FanShot

Trade Deadline Power Rankings: Part 2, the Victors

Don't you just love hearing this kind of stuff? The meat of the article that you care about: "1. Atlanta Braves When you've got an army of indefatigable news hounds filing 86 blog posts and 400 tweets a day, you can control the narrative. That's not to say that Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, and other hard-working baseball reporters are easily duped. They know what can happen as the deadline approaches, so they double-check and triple-check every rumor to verify its veracity. But even with those safeguards, a team can still game the system. Place a call to an anonymous front office exec with loose lips. Talk up the value of a player you might not actually want. Maybe make a semi-legitimate phone call or two to create the illusion of interest. Whatever tactics the Braves deployed, they sure as hell worked. For all the talk about advanced statistics catching on, there are plenty of teams who overvalue some players and undervalue others for the wrong reasons. Likewise, some members of the working press are still easily seduced by, say, Triple Crown stats. Thus, we get the illusion that Hunter Pence is the most valuable available position player at the trade deadline. Never mind that Pence is striking out a career-high level, owes his .306 batting average (career .290) to a sky-high .365 batting average on balls in play (career .326), and that he's roughly an average defender at a corner outfield spot (-3.1 UZR this year, though Pence has been a plus guy in the past, so we might split the difference here). The Braves wisely drove up the price on Pence, and Carlos Beltran, so their NL rivals will be forced to give up top prospects to get them. Then just as nearly every contender with an outfield need had shot their wad, Atlanta swooped in and nabbed Michael Bourn, a lightning-fast center fielder who's benefited from some good luck himself (.383 BABIP) but still gets enough of a boost from his on-base skills, blazing speed, and superior defense at a premium position to rank eighth among National League outfielders in Wins Above Replacement. Better yet, the Braves got their man for four young players whose projections range from meh to feh."

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