Reviving the Quadrinity–The Hitters, With An Actual Mostly-Quadrinity Draft

Let’s return without delay to the second half of our exploration of the Quadrinity: players who satisfy certain statistical criteria and, we have found, do better in the aggregate than the market thinks they will. Last week, we looked at pitchers, who were the species on which this experiment was first conducted. But we have found over the years that it works well with hitters, too. We are, as you might imagine, looking for hitters whose achievement is the opposite of that of the qualifying pitchers: guys whose walk percentage and hard-hit percentage are above-average, while their strikeout percentage and soft-hit percentage are below-average.

There are usually about twenty such guys. This year, there’s a bumper crop of 26, although one of them, Brendan Rodgers, blew out his shoulder earlier this month and is likely out for the season. So let’s wish Rodgers a speedy recovery and name the other twenty-five, divided according to position, along with their average auction prices in auctions conducted under the auspices of the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. One of the oddities of the Hitter Quadrinity is that we’re usually able to construct a full 14-man Roto roster from among them—as we would have been this year as well, but for Rodgers’s misfortune :

C: Will Smith ($20), Adley Rutschmann ($18), William Contreras ($14), Jonah Heim ($3)

1B: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. ($37), Freddie Freeman ($35), Paul Goldschmidt ($29), José Abreu ($17), Vinnie Pasquantino ($15), Christian Walker ($12)

2B:  Ketel Marte ($4)

SS: Xander Bogaerts ($16)

3B: Manny Machado ($35), Ke’Bryan Hayes ($7), Yandy Díaz ($4), Anthony Rendon ($4), Justin Turner ($2)

OF: Kyle Tucker ($41), Yordan Alvarez ($38), Mookie Betts ($35), Eloy Jimenez ($20), Taylor Ward ($16), Lars Nootbaar ($7), Andrew McCutchen ($1), Bryce Harper (not taken, though no doubt he’s on some reserve rosters), Cal Mitchell (not taken, and no doubt he isn’t)

So what kind of 14-man hitter collection can we assemble from this group? We’re targeting a total cost of $155, which is about $5 less than the market is spending on hitters. The unfortunate Rodgers, whom we’d have had to use at 2B, SS, or MI to complete the team, was going for $3 before his injury, so let’s instead use one of the several $3 second basemen available, among whom our favorite is Jean Segura.

C Contreras, Heim

1B Pasquantino

2B Marte

3B Rendon

SS Bogaerts

CI Walker

MI Segura

OF Ward, Nootbaar, Jimenez, Tucker, McCutchen

UT Diaz

We’re not in love with this lineup, though we like almost all the individual players. The one we don’t like, at least at the price, is Bogaerts, because we think his success was attributable to Fenway, which is about as far away as possible in the continental United States from where he now is. If you insist on a shortstop in that price range, we prefer Willy Adames or Amed Rosario. But there are of course plenty of cheaper guys available, from Nico Hoerner ($12) on down to Joey Wendle ($2). Plug in Wendle and you can afford, say, Abreu at UT.

We’ve generally ended our spin through the Quadrinities by exhorting some brave soul somewhere to draft, to the extent possible, an all-Quadrinity roster, both pitchers and hitters, with the caveat that we don’t recommend using it to assemble your roster in a Roto league because you’ll come up short in stolen bases. It’s hard enough to find cheap guys who hit hard and draw walks and don’t strike out. When you add stolen bases to the portfolio, you’ve got a superstar, who won’t be cheap. But it occurs to us, several years after it probably occurred to many of our readers, that this caveat doesn’t apply to points leagues, or at least the NFBC points leagues, which don’t entail discrete stat categories. In other words, you could  do well in such a league without your players getting a single save or stealing a single base.  So you could, theoretically, use it there if you want to.

However: Casting about for a points league in which to deploy the Quadrinity, all we found were  leagues that we consider too pricey for the trial run of an experimental prototype. So we girded our loins and joined a 12-team NFBC 5×5 league (14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 7 reserves) for what we deem a reasonable price. The idea was to select, to the extent possible, only Quadrinity qualifiers. Since that would have put us at a serious disadvantage for stolen bases and, possibly, saves, we determined to draft a couple of fast guys and a closer at points in the draft where there was no obvious Quadrinity pick who wouldn’t be available in the next round. We assembled the following roster, which includes 21 Quadrinitarians among its 30 players:

  • C Will Smith
  • C William Contreras
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt
  • 2B Ketel Marte
  • SS Tommy Edman (Fast Guy No. 1)
  • 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes
  • CI Vinnie Pasquantino
  • MI Jeff McNeil (We needed batting average, and he also qualifies at OF)
  • OF Kyle Tucker
  • OF Cedric Mullins (Fast Guy No. 2)
  • OF Taylor Ward
  • OF Michael Conforto (he was a Quadrinitarian last year, and then didn’t play, so we figure he qualifies)
  • OF Jesse Winker (he still has that pretty swing, and check out his record in Milwaukee)
  • UT Justin Turner
  • P Sandy Alcantara
  • P Julio Urias
  • P Chris Bassitt
  • P Alex Cobb
  • P Marcus Stroman
  • P Taijuan Walker
  • P Jhoan Duran
  • P Andres Munoz
  • P Brandon Finnegan (an actual closer, at least for the nonce)
  • RSV: Yandy Diaz
  • RSV: Bryson Stott (he was available way later than he should have been, and fills a need)
  • RSV: Jose Siri (Backup Fast Guy)
  • RSV: Andrew McCutchen
  • RSV: Steven Matz
  • RSV: Jimmy Herget (we expect him to be the Angels’ closer)
  • RSV: Jose Suarez (This was our last-round pick. We could have taken authentic Quadrinitarian Bailey Falter, but we love Suarez, and one Philadelphia starting pitcher is enough. We’re confident that Falter will be available if we need him.)

America’s Leading Fantasy Sports Aggregator gave our draft a grade of C+, and says we’ll finish 10th.  Could be. But it will still be fun to have tried.

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.

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3 days ago

An Ottoneu points league would be a great place to test your theory a a reasonable price. Thanks for the articles!