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roto categories most representative of real baseball

Postby gforce1124 » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:21 pm

my other league members and i are always debating which roto categories are the most representative of real baseball. when i started my league the premise was to find who would be the best GM if they managed a real life team. i think that's why fantasy sports were created originally, but i dont think the scoring categories we use are very representative of this. for instance, i've seen many threads about how wins and era arent accurate reflections of a pitcher's true value. are speedsters like podsednik, pierre, etc as valuable in real life as they are in fantasy? and the importance of defense and set up men are largely ignored in fantasy.

in years past we've experimented with holds (a fluke stat in my opinion that delutes the value of SP), errors (just horrible), etc....this year we use standard 5x5 with BB and K on offense and loses for pitching (not thrilled about that stat either). next year we're thinking about using HR, R, RBI, OB%, SB, K and W, SV, ERA, WHIP, K, quality starts.

has anyone else here found effective ways to incorporate defense and set up men into their league? what do you think about the 6x6 i listed above? are there better stats out there that might be more fitting? i'd love to hear any opinions, thanks!
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Postby BritSox » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:43 pm

There just isn't a way to count defense, that doesn't end up being either complete luck (total put-outs) or unfairly rewards DHs, as far as i'm aware.

Has for set-up men, just have enough RP slots that there aren't enough closers to go round.
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Postby Matthias » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:58 pm

We've played around with different defensive stats and haven't found anything that really works. This year we went with Put Outs + Assists - 20 * Errors. But basically all these stats get screwed up by players who are eligible at multiple positions but then are everyday first basemen (e.g. Nomar) since 1B's make tons of putouts and relatively few errors.

One stat for MR that we did this year (and I've posted here before) is a Relief stat which is defined as: Saves + Holds - Blown Saves + Reliever Wins - Reliever Losses. And then there is a Starter Wins category instead of just a generic Wins one. And that has worked very well.

I also looked into using Bill James' RC / 27 stat; punched the formula and coefficients into Sportsline's customized scoring (a big plus for Sportsline vs. Yahoo, btw) and ended up not using it since basically it ended up being just all the slugger / top-flight hitters. Just duplicative of OPS almost. And carried all sorts of extra baggage of explaining to the league of what it was and then having people scratch their head trying to line up the box score to how they were doing with the stat. Just not worth it.

For pitchers, WHIP and K/9 are good stats. As well as anything that is DIPS (Defensive Independent Pitching Statistics) related.

And I'm sure other people have other ideas.
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Postby gforce1124 » Fri Aug 11, 2006 4:12 pm

matthias, i really like that MR stat. it makes sense that if someone comes in and blows the save or hold and ends up with the win, they dont really gain points for that. also, if a closer gets traded at the deadline and the new team makes him their set up man, it wont totally kill his value. is it available in yahoo leagues or maybe on another website?

as for defense, one minor change might be using CR, RF and LF position slots instead of 3 general OF. having manny, berkman and bonds would be a pretty good fantasy OF, but would be pretty ugly in real life just because of their defense. i've heard an off-the-wall suggestion of giving your team a bonus point for each player on your roster that gets a gold glove (for roto leagues). again, very minor, but maybe a step in the right direction?
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Postby Matthias » Fri Aug 11, 2006 4:31 pm

As far as I know, our league is the only league that uses the stat. I created it at the beginning of the season. But any website that lets you customize your stats and also can differentiate between Starter Wins/Losses and Relief Wins/Losses you could obviously create it for yourself on.

The LF/CF/RF is a step in the right direction but I don't think ultimately has that much of an effect. There's two primary leagues that I pay attention to. One of them is LF/CF/RF and the other is OF/OF/OF and quite frankly, I find the LF/CF/RF just bothersome. It's interesting on draft day b/c you're tracking who is available at each slot but then as the season wears on, players spot start at different positions and it doesn't end up contributing that much.

The bonus point (or I would even say 3) for each gold glove is a pretty good idea. Granted, there's a fair amount of dispute as to how accurately the gold globe is awarded but my guess is that even though it makes mistakes, it's right more often than it's wrong. Really what you want is a range factor which I believe is only properly calcuable at the end of the season and after processing game film. I like the idea of rewarding defense and making DH's less valuable but haven't found a really effective way as of yet. If you figure one out, let me know.
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Postby johnsamo » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:30 pm

Impossible to truly create a perfect ranking system because defense is crucial to a players real value but it is IMPOSSIBLE to quantify accurately, because sometimes errors are meaningless and sometimes they are game killers, sometimes a great outfield arms won't even get tested out of respect, and scorers can be partial to certain players out of respect and call errors a hit, plus greater defensive range can inflate your error rate but in reality, greater range is a plus overall, and amazing defensive plays that rob big hits and often win games are impossible to quantify, and their are numerous intangibles like faking a runner out and keeping him from gettng an extra base, or a really good pick off move from a pitcher that shuts down base stealers. and catcher's throw outs percentage is often as much dependent on a pitchers release time as it is his throwing prowess to the base. Same with passed balls, which is often a result of the control of the pitcher. And finally, errors don't factor in players playing out of position. He's helping the team by filling a hole, but often shouldn't be penalized because he's not experienced at the position.... And things like hustle are unquantifiable. A guy who hustles can motivate the rest of the team at a key moment or over a whole season to take it up a notch in their effort too.

But, here's the best I can come up with

position categories.....
PLUS 1 point
OBP
hit
walk
run
RBI
steal
sacrifice
Intentional walk
Qualiy at bat (9 or more ptiches regardless of result)

MINUS 1 point
GIDP
caught stealing/picked off

(Avg. not needed because that gets talleyed in hit and obp already. Homers already get talleyed in runs, RBIs, hits and obp. having homers as well would overrate them to compared to a good line drive gap hitter IMO. Sacrifice gives value to what can be a big part of winning a game. GIDP punishes batters who fail miserably and hurt the team in what could be a big inning, Caught stealing/picked off evens out the team/players aggressiveness factor in steals and puts values on smart base running, as opposed to just total steals where a guy could 20 steal but gets caught 15 times vesus a guy wit 10 steals who never gets caught, IW shows the defense fears you and mitigates the Pujols/Bonds treatment that holds down their other stats, QAB gives value to hitters that are hard outs and tire out a pitcher)

Pitching
Wins
complete game
Quality start
GIDPs
No hits or walks allowed (NHW)
Ks
Holds
Saves
WHIP

MINUS 1
Blown save
PR (poor relief) (any relief performance with a 2.00 WHIP)

( All are cummulative, so a complete game win would be 3 points as you get the QS too, plus what strikes and GIDPs you get. Holds and NHW gives value to middle relief, which is a big part of the game, and quality start recognizes good starting pitching even when your offense or bullpen sucks, And some wins would also get a aquality start so it places greater value to a great start versus a guy who just did ok and got lucky. GIDP gives some value to a crafty ground ball pitcher who may not get a lot of Ks but is still good. ERA can often be too skewed by a bad or good defense or a bad bullpen that scores inherited runners too much or is so bad that a coach tends to leave you in the game too long, whip is a little less dependent on other factors, quality start also factors in the rest factor you gave the bullpen that day whether you won or not, the minuses are obvious, I'd like to have one that affects SPs but they can often be due to an injury or a coach with a too slow hook)
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Postby Tavish » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:42 pm

A couple of previous threads on the topic that might give you some ideas:

http://www.fantasybaseballcafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=97135
http://www.fantasybaseballcafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=86494


Points based linear weights is likely the closest thing you will get to emulating the real game this side of a simulation league. Although I will add a warning that I've played in a league with a similar set-up and it really isn't all that much fun compared to the more standard category based game. There just isn't as much room for differing strategy between owners.
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Postby buffalobillsrul2002 » Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:44 am

Well, here are a few things you could do to make a roto league more real-life ish...

A. Differentiate between the 3 OF positions
B. Don't allow for a Util. spot where a DH could be placed. Instead, do your regular 8 positions, maybe an IF (Only people who have eligibility at at least 3 infield positions could play this spot), an OF (someone who has eligibility at all 3 OF poistions), and a Util. (someone who has eligibility at at least 2 of the outfield slots (RF, CF, LF) and 2 of the infield slots (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS). This accounts for players who have value on real-life teams, like Ryan Freel.

C. Use more percentage-based categories. Use OBP instead of avg. Use BB/K ratio (hitters that do not K tend to make more productive outs, and a walk is often as good as a hit, plus it takes some of the luck out of hitting.) Use slugging percentage also instead of HR, etc. For base stealers, use SB percentage instead of total SB. Or better yet. use SB - 2 * CS (as a good base stealer should make it more than 2/3 of the time.)

D. As johasmo said, account for quality ABs/sacrifices. Look for your fifth category to be something like percentage of time your batter drives a runner from 3rd in with less than 2 out. Maybe as a 6th category use Sac bunts or something...

E. For your pitching, use more ratio-based categories. BB/K is great. K/9 is great. HR/9 is another good one. To make set-up men valuable, do a HLD/SV percentage. Also, an interesting category to try (though you'd have to do it by hand) would be to do (pitchers winning percentage- team's winning percentage * number of decisions). At the end of the year you would just add up each pitcher's number here to end up with your total. However, to make life easier i'd probably just do winning percentage.

Well, that was a long post :-° .
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Postby swyck » Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:37 am

"A. Differentiate between the 3 OF positions "
Agreed. LF and RF aren't as significant a difference, but not everyone can play in CF. You may need to accept a lesser bat there, if you dont get one of the top ones.

"B. Don't allow for a Util. spot where a DH could be placed."
Uhh, how does this make it more like real baseball? Real baseball uses a DH, at least in the AL.

"C. Use more percentage-based categories"
Agreed, but not too many. IMO counting cats like r,rbi, HR, and SB are important in real baseball. I'd add OBP, and SLG. I dont like replacing AVG with OBP. Yes, I know they double count hits, but they are different cats. I like OPS so that is a good option.

Instead of adding OBP or other rate cats, another option is to count K and BB for batters. Too many Ks is not a good thing, but in real baseball you sometimes have to accept the Ks to get the production. That is why you also need to use BB to balance it out.

"D. As johasmo said, account for quality ABs/sacrifices."
Dont like it. Players dont get a starting slot for the quality of sacrifices. This is overthinking. Smallball is overrated IMO, but SB-CS is a reasonable smallball stat.

"E. For your pitching, use more ratio-based categories."
Again you dont want to go overboard here. I like k/9 or k/bb.

For pitching I also think matching up W with L is an option. HR or BB as negative cats is another.

I think that adding one more rate cat to both batting and pitching, along with at least one more negative cat each, is a good way to go. IMO negative cats should be used more as long as they dont unbalance things.
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