Some things to talk about while Mark Teixeira may never be the same...
1) Draft pool set
Jim Callis broke a story Wednesday on how the draft pools and international signing pools will look for 2014. Per the story:
The Marlins, who have more selections (13) in the first 10 rounds than any club, have the highest Draft pool at $14,199,300. The Astros, who own the No. 1 overall choice for an unprecedented third straight year, rank second at $13,362,200. That top pick is valued at $7,922,100, just shy of the all-time Draft bonus record of $8 million, paid by the Pirates to No. 1 overall selection Gerrit Cole in 2011.
Makes things easier in negotiating with Carlos Rodon or Tyler Kolek, huh? They'll nearly be the top-paid player of all-time and could be if the Astros took money away from another pick. It also shows just how important that compensatory pick was for Houston, as they have two fewer picks than the Marlins but just $800,00 less in pool money.
That gives them plenty of wiggle room on signing guys who fall into that comp round or even the top of the second, as the Pirates did with Josh Bell some years ago.
As for the international signing pool, that also increased:
While extra picks are granted in the Draft via the competitive-balance lottery, and some are gained and lost as free-agent compensation, the international slots don't change hands unless they're traded. As a result, the current totals simply reflect the reverse order of last year's Major League standings. The Astros have the highest international bonus pool at $5,015,400, while the Cardinals have the lowest at $1,866,300.
Houston traded three of its slots last season, but still brought in about 26 players with the rest of the money. Again stacked with the most bonus money, expect Houston to make another splashy entry to the international pool.
2) Baseball forecasting
Just a fascinating look at projection systems up at FiveThirtyEight, which uses the Astros as a great example. Remember all those stories about Vegas' odds for the Astros in 2014? Well, here's a little background on how they came up with that number and why you may not have been crazy for taking the over:
Salmons' pet example is the 2014 Houston Astros. He hinted that his in-house algorithms call for Houston to win between 65 and 70 games this year (a range also in accordance with PECOTA and Fangraphs' Steamer), but the Astros are coming off a historically terrible season in which they won just 51 games. The casual bettor is much more likely to see the Astros as a god-awful team than a typically bad one. As Salmons put it, "The public doesn't even know what ‘regression to the mean' is."
Keep that in mind when you see this promotion from Gallery Furniture. Were I in need of some furniture, I'd take Mack up on this deal:
For some reason, I seem to follow an inordinate number of Twins writers on Twitter. They've been down for about as long as the Astros have, but their franchise provides a nice counter-point to Houston's struggles. Instead of selling off their top pieces, they've attempted to build around them (well, not Santana or Morneau, but both of them were sliding downward).
Which is why my ears perked up when I saw this tweet from Aaron Gleeman:
People on Twitter are still complaining about Joe Mauer making too much money every time I mention his name. Think about that, on this team.— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) April 2, 2014
It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? Would Astros fans be complaining if Joe Mauer were in the lineup every day? Would they complain about the money he is earning instead of complaining about how cheap Crane is? I'm sure they'd complain about SOMEthing, but the conversation would be different.