daryl Boston4.3
59198541Billy Hatcher3.9
60198838Jose Lind3.9
61198742Chris James3.8
62198538Calvin Schiraldi3.5
63198641Lance McCullers3
64198733Mike Birkbeck3
65198443Mike Jeffcoat2.8
66198937Carlos Quintana2.8
67198436Brad Komminsk2.2
68198941David West2.1
69198529Steve Lyons1.9
70198536Larry Sheets1.9
71198636Marty Clary1.8
72198835Shawn Hillegas1.7
73198940Ron Jones1.5
74198832Nelson Liriano1.4
75198845Vicente Palacios1.1
76198442Mike C. Brown0.9
77198629Cory Snyder0.7
78198739Eric Bell0.7
79198445Brian Dayett0.6
80198546Doug Loman0.4
81198634Dave Shipanoff0.4
82198737Jim Lindeman0.4
83198740Willie Fraser0.4
84198828Mackey Sasser0.2
85198836Joey Meyer0.2
86198440Mike Fuentes0.1
87198446Chris Smith0.1
88198632Johnny Abrego0.1
89198427Joel Skinner0
90198542Russ Stephans0
91198642Rick Surhoff0
92198930Cameron Drew0
93198936Luis Medina0
94198534Alfonso Pulido-0.1
95198540Charlie Mitchell-0.1
96198631Ty Gainey-0.1
97198830Mike Campbell-0.1
98198747Bruce Fields-0.2
99198947Alex Sanchez-0.2
100198544Steve Jeltz-0.3
101198846Eddie Williams-0.3
102198929Steve Searcy-0.4
103198531Tony Brewer-0.5
104198744Pat Dodson-0.5
105198532John Morris-0.6
106198646Mike Woodard-0.6
107198730Ken Gerhart-0.6
108198433Angel Salazar-0.8
109198545Jim Traber-0.9
110198644Bob Kipper-0.9
111198543Alejandro Sanchez-1
112198438Doug Frobel-1.1
113198833Shawn Abner-1.2
114198429Mike Stenhouse-1.4
115198537Scott Bradley-1.5
116198428Tommy Dunbar-1.6
117198535Steve Kiefer-1.6
118198844Gary Thurman-2.4