As the return of baseball games rapidly approaches, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. All players to have reported to camp:
The last 12 clubs have set their official report date for position players today. While the vast majority of players have already had their official report dates, and many players whose official report date was today reported early, today marks the day that every player invited to major league Spring Training for in present in camp. As always on official report dates, there’s a chance previously unknown injuries are revealed regarding players reporting for the first time today. Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes, Brewers lefty Aaron Ashby, and Mariners outfielder Taylor Trammell are among the players who were revealed to be injured upon arriving in camp this spring. Spring Training games are set to begin at the end of the week.
2. Infield Market Update
So far this week, shortstop Elvis Andrus, third baseman Edwin Rios and (just this morning) first baseman Luke Voit have all signed — Andrus with the White Sox, Rios with the Cubs, and Voit with the Brewers. Though the free agent market has largely thinned out to this point, there are still a handful of interesting players available who can contribute at the big league level.
Donovan Solano has experience at both second and third base and, though he is coming off a down season, was roughly league average with the bat in 2022 (98 wRC+). Jose Iglesias has largely been just below league average with the bat for his career outside of a outlier 2020 season with the Orioles where he posted a whopping 160 wRC+ (thanks, in large part, to a .407 BABIP that far outstrips his career .307 mark), but he has long been a reliable defender up the middle and could help an infield-needy club. Moving to first base, Yuli Gurriel and Miguel Sano remain on the market. Gurriel won a batting title in 2021 but saw his production crater in 2022, his age-38 season. Sano has been wildly inconsistent in his career and spent most of ’22 on the injured list but has as much raw power as nearly anyone in baseball.
3. MLBTR Live Chats Today
Yesterday, MLBTR had the pleasure of hosting a live chat with former MLB scout Tim Kissner for readers, the transcript of which you can read here. Today, our series of live chats with people from around the game continues as we’re excited to host Rick Eckstein, a former MLB hitting coach. Eckstein was the hitting coach for the Nationals from 2009-2013, and served as the Pirates’ hitting coach for three seasons, 2019-2021. Between those stints as a hitting coach, Eckstein also spent time as a member of the Angels and Twins organizations. In addition to his time as a major league coach, Eckstein also served as an assistant coach for the University of Kentucky. Keep an eye out for Eckstein’s chat at 3:30pm central time today.
Also today, at 11am CT, MLBTR’s Steve Adams will be hosting a live chat where he will field questions from readers. Be sure to stop by and ask any questions you might have about your favorite team or the larger baseball world as Spring Training gets underway and the offseason comes to a close. You can submit a question in advance, and use the same link to access the chat once it begins.
I am making Paul DeJong available to anyone still looking for infield help.
Are you taking a 50% cut in value for him? He was about 50% worse than replacement level. Any team can bring up a AA-level guy to play the same role for them.
I will pay you to take him.
Meh, it’s his last year on the contract. Maybe hope he has a decent year this year and you can flip him at the deadline.
I’m curious how “50% worse than replacement level” was determined.
I’m only looking at the OPS+, which was 53 last year. Again, it’s a counting number but essentially, he was 50% worse than the average player, last year.
His bat certainly was awful last year, though 50% worse than average is different from 50% worse than replacement level.
Given it’s a counting number, I view them as the same.
But it isn’t the same at all. League average is much better than replacement level. Someone who can play league average ball all season is valuable. Someone who is replacement level is not, because by definition, you should always be able to find someone else on the scrap heap who would be just as good.
If you’re playing average level, you’re also at replacement level, as the average player that comes up to the Majors can achieve that level of play, the average level. Given how watered down the average player has been in the Majors in recent decades, it’s not surprise that 3 people who upvoted would be fooled by this reality.
If the player is above an average player, they would be more valuable than an average player, which is also at a replacement level.
That’s just incorrect. Replacement level is meant to be set at the level anyone can readily acquire out of their farm or in free agency in the middle of the season. There are fringe cases of players can play below replacement for a while and not get cut, but it’s not much of an oversimplification to say that they will generally be the worst players getting an MLB roster spot.
Average is much better than worst!
Seriously, just look up how replacement level is thought of and calculated. We aren’t making this up.
Using that thought process, there should be no below-average players in the majors because they all would be replaced by average players from the minors. Every major league player then would be average or better, which, by definition, is impossible.
Replacement level player is commonly defined as a player of the ability to generate a .320 winning percentage for a team in a season, if looked at the WAR context.
Replacement-level player is defined by FanGraphs as contributing 17.5 runs fewer than a player of league-average performance, over 600 plate appearances.
take your pick of the ways it’s commonly defined, but, replacement is FAR below league average
No, there should be lots of below average players, there shouldn’t be below *replacement* level players. Which, generally, there are indeed few of. If you play a full season at league average level, that’s worth a couple of wins over replacement.
You are trying to figure this out based on what you think ‘replacement level’ *should* mean, but it is a technical term, it means something specific, and it doesn’t mean what you think.
Look it up.
An average MLB player is just that: half of the players are better, half are worse.
A replacement-level player is basically the 26than on the roster, fairly easily swapped for a guy on the Triple-A roster.
And of course, OPS+ is just considering his hitting. I’m not sure what OPS+ is considered replacement-level. He’s continued to be viewed as a very good defender at SS.
Now you have me wondering if Mason Wynn could play as well as, or better than, DeJong right now.
A replacement player could be anyone, not just the 26th guy. Any player is replaceable, given history as an example.
Last year, he had a 0.9 dWAR, but there were also 3 other guys who were in the same range that could have replaced him on the defense side and had better oWAR as well.
About Mason Wynn, we’ll never know until he does a full season, right?
A replacement level player is a minor leaguer or “Quad-A” type player that you can add to your roster at the league minimum salary. I remember when they were about to go on strike in 1994 and the owners threatened to continue playing games using “scabs” or replacement level players. Man, that would have been no bueno.
Do you know yet what time the chat with Rick Eckstein will be? Thanks!
It just says this afternoon. The other guy they’re having on will be at 11 am central. Which is an hour difference from East time. Meaning, if it’s 11 am central, then it’s noon in the East. I’m sorry if this doesn’t help.
I’ve been looking at statcast numbers on Baseball Savant. Last year Jose Iglesias was dead last among all players with 250+ plate appearances with an 0.5% barrel rate. And he was 2nd-to-last in average exit velocity with an 83.8. Harrison Bader of all people was last in EV at 83.4.
You Can Put It In The Books .
Sounds like a perfect candidate for Atlanta’s gaping hole at ss.
Elvis Andrés to the White Sox to play 2b will go down as one of the better moves made this offseason.
Please please please figure out how to use commas with the word “and.” One is not needed after it in this sentence:
“and, though he is coming off a down season, was roughly…”
Furthermore, you don’t need commas AT ALL in this clause:
“thanks, in large part, to a .407 BABIP that far outstrips his career .307 mark…”
Just say “thanks in large part to…” and make it easier on our poor eyes.