A look at the pitchers our fantasy crew believes can outperform their PECOTA projections in wins.
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 provide the top overall production in one of the standard 5x5 categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’re taking a look at pitching this week, following our run on offense a week ago. To read the earlier editions in this series, click below:
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And why scouting and player development are your team's hidden superstars.
It’s free agent season, a time traditionally reserved for the baseball commentariat to wonder aloud how we’ve gotten to the point where passably decent outfielders are worth $10 million a year. The standard line is that, in the free agent market, one win above replacement retails for about $5 million. More recent research suggests that GMs actually ended up paying about $7 million per win for free agents during the 2013 season.
The win might be a silly statistic, but does it affect pitchers' performance?
On Monday’s edition of MLB Now, anchor Brian Kenny once again made the case against using wins as a measure of pitcher quality. Citing recent games such as Matt Harvey’s brilliant nine-inning, one-hit no-decision, he argued that the win is an overrated statistic that doesn’t do a good job of describing the pitcher’s performance. After Kenny’s presentation, former pitcher Al Leiter came out to give a rebuttal. Leiter had an interesting take on the issue. He said that Kenny wasn’t respecting the human element of the game, and he suggested that the win statistic might actually make starters perform a little better in some key situations.
A handy guide to understanding what WARP means without many numbers.
Over the weekend, there were plenty of end-of-season retrospectives from columnists who cast non-existent ballots for the MVPs, Cy Young award winners, and Rookies of the Year. As might be expected, many of the columnists brought up the WARP (Mike Trout) vs. Triple Crown (Miguel Cabrera) angle. There was a common theme running through the pieces that argued for Cabrera: WARP is a complicated and math-heavy stat, and because it is so complicated, how can we be sure that Trout was actually the better player?
Josh Outman didn't get to finish his fifth inning, despite being up by eight. Will this be the sort of conflict that dooms the Rockies' four-man rotation?
You don't care whether Josh Outman gets credited with a victory, but Josh Outman cares whether he gets credited with a victory. On Saturday, with his pitch count well past the limit his manager has set for his new four-man starting rotation, Outman was pulled from his start. He was leading by eight runs, with two outs in the fifth inning and, therefore, an out short of getting credit for the win. He became the first starter since at least 2000 (as far as I went back) to leave a game with two outs in the fifth inning while leading by at least eight runs.
We all know wins aren't a good way to judge pitchers, but we'd miss them if they went away.
"My choice for the front-runner is Welch, but I know a lot of people say Clemens. I know what Clemens has done for Boston, but now is not the time to change the rules. The guys who won it the last three years won the most games and had good stats. If Bob Welch continues to win at this pace, and he doesn't get it, something is terribly wrong with the judging." | A's pitcher Dave Stewart, in a 1990 Sports Illustrated story on that season's Cy Young voting
Bob Welch had just won his 20th game when his Oakland teammate was asked about the voting, and it was just Aug. 17. It was his 13th season and the first and last time that the 33-year-old Welch would win 20 games.
The calendar has advanced, but baseball's probabilistic nature ensures that calling team win totals hasn't gotten much easier.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
With our depth charts and team projections up and running, now seems like a fitting time to repeat Keith's caveats about the inherent limitations of such worthwhile exercises, nearly six years after his words originally ran on March 24, 2005.
Attempting to plot the career path of those who may reach the 300-win plateau.
I’m excited to join Baseball Prospectus. If you’ve read any of my previous work, you may know me as something of a PITCHf/x guy. I’ve been learning about and writing about PITCHf/x since the pitch-tracking system was installed in major-league ballparks in 2007, so that description is apt. My interests extend beyond PITCHf/x to the physics of baseball and the details of the pitcher-hitter confrontation.
The quartet the Snakes received for their ace leads to a few questions about player valuation.
In June, Eric Seidman and I discussed the Diamondbacks’ starting pitchers with some focus on Dan Haren, explaining that he was particularly unlucky. At the time of our article, Haren’s ERA was 5.35 and his SIERA was 3.08. Haren would be the ace of many pitching staffs in the major leagues, and is signed well below market value through 2012, with a reasonably priced option for 2013.
Evaluating single high-profile signings against more scatter-shot solutions to team needs.
In the first twoparts of this series, I explained my new approach to contract valuations and whether MORP should be linear with respect to WARP. Basically, this entailed asking the question of whether Matt Holliday, perhaps a six-win player, could be just as easily replaced by signing two three-win players or three two-win players. The issue is roster space and playing time. The alternative argument to doing MORP linearly is that a team can sign Holliday and concentrate all six of those wins on one spot of the diamond, and then they could improve themselves more by filling their other openings with decent players as well.
Picking between Jon Garland and Joel Pineiro seems a matter of picking reliability versus upside, but is it?
It's no secret that the throes of the economy have affected baseball and its free agent market, especially when an All-Star player like Orlando Hudson struggles to find a one-year deal at even half of his perceived value, and the thought of Adam LaRoche turning down a two-year, $17 million deal invokes more laughter than Kingpin. Though high-end players have certainly gotten paid this offseason, teams are acting much more conservatively, especially with a higher premium being placed on the analyses of associated risks. Two of the free-agent pitchers yet to sign a deal-Jon Garland and Joel Pineiro-exemplify this risk-analysis process, as both represent examples of consistency in Garland's case versus volatility in Pineiro's. Such archetypes are often deemed opposites when it comes to risk.