The Rangers are exceeding expectations. Where did the expectations go wrong?
In our preseason predictions piece, 45 of us tried to forecast the 2015 season. Not one of us thought the Texas Rangers would finish first in the AL West. That’s okay; they’re three games out and the Astros are still likely to hold them off. There also wasn’t a brave enough soul to predict that Texas would finish second in the division. Alright, they’re three and a half games clear of the Angels, but that still might not be enough cushion. The thing is, only one of the 45 of us (Bret Sayre, cheers) even had the audacity to suggest that the Rangers could finish third. Sixty percent of this staff of so-called experts had the Rangers finishing last. Instead, they wake up Monday morning with a game and a half to spare for the second Wild Card spot, at 68-61 and riding a four-game winning streak.
Were we wrong about the Rangers? About the Royals? About the Twins? That’s the question we’re here today to answer. (If we were wrong about those three teams, of course, we were also wrong about the Red Sox, Mariners, and Nationals, but we’ll explore the reasons for that wrongness—or innocent victimization at the hands of the universe—another time.) It’s perfectly possible, of course, to not foresee something simply because it couldn’t be foreseen. There’s no blame there. Some things happen simply because anything can happen, and not because they were likely to happen all along. Then again, there are cases every season in which we really, truly should have taken a little longer to understand a team a little better, and where if we had, we might have forecast their seasons better.
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The Ranger might be the better draft-day bargain, but is he the better overall fantasy asset?
Esteemed, handsome colleague J.P. Breen rolled out the first installment of our 2015 outfielder rankings today. I direct your attention to the third tier, in which Yoenis Cespedes and Shin-Soo Choo are ranked at 28 and 29, respectively. I have now dutifully set the stage for the basis of the comparison that follows.
Ben devotes more than 70 percent of his $260 budget to bats.
On Friday, March 21, Mike Gianella released Version Four of his mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
The Dodgers' ace is the priciest player on Craig's Roto dream team.
On Friday, Mike Gianella released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
In the debut edition of this series, the fantasy team looks at players who could outperform their PECOTA projections in batting average.
One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and finish at the top of one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall just shy of the top 10 (in the 11 to 25 range) and one longer shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’ll take a look at offense this week and pitching next. To kick things off here is a bounty of hidden treasure in the batting average department:
The BP Prospect Team bring you advanced scouting reports for the 2013 playoffs.
Throughout the past two weeks, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect team have been writing detailed reports on key players to enhance your enjoyment of the MLB playoffs. Below is every published report in a single post.
Creative arguments in favor of several players whom the courageous writer can support.
If you’re one of the 60 writers who get to vote on the MVP award this year, then by all means, take it seriously and vote in good faith for the player you think was most valuable. If you’re one of the hundreds of writers who don’t: Man, I feel for you. This all over again.
What turned Drew Stubbs from the player he was to the player he is?
Casting Drew Stubbs as a bench player a few years ago seemed delusional. Nowadays, it makes more sense. Performances trending the wrong way have transformed Stubbs from one of the game’s exciting, well-rounded talents into a frustrating enigma. Reds general manager Walt Jocketty—having strengthened his outfield already by re-signing Ryan Ludwick and transitioning Billy Hamilton to center—kept looking for additional support by eyeing Colorado’s Dexter Fowler and Cleveland’s Shin-Soo Choo. Jocketty pulled the trigger last night, landing Choo and sending Stubbs to Cleveland in a three-way trade. Stubbs’ downfall in Cincinnati merits the question—how did things get so bad, so quickly?
The Reds drafted Stubbs with the no. 8 pick in the 2006 draft, one pick behind Clayton Kershaw and two picks ahead of Tim Lincecum. The University of Texas product shot through the minors. He reached Triple-A in his second professional season, and the majors in his third. Although Stubbs’ official rookie season encompassed 42 games, he managed to smack eight home runs and steal 10 bases during the cameo. By the end of his unofficial rookie season, Stubbs had 30 home runs and 40 steals (on 50 tries) in 779 trips to the plate. Add in stellar defensive play and stardom seemed like a given.
Google's biographic pictures of baseball players aren't always what you expect.
Recently, Google began putting short bios of prominent subjects at the top of search results. It's a nifty time saver if all you need to know is What Is Kreayshawn, or whether Angel Pagan switch-hits. There is usually a photo of the person, too. The photo, though, isn't always the most representative photo of the person. That's what normal companies would do. Not Google. Oh, no, not Google*.
Johan Santana and Josh Johnson turned back the clock in a vintage pitcher's duel on Tuesday.
The Tuesday Takeaway Josh Johnson missed most of the 2011 season because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Johan Santana was shelved for much of it while rehabbing from a torn capsule in his left one. But on Tuesday night in Queens, they decided to party like it was 2009.
The Marlins and Mets aces matched each other out for out, hit for hit, and run for run on a night that was supposed to be highlighted by Jose Reyes’ return to Citi Field. Instead, Reyes went an inauspicious 0-for-4, while Johnson and Santana stole the show.
Which outfielders and DHs proved to be the biggest black holes in the majors?
Picking up where I left off on Friday, we continue hunting the fish at the bottom of the major-league barrel in search of the positions where teams got the worst production—worse than the Replacement-Level Killers, but without the burden of toiling for a contending team. As with their catching and infield brethren, the following players helped produce tornado-level disasters amid their lineups, often at salaries that represented far more than just soft breezes running through their teams’ bank accounts. These are the Vortices of Suck.