Michael looks at his best and worst Value Picks for the 2012 season.
As the season winds down, Value Picks takes a fond look back at our picks from the season, looking at the hits and misses we collected in our efforts to find value among the overlooked players on your league’s waiver wire. As with assessing fantasy players, the notion of “value” can be slippery to pin down, especially when looking at players who are largely castoffs from other fantasy squads.
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Anthony Rizzo is the lone the VP addition this week, but several more tasty options are featured in Michael’s Playing Pepper section
I griped last week about tough times on the waiver wire, but a few recent roster moves have led to an increase in available talent. Top prospect Anthony Rizzo should be promoted any day now, while the fate of a few other players—highlighted in Playing Pepper—hangs in the balance. The coming weeks should bring some more clarity to those situations, while I remain patient with other members of the current VP list.
A look at whether a sleeper can really be a bargain in fantasy leagues
Every season, a handful of players improve by leaps and bounds. There’s no denying this fact. These breakout players tend to have an inordinate impact on both the success of our teams as well as our collective consciousness. That too is well established. Those who ended up with Asdrubal Cabrera, Melky Cabrera, or James Shields in 2011 will thank the lucky heavens and hope for similar fortunes this coming season. Anybody who has been paying attention to the Jeremy Lin story will testify to the same. But is it wise in fantasy baseball drafts to chase these players instead of selecting others with more established production? That’s a more complicated subject.
In the preseason, we’re all very excited for the games to begin. These days, there’s a booming industry providing player analysis and attempts to forecast the season ahead, aimed directly at those who compete in fantasy baseball leagues. Among the most popular features this time of year is the community’s attempt to identify which players are primed to provide value well beyond their salary or draft spot.
Michael looks at some expected (and unexpected) values among PECOTA projections for corner infielders in 2012
As Draft Day approaches, many owners must make last-minute keeper decisions, which are often more complex than the binary, keep-him-or-dump-him variety of decision-making. In many leagues, owners can’t keep players for free; instead, a keeper’s cost depends on his Draft Day acquisition price or his 2011 performance. For these decisions, it’s helpful to identify rebound players—those who PECOTA projects will increase in value in 2012—although owners in redraft leagues will also find it helpful to identify Draft Day bargains. When your competitors are short-sighted, as is often the case, they will undervalue these rebound candidates, and owners in snake drafts can see who might slip to later rounds as a result.
Continuing last week’s theme, I’m looking at those players whose value is projected to rebound the most in 2012, leaving out players who lost most of the season due to injury or who should return less than $5 in 2012. Because PECOTA tends to project players conservatively, it’s notable when it expects top-shelf players to increase in value for 2012. I was surprised to find some of the names below, and I expect that BP Fantasy readers will be too.
One of BP's co-founders returns to reveal an important amateur draft inefficiency.
Everyone missed on Mike Trout. Don’t get me wrong: Trout was a well-regarded player headed into the 2009 draft, a certain first-round talent. But he wasn’t—yet—a phenom. Everyone liked Trout; it’s just that no one loved him. Baseball America ranked him as the 22nd-best player in the draft. No one doubted his athleticism or his work ethic; a lot of people doubted the level of competition he faced as a high school player from rural New Jersey. The Angels drafted him with the 25th pick overall, and they’ll tell you today that they knew he was destined to be a special player. What they won’t tell you is that they had back-to-back picks at #24 and #25, and they announced Randal Grichuk’s name first.
In this new column, BP's fantasy expert discusses the rookie middle-infield crop and the values of various players on the trade market.
Today, I’m proud to announce a brand new BP Fantasy column that has been in the works for quite a while that I’m incredibly excited about. Trading Post will offer insight heretofore unavailable to fantasy baseball players. Using a unique combination of PECOTA rest-of-season projections and CBS’ archive of every fantasy baseball trade that every player has been involved in this season, Trading Post will delve into the value you can expect to receive via trade for the players on your fantasy squad. It will also be able to tell you which players are being undervalued on the trade market and make for good targets. While some fantasy analysis will look at a player’s cold streak and slap a “Buy Low” tag on him, Trading Post will be able to say whether you can actually buy the player low and, if so, will be able to quantify just how “low” he can be bought.
Trading Post Card Explanation
Each player discussed in Trading Post will receive a “Trading Post Card.” This card will be jam-packed with useful information about each player’s trading profile. It will list information about the player himself, look at every trade the player has been involved in over the past two weeks and every player he’s been traded for, and give information about the average player he’s been traded for. Hopefully these cards will be self-explanatory, but if you’re not sure what anything means, here’s an explanation of everything:
Tom Tango returns to address your second and final batch of questions from last week.
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.
You asked, he answered. Below is the second and final batch of responses to the questions BP readers submitted for sabermetrician Tom Tango. All questions are presented in their original form.
Various people throughout baseball talk about the importance of the Tigers' long-running double play duo.
“Tram” and “Sweet Lou." The longest-running double-play combination in baseball history, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker played 1,918 games together from 1977-95, the most ever for American League teammates. During that time they combined for 11 All-Star berths, seven Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger awards, 4,734 hits, and 429 home runs. They were, quite simply, the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers for nearly two full decades.
Here is how we're now figuring the monetary value of individual players.
This article will follow up on the new version of MORP that I introduced yesterday with a more thorough description of my methodology and my reasoning for it. Firstly, I will restate that the definition of MORP (Market value Over Replacement Player) is the marginal cost of acquiring a player’s contribution on the free-agent market. The basic structure that I am using includes adjusting for draft-pick compensation, which adds to the value of free agents by 10-20 percent. It also looks at all players with six years or more of major-league service time, all years of their free-agent contracts, and makes valuations of their performance based on actual performance rather than the projections, which are biased. I am also adjusting MORP so it is linear with respect to WARP. The discussion of linearity and of the decision to use actual rather than projected performance to evaluate contracts has been detailed in earlier articles, and I won’t reiterate them here in the interest of space. The basic reason why linearity is a fair assumption is that teams frequently have enough vacancies that they can add the number of wins they choose without filling them all. There are exceptions like the 2009 Yankees, who added three front-of-the-rotation starters and an elite first baseman in one offseason. However, even the Yankees do this infrequently enough that it does not regularly impact the market, and without two teams bidding for several superstars every offseason, this is not a large issue. The reason that using projection is so problematic was detailed last week, when I showed how free agents who reach the open market are a biased sample and regularly underperform their projections. For more details of these results, please see my previous work. Here are links to my threepartseries as well as my article on free agents underperforming their PECOTA projections. I will introduce some of the newer concepts in this article.
The Brewers' scouting director talks about replacing Jack Zduriencik, and his own efforts at finding young talent.
Bruce Seid had a tough act to follow when he replaced Jack Zduriencik as the Brewers' director of amateur scouting following the 2008 season. His predecessor was widely regarded as one of the best in the game, with Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, Prince Fielder, and, more recently, Alcides Escobar, proof of his evaluation acumen. From early indications, the club's former West Coast crosschecker is quite capable of matching the success of his former boss. Seid's initial draft reaped a multitude of high-ceiling prospects, most notably a triad of electric arms in the first four rounds. Formerly a minor-league player in the Cubs system, Seid joined the scouting ranks in 1992.
A conversation with the A's scouting director about evaluating players, draft philosophy, and prospects in the system.
Eric Kubota isn't a household name in Oakland-at least not to the casual fan-but few people have played a bigger role in building the A's. The club's scouting director since 2002, Kubota has been with the organization since 1984-long before Moneyball-and part of the baseball operations staff since 1989. A graduate of Cal-Berkeley who began working with the A's while he was still a political science undergraduate, Kubota served as the assistant director of scouting, Pacific-Rim coordinator, and supervisor of international scouting before moving into his current position.