Which teams are likely to see significantly more production from their new players at positions in need of improvement?
Teams don’t always have to make a major move in order to improve over the winter. Sometimes merely subtracting someone who played poorly can affect our expectations for a club. Occasionally, a series of seemingly minor moves can make a major cumulative impact. And at other times, there’s an obvious in-house fix for a roster’s flaws in the form of a player returning from an injury, being promoted from the minors, or switching to a position where he’ll be of more use. The Rays went from last place in 2007 to first place in 2008 without acquiring an outside player more accomplished than Troy Percival. Some off-season overhauls don’t start making headlines until the regular season is well under way.
Still, the moves that make us dream about how good a given team can be when players report to spring training tend to be the ones involving established talents. When we’ve already seen what a player can do, it’s easy to picture him doing it again in a different uniform. Naturally, the more a team struggled at the new player’s position last year, the more exciting the upgrade. But it’s easy to get carried away and overstate the improvement. Assessing the impact of a high-profile player addition requires more than a little imagination and mental arithmetic.
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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.
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.