Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Home Plate Collisions

Over the weekend ESPN's Buster Olney wrote that a ban on collisions at home plate now seems inevitable, in what was the aftermath of two such bone-jarring encounters, the latter of which knocked Tigers receiver Alex Avila out of the game. I am prompted to write about this proposed change now because one of my good friends linked to a similar article via Facebook that prompted a somewhat heated discussion, of which I was very much a part. I come down very firmly in favor of the ban, for reasons which I would like to expound upon fully here.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

MLB Trade Value: Position Players (Part 2)

Yesterday we covered the honorable mention guys and numbers 30-16, after two days of ranking pitchers, so this column will wrap up my trade value rankings for the year. Here we go, with perhaps the most interesting case in the full set...

Friday, October 4, 2013

MLB Trade Value: Position Players (Part 1)

Well, after spilling nearly 9500 words just talking about the trade value of pitchers across two columns, it's time to dive into position players. Unlike most trade value columns, we're splitting pitchers and position players because they're valued differently and have such different functions. If you're unfamiliar with the guidelines for this column, here they are, reprinted from Part One of the pitchers' version:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

MLB Trade Value: Pitchers (Part 2)

Yesterday we covered honorable mention pitchers and the guys ranked 30-16. Today we move on to the fifteen pitchers with the highest trade value.

15) Justin Verlander

Before you get indignant and angry with me, hear me out. Verlander is already 30 years old, and currently signed to the longest and most expensive contract of any pitcher in baseball ($160 million for the next six years, plus a $22 million vesting option for 2020). That's a lot of money for anyone, let alone someone who's starting to show some cracks in the armor. Verlander's walk rate is at its highest since his outlier 2008 season, and his .317 BABIP is almost a career high. That may be due to the fact that despite his four outstanding pitches, his fastball velocity has dropped to its lowest level (93.7) since, well, 2008. He's still striking out as many batters as usual and keeping the ball in the yard, but seems to have become a touch more hittable this year. Perhaps leading the league in innings pitched three of the last four years has worn him down a little (total innings from 2009-12; 953.2, plus another 48.2 over the last two postseasons). It could just be a minor blip, and Verlander could make me look pretty stupid for sticking him way down here. But let's just be safe. And hey, even in a down year, Verlander is still worth 4.8 fWAR, meaning he's still an All-Star caliber pitcher.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MLB Trade Value: Pitchers (Part 1)

With October (the greatest month of the sports calendar) upon us, I thought that I would give you a four-part column about the highest trade values in baseball. Sure, this is something that you can get your fill of at Grantland or Fangraphs, but everyone’s take is going to be different, and this column will make one important distinction that differentiates it somewhat from the more popular trade value lists out there.