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Searching for Mr. 1850

With the 2017 season right around the corner, the Indians are just games away from introducing a player who will become Mr. 1850.

MLB: Spring Training-Arizona Diamondbacks at Cleveland Indians
Likely Indian No. 1845, Edwin Encarnacion
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There is just something about numbers that fascinates many individuals. Especially in baseball, where statistics can sway an argument in any direction. But this post is more aligned with just a fascination with numbers themselves. In particular, the number of players who have played for the Cleveland Indians.

Back in 2014, the Cleveland franchise said hello to Mr. 1800, the 1,800th player to don an Indians uniform, Tyler Holt. Tyler managed to just get into 45 games while with the organization before shuffling off to Cincinnati, but he still counts for the sake of this count.

And on Opening Day 2016, we said hello to Mr. 1825, Rajai Davis, when he led off the game. Also adding to the list on opening day was Mike Napoli, Marlon Byrd, Juan Uribe, Collin Cowgill, Ross Detwiler, Tyler Naquin and Joba Chamberlain.

By the end of the season when Adam Plutko appeared on September 24, the grand total would increase to 1844. Even though the Indians will return almost their entire roster in 2017, Mr. 1850 will surely make his debut at some point. In only one season in history have the Indians debuted fewer than six players. That was in 1926. And in only two seasons did six players make their debut, 1917 and 1935. The fewest debuts this century was 10 players in 2005.

The pool of players who could be Mr. 1850 will either be a free agent signing, or a rookie making his debut. Of the offseason transactions, Edwin Encarnacion and Boone Logan are most likely be No. 1845 and No. 1846, either Opening Day or in the first couple of games.

Fifteen of the sixteen non-roster invites this spring (sans Michael Martinez) have never played for Cleveland in the regular season. Austin Jackson could be an option, but I suspect he’ll be No. 1847. Chris Colabello and the highly touted Bradley Zimmer might be the guy. Or will it be one of the minor-leaguers on the 40-man roster? There is Dylan Baker, Tim Cooney, Nick Goody, Carlos Frias or Francisco Mejia, too, although he is a longshot.

If you believe the No. 1850 seems a bit high for number of players for an organization, you would be correct. Six of the eight original National League franchises have more, but they obviously had quite a few more seasons to add to their totals. Both the Dodgers and Giants franchises, with an additional seventeen and eighteen seasons, respectively, still have used fewer players (1796 and 1735) than Cleveland has. Of the original eight American League franchises, only the Athletics have surpassed the Tribe with a whopping 1912 different players.

In order to get a fairer picture, the players pre-1901 were removed from the player pool and we get this result for most players per franchise, in order from most to fewest for the original sixteen American and National League franchises:

Franchise Years Total players Average new/year
Franchise Years Total players Average new/year
Athletics 116 1912 16.48
Indians 116 1844 15.9
Cubs 116 1824 15.72
Phillies 116 1810 15.6
Cardinals 116 1797 15.49
Orioles/Browns 116 1780 15.34
Reds 116 1775 15.3
Red Sox 116 1766 15.22
Braves 116 1762 15.19
White Sox 116 1722 14.84
Yankees* 114 1637 14.36
Pirates 116 1665 14.35
Dodgers 116 1650 14.22
Tigers 116 1642 14.16
Twins/Senators 116 1625 14.01
Giants 116 1565 13.49

* Yankees franchise joined in 1903 after Baltimore franchise disbanded in 1902.

It was most interesting to me that the Giants are the most stable of the bunch.

Grouping the other expansion eras:

Franchise Years Total players Average new/year
Franchise Years Total players Average new/year
Padres 48 950 19.79
Rangers 56 1063 18.98
Mariners 40 759 18.98
Mets 55 1026 18.65
Nationals/Expos 48 883 18.4
Angels 56 995 17.77
Blue Jays 40 709 17.73
Brewers 48 841 17.52
Royals 48 835 17.4
Astros 55 869 15.8

These numbers are definitely higher than the original franchises, but roster constructions have been vastly different over the past 60 years compared to 100-plus years ago. But man, do the Padres cycle through a lot of players.

And the last round of expansion, for completion sake:

Franchise Years Total Players Average New/Year
Franchise Years Total Players Average New/Year
Diamondbacks 19 429 22.58
Rockies 24 538 22.42
Marlins 24 523 21.79
Rays 19 403 21.21

Again, these numbers are higher, but that is expected of expansion franchises as they are trying to find core players from the get go. Plus, the bullpen structure and the plethora of injuries has skyrocketed the usage rates of more and more players.


Who will be Cleveland Indian No. 1850?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Chris Colabello
    (12 votes)
  • 36%
    Yandy Diaz
    (53 votes)
  • 32%
    Bradley Zimmer
    (47 votes)
  • 6%
    Greg Allen
    (9 votes)
  • 8%
    Nick Goody
    (12 votes)
  • 2%
    Tim Cooney
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    The Field (write in below)
    (9 votes)
145 votes total Vote Now