Which teams make the most sense for the remaining free agents?
It’s that time of the year again. Most notable free agents have signed with new teams, while others are closing in on their own agreements. Alas the precious few left on the open market now have days instead of weeks to secure employment before the exhibition season begins. To assist nine of the most noteworthy remaining free agents (read: pass time until something interesting happens), let’s take a look at what they offer and where they may land, with a hand from everyone’s favorite random number generator.
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Identifying the best late-round options for mixing and matching in your fantasy lineup.
One of the first articles I wrote here at Baseball Prospectus was a detailed look at how platoon splits, when deployed tactically and objectively, can create a surplus of value by taking two roster spots and turning them into one “super position player.” And the great thing about this concept is that you can keep using it from year to year, just with different names. There are always going to be players with flaws available later in the draft, but there’s a competitive advantage to being able to use certainly players in a way that optimizes their strengths and negates their weaknesses. Here’s what the original experiment looked like:
The exercises below show the benefits of using one of your bench spots specifically to platoon one of your final offensive players, using the 2012 season as the example. The guidelines of the exercises are simple. For each scenario, I took two players who were drafted outside the top 200 last pre-season and set a fixed schedule of when one would be in the lineup over the other—leaving no room for subjectivity. The only exceptions to this were when one of the players was not in the starting lineup (out) or one of the players was participating in a doubleheader (in). Then, I went back through the 2012 game logs to determine the actual statistics and value earned out of this “alternative arrangement.” But before we dive in, we have to set a baseline of value for the roster spots.
This aging club has some intriguing players, but many of them carry significant injury risk.
It’s easy and fun to make jokes about how old the Phillies are, but the team’s advanced age curve does have an impact from a fantasy perspective. Nine players on the team’s projected Opening Day roster are 33 years of age or older. Post-peak players aren’t worthless and certainly can provide fantasy value. However, discounts have to be built in for potential injuries and breakdowns, especially in deeper leagues where good replacement level players are harder to find. The Phillies are becoming a Bermuda Triangle in fantasy: a lot of players are worth owning, but the risk factor here is high in many cases.
Twins starter Andrew Albers throws a shutout in his second start, and Adam Eaton helps the Diamondbacks keep pace with the Dodgers.
The Monday Takeaways
Last week, in his major-league debut, Andrew Albers blanked the Royals for 8 1/3 innings. Given his story and the fact that he was setting foot on a big-league field for the first time at the age of 27, that seemed like a big deal. Six days later, Albers one-upped himself.
The left-hander was unable to complete the shutout on August 6, failing to bump Andy Van Hekken down a line on the list of pitchers who have done it in their first tastes of The Show. Instead, he did in his first start at Target Field, two-hitting the Indians and outgunning Danny Salazar in a 3-0 Twins victory on Monday night.
Out Of Work Former Big Leaguers Auditioning in the Caribbean Winter Leagues
There are several former big leaguers playing ball in the Caribbean Winter Leagues -- some who have had just a short stint or two in the big leagues, some former All-Stars -- as they try and prove that they still have something left in the tank in order to earn at least a minor league deal with some team. Here are a few that could garner interest over the next several weeks as teams finalize their rosters before Spring Training.
Following up on Chris Heisey, at present there's no real competition for a starting spot, and unless that changes, he should get about 90 percent of the playing time, which would be almost 600 at-bats, given his low walk rate and where he's likely to bat in the lineup. He hasn't been labeled a "proven veteran" yet, so there's always that chance that he could wash out, but Dusty Baker is loyal to players and sticks to his opinions, so it's more important that Heisey impress his manager in spring training than it is for him to post a 1.5 WARP in the first half.
The tater trots for August 2: five multi-home run games and a couple of notable shots in the Cubs game. The home run call for Jose Reyes' shot is something special.
Yesterday, I made a special note of the four multiple home run days hit across the league on Monday. Well, if four was special on Monday, then the five on Tuesday must be even more special. Of course, there were forty-two home runs hit in total on Tuesday as opposed to the twenty-six on Monday, so maybe that dilutes it somehow. I doubt Ryan Howard, Alfonso Soriano, Garrett Jones, Mark Teixeira, and Omar Infante would care, though.
The tater trots for July 14. After two weeks off, the tracker returns for Byrd's first home run with a cheek protector.
It's been two weeks since I've been around these parts - well, except for one very notable exception - but, with the All Star break over, it's time for me to join baseball in the second half of the season. I now have about ten days' worth of trots to backlog, but that won't keep me from getting on with each day's trots.