Just for fun I put together an OL team with A++++ range guys at every position except catcher and pitcher:
1B: 1919 Hal Chase
2B: 1952 Billy Goodman
3B: 1981 Buddy Bell
SS: 2007 Troy Tulowitzki
OF: 2002 Darin Erstad, 2003 Mike Cameron, 1984 Kirby Puckett
Pitching staff was 95 Maddux, 97 Maddux, 21 Doak, 04 Joss playing in Ameriquest Field.
As you might expect, the team was pretty weak offensively (713 runs, 20th in the league). Defensively they recorded 212 plus plays (by far the most in the league, more than the next 3 teams combined) against 13 minus plays. Cameron was 34-0 in CF, Bell was 25-0 at 3B, Tulo was 33-2 at SS, Goodman was 26-1 at 2B, Chase was 30-0 at 1B. Erstad was 15-0 in LF, 3-0 in CF, 1-0 at 1B. Puckett was 17-0 in RF (I benched him toward the end of the season in favor of my AAA OF who had a much better bat and contributed 10 plus plays of his own.) On the mound, 95 Maddux had 6 plus plays, 97 Maddux had 5. The team also fielded .987, tied for best in the league.
The pitchers - no doubt benefiting from all that glove work - were pretty darned effective:
95 Maddux: 26-4, 1.71, 0.86 WHIP
97 Maddux: 20-12, 2.98, 1.08 WHIP
21 Doak: 13-13, 4.11, 1.37 WHIP
04 Joss: 13-12, 2.81, 1.13 WHIP
The major shortcoming of the team, besides the weak offense, is that with all that salary committed to position players (43.5M, 3rd highest total in the league), I wasn't left with much for the bullpen and ended up pretty short of quality innings. I started mops and AAA in 20 games, and wasn't quite good enough in the other 142 to make the playoffs. Finished 91-71, 2 games out of the wild card, and had a pretty fatigued staff by the end.
I have no doubt someone can improve on this performance. Things to think about:
-- Drafting slightly worse SP overall (allowing for more bullpen IP).
-- Trying a different park, maybe one with more offense? It seems to me that all that range is wasted in a place like Petco or Safeco where the park is already reducing offense, and that a ++ offense park might on net be the best place to put this team.
-- Drafting a high-offense catcher (or pitchers who can also hit) to help improve the team offensively? I started out with 2006 Victor Martinez, but he got killed by all the SB teams in the league and I ended up dumping him for 2008 Bengie Molina. Interestingly, Molina put up the best OPS on the team: .324/.351/.439.
So here's the challenge: can someone put together an OL team that makes 200 or more plus plays, and wins more than 91 games? I fully expect the answer is yes...someone will win 110 or so.