Why timing is everything when it comes to buying big free agents.
You know what they say: The key to comedy is timing. Consider the following three jokes:
Joke 1. In December 2011, three men were wandering through the countryside in search of a place to sleep for the night. They came upon a large farm. The farmer said they were welcome to spend the night, so long as they didn’t touch his beautiful daughter. To make a long story short, one of them—the Angels—snuck out and signed Josh Hamilton for five years and $125 million, Hamilton went on to hit 43 home runs (including four in one game!) and drive in 128 for his new team, and he received multiple MVP votes after the season. The last four years didn’t work out as well after that, but that’s how these things go. The Angels, thanks to Hamilton’s contributions, made the postseason in 2012 for the first time in three years. The farmer's wife made pancakes for them all the next morning and the three men went on their way.
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A look at the players who should improve after the All-Star break and those who might go the other way.
Years ago, before analytics and baseball became acquainted, many analysts focused on first-half and second-half stats. For many good reasons that are too lengthy to go into here, this type of analysis has become dated and isn’t used in any type of serious study.
However, the All-Star break is still a good time in fantasy to take a step back, look at some poor first-half performers, and figure out who is due for a bounce back in the second half. Rather than analyze the types of players who “traditionally” hit well post-All-Star break, this is a look at players who have struggled so far but who should improve based either on underperforming their metrics or based on past historical performance, as well as players who either will slip or won’t bounce back despite a slow first half.
Ryan Braun and Mike Trout top a list that is teeming with high-upside talent.
The Baseball Prospectus fantasy team has been rolling out its positional rankings over the past couple of weeks, and will conclude the process next week. Each team member assigned to cover a position will create an initial top 15 (more for outfielders and starting pitchers) on his own. He will then send that list to the rest of the team for discussion, at which point we will debate the rankings, both in terms of each player's specific placement and the merits on which he was included in the top 15. This back-and-forth debate will yield the final list, which will be presented by the original author with notes on the pertinent players. We encourage you to bring your opinions into the fray using the comment section below.
Today, we continue the rankings with a look at our top 25 outfielders. Comments on the outfielders ranked 26-50 will follow on Friday.
Teams will have more difficult decisions to make if they want free-agent compensation this year. Here's how it will likely go.
For the next several days, much of the baseball world will be watching the Tigers and Giants fight it out in the fall classic. But for the 28 teams whose seasons have already ended, the focus will be on what to do once the World Series is over and the winter’s work begins.
As soon as the Series ends, eligible players will become free agents. Under the new CBA, teams can still seek draft-pick compensation for departing free agents, but the old system of classifying free agents as “Type A” and “Type B” based on past performance has been abolished. Now, a team that wants to receive a compensatory pick at the end of the first round in the following year’s amateur draft has to make a “qualifying offer”: a one-year contract equal to the average of the top 125 salaries from the previous season (in this case, $13.3 million).
Miami's outfielder is attempting to accomplish a feat few others can claim.
Justin Ruggiano is having one of the league’s most surprising seasons. He entered Sunday with 245 plate appearances, a .324 batting average, and strikeouts in 25.3 percent of his plate appearances. Intuitively, we all know striking out more than a quarter of the time makes it tough to be a productive hitter, and nearly impossible to post a high average. Yet Ruggiano is angling to join an exclusive club of players with more than 250 plate appearances in a season, a strikeout rate above 25 percent, and a batting average of .300 or better: