The Bobby Cox All-Stars, the best seasons for players under Bobby Cox:
C Javy Lopez, 2003 (.328, .687 SLG, 43 HR)
1B Andres Galarraga, 1998 (.305, 44 HR, 121 RBI)
2B Marcus Giles, 2003 (.316/.390/.526, 101 R)
3B Chipper Jones, 1999 (.319, 45 HR, 126 BB, MVP)
SS Jeff Blauser, 1993 (.305/.401/.436, 110 R)
LF Jeff Burroughs, 1978 (.301/.432/.529, 23 HR, 117 BB)
CF Andruw Jones, 2005 (51 HR, 121 RBI, GG)
RF Gary Sheffield, 2003 (.330/.419/.604, 132 RBI, 126 R)
SP Greg Maddux, 1995 (19-2, 1.63 ERA, 181/23 K/BB, CYA)
SP Tom Glavine, 1991 (20-11, 2.55 ERA, 9 CG, CYA)
SP Phil Niekro, 1978 (19-18, 2.88 ERA, 22 CG, 334 1/3 IP)
SP Kevin Millwood, 1999 (18-7, 2.68 ERA, 0.996 WHIP)
RA John Smoltz, 2003 (45 Sv, 1.13 ERA, 73/8 K/BB)
A lot of these came down to two seasons. For instance, catcher is between McCann’s first full season (2005) and Javy’s big year; Javy’s numbers are better and he had the advantage on defense, probably, so it’s actually an easy call, though McCann’s probably been a better hitter on average. First base was the Big Cat versus the Crime Dog (1994); McGriff’s slash numbers were better but in a strike year, so I went with the guy who played a full season. Marcus was an easy call at second, and at third the only question is which Chipper season, and I went with the MVP year. At shortstop, the numbers say Blauser, by a long way, over Furcal and Tony Fernandez.
The best year by a Cox left fielder was actually Chipper’s first year in the outfield, but I didn’t double up. George Bell only broke through the year after Bobby left Toronto. Klesko was a possibility, but his best slash stats came in a strike year (1995) when he was heavily platooned. That leaves the race between Gant and Burroughs, and I went with the latter. Center was pretty easy — Murphy, like Bell, broke out right after Bobby left. Several right fielders (Barfield, Justice) could have made it if I’d taken any outfielder rather than by position. I really wanted to squeeze in Barfield to give Toronto some representation.
The first two pitchers were automatic. Having decided to move Smoltz to closer, Knucksie was the obvious choice for the third spot, where I went with the year he had the best ERA of his time with Bobby. Millwood was a bit of a surprise to me, as I wanted to get Dave Stieb in there, but Stieb’s stats, other than ERA, weren’t really all that impressive, and the year he had his best ERA, 1985, he was only 14-13. Bobby never managed a 20-game winner in Toronto, never really came close. In the bullpen, I went with Smoltz in 2003 over his 55-save season the year before because of his ridiculous K/BB ratio and ERA. If the 2003 team had had any pitching besides Smoltz, it would have been a juggernaut, but it was a team of third starters and fifth relievers except for a couple of stretches by Hampton.