Breaking down this year's backstop group into fantasy-value-based bins.
Today, we kick off our positional tier rankings. For the fifth year in a row, we have made this into a collaborative effort. Players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by a “star” rating.
Five-star players are the studs at their position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they will fetch mixed-league auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and they are 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 2016.
Comparing when the fantasy staff would advise you to take players to when they're actually being selected.
This article took shape thanks to the comments and suggestions of BP readers Tuck and TroJim. The former noted that a column elaborating on some of the larger discrepancies between Mike Gianella’s Top 300 list and current ADP numbers might be a helpful exercise in helping drafters determine value, and I agree. And then in a response to questions about the utility of our Darkhorses series focusing on generally known and highly drafted players, TroJim made the following excellent point: “Like the stock market... some people try to get rich on penny stocks and others find success in discerning which blue chips will perform the best.”
And lo, a column was born. I’m going to focus this article on the players with the largest gaps between our own ranking and ADP from the top 84 names on Mike’s list, as that cutoff represents the top six rounds of a standard 14-team league. I don’t think I’m breaking much ground with this declaration, but the top six rounds of a draft are extremely important rounds. These are your blue chip players, the foundation upon which your team is built. It’s possible to win with an underwhelming start, but it’s awfully difficult.
Thanks to an annual calendar and our current place on that calendar, we can write sentiments such as, “with 2014 soon coming to an end, baseball looks toward the horizon with excitement, knowing the 2015 season soon approaches.” For the fantasy baseball community, even closer than the actual baseball season comes rankings, sleeper, bust, and strategy season. Continuing this onslaught of excitement is the Positional Series that will be rolled out here at Baseball Prospectus. The plan is that this series will roll out using the same format as last season, just bigger and better. One-year, three-year, and dynasty rankings will be produced, players will be profiled, prospects will be analyzed for fantasy purposes, sleepers and busts will be selected, and relevant strategies will be discussed.
This is a safe place and no one would blame you if you were salivating just a little bit (if more than a little bit, one might consider a shawarma or a handful of almonds) because all this information, content, and analysis sounds like a great way to prepare for the upcoming season. Alas, there is a wrinkle here that once ironed out, should further improve this said preparation; that being what we take away from all this information. The first part—the rankings or how players compare—is obvious. The second and potentially more beneficial part—the thinking behind the rankings and analysis—is not as obvious. Below we will take a look at why we are too likely to get caught up in the former, all while overlooking the latter too frequently. We will also take a look at how to improve these tendencies for this upcoming offseason.
Jason's been thinking about the offseason, including rankings, playoff performances, and pre-playoff non performances.
I’ve been thinking about….. prospect rankings. The time of year is near, and I’ve started to make calls and I’ve started to take notes and I’ve started to put the parts of the machine together. One of the reasons I was never keen on prospect ranking had more to do with the process than the finished product, which, I will admit, has value despite a shelf life that makes it obsolete before you can find comfort in it. The process is the real creature here, as the definition of prospect value is always up for debate, with some offering grand rewards for high ceilings, some for skill maturity, some rewarding proximity to the majors, and some ranking prospects based solely on statistical output. Because value is in the eye of the value beholder, there isn’t a wrong way to organize and rank prospects, as the subjective nature of the process keeps us tied to individual philosophies and category weights. But one shouldn’t assume that all rankings are therefore created equal, and that throwing darts onto a board with prospect faces is a better method of classification than picking up a phone and talking to the industry tasked with prospect evaluation.
Or is it? My eyes have been privy to a few teams’ internal prospect rankings, compiled by their scouts on the ground and their analysts in the office, and even though the process of the product is more complex, I’ve been just as bewildered looking at a team’s list as I have been looking at a Bleacher Report slideshow of the top prospects in the game. The truth is that I’m not sure how the new BP rankings will be received, and even though they will be thoroughly researched and examined, the weight I assign to any specific attribute or characteristic will be based on a personal preference, and as a result, the BP list that I put a bow on will look different than the one Nick would compile, or Jason, or Mark, or Chris, or anybody else who decided to make a list. That uniqueness is both valued and open to exposure, with the latter stemming from the aforementioned subjectivity of the process itself, as each list, regardless of author, is different and therefore inaccurate at some level when judged against the reader’s personal preferences and experiences.
How players were ranked in the free agent compensation procedure in its first years, from 1982-1984.
The free agency season is among us. Major League Baseball released the list of the 100+ free agents over the weekend and we've already seen some action, with C.C. Sabathia opting out of his contract with the Yankees only to re-sign with the Bombers less than twelve hours later. It's a crazy season.
It's also the season when everyone gets to discuss and argue about the less-than-useful Type A and Type B free agent rankings Major League Baseabll gives out each year. For those who follow MLB Trade Rumors, this week's release of free agent rankings wasn't all that surprising, as they have been running their own version of the calculations for years now. For the rest of the baseball-watching public, though, the free agent ranking process is about as clear as Bryce Harper's eye-black. It doesn't help that MLB makes it difficult - if not impossible - to find the formula anymore.