Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 A.L. Second Basemen

We've been getting so excited by how good second base has been in the American League the last few years that - eventually - we were going to get burned.

That time finally came last season.

Ten Most Expensive A.L. Second Basemen 2010
1Ian Kinsler
2Dustin Pedroia
3Robinson Cano
4Brian Roberts$9$26-17$21$28$27
5Ben Zobrist$18$25-7$21$16$27
6Aaron Hill
7Jose Lopez$8$20-12$15$19$18
8Howie Kendrick$20$200$18$18$16
9Scott Sizemore$2$14-13$10$11
10Orlando Hudson$14$13+1$14$15$17


Part of the shellacking here is the market's own fault, but these guys were bad last year. Cano prevented it from an outright disaster.

A $2 raise per player isn't a good way to go about your business but even the expert market was excited about the position. Granted, most of that raise is wrapped up in Sizemore, but his price is part of the problem as well. 

Rotoman still isn't spending his money, but he gets credit here for restraint. He only gets Roberts and Hudson outright in a two-way battle with the market, and his prices on Hill and Zobrist look incredibly smart now. I'm not sure what Rotoman the pricer is waiting for on a macro level, but player by player he is looking mighty fine.

ZIPS is even more restrained than Rotoman. Unfortunately, it's not because ZIPS sees the sky falling, but rather that their mechanical system cannot do anything except cheat the perceived best players and reward the guys in the middle and the bottom, regardless of the position or circumstances:

Top 10 A.L. Second Basemen 2010
1Robinson Cano
2Howie Kendrick
3Ian Kinsler
4Ben Zobrist$18$25-7$21$16$27
5Dustin Pedroia$15$29-14
6Orlando Hudson
7Mark Ellis$13$9+4$8$14$12
8Alberto Callaspo$13$9+4$6$13$18
9Aaron Hill$10$24-13$21
10Brian Roberts$9$26-17$21$28$27


In this case, their prices look the strongest. Paying par for Ellis and Callaspo doesn't look like a good way to go about your business, but it is certainly better than getting burned by Kinsler and Hill...players that the ZIPS model is clearly telling you to avoid.

I emphatically agree with Rotoman's point that you can't compare ZIPS to a pricing model because ZIPS doesn't care about salary caps. However, I do wonder if a modified version of ZIPS could be employed to exercise some restraint.

Ten Most Expensive Players by Position 2010

Rotoman's prices would probably be fine, too. But based on performance, the market is clearly spending too much in the American League on the top players.

I'm befuddled because this flies in the face of what I believed back in March. Even the typically high flying CBS league didn't go all that crazy this year; they only cracked the $40 barrier on five hitters in 2010, compared to five in 2009. But the numbers don't lie. The market is pushing these players too much based on what they earned in 2009 and the market is getting burned.

Are the top players getting overpaid at every position? Or is there a sweet spot somewhere that we haven't found yet?

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