Free agency is winding down, but plenty of recognizable names haven't found homes yet.
It’s been three long months since Michael Martinez grounded out against Mike Montgomery and thankfully we're just one more long month from real, live baseball games being a thing again, but quite a few prominent free agents remain unsigned in what has been an offseason light on typically big spending. Each of the first 19 names on BP’s annual top 50 free agent rankings have found homes for 2017, but 11 of the other 31 players are still on the open market and are placing increasingly agitated calls to their agents.
You might not want to buy or draft these backstops in your leagues this spring.
On Monday, the BP Fantasy staff brought you a collection of catchers you’d be wise to target in your drafts this season. Because every internet column has an equal and opposite column, we shall now bring you the names of many backstops you should avoid.
Travis d’Arnaud, Mets
Dissing d’Arnaud, while certainly a catchy name for a cover band, isn’t something I jumped at. In long-term leagues, by all means, go crazy. But for the upcoming season, I’m not going out of my way for any Met not named David Wright (pitchers not included). The 24-year-old will be buried at the bottom of a New York lineup that finished 29th in terms of wOBA (.297) in 2013, and while the team might be marginally better with Curtis Granderson onboard, I’m not seeing an offensive revival of great significance. We have only 31 games of major-league data to go by, and that small sample size produced a lowly line of .202/.286/.263 and one home run. A full-time job doesn’t guarantee anything—even for a former no. 1 organizational prospect—and I’m afraid the name might outweigh d’Arnaud’s actual value on draft day. —Alex Kantecki
Buster Posey and Joe Mauer headline a large group of high-end backstops, followed by thinner groupings below.
Today we kick off our positional tier rankings. For the second year in a row, we have made this into a collaborative effort. Players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by the number of stars.
Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players that will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they'll fetch auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be earl- round selections, and they're projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late-round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of last year’s values but rather try to offer some insights into what we expect will happen in 2014.
The playoff races have been de-zombified, and Team Entropy was on the prowl, looking for meaningful baseball going into the final game.
Welcome to Team Entropy! Grab a seat on the couch, and here, have a beer. You've been invited to this party because after almost exactly six months and 160 games of regular-season baseball, you've suspended the need to root for a specific team and are working for the greater good, more interested in maximizing the amount of end-of-season chaos the remaining schedule can produce. The amount of season, even, if it comes to a 163rd game—or two.
Radio man Mike Ferrin takes the mic to identify three players and coaches to watch based on his conversations with players and executives this spring.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Mike Ferrin is the host of MLB Roundtrip on Sirius-XM MLB Network Radio, airing at midnight on weeknights and after the games on weekends on channels XM 175 and Sirius 210. He also makes killer country-style ribs in his smoker.
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.