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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Evolution of Positional Differences in Free-Agent Costs | FanGraphs Baseball

Another nice addition to the Matt Swartz series.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 27, 2017 at 11:04 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: economics

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   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 27, 2017 at 12:43 PM (#5500733)
This suggests that WAR underrates first basemen and relievers and that it overrates second basemen and catchers (or that GMs are bad at judging player value).
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 27, 2017 at 12:53 PM (#5500754)
This suggests that WAR underrates first basemen and relievers and that it overrates second basemen and catchers (or that GMs are bad at judging player value).

Not necessarily. The hypothesis expressed in the article is that with more fungible players, there are more bidders, and hence a higher price per WAR.

If a guy is a C, 2B, 3B, or SS, a lot of his value is tied up in defence. If you don't have a hole at his position, you can't exploit his full value, and thus won't bid.

For OF, 1B, DHs, almost every team can fit the guy in somehwere if his bat is good enough. And the value being mostly offensive, isn't damaged that much by a positional move. For SPs, every team pretty much always needs at least one. So, more bidders lead to higher prices.
   3. zenbitz Posted: July 27, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5501008)
Relievers are clearly underrated/overpaid due to leverage, or perception of leverage.
I disagree with the split between Defense and Offense position. Really it's "1B" and everything else. This seems to indicate either
a) a few bad contracts exploding the ratio
b) improper setting of replacement level at 1B.
or even
c) a strong non-linearity in $/WAR for players with spectacular batting numbers (often 1B) -- due to a scarcity effect.

It seems like the article should have broken down columns for batting fielding $/WAR.


   4. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2017 at 10:34 PM (#5501255)
The blowout in $/WAR at 1B clearly is not by design. The Fielder and Pujols contracts will explain a lot of that. The latter period also includes the downside of Tex. I've always put Tex, AGon and Fielder into the same FA bucket -- pretty much the same AAV, each signed through 36. It's nearly over now with:

Tex 21 WAR for 8/$178 (give or take)
Fielder 7 WAR for 9/$214
AGon 17 WAR for 7/$154 (might add next year)

Adding Pujols 14 WAR (and counting?) for 10/$240

Neither Tex nor AGon are a major problem when viewed in their entirety and Fielder turned out worse than Pujols (although Fielder's salary might be covered by insurance). Anyway, all told 59 WAR for $786 M. Atrocious but still not anywhere near $20 M per. (I'm kinda doubting that number)

So looking further .... All of Pujols', AGon's and Fielder's WARs are 2012-16. Tex adds 8 WAR so that's 46 WAR for about $460 M ... still nowhere remotely close to $20 WAR per. Even if we drop Tex because his contract came earlier, that's still 38 WAR for about $350 M. We're still around $10, not $20.

Maybe that $20/WAR is a typo. $10.4/WAR at 1B would make a lot more sense. Or was there a 5/$250 M contract for a 1B that I forgot about? :-)
   5. Rally Posted: July 28, 2017 at 09:24 AM (#5501387)
You get a little closer if you add 125 million in there while subtracting WAR...Any contract like that ring a bell?
   6. villageidiom Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5501448)
You get a little closer if you add 125 million in there while subtracting WAR...Any contract like that ring a bell?
I believe that contract cracked a bell.
   7. villageidiom Posted: July 28, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5501451)
c) a strong non-linearity in $/WAR for players with spectacular batting numbers (often 1B) -- due to a scarcity effect.
In a prior article he posits that $/WAR is linear, based on 2 things.

a) When he looked at this many years ago it appeared to be linear.

b) Although the evidence for roughly the last decade is non-linear, it can be ignored because reasons.

I've not found the latter to be compelling, if you couldn't guess from my characterization of it.
   8. zenbitz Posted: July 28, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5501620)
hey, at least he looked!

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