Looking at the players who should be in the MVP conversation who have never been in the MVP conversation.
A thing I do is steal from my betters. Two of my betters, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller, spent some time a few months ago on Effectively Wild discussing the idea of unlikely MVPs. Now that we're halfway through the season, let's pick that up and bring in a quasi-formal definition that will get us a pool of interesting players to look at. What follows are the top five players by WARP in each league who have never received an MVP vote and (here's where some squish comes in) who are not very recently megaprospects. (The latter may be displeasing to some, especially Orioles fans, but if the point is "genuine surprise," then it would be weird to include Manny Machado, who was, after all, a no. 3 overall pick—that's the spot of Paul Molitor and Robin Yount and Matt Williams and Lonnie Smith. There's no pick from which you are "supposed" to get an MVP, but there are picks from which you are less surprised when you wind up with one.)
Alternating by league, then, from "bottom" to top:
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Opposing pitchers haven't fared quite as badly in the thin air of Denver in 2013 as they have in past years, but that doesn't mean you should lower your start-sit bar.
Patrick Corbin’s filthy, complete-game gem on Monday night in Coors Field drew a chorusofTwitterfacepalms as many fantasy managers shied away from the excellent-thus-far-but-still-unproven lefty in the terrifying Denver venue. Of course, if they read last week’s Two-Start Planner, they would’ve had Corbin in their lineups, as I gave him a full “Start” recommendation despite the risk associated with Coors. Back-patting aside, I’ve been keeping a close eye on Coors Field this year and as I mentioned in the aforementioned Planner “it really hasn’t been as scary as it was last year,” and we may need to lower our threshold for starters to consider when they’re traveling to Denver.
It’s not like the Rockies offense has completely fallen off, either. Their 5.02 runs per game is the National League’s best clip and baseball’s second-best, while their 5.55 runs per game at home also tops the NL and checks in third overall behind Detroit (6.20) and Texas (5.58). Last year, the Rockies were scoring six runs per game at home—baseball’s best by half a run—so the competition hasn’t been as fierce when opposing pitchers toe the slab in Coors Field. But it hasn’t been anywhere near easy, either, and yet we are seeing a lot more success from the starters facing the Rockies.
Jeffrey Loria's club is seeing a historic decline in tickets sold in the second year of its new ballpark.
“Nobody loves me, nobody cares, Nobody picks me peaches and pears. Nobody offers me candy and Cokes, Nobody listens and laughs at me jokes. Nobody helps when I get into a fight, Nobody does all my homework at night. Nobody misses me, Nobody cries, Nobody thinks I'm a wonderful guy.” –Shel Silverstein, poet and singer/songwriter
Shel Silverstein didn’t write this about the Marlins. For one, he died just a few short years after the club was christened in South Florida. Certainly, the Marlins are loved by some, just not by as many as they could, which is to say the current owners haven’t done themselves any favors. In poll after poll, column after column, Jeffrey Loria is ranked as the worst owner in all of North American professional sports.
A missed flight resulted in David Dahl's demotion to extended spring training, landing the Rockies prospect in "The Ugly."
Pitching Prospect of the Day: Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Royals (Triple-A Durham): 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K; Odorizzi, acquired by the Rays in the James Shields trade, uses a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup to attack hitters. Odorizzi combines excellent athleticism with a very smooth, repeatable delivery to consistently pound the strike zone. His fastball may be the only plus pitch in his arsenal, but I would still expect him to be a successful major-league pitcher when his number is called.
Bret reveals some of his favorite players to target late in drafts, as the pickings get slim.
With just a few days left until spring training, it’s time for one of my favorite columns of the year to write. And this year, I’m expanding it from 10 names to 20.
More often than not, the endgame targets you select at your draft are going to be the biggest difference makers in your quest for a championship. Your early-round selections are obviously important, but for downside, not upside. If you miss on your first-round pick or get $10 in value from your $35 player, you’re in a hole from which it can be difficult to climb out. The middle rounds are a mix of finding solid contributors and mixing in upside with players who could accrue high-end talent value (like Eric Hosmer or Carl Crawford). But the endgame where you make your money. If you’ve played golf even a couple of times in your life, you’ve probably heard the adage, “drive for show, putt for dough”—and it’s the same concept. Closing out your draft well is a must if you want to win your league.
The past three Cy Young Award winners make up the top tier, while the Angels land three-fifths of their rotation in the one-star level.
Today we continue our positional tier rankings. Last offseason, Derek Carty tackled the tiers by himself; this spring, we've decided to attack them as a team. Players at each position will be divided into five tiers, represented by the number of stars.
Five-star players are the studs at their respective position. In general, they are the players that will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they'll fetch 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're 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. As was the case with our positional rankings series, the positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of the projected PECOTA values.
A look at five erstwhile top 100 prospects that could have surprising fantasy value in 2013.
While it’s true that spring training statistics are barely worth the internet parchment on which they are printed, spring training performances are another story. Racking up impressive statistics has little to no value to you, the fantasy player, but overall performances beget changes in player roles and confidence (or lack thereof) in player health. And it’s the contextual nature of the performance that is a net positive or negative for a player’s fantasy value in the upcoming season. To paraphrase a modern-day proverb, Rick Porcello doesn’t have to be faster than the bear—he just has to be faster than Drew Smyly to get a fantasy bump for the 2013 season.
This mini-series will focus on players who have a chance to increase or decrease their fantasy values based on their performances during spring training. And we’ll continue today by looking at five more players who have been impact prospects at some point in their careers. Each of these five players, now fighting for fantasy relevance, was once considered one of the top 50 prospects in baseball (some more recently than others), as ranked here at Baseball Prospectus or by Baseball America.
Paul and Jason take you from Homer Bailey to A.J. Griffin, with 38 other pitchers in between.
The Baseball Prospectus fantasy team has been rolling out its positional rankings over the past couple of weeks, and this edition concludes the process. Each team member assigned to cover a position will create an initial top 15 (more for outfielders and starting pitchers) on his own. He will then send that list to the rest of the team for discussion, at which point we will debate the rankings, both in terms of each player’s specific placement and the merits on which he was included in the top 15. This back-and-forth debate will yield the final list, which will be presented by the original author with notes on the pertinent players. We encourage you to bring your opinions into the fray using the comment section below.
The second half of our outfield rankings takes you from Carl Crawford through Chris Davis.
The Baseball Prospectus fantasy team has been rolling out its positional rankings over the past couple of weeks, and will conclude the process next week. Each team member assigned to cover a position will create an initial top 15 (more for outfielders and starting pitchers) on his own. He will then send that list to the rest of the team for discussion, at which point we will debate the rankings, both in terms of each player’s specific placement and the merits on which he was included in the top 15. This back-and-forth debate will yield the final list, which will be presented by the original author with notes on the pertinent players. We encourage you to bring your opinions into the fray using the comment section below.
Today, we continue the rankings with the second half of our outfielders list, featuring the players ranked 26-50. We released our top 25 outfielders on Wednesday, and you can view that article here.