Just like with my Vin Scully piece, I'm a little late capitalizing on this (for the dozens and dozens of readers who stumble upon my blog), but better late than never. A little research revealed that Survivor featured two teams of ten, and that both my baseball generations and the Strauss-Howe generations are a little older than the Survivor "generations". Survivor's youngest member of Team Gen-X was born in 1982, and its oldest Millennial was born in 1984 (no contestants were born in 1983). I place the Gen-X/Millennial split at 1980-1981, and Strauss & Howe have it pegged at 1981-1982.
With that said, I used the Play Index at baseball-reference to come up with two teams of ten players each (nine fielders and a DH), based on their year of birth and 2016 WAR:
|C||Carlos Ruiz||1.8||1979||C||Buster Posey||4.7||1987|
|1B||Mark Teixeira||-0.6||1980||1B||Freddie Freeman||6.5||1989|
|2B||Chase Utley||2.0||1978||2B||Jose Altuve||7.7||1990|
|3B||Adrian Beltre||6.4||1979||3B||Kris Bryant||7.7||1992|
|SS||Jimmy Rollins||-0.1||1978||SS||Corey Seager||6.1||1994|
|LF||Coco Crisp||0.4||1979||LF||Christian Yelich||5.3||1991|
|CF||Rajai Davis||0.4||1980||CF||Mike Trout||10.6||1991|
|RF||Nelson Cruz||4.7||1980||RF||Mookie Betts||9.6||1992|
|DH||David Ortiz||5.1||1975||DH||Edwin Encarnacion||3.7||1983|
|P||Rich Hill||4.1||1980||P||Justin Verlander||6.6||1983|
I set criteria of at least 40 games played at each position, and 20 games at DH, although I had to lower the standard to get a qualified shortstop for Team Gen X. And I cheated in a couple of other places, too: Bryant played 40 games in left field and Manny Machado played 40 games at shortstop; I ignored them and went with Yelich and Seager.
Still, to no one's surprise, Team Millennial would mop the floor with Team Gen-X. The Gen-Xers really only have four good players - Beltre, Cruz, Ortiz, and Hill - and are basically replacement level at four other positions, whereas Team Millennial has an all-star at every position, including both league MVPs. To put the Gen-Xers WAR total - 24.2 - in context, the top 9 position players and best pitcher on the 2016 Cubs combined for 39.4 WAR.
The WINS total assumes that all other players used by either team over the course of a 162-game season are equal. In other words, if neither team derived any advantage from any players beyond the ten starters, the Millennials would have a record of 103-59 against Gen X. (There were only 55 Gen-Xers left in MLB in 2016, so if I were to fill in the rest of the 25-man rosters with players from the teams' respective generations, the Millennials' much greater depth would give them an even better win-loss record.)
So...when was the last season that an all-star team of Gen Xers would probably have beaten an all-star team of Millennials? You have to go back to 2008:
|C||Kelly Shoppach||3.4||1980||C||Joe Mauer||5.6||1983|
|1B||Albert Pujols||9.2||1980||1B||Justin Morneau||4.2||1981|
|2B||Chase Utley||9.0||1978||2B||Dustin Pedroia||6.9||1983|
|3B||Chipper Jones||7.3||1972||3B||David Wright||6.8||1982|
|SS||Jimmy Rollins||5.4||1978||SS||Hanley Ramirez||6.7||1983|
|LF||Manny Ramirez||5.9||1972||LF||Carlos Quentin||5.3||1982|
|CF||Carlos Beltran||6.9||1977||CF||Grady Sizemore||5.9||1982|
|RF||Ryan Ludwick||5.5||1978||RF||Nick Markakis||7.4||1983|
|DH||Milton Bradley||5.2||1978||DH||Josh Hamilton||5.4||1981|
|P||Johan Santana||7.1||1979||P||Tim Lincecum||7.9||1984|
Pujols and Utley were still in their primes, and Chipper and Manny each had their last great seasons. This time, I cheated for the Millennials, lowering the DH threshold to 10 games to get Josh Hamilton in the line-up.
Utley and Rollins are the only players that make either team in both 2008 and 2016, although I suppose I could have cheated and put Pujols at 1B and Beltran at LF or CF on the 2016 team (both had productive seasons, but primarily as DH's).
The complete turnover on the Millennial team from 2008 to 2016 serves as a reminder that not only is Generation X aging and rapidly disappearing from the game, but many stars from the first Millennial wave - Mauer and Wright and Han-Ram (although he's found new life, and a career high in RBI, at first base) and Sizemore and Lincecum - are also way past their primes and deep in decline (or retired, in Sizemore's case). We're all getting old.