i was looking at ESPN's player rater
the other day and noticed a lot of players have much higher mid-season rankings than on Yahoo. so i just compared the 2 in-season rankings at the all-star break and found some interesting things.
1. Yahoo does not value SBs as much as ESPN. Looking at ESPN's Top 50, the players with the biggest ranking differential were the speedsters. guys like gardner (ranked 22 spots lower in yahoo), pagan (26 lower), podsednik (58 lower), ichiro (72 lower). alex rios had the highest differential (9) amongst the top 15 (ranked 5th in ESPN, 14th in Yahoo). Guys like Zobrist (29 lower), Reyes (33 lower), bj upton (33 lower), bourn (53 lower), pierre (92 lower). notice how the last 3 also have pretty low avg. i'll talk about Yahoo's valuing of AVG later.
2. Yahoo overvalues relief pitchers (non-closers) compared to ESPN. many of us already know this, most of the guys overvalued by Yahoo compared to ESPN are relief pitchers. guys like meek, gregerson, marshall, bard, venters are ranked at least 50 spots higher in Yahoo. while these guys help you with ratios and come through with occasional wins and saves, i'm not sure if they deserve the high rankings. Notable exceptions to the Yahoo overvalued were few offensive players, like bautista (22 higher in Yahoo), arod (20 higher), tex (41 higher), ortiz (28 higher), and quentin (35 higher). except bautista, all of them had much higher pre-season rankings than their current rankings. could that be the reason for their overvalued rankings?
3. Yahoo punishes for low averages especially for speedsters. guys i mentioned earlier, upton, bourn, and pierre all have bad averages and were ranked much lower than ESPN. guys like venable, gutierrez, figgins, morgan were also ranked low and have low averages. and most of these guys also seem to have some speed which i mentioned earlier Yahoo does not value very much. however, it seems though that even though you have low averages, but show some power (HR/RBI), you could possibly be overvalued by Yahoo, like bautista, arod, tex, ortiz, and quentin which i mentioned earlier. BUT, there is some sort of a cut-off for power saving low averages. guys like adam lind, andruw jones, chipper jones, casey blake, and hideki matsui have low averages but show occasional power and were ranked much lower in Yahoo (367, 125, 68, 69, and 62 spots lower respectively).
4. Yahoo punishes players who have accumulated less playing time overall more. guys that get called up, were injured, or part time players that have less ABs than full timers. other than other obvious ones like rollins and aram, guys like sean rodriguez (59 lower), nelson cruz (46 lower), c. patterson (115 lower), and one of the biggest differentials, roger bernadina a whopping 481 spots lower in yahoo than in ESPN (316th in ESPN, 797 in Yahoo).
5. Yahoo punishes ratio destroying pitchers much more, even if they have some strikeouts. guys like john lackey (529 lower), ben sheets (404 lower), wandy rodriguez (465 lower), wolf, (490 lower), harang (438 lower) were all guys that ESPN were less punishing on. i tend to think Yahoo has ranked these guys too low as their rankings are much lower than pitchers in the database that have 0 innings pitched.
so what does this all mean? well for one you can use the info to your advantage for trades, especially if you have to deal with people who put a lot into in-season rankings. most of the speedsters are all ranked low in Yahoo, its good news if you need to move up in SBs. you could also try to buy guys who are just ranked low due to lack of playing time and it could mean you can buy low on some bad ratio pitchers, especially if they have been performing better as of late.
but more importantly, it would be nice if Yahoo took a look at this and their formula for ranking players, and possibly make tweaks to better represent rankings. now i am not saying ESPN's rankings are more correct than Yahoo's but i think something could be tweaked when there are many players that have ranking differentials of over few hundred spots despite being a full-time player. there are many guys in ESPN's top 500 that are found in the 800-900th rankings in Yahoo, below guys who have accumulated ZERO stats. i mean is john lacky (395th in ESPN) really the 924th best pitcher or jose lopez (389th in ESPN) 850th best hitter? i know these guys had horrible years so far but should they really be valued hundreds of spots lower than ESPN's rankings, below guys who have yet to play in a single game this season? one thing i started noticing is that i saw more middle infielders and catchers in the list towards the end. this makes me believe ESPN calculates with value over replacement player against players of the same positions while Yahoo does not or it doesn't factor in as much. i think position scarcity should be more of a factor in their formula.