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THT's Fantasy Archives
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Tampa Bay Rays
1. Desmond Jennings: As one of the most dynamic players in minor league baseball, Jennings represents the future leadoff hitter for a Tampa Bay organization hoping to compete year after year.
2. Jeremy Hellickson: He is a control artist with the repertoire of a mid-rotation starter. However, improved movement and an uptick in his secondary offerings could lead to even greater things. If Hellickson can stay healthy, he is the most sure thing that Tampa Bay has to offer.
3. Wade Davis: His overall repertoire has ace written all over it, but Davis' control needs to improve across the board if he's going successfully transition to the big leagues.
4. Matthew Moore: Representing the third true potential No. 1 starter in Tampa Bay's farm system, Moore has fantastic stuff but needs to improve his control if he's going to succeed at higher levels. He still has a ways to go.
5. Tim Beckham: He was an overdraft at No. 1 in the 2008 draft, but there is no denying his upside. As a true work in progress, his glove needs just as much improvement as his bat.
6. Reid Brignac: You would like to see him cement his play in the major leagues, but Brignac has a little bit of everything you look for in an everyday shortstop. A very solid player is in the works.
7. Nick Barnese: His stuff doesn't turn heads, but Barnese has all the makings of a mid-rotation big-league starter. It's doubtful at this point, but if one of his secondary pitches develops into a truly dominant "out" pitch, even greater things could be on the horizon.
8. Jake McGee: Back from Tommy John surgery, McGee threw limited innings in 2009. His goal in 2010 will be to recover what he had before the surgery, namely his plus fastball. Tampa may move him to the bullpen permanently, but I'm still willing to invest.
9. Kyle Lobstein: His reputation gets a bit overblown at times, but there is no denying Lobstein's deliberate mechanics and solid repertoire. I do have to question how much projection is left in his arm, however.
10. Cody Rogers: Offering considerable upside, Rogers quietly put together a fantastic Appy League debut. He needs a lot of refinement, but he has a nice combination of power and speed to go along with his natural contact skills.
1. Brian Matusz: Matusz has everything you look for in a front-of-the-rotation prospect, including an arsenal full of potentially plus pitches, a feel for the type of control it takes to succeed in the big leagues, and an intimidating demeanor on the mound.
2. Jake Arrieta: He has an average four-pitch mix and a fastball that can occasionally touch the mid-90s, but it is time to question Arrieta's endurance. It's the only thing holding back his No. 2 starter upside.
3. Brandon Erbe: Erbe sports impressive stuff, but he doesn't possess an out pitch and, frankly, he is far too hittable right now. His control is not where it needs to be either. He is more raw than he should be at his point, and he looks like a mid-rotation starter.
4. Matt Hobgood: With great endurance and advanced movement for his age, Hobgood has a good amount of upside. His repertoire has a long maturation process ahead, though.
5. Zach Britton: His groundball rate and natural, sinking action are his best assets, but Britton doesn't have enough ability to miss bats, which will become more apparent as he moves through the system.
6. Josh Bell: Bell's home run power busted out in 2009, but his overall upside is not indicative of his numbers. He has the makings of an average third baseman with his strong eye, solid contact skills and above-average power.
7. Xavier Avery: Avery is an eye-catching ballplayer. His raw playmaking ability is something every team craves, but the numerous holes in his swing and lousy plate patience have forced me to be patient.
8. Mychal Givens: Givens is a tremendous athlete with a killer arm at shortstop. He needs a lot of refinement in both his offensive and defensive game. He has a long way to go in order to obtain the smoothness needed to succeed as a line-drive-hitting shortstop.
9. Brandon Snyder: If Snyder weren't a first baseman, his bat would be playable at the major league level. But his offense projects as below average as a first baseman. More development is needed, but his bat could be maxed out.
10. Ryan Adams: With some upside left, Adams has the contact skills to play at higher levels, but the question is whether or not his power, speed and patience will ever develop into usable skills at the same time.
Posted by Matt Hagen at 6:20am (10) Comments
Warning, this is a rant—a rant with a purpose, but nevertheless one full of unnamed conspirators and false friends. I can't even say for sure that I haven't been guilty of these crimes. The point here isn't to name and blame, but rather to enjoy a bit of therapy. It is healthy for me to let it all out every now and then, and if it helps you—well then we're both smiling. Today's exorcism focuses on two ways that experts (and others) often give non-answer answers.
How would you feel about the following hypothetical question and answer?
Desperate fantasy player:
My league does our 2010 draft during this year's World Series. Who would you draft first: Johnny Damon or Raul Ibanez?"
"It all depends on who stays healthy. If Ibanez can stay on the field, then he'll have the greater value. If he's not 100 percent healthy, though, and if Damon re-signs with the Yankees, then Damon might be a better pick."
What's wrong with this diagnosis? Well, the Quack doesn't actually answer the question. Instead he has provided a bunch of conditional statements. Linguistically, conditional statements often look like: if event X happens, then the value is Y.
There's nothing wrong with a conditional statement. A bunch of them can often provide more information than a single unconditional statement (which would be, e.g., "Ibanez is worth more right now than Damon"). They're useful for explaining one's reasoning: "Ibanez is worth more than Damon because if Ibanez stays healthy he'll outproduce Damon AND I don't think he's a big injury risk." But just as often, gurus use them to avoid (intentionally or otherwise) giving an answer to the hard part of the question.
For instance, how helpful is a statement like: "If Curtis Granderson could hit lefties as well as he hits righties, he'd be a second-round pick"? Well, if you didn't know that Granderson had terrible splits, then it would be useful. But if you were wondering about his value for next year, you'd be left a little short.
Sometimes substituting a conditional statement in place of an unconditional one is helpful as long as it is accompanied by a little honesty. For instance: "I'm terrible at projecting injuries, so you should use your own expectations concerning injuries. But, if Ibanez is healthy, he is worth more than Damon." Here, the guru is telling you that he could give you an unconditional statement like "My projections are that Damon is worth more than Ibanez," but that it might be based on some unreliable injury forecasts. So, instead he provides you with the part of his forecast that he feels is more reliable, while at least being upfront about his unfamiliarity with the repercussions of Ibanez's current ailments.
"But for Ibanez's hot September (when he hit seven home runs), he was terrible after the All-Star break. You can't expect that kind of September again, so I think Ibanez is due for a regression."
Nearly everything about this guru's prognosis is correct. Ibanez did have a great September and had an equally desultory July and August. Let's ignore that he also hit seven or more home runs in April and May and grant that such months are rare events. Still, the logic above is almost certainly incorrect.
Suppose I tell you I have a die numbered 1 through X. It could be a 100-sided die (1-100), a standard six-sided die (1-6), etc. You don't know what X is—that is, you don't know how many sides it has. But I do tell you that the die rolls are each independent of each other—the result of one die roll does not affect the outcome of the next (just like any normal die). Ask yourself if there is any difference in the following pieces of information:
1) I tell you that I rolled the die 200 times and only the first four rolls came up with the number 1.
2) I tell you that I rolled the number 1 four times in 200 rolls.
The first outcome—rolling 1 four times in a row to start (and then never again)—is the far rarer outcome. Imagine a 100-sided die—then the probability of doing it would be one time out of 100 million! If we were strato-mating a baseball season with that die, probably we would never get that outcome again. Nevertheless, both statements are equally informative about how many sides the die has (that is, what X is). Statistically, this is due to the independence assumption—which means that the order in which events occur is uninformative.
Now replace "rolls a 1" with "hits a home run." As long as the independence assumption holds in baseball, then it makes no difference whether Ibanez hits all his home runs in September or not. Only the sheer number of home runs is informative, not when they occurred.
There are many discussions of the independence assumptions—for instance, if there is such a thing as a hot or cold player. Most research points against streaks and for independence. It doesn't really matter here actually, unless you believe that streaks can carry over through the offseason and into the next. Off the top of my head, many gurus use "buts" to remove rare events from consideration. Few of them, I would venture, believe in multi-season streaks.
Posted by Jonathan Halket at 6:00am
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