PECOTA helps pick the best player in baseball for every age, from Julio Urias to Bartolo Colon and all the superstars in between.
I have a vivid memory from my little league days of sitting in the dugout after practice and listening intently as a teammate read Baseball America’s rankings of the best players in the country by age. The best player on our team, who later went on to play Division I ball, was annoyed by the notion of a 13-year-old somewhere else getting so much attention for what couldn’t possibly be (he figured) superior talent. The sixth-best player on our team, who later went on to write this article, found it fascinating that there was a 13-year-old so good at baseball that they were being written about in magazines.
Batting average is the benchmark by which hitters have been judged for a century. It remains an integral statistical component of traditional fantasy leagues. Perhaps I’m just too much of a sabermetric fantasy hipster (with my flannel shirt, on-base percentage format, and NPR coffee mug) to accept it as an adequate metric for evaluating a hitter’s total offensive performance. Among the troika of triple-slash stats, batting average reveals the least information about a batters profile. In addition to being utterly devoid of contextual factors (like park factors, BABIP, and quality of opposing defense) that have a direct impact, it also fails to take into account that not all hits are equal in value.
Are heavier players at greater risk for injuries and shortened careers?
A little over a week ago, Miguel Cabrera agreed to an historic contract extension amounting to no less than $248 million dollars. While the response to the deal from many corners was one of concern, it was well understood why the Tigers made the commitment. Nevertheless, in the midst of an MLB-wide trend toward locking up young talent, the Tigers bucked that trend in taking a bet on an aging slugger ripe for regression.
The contract has been dissected from almost every angle, and so I won’t attempt to rehash the various projections or what they mean for overall value in a $/win framework. Instead, I intend to consider an ancillary factor in the Great Contract Debate, one which was brought up in a handful of discussions: Miguel Cabrera’s considerable weight (240 pounds, listed).
Viewing the slugger's $248 million deal through a behavioral economics lens.
There is a lot we do not know about the decision to give Miguel Cabrera his new, enormous contract extension. There is a lot we will never know about it. There are factors that might or might not have factored into the decision. We could say that this has been the plan all along. We could say that at this juncture, this is what the Tigers thought was best for the franchise or that this what the Tigers thought was the best allocation of their resources. People will also say that the Tigers may have done this to justify the Doug Fister trade and/or to justify not extending Max Scherzer. People will probably respond to this by saying that maybe the plan was to extend either Scherzer or Cabrera, or both. People will say a lot of things about a person getting paid that much money to play baseball.
Again, we were not in the room (this is an assumption I am boldly making) and we do not know what Dave Dombrowski or Mike Ilitch were thinking. As individuals, I have no idea how either of them usually thinks in these situations. What we do know is how people think; we know how most people think. Consequently, there are some behavioral economic factors that are related to how people might think if in they were in the same situation as the Tigers’ leadership. In other words, the below is not about how the decision was made, but rather about how decisions are often made.
On Friday, March 21, Mike Gianella released Version Four of his mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
The top four picks in redraft leagues are relatively clear-cut, but whom should you target if your selection is just outside that tier?
Depending on what you value, there’s a distinct separation in 12-team 5x5 draft formats when it comes to the fifth pick. Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt,and Andrew McCutchen all deserve to go in the no. 1-4 spots, and I don’t think there can be much debate on that. The big question facing owners picking fifth is a value-based one. I was handed the no. 5 pick in a home league, so let’s take a look at some of the names that I thought about taking there. (Note: I’m concentrating solely on 12-team leagues, so your mileage may vary).
Kershaw is a popular choice here judging by the ADPs across a few different sites. The reasons are obvious: Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball right now; he’s a good bet to help across four categories again this year; and there’s a decent amount of uncertainty with the position players who would also be the fifth-overall pick.
The fantasy crew tries to peg the top 15 picks and predict breakouts from later picks.
We know from Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster that since 2004, there is a 36 percent success rate in the ADP projecting the top 15. The most in any one year is seven of 15; the least is four. With that in mind, I challenged the fantasy team to try to guess the top 15. In addition to their stab at the top 15, I had them give their answers on the following: