Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2010 A.L. Shortstops

2009 not only saw a renaissance in the American League at second base, but at shortstop as well. At an average of $22 per player, A.L. shortstops earned more on average than they had since I began tracking these data in 2007. It did not seem likely that 2010 would see a repeat.

Top 10 A.L. Shortstops 2010
1Alexei Ramirez
2Derek Jeter$22$27-5$24$25$34
3Elvis Andrus
4Mike Aviles
5Marco Scutaro$17$14+4 $11$17$19
6Cliff Pennington$17$7
7Yuniesky Betancourt
8Erick Aybar
9Jhonny Peralta$13$14-1$13$17$10
10Jason Bartlett


Sure enough, last year's shortstops couldn't keep up '09's blistering pace. Comparing these lists isn't exactly apples to apples, though. Four of last year's top 10 - Michael Young, Ben Zobrist, Macier Izturis, and Gordon Beckham - weren't eligible at SS in 2010 while Orlando Cabrera migrated over to the National League.

The positional deserters can only take some of the blame, though, as only Young and Zobrist would have cracked the 2010 Top 10. Another big chunk of the fall-off was because Jeter and Bartlett, who earned a combined $62 in 2009, only earned $34 in 2010.

The market knows that Jeter and Bartlett aren't going repeat, but here the market exercises caution in an odd way, pushing these players to a certain price because it doesn't want to be wrong.

Here we can finally see what Rotoman has been saving his money for. He swoops in and gets Aviles and Betancourt while tying the market on Pennington. Assuming the market lets him have Pennington (and since the market gets every other hitter, I'll assume that), Rotoman puts together a $50 infield for $9. Sweet.

He just has to make sure to avoid some of the bums on this next list.

Ten Most Expensive A.L. Shortstops 2010

1Derek Jeter$22$27-5$24$25$34
2Elvis Andrus
3Alexei Ramirez
4Jason Bartlett
5Asdrubal Cabrera$9$19-11
6Miguel Tejada$8$16
7Erick Aybar
8Jhonny Peralta$13$14-1$13$17$10
9Marco Scutaro$17$14+4$11$17$19
10J.J. Hardy$8$13-5$13$15$6


Almost, but not quite. He gets his share of Hardy and grabs Tejada outright. Hopefully he's in one of those bogus leagues that let you keep players traded to the National League.

That's still not bad. Even subbing Tejada in for Aviles gives Rotoman a $40 infield for $24.

Bargains are great, but if you don't spend some of your money at the top, you're going to walk away from the table with a lot of money.

Top 10 A.L. Hitters by Position, 2010
First Base$214$201$179$168$182
Second Base$163$212$194$191$222

But I can't necessarily conclude that is what is happening here. Rotoman is behind the market by $74. But that doesn't mean he can't catch up - either in the outfield or on the mound. He's $1.85 short per player, which isn't nearly as much as the $2.90 shortfall Alex Patton was at after 30 players last year

Rotoman's right; maybe I should have reviewed Sports Weekly's prices this year instead of wasting my time with ZIPS. Their bids are far more aggressive than they have been in the past; they even outbid the typically aggressive market for the 10 best shortstops in the American League.

It is important to note that this list is for the 10 best at each position, and not the 10 most expensive. This doesn't eliminate players who lose money, but it does eliminate the complete busts.

However, the 10 most expensive shortstops this year really didn't have any utter busts. No one on the chart above earned less than $8. That's unusual in general, and in particular it is unusual for the position. There is usually at least one hitter earning $5 or less...and 2009 saw two hitters - Aviles and Jed Lowrie - actually fall in the red at ($1).

So despite the losses on the most expensive hitters - and the moderate gains on the best ones - shortstop was still a good place to put your money last year. Getting $8 back on a $13 investment is far from ideal, but it beats getting back $5...or even less.

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