We reintroduced the Quadrinity to you last week in its original application, to pitchers. As we discovered last year when we looked at 2017, it also works well—perhaps better—with hitters. And it worked great last season as well. So let’s see whom it turns up now.
To review our approach briefly: we look for the inverse of what we looked for with pitchers last week. This means hitters who were in the upper half of Hard-Hit Ball Percentage and Walk Percentage, and in the lower half—in other words, the upper half—of Strikeout Percentage and Soft(ly)-Hit Ball Percentage. The rationale should be apparent. Just as with the pitcher Quadrinity, this approach yields some very obvious hitters. But what we’re really looking for is moderately-priced or cheap guys who might outperform market expectations.
This sure worked well in 2018. We wound up recommending nine hitters: Brian McCann, Tucker Barnhart, Joe Mauer, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jed Lowrie, Dexter Fowler, Shin-Soo Choo, Nick Markakis, and Victor Martinez. This group of hitters would have cost you about $25, and as we calculate it returned nearly $100 in value.
So are we recommending that you populate your roster exclusively with Quadrinity bargains? Not exactly. The group we just mentioned did fine, but to get enough power you’ll have to pay up for it, perhaps with pricey Quadrinity guys like Betts, Arenado, Machado, Freeman, or Yelich, perhaps with someone else. Even more importantly, if you get nothing but Quadrinity guys you’re going to have to punt stolen bases. As you might imagine, players who hit hard, draw walks, don’t strike out, and run fast are rare at any price. Betts and Yelich are the only Quadrinitarians who fit that description this year. What we’re suggesting is that you season your roster with them.
A complete list of Quadrinitarians appears at the end of this article. Some are expensive. Some, all of whom except perhaps Butch Posey strike us as fantastic bargains, are moderately priced, as measured by NFBC Average Auction Values. That leaves us with 12 guys selling for less than $10: Yairo Munoz, Kendrys Morales, Brian Anderson, Joc Pederson, Jedd Gyorko, Jed Lowrie, Tucker Barnhart (again), Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman, Steve Pearce, Matt Kemp, and Jesse Winker.
We now need to do a little pruning. Let’s eliminate, as we did last year, anyone who doesn’t have a starting job. That would be Munoz, Gyorko, Pearce (who’s the weak side of a platoon), and Kemp. We should probably add Pederson to that list, much as we like him, because we suspect that Enrique Hernandez’s newfound ability to hit right-handed pitching will make him the Dodgers’ everyday left fielder. And we should probably toss Lowrie, because who knows how badly hurt he is or how long he’ll be out? Note, however, that we can easily envision all of those guys getting significant playing time, and that we not only would be but actually are delighted to have all of them on our reserve roster in one league or another.
So we’re down to six guys: Morales, Anderson, Barnhart, Cabrera, Zimmerman, and Winker. Those six players together will cost you about $18. Toss in a couple of the moderately-priced Quadrinitarians—McCutchen for sure, and maybe Turner. Figure on a $2 catcher, of whom there is a great abundance. That should leave you with at least $120 for the remaining five hitters. You can take it from there.
Expensive Quadrinitarians: Yelich, Freeman, Barnhart, Arenado, Bogaerts, Votto, Betts, Machado, Lindor, Rendon.
Moderately Priced Quadrinitarians: McCutchen, N. Cruz, Cano, Turner, Posey.
The Birchwood Brothers are two guys with the improbable surname of Smirlock. Michael, the younger brother, brings his skills as a former Professor of Economics to bear on baseball statistics. Dan, the older brother, brings his skills as a former college English professor and recently-retired lawyer to bear on his brother's delphic mutterings. They seek to delight and instruct. They tweet when the spirit moves them @birchwoodbroth2.