How much hidden value does a multi-position player add?
Last week, I began discussing a question that has puzzled the sabermetric communityfor a while. How do we put a value on a player's ability to play multiple positions? Most teams have guys who are capable of pulling duty at several places on the field, but they are bench/utility players who serve as backups. What to make of the player who hits well enough to be a starter and fields well enough at multiple positions to be worth starting there?
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The fantasy team tackles questions submitted by you, the readers, via email.
Each Friday, we are going to publish questions from our unofficial mailbag. We find that some of you email multiple members of the staff with the same question, while others hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have decided to share the knowledge, anonymously, with the populous, and allow you to ask additional questions in the comments for the fantasy staff to address.
Keeper league, Profar or Taveras? Does Profar’s position give him the edge or is Taveras's bat that special?
Ben and Sam answer listener emails about how many games a team formed from the three worst teams in baseball would win, whether catchers (and non-catchers) should be allowed to block the plate, and expanding active rosters.
A look at how teams structure their payroll and the merits of the different strategies.
The general manager and owner’s dilemma been around since Ban Johnson decided that it was better to pay players rather than having them play as amateurs, the dilemma of trying to balance a budget with creating the most competitive team possible. We armchair GMs like to talk about whether this deal or that deal is good or bad, often within the framework of how much a player is being paid and whether they are “worth it.” Indeed, Baseball Prospectus strives daily to provide data that works to define that conversation.
The general manager’s dilemma, however, is tougher than, say, the budget that you or I set for our household. With some exceptions, most of us have a general sense of what our income and expenses will be. We may get a modest raise and the cost of living may increase at a rate that we can see coming, so for the most part, our monthly budgets can be set and we can adjust accordingly.
Inspired by the top-heavy Tigers and Dodgers, Brad investigates how well NBA-style roster construction works in MLB.
Since the NBA playoffs are currently going full throttle, this seems as apt a time as any to explore a basic concept of roster construction from that league to big-league baseball. Of course, many of you will disagree with this necessity of this because you don't like the NBA. Some of you will deny the very existence of professional basketball. That's okay. Trust me, this is a baseball article.
The Inside the Park series is about stories, but sometimes there in no particular story angle to what otherwise seems like a fun idea for an article. That's the case here. During the offseason, and after the Prince Fielder signing, I read a number of analyses of the Detroit Tigers that described their roster as top-heavy. Insofar in that there is criticism in that observation, the issue is that such a team is going to be more vulnerable to an injury to a key player. When Victor Martinez was injured, Detroit was able to throw the GDP of a good-sized nation Fielder's way, but such an option doesn't exist once the season begins. If Fielder or Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander were to go down, the Tigers would be perhaps be sunk even give their tepid competition in the AL Central. They would likewise be more exposed in the event of less-than-elite performances by any of the aforementioned trio. In fact, that may be happening already.
What can Jeff Mathis and Mike Napoli tell us about the dangers of valuing backup catchers inappropriately?
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.
Jonathan Bernhardt is a freelance writer born in Baltimore who lives and works in New York City. He is an occasional contributor to the Et tu, Mr. Destructo? blog.
Does the Brew Crew's collection of bench has-beens suggest that they've forgotten the lessons of 2008, or are they still in the process of building a contender?
Much as I try to keep track of transactions, there are, at any particular time, a certain number of players dotting major-league benches and bullpens whose existence manages to elude me entirely. Take current Braves third-string catcher J.C. Boscan. If you’d asked me what team he was on, I would’ve had at best a one-in-thirty chance of answering correctly; if I’d known he was a catcher, the odds would have been even worse, since I wouldn’t have guessed that a team fortunate enough to have both Brian McCann and David Ross would feel the need to go three deep behind the plate. As far as I can tell, Fredi Gonzalez wants him around in case Ross starts and McCann pinch-hits for him, which would leave the Braves only one unlikely catastrophic injury away from disaster—making Boscan little more than a security blanket with a catcher’s glove and an unusual goatee.
I managed to miss both Boscan’s lone plate appearance in 2010 (a walk!) and his single plate appearance in 2011 (a strikeout!). Those two no-contact cameos (and a pair of innings behind the plate) compose the entirety of his major-league career to date. In fact, he didn’t even make it into the BP annual, a snub that makes you either a nobody or the 1996 Cardinals. Of course, now that I’ve written about him and associated him with Mrs. Peterman’s dying words, I’ll remember J.C. Boscan to my dying day, even though it would be safe to forget about him as soon as Jair Jurrjens bumps him off the roster this weekend.
Does Billy Beane's sh*t work in the trainer's room?
The Team Injury Projections are here, driven by our brand new injury forecasting system, the Comprehensive Health Index [of] Pitchers [and] Players [with] Evaluative Results—or, more succinctly, CHIPPER. Thanks to work by Colin Wyers and Dan Turkenkopf and a database loaded with injuries dating back to the 2002 season—that's nearly 4,600 players and well over 400,000 days lost to injury—we now have a system that produces injury-risk assessments to three different degrees. CHIPPER projects ratings for players based on their injury history—these ratings measure the probability of a player missing one or more games, 15 or more games, or 30 or more games. CHIPPER will have additional features added to it throughout the spring and early season that will enhance the accuracy of our injury coverage.
These ratings are also available in the Player Forecast Manager (pfm.baseballprospectus.com), where they'll be sortable by league or position—you won’t have to wait for us to finish writing this series in order to see the health ratings for all of the players.