Archive for the 'Fantasy Sports' Category

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – 5×5 Analysis Hitters

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

I know I said I would talk about my potential trades in Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Hitter draft, but even though I’ve tried nothing has materialized. For the record, I’m trying to trade off Kouzmanoff or Encarnacion for those weak at 3B, in the 40 man league. In the mean time, I thought it might be interesting to analyze players in respect to a normal 5×5 league.

HR

HR is by far this most important stat in a normal 5×5 league. As mentioned by me before, HR count not only for a HR but also a R and a RBI with a bit of a bump to AVG. We therefore need to rate high HR above all other categories. As a matter of fact the only traditional 5×5 category HR does not effect is SB. HR will even be a little bit of a boost over the normal one RBI by a bit, by the fact that not every HR is a solo-shot. We might safely asume that a HR is worth a R, 2 RBI a HR. AVG though affected will remain little affected from year to year by the number of HRs. Give this I assume a factor of x4 per projected HR in a normal 5×5 league. Given that the league leader in R (143) and RBI (156) both by Alex Rodriguez is slightly higher than the high HR total x4 of (54 x 4 = 216) also by Alex Rodriguez, we can determine that HR are worth a lot in 5×5 leagues. The problem is that in any draft, you can not obtain 3 of the top 20 HR producers. You will need to shore up the R, RBI and AVG stats with other players.

R

R (Runs) indicate a few things, the ability to get on base (AVG), speed – stretching a single into a double, a double into a triple, or a stolen base, and finally getting on base in front of high average hitters. The last tright coupled with the first traight usually spells a leadoff or second place hitter. Managers usually make good of this by placing a speedy hitter in the 1st or second place in the batting order. Due to the depth of Detroits lineup, look for top of the order Detroit players to give you a bunch of R’s

RBI

Given the fact that fast, high AVG players will be batting in the top of the order, look for high RBI producers to make up the meat of the order – 3rd through 6th. These will likely be your power hitters as well. A classic example is Ortiz and Rameriz batting 3rd and 4th in Boston with Lowell finishing up a murders row. With their off season acquisitions, look for Detroit hitters in this range to give you a lot of RBI. Teams with high RBI potential based on 2007 numbers are NYY (929), DET (857), PHI (850), BOS (829) and COL (823). Since RBI roughly equates to R, these teams will help you in Rs as well.
AVG

AVG (Average), is largely an individual statistic, for this you can look back on past performance and a change in location , especially a batting order change. Players with more protection will see a better pitch selection than those without protection. Usually those with protection will be batting 3rd or 4th. Again refer to Ortiz and Rameriz. Players that hit high in the order also tend to have a higher AVG; after all it is better to have men on base when the power hitters come up in the 3rd, 4th and 5th spots. Drafting players in the top of the order will also give you an AB (at bat) bonus. Generally each spot in the order gets about 20 less at bats than the spot above. This means that if a lead off hitter gets 650 ABs during the season the 6 spot will get about 120 less or about 430. This means 120 less chances for a HR, 120 less chances for a RBI, 120 less chances for … well you get the idea.

SB

Finally SB is almost a totally individual statistic. The only thing it really depends on other than the individuals skills, is the teams game play philosophy. Teams like the A’s don’t steal where as teams like the Mets steal as much as they can, last year the A’s only had 52 SB where as the Mets had 200 SB. Following the Mets were the Orioles (144) Angels (139) and Phillies (138) while the Padres (55), Cardinals (56) and Blue Jays (57) lead the A’s. Since team philosophy does play in SB, you need to identify where that philosophy may have changed. For example, Joe Torre moved from New York to Los Angeles, each team had similar steals last year with NYY at 123 and LAD at 137 so there should not be a big swing for the LAD.

Since SB indicates speed, you can generally account for these players being able to streatch out 1Bs into 2Bs, and 2Bs into 3Bs setting up more scoring opportunites thus more Rs. They will also be able to score more often from first base on 2Bs or second base on 1Bs. So, if you get a speedster expect a little bump to Rs.

Here are my top 25 hitters for 2008 and my projections for their statistics.

PLAYER TEAM POS AB R HR RBI SB BA
Alex Rodriguez NYY 3B 578 121 45 130 18 0.308
Hanley Ramirez FLA SS 613 106 27 76 47 0.315
Jose Reyes NYM SS 642 114 16 62 68 0.291
David Wright NYM 3B 592 108 32 108 25 0.316
Matt Holliday COL OF 616 112 36 125 10 0.321
Miguel Cabrera DET 3B 591 110 37 128 3 0.332
Jimmy Rollins PHI SS 673 123 25 82 36 0.293
Albert Pujols STL 1B 547 106 38 110 5 0.327
Chase Utley PHI 2B 602 118 30 110 12 0.316
Ryan Howard PHI 1B 560 101 50 135 0 0.275
Ryan Braun MIL 3B 597 102 37 106 19 0.295
David Ortiz BOS DH 542 110 41 123 1 0.303
Carl Crawford TB OF 606 100 15 78 50 0.304
Prince Fielder MIL 1B 567 103 45 115 3 0.291
Grady Sizemore CLE OF 624 119 27 80 28 0.282
Mark Teixeira ATL 1B 590 102 38 121 2 0.297
Carlos Beltran NYM OF 542 104 32 109 19 0.277
Alfonso Soriano CHC OF 600 100 36 82 25 0.282
Vladimir Guerrero ANA OF 566 94 31 113 6 0.322
Carlos Lee HOU OF 609 94 32 116 12 0.294
Lance Berkman HOU 1B/OF 536 95 35 110 4 0.295
Nick Markakis BAL OF 603 97 26 104 14 0.297
Brandon Phillips CIN 2B 596 96 25 88 27 0.279
B.J. Upton TB OF/2B 555 96 24 86 29 0.277
Alex Rios TOR OF 597 102 24 88 17 0.300

Until next time.

-3Monkeys

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Hitter Draft

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

In my last article, Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft, I discussed my strategy for pitchers. Drafting hitters is a little more involved due to the number of positions you must field. For a general overview of the scoring system and position requirements for both my 21 and 40 man rosters see Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction.

Let us start by looking at the deviations from the standard 5×5 stats for each league. As you should know, the basic 5×5 stats for hitters are R (runs), HR (home runs), RBI (runs batted in), SB (stolen bases) and AVG (batting average). Both leagues use these categories plus two more, in addition the 40 man league puts a little twist on stolen bases by subtracting CS (caught stealing), or in other words net steals. The 21 man league adds 2B (doubles) and 3B (triples), while the 40 man league adds TB (total bases) and OBP (on base percentage). So what do we need to consider for our drafts?

SB vs SB – CS

Last year in MLB, there were 8 players with 40 or more steals. The average success rate was 82%. Of the top 8 base stealers, the success rate did not deviate more than 5%. Given the fact that Jose Reyes, the leading base stealer with 78 SB/21 CS had a net of 57 was still better than the second best Carl Crawford with 64 SB/15 CS and a net of 49, it was clear that the slightly different scoring category was not going to make that much of a difference.

Who I ended up with, Jerry Owens (32 SB, 24 net), Brandon Phillips (32 SB), Chris Young (27 SB, 21 net). I will be hurting at SB and SB – CS this year, I’m not even starting Owens.

2B and 3B

HR is obviously perhaps the most important statistical category for hitters. An HR accounts for at least a HR, a R, a RBI and a slight bump in AVG (and in the 40 man league 4 TB and a slight bump in OBP). 3B are a bit of an anomaly only 5 hitters were in double figures last year, and only two Curtis Granderson (23) and Jimmy Rollins (20) had 20 or more. 2B on the other hand is a little more common, 32 players had 40 or more and three Magglio Ordonez (54), David Ortiz (52) and Matt Holliday (50) top the 50 2B mark. In contrast there were only 5 players to hit 40 or more home runs. My goal then was to pick up Granderson or Rollins if available and rate hitters with high 2B totals a little higher.

Who I ended up with, Adrian Gonzalez (43 2B, 3 3B), Jeff Francoeur (40 2B, 0 3B), Carlos Guillen (35 2B, 9 3B).

TB

A lot of my research into 2B and 3B was carried over to the TB category. TB requires power and speed, so some spill over is expected from SB and HR. There were 26 players with 300 or more TB in 2007. Of these, 6 topped 350; Matt Holliday (386), Jimmy Rollins (380), Alex Rodriguez (376), Hanley Ramirez (359), Prince Fielder (354) and Magglio Ordonez (354). With so many players to choose from in this category, I was sure to look for player that would contribute in other areas as well.

Who I ended up with, Matt Holliday (386 TB, 120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, .340 AVG, .405 OBP), Chipper Jones (310 TB, 108 R, 29 HR, 102 RBI, .337 AVG, .425 OBP), Nick Markakis (309 TB, 112 RBI, .300 AVG) Robinson Cano (301 TB, .306 AVG).

OBP

Plate presence or patience is what OBP is all about the largest contributer to OBP are BB (Base on Balls/Walks), however, HBP (hit by pitch/positive) and SF (sacrifice fly/negative) make a minor contributions (where-oh-where is Biggio?). Since BB will let me ballpark above average achivers in this category. I took a look at the top 17 in BB. That produced a spread from Barry Bonds (132) to Prince Fielder (90). Looking through the list, I noticed that the majority were power hitters. Only one player, Todd Helton had less than 20 HR (17). Remarkably he had the second most BB (116). Remarkably only 5 of the 17 players had an AVG of .300 or better, while only 7 players had a OBP lower than .400. What I took away from this was OBP was some what a way to off set power hitters AVG.

Who I ended up with, Chipper Jones (.425 OBP, .337 AVG, 29 HR), Jim Thome (.410 OBP, .275 AVG, 35 HR), Matt Holliday (.405 OBP, .340 AVG, 36 HR), Pat Burrell (.400 OBP, .256 AVG, 30 HR).

Regular 5×5

Of course not everthing goes to plan. In the 21 man league, I received the first draft pick. That was a no brainer Alex Rodriguez (143 R, 31 2B, 0 3B, 54 HR, 156 RBI, 24 SB, .314 AVG). By the time it got back around to me, I had to pick up a second baseman Brandon Phillips (107 R, 26 2B, 6 3B, 30 HR, 94 RBI, 32 SB, .288 AVG) my next pick was Jake Peavy. I was a little more satisfied with picking 5th in the 40 man league. Matt Holliday (120 R, 36 HR, 137 RBI, 386 TB, 7 SB – CS, .340 AVG, .405 OBP) was followed by Ryan Braun (91 R,34 HR, 97 RBI,286 TB, 10 net SB, .324 AVG, .370 OBP) who only played 113 games last year. I followed these two up with 3 straight pitchers, Sabbathia, Putz, and Verlander.

21 man starters

POS PLAYER ROUND (pick)
C Russell Martin 4 (40)
1B Adrian Gonzalez 12 (120)
2B Brandon Phillips 2 (20)
3B Alex Rodriguez 1 (1)
SS Carlos Guillen 5 (41)
OF Chris Young 7 (61)
OF Nick Swisher 8 (80)
OF Jeff Francoeur 17 (161)
Util Josh Willingham 19 (181)

40 man starters

POS PLAYER Round (pick)
C Mike Napoli 23 (225)
C J.R. Towles 19 (185)
1B Nick Swisher 9 (85)
2B Robinson Cano 7 (65)
3B Ryan Braun 2 (16)
SS Troy Tulowitzki 6 (56)
MI Kelly Johnson 17 (165)
CI Chipper Jones 12 (116)
OF Pat Burrell 16 (156)
OF Michael Cuddyer 20 (196)
OF Matt Holliday 1 (5)
OF Nick Markakis 8 (76)
OF Chris Young 11 (105)
UT Jim Thome 15 (145)

In my next article, I will briefly discus moves I’ve already made and trade options I think I have from my bench.

Until next time.

-3monkeys 

Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Given the basic league scoring rules I posted in Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction, a few interesting observations come to light.

In the 40 man league we can see that there are 4 statistical categories that favor releivers and 3 that favor starts. For relievers, especially closers:

  • S – Saves
  • WHIP – (Walks + Hits) /Innings Pitched
  • K/BB – Strikeout to Walk Ratio
  • ERA – Earned Run Average

Saves should be obviously a reliever stats. WHIP should seam reasonable as a reliever stat as well, but to back it up with some data of the top 25 pitchers in projected WHIP, 23 are relievers and only 2 are starters, Johan Santana (7th) and Jake Peavy (20th). J.J. Putz, Jonathon Papalbon and Takashi Saito are the top three relievers, all with projected 0.92 WHIP. K/BB is a little more evenly distributed between the top 25, with SP edging RP 13 to 12. However, of the top 10 there are 8 RP and only 2 SP, and the numbers drop off quickly. For example the top K/BB projection is 5.46 for Rafael Batencourt, 10th is Bob Howry, at 4.20 and 25th is Scott Baker (SP) at 3.51. ERA might not seem as obvious but, considering their role relievers consistantly put up great ERA numbers. Of the top 25 ERA projections there are only 3 SP, Johan Santana (16th), Jake Peavy (20th) and Brandon Webb (23rd). The top 3 relievers are Jonathan Pabelbon, J.J. Putz, and Joe Nathan. By comparision Pabelbon is projected at a 2.00 ERA where Webb is projected at 3.10.

Starting pitchers have two obvious statistical categories in their favor, W (wins) and K (strikeouts). The final category PCT (winning percentage) is pretty much a toss up between relievers and starters. Looking at the projections, Justin Verlander is looking at a 0.720 PCT (18/7), while J.J. Putz is looking at a 0.714 PCT (5/2).

Given all of this info it is clear that a team could dominate by selecting the top closers and avoiding starting pitchers. This is not quite what I did, but here is what I did do.

PLAYER TEAM POS W S K ERA WHIP W% K/BB
J.J. Putz SEA RP 5 40 77 2.130 0.92 0.714 5.13
Takashi Saito LAD RP 3 35 74 2.250 0.92 0.500 4.35
C.C. Sabathia CLE SP 17 0 191 3.320 1.17 0.654 4.44
Justin Verlander DET SP 18 0 188 3.460 1.21 0.720 3.08
Chien-Ming Wang NYY SP 17 0 103 3.720 1.30 0.680 1.78
John Maine NYM SP 15 0 185 3.920 1.31 0.577 2.43
Jeff Francis COL SP 16 0 163 4.160 1.34 0.615 2.55
Phil Hughes NYY SP 13 0 139 4.120 1.33 0.650 2.17
Jake Westbrook CLE SP 14 0 111 4.150 1.36 0.583 1.91

Notice, I have more SP than I originally planned. This was mostly due to the fact that once I started picking up RP other owners realized what I was doing and snatched up the better ones quick. So I addapted a little and switched to SP. I think this is good overall given that SP are more prone to injury than RP. I will definately need depth at SP. By my rankings I was able to pickup 5 of the top 25 pitchers with 3 more in the top 75 only Jake Westbrook lies out of my top 100, and he had a great outing yesterday in spring training going 6 innings, 8 K, 0 H, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA. Overall in spring training he is 3-0 with 14 IP and an ERA of 0.00.

The 21 man league was quite different. The roster for the 40 man league is set once a week. However, daily changes are available in the 21 man league. Therefore, I am able to get 2 or 3 extra starts a week based on rotation and matchups. Two of the 7 statistical categories in this league are irrelevant, CG and SHO. The league leader in SHO Brandon Webb had 3 SHO with 4 CG, only Roy Halladay has more CG at 7. It just doesn’t make sense to chase these categories since they happen so infrequently. Saves and Wins are again RP and SP categories respectively. K and L are largely SP dominated while ERA is RP dominated. Personally, I feel this leagues pitching categories are a little goofed. As I stated before, the key to pitching in this league is getting as many starts a week as possible. That being said here is how my draft went.

PLAYER TEAM POS W L CG SHO SV K ERA
Jake Peavy SD SP 19 6 0 0 0 240 2.54
Dan Haren ARI SP 15 9 0 0 0 192 3.07
Takashi Saito LAD RP 2 1 0 0 39 78 1.40
Bobby Jenks CWS RP 3 5 0 0 40 56 2.77
Fausto Carmona CLE SP 19 8 2 1 0 137 3.06
Jeff Francis COL SP 17 9 1 1 0 165 4.22
Oliver Perez NYM SP 15 10 0 0 0 174 3.56
Dontrelle Willis DET SP 10 15 0 0 0 146 5.17
Ubaldo Jimenez COL SP 4 4 0 0 0 68 4.28

Notice I included my reserves, Dontrellee Willis and Ubaldo Jimenez, since I will be trying to pitch them each week as well. Ubaldo may look like a week pick, but remember he only pitched 82 innings last year and should pitch 180 or more this year. Dontrelle might also seem like a weak pick. I picked him up due to his move to Detroit, which should give him plenty of run support this year. I think he will have a much better year this year than last year. I would like to trade Jenks for Pabelbon or Putz, but I’m sure that will need to be a multi-player deal.

My next column will address the hitters and the strategies I took into each draft.

Until next time–

3Monkeys