Monday, November 29, 2010

2010 N.L. Shortstops

Some of the names have changed, but for the second year in a row, the market overpaid for shortstops in the National League.

Ten Most Expensive N.L. Shortstops 2010
1Hanley Ramirez$33$44-11$44$42$41
2Troy Tulowitzki
3Jimmy Rollins$12$31-19$27$31$26
4Jose Reyes$25$28-3$24$30$7
5Stephen Drew$20$21-1
6Yunel Escobar$3$18
7Alcides Escobar$8$17-9$17$24$5
8Everth Cabrera$5$16-12$15$18$14
9Ryan Theriot$15$150$14$20$21
10Orlando Cabrera$12$14-2$14$22$19


I'm not talking about earnings; the 10 most expensive of anything are almost always going to lose their owners money. Rather, I'm looking at the raise these players got based on what they earned the previous year.

The market bumps these guys up an average of $4 per player; they're absolutely bullish on these guys. Some of the raises are obvious. A healthy Reyes - even if he's not completely healthy - will earn more than $7. A full season from A. Escobar will surely be worth more than $5. However, the market is optimistic across the board. Only Y. Escobar, Theriot and O. Cabrera get pay cuts; everyone else gets a raise.

We've all played this game long enough to know how this story ends. The 10 most expensive hitters almost always disappoint, the question becomes how many of them will disappoint and how disappointing will they be?

On one level, they're (almost) all losers. Only Theriot breaks even; everyone else loses anywhere from $1 to $19. The market - as I mentioned above - pushes these guys up quite a bit. But ZIPS, which is supposed to be a more conservative projection model on the top players, pushes these guys up even more. When you look at the specific players ZIPS pushes up you can see what is happening; ZIPS is gung ho about stolen bases.

Only Rotoman exercises caution here. A $2 raise per player might not sound cautious, but compared to the market and ZIPS it most definitely is.

Cut out the dead wood and the market is still paying too much.

Top 10 N.L. Shortstops 2010

1Hanley Ramirez$33$44-11$44$42$41
2Troy Tulowitzki
3Jose Reyes$25$28-3$24$30$7
4Rafael Furcal$21$11+10$16$16$17
5Stephen Drew$20$21-1
6Ian Desmond$18$6
7Ryan Theriot$15$150$14$20$21
8Starlin Castro$15$1+15
9Orlando Cabrera$12$14-2$14$22$19
10Jimmy Rollins$12$31-19$27$31$26


Furcal is the lone relative bargain here (aided mostly by my $4 steal of him in the CBS league). Desmond at $6 seemed fair at the time, while Castro is a lottery ticket that happened to pay off.

I'm somewhat surprised by all of this. Generally, the market is reactionary to a fault about what happened the previous year. Here, though, it insists on pushing nearly all of these players up based on expectations. Hanley, Tulo and Rollins are expected to be elites. Reyes will be a near elite, while Drew will bounce back to what he did two years ago.

There were enough bargains at the position last year that showing patience was probably the way to go. Unfortunately, Castro and Desmond aren't going for a combined $7 in 2011, while Hanley and Tulo are both probably going to go around the same price this year. If you want a quality SS in 2011, you're probably going to have to repeat history and pay more than what these guys earned in 2010. Whether you should or not is another matter entirely.

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