Monday, May 16, 2011

My Baseball Fantasy: Sabermetrics

Private League: won 8-2 (41-18-1 overall, 1st place out of 10, 3 games ahead of second)
Public League: 3rd out of 12
My Player of the Week: Adrian Gonzalez (First Baseman, Red Sox) with 5 home runs, 10 RBI, 7 runs and a .346 batting average

Photo via Through the Fence Baseball

Gonzalez was a double-edged sword for me this week. He was on my opponent's team in the private league but in the public league he's all mine. The guy has been on a tear of late. I'd actually be alright with him going cold for a couple days. The Orioles are at Fenway for a quick two-gamer. Of course, if it's raining in Boston like it is here, they won't be playing at all tonight.

I'm in the middle of reading Michael Lewis's Moneyball and I'm completely sold on sabermetrics. My mind has been racing for ways to adapt fantasy baseball to more meaningful statistics. There are models out there, though most seem to be for points leagues. I have nothing against points leagues, of course, but it would be interesting to see how the H2H format might be tweaked, while remaining within the capabilities of Yahoo! customization.

The most straightforward model I found (via Tom Tango at MLB Trade Rumors Forums):

At Bats (AB) -1
Singles (1B) 4
Doubles (2B) 8
Triples (3B) 10
Home Runs (HR) 12
Stolen Bases (SB) 2
Caught Stealing (CS) -3
Walks (BB) 3
Hit By Pitch (HBP) 3

Innings Pitched (IP) 6
Home Runs (HR) -13
Walks (BB) -3
Hit Batters (HBP) -3
Strikeouts (K) 2
Singles Allowed (1BA) -3
Doubles Allowed (2BA) -6
Triples Allowed (3BA) -8

In Yahoo!'s H2H set up, the weighting system would be lost but could the main ideas be preserved? The H2H batter defaults are runs, HRs, RBI, SBs and batting average. Instead, how about on-base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, net steals and homers? Pitcher defaults are wins, saves, Ks, ERA and WHIP. Alternatively, WHIP, Ks, home runs allowed, total bases allowed and on-base percentage against might be better.

Of course, one has to wonder, does it really matter? Pretending that fantasy baseball should be or even COULD be more like actual baseball is probably akin to madness. One should enjoy the fantasy game for what it is. Would using different stats actually make the game more fun? It's all a matter of taste, I suppose.

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