Sarris: Which teams, and which positions, improved the most at the trade deadline?

From SABR member Eno Sarris at The Athletic on August 1, 2019:

With the trade deadline dust settled, it’s time to hand out grades — praise and shame, sure to be rendered incorrect by the coming two months of baseball. Usually, we focus on the talent coming in, which makes sense. New players! Woohoo! The problem is, that talent is pushing aside talent that was already on the team, and that incumbent player moves into a new role, pushing another player down the line.

It’s not a zero-sum game, in other words. There are ramifications for every move. Shane Greene doesn’t replace nothingness, he pushes Luke Jackson down a rung, which pushes Anthony Swarzak down, and so on. So you only really get the difference between Greene and Jackson, which is less compelling when you zoom out and look at this from space.

So, let’s try something. Let’s take all of the projections for each team right now and compare them to the projections last week, before this flurry of trades. If we use the depth chart projections at FanGraphs, we’ll account for this chaining aspect of adding talent and truly see which units on which teams were most affected by the movement of players over the deadline. This is just one way of looking at things, but hopefully it’s systematic in a way that’s compelling.

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Originally published: August 2, 2019. Last Updated: August 2, 2019.