Continuing with my series, tonight I thought I'd shift to N.L. hitters who have been solid bargains, aren't quite in the Top 10 list, and are guys that we (probably) should have seen coming.
Martin Prado. Average Salary $15. Current Earnings $27.
The expert leagues broke my cardinal rule of making a sure a hitter is paid at least what he earned last year. I'll make an exception for fading veterans or DH-onlies in A.L. leagues, but Prado is 26 years old and at the very least should have been expected to maintain his 2009 level of production at $16. Given that he's a middle infielder, his average salary should have been closer to $20.
Marlon Byrd. Average Salary $12. Current Earnings $22.
In 2009, Byrd was one of the Top 10 hitter bargains in the American League, earning $19 after garnering a measly salary of $4. However, Byrd's role was uncertain with the Rangers entering the year. There was no such uncertainty this year, yet the market was more than tepid about Byrd, despite the fact that his non-Arlington fall-off - while existent - wasn't precipitous. Maybe Byrd shouldn't have been a $19 buy, but $15 might have been more reasonable.
Scott Rolen. Average Salary $8. Current Earnings $21.
Perhaps the fact that Rolen split the year between the N.L. and A.L. in 2009 made people forget that he earned $19. Or maybe the feud with Tony LaRussa made people think badly of Rolen. In hindsight, Rolen is what he has always been: a solid player who isn't a superstar anymore but can still be a solid earner (The problems LaRussa is having with Colby Rasmus this year make me wonder if the issue was in the manager's office). In any event, this is another example where the bid should have been much closer to what the player earned the year before.
Miguel Olivo. Average Salary $4. Current Earnings $17.
Olivo has certainly faded, but do you think any of his buyers care? I win/compete with players like this every year: guys who have their warts in real life but who simply produce on the field. Yeah, Olivo's got less plate discipline than Orson Wells did (what? too soon?) but he produces. I didn't think the move to Colorado would have benefited his production this much, but at least some of that should have been factored in to the bids here.