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Monday 25th Sep 2017

I’d like to distill a few salient market observations from the last two weeks of high stakes drafts in the NFBC and the FBPC.

Players who weren’t drafted who should have been

Roberto Hernandez - A lot of people laughed at the notion of Roberto Hernandez winning a spot in the rotation. Now they are chuckling at the idea he’ll be able to keep the job, let alone be average. No one really knows what’s going to happen, but just remember that those laughing now also laughed at the prospects of Fernando Rodney being a successful closer just one short year ago. As a 30th round pick or a $1 FAAB pickup, it’s not exactly a disaster if things don’t work out.

Jeremy Guthrie – He didn’t exactly thrive at Coors Field, but who does? He’s a control artist who can’t afford to miss his spots, but he didn’t miss that often in Kansas City (3.16/1.13) with a 3/1 K/BB ratio. He has posted a sub-1.24 WHIP in 3 of the last 6 seasons. A 50% chance at those ratios as a streamer in the FBPC or as your 9th or 10th starter in the NFBC is worth a buck.

Jeff Francoeur – Just one year removed from a 20-20-.285 campaign. Yes, he was a bum last year. So what. Yes, he’s only done it once. But if he’s done it once he can do it again. What more do you want from Mr. Irrelevant? He went very late in some leagues and was even undrafted in others. Remember, buy low, sell high.

Vernon Wells – I’m sorry, but his fall from Sabermetric grace after signing that huge contract was hardly a surprise. Now he’s the forgotten red-headed stepchild with a high ceiling getting a healthy number of AB’s to start the season in the Bronx. If he takes off it might be hard to send him back to the bench. If he doesn’t, just go fish again.

Buyers remorse

Robinson Cano – I drafted from 1.4 in a Main Event Saturday and pulled the trigger on Cano, and part of me immediately wished I’d drafted someone else. Yes, I’m worried about the PED rumors. I would not draft him in a stand-alone league, but to win the overall I went out on a limb here. I haven’t even mentioned the depleted Yankees lineup, which should translate to fewer AB’s, Runs, and RBI’s.

Alex Rios – I said that Saberhagenmetrics would keep me away this year, and I resisted the temptation to draft the paragon of consistent inconsistency until Saturday. He’s doubtful for the opener with a bad back and I’ve got a bad feeling, but then again I had the same bad feeling when I bought Carlos Delgado for $5 in the Ultimate Auction in 2008. Let’s hope I’m wrong again.

Wild Card

Julio Teheran – Spring stats don’t mean much, but in Julio’s case this may be an exception, and really it’s not the stats but the stuff behind them. His command and quality of his pitches have drastically improved. I saw him drafted anywhere from 12th to 14th round the last two weeks. I would not be surprising to see him turn a profit at that price, but he is still a rookie, and taking him so high dilutes some (not all) of the potential advantage of taking him. He’s still capable of rewarding those owners who took a chance on him.

No Thanks

Michael Morse – I like Michael Morse, but the Mariner was drafted anywhere from the 10th to the 12th round before spring training began. Then it was discovered that he could hit a fastball in exhibition games and suddenly he’s worth a seventh round pick? You’re not going to lose because you took Morse a couple rounds too early, and he could definitely earn that position, but the market is adjusting it’s price based on stats from games that don’t count. Don’t follow the market. Spot the errors.


0 #9 Perry Van Hook 2013-04-05 02:34
Even if they happen repeatedly?

Some players could easily get "slow starts" or "every other year" in their heads and that may not correlate with their stats but like other things - perception can be reality.
Remember that professional athletes are amongst the most superstitious people on the planet!
0 #8 OaktownSteve 2013-04-04 03:08
No fault at all. Hope it didn't seem like I was jumping down your throat. I am all about trying to get a read on character and off field issues. But I'm also all about avoiding narratives that seem logical but that have no statistical correlates, like the sophomore slump, the contract year bump and the every other year player.
0 #7 Greg Morgan 2013-04-03 23:29
Oaktown, the fault is likely mine for playing too loosely with the semantic range of 'saberhagenmetrics,' focusing merely on the general inconsistency from year to year, not projecting the perfect juxtaposition of alternating good/bad seasons. Perhaps stating he has a low floor would have been better.
0 #6 Todd Zola 2013-04-03 18:15
It's no secret -- my take on Rios is his underlying skills have been much more consistent than his result outcomes.
0 #5 OaktownSteve 2013-04-03 03:31
First of all, I appreciate all the interesting thoughts. I enjoy the conversation and hope it isn't coming across as contentious.

As I said above, I am a big believer in qualitative analysis in many forms. I agree that performance variances often have very human reasons.

But I was addressing the specific phenomenon of up one year down another. How many people in your life do you know who change their behavior that radically from year to year every year like clockwork? Up again, down again. When you predict a down year for Rios that's basically what you are saying.

What I am saying is that a up one year down another year pattern specifically has a simpler and more likely explanation and that is chance. Even if it happens to be that one year he was happy one year sad then healthy then injured. It could have as easily been sad then injured then healthy then happy. It's the parrticular arangement of up one year down the next that seems arbitrary.
0 #4 Greg Morgan 2013-04-03 00:39
It's not that there is no evidence of such a position, it's quite the opposite but I'm not sure this forum is conducive to submitting hundreds of pages or that i can distill 30 years of observation into a paragraph or two. Having played non professional organized baseball for 10 years, I observed countless players and such extreme swings in performance always had reasons for them. From my observations, this pattern has persisted throughout all the ranks up to MLB. For me it's an empirically observed phenomenon so certain that it has long since become a law. If that's a tautology to you, so be it. For me it's just the conclusions of logic and reason. When I see clouds and hear thunder I think there is a greater chance of rain. Brady Anderson had his huge spike in performance and subsequent drop, I figured something was up. He didn't just get lucky and I didn't need to wait for the official PED report to come out years later to conclude that. I hope you are right and Rios tears it up this year, after all I did spend a high draft pick on him with $1,500 on the line, so i must certainly think it's possible. He's just a high risk player in my opinion.
0 #3 OaktownSteve 2013-04-02 22:52
I'm all in favor of qualitative analysis and viewing players as human beings, but it still has to make sense. You say you "know" that an off-season, or off-field rational for flip-flop performance exists and yet you have no evidence other than the variable performance itself. This presumes that there no other plausible explanation for variable performance other than off-season, off-field behavioral factors. Otherwise you could suspect, but not know. As it is, you've got yourself a tautology.

Let's say that there are two possible results of any season: + than career baseline and - than career baseline. Over the course of 4 seasons, absent external factors, we would expect 25% of the players to follow a +-+- or -+-+ alternating pattern.

Since we have no direct evidence of non-chance originating causality, only assertion, Occam's Razor suggests chance.
0 #2 Greg Morgan 2013-04-02 20:04
I think that the assumption that extreme swings in performance are necessarily a matter of chance is a false assumption. After all, we are not dealing with coins, but human beings that contrary to being static are in a constant state of flux. The ability to stay healthy, dedication to off season and in season training programs, off the field issues or lack thereof, makeup, and any number of things we aren't necessarily privy to can ultimately impact performance and thus the numbers they put up. You see random chance/luck. I see cause and effect, and that's ok. The fact that sometimes I won't/can't know the specific cause is irrelevant, I know that one exists. This makes an Alex Rios more of a risk to me than say, a Miguel Cabrera.
0 #1 OaktownSteve 2013-04-02 16:36
There are thousands of player baseball seasons on the stat record. Of course you are going to find some who go through a period where they alternate good and bad seasons just as a matter of chance. Like heads coming up several times in a row on a coin toss. There’s no predictive power. As proof, I challenge you to find one other player besides Saberhagen who followed an up/down WAR pattern every year through a career. Saberhagen is just an outlier. Rios himself had a three year run from 2006-8 where his WAR increased every year. Then it went down for two years running. So he hasn’t even followed the patter himself for the most part.

What’s more material is that Rios has a 9 year track record with a 162 game average of .279, 18 HRs and 23 SBs and will be hitting 3rd to start the year in a fantastic hitters park.

On paper he looks good to me.

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