A few too many wipeouts up, added to a surprise #2 ranking that blew up... in the bad way.
Center field was frustrating in 2009. It was supposed to be one of the deepest positions available, but thanks to either brand-new injuries or lingering ones, the entire top of the list was decimated and center field ended up losing some of its depth. Today we'll get into which rankings were due to problems with the thought process and which ones had more to do with trips to see the trainer.
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BP's dirty dozen makes their prognostications to generate the wisdom of at least one small crowd.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting. Picking favorites for the Wild Card for the respective leagues initially might have seemed easy, since the selections universally favored the second-place team in the AL East, while all but two voters picked their second-place teams in the NL East to earn the non-division champ playoff team, but a tie in the rankings had to be broken in favor of the team named the Wild Card winner on the most individual ballots, which is sure to upset some people.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that's been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
Picking your poison in one of the game's premium positions is a choice best made early.
Center field is a position where you can find many of the best fantasy players around-you've got sluggers who will drive in runs, be driven in by their teammates, hit for power and average, and steal a load of bases. With that being said, the talent level on the list drops drastically near the bottom end, so if you leave it for too long come your league's draft, you'll be stuck hoping that Vernon Wells has one of his good seasons, or throwing up your hands and drafting someone like Willy Taveras or Michael Bourn solely for their stolen bases.
In search of reader-friendly clarity on minor matters.
At the end of Saturday's installment of Toolbox, I promised to move ahead to the pitchers this week. Once again, good feedback and a general desire to make sure the class is all on board with what we're talking about before moving on to the next thing keeps us from going forward. That's mainly my fault—the last few Toolboxes have been light on the Further Reading and bullet point sections, which might have helped clarify issues before they got out of hand.
A young Detroit Tiger is pretty much Kevin's favorite animal. It's like a tiger and a prospect mixed, bred for its skills in baseball.
1. Cameron Maybin, cf DOB: 4/4/87 Height/Weight: 6-3/200 Bats/Throws: R/R Drafted: 1st round, 2005, North Carolina HS What he did in 2006: .304/.387/.457 at Low A (445 PA) The Good: On sheer athleticism and tools, Maybin is the total package, with a brutal home park hurting his nonetheless impressive numbers, as evidenced by road line of .333/.416/.517. Excellent hand-eye coordination and big time raw power that should begin to show up more in games as he improves his pitch recognition. Plus-plus runner who almost effortlessly covers the outfield from gap to gap and has a strong arm. The Bad: Maybin has trouble with breaking balls, and is prone to chasing pitches, which led to a lofty strikeout total. He needs to improve the accuracy of his throws. The Irrelevant: In 11 at-bats with the bases loaded, Maybin had three singles, a double, two grand slams and 16 RBI. In A Perfect World, He Becomes: A healthy Eric Davis. Gap Between What He Is Now, And What He Can Be: High. Maybin will likely start the year in the Florida State League, which means the power surge might have to wait another year.