Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Jake Arrieta ($86)
The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses sends: CF Kevin Kiermaier ($7), 1B/2B/3B/SS Jedd Gyorko ($6)

Andrew’s thoughts: I love, love, love this for WBFD. For two depth pieces, WBFD landed one of the game’s top starting pitchers. He’s expensive, but so what? If pitching is as volatile this year as it was last year, then it probably pays to splurge on reliable guys.

For Dusty, how’s this math: since December 30, he’s acquired Hunter Pence, Lance McCullers, Wei-Yin Chen, Yordano Ventura, and now Kiermaier and Gyorko. You know the return for the last two. For the other four, he gave up basically nothing, dispersing middling draft picks, an auction buck or two, and some prospects and guys that he was probably cutting to teams that were over budget and just wanted to dump. That’s fine. Pence was the first guy added there and I’d argue he was the least superfluous, safest of the group. He’s done it longer. Let’s omit him. The salary of all the other guys combined? $85.

I don’t know if there was some grand plan, but what’s happened here, essentially, is Arrieta’s exact dollars (plus those prospects, the 3rd round pick or whatever it was, negligible stuff, etc) have been swapped out for McCullers, Chen, Ventura, white Denard Span, and Gyorko. Dusty’s eggs have been distributed across many baskets.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s good or bad. There’s an opportunity cost associated with locking up four extra roster spots. But depth is good. Kiermaier is an instant starter for him at CF. Dusty had tons of cash to spend before this trade barrage and should still have money to spend. He’s probably cutting $50 Heyward and $30 Shields, plus all the injured guys he picked up throughout the season, plus others. A $13 Jesse Hahn? There’s a bunch of budget space here. He’s not hurting for room, which brings me to this…

As a standalone, this trade baffles me. Is Kiermaier that much different than Carlos Gomez, who will be at auction? Or Heyward, who will probably be? Is Gyorko that much different a Swiss army knife than Sean Rodriguez?

Like, if you’re way over budget, I get selling off Arrieta and maybe you have to sell low, because this time of year there aren’t a ton of teams swimming in budget space. I don’t really get selling him off for pieces that have reasonable comps already guaranteed to be at auction, plus whoever else ends up getting dropped. It’s nice to secure those players and not risk the auction, where you’ll have to outbid others, but the cost to do that here is really high. I mean, yeah, I’d rather trade a fringe keeper or comparable player for Kiermaier now than risk having to win either Gomez or Heyward at auction to fill my CF slot. But Arrieta doesn’t strike me as the chip you use simply to hedge.

I also don’t get doing it when you can afford to keep him. And I don’t get doing it at this time of year when, as I just said, there are only a few teams with budget space. The market for Arrieta is so, so small right now just by virtue of teams not having budget room, that I think it’s really tough to get an optimal return. Budget flexibility is great and all but talent and points-scoring trumps that. Arrieta could’ve been held until 30 seconds after auction, at which time anyone can go over the $500 budget and suddenly there are 15 suitors for his services.

I think, if I was Dusty and didn’t like Arrieta at $86 — which isn’t unreasonable, pitchers are combustible parts — I would have just cut him and tried winning him back cheaper at auction. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I just might rather gamble on that scenario than on Kiermaier and Gyorko, who I like but I think are better rostered as depth.

As I said, I love it for WBFD. Great, great swap. He turned guys who were firmly backups on his roster into a difference making, top-10 starting pitcher.

Jordan’s thoughts: If Dusty doesn’t get the cure for diabetes in this deal, I think he went and fucked up. I think Dusty would have gotten more for just taking $1 for Arrieta.

On top of that fact: why, if you’re Dusty, would you sell this kind of a player to a team who doesn’t have to even bother cutting anyone off their roster to keep said player. I know there’s people who aren’t hyper concerned with their competition’s situation, and that’s fine. But, there should be other teams who take Arrieta for some auction budget cash or a 1st round draft pick. Most of them would have to cut a few mildly interesting players that might be useful.

WBFD last year during the draft must have been in what only can be described as a diabetic coma and he left significant money on the table. Couple that with the tragedy of Jose Fernandez. He’s basically swimming in available budget even if he decides to keep the overpaid youngsters he’s invested into.

All that being said, I’m not all that upset over this trade, it happens. Dusty probably did shop around Arrieta to a dozen teams and got what he wanted and moved on. Classic Dusty.

Trade: Team Hydra | Rocky Mtn Oysters

Team Hydra sends: SP Wei-Yin Chen ($19)
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: LF/RF Avisail Garcia ($3)

Jordan’s thoughts: I believe Avisail Garcia was cut and picked up several times because he hits for power, but he doesn’t actually hit. Chen actually had better peripherals than his performance suggested last year. Steamer seems to like him, but the home run rate is the issue. Will it stabilize? Either way I’d rather have Chen, but I can see both players being auction draft eligible in two months.

Andrew’s thoughts: As a wise man once said, “garbage for more expensive garbage.”

Pitchers, why you do this?

I have spent more than a few lines of words in the league’s slack chat on my opinion that MLB has juiced the ball. Things appear to be different. Monday night I got excited because Team Hydra got a negative start from Wei-Yin Chen. Only to be deuce’d on by Gio Gonzalez against the Mets who went even more negative.

Awful.

Anyway this inspired me to collect some data. I already had all the game logs of 2015 starts thanks to Baseball Reference’s Play Index. So I added to that data, 2016 starts thanks to FanTrax using some data scraping. I had to know, are starters worse this year versus last year, or are the guys I trust just doing poorly.

The answer tends to be a little bit of both. Using the labels that I arbitrarily came up with at some point to describe starts you can see the differences below:

Games 2015 2016 Diff
RU Serious 0.39% 0.31% -0.08%
Perfect 1.07% 0.39% -0.68%
Unreal 5.54% 5.11% -0.42%
Outstanding 10.48% 10.84% 0.37%
Great 12.00% 14.25% 2.25%
Good 14.37% 12.16% -2.21%
Average 15.34% 12.86% -2.48%
Bad 16.16% 17.82% 1.66%
Awful 24.66% 26.26% 1.60%

It kind of appears to be both. I expected larger differences. Ultimately numbers are down. Awful starts are up, bad starts are up. Good and average starts are significantly down. Great starts happen to be up! And while the super starts are slightly down, that is more likely the difference one or two.

So what does this mean? Probably nothing. It is early yet in the baseball season, pitchers are just starting to get deeper into games and injured pitchers are being weeded out. At this point I would not be surprised to see 2015 and 2016 end up the same way. For The Foundation’s pitching, well, hopefully we stop screwing around.

2016 Auction Review – Team Hydra

Team Hydra

hydra

Hail Hydra! Buster Posey could end up being the steal of the entire draft. A player who’s easy guess for the best player at their position, top 30 hitter and should get extra playing time compared to his peers, all for under $50. Awesome. But why the backup catcher? Silly. Hitting on this team is top notch, full of value. Pitching was left on the cutting room floor apparently, and what value that was gained, was overspent on some reaches.

Hitting – Very Good

Posey, Prince Fielder, Nolan Arenado, AJ Pollock and Nelson Cruz are a great core of hitters. That is not something many should be able to argue against. All of them except for Posey, because of his limited playing time, are candidates for 1,000 point seasons, and possible top ten hitters. It could happen that they all do. After that it becomes much more dicey. The extra money spent on Jonathan Lucroy to be a utility man hurts. DJ LeMahieu is alright, Domingo Santana seems like a reach. Marcus Semien was another guy I thought was special last year, less special this year. This line is going to be hard to deal with as an opponent as those homers fly over the fence.

Pitching – Not Quite

David Price! Yes you have your ace. The only bad things you can say about him is that he has been pitching forever, he just got paid, and now he’s in Boston. Lots of variables. Either way good buy. Your number 2 is. Your number 3 is. Your number 4 is Julio Terhran, Wei-Yin Chen, Rick Porcello, Jon Niese. Your number 5 is one of those guys. Your number 6 is Rich Hill, Kyle Gibson or JA Happ. Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman are sneaky interesting.  Bullpen here is wet, sticky and hot garbage. All things aside. Hail Hydra bought high? low? on a slew of starting pitchers. I don’t particularly like any of them for the role they’re being asked to do.. This team is a solid #2 starter away from being a different story.

Depth – Very Good

I like the bench picks. Obviously Lucroy is unecessary but great insurance. Steve Pearce, Zack Cozart, Jose Peraza all seem poised to be good fillers on the infield. It should be easy enough to find a solid fourth outfielder, preferably moving Santana to that spot with an upgrade at left field. I love the pitching depth here. It goes on for days and they are all guys I covet like Scrooge McDuck covets gold coins.

Why 2016 would be bad… 

If David Price goes down, things get hard really fast. If Prince Fielder cannot sleep and quits hitting again that’s a huge potential problem. Posey and Lucroy are both catchers with injury history, that is unfavorable. Was Nelson Cruz in Seattle last year something we see more of, or has the boom stick run dry? It really does not take a lot to punch holes in this roster full of good players only.

Why 2016 would be good… 

The hitters here will just crush a lot and the pitchers are all happily average. Not spinning 30 point starts but rarely going below 20. The narrative is clear to see, the staff is set for that kind of turnout. The hitters are locked and loaded. The team has pieces to move and could really bolster this roster without hurting this year, perhaps they do it.

Where was the value at?

Immediately within the first hour of the auction draft it was clear that value was not easy to find. Prices of players were not excruciatingly high or overspent. But, these prices were high enough to ensure that there was not large values at the top either. Shrewd drafting made Saturday’s event an interesting battle of attrition as the player pool continued to shrink. As the pool shrank there was a seemingly never ending pile of teams with money looming over each auction.

Immediately, it looks like the teams that left money on the table are the most hurt. 50% of the league, 8-teams spent 100% of their budget. Leaving zero dollars left on the table. Of the remaining teams:

The Foundation – $1
Beach Bum – $5
Senior Squids – $6
TBD – $10
Preseason Favorite – $10
We Talk Fantasy Sports – $14
Capital City Ironmen – $21
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses – $28

In some cases that unspent auction money being left on the table is not terribly frightening. But, at the bottom of that list, I can only imagine the day after regret. Good fantasy baseball talent auctioned off in that $10-$20 range. Even if you did not need a particular player, at least that drafted player has value. These extra auction dollars left unspent, are lost. They have no value.

Moving on to the auction money that got spent. More importantly how that money got spent. We can see how efficient teams were compared to this setting of the FanGraphs Auction Calculator. Keep in mind this calculator does not factor in our dynasty format (the hidden and unknown value of opportunity cost for keeping guys), nor does it fully understand our relievers scoring. But, for this exercise, and based on the results of the draft, it was quite accurate.

value

 

What you see above is the chart of how each of the teams did. Teams with positive values, overspent according to the FanGraphs calculator and the teams with negative values found bargains. The rank is from 1 “most efficient” to 16 “least efficient”.

Now before you go and say well done and patting yourself on the back, this is removing a lot of context away from the story. I believe you are sitting in a great place if you were most efficient with value, and you spent all of your auction budget. My team The Foundation finds itself there, so take that bias for what it is worth.

If you did not spend all of your auction money and you were not efficient in how you spent the money either, well you may have some extra work to do. Maybe your projections and targets are valued differently than how FanGraphs did and if so you’re probably okay! FanGraphs and projections are wrong more often than not.

Going a step further, let us take a look at everyone’s “best value”. What you should see below is a table that has the FanGraphs calculator value, how much they were paid for in the auction, and then the difference.

 

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The best value of the day was projections wonder-boy Wei-Yin Chen who was bought for $17, and had been projected to be worth $48. Chen’s transition to the National League, to the Marlins ballpark and being away from the American League East is likely positive.

It does seems like pitchers stole the value show: Alex Wood, CJ Wilson, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija and Jimmy Nelson were their representative team’s best value and created over $20 in value per player. Outfielders might be the next undervalued commodity in the draft as you see Alex Gordon, Nick Markakis, Melky Cabrera, Josh Reddick and Khris Davis on the list above.

Finally, we also have a look at each team’s “worst” value. Now, I must warn you. If you’re the kind of guy who’s into the hot young star and cannot stand to see them in any negative light, please look away.

ss+(2016-03-13+at+10.03.38)

Corey Seager, Addison Russell, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton. Phew these boys cost a pretty penny to claim. Trea Turner, Noah Syndergaard, Randal Grichuk and Jurickson Profar were all also coveted prospects on draft day. None of those guys are terribly far off in lost value, they’re all capable of being worth what they’re paid. Plus we have discussed before about the opportunity cost of getting said players. There is value in these overspends. But, how much?