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The Good, Bad & the Ugly roto categories

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The Good, Bad & the Ugly roto categories

Postby xeifrank » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:46 pm

Seems like so many of the standard roto categories most of use are very flawed.

For example, take Wins... so much of it depends on run support. You can pitch well and lose 1-0 or pitch awful and win 10-8. Saves... you can pitch 2/3 of an inning give up 2 home runs and still get a save. Why not save percentage if you are going to use this flawed stat? Holds... see saves! Losses... see wins. ERA... a little bit better, but still some luck involved as you can pitch a 10 hit shutout if you get lucky or give up 2 hits and allow 1 run. WHIP... even better, but walks, singles, doubles, triples and home runs given up all weighed the same? K/BB and K/9... both seem like pretty decent categories, but both are seldomly used. Then some of my favorites, IPs... no skill involved there, Appearances... oh please!!

And the hitters... RBIs... not bad but dependent upon where you hit in the lineup and who is on base when you come to bat. Runs... dependent upon someone in the lineup to drive you in. SBs... what good is 25 steals if you get caught 15 times. Average... all hits weighted the same, walks don't matter. HRs... can find very little flaw in this category, perhaps adjusted for ballpark but that's getting picky. OBP... better than batting average. SLG... also better than batting average. OPS... probably one of the best fairly commonly used categories.

Many of these flawed categories are used out of simplicity, as these are some of the more common stats that we've grown accustome to using. It doesn't make them right or wrong, as long as we all have fun.

thoughts?

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Postby LBJackal » Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:57 pm

The stat categories we use are only around because people never understood enough about baseball back when fantasy baseball started. It was much easier to just use basic stats no matter how representative of skill or how predictable they were. Nowadays there are many more options and they're easily calculated by a computer, but it's still not as simple, because a) it's tough to find enough people interested in the same stat categories as you are, and b) most projections and rankings are done based on 5x5 leagues so unless you're up for creating your own, you're stuck with few or no rankings based on your league settings.
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Postby AcidRock23 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:15 pm

I'd read an interesting book some time in the last year called The Numbers Game which is a history of baseball and it's statistics that suggests that a lot of the stats were invented by a 19th century moralizing teetotaller who felt that it was VERY important to reward 'good' players w/ measurements reflecting their 'goodness' and similarly to punish 'bad' players.


Here's a link:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312322224/qid=1109275943/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-3164236-7416610?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
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Postby Pedantic » Thu Feb 24, 2005 4:24 pm

I don't agree with the modern "mini-movement" to reform categories from the classic categories to "better" statistics like OPS and the like. I more than agree that, as a method of evaluating a player's true value, these types of statistics are the best to use.

However, to me, the point of fantasy is not to have the "best" sabermetric players on your team. The point is to accumulate the best statistics in certain categories. Obviously, team-dependent statistics are harder to predict than, say, OPS, however, predicting these categories (or at least attempting to do so) is part of the challenge of fantasy baseball. To replace these categories with metrics are that better indicators of a player's true value would be taking away part of the challenge that comes with fantasy baseball, and therefore part of the fun.

For me, anyway, fantasy baseball would be much less interesting as a result. Again, I have no problem with the statistics themselves, but I don't think they have a place in replacing traditional 5x5 categories.
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Postby xeifrank » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:00 pm

AcidRock23 wrote:I'd read an interesting book some time in the last year called The Numbers Game which is a history of baseball and it's statistics that suggests that a lot of the stats were invented by a 19th century moralizing teetotaller who felt that it was VERY important to reward 'good' players w/ measurements reflecting their 'goodness' and similarly to punish 'bad' players.


Funny you mention this, I'm reading that book... thus the post. :)

For me, anyway, fantasy baseball would be much less interesting as a result. Again, I have no problem with the statistics themselves, but I don't think they have a place in replacing traditional 5x5 categories.


Hey! Who moved your cheese!? :)

The first baseball statisticians kept track of only two stats, runs scored and outs made. These were the only two stats in all box scores when box scores were first printed. The best player was determined to be the person with the most runs scored in a season. It's very interesting to read the history of baseball statistics and to see some of the very strange stats that people have come up with and to see the improvements made and read about some of the people who were way ahead of their times as far as baseball stats were concerned. Batting average, one of the most widely used stats of our time is highly flawed, and was pointed out nearly 100 years ago.

Read the book.

vr

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Postby Arlo » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:04 pm

I think 'flawed' is the wrong word to use here. OPS may better represent a player's contribution to his team than, say, batting average or RBI, but as a stat, OPS is considerably more flawed.
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Postby xeifrank » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:07 pm

Arlo wrote:I think 'flawed' is the wrong word to use here. OPS may better represent a player's contribution to his team than, say, batting average or RBI, but as a stat, OPS is considerably more flawed.


Why is OPS more flawed as a stat than batting average and RBIs. I mean batting average is a subset of OPS. Kind of like comparing near beer to samuel adams. :)

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Postby CubsFan7724 » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:11 pm

People are happy with traditional roto ball. Dont fix what isn't broken and turn the game into "Beane Ball" with all the wacky sabermetric percentage stats. They will never replace HR, RBI, R, ERA, WHIP, Ks as a way of measuring stats. These are traditional stats, and baseball is very much a game about tradition. RBI and R may be team dependent, but shouldn't you factor that in when you draft?
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Postby xeifrank » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:21 pm

CubsFan7724 wrote:People are happy with traditional roto ball. Dont fix what isn't broken and turn the game into "Beane Ball" with all the wacky sabermetric percentage stats. They will never replace HR, RBI, R, ERA, WHIP, Ks as a way of measuring stats. These are traditional stats, and baseball is very much a game about tradition. RBI and R may be team dependent, but shouldn't you factor that in when you draft?


I understand that people are very reluctant to change. And I myself am happy with the traditional categories, but should we bury our heads in the sand to the fact that most of the stats we use are fundementally flawed? If you read the Numbers Game book, you will see that people said the same thing you are saying now about other stats throughout the history of baseball stat keeping. Just because we are comfortable doesn't mean we can't improve. Yes, fantasy baseball is just a form of entertainment so none of this is too serious. Yes, baseball is a game of tradition... but it is also a game of change. It use to be that pitchers pitched underhanded to batters very similiar to T-Ball.

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Postby j_d_mcnugent » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:31 pm

there are some problems with the standard 5x5 categories. fantasy value doesnt necessarily equate to real world value. still, i am not sure that a drastic change really results in a better fantasy game.

you say that saves arent a good category because a crappy performance can still get you a save. i agree that the save isnt necessarily an indication of a good pitcher. however, crappy closers have higher era and whip which hurts you. really, if a guy is a crappy closer he still isnt going to be too valuable. i think the category was chosen because real teams have closers so it was thought fantasy teams should have them too.

personally i like k/bb ratio. is someone who racks up a lot of k's actually a better pitcher? are finesse guys like greg maddux not as good in real life because they induce grounders instead of getting strikeouts?

as for whip, sure it counts singles the same as triples and homers but if you give up lots of triples and homers it will also hurt your era and potentially your wins. i think its deficiencies are sort of taken into account by the other stats. so basically what i am saying is that individually some of the stats may not seem too good but when all five of them are taken into account i think it is a reasonable simplification. you could probably devise a more realistic setup but i think it would become overly complicated if you tried to get fantasy baseball values comparable to real world values. there isnt even a consensus as to what good metrics for real world values are. is ops the best? should defensive abilities be taken into account? are errors worthless when considering defensive abilities? is range factor a good measure of defensive ability? sure, all that stuff may make for a more realistic game, but i am not sure i would enjoy it as much.
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