Mike examines whether games-finished clauses are indicative of future save opportunties.
When I was a small child everything I knew about baseball came from either the back of a baseball card or what the local color guys for the Yankees and Mets told me on TV. During this impressionable age, I remember reading about Steve Stone winning the Cy Young Award in 1980 and how he earned a $10,000 bonus for his trouble. As an impressionable lad, I figured that for Stone to have this bonus in his contract he had to be an excellent pitcher. Some superficial research told me that this wasn’t the case at all; Stone was a solid-but-unspectacular pitcher. As I learned from the back of this particular baseball card, the bonus clause was put into the contract, but it was something the Orioles figured he’d never collect.
“It was like an insurance salesman telling you, ‘We’ll give you $50,000 if an elephant falls on you,’ because he knows darn well an elephant isn’t going to fall on you,” Stone said at the time.
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Michael doesn’t add anyone to this week’s VP list but makes up for it with a heaping helping o’ Playing Pepper and an in-depth look at BP’s PITCHf/x card for Luke Scott.
One of the reasons players linger longer on the waiver wire at this point in the season can be traced to their season line. A weak start can sandbag a player’s stats, and less-than-careful owners can overlook improvements by only looking at the bottom line. That’s the best explanation for the lower ownership rates for some of my VPs this week, who are all performing well of late despite weak overall lines.
Well that was quick. Barely a week after he was given the closer’s role in Anaheim, Scott Downs appears to be DL-bound after injuring his leg Sunday while avoiding a comebacker, leaving fantasy players scrambling to find his replacement. Who that replacement will be, however, is currently up in the air. Of course, that won’t stop us from speculating. Today, I’ll try my hand at handicapping the situation.
The Yahoo! Friends & Family experts league is always an interesting barometer for this sort of thing. It’s a daily transaction league, and any time a ninth-inning changing of the guard may be taking place, owners race to the waiver wire to pick up anyone with a chance for saves. By yesterday evening, five Angel relievers had been picked up (if they weren’t already owned) in Yahoo! F&F: Downs, Jordan Walden, LaTroy Hawkins, Ernesto Frieri, and Jason Isringhausen. Let’s take a look at the chance each has of saving games for the foreseeable future.
Many relievers make their exit from the list, but Mike introduces a fantasy rarity: the non-closing reliever worth owning
I’m sure I’ve said this before, but every week in this space I search for hidden saves to help fantasy players win their leagues, all the while knowing that in the real world, the save is a basically meaningless stat that has often caused managers to improperly use their best relievers. There’s no better example of this than the fact that the two teams with the highest save percentage as of Wednesday are the Phillies and the Dodgers, despite each team being on at least their third closer due to injuries and ineffectiveness. Still, this was a good week for
Injuries will keep some closers from starting the season with their clubs, but Mike is here to tell you about their replacements.
Just hours after this article goes live, the first pitch of the 2011 season will be thrown by either by CC Sabathia or Livan Hernandez. It’s Opening Day! Or, as I like to think of it, “the equivalent of Christmas plus your birthday multiplied by ten Super Bowls”–not to overstate it, of course. It really ought to be a national holiday, no?
A look at the return on investments for relievers given multi-year deals versus one-year contracts.
One of the most interesting aspects of baseball transactions is that every move carries a certain level of risk. Without perfect information akin to an extreme level of accurate prognostication, teams can never be 100 percent certain how a player will perform. The best investment is a player who will produce at a very high level, but who comes as close to guaranteeing that high level of production as possible. Albert Pujols personifies this idea, as a bad season for him still involves above-average defense and a TAv north of .310. I will say right now, with as much confidence as I have in my mind and body, that Pujols will hit, at worst, .310/.370/.530 next season. He has proven himself capable of production far beyond that slash line and is as close to a sure thing as we have.
Mike Petriello looks at bullpen moves in Baltimore and Anaheim.
As the big names like Carl Crawford and Cliff Lee begin to fall off the board, now and in the coming weeks is when we'll really start seeing some movement on relievers as teams start to fill out their rosters. Three-year deals to non-closers seems to be the new trend, since Joaquin Benoit, Matt Guerrier, and Scott Downs have all picked up such multiyear commitments despite not being top-flight closers. Being a Dodger fan, the commitment to Guerrier kills me, but should the Angels be as concerned with Downs? Let's take a look.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 14 American League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. National League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
A look at some of the spring roster battles are shaping up and how it affects playing time.
At this stage of spring, we don't think enough games have played to really understand how players compare to each other, but that doesn't matter, because teams are starting to make decisions based on what they've seen (and, of course, on what they already know). That obliges us to at least try and follow their thinking by looking at the spring stats and seeing how players are doing, particularly in cases where position decisions are on the line. It doesn't matter what Derek Jeter, Nick Markakis, or Albert Pujols are doing in the exhibition games because they'll start regardless. I'm looking for cases where the performance (or injuries, or visa problems) of the player merits at least a thought of changing the depth-chart projection. Not everybody mentioned gets changed