Who surprised last year and what does that mean for 2017?
Yesterday, George Bissell gave a rousing introduction to our bloated American landscape of low innings totals, high earned run averages, and higher ace valuations in turn. With managers increasingly inclined to limit third-time looks, workhorse starters are becoming as rare as split-ticket voters, and an old-world strategic play of bulking up rotation back-ends with average innings-eaters may just be gone forever by the wayside. Before we get too lost in nostalgia, let’s take a look at a few guys who either over- or under-performed in the category of ERA.
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Injuries, ineffectiveness and plain old bad luck plagued the senior circuit's top arms this year.
Welcome to my annual look at retrospective player valuation here at Baseball Prospectus. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of posts examining how players performed from a fantasy perspective in 2016. This is the second post in a series of six. The first two posts in the series will focus on AL-only leagues, the next two will shift their focus to NL-only, and the final two posts will examine mixed leagues.
Before I dig in, here is a brief description of the charts below.
Where have you gone, past velocity? Should we be concerned your arm will break? Hey, hey, hey.
In the last episode of Raising Aces, we followed up with the big velocity gainers and losers from last season to investigate any trends, for better or worse. We found that the velocity changes over time reflected George Carlin's view of people in general: a few winners but a whole lot of losers.
Is now the right time to try to snatch the Red Sox lefty from a fretting fantasy owner?
Fantasy baseball is designed to mirror real-life baseball. It allows the average fan to “play GM,” and it’s one of the main reasons why dynasty leagues, especially deep dynasty leagues, are skyrocketing in popularity. We all want to build rosters, identify talent, and see how we stack up to our buddies.
David Price is getting better as the years go by. He's pounding the strikezone, reducing contact, and limiting walks. But how?
For nearly a decade, David Price has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. Red Sox fans certainly don’t need to be reminded of how good Price was when he first debuted, considering he was one of the main culprits in Tampa Bay’s defeat of Boston in the 2008 ALCS.
From the very beginning of his pro career, when the Rays selected him first overall in the 2007 MLB Draft to his initial seasons with Tampa, Price was primed for stardom. That, over eight years later, he remains a bona-fide ace and a pitcher the Red Sox were willing to spend $217 million on demonstrates how dominant—and consistently dominant—he’s been during his career.
The high-end crop of starting pitchers will have no shortage of bidders/press, but how deep are the pitfalls for that next group?
Jason Heyward is the cream of this free-agent crop, but David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann are sure to grab a lot of the headlines this winter. It’s been a while since so many very strong starting pitchers hit the market during one offseason. At least two of those four guys will get nine-figure multi-year deals, and it could be all four. That’s sure to raise the hackles and the red flags of columnists everywhere. Every winter (even when there are only one or two major pitching prizes on the market, as there were last year), we get articles like this one and this one, which detail the dangers and the historical pitfalls of the $100-million contract for pitchers. This is as conventional as baseball wisdom gets: big free-agent deals are traps. They’re sucker’s bets. They’re bad, bad, bad.
Here’s the thing, though: any team needs to foray into free agency in order to thrive. It’s damn near impossible to draft and develop an entire team with a chance of winning anything, let alone to do so on an ongoing basis, repeating the feat. Trade is necessary for the growth of any economy, and outside talent is necessary for the growth and improvement of any organization. So the question isn’t whether large or long-term free-agent deals for pitchers fit the guidelines we use to define and identify financially savvy moves, but rather, whether those big commitments are really worse for a team than smaller ones. And the answer, as it turns out, is no. In fact, hooking the biggest fish (even at the biggest price) might just be the most successful strategy there is for supplementing organizational pitching depth with outside talent.
Today's undercard pits everyone's favorite Cy Young candidate mop up reliever against everyone's second favorite diminutive starter.
Behind six shutout innings from Edinson Volquez, the Royals quieted the powerful Blue Jays lineup and took the ALCS opener by a 5-0 final. Toronto will try to salvage a split in Kansas City before heading home for the next three games.
Texas deals David Price another postseason defeat, but was this a pyrrhic victory for the Rangers?
Game One of the American League Division Series between the Rangers and the Blue Jays was about losses. The Blue Jays lost home-field advantage, the Rangers lost one of their best players, and the postseason lost its streak of one-sided affairs.