5,966 people submitted entries in MLBTR’s annual free agent prediction contest! The contest leaderboard is now available.
The goal of the contest has always been to see who can do the best at predicting where MLB free agents sign – a very difficult endeavor. However, in the past I have always allowed for freebies – if a player signs during the week or so that the contest is open, you were able to change your pick to the correct team, and it would count as correct. Typically this has only been for a couple of players.
Though some people like the freebie simply to reward diligence, that’s not why I’ve done it that way in the past. Instead, I’ve left signed players in the contest because we didn’t have the technical resources to alter the leaderboard midstream. Now, we have that person, and removing the six signed (or in the case of Clayton Kershaw, close to a deal for three weeks) players from the contest was easy. Six would have been an abnormally high number of freebies, as well, so it served as a tipping point for me.
Additionally, some contest participants do not receive the confirmation email from Google Forms that allows them to modify their picks, so those people were missing out on freebies for a technical reason I was not able to solve.
I changed my mind on freebies because I think it’s better this way, and always doing something a certain way isn’t a good reason to continue. While this change is going to lower batting averages for all participants (including participating MLBTR staff!), nine prognosticators still maintain a perfect batting average after the signings of Mike Clevinger and Jose Abreu.