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February 15, 2013 5:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Mike Trout and Regression Obsession


Mike Gianella

No matter how hard you try to discredit Trout, he stacks up as an elite fantasy option in 2013.

Like many fantasy players, I spend little if any time during the season worrying about what a player will earn the following year. Even in keeper formats, I don’t invest a significant amount of time trying to figure out future earnings.

While I didn’t have an exact dollar value assigned to Mike Trout for 2013 back in October, I assumed that I’d have him ranked first or second in AL-only formats and first, second, or third in mixed formats. Besides Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera, there were few players who seemed capable of putting up big enough fantasy numbers to come close to Trout.

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Which players came close to milestones but bowed out before reaching them?

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How well do the players on the Golden Era ballot stack up to Hall of Fame standards?

The Hall of Fame's Golden Era ballot has been out since November 3, offering 10 familiar names from the 1947-1972 era for Cooperstown consideration. This isn't the Veterans Committee anymore; when last year's reforms were announced, the words "Veterans Committee" were conspicuously omitted from all press releases. Rather, it's the second of three Era Committees to get its turn at bat, following last year's Expansion Era Committee, which voted on players from the 1973-1989 period and managers, umpires, and executives from 1973 to the present. Theoretically, next year’s panel will consider candidates from the Pre-Integration period (1871-1946), but the Hall has changed the rules so often lately that all bets are off.

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When Scott Moore was selected by the Tigers in the first round of the 2002 draft, he was a starry-eyed 18-year-old with big dreams -- and only a vague idea of what life in professional baseball would be like. Now going into his ninth season, and with his third organization, he knows all too well that it’s not all glory and glamour down on the farm. Moore, who is in spring training battling to earn a job with the Orioles, has appeared in 39 big-league games and 739 in the minors.

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May 10, 2006 12:00 am

AL-Kings May Update


Jonah Keri

Jonah checks in with news from the BP celebrity Scoresheet league.

Scoresheet's premise is simple: Instead of using rotisserie baseball rules, Scoresheet forces combatants to construct a full, balanced roster, just like any major league team not named the Royals would. That means a strong starting nine, a full five-man rotation, deep bullpen and useful bench. Scoresheet then runs simulations of games every week, with the game results based on what the fielded players did in real life that week. There's a 162-game regular season, followed by the playoffs. The winner of AL-Kings is the one that wins the World Series. The prize is $1,000 donated to the charity of his choice, courtesy of BP.

Sounds simple in theory. But in practice, AL-Kings has been, in many ways, more about the how-tos on handling roster attrition than anything else. With 12 teams drafting, no payroll restrictions tilting talent one way or another and 12 capable GMs at the helm, building a strong roster top-to-bottom proved a tough task. In many ways, AL-Kings is Under The Knife, writ large: The winner of the league might very well be the team that best manages to avoid--and make up for--the injuries that plague every major league team.

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September 5, 2003 12:00 am

They Wuz Robbed


Mark Armour

There has never been a season when Barry Bonds was obviously the league's best player that he did not win the MVP award. Were he to lose the award this season (he is currently leading in VORP by 17 runs over Albert Pujols) it would be his first real injustice. If Bonds has not been mistreated by MVP voters though, several stars of the past have been. Although it has been 80 years since anyone has hit like Bonds has the past few years, there have been occasions when a player has dominated his league for several years and been ill-served by the voters. The rest of this article briefly discusses a few of the more famous cases. Ted Williams' problem was that he played in a time when it was difficult to win the award without winning the pennant, and his team finished second every year. From 1941 through 1954, Williams led the league in VORP every season that he wasn't either in the military (five years) or hurt (1950). He won two awards: 1946, when the Red Sox finished first, and 1949, when they finished one game behind. Let's run through a few of the more interesting losses:

Leaving aside the 2003 race, which is, after all, still ongoing--and which Bonds might very well win--let's turn our attention to how Barry has been mistreated in the past. To begin with, we have to deal with the fact that Bonds has won the award five times, two more than any other player in history. This is not necessarily a contradiction, of course--if Bonds is the best player in the league every year, then the writers have a responsibility to give him the award every year. Given this, how many MVP awards should Bonds have won?

As you have no doubt gathered, I make no distinction between the "best" player and the "most valuable" player. What could be more valuable than "greatness," after all? The distinction is often used as a crutch; rather than trying to make the case that a candidate is really the best player, one can instead try to cloud the issue with grammatical semantics. We won't do that here.

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Before getting into this week's column, I would like to make a pair of comments regarding last week's feature on the amazing Ichiro Suzuki:

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December 4, 2000 12:00 am

One Man's Ballot


Keith Woolner

I decided to break down this year's Hall of Fame candidates by VORP. A full description is available at http://www.stathead.com, but the measure is essentially the number of runs contributed by a player beyond what a replacement level player at the same position would contribute in equal playing time, adjusted for park and league. Note that outfielders are considered as a single group, so center fielders should get a boost relative to their ranking here, and corner outfielders (especially LF) should be downgraded a bit. Quality of defense played at the position is not included.


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It wasn't that long ago, really. In 1992, 30 homers would have placed a hitter fourth in the National League. These days, a player could hit 30 home runs and never show up on the typical fan's radar. We're in the middle of the biggest home run jump in baseball history. (Big news, to you all, I'm sure. Tomorrow's feature: the Pope wears a skullcap!)

If the sportswriters of the future aren't careful, then hitters of the '90s are going to be seriously overrepresented in the Hall of Fame, the same way that hitters of the '20s and '30s are today. People looked at the gaudy batting averages of the era (Freddy Lindstrom hit .379 in 1930! Ooooooh!) and instinctively viewed then through the prism of their own era (a .379 average in 1976, when the Vets' committee inducted Lindstrom, would have been 40 points higher than any major leaguer actually hit that year).

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