Summary of “The 2018 Free-Agent Class No Longer Looks Poised to Change Baseball”

We can’t count on most players to repeat their performances from one year to the next, let alone one year to the next two or three.
The free agent Class of 2018, as it stands, is a collection of players so good it seems impossible one market could absorb them all at once.
Fern├índez, who died a little more than nine months after that paragraph appeared, is the saddest to see; his loss, along with the loss of his boat-crash companions, extends beyond baseball, and his absence from this free-agent class reminds us that life itself can be more fleeting than a player’s peak.
Some other potential 2018 free agents, such as Dee Gordon, Jean Segura, and Charlie Blackmon, played hooky from the class by signing early extensions.
The graph below, based on FanGraphs data from 1901 to 2017, shows the percentage of players with at least four WAR-approximately All-Star-caliber for non-relievers-in any given year that went on to produce four or more WAR in each subsequent season.
The line descends steadily: Only a little more than one-third of the four-or-more-WAR players in a typical year will be worth that much again four years later.
A growing capacity for clubs to develop players using data and technology-as evidenced by the tweaks that Corbin, Ottavino, and Morton have made-has also discouraged teams from bidding on name-brand players when lower-profile alternatives might mimic or improve upon their output.
“Once 2018 comes and the reckoning is upon baseball,” Passan wrote in 2015, “Teams really will have one good choice: pay the players the billions upon billions they deserve and keep the booming business of baseball rolling into a new era.” If the decline of the class convinces teams not to spend big for a second straight winter, the players who once were forecasted to be counting their spoils will instead start spoiling for a fight.

The orginal article.