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Are free agent hitters being under-valued?

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Chris Davis
Chris Davis
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This may seem like a silly question after the Chicago Cubs spent $184,000,000 to sign Jason Heyward plus an additional $56,000,000 on Ben Zobrist, but several commentators have pointed out that the overall market for free agent hitters has been rather cool so far, Chicago's investment in Heyward and Zobrist being more the exception than the rule.

As John Perrotto pointed out yesterday in his column, key free agent bats such as Chris Davis, Alex Gordon, Justin Upton, and Yoenis Cespedes have yet to sign. Most teams spending heavily in the free agent market this fall and winter have invested in pitching.

Perrotto quotes an unnamed baseball executive:

"So many teams have spent their money on pitching that they don’t have much left for hitting," said one executive who asked not to be identified for competitive purposes.

Thinking about the concept of market inefficiencies, is it possible that the market for pitching is actually over-heated and that the free agent hitters are being undervalued? Everyone wants pitching right now with arms dominating the game, but should (perhaps) a wise team invest counter-cyclically and put more emphasis on signing hitters in the current environment?

Or, to put it in player development terms, with everyone looking hard to draft and sign young pitchers, does that represent an exploitable inefficiency? Are hitters actually becoming under-valued in the current environment? Could an emphasis on drafting hitters in the early rounds or signing them from the international market pay extra dividends right now?