Jason continues his review of Tout Wars, moving on to the National League side today.
Playing in Tout Wars is a rewarding experience because of the exposure the league gets. It, alongside LABR (League of Alternative Baseball Reality), is one of the two best gauges fantasy players have to see how the “experts” apply their knowledge at the draft table. It is one thing to read the work each participant publishes online, but it is another to see what they do with their own imaginary money, or in the case of playing in high-stakes leagues such as the ones in the NFBC leagues, real money.
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No analysis of a major move is complete without some consideration of what it might mean for the fanbase.
Why would a team sign a 27-year-old Ryan Braun to a five-year, $105 million contract extension when the extension is still five years from kicking in, as the Brewers did last week? There are certainly practical reasons, but one overriding one that rarely receives its full due from analysts is fan service. The small market curse—that teams can develop superstars, but cannot afford to retain them—is very much alive in Milwaukee, and fans are keenly aware of it. The Prince Fielder situation is a perfect example of this.
In Prince Fielder's final plate appearance at Miller Park in the 2010 season, the 30,000 fans in attendance gave him a rousing ovation. Later, after Fielder walked and was replaced by a pinch-runner, the ovation was louder and longer, forcing a curtain call from the slugger. It wasn't because Fielder had just hit a walk-off home run or knocked in the winning run. It was because not a single person in the stadium believed that the power-hitting first baseman, who had finished third in MVP voting in 2007 and fourth in 2009, would ever play a game in a Brewers uniform in Miller Park again. The fans wanted to make sure that he knew how much he was appreciated.
Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?
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.
Albert Pujols comes out on top of the list of major-leaguers who provide the most bang for the buck.
Two weeks ago, I introduced the new version of our Market Value Over Replacement Player (MORP) statistic. In today’s article, I will discuss the “Most Net Valuable Players” of 2009 according to this metric. These are the players who provided far more than their salary and draft-pick compensation costs in 2009. Unsurprisingly, the majority of players atop this list will not be players with six or more years of service time necessary to become a free agent. Evan Longoria, for example, was one of the most net valuable players in the league last year because the Rays were not required to compete with other teams for his 2009 services. Albert Pujols, on the other hand, has enough service time that he could have been a free agent before 2009 had he elected, so the Cardinals were required to pay more for his services. Therefore, the first table below will only list the most valuable players who would have been free agents before 2009 if they were not already under contract.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
Two of the all-time greats in the dugout square off with the benefit of some of two of the most famous sluggers on the field.
Were it not for a 2-8 swoon over the Cardinals' final 10 games, the NL Division Series matchup between the Dodgers and the Cards could lay claim to pitting the team with the hottest first-half record (the blue team) against the one with the hottest second-half record (the red team). As it is, St. Louis still won the Central by the largest margin of any NL division champion (7½ games), turning what was once a crowded four-team race into a laugher thanks to some timely in-season upgrades, most notably the July 24 trade which brought Matt Holliday from Oakland-a point after which the Cards did have the league's best record (39-25).
A rematch from the '07 postseason makes for a great showdown of two teams with very different virtues.
Well, here we are again, with the Phillies and Rockies set to battle one another in the National League Division Series for the second time in three seasons. Just as it was in 2007, the Phillies enter the fray with a division title while the Rockies used an incredibly strong second half to win the NL Wild Card. Unlike that entertaining 2007 season, however, in which the Phillies ousted the Mets from the top spot of the NL East on the final day of the season, only to have their spotlight stolen soon thereafter by a Rockies team that won a controversial play-in game, this year's Phillies controlled their division practically all season. In addition, the Rockies' second-half surge proved so strong that they actually gave the division-leading Dodgers a run for their money in the final week. A good chunk of the 2007 cast of characters remains intact for each team, but enough has changed to merit a new writeup instead of a recycled version of the prior Phillies/Rockies preview.
Is this year's hot start by St. Louis a repeat of what we saw last year, or are the Cardinals in a better place this time around?
The Cardinals have exceeded expectations with a 17-8 start that includes a +36 run differential, tied for the second-best mark in MLB with the Blue Jays. The underlying performance in those numbers is good as well: the Cards are second in the NL in OBP, third in SLG, and second in runs scored. They're tied for fifth in runs allowed, with a 2:1 K/BB ratio and the second-fewest home runs allowed in the league.
Do things good and bood, on the diamond or in the game, always come in threes?
With a tip of the cap to an old Yogism, today I'm launching the first edition of what I intend to be a recurring feature, an expansion of what I initially set out to do in the Hit and Run space: digging a little deeper into things I was writing about on the Hit List. With a fond nod to the old Prospectus Triple Plays—good things come in threes—the overarching concept here is to expound a bit on three teams linked together by something, whether that's a statistical ranking, a trend, a similar problem, or even an instance of relevant history.