Baseball is learning what value really is

Leave a comment

Matthew Leach at MLB.com has a story up today that explains how baseball’s middle class — average veterans, mostly — is feeling the pinch in the free agent market. It’s a brains thing just as much as it is a money thing:

As teams — and outside
analysts — devise ever-cleverer means of evaluating talent, the wheels
of player acquisition spin differently. Members of MLB front offices
have ever-better tools for assessing the players they’re signing. That
makes it less likely for mediocre players to get big deals.

“It’s a combination of things,” said Brewers assistant general manager
Gord Ash. “Of course there are the general economic concerns, but there
is also more data going around, like FIP [fielding-independent pitching
statistics], and others that give you a better feel for a pitcher
rather than the traditional wins and losses and ERA.”

This is not news to the sabermetrically-inclined among us, as we have been beating the drum against spending big money on anything other than guys who are clearly superstars for a long time. Indeed, a roster filled with a handful of legitimate top-dollar talents and rounded out with rookies, near-rookies and low-dollar veterans on single year deals is probably best suited to compete, both on the field and economically.  It’s clearly not news to most front offices too, as the days when guys like Pat Mears got multi-year deals are a distant memory for almost any team.

But check out that quote from Gord Ash. Then compare it to the aggressive dismissal of advanced metrics by the majority of your mainstream baseball writers and ask yourself if the statheads are really as out-of-touch as they’re made out to be.  If anything, the geeks and the game’s movers and shakers are speaking the same language.

Video: Willy Adames takes Chris Sale yard for first major league homer

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Rays shortstop prospect Willy Adames took Red Sox starter and 2017 AL Cy Young Award runner-up Chris Sale yard for his first major league home run on Tuesday night. It was his second major league at-bat. The dinger cut the Rays’ deficit to 3-1.

The Rays called Adames up from Triple-A Durham ahead of Tuesday’s game. Adames is the Rays’ No. 2 prospect and No. 22 in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. With Durham, he hit .311/.387/.466 with four home runs and 25 RBI in 173 plate appearances.

Manager Kevin Cash said that Adames is only going to be with the Rays for two or three days while Joey Wendle is on paternity leave, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported. Adames is making his case to stay longer.