Tuesday, September 07, 2010

2010 A.L. Hitter Bargains: Non-Top 10 Division

With the 2010 season winding down, I'm starting to tweak my versions of the Patton & Company 5x5 formulas so I can figure out how much the hitters and pitchers earned this year. When I'm done with that, I'll run through the American League and National League position by position, as I've done for the last three winters.

Before the season ends, though, I'd like to take a look at some of the players who aren't (currently) in the Top 10 in bargains and look more closely at why they were bargains...since I might not get an opportunity to talk about these guys if they're not in the Top 10. I'm also choosing guys that the more traditional web sites will probably ignore entirely. Tonight I'll start with hitters in the American League.

Average salaries are derived from the CBS Analysts N.L. and A.L.-only leagues, LABR, and Tout Wars.

Vlad Guerrero. Average salary: $16. Earnings-to-date: $29
After Vlad earned a paltry $14 in 2009, everyone wrote him off and he barely got a raise from what he did in 383 AB. Full disclosure: I wrote Vlad off as well, thinking that his swing looked bad last year and that he was going to decline fast. I should have listened to those that pointed out he'd be DHing most of this year and that he loves hitting in Arlington. The best part of Vlad's year? Critics are panning his slump Post All-Star, which completely ignores what a profit center he's been for most Roto teams. Players like Vlad might be associated with some risk, but if your freeze list is mediocre or worse, these are the right kinds of risks to take.

Juan Pierre. Average salary: $19. Earnings-to-date: $31.
So far, Pierre is on pace to earn $19 in SB alone. That's no mean feat in 5x5, and I'm even more impressed by the fact that Pierre is the 10th best hitter in A.L.-only. I get all of the real-life caveats about Pierre, but playing time + Pierre's speed equaled excellent buying opportunity.

Andruw Jones. Average salary: $2. Earnings-to-date: $13.
In mixed leagues, Jones wasn't worth it. But in A.L.-only leagues, Jones' $13 season (so far) made him the 81st best hitter in the A.L. That doesn't sound like much, but recent darling Ryan Raburn still isn't on pace to earn $13, while pre-season darling Julio Borbon is behind Jones as well. Yes, this was an average hit some teams couldn't afford to take, but if you could take the BA hit, this was a big-time buying opportunity.

Mike Aviles. Average salary: $1. Earnings-to-date: $11.
Aviles' line is boring, but the batting average is worth $2 and Aviles has moved the chains across the board in the four counting categories. Once it was evident that Aviles was going to make the Royals, this was a buying opportunity 1) based on what he did in 2008 and 2) how universally he was written off after his 2009 season, with almost no one mentioning the fact that Aviles was playing hurt. Like Jones, Aviles probably wasn't the key to your season, but if he was your third middle infielder at $1, you were probably in very good shape.

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