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.
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In the Nationals' and Orioles' battle for the local fan base, the team that blinks first may stand to gain the most.
This past month, I moved back up I-95 from Washington to Philadelphia, where I’d spent all but the previous eighteen months of my life. There has been only one major-league franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since the Athletics forsook Philly in 1955, but as I discovered during my sojourn in the District, many baseball fans in the DC area have been torn between the Baltimore Orioles, for whom many of them grew up cheering, and the Washington Nationals, who emigrated from Montreal in 2005. Neither team has been good during their years of geographic coexistence, and the metropolitan area has not seen a playoff game since 1997, but both teams have slowly begun to develop the young talent necessary to compete. Although animosity stemming from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ opposition to a Washington franchise has cost the O’s some fans, many in the DC area have yet to determine their allegiance.
Giving up draft selections as compensation for signing free agents has often proved to be disastrous.
When Frankie Frisch, Hall of Fame infielder and manager, became a broadcaster, he became known for bemoaning walks. “Oh, those bases on balls,” he would cry whenever a pitcher put his team in a tough spot by throwing four out of the strike zone. If he was around today, he might be saying, “Oh, those compensatory draft picks.”
The players teams select in the draft over the next three days can make a big impact on their future.
The 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft begins tonight, presumably commencing with the Washington Nationals calling the name of Bryce Harper. The draft will be televised for the fourth year in a row, thanks to increasing fan interest. Unlike basketball and football with well-exposed college stars that fans are already familiar with, the baseball draft has always been filled with obscure names and generated less interest historically. However, the collective bargaining agreement in Major League Baseball keeps salaries of young talent especially suppressed when compared with other sports, meaning that drafting well can allow even a small-market team to become successful. As fans have become more cognizant of this, and as the Internet has made learning about amateur stars easier, the draft has become a bigger deal and more people are taking more notice.
Here is how we're now figuring the monetary value of individual players.
This article will follow up on the new version of MORP that I introduced yesterday with a more thorough description of my methodology and my reasoning for it. Firstly, I will restate that the definition of MORP (Market value Over Replacement Player) is the marginal cost of acquiring a player’s contribution on the free-agent market. The basic structure that I am using includes adjusting for draft-pick compensation, which adds to the value of free agents by 10-20 percent. It also looks at all players with six years or more of major-league service time, all years of their free-agent contracts, and makes valuations of their performance based on actual performance rather than the projections, which are biased. I am also adjusting MORP so it is linear with respect to WARP. The discussion of linearity and of the decision to use actual rather than projected performance to evaluate contracts has been detailed in earlier articles, and I won’t reiterate them here in the interest of space. The basic reason why linearity is a fair assumption is that teams frequently have enough vacancies that they can add the number of wins they choose without filling them all. There are exceptions like the 2009 Yankees, who added three front-of-the-rotation starters and an elite first baseman in one offseason. However, even the Yankees do this infrequently enough that it does not regularly impact the market, and without two teams bidding for several superstars every offseason, this is not a large issue. The reason that using projection is so problematic was detailed last week, when I showed how free agents who reach the open market are a biased sample and regularly underperform their projections. For more details of these results, please see my previous work. Here are links to my threepartseries as well as my article on free agents underperforming their PECOTA projections. I will introduce some of the newer concepts in this article.
With the CBA due to run out after the 2011 season, the industry is considering reforms of the ways amateur talent gets brought into the game.
When looking back at the economics of signing July 2nd talent, the amateur draft kept coming up. The draft indirectly ties to the Latin American market in a number of ways, and this relationship could be changing due to the other topic that kept coming up: the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires in December of 2011. The most talked-about reforms-mandated slots in the draft and a worldwide draft-have been kicked around in the past, but have gained more support in recent years. Covering amateur baseball is about looking forward, so I'll spend the next few articles breaking down the issues that both sides will be considering when they come to the table.
What do you know about what the baseball draft produces? Most fans probably have some sense of the history of their favorite team's high profile draft picks. For instance, I'm a Phillies fan, and most Phillies fans know that many of their current stars, such as Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins, are the result of the team's drafts. They also probably know enough to lament draft picks such as Jeff Jackson (picked ahead of Frank Thomas in 1989) and Ryne Sandberg (drafted in 1978 but then traded for Ivan DeJesus after only 13 games with the Phils). Fans might also know some random tidbit about other teams, such as the Mariners' successes with Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez or the Dodgers' drafting Mike Piazza 1,390th in the 1988 draft and getting a Hall of Famer. But beyond that, do you know much about what the draft as a whole produces?
Why the non-controversy over Type-A compensation in this winter's cold market needs to be seen as such.
In the discussion of Type-A free agents this winter, the term "first-round pick" is used about as often as "the" or "of." The perceived relative values of major league talent and first-round draft picks have been moving in opposite directions for a long time, and it appears that this winter, the two have crossed. Teams are less willing than ever to sign players and sacrifice that selection in the upcoming draft, and they're becoming more aware of how important good young baseball players who can be paid well below market value are to a baseball team.
BP's Fantasy Scoresheet League is back for another year. Today, the participants outline their strategies and draft results.
Despite that snafu, I'm pretty happy with the end result of my team. I have a better pitching staff than last year, and a number of good prospects getting closer to being able to help me. And since I'm not in Nate's division, I'll have an opportunity to contend.
The retirement of a minor league catcher incites the revisiting of a now-infamous book.
The news that Jeremy Brown was hanging up his spikes due to "personal issues" made more of a stir last week than you'd expect from the retirement of a 28-year-old catcher who's spent the last two years in Triple-A. Our prospects expert, Kevin Goldstein, gave Brown an extremely evenhanded send-off over on Unfiltered; others have been less charitable, invoking imaginary choruses of scouts cheering the end of Brown's career. At least, I hope the cheering is imaginary: it'd take a Grinch-sized heart to rejoice in the end of someone's big-league dreams, unless their name is, say, Ben Christensen. The reason that Brown is the focus of such attention and schadenfreude is because the A's drafted him in the first round of the 2002 draft-an overdraft which, by itself, wouldn't be that noteworthy-and because Michael Lewis wrote a best-selling book which hailed Brown's selection as the bellwether of a new way of doing business, which the author dubbed "Moneyball" in the book of the same name. Apparently, those celebrating Brown's retirement are marking the occasion as the death of Moneyball acumen-a festive wake, with dancing and ironic toasts.