Trade: TBD | Night King’s Undead Army

Night King’s Undead Army sends: SP Alex Reyes (cost controlled), SS Jean Segura ($10), SP Alex Wood ($16), SP Mike Soroka (minors)
TBD sends: SS Corey Seager ($64), $35 2016 Auction Budget

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†¬†This is one of the bigger trades we’ve ever had and its clear to me that both teams were thinking outside the box on this one. I think last year we saw $30 moved for, like, Dallas Keuchel and Devon Travis if memory serves me correctly, so there is some precedent to moving big time auction budget. I will say that $35 of auction moving doesn’t seem like a huge deal. I think the willingness to part with chunks of budget is a big market inefficiency. I can’t tell you how many people offer me $1 for a player as if $1 really matters. Generally speaking, I think auction budget should probably be swapped in $5 increments before it starts having any impact whatsoever. Go look at the results of last year’s auction and then try and tell me you think $1 really matters in a significant way. I don’t think you can convince me.

Moving on: Jordan is getting the best player here in Corey Seager. Granted, he’s $64. With getting $35 in the deal, he’s essentially locked Seager up to a one-year, $29 contract, which is obviously favorable in the short term. As a long term asset, who really knows. Seager’s young, obviously, and just tapping into his potential. But depending how cuts and auction go, he may still be unprotected again next year and vulnerable to greed, which is probably insignificant but could become an issue once he starts pushing $70. So a year from now, barring a future trade, Jordan will have to shuffle things around this contract. But he’s an elite talent, so oh well. I think you can find a real edge in not fixating on the long term ramifications, and instead just operating year to year and trying to be competitive. If enough other teams are operating with 3-5 years in their mind just because “dynasty,” that should present opportunities to improve on a one-year basis almost every single offseason.

Speaking of market inefficiences and game theory, how much value does sending budget to offset larger salaries help facilitate deals and return real talent? I think Jordan, Joe, and Josh unlocked an avenue (that should’ve been obvious) for everyone. Hey, if you’ve got a $40 player that no one wants, but will send $20 along with him, you can probably actually get something done!

TBD, meanwhile, has added several players with clear paths to surplus. Alex Reyes is the big get for them. Despite all the hype, he’s still unproven and coming off injury. I love the potential though, and he’s likely going to cost only $3 even after arbitration. He’s more appealing long term, because his usage and effectiveness this year offer a wide range of possible outcomes. I won’t be surprised if he’s a top-10 SP this time next year, which can’t be said of most pitching prospects.

At $10, I think Jean Segura is probably undervalued by the league. I don’t see much difference between some unproven, mediocre SS on a cost controlled salary and a guy as good as Segura’s been for $10. Over the last two seasons, two qualified shortstops (Seager, Correa) have wOBAs better than Segura. In some ways, you could actually argue the entire framework of this deal is busted because Jordan punted on several potentially valuable assets for a marginal upgrade from Segura to Seager at short, plus whatever long term hindrances Seager’s salary brings. Segura isn’t exciting but he’s been productive.

Alex Wood is not super exciting to me. At $16, he’s certainly affordable, and the talent is very real, but he’s so hard to trust. He spent time on the disabled list again last year (when it mattered most, during H2H playoff time, if I recall) and just doesn’t look like a guy you can ever bank a full season from. Maybe that’s irrelevant though, as TBD continues building a dirt cheap rotation, high upside around Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom. I don’t mean to knock on Wood (lol unintentional), and I like him, I just think he’s a tough guy to really pin down as a trade piece.

Mike Soroka is, to me, a throw in and I don’t have it in me to waste more words than this on him.

I actually think TBD “wins” this trade over the long haul, but I give the edge to Jordan for 2018. I also sort of wonder what the point is of amassing prospects and cheap salaries if you’re not going to be willing or able to keep your Seagers. These are smart owners, so I know they know what they’re doing. I’d probably just rather keep Seager than, I don’t know, shuffle stuff around to free up money to keep Justin Upton and/or Chris Davis (I think they’re cutting both, but you get the point) or roll the dice on Reyes. I’d sooner cut and re-bid a guy like Jacob deGrom than deal Seager, though obviously they got a pretty big haul here. I don’t know. Although, here’s another market inefficiency: actually making good prospects available. Most teams, in my experience, won’t even talk to you if a guy’s name appears on a list somewhere. I think there’s several teams that want to offer up, at best, like their 8th best prospect for real talent. If TBD stocks up on cheap resources and then actually makes them available while other teams won’t, it gives them a real edge on the trade market to add elite players at high salaries in season, simply because no other team is willing to part with the cost controlled guys.

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02

Bailey said a lot of things, most of which I agree with. The cash coming over is quite interesting and creative. I don’t really track other people’s budgets and I’m not going to start for the sake of trade reviews. So good on Jordan for getting $35, I’m assuming Joe could afford it without Seager!

I thought before this trade, while Jordan may have not had a top 2-3 SS, he has the best SS depth in the league with Didi, Dejong, and Segura.¬† I do think Seager is a clear upgrade, but he costs a lot more.¬† When Seager starts against any RHP, he’s an obvious start every time which pushes Dejong and Did to Util, which isn’t ideal. I guess Dejong also has 2b eligibility this year but Jordan also has a cheapish Kinsler, Lowrie, and Albies for 2b.¬† It’s not an ideal situation to maximize value, but this could sort itself out with injuries or subsequent trades.

What I don’t love about this trade for Jordan is that it decimates his SP depth. Currently sitting on an aging Lester and Gio Gonzalez, the Undead army is lacking punch from the rotation.¬† I think Wood and Reyes represented cheap near ace production from pitcher spots and I don’t love the idea of getting rid of both guys with roster construction, and I don’t think Kyle Zimmer is coming up from the minors to save the day… although that Zombie like emergence would be very Undead Army of him.¬† I think Wood could be a pretty fine sell high after last season (probably would have been better after the 1st half), but allowing Joe to “buy low” on Reyes seems like it could be a hiccup down the line. I also don’t have much of a hot take on Mike Soroka, but TBD usually knows what they are doing with prospects. Soroka is in AA already and has been successful thus far.¬† I don’t think the Jordan had a particularly deep rotation before this trade, and now it seems quite worse even if Reyes and Soroka weren’t immediate help.

I would look for Jordan to move some middle infield depth for some starting pitching.¬† It seems like every team is going to be looking to add multiple starters during the auction, so I really can’t see how Jordan (or anyone) can feel confident coming away from the auction with value at SP. Maybe I’m just having flashbacks last year to spending most of my budget on Smyly or Rodon, but the auction isn’t pretty.

I think TBD downgrading at SS for a bunch of SP assets seems fun and interesting. With all the high cost players TBD has, trading one away for multiple interesting assets seems like the way to go and he finally found a suitable buyer for one of them.  If Wood, Soroka, and Reyes all bust (which I see as highly unlikely), then you still have yourself an affordable and good SS in his 20s for a few more years.

Something something, grinding differently.

 

 

 

 

Three Up Three Down – Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana signed a 3 year $60 mil deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, after 8 MLB seasons with the Cleveland Indians.  It was the Los Angeles Dodgers that signed him as an amateur free agent back in 2004, before trading him to Cleveland for Casey Blake, near the 2008 trade deadline.  He started out as a catcher, but by 2014 he would no longer play the position, moving to 1B/DH.

With the addition on Edwin Encarnacion last offseason, the Indians felt comfortable letting Santana walk in free agency.¬† They also just signed Yonder Alonso for 2 years and $19 mil, a bargain compared to Santana’s price tag. Cleveland also has two 1B prospects in Bobby Bradley and Nellie Rodriguez.¬† Both are big HR and SO guys.

Philly and Santana were not exactly a perfect match, but they worked things out.  The Phillies already have a future 1B in Rhys Hoskins, who took the MLB by storm this past summer, hitting 18 HRs in 212 PA.  That was a 58 HR pace!  Hoskins will turn 25 before the 2018 MLB seasons throws its first pitch and now has to share an OF with Nick Williams (24), Odubel Herrera (26) and Aaron Altherr (27).  There is also Tommy Joseph (26), who is likely to get his ABs at 1B.  The Phillies either have a trade in mind, or they just stunted the growth of some of their top prospects who might never reach their full potential.  Only time will tell.

Overall, the switch-hitting Santana has turned in a .363 OBP in nearly 4600 plate appearances since establishing himself as a Major League regular back in 2011, averaging 153 games played and 24 homers per season along the way. One would think that a move to a much more hitter-friendly environment, Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, should help to improve his power output as well (though his .196 ISO in that time is already plenty strong). РMLB Trade Rumors

Let’s take a look at how Carlos Santana compares to other 1B and the rest of the league over the past two seasons. We will look at HRs, ISO, wOBA, OBP & BB%. When sorted by each category, we will find Santana and then list the players ranked 3 spots above and below him.

Home Runs

Of the 22 qualified 1B, according to FanGraphs, Santana ranks 10th over the last two seasons in total home runs with 57.  The average total is 51.2 with a high of 80 (Edwin Encarnacion) and a low of 18 (Joe Mauer).

$92 Paul Goldschmidt 60
$66 Jose Abreu 58
$19 Wil Myers 58
$31 Carlos Santana 57
$75 Miguel Cabrera 54
$19 Hanley Ramirez 53
$3 Ryan Zimmerman 51

*2018 Salary

Zimmerman’s 51 HRs for $3 is the highest $/HR at 1B – 17.¬† Goldschmidt ranks last at .65.¬† Santana ranks 10th at 1.84.

16 of the 48 qualified hitters with 50 home runs over the last two years are 1B eligible.

There are 131 qualified bats according to FanGraphs.  Santana ranks 32nd in HRs since 2016.

ISO

Santana ranks 9th of 22 at 1B.

Only 7 1B eligible players have more XBH than Santana over the last two years.

Santana ranks 30/131 eligible bats in the MLB since 2016.

The Phillies new 1B ranks 25th overall in XBH during his final two years with the Indians.

wOBA

Carlos Santana ranks 10th in wOBA at 1B.

He ranks 31st out of 131 eligible bats at all positions.

OBP

Santana ranks 9th in OBP at 1B.

He ranks 31st out of 131 eligible bats across all positions.

BB%

Carlos Santana ranks 7th in BB% since 2016.

He ranks 10th in the MLB with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista being the only non 1B eligible.

When looking at these five categories and focusing on just 1B, Santana ranks very similarly to Goldschmidt, Abreu, Cabrera & Belt.  When you take it into the league, of 1B that cost at least $20 and have scored a total of 1,000+ fantasy points over the past two seasons, Santana has the 2nd highest fantasy points per dollar, behind Belt, while Goldschmidt & Cabrera sit at the bottom.

 

TRADE: Foundation | We Talk Fantasy Sports

WTFS receives a $6 Melky Cabrera

Foundation receives a $5 Didi Gregorious

This trade is as pretty close to even as you can get. ¬†Both are solid regulars who you’d expect to average between 4.5 and 5.5 points per game. ¬†The main difference here is one plays a much more scarce position. With Jordan losing Jean Segura to the DL, he is probably going to benefit more in this trade than Keith will, and that’s not to say Keith did anything bad here.

I think being able to cycle through the OFs Jordan¬†has (Harper, Thames, Calhoun, Granderson, etc), it was more valuable for him to get to turn an expendable. Melky into a sure fire play every day SS for him. Hopefully Torres’ eventual call up doesn’t limit Didi’s playing time, but even if it does, it was a risk worth taking.

 

Keith has Hernan Perez and Elvis Andrus to man SS, so trading his depth there will allow him to fill holes in his outfield.  Plus, if Keith decides to keep Buxton again, he can keep a very cheap outfielder in Melky to partially make up for that mistake.

Breaking down the math

2018: $40 Buxton- Not ideal

2018: $48 Buxton and Melky- Less not ideal

 

 

 

 

Every team’s most valuable one dollar player

Clayton Kershaw went for $117 — or 23.4% of a total team budget– at auction and was totally worth it. He’s that good. But there are a bunch of other players on the opposite end of the cost spectrum who have been good as well. Not Kershaw good, but good. And at $1, they’ve proven to be steals.

The cool thing about dollar players is that the team who nominated them can bask in all the credit. It’s not like a $20 player where five teams were in on the bidding but only one won and gets to look smart.

Here’s a quick look at each team’s best currently-rostered $1 player, starting from the top of our current standings and working down…

TEAM CANADA: SP Martin Perez – 273.5 points, SP53

Getting a borderline top-50 starting pitcher for a buck is just unreal value. His numbers aren’t particularly good though. He’s striking out just 5.43 batters per nine, walking 4.21, and has posted a FIP/xFIP slash of 4.39/4.59. Basically, he’s been super lucky and he’s getting by without particularly good stuff.

But hey, he costs a buck! As of this post, first place Team Canada has only started him three times, so he’s clearly not being relied on too heavily, which is exactly what you want for a guy like Perez.

HUSTLE LOYALTY RESPECT: LF/RF Seth Smith, 228.5 points, OF62

The Mariners’ platoon outfielder was the fourth-to-last player auctioned and at just $1, has rewarded Hustle Loyalty Respect handsomely. Smith has been in HLR’s lineup 14 times to date and has hit at a rate of 4.88 points per game in those opportunities, which is a better than league average clip. He’s a really good bench option.

TRUMPA LOOMPAS: 2B/3B/LF/RF Brandon Drury, 244.4 points, 2B18/3B22

Brandon Drury has thus far been one of the best values in the league. Not only has he hit the hell out of the ball, but he can play three positions. At the absolute worst, he’s a flexible bench player capable of being deployed on days where better players are out. But¬†the Loomps have started him 30 times this year, so he’s played his way into a key role.

Having said that, he’s only hit at a 2.68 points per game rate over the last two weeks. Even if he cools though, he’s still been worth every bit of that dollar investment and with all that positional eligibility, he can still deliver value even if he hits at right around replacement levels.

TBD: 3B Jake Lamb, 312 points, 3B11

Jake Lamb has been on my prospect radar for a while now, so it’s cool to see him getting playing time and making the most of it. For just a buck, TBD has gotten an every day third baseman that is currently outscoring Todd Frazier, Miguel Sano, Adrian Beltre, and Evan Longoria.

Like his Diamondbacks teammate Drury above, Lamb is certainly one of the best $1 buys and one of the better values of any dollar amount leaguewide.

TEAM HYDRA: SS Zack Cozart, 235.3 points, SS13

The shortstop position is no longer as weak as it was, so coming into this year there were a few savvy teams who opted to punt the position knowing that they could come away with a good option for cheap instead of paying a position premium. Hydra didn’t necessarily do that, as they dropped $23 on Marcus Semien at auction, but Cozart made him expendable and their team is better for it.

Cozart won’t wow you most weeks, but at such a negligible cost, he’s proved a really valuable piece to a team vying for a playoff spot.

BEACH BUM: 1B/LF, Hyun Soo Kim, 96.9 points, 1B62

Okay, I realize this looks bad. The Orioles’ international signee has barely played and, in fact, Dan just scooped him up from free agency after the owner who won him at auction opted to cut bait. But the reason he’s here is twofold.

First, there isn’t really a better option on this team. And second, if there’s one owner in this league who I think is capable of recognizing a potentially valuable player that can be had for free and then have the patience to sit on him, it’s Dan. Kim hits when he plays, it’s just a matter of opportunities. On this roster, there’s a good chance he’ll just linger until those opportunities present themselves, at which point value should follow.

THE WILFRED BRIMLEY FIGHTING DIABEETUSES: 2B/3B/SS Danny Espinosa, 172.9 points, SS27

Nothing to see here, move along.

THE FOUNDATION: SS Jean Segura, 298.3 points, SS8

Jean Segura has cooled off considerably from his hot start. Over the last 21 days, he’s been only the 31st ranked shortstop and is hitting at a below replacement level points per game clip. But the first few weeks to his season were insane, illustrating the potential that’s here. You could argue that Segura is the biggest reason The Foundation is 4-4 and not below .500, and in that regard he was definitely a dollar well spent.

WE TALK FANTASY SPORTS: SP Ubaldo Jimenez, 154 points, SP125

 

 


WHO’S YOUR HADDY?: RP Addison Reed, 81.7 points, RP24

Admittedly, it’s weird choosing a reliever. But the only other viable option here was Lonnie Chisenhall, and I actually like Reed more. I’m not a big believer in spending big to build a bullpen, so Reed is pretty much exactly what you want: a cheap guy that performs comparably to guys who are paid well. As a top-25 reliever, he’s tremendous value at a position where spending a lot doesn’t seem advisable.

LONG BALL TO LF: SP Mike Foltynewicz, 116 points, SP143

Mike Foltynewicz has only started six games and he hasn’t been particularly good overall, but four of those starts were quite good. Two of them were toxic. The former top prospect is young and still developing, so you need to be cautious about deploying him. In other words, if you’re using him as anything more than your emergency seventh starter, you’re probably not going to fare too well. But for a buck, I really like the risk and the potential for reward.

ROCKY MTN OYSTERS: 3B/LF Adonis Garcia, 91.1 points, 3B58

Nope.

CAPITAL CITY IRONMEN: LF/RF Michael Saunders, 304.1 points, OF24

Finally, it appears Michael Saunders is healthy. That’s always been his bugaboo. When on the field, he’s always performed well, though right now he’s experiencing a true renaissance. And at just 29-years-old, his low cost and great production suggests plenty of future surplus value as well.

IN LINE 4 THE WIN: N/A

This team does not have a single $1 player on it. That doesn’t mean they don’t have any good values. Just no good values for a buck.

SENIOR SQUIDS: N/A

Um… is this a trend? Remember, we’re going in standings order. Suffice to say, if you do not have a $1 player on your roster, period, you will lose. Let this be a lesson to you.

PRESEASON DOUBLE STUFFS: 1B John Jaso, 235.6 points, 1B29

John Jaso rules. Like Saunders above, he’s always been a really good player, he’s just struggled to stay healthy and put full seasons together. To date, his on-base percentage is a cool .369 and he’s a .362 guy for his career, so he’s basically just doing what he does. He lacks the power you want at 1B, probably, but when you’re walking a lot and barreling up base hits, you’ll take it. In fact, it’s the lack of power that makes guys like Jaso sneaky valuable in this league.

While teams are targeting the big home run hitters because they’re capable of dropping 30 point games, guys like Jaso, who will just quietly put up above average weeks without the long balls, will slip through the cracks.

Trade: Rocky Mountain Oysters | Long ball to LF

Long ball to LF sends: SS Francisco Lindor ($40) & 1B/LF Hanley Ramirez ($15)
Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: SP Kenta Maeda ($21)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I really don’t like shipping off Kenta Maeda here. Five starts into his short MLB career so far, and he’s been better than advertised. 38 points per start. He’s efficient, able to get deep into games and strike hitters out. He also is quite fun to watch, which probably has less value in fantasy that I give it for.

Maeda just had his worst start where he finished with 27 points. His pitch counts have been well managed and there’s just so much to like about him. Even if Maeda gets hammered by greed dollars, he’s still keepable at under $50. I hate sending him away for anything less tier 1 ace return.

Long ball gets an ace, and they send off some overprice pieces. You’re not a baseball fan if you’re not aware of where Hanley Ramirez‘s value stands. So far this season, he’s not walking, striking out more and the power isn’t making up for it. A .696 OPS for a first basemen is not good enough. The Red Sox have a problem on their hands. Hanley was overpriced in the auction is certain to be dropped at the end of the season. While he does provide some what consistent low bar production, he’s a throw in for this kind of deal.

Francisco Lindor is the presumed prize coming back. He’s been good. Not great, but good. Andrew’s already written about positional adjusted values. Short stops this year have been all good. Lindor’s 5 points per game should have been top 5, but right now its 10th. Aledmys Diaz, Jean Segura, and Zack Cozart are names you should not expect to hold on to finish ahead of Lindor, but they are there now. Guys like Trevor Story, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Starlin Castro, and Corey Seager should not be surprising. If all the sudden short stops are a deep enough position, there’s just no prize here. Guys like Jed Lowrie, Brock Holt, Asdrubal Cabrera have all been better than average for years past. They’re all basically free. If you can get a player who’s an everyday guy without punting the position you are golden. If we knew what we knew now in the draft, I have to imagine that Lindor is going for $25-30. That isn’t insignificant. He’s good, but that perceived value is just gone when the 2nd and 3rd tier of a position show up.

Dusty has really won many trades in this league so far, and this was not one of them. Lindor replaces Jose Ramirez in the line up. It is an improvement. But, now Dusty is one less ace short in a world where you cannot have too many.

Johnny couldn’t cash this check fast enough in my opinion. He gets value for a player he didn’t need. Dallas Keuchel wasn’t enough to carry the rotation, adding Maeda to that makes his pitching staff leagues better. Fantastic move.

Andrew’s thoughts: I know Dusty really likes Lindor and has a solid pitching staff with or without Maeda, but I’d rather have the pitcher here.

For starters, Lindor is probably overpriced. He’s young and a shortstop¬†though, so hooray, $40! I just don’t like his price — or Hanley’s, for that matter — and think Maeda’s a bargain. Anything can happen, of course. Maeda had some questionable medicals and he’s just making his first run through the league, so maybe we’re seeing the best he has. Even still, I wouldn’t view this as a “sell high” in a league where pitching is at a premium. To me, Lindor and a potentially finished Hanley aren’t a big prize.

But hey, who knows? As I said, Dusty still has pitching and now his offense should be slightly improved, salaries be damned.

Side note: Dusty previously traded Hisashi Iwakuma for Khris Davis, then abruptly cut Davis because he was underperforming through less than 20 games. Just thinking aloud here, but would you rather have Davis on your roster or Hanley? I think most would say Hanley. He’s got the longer track record and qualifies at an extra position. And that isn’t a bad answer. Point is, is the gap between Davis, who was cut flat out, and Hanley, who was a key piece in dumping off a really good starting pitcher, really that big? I don’t think it is.

Baseball’s Best Leadoff HItters

Having a reliable leadoff hitter is important once a game. But these guys also get the most opportunities at the plate so you better make sure that guy can hit in any situation, as well as being a spark plug in the 1st inning. Every team has a different approach with their leadoff hitter.  Some managers just slot their fastest player at the top of their lineup, while other managers make sure whoever is leading off, has a high on base percentage.

You will have a hard time finding any fantasy baseball scoring system that ranks anyone above the Houston Astros Jose Altuve.  His .305/.400/.611 slash has let to 20 runs scored, 13 RBI and 9 stolen bases after just one month.  On top of that, he has 17 XBH, including six home runs.

Right behind Altuve, you find Dexter Fowler hitting .347 to begin the season with 13 XBH. ¬†Fowler’s 17 walks drawn has led to a .474 OBP.

Mookie Betts has been a bit of a disappointment, owning a .266 BA and just 5 walks drawn, but he has managed to score 19 runs while driving in 17.

Ian Kinsler and Jean Segura are the only leadoff hitters with 30+ hits, but Kinsler’s has yet to find his power with just 8 XBH (4 HRs) while Segura’s Diamondbacks teammates have struggled to knock him home as he has crossed the plate just 12 times, including four home runs.

Over his last 10 games, Logan Forsythe has seen his BA rise from .250 up to .341 thanks to three 3 hit games, and three 2 hit games.

dgLeadoff

Stats via FanGraphs

Musing on positional scarcity and age…

I always feel compelled at the beginning of these posts to remind the rest of the league: I swear, I’m not trying to sway your personal valuations or opinions. I just want to riff on fantasy baseball. If I happen to use a player on your team as an example and view him unfavorably, oops. I would hope we’re all capable of coming to our own conclusions. It’d be pretty boring if we all had exactly the same valuations.

So, having said that…¬†how valuable are good-not-great¬†players at super top heavy positions? Or positions that aren’t even top heavy, but rather mediocre all throughout?

Two positions immediately jump to mind here, and that is catcher and shortstop. Let’s look at¬†shortstops.

Through nearly three full weeks, here are your top five overall scorers with the salary they went for at auction:

shortstops
Carlos Correa was our league’s highest paid shortstop at $81, so it’s nice that he’s pictured here. He was also the fourth highest paid hitter in the league, which means he’s being paid to be an absolutely, unquestioned transcendent talent and fantasy producer.

The obvious thing that jumps out is that four shortstops who were practically free either at auction or in our minor league draft currently sit atop the landscape at the position. In fact, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Aledmys Diaz, and Eugenio Suarez cost just 11.1% of what Correa costs combined.

Granted, we’re only 19 days into our fantasy schedule. But our regular season is 148 days long, so we’re already over 12% of the way through the season. No one would be surprised if Correa ends up as his position’s best producer by the end of the season, but what we have so far shines an interesting¬†light on the shortstop group. It has paid to not pay for these guys.

Behind Correa in terms of salary at shortstop are Xander Bogaerts ($58), Corey Seager ($54), and Troy Tulowitzki ($46). Bogaerts ranks ninth in scoring, Seager ranks 28th, and Tulowitzki is 29th.

For the sake of argument, let’s just look at those three guys, whose average salary is $52.70, or $53 to simplify.¬†Of course, no one went for $53 at auction, but we did have¬†Francisco Liriano go for $54 and a couple¬†go for $52: Kyle Schwarber and Edwin Encarnacion. Some big names and reliable fantasy producers that cost in the mid-to-high¬†$40 range: Cole Hamels, Justin Upton, George Springer, Sonny Gray, Chris Davis, Jose Altuve.

Hypothetically, if that list of players played the same position as Bogaerts, Seager, and Tulowitzki, would they have gone for less? I’d argue not. There are pitchers mixed in, so the positional view is wonky, but what if the shortstops were left fielders instead? Is Seager getting $54 to play the outfield? Hell, right fielder Matt Kemp cost $11. If Seager played the same spot, are you really paying him $43 more? Go look at Kemp’s last two years worth of stats before answering, because they’re¬†likely to be better than you think.

In terms of having ever accomplished anything worth banking on, only Tulo has done it out of this group for more than a single season, but his age and injury concerns chew up some of his value.

The argument I’m making is that Bogaerts and Seager had “being a shortstop” baked pretty heavily into their price. Age was baked in there too, I’m sure, but whatever. Bogaerts was the top scoring shortstop in our format a year ago, so good for him and all, but Jhonny Peralta ($7) was number two and Brandon Crawford ($14) was number three. Peralta being hurt to start the year is a wrinkle, but those guys got pretty heavily punished for not being 23-years-old and presumably keepable for a decade. Maybe age was an even bigger factor than position?

Speaking of Bogaerts and 2015: he scored 810.5 points last year and yes, he led the way for shortstops. But compared to all other hitters, he ranked 55th. The two guys below him: Nick Markakis ($4) and Brandon Belt ($12). The two guys above him: Evan Longoria ($20) and David Peralta ($17).

So you could have literally bought the four hitters directly surrounding Bogaerts in 2015 net points and still had $5 left over!

Also, while Bogaerts was the 55th highest scoring hitter last year, he’s the 17th highest paid hitter this year. He’s also not priced to be immune from greed and his salary is going to grow by $2 a year. So… yikes.

Just as easily as it is to envision that $81 Correa being tops at short in August, it’s not crazy to see Bogaerts and Seager in the top five or even three. But it also seems fair to suggest that even if these guys lead the charge at their position, they’ll come out behind in the greater landscape of hitters at large.

Last year, Bogaerts averaged 40.525 points per week as the top shortstop. The 16th highest scoring shortstop, Erick Aybar ($3), averaged 27.325 points per week. So a 13.2 weekly edge between the best possible “starting” shortstop and the worst. (I grant you, this is a bit primitive. It assumes the top 16 scorers are spread across each of the 16 teams, it ignores platoons, guys got hurt and that screws up their net output, etc. I get it.)

Crush Davis, who you’ll recall went for less money and was just the second best right fielder (but also has 1B eligibility) behind MVP Bryce Harper, averaged 55.835 points per week. Kole¬†Calhoun ($10), the 16th best RF, averaged 38.805 points per week, a difference of 17.03 between second best and 16th.

So, through that lens, you’re better off just having the better overall player in Davis than you are having the top guy at a weak position. Having Davis instead of Bogaerts, again in this admittedly simplified example, gives you a 4+ point weekly edge over the worst possible starter at each¬†position.

Starting Davis/Aybar gets you 83.16 a week. Starting Bogaerts/Calhoun gets you 79.33. Also, the total cost of Davis and Aybar is lower than the cost of Bogaerts and Calhoun by $19, meaning that, at least theoretically, not overpaying for perceived positional scarcity affords you more resources to help your team.

Personally, I like to view players across their broader peer groups: pitchers against other pitchers, hitters against other hitters. Yes, a player may be the third best shortstop or the fifth best catcher, but that ranking is not interchangeable across positions.

Buster Posey is so good, he does not have a peer group at the catcher¬†position. He is a tier, the two tiers below him are filled with chirping crickets and sawdust, and then other guys start falling in line after that. Yeah, you’d like to have whoever is second or third best, but if you have to settle for that 16th guy, it probably won’t be overly painful.¬†The difference is negligible.

2016 Auction Review – The Foundation

The Foundation

fnd

It takes a real piece of work to attempt to write objectively about their own team. I was going to try to do, but everyone knows I will not do it anyway. Please email Bailey with your critiques, he forwards them to me with a tip of poison. That being said, I’m quite excited about my draft, I think I did really well despite missing out on my initial targets of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper (I have a hard time writing anything at all and ignoring Bryce).

Hitting – Good

Paul Goldschmidt is a contender to finish as the best hitter in the league. He finished second last year, and there is little reason to believe he does not compete for that title this year. Adam Jones, Alex Gordon and Kole Calhoun round out a solid outfield. Derek Norris is a sneaky catcher value as he plays more and more at first base. Justin Turner‘s red beard is as fierce as his value. There’s a huge hole at short stop, I can can be heard talking up Jean Segura last year on another podcast, and I was wrong. I don’t plan on being smart here, he was just the last one left. I hate Ian Kinsler so he’ll either give me more reason to hate, or probably he’ll continue his vodoo and be good. I can hate him for being good. Byung-ho Park is the x-factor in this line-up. He fills in at 1b and the primary utility hitter. Is the power for real? So far in spring it seems to be. Two years ago I reached for an unknown Jose Abreu. Here is to hoping I did not get too cute on my own.

Pitching – Great

Chris Sale was the pitching prize left on the table. He’s quite good. Felix Hernandez had a down year last year with his lingering injury issues that he choose to pitch through, but he was still crazy good. Jon Lester can’t pick guys off, but he’s a great pitcher otherwise. The bullpen isn’t amazing, but it’ll score more points than most other bullpens in this league. Relying on getting a fifth guy from Doug Fister, James Paxton, Bartolo Colon and Zach Davies seems like a safe bet. Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson could be refreshing additions to the team after they return from the disabled list. Gio Gonzalez is the weird fit in this rotation. He’s uncomfortable as your 3rd SP, but probably overqualified as the 4th SP. A good problem for me to have, last year he was let down by the Ian Desmond led Nationals’ “defense”.

Depth – Good

I am pretty in love with myself my pitching staff in particular. My hitters are also position flexible and good enough to start in a pinch. If Dustin Ackley does not win a daily job in New York, things get hairy pretty quickly. I’m giving myself credit for knowing that after I add the three or four guys to the disabled list that I took, I’ll be able to snag a few worthy players from the current waiver wire. Probably not fair, but you’ve already quit reading

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Well if those knocks happen to come, andthe pitchers I’m hoping to be able to sit on don’t come around. Yikes, things go to hell really quick. I have already ran through various scenarios to see where my team would be if Sale and Goldy are gone. It is not impossible to be good 2016 yet, but that might be enough to sink this team.¬†Will I find myself in an early position to reload for next season?

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

Goldy is a top 5 hitter, there’s two top 10 starters between Sale, Felix and Lester. Those two accomplishments will carry this team from¬†good to great pretty quickly. That is not asking a lot. The rest of the roster is in great shape and has room to take a few knocks.