Hot Spots finishes the 2010 season with some of the top fantasy surprises up the middle.
As Hot Spots colleague Michael Street alluded to yesterday, BP will be finishing up Hot Spots for the 2010 season with a bright note, with fantasy baseball's surprises of the season. Again, these surprises will be based not only on judgment of the individual authors but also differences between projected values from before the season and their current 5x5 roto league value. The up-the-middle positions were ravaged with various injuries to key names, but quite a few players that were available in the waiver wires early in the year surprised more than a few people on the way to excellent seasons. To those of you lucky enough to have grabbed one of these names in the early parts of the season, I hope you're riding them to playoff victory now.
The chances of someone leading the league in batting avearge, homers, and RBI have grown long in just a week.
Over the last two weeks I have utilized a neat simulation I built in order to assess the likelihood that a Triple Crown occurs this year. Simulations are the best way to make such a determination, as the three stats involved—batting average, home runs, and RBI—are intertwined. They might not always be connected, but it is more accurate to operate under this assumption than it is to multiply together the probabilities that a player leads the league in each category. When I ran through the rest of the season 10,000 times back on September 1, the feat was only achieved 777 times even though Albert Pujols and Joey Votto ranked either first or second in all three categories. Pujols won the Triple Crown in a whopping 663 of those 777 seasons, suggesting that the feat was unlikely to be achieved, but that Prince Albert was the heavy favorite.
Someone has replaced Prince Albert as the most likely to make history.
As September kicks into gear and the playoff races begin to heat up, another race is piquing the attention of a large population of baseball fans. The difference is that the race to which I am alluding is not assured of producing a winner. In fact, it has not produced a winner since 1967, when Carl Yasztremski led the American League on the mighty triumvirate of batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Leading the league in each of these categories in the same season is referred to as the Triple Crown, and for the first time in quite a while, there exists a strong possibility that the feat will be achieved. Say what you will about the relative merits of the batting average and RBI stats, but cliché saber-oriented rants aside, leading the league in all three is incredibly impressive.
What should the Braves do absent their third baseman, and should they do anything?
There's something very wrong with the picture: the Braves, in a pennant race for the first time in five years, Bobby Cox's last stand, and Chipper Jones is out. Not just out, but out for the season, and depending on how he feels about trying to come back, possibly out for forever.
One of the more unlikely scenarios three weeks ago comes to fruition, as the Cardinals and Tigers meet for all the marbles.
Not that this World Series is without its own compelling angles. For two teams that neither play in the same league nor share any obvious geographic connection, the Cardinals and Tigers have a fair amount of shared history. Detroit and St. Louis have tended to rise and fall together, both as cities and as baseball clubs, and this becomes one of a bare handful of World Series matchups that have occurred at least three times and haven't involved the Yankees:
Ponder these guys, take a chance, spend a buck, and reap big rewards at the back end of your league's draft or auction.
The answer to that last question is a decisive "yes." In any draft, there are some intriguing end-game picks out there, players you should be able to pick up for only a buck or in the last round of your draft. None of these guys is a star--far from it. But all are able to help your fantasy team at least a little bit.
Moorad v. Boras, the growth of Omar Infante, and the Royals rotation--all this and much more in today's Prospectus Triple Play
Arizona acquired Cruz from Tampa Bay on February 6th for HACKING MASS MVPCasey Fossum. The trade was a good one for the Diamondbacks, especially considering the alternative in center field, Luis Terrero, is probably better suited for the role of fourth outfielder. Cruz is coming off a season in which he hit 21 homers and walked 76 times in Tampa Bay. Last year was a dip from 2003's performance, when he hit 20 home runs and walked 102 times for San Francisco, and finished second behind Barry Bonds among Giants position players in terms of wins above replacement.
The Diamondbacks need to take a long look at their aging core. The Tigers' success isn't the result of luck, while the Royals' struggles are due, in part, to a lack of strikeouts and defense. All this and more news from Arizona, Detroit and Kansas City in your Wednesday Prospectus Triple Play.
Father Time Comes Calling: What could be worse than starting the season 18-33? Looking at your 18-33 team's stat sheet and realizing that your three best players are 40, 39 and 36 years old.