While third base is often considered an offense-heavy position now, last year proved to be a major down season.
As so often happens, my recent Replacement-Level Killers and Vortices of Suck miniseries have focused my attention on the landscape of offensive production at each position. Back in July, while putting together the midseason Killers, I was struck by just how awful a year it had been for third basemen. Age, injuries, and mysterious slumps had sapped the production of so many hot cornermen that their collective True Average (.253) trailed that of second basemen (.256)—a seven-point swing from the year before, a change that couldn't simply be explained by Chone Figgins' switch in positions. As someone who internalized Bill James' defensive spectrum before I was old enough to drive, this anomaly fascinated me.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
A look at how Average Draft Positions are shifting among expert mock drafters
I have pointed out some of the early ADP returns from Mock Draft Central a few times this off-season,but have not really focused on the expert mock draft results. The main reason for that is that they’ve only recorded seven expert mock drafts, and it is a safe guess that all of those were done for the different magazines or ezines that are currently on shelves, as mock drafts are a staple of draft guides.
This week's column looks at the biggest free-agent corner-infield signing not named Albert Pujols, as well as possible rebounds from once highly regarded players
As the post-Pujols dominoes begin falling—with more to come after Prince Fielder finds a home—two corner infielders found a home last week, further shifting the balance of power in the NL Central. And as the speculation-driven hot-stove season kicks into gear, I’ll also look at some standouts from the mock drafts at mockdraftcentral.com.
The last time a new CBA was signed, contracts got crazy. Are we in for more of the same this offseason?
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
We've already seen some surprisingly large contracts handed out this offseason, but that might just be par for the course in a winter with a new labor agreement, as Joe observed in the piece below, which originally ran as a "Prospectus Today" column on November 14, 2006.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would like to make a smash as the Fish move into their new park, but the team would be better off making only minor moves.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria wants people to forget about the Florida Marlins, forget about Sun Life Stadium, and forget about a miserable year that saw the team spend 92 of the final 105 days of the season in the cold, dark cellar of the National League East, only its second last-place finish since Loria purchased the team, unopposed, from John Henry in 2002.
The tater trots for June 27: Casey Blake is a part of the Dodgers' big day, Michael Morse keeps hitting 'em out.
There were only eight games on the slate yesterday, yet somehow there managed to be twenty home runs hit around the league. I suppose those who did play were just trying to make up for all the teams who had the day to rest.
As the Cubs continue to bow beneath the weight of several lucrative long-term deals, Larry takes a look back at the high hopes held for each player in happier days.
The evidence is mounting, and it's beginning to point to one conclusion: the 2011 Chicago Cubs are not a very good team. True, we’re still two weeks from the All-Star break, and all it takes is a few weeks of inspired play to change a club’s narrative from "miserable underachievers" to "second-half sweethearts," but there is little reason to expect something like that from Mike Quade's team.
For fans of the Cubs, who saw their team in the playoffs only three years ago, the 2011 edition’s first-half disappointment is amplified by the team's large payroll. When fans see their team shelling out more than $130 million in payroll, they expect to see a winning team; it’s not unreasonable to suppose that a collection of big contracts might yield a collection of quality players, and by extension, a successful team.
A slow September game at Wrigley suspends time, but can't rewind it.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Josh Wilker is the author of the memoir Cardboard Gods (now out in paperback from Algonquin Books) and of a forthcoming book for Soft Skull Press on the 1977 film The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training. He continues to explore and hide from his life through his baseball cards at cardboardgods.net.
Aging position players elevate the Cubs' risk, but their recent track record bodes well.
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.
Jason took part in a slow mock draft with other fantasy experts and is now here to share what he learned from the experience.
I recently had the pleasure of doing a slow—and I mean slow—mock draft over the past four weeks with a few of my friends and colleagues in the fantasy baseball industry. That group included most of the mlb.com folks, Fernando DiFino, and the legendary Joe Sheehan. The draft started on February 17 and survived a few lost weekends, DiFino’s nuptials (congrats!) and several copy and paste issues from some of us that are still using not-so-smartphones.