For one night, the White Sox look like the team to beat in the AL Central.
The Tuesday Takeaway
The White Sox entered last night’s matchup with Justin Verlander with a .237 team TAv, the second-worst mark in baseball. Only the Marlins, at .231, had been less potent at the plate as a group, and Mike Redmond’s bunch did not have the benefit of a designated hitter. Among junior-circuit clubs, the Yankees, 11 points ahead of the White Sox at .248, were the next-worst squad.
The American League’s least productive lineup, one with only two starters toting on-base percentages higher than .310, is not supposed to collect 23 hits in a game against Verlander. But on Tuesday, the White Sox did.
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Is the Royals' first baseman coming out of his slump, or still struggling?
On Sunday, a baseball broadcaster informed me (and you and everyone we know) that a player on the Kansas City Royals entered the game 10 for his previous 28. “That’s a .357 average, so he’s coming,” I was told.
Eric Hosmer hasn’t done much this year, and his inability to take the great leap forward is a big reason why Kansas City’s go-for-it plan has disappointed thus far. But a .357 average, that’s pretty high, and if he’s coming, maybe the Royals would have something. It’s easy to buy into Eric Hosmer’s .357 average. It’s just easy to buy into Eric Hosmer, all the time, despite how long it’s been since he was good. He used to be so good, after all. And .357! Maybe that .357 means something.
The fantasy implications of these manager decisions.
Evaluating players based on lineup position is a tricky science. On one hand, it can have a dramatic impact on a player’s value. Take a guy batting eighth in an NL lineup, move him second, and it can be as much as a $5 boost. On the other hand, batting lineups are fickle constructs, so sometimes it is best not to put too much stock in where a player is hitting at the moment and focus on skills instead.
Lineup position also has an obvious compounding effect—that is, players who are already hitting well tend to be the ones who benefit from moving up in the order, and vice versa. Still, whether through injury or merit, when a player has moved into a more (or less) favorable hitting position, it’s worth reviewing who has seen their value affected thus far in 2013.
As is customary, I recently returned from a lengthy spring training odyssey and sat down for a lengthy online chat, where hours rolled into hours and the questions flowed forth in a never-ending supply. Aside from the backfield games in March, the post-spring training chat is my favorite part of the process, a detox of sorts from the grind of camp. My latest installment ran a robust eight hours and featured over 300 answers, although at least a quarter of the responses were sententious at best and esoteric to a fault at worst. But when it comes to the baseball opinions, I tried to answer with thought and honesty, and I stand by the statements on their merits, without a hedge or a statesman-like wiggle to avoid accountability in the face of ignorance or mistake.
It’s easy to let your fingers do the work of your lips, spouting off rhymes without much reason in an environment where failed prophecies hide in the shadows and successful prognostications get to live on the mantle in the family room for all guests to admire. If you are going to champion your scouting wins, it’s equally important to stand next to your scouting loses, and I’d rather present a responsible product that I take ownership of than play politician in order to maintain a high-gloss on an expert badge this particular platform pins to my chest. I don’t mind being wrong. I expect to be wrong. But I want to learn from those mistakes and misjudgments, and I don’t find much comfort in the binary outcomes of the process.
Derek begins reviewing his pre-season predictions, starting with the ones that made him (and you) look good.
At the end of every season, I find it useful to go back and examine the predictions I made. What did I get right, and where did I go wrong? Today I’m going to look at some of my biggest hits. For each player, I’ve listed his mixed and AL/NL-only auction value in Tout Wars and LABR (only Tout has a mixed auction, but AL/NL-only values are an average of Tout and LABR) as well as his actual value for the 2012 season according to Last Player Picked. And of course, in the interest of fairness, I will be going through the same exercise for my worst predictions too. Also take note that I’ve excluded most of the “value picks” from my preseason tier articles, as they’ll get their own review article.
Albert Pujols may be struggling, but there are major-league regulars doing even worse.
Albert Pujols you know about. The $240 million man has yet to get untracked for the Angels and ended the month of April hitting a paltry .217/.265/.304 without a homer. He's hardly the only hitter who has begun 2012 in a funk, though. In fact, 41 other hitters came into Tuesday with True Averages lower than or equal to that of Pujols' .225 in at least 65 plate appearances, i.e., enough to qualify for the batting title. Sure, those are small samples sizes, but we're 14 percent of the way through the season, with one page of the calendar wadded up into a ball, so it's not like we can't at least gawk at the outliers. What follows is a look at a half-dozen AL hitters—none of them as good as Pujols to begin with, admittedly—who are struggling to an even greater degree than the Angels slugger, and where they and their teams might go from here.
A look at why there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to valuing a player
In the game of baseball, environment often plays a role in determining a player’s worth. For example, a pitcher who is skilled at inducing groundballs may be more valuable than his flyball-prone counterpart in a home-run-happy ballpark like Coors Field. This same pitcher will be less valuable, though, if he plays on a team like the Detroit Tigers that has a porous infield defense. Or consider a position player who is gifted with the bat but has a poor glove. This player isn’t much of a problem in the American League because of the DH rule, but in the National League, a player with fielding deficiencies often has nowhere to play (just look at Jim Thome this year).
In other words, value is often about context. The same holds true in fantasy baseball, although it’s a factor that’s considered less frequently. Often, we pretend we’re all playing the same game. We’re not.
While lot of what Jason sees in Arizona doesn't matter, and some of it's just shadows, there's still a lot to report from Surprise.
Day 8: 10:40 PM
It’s late, Patricia, and I’m sorry for not putting fingers to these keys earlier. The sun was magnificent today, like a big, glowing ball of headaches, disorientation, and fire. My eyes starting stinging early, and by noon I realized I was nearing collapse. After the morning workouts and the 1PM game at the big boy stadium–which I will tell you about in a minute–I bypassed a late lunch in order to cool my thoughts in a long shower. I rushed through step three of the showering process because the symptoms of heat stroke were still present and I didn’t feel confident standing in a slippery basin with my eyes closed while negotiating bouts of dizziness. It’s important to avoid cracking your head open.
Day 8: 11:00 PM
I had to drink a glass of flat water with a slice of cucumber gently floating on top. I would have preferred sparkling, but I’ve become particular about my sparkling water and I’m not about to rush into a sloppy water consumption decision just because the selection is limited and my body needs to fight off dehydration. It’s important to stay hydrated, with style when possible. I watched the Royals earlier today, as I tend to do out here in Surprise, and one player in particular caught my eye, as he has every spring since he was drafted. I sat in the scout section behind home plate, allowing the waves of Americana blasting from the stadium P.A. system to crash into my eardrums, waiting to have my eyes opened by a spectacular play or a spectacular player, when from the sky a heroic figure emerged and slowly lowered his human form onto the playing field and picked up a baseball bat. It was Eric Hosmer, and his face was bronze, and his body draped with the cloth of kings, and his skin was wet with the tears of innumerable virgins. His swing was delicious, with a robust finish that was assertive and aggressive, yet tender and passionate.
Now that the regular season has wrapped up, here's a look at who BP staffers think should win the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff choices for the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has 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, Rookie of the Year, and Manager 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.
The Royals called up slugger Eric Hosmer last week, but after lauding the move early on, could a certain prospect guru be changing his mind?
If you are a prospect hound, the last week has made some sort of live baseball package a must. On Thursday, the Royals called up Eric Hosmer, arguably the best hitting prospect at the upper levels. On Saturday, the Braves called up Julio Teheran, arguably the best pitching prospect at the upper levels. On Sunday, the Red Sox promoted Jose Iglesias, the best defensive shortstop in the minors.