The Pirates reload, the Cardinals go to merit play, plus news and views from around the leagues.
Seemingly every season over the past decade and a half, the Pirates wake up on August 1 with a brand new roster. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but there is no denying that the Pirates' roster has undergone in-season overhauls more often than not since their current string of 15 straight losing seasons began in 1993. That has again been the case this season in Neal Huntington's first full year as the Pirates' general manager.
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Though we had fewer trades this week than we've had in recent years, we did have more big-ticket trades, beginning with the CC Sabathia-to-Milwaukee deal, and culminating in the Manny Ramirez blockbuster trade to the Dodgers. This was overall a fairly satisfying trade period, even if there were more fizzles than trades on deadline day Thursday. When evaluating these deals from a fantasy perspective, often it's the ancillary effects that are the most interesting. After all, there's not much to analyze in terms of what Ramirez, Mark Teixeira, Jason Bay, or even Casey Kotchman might do. We'll instead train the vast majority of our focus on how the rest of the dominoes fall, starting with the two major deals on Saturday.
Using roster spots on a young player not guaranteed a job can nevertheless provide value during the season.
In many deeper leagues, it's hard to find players on the waiver wire that are both skilled and getting playing time. In AL Tout Wars, a 12-team AL-only league, there are currently only 12 hitters on the waiver wire who have gotten an at-bat in the last 14 days, and two of those players have been sent back down. We're left to bid on the likes of German Duran, Miguel Cairo, Oscar Salazar, and a few backup catchers. Tout Wars doesn't allow owners to bid on minor leaguers as part of the free agent process, further tightening the available player pool. Whenever a team calls up a prospect that isn't already owned, a bidding war generally ensues in the next FAAB period, so long as the potential for playing time exists. Hence we've seen major battles for the services of Brandon Boggs and Jeff Larish, among others. It's not a pretty picture.
It's a painful thing to do, but if your team isn't a contender, dealing away pieces now can be the best way to rebuild a keeper-league dynasty.
One of the hardest things to do in fantasy sports, or for that matter in sports in general, is to give up on a season and play for the future. It runs counter-intuitive to our competitive instincts, not to mention the natural human desire for more immediate gratification. Even so, a well-conceived and executed short-term sacrifice can lead to a far more satisfying run of success in the long term. The team than can identify where it is in the success cycle and act quickly in response is likely to profit from its actions. The Arizona Diamondbacks established and executed a fantastic long-term plan, and now appear to be reaping the benefits. You too can do the same in your keeper league. Here are a few tips on when to go that route, and what to do once you've made the decision to dump.
Through strong drafting and several savvy trades, Mark Shapiro and the Indians have the pieces in place for a multi-year run atop the AL Central.
For the most part, the Indians are a self-built team, getting good production out of their top prospects, but also valuable contributions from some unlikely sources. More importantly, based on the team's age and the contract status of its players, this squad is built to last.
Many tradeable players stayed put before the non-waiver trading deadline, but many players won't get say the same thing by the next trading deadline.
It never ceases to amaze those inside baseball how big of a deal the non-waiver trading deadline has become: millions of words of copy written about it in print and on the Internet, along with countless hours devoted to talking about it on radio and television.
"It's a fun thing for the fans," Pittsburgh General Manager Dave Littlefield said. "There is a lot of information out there about it, a lot of talk and a lot of rumors. Some of it is accurate and a lot of it isn't. The most important thing, though, is that it generates interest in the game, which is always a good thing." "It's become a much bigger deal than I remember it being earlier in my career," said Houston infielder Mark Loretta, a 13-year veteran. "With ESPN doing a three-hour special and reporters calling you and all that kind of stuff, it's become the real hot stove time during the season. I've been through it a few years. It's intriguing. It's always interesting to think of the possibilities and what not. Ultimately, it's a relief when it's over."
Even Alexis Gomez came from somewhere (Kansas City). Kevin tells us how the Tigers and A's acquired the rest of their postseason difference-makers.
\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.';
xxxpxxxxx1160846402_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.
From now until shortly after the non-waiver trading deadline, "You Could Look It Up" will examine the key mid-season trades for each franchise (with "mid-season" being generously defined as "June 15 to the end of the regular season") and evaluate each trade to see what a mid-season addition is really worth, and if possible to discern patterns and discover which deals really help and which are of little or even negative value. After we break down each trade, we'll come to a "snap judgment," a hasty conclusion. At the end of the series, we'll see if those judgments add up to any helpful conclusions...