Friday, May 25, 2012

Valuations to Date: A.L. Pitchers

With the season past the quarter pole, it seems like a good time to look at how players are doing so far. Tonight I'll start with American League pitchers. 

Top 10 Earners
1) Justin Verlander $48
2) Jered Weaver $43
3) Jake Peavy $40
4) Brandon Morrow $36
5) Fernando Rodney $36
6) Felix Hernandez $31
7) Jim Johnson $31
8) Chris Sale $30
9) Jason Vargas $29
10) C.J. Wilson $29

Verlander, Weaver and Wilson are the only repeaters from last year's Top 10. All three nabbed an average salary of $20 or more and Felix grabbed a salary in this range as well. Rodney's easily the highest freebie on this list (not purchased in CBS, LABR or Tout Wars), well ahead of Pedro Strop at $24. Rodney is the biggest surprise here but Vargas' performance to date is pretty surprising as well.

Top 10 Relievers
1) Rodney $36
2) J. Johnson $31
3) Pedro Strop $24
4) Alexi Ogando $23
5) Chris Perez $22
6) Darren O'Day $22
7) Robbie Ross $22
8) Ryan Cook $22
9) Joe Nathan $20
10) Scott Atchison $17

Everyone in the fantasy universe has talked about how bad closers have been this year, but the bigger story here is how ascendant middle relievers have been. The majority of pitchers on this list are middle relievers, and while some of this is simply due to early season, small sample sizes, the power of the middle reliever is on full display here. But even the closers here were free (Rodney) or cheap (Johnson/Perez); only Nathan cost a little money off the bat.

Top 10 Profits
1) Jake Peavy +31
2) Jason Hammel +24
3) Vargas +24
4) Tommy Milone +22
5) Johnson +21
6) Morrow +21
7) Verlander +19
8) Derek Lowe +19
9) Sale +18
10) Jeanmar Gomez +17

This list could also be called the list of the 10 biggest surprises to date (with the obvious exception of Verlander). We know that some of these pitchers won't be here come October, but the innings they've put up so far count just as much for your teams as the innings they'll put up down the stretch. And with the exceptions of Verlander, Morrow and Sale all of these pitchers cost single digits. They were cheap, cheap, cheap (average salary of $8 even with Verlander. 

If you're wondering why Rodney isn't here it's because he wasn't purchased in any of the expert league auctions.

Top 10 Losses
1) Clay Buchholz -32
2) Francisco Liriano -29
3) Jason Marquis -20
4) Matt Moore -20
5) Sergio Santos -20
6) Dan Haren -18
7) Mark Melancon -17
8) Nick Blackburn -17
9) Jonathan Sanchez -17
10) Andrew Bailey -16

I suppose you could call this the list of the 10 biggest surprises as well. While relief pitchers are represented here, the meme that closers are bad investments isn't truly supported by the data; only two pitchers here - Santos and Bailey - were paid closer money; even Melancon wasn't a closer until after the experts had completed their auctions. The list has several types of players. Buchholz, Liriano, and Sanchez are comeback candidates who didn't come back. Marquis and Blackburn are penny stocks that crashed. Moore is your hyped rookie who hasn't least not yet.

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