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...and that O's deal makes even less sense now given the acquisition of Weeks.
Gotta say, those are three moves that all make sense. Getting Konerko back hedges their bets a wee bit on Abreu; Johnson is a piece that can cover the Yankees in several spots if needed; and Wright is a cheap bullpen piece that can help out versus lefties.
Maybe not as flashy as all the moves made on Tuesday, but these are the kinds of moves, if they work out, can really make the difference over the long baseball season.
Sure looks like it; those shiny slugging percentages from 2009 - 2011 have really dried up the last couple of years and I don't think he was ever considered much of a defensive asset.
As an avid player of MLB The Show, this deal reminds me of one of those deals people make in a video game (versus the game's AI) then they go to an online forum and flaunt how they just acquired Player X in a "fair deal". Everyone berates this person as to the realism of the trade (why would a team in real life give you a solid starting pitcher for a futility infielder, a LOOGY, and an "ok" prospect)? They cry that this could never happen, etc. The person who made the deal then either defends the deal with incredible zeal or slithers away back to the faux baseball universe that they created.
Well, it has now happened in the real world (with Dombrowski supposedly playing the role of the 'duped game AI') and I am honestly scratching my head over this one. Yet, as I write this, I wonder what Detroit was thinking. When looking at most trades, you can at least see what a team (on the supposed losing side of the deal) might be thinking. Teams might be looking to fill a hole, save money, or acquire a great prospect. For all of the reasons outlined in this article, this deal just doesn't make a lot of sense on the surface.
What will we be saying 3 years from now? That is the question I am most curious to have answered.
I have been following the game for over 20 years now and I have NEVER once heard this....guess you learn something new every day.
So what are the Braves likely to do now? Bethancourt probably isn't ready (offensively) for the full time job and Gattis isn't any great shakes behind the dish.
Here's wondering if they make a run for Ryan Hanigan; he may be available and the Reds and Braves have made a few deals in recent years.
Fun articles; it makes me pine for the start of the season.
That said, looks like yesterday's Fielder-Kinsler trade may allow you to recover from the Lawrie debacle as you should be able to use Castellanos as your CI if he hits well....
Thanks for making Monday morning a lot brighter than it has been in a long while....something about the first Top-10 of the off-season just makes me smile.
That said, the Astros have done a remarkable job gathering talent (can they develop these guys at the major league level, that is the question?). That said, several of these young arms currently grade out as role-6 players, which is a very good thing. However, could one of these guys jump up to a role-7 if something unexpected happens? If so, who is the most likely candidate?
One other question: while comps can be rather inaccurate, they can sometimes be of use as a "quick and dirty assessment" if thought is put into it. So, I am thinking of George Springer, a toolsy guy with some flaws. His future game sounds rather similar to several toolsy guys that never quite became big-time studs.
You already mentioned Chris Young, who is similar. But two guys crossed my mind; Reggie Sanders and Mike Cameron. Cameron's glove was way better than it sounds like Springer's is; so I don't buy that. Sanders was a solid all-around guy; okay average, good power, slightly better speed, and solid (if unspectacular) defender. What do you think?
Awesome stuff here. Question though, as physics is not my strong suit and I never played the game (and maybe this is outside of the scope of this article). The distance from the mound to the plate is the same (assuming release points are at the same position). Gravity is a constant. So if two pitchers throw 4-seamers at the same velocity over the same distance; with the same downward effect of gravity, then one would expect the same downward movement. Yet, we know that pitchers vary in the relative movement of their pitches. What other factors contribute to this? I guess that arm angle is one, but what other factors come into play.
I drafted Carpenter this year late due to his multi-position eligibility with hopes of using him as a utility guy. I wasn't expecting him to have an elite-level season and wound up using him as my starting 2B most of the year. That said, you have very nicely summarized what my concerns are about him as I begin to evaluate his keeper status (my league keeper rules are fairly complex so I won't go into that here).
One item of note that wasn't alluded to is that he may retain eligibility at 3B in many leagues next year. If he does, that bumps his value up ever so slightly.
In all fairness to BP, many pundits out there were picking the Nats to win the NL East (and many picked them to go beyond that) this year.
In looking at their lineup though, I have never been overwhelmed. Sure, Harper will be a thumper in the middle of the lineup and guys like Zimmerman, Desmond, and Werth are decent enough. But, I just don't see that high-average stud (like Miggy/Trout or even guys like Cano/Wright). Who on this roster REALLY scares you (possibly outside of Harper)? I agree that there are no "obvious" holes to fill as there are decent enough players at every position; but how many of these guys are true studs? If I were the Nats, I would be looking to re-tool the roster a bit via trade to get a higher-upside bat in the lineup.
Surprised no one threw John Smoltz on this list...but fun article regardless.
Given that Zack Wheeler is not on the list, I would assume the former.
Those 2012 vs. 2013 splits for Ike Davis are almost eerie.....
Excellent observation about Hosmer's mindset there. His job isn't to bunt the runner over or simply take pitches until the runner steals 2nd. His job is to hit the ball hard, whether it be a single, double, triple, or homerun (although drawing a walk is always an acceptable outcome as well). Nothing better at keeping an inning moving than getting on base.
With regards to Middlebrooks, are there any signs at all of rebounding or should owners consider dropping him? In my case, I am in a 14-team mixed H2H league (5 traditional hitting categories plus OPS). I drafted Matt Carpenter as a reserve and also snagged Nolan Arenado off the free agency list when he was promoted. I'd rather trade Middlebrooks, but have no idea what to begin asking for.
I love this feature and you guys do a terrific job. One thought is to include the level at which a player is at next to his stat line. For guys who have played on multiple levels, this could make it a bit easier to siphon through.
This is one of my favorite strategies; particularly in roto leagues (and especially in leagues with innings pitched limits). Good middle relievers that pitch a lot of innings can really help stabilize your rate stats, boost your Ks, and chip in a few wins. If you get lucky enough to grab that oddball reliever that racks up 6 or 7 wins, that is icing on the cake.
Good article. Quick question, Drew Stankiewicz isn't related to former Yankee Andy Stankiewicz is he? (I remember watching Andy as a kid when he was at AAA Columbus).
Is Price losing movement and/or command as he gains velo?
I would think so....but someone smarter than me will need to do the math :)
I know where you're going with this and if we had seen regression to the mean last season, I might buy it. But now he has had two straight seasons where his FIP is nearly 1.5 runs higher than his ERA.
Somehow, he is getting the job done (you can reference 400 innings with a FIP in the mid-4's all you want but I will say that in the same period his ERA has been 3). The more he does it, the less likely it is random luck and the more one has to acknowledge that he may have an underlying skillset that standard metrics do not take into account. There are players that metrics cannot define and it may be that Hellickson is one of them. At the end of the day, he has 400+ major league innings of allowing only 3 earned runs per game; he is doing something right.
Wonderful tribute to a great player and a great man....kudos Bradford
With regards to Sale, you state:
"His 80 percent left-on-base rate was 5.5 percentage points higher than the league average for relievers, so betting on him beating the league average for starters by 8.5 percent again is a bad idea."
I know that strand rates are often subject to luck and variability, but is there anything in his data that suggest he has some skill pitching out of the stretch? As a side-note, are his mechanics out of the stretch any better than out of the wind-up?
To clarify, I suspect that Rizzo's walk rate will improve a bit this season as he gains more seasoning....
I hate asking league-specific questions here, but I'm totally torn on Rizzo in my keeper league. I am basically down to keeping either Rizzo or Kipnis as my final keeper (I can keep both for up to 2 more seasons, no salary adjustments). It is a 14-team mixed league (5 keepers each - max of 3 hitter keepers) that includes OPS as a category in addition to the traditional 5 x 5 categories. Does Rizzo's batting eye vault him into keeper territory or will his relative lack of power offset the OBP gains he has from the walks he generates?
Would you call him Alex Cole Jr.? (I would)
...I think that he is one of those guys that have more build-up around them because of fantasy baseball where is base-stealing ability makes him far more useful than his real-life skill-set suggests...
It's a stretch to ask about him here as he really isn't a catcher anymore, but has there been any scuttlebutt about Victor Martinez? He obviously isn't a keeper except in insanely deep leagues, but what could we expect from him this season?
Don't forget about that key acquisition of Heath Bell.....
Well thank you for writing Daniel, nothing like some good trade rumors to spice up a cold, snowy December. The Ross signing really set things up nicely for some good old fashioned trade speculation :)
To your point, I am sure that most GMs would make a deal for Andrus or Profar. If Towers had an opportunity to acquire either for a reasonable cost, he'd be a fool not to. I think that Towers should also strongly consider Mike Olt to fill 3B with an above-average player. A deal centered around Mike Olt and Leonys Martin (other pieces thrown in) would also be intriguing as a return for Upton if Towers isn't going for pitching. Olt can play 3B with the D-backs going out there with an OF of Kubel/Martin/Ross (Parra as the 4th OF).
With that said, Towers has cheaply filled the more immediate holes at SS and 3B. While Pennington/Chavez are stopgap measures, they are decent enough to fill the holes for this season, particularly if the rest of the lineup is solid. This is why I think Towers should take a long look at that rotation as a more immediate concern for any deal involving Upton.
For the reasons you stated, the Mariners are not a good fit for an Upton deal. A package of Hultzen/Franklin or Paxton/Franklin is probably not good enough and like you, I can't imagine the M's giving up Walker. I think the M's are probably out of the Upton sweepstakes.
As outlined above, the Cubs might be the best match (although I do agree that Garza/Vitters alone would not be enough even if a deal was contingent on a Garza extension). Few other teams in need of a corner OF have rotation depth (although I could see the Braves doing something, moving Prado to 3B to accommodate Justin).
It really is a darn shame that the D-backs are a NL team though. In the AL, they could shift Kubel to DH and they would be set without trading any of these guys. But then, all of our fun speculating would be at an end....
You make the following statement:
" The Mariners could make a play for Upton, but they lack the young left-side infielders that Towers covets...."
My comment is as follows:
Can we assume that Towers is still coveting a left-side infielder after acquiring Gregorius? Sure, Didi doesn't fill a void at 3B and his contributions at SS may be limited by his bat, but I doubt that Towers would dump Bauer for such an underwhelming package unless he had some good vibes for Didi.
However, in looking at Arizona's depth chart, I am not convinced that Towers won't pursue more pitching. Kennedy and Cahill are solid enough (though neither is an ace), but there are questions afterwards. Is Miley really as good as last season? Can McCarthy and Hudson be healthy and productive? Can Skaggs be productive at the major league level (TINSTAAPP)? That's an awful lot of question marks for a team with a solid chance of contending in the NL West.
If the D-backs move Upton, it could very well be to a team with a surplus of Major-league starting pitching. Would Towers trade Upton to the Cubs for a package centered around Matt Garza (with perhaps Vitters included as a reclamation project?)
That's a good point. Derek mentions getting $34 worth of stats for $34 (for Verlander as a keeper). However, if available in the draft day auction, inflation may make him a $45 purchase. In this scenario, there might be advantages in keeping a guy like Verlander. All this goes in the area of knowing your league-mates and their tendencies (i.e. how much will they overpay).
All things being equal, I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of keeping low-cost players. In most cases, they tend to be younger and have even more upside. If they aren't younger (i.e. Dunn), it is rather unlikely that their production the next season will be below their keeper price. Let your league-mates overspend for the "name" players, leaving you with the ability to grab the good mid-tier guys. Of course, this assumes that your other league-mates aren't attempting to execute the same strategy. If they are, then you could see serious inflation in the mid-tier guys, with modest price drops in the upper-tier guys.
Again....the key here is knowing your league.
I wish we could plus/minus BP staff because I'd give you a big plus mark for that one.....
Also, just wanted to say how much I have been enjoying seeing these updates almost daily....it's nice to know baseball is being played somewhere when I look outside and see snow on the ground.
Thanks for acknowledging those of us in holds leagues (in reference to Jansen's capsule).... :)
Daniel, speaking of Michael Bourn...are there ANY rumors about his possible destination? It just seems like he is the one "big" free agent of this class that is going to get shut out of the big contract and will have to scramble for a short-term deal....
Also, any thoughts on Kyle Lohse? Nothing against him, but I am ecstatic that no team has been dumb enough to overpay him so far. But now, we are getting to the stage of free agency that maybe he'll get a contract commiserate with his actual skill level instead of being the next Carl Pavano.
Why would there be? Their major league lineup is relatively young and is pretty well set. There aren't going to be too many places that a young hitter can step in and play anyways. Pitching is where they need the help and fortunately, is where their farm system is deepest.
Can't say that I remember Cannon, but why did I immediately think of Darin Ruf when I read this?
Maybe the Reds can acquire Sanchez and stick him in AAA to keep him away from Choo :)
Shields is an OK starting pitcher and will give you innings. But if you look at WARP, in his best season (2007) he was worth 3 Wins. Note that a WARP of 3.0 would have landed him in the top 20 last season, just under guys like Peavy, Darvish, and Greinke. If he were still that kind of pitcher, I could better understand this deal.
If he is only a 2 win pitcher (ironically putting him alongside another Royal based on 2012 numbers, Bruce Chen), then your marginal upgrade is so minimal that I question if it is worth it.
The problem, is that Shields was worth less than 1 WARP last season and now at age 30, I question if he will ever improve beyond that.
I love the concept of the deal for the Royals....but they got the wrong starting pitcher. The Reds gave up less in prospects last off-season (Alonso, Grandal, Boxberger, and Volquez) and they managed to land a younger, cost-controlled, starting pitcher in Mat Latos from the Pardes.
Me too....the way other people talk about him, you'd think that he was a 9 prospect or something :)
Reading through the analysis, it does make sense though. And as jpaternostro commented, a major-league ready 6 is nothing to scoff at....
Perhaps, but you'd have to factor in the type of return they would get for him.
Interesting article. I'd also be curious to know who were the biggest gainers and losers between 2010 and 2011 and how guys faired in 2012.
Too bad I can only give you a +1 for that post....I'd give you a +1000....a truer statement has never been made....
I'll throw in another, play some MLB The Show '12 for the PS3. Fans have not only made outstanding real life rosters, but also a fascinating fictional roster, and recreations of historical seasons (including the strike-shortened 1994 season). The game is incredibly well-done and recreates baseball better than any other game recreates their respective sport. It has a level of complexity that can allow you to bring out your inner-GM or manager. It can even be fun just to sit back and watch two computer controlled teams duke it out.
Jason, I dig the format and like the depth of the work you put into this. One thought though:
You assign players their OFP based on the 2 to 8 scale, that is clear. However, in many instances a player's true potential is tied to the role that they play. Maybe a two-pitch pitcher with great velocity is currently a SP in the minors but projects as 7 closer candidate but only a 5 starting pitcher. If you were doing a profile for that player, would you assign an OFP of 5 or 7? How would we, the reader, know which you were referring to?
It would need to be a heckuva pitcher though...
I wouldn't want to trade Arenado for an oldish guy in Ruf (who has barely been tested above AA) and a mediocre pitcher.
As a Reds fan, I am not sure what excites me more, the fact that they are up 2-0 on the Giants or that Hamilton has (finally) been moved to CF.
And up until recently when Anderson returned, not one of those 4 pitchers threw a single pitch for this ballclub...(granted, Gonzalez's and Cahill's contributions to this team via trade have been quite valuable)
Glad you said this though pobo....this franchise just keeps churning out young pitchers and then they sell them off for more young arms and other parts....
When it all comes together, it is a sight to behold.
I totally agree with your advice about using relievers for leagues with inning caps. When in such leagues in the past, I employed that strategy for the entire season by using two very good setup men to augment my starting pitching staff. They can really stabilize your ratios and help with Ks. Add to the fact that they can typically add 10+ wins between them, and it can have a huge impact in roto leagues.
He may not be regressing, but what you do see with Adrian Gonzalez is a player that may be morphing into a different kind of player. His HRs, walks, and TAv have all fallen each year since 2009. He has managed to keep strikeout rate relatively constant during that same time period and we have seen a higher BA with more doubles.
His partially BABIP-fueled season last year was outstanding, but his BABIP has fallen back this year (as one would expect) to his more typical career numbers (.323 career vs. .329 this season).
When I look at Gonzalez, I see a guy that was a .280/35-40 HR guy in his peak changing into a .300 guy with declining HR numbers (but more doubles). His regression in his walk rate is concerning, but if that is a byproduct of his squaring up more pitches for line drive doubles, it isn't all bad.
So yes, I agree that he may not be declining, but I also would not expect the slugger version (circa 2009) of Gonzalez. If you're OK with a .300 hitting 1B who hits 20 HRs with a bunch of doubles, then he's your man.
Let's see....trade a young, cost-controlled, 5-tool player that has put up All-star caliber numbers in the past and is about to enter his prime....
Hmmmm...I'd say smokescreen.
"...to keep Hamels in the fold, you had to offer more years in order to garner the high dollars. The AAV would kill the Phillies in terms of the luxury tax."
To me, that is the key line in this. Longer-term contracts are going to be even more common and teams are going to be sunk with their costs. A couple of bad moves or bad luck with long-term contracts could cripple a team.
Just a thought, but gotta wonder if the Marlins are regretting the Carlos Lee deal. He didn't get them any closer and now they trade Hanley. Not only that, but their heir apparent at 3b in Matt Dominguez was traded to the Astros in the Lee deal.
I agree. A look at Hanley's career numbers and one has to wonder that when he retires, if we will go back and say he peaked at age 24. Not saying he can't rebound, but his name value right now is far bigger than his actual production.
The Dodgers are taking a gamble, but one a big market team with money (finally) can afford to make.
Wishing I could edit our posts since the answer came up as I was reading....oh well.. :)
That's a great question....I'd like to know the answer to that too...
Shortstops tend to be among the most athletic players on their respective teams (well, at least the good ones). More and more top young athletes have been moving away from baseball to play other sports such as football or basketball. This has diluted the top tier athletic talent available to play SS. This is certainly not the only factor, but I am positive that it is one of them.
I know what you are saying, but PECOTA is based on historical comparables and past performance. How many historical comps can you find for Bautista? PECOTA has always undervalued Ichiro too, but he is as much an outlier as Bautista is.
Thank you very much for confirming my thoughts. I hate to dump such a promising talent as Trout, but given our league format, it just seems like the most logical conclusion.
OK, so in my keeper league (12 team, mixed, 5X5 plus OPS and holds), I am allowed to keep one more hitter (aside from Justin Upton and Jay Bruce). I can keep David Wright this season for a 9th rounder or I can keep Mike Trout for a 17th rounder. Given the limited number of keepers (5 total), this is essentially a re-draft league, so any team can win any year. Per our rules, I am allowed to keep Wright for this season only. I can keep Trout for 2 more seasons. I am seriously leaning towards dropping Trout and keeping Wright. My concern is that Trout will not be fully established until the time I have to give him up anyways. If I drop him and then get lucky enough to re-draft him, I can keep him for 3 years. Does it make sense to keep Wright in this situation?
The only thing I don't like here is that it doesn't appear that there is a max innings cap, just a minimum innings threshold (correct me if I am wrong). If there is a max innings cap, then the set-up man value goes way up....
Even a great setup man may only give you 5 IP per week with 5 or 6 K's, maybe 0.3 wins/saves, with that nice ERA/WHIP ratio. One start from a SP can offer more innings with better chances at more wins and K's. As long as he doesn't kill your ratios, he has a better chance to contribute to those other two categories. Without a max innings pitched cap, the SP is probably the better option. With a max innings pitched cap, you get the ERA/WHIP help and the gravy of K's, wins and saves.
Intriguing option here. Care must be taken though in how one utilizes this slot. If I remember the rules correctly, this is a roto format. As such, using the wrong player can hurt you in the categories other the ones you are trying bolster (i.e. rate stats). I think what this comes down to is your overall strategy. If you prefer a balanced approach, you use the player that helps with weaknesses. If you go heavy in one direction, then use that player to further bolster those areas. However, I think the best approach is a flexible one until you get a sense of how your competitors will play it. Taking a week-by-week approach to fill games played shortcomings due to scheduling may be advantageous.
One final thought...the nice thing about this rule is that it allows you the luxury of taking the best available player at a position in which you already have your nominal starter. Let's say you are set in the OF, but a really juicy OF is going for cheap. You normally wouldn't bid on a guy you have no regular spot for, but with this rule, you have that extra slot. Now you can bid on him and possibly get a bargain (or drive up the price for the guy who still NEEDS that OF).
This was a very helpful article, thank you Jason.
Am I correct in thinking that SecA may be more predictive of player value in leagues that employ OPS as a category?
Furthermore, in H2H leagues, could SecA be a bit more meaningful? For example, I want to win 8 out of 12 categories per week. It doesn't matter where the wins come from (so a crappy BA doesn't mean much if you are stellar in other areas). SecA seems to be a far more helpful measure of a player's overall contributions to your team in H2H than roto. Guys like Keppinger have their uses but the empty BA in a H2H league isn't all that useful (although it can be greatly helpful in roto).
Thanks for the input (and yours too lesmash). I just realized too that he would actually be a 10th round and not a 9th rounder....that almost clinches it for me.
In my keeper league format, I would have to yield a 9th round pick to keep Daniel Hudson. This is a 12-team, mixed league with 24 man rosters (up to 5 keepers per team). I'm not going to ask if I should keep him, but rather if his value would be worthy of that spot? Let's just say that I am really torn...
(Oh yeah, it is a 7 X 7 league with quality starts and holds added on the pitching side).
Spoken like a true fantasy owner :)
That is an outstanding question. My only concern is that they will want Hanley to focus on 3B exclusively and will move Infante over to SS when Reyes gets hurt. Still, 20 games is typically enough to retain eligibility in most leagues....so one never knows.
How about a shortstop named Pokey (i.e. Pokey Reese)? :)
I wonder if Homer Bailey and Travis Snider should be added to this list? Both are talented young players that have both struggled at the big league level in their current organizations. In fact, I wonder if the Reds and Jays should get together on a deal where these guys are traded for one another (comparable to the Hamilton for Volquez deal made a few years ago).
I'd be interested in seeing some thoughts on Dustin Ackley. Based on this year, I am sure he will be a solid player, but I just can't figure out what his ultimate upside is. It seems like he has double-digit upside in HR and SB with a good OBP. However, even at second base, this is a nice player, not a fantasy stud.
It wasn't some meaningless regular season game in May against the Royals when the team was up 10-0. This was a playoff game with their chance to go to the World Series on the line. If they don't win that game, they would be screwed.
THIS is the time you let your workhorse Ace go 133 pitches.
...and I still hate it (from the Reds' perspective)
I agree with you about the Rays pitching and I know we aren't going to get Price. I also agree with your point about Moore and the Reds' window to compete. Maybe Hellickson is the guy to go after; but after reading your post, I am beginning to see now why Shields might make sense. Maybe 2010 was an aberration for Shields, but it still gives me pause.
I know, Snider....hmmm....it's a gamble I would be more than willing to take.
The Reds have two major lineup holes, SS and LF. They also desperately need a lead-off guy (duh). I like Cozart well enough, but he isn't going to be a lead-off guy. That means you would need a lead-off guy in LF. With that bandbox of a home ballpark, I'd prefer a thumper in LF.
If I were to make a BOLD move; I might target Jose Reyes as a FA. He fills two major holes; SS and lead-off man. He is risky and will be expensive, but the pay-off could be worth it. You also will have insurance in Cozart and/or Janish should he miss some games.
I would then ponder a 'challenge trade'. Trade Homer Bailey (and another SP...perhaps Wood) to the Blue Jays for Travis Snider. I think both Bailey and Snider need a change of scenery to maximize their potential.
This leaves you with a hole to fill at the top of the rotation. I'd prefer Cueto as a number 2, so I would target a number one (or at least a guy with that potential). If I have to unload top prospects like Grandal or Alonso...it's ok because we are set at those positions. I don't think James Shields is the guy I'd want, but Tampa's needs match up well. Hellickson or Moore (yes, I know I'm dreaming) would be more ideal.
Agreed....but it is SO much fun to pick on him....call it retribution for those years he was Cincy's GM :)
In all seriousness, I get where he is coming from...it's just that Gio Gonzalez isn't the guy I would be targeting.
Good stuff Jason.
Did you notice anything in your research suggesting that inducing pop-ups is a repeatable skill? If so, is there something inherent to these pitchers that suggests they can do this year after year?
Good lord almighty....I have got to agree with this a million percent.
I thought that too....add in the fact that both are RHPs makes me chuckle even more.
First of all, thanks for the shout-out Mike regarding Crow, its much appreciated.
I'd like to throw out another name. Jim Johnson in Baltimore has done a fine job this season. I totally understand your affections for Uehara and agree that he should be the next in line as the closer. However, Johnson's SIERA is very solid (2.62) with solid strikeout rates and the O's could consider him as a potential closer as well. If you're in a league that rewards Holds, he has added value.
In a typical 5 X 5 league, he probably doesn't have a ton of value. But he does pitch quite a few innings as a RP (6th in relief innings pitched) with strong numbers. If you can pair him with another high-usage reliever (Tyler Clippard or Cory Luebke to name two) it can seriously balance out a bad outing by a SP (especially in a weekly H2H league).
After all, relievers can have more value than just saves...if you play your cards right.
In regards to Bubba Starling, how much of his desire to play QB at Nebraska is a smokescreen to gain leverage? Taylor Martinez is entrenched as the starter there for the next three seasons (he is a RS Sophomore) and he isn't the type of player to declare early for the draft as he isn't a prototypical NFL QB.
Good stuff Mike.
I think one other thing in favor of Aaron Crow is that he should be eligible as a SP as well as RP in many leagues. For leagues with daily transactions, this is a godsend (even more so if he starts picking up some saves). I know it is hard for you to write about this sort of thing (with league rules being so diverse) but I thought it would be worth pointing out.
Good stuff....just one question. How do Maybin and Cameron stack up when adjusting for park factors?
What scares me is that Felix Hernandez would still be eligible for this list.
OMG the WNBA has 12 fans???!!! I had no idea there were that many!! (please note the heavy sarcasm)
In all seriousness, I think the baseball postseason is so broken it is not even funny. It isn't necessarily that the wild card has diluted the field or that it has made winning a division title meaningless (well, at least less meaningful than it used to be).
The problem is this best-of-five first round. You can pair up two baseball teams, one good and one crappy in a best of 5. If that crappy team just happens to have two stud starting pitchers, they have a definite chance to advance (by potentially having 4 of the 5 games started by their studs). Change it to a best of seven series, and now, that crappy team has to win all 4 games pitched by their aces or try to steal one not pitched by the ace.
The regular season is about the grind of 162 games, a 5 man rotation, and utilization of all the pieces and parts in your organization. The playoffs right now are about star power and maybe the top 15 or 16 players on the roster. A great team (all 25 players) in the regular season should be afforded the opportunity to be a great team in the playoffs.
Now, if Bud is so inclined as to add a play-in game to get to the 'real' playoffs (akin to the previous NCAA tournament play-in games that no one but fans of those schools care about..yes, I know it's changing), then fine. But make the REAL playoffs best of sevens across the board, eliminate all of those ridiculous off-days, and make it more like the baseball we all enjoy in the regular season.
Relax my friend....then take a look at PECOTA projections across the board...offensive numbers are depressed across the board. It isn't just Jeter, it is everyone...
Apparently PECOTA thinks this will be "Year of the Pitcher Part 2"
Good stuff as always Kevin! I have a few questions though:
1. In regards to Revere's weak arm, is there anything he can do to help with that (such as weight lifting)? That would seem to be a 'fixable' tool from my ivory tower view. If the arm strength continues to be a liability, what does a team do to 'hide' it?
2. There sure are a lot of OF's in this list. Is this the best collection of minor league OF's (based on potential upside) in any system currently?
3. Sticking with the OF's for a moment...in the perfect world where everyone hits their respective ceilings, what would be the ideal configuration for this group of prospects in one OF? (Feel free to move Sano if so desired).
4. You mention that some scouts feel that Gibson may be a 'backwards' pitcher. Does this mean that he may wind up using his breaking stuff to set up his fastball?
Nice debut on the Hit List there Tommy!
It's mentioned in the article...Oakland/San Francisco
I concur with your interpretation. Guthrie might have more value to a team like the Yankees (or heck, I bet the Dodgers would have loved having him this year) as a good number 4/5 than to the O's as the token veteran SP. Handing out a big, multi-year contract to this guy instead of utilizing resources for positions of need would be a huge mistake.
I agree with the three PECOTA comps...but this would assume that the PECOTA comps were ready to go at the time the top prospect lists were created....this could be problematic.
Thinking of your comment on Latos...
Why does pitcher fatigue increase the risk of injury? Is it that fatigued muscles are more susceptible to strains and/or tears? Or is it that when you're more tired, you're more likely to have sloppier mechanics (thus leading to a greater potential for injury)?
People might rail on me a bit for this one....but what about Cliff Lee? He was inconsistent to start his career, had a breakthrough at age 29 and now is an outstanding starter. Interestingly, he like Brown is also not noted as being a strikeout pitcher. Lee could be consistently great for the next few seasons, but like Brown, the slow start in his career will keep him from accumulating Hall-worthy numbers.
Have you received any insight from scouts as to why Mesoraco has exploded this year (better approach, different stance, better attitude/work ethic, etc.)?
Good stuff Ken.
Just a thought, teams are now holding out their top prospects until mid-season to avoid super-2 status (moreso than they did even a few years ago...). I would imagine why the numbers of the last couple of classes look less than stellar. If you look at Ryan Braun's numbers his rookie year, they are superb...but having played only 113 games, he accumulated far less WARP.
With that said, there is little doubt that the key topic of this article (the 2006 class) is dead on the money. They have to be considered one of the best rookie crops in recent history.
Good solid advice there. But just a quick comment, when did Brad Lidge stop stumbling? :)
Nice article, I have been curious to see a more in-depth write-up of the job Moore has done with what was just recently an execrable farm system.
Just a curiosity...
How would you compare this three-some of pitchers (Lamb/Montgomery/Dwyer) at this stage of their careers to other famous trios of minor league prospects (John Danks/Edinson Volquez/Thomas Diamond or Paul Wilson/Jason Isringhausen/Bill Pulsipher)?
LOL....Michael Jordan couldn't even hit a fastball...how could Lebron?
What makes it so bad...park dimensions, the environment?
I think that sometimes people can obsess a little too much over the 'meaning' of a stat (i.e. is player a better than player b) or the predictive value of a stat. I subscribe to this site and am just as guilty as anyone of occasionally over-obsessing on one number.
I think the question we need to ask sometimes is 'what story does this stat tell'? Lee's K/BB this year tells the story of a guy that has had good control this season (but tells me nothing of how hard he has been hit, what runs he has given up, etc.) Johnson's +303 differential in 2001 tells the story of a guy that had a dominating performance in striking out batters (but tells me nothing of how hard he has been hit, what runs he has given up, etc.)
The problem is, no one stat can give me a complete story. Even a stat like WARP can't tell me everything. It can tell me how good someone is, but not 'why' someone was so good. The HOLY GRAIL of stats is to find one that can give you the complete story. I hope we never find it though...if one number can tell you everything, why watch the game?
I'd give you a +10 on that if I could!
As a Reds fan, I'd be OK with that deal (or at least the general concept). Bailey strikes me very much as an Edinson Volquez (when he was still with the Rangers) type of pitcher, one with talent but one who needs a change of scenery. That said, I'd hate to see him blossom for a division rival. Now, if the Reds could somehow talk them into taking on Francisco Cordero's contract....even better.
That second sentence was really uncalled for. These writers crank out a ton of content every week, stuff is going to get overlooked. It happens in newspaper articles all the time.
It is simply enough to call attention to the error and move on.
You beat me to the punch...
I think the only reason to include the "leader" caveat is to provide some semblance of context for the season in question. The mid-90's were a noted homerun heavy time period.
What Bautista has done to-date is nothing short of shocking, no arguments there. However, to call Bautista's numbers 'unrivaled' (leaderboard or not) is possibly pushing it a bit.
Sean Casey may be an even better comp (at least from the hitting perspective)
Thanks for the link.
One interesting thing is that if you sort for all players at all positions that have 200 PA this season, there are 5 Arizona Diamondbacks at the top of the list in terms of the Opponents Quality Average....
I don't know if it is meaningful, but given their struggles as a team this season, it is interesting.
I can hear it now regarding Vitale:
Pitching tonight is Stephen Strasburg. He's a diaper dandy baby!
He throws the pitch, and it's 96 MPH fastball baby. Did you see the elevation, the velocity, the movement?!! He's the real deal baby!
Good stuff Jeff....I never did understand all of these additional 'lists' and what they entailed. You spelled it all out quite succinctly.
Yeah....wish the Reds had him, he's exactly what they need right now.
Just curious, in regards to Rollins, you mention 'controlled' extended spring training games. Controlled in what manner? Is it the game itself that is controlled or Rollins' participation that will be controlled?
They just did it again this morning on "Mike and Mike"...it was an eerie experience, especially when I hadn't had my first cup of coffee for the day.
Thanks for the review Marc, I was contemplating this weekend whether or not to purchase this. It is nice to get some input from someone on this site.
Is this just the dreaded "dead arm" period that pitchers go through in April (or is that just a myth?)
I know exactly what you are talking about and I agree...
However, a question of trading player X for player Y can be construed into a discussion of the relative merits of players X and Y. Hopefully, a more general discussion can not only help the person asking the question, but also assist other readers, irrespective of the league format.
Could the Twins take a look at Smoltz?
Wonderful idea!! I am glad that Christina agrees :)
Yeah, and if players were ranked, people would complain about the rankings....
Take the tiers as a guide and then adjust each player based on your personal feelings, league format, etc.
So is Tony Sanchez's upside similar to a Charles Johnson type of catcher?
Will, I too don't understand why people have difficulties understanding the low-to-high explanation.....
People, imagine a traffic signal...
Now, green is low and red is high (i.e. from bottom to top).
Now, if a pitcher is a high green; on our traffic signal it means he is closer to the yellow light (a low yellow).
Average Green light
If he is a high yellow, it means he is closer to the red light.
Average Yellow Light
Hopefully this helps people who can't clearly understand what Will is referring to.
I agree. Those early 90s Pirates teams lead by Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, Doug Drabek, Zane Smith, etc. were very good.
Those late 90s teams also had some upside, but they had the propensity of extending the contracts on the wrong players (i.e. Kevin Young) or signing the wrong free agents (i.e. Pat Meares). Those bad moves spiraled out of control once they hit the 2000s.
You must not buy PC games. They constantly are released with bugs, sometimes to the point where the program is unplayable. I agree that it does leave a bad taste in your mouth, but what is even worse is when the company does not fix it. At least the fine folks here at BP are working immediately to rectify these problems...THAT is what you pay for.
It's only for one year....he'll be fine as the team's primary setup guy.
I second the thought that the Jack Wilson deal was fine. He is definitely a HUGE defensive upgrade over Betancourt. He fits the mold of what this team is trying to do...as does the acquisition of Figgins and Kotchman this off-season.
If you want to question any move, acquiring Milton Bradley is a definite risk...but maybe, just maybe Jack knows what he is doing here too.
I agree with you on Ankiel. I keep hoping that the Reds give him a shot; he'd have a chance to be the starting LF and could provide some pop for a limeup that is deprived of it outside of Votto, Phillips, and maybe Bruce.
Let's not forget about Travis Wood. He had a very good season last year between AA and AAA. He may not have the upside of a guy like Chapman or Bailey, but he could still develop into a solid lefty starter.
I agree with you Chris (and I am a Reds fan), the truth generally is between the two extremes. I'm not sold on Leake and I think Bailey is better served being traded for a change of scenery (just as Edinson Volquez was when the Reds traded for him from Texas).
I've been a Reds fan my entire life and this is one of the few moves that I didn't have to rationalize in my head to feel better about.
(Me last off-season) Oooohhh...we signed Wily Tavares...ummmm, well maybe he'll get his OBP up and be an asset. We know how well that worked.
Does Chapman carry risk? Absolutely! But he has a ton of upside. This is certainly a better move then tying up a Doug Davis type for a 3 yr/$30 million contract. The Reds tried that move before with Eric Milton and it hurt badly.
The Reds are not going to sign a CC Sabathia, John Lackey, or any of those other high-profile players. If you can get three great seasons out of the five for Chapman, you are getting a bargain.
Risky move, but if you want to win big as a small market club, you sometimes have to make risky moves.
Thanks for mentioning the fact that steroids ARE illegal (banned or not by their sport is irrelevant)...I find that too many folks in the media and too many fans overlook this aspect.
Will, is there any legitimacy to the argument that steroids can help in the healing process? I know that corticosteroids (which are not controlled substances) can help with inflammation, but what is the physiological effect of steroids? Do they help muscles heal if injured? If so, are there equally effective, and legal, substitutes?
Based on the statements referenced by McGwire above, this was one aspect of his use. I believe he is not the first player to state that his steroid use was, to a certain degree, for a 'medicinal' purpose .
I won't disagree that the first round of the 2004 draft has been awful, but out of curiosity, I took a look at the second round. The second round produced Dustin Pedroia, Yovani Gallardo, Seth Smith (who may be productive), Kurt Suzuki, and Hunter Pence. (The third round garnered Adam Lind and J.A. Happ if anyone is keeping track at home).
Does Larkin's 51.6% vote in his first year mean he will eventually get in (looking historically)? I certainly hope so, he was my favorite player growing up and was a tremendous all-around player.
Just throwing this out there for argument sake. Is it possible that the shift to LF, a less demanding position physically, will help Ellsbury's offense (even a tick or two)?
Sad to see Joe go, but I have been sad in the past to see some of the other writers leave and BP keeps going on. This is my favorite website and it is one of the pleasures of my day to read the new content (or the old, try going back to some of the TA articles from several years ago; it is a blast to read analyses for deals and then have the advantage of hindsight).
I am reading a lot of negative comments about the site here and it disturbs me for two general reasons. One, we are talking about baseball; even when it is bad, it still pretty good. Secondly, the game has so many different angles to view it through that no one is going to love everything posted. I have read articles that have made my head hurt from all of the stats, but I am sure others loved it. I am also sure that I have read other articles that I adored that others hated. It is just human nature.
I have also seen comments about how certain statistical analyses do not provide a conclusion. Is that not the nature of stats? Sometimes, stats do NOT tell the story. Sometimes they are inconclusive. But a snippet of information from one study plus snippets from other studies can sometimes be put together to give you a conclusion. The pitch f/x studies earlier this year (I am still waiting for more) were wonderful (in terms of how the location of the pitch, release point, etc. all contribute to the effectiveness of the pitch). Sometimes you can’t get the whole story looking at just one angle.
Anyone else notice Scherzer's jump in innings this past season? Are the D-Backs hedging their bets and selling him off early when his value is high and before he blows his arm out?
(Sorry, it's just the only way I can rationalize why they would do this deal)
I don't think that he is implying that LA is a small market, just that a true small market team is unlikely to make a move to acquire a high-priced pitcher in this scenario.
It works fine on Firefox....
I am a Reds fan too Rick and while I agree with you about the cash, I am not so sure about the list of internal candidates you bring up. Gomes is not likely to be brought back, Dickerson is better suited as a 4th or 5th OF (ok, Willy is the 5th). Balentien doesn't strike me as a guy that is ever going to produce at the big league level. The 4 young guys you mention are just that, they're young. I like Heisey too, but he seems like he'll be more of a doubles guy than a true power hitter. The other three are not ready (although I am perfectly willing to let Frazier play 2B to accommodate a move of Brandon Phillips to SS, not that it will happen).
The best way for the Reds to fill this spot is to either dumpster dive (why not take a one-year, low-cost risk on an Ankiel) or to make a deal. A reverse of the Volquez-Hamilton deal with the Reds trading Homer Bailey for a talented, young OF who hasn't made a major impact (Matt LaPorta?) or is crowded out makes the most sense to me.
I'll also put in my 'vote' for a tiered system. Standard 5 X 5 scores are fine, but having triple slash stats on top of it would be helpful. As far as risk assessment goes, I am fine with the idea proposed by others, but to me, that's where Will's Team Health Reports come in.
Finally, having a 'sleepers' tier would be of great benefit. These could include guys like Kendry Morales last year (your mention of him last year re-affirmed my faith and helped me to decide to pick him up..thank you). You could also throw in a couple of prospects there (not necessarily the best prospects, but the ones most likely to have fantasy value this season). I know that there are many of you in keeper leagues (I want to get in one myself). While including long-term investment rankings is nice, I assume that anyone in a keeper league is going to be reading as much as they can on this site.
Overall, the key to a good rankings list is to keep it meaningful and concise. The more 'stuff' you add to it, the more you run the risk of making the rankings cluttered, thus decreasing its usefulness as a tool.
This one might not be so far-fetched....
Josh Willingham and Cristian Guzman to the Reds for Todd Frazier and Bronson Arroyo.
I can't believe there haven't been any comments yet. That was a great interview. Fuld really seems like an intelligent guy, perhaps the kind of guy who will eventually wind up in the front office of a team. Nice work.
I totally get where you are coming from, but I think you are overstating things a bit. Say the Nats could have traded the draft rights to Strasburg (who is a very elite prospect, but who is still unproven). Scouts and teams love upside, and he has upside, but to trade for upside you have to give up a lot. What do you think the Yankees would have had to give up for the right to draft Strasburg (Joba Chamberlain, Philip Hughes, and a few other draft picks)? You think that is extreme; the Padres got three solid arms for an injured Jake Peavy. Remember the haul the Rangers got for Texeira?
If you limit deals to draft picks for draft picks, let us visit some history in the NFL. The San Diego Chargers once gave up the chance to draft the mega-talented, super-stud prospect Michael Vick. The players they drafted from the picks acquired from the Falcons became Ladainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees. A few years later, the Chargers again traded down 4 spots in the draft (giving up Eli Manning). The picks they received became Philip Rivers, Shawn Merriman and Nate Kaeding. My point: if you do a good job of drafting, you can give up the pick for the mega-prospect, and reap the benefits of more high quality players.
One final comment: The NBA has a system in place where teams are limited in the number of consecutive years they can trade first round picks. Surely a system like that could be implemented in MLB.
While I had the same feelings at the time, I think their logic was to take the best player on the board and see what happens. If they decide down the road to trade Votto or Alonso, they can do that.
With that said, when you have a glaring organizational hole up the middle, why wouldn't you take a highly rated prospect that can fill that void. Even if Beckham is marginal defensively at SS, overall he is an upgrade over the likes of Paul Janish.
Have you looked at data from pitchers throwing from the windup vs. the stretch? Could there be differences in the release point that could explain some anomalies (such as why some pitchers seem to perform better with runners on)?
Was it a LL team from the Memphis area? If so, that would explain it.
I remember a few years ago when a bunch of kids from an Iowa team in the LLWS named Hee Seop Choi as their favorite player.
Love the Melville write-up.
Regarding your comment on Ramos, why don't the Twins need a catcher? Yes, I know they have Mauer, but given his production with the bat and his history of health issues, is he really going to stick behind the plate long-term?
First the Kobyashi Maru and now the Tholian Web? Keep those Start Trek references coming...I love it. Now if we could just get a real life player named Buck Bokai....
Actually, to be more precise I think the take home of this is to say "velocity is a necessity (in most cases) to MAKE IT to the Major League level".
Future success is predicated on a number of other factors, many of which have already been alluded to in this chat.
or Brian Harper..
The Mets piece was brilliant!!! Well played Christina.
Not sure if you're referring to my earlier comment, but I was referring to team wins, not the wins that individual pitchers are credited with. The number of wins that a pitcher accumulates under his name is only truly meaningful to the agent that represents him.
First of all, I LOVE this article. However, I’d like to make the following comment:
Wouldn’t this diminish the role of a rotation ‘stopper’ to a certain degree? If you have a Roy Halladay or a Dan Haren in your rotation with the 4 other slots filled with ‘LAIM-o’s’ (to borrow Christina’s term), does this sort of system diminish the ‘stopper’s’ ability to ensure a win for your ballclub? Sure, the ‘stopper’ can come out to pitch more frequently, but that player’s ability to directly impact the course of the entire game (such as Halladay’s penchant for CG 4-hitters) is diminished. What good is it to have 3 or 4 magnificent innings pitched by your ace to only have a lesser pitcher come out an blow it?
With all that said, I find this idea intriguing. However, I suspect it would work best with teams that fall into two categories:
1. Teams with tremendous depth that can pair two quality pitchers every day. (think of the Rays with pairings of Kazmir/Garza, Price/Shields, and Niemann/Sonnanstine).
2. Teams with mediocre pitching (or very young and inexperienced pitching) across the board (think of the Pirates with pairings of Duke/Karstens, Snell/Ohlendorf, Maholm/Morton).
I think that teams with ‘top-heavy’ rotations would be the ones to miss out the most, losing that potentially game-changing domination every 5th day. Let’s say that your ace starts 35 games and the team wins 80% of them (28 wins). The team would only have to win 45% of the remaining 127 games to reach 85 wins on the year. Losing that “stopper’s” impact every 5th day could be disastrous and I am not sure that 3 innings more often would offset it.
As you did state, a team would have to embrace this concept from the top all the way down to build the depth needed. I may just have to try this out in a baseball video game dynasty to see how well this translates….it should be fun.
Thanks for presenting this fascinating (and slightly controversial) topic.
(Need I say more?)
That's an interesting point. When tying this into the discussion of handedness, could it be tied into the fact that lefties tend to be softer throwers with more off-speed stuff and there are more righties with higher velocity stuff? I realize that this is a gross generalization, but it's just food for thought. It would be an interesting study to see 'platoon splits' of current players versus hard and soft throwers.
On a side note, this reminds me of former Reds 3B Willie Greene. He could mash a fastball but was clueless against breaking balls (think Serrano in Major League). I remember one series versus the Cubs where they had shut him down the first couple of games then inexplicably started throwing him fastballs. End result....lots of bombs.
Is this Synvisc essentially synthetic synovial fluid or is it some other compound?
A lot of the 1b types discussed here are left-handed hitters (i.e. Johnson, LaRoche, Garko, Huff, etc.). Would it make more sense to get a right-handed hitting 1b/OF so that you have a potential platoon partner for Delgado when he's back?
I think the fact that these things ARE true at the lowest levels of baseball is the entire point. Common concepts such as BABIP, defensive efficiency, pitcher abuse points, and even the evolution of the game based on league-wide trends are inherent at every level. I think that's Brian's point.
I think we sometimes think of baseball in terms of just the professional and collegiate levels. One can learn a lot about the game by watching baseball from the Little Leagues all the way up to MLB.
While it 'teaches' nothing new, it is a well-written reminder that the game is the same, no matter the skill level or ages of the players involved.
He could always DH..nothing inherently wrong with that..
I totally disagree with those that think that the writer was being 'too cute'. Reading dry pieces that read like my old physics book aren't what I want. Baseball is a game and should be fun; writing (and reading) about it should be the same. A couple of jokes and barbs that bring a smile to one's face make it worthwhile.
Kudos as well for randomly pulling a Santo/Rodriguez comp...where did that come from?
I like the idea of adding an additional roster spot, but why not make it a dedicated ‘Rule 5’ roster spot? If that player happens to get hurt and has to go on the DL, he has to be replaced by a player in your organization who was eligible for that Rule 5 draft. This would give some of these long-time minor leaguers a chance to play and prove themselves and would offer teams a chance to add a roster spot at a reduced cost without cutting roster spots for established players. You could also get really crazy and add two rule 5 slots, one for a pitcher and one for a position player.
So is Wang’s ‘shoulder strain of some kind’ legit, or is this simply a way of getting Wang on the DL and off of the active roster until he can regain his stuff?
Good stuff Joe.
This is just another example of how small sample sizes are magnified at the beginning of the season. Every player goes through a rough patch or two over the course of the season. When it’s at the beginning, you get those horrid-looking numbers. I agree with you, looking at Wang’s track record, the probability is quite high that he will rebound back to his usual form.
Although not nearly as egregious, I still remember the start Roy Halladay had to begin the 2003 season. At the end of April, he was 0-2 with a 4.89 ERA over 38.2 innings. People (at least in the fantasy world) were panicking whether he was OK or not. How many people realized that he was 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in 40 innings that same year in the month of August? Well, 22 wins and a Cy Young later, he proved that even the best players have the bad stretches. That’s why we play 162.
Not Bizarre if you know Bowden. He did the same thing when he was the Reds' GM. He would sink resource after resource into OFs with upside and potential and try to duplicate his success in picking up pitchers off the scrapheap (a la Pete Schourek in 1995). Nats fans should be happy his is gone, he would've devastated their farm system like he did to my Reds.
I don't know what to believe with Chipper's PECOTA score. The similarity index is 4! He had an absurdly good season last year (when healthy) and is still capable of putting up good numbers (when healthy) this season. His weighted mean forecast isn't that far off what he has done the last three years....
If you draft him, see if he drops and then grab a solid backup (preferably one with multi-position eligibility)
Good stuff Christina. Gotta wonder if the Yankees should take a spin with Hessman (if the Tigers would trade him) while A-Rod is out?
I've gotta wonder if the Reds might consider Willingham as a possible solution in LF. Acquiring him for someone like Micah Owings might make sense.
Manny is a free agency and can sign with any team. The Dodgers are currently acknowledged as being the only team at this time with a serious interest in signing him. But you are quite correct, saying that he is \'holding out\' of Dodgers camp is a definite misnomer.
Great job, now I can waste even more time at work. :)