Patton $ Online: New Update is Out February 22nd.

pattonlogoThis week’s update includes more batting order and pitching role info, a listing of the MLB Top 100 Rookies, updated projections and team assignments, and the ever evolving bid prices of Rotoman and Mike Fenger in 5×5, and Alex Patton in 4×4. Updates will continue through April 3.

Subscribers can update at the secret download page.

For more information about the software, spreadsheet and text files, visit

In The News: Lord Zola Proclaims 2-20-14

Todd Zola and I were members of the usenet group back when George Clinton was president. We knew what was coming.

And now, today, umpteen years later, we both published charts linking draft order to auction prices, which seems to be the new orange. Make of it what you will.

I think Todd’s story does a fine job pointing out that using ADP for your mixed draft analysis is not enough. And I’m happy to embrace Todd’s perfectly independently concluded idea that draft value is akin to auction value.

FWIW Todd and I are talking about sharing data and working on some new ideas, too.

ASK ROTOMAN: Your Prices Seem Low!

Dear Rotoman:

Your values for top players seem low. I am in an AL 4×4 12-team $260 keeper league. Its the keepers that inflate the value of the top players on draft day. Do you have a formula I can apply to your prices that takes into account how many players we are drafting and how many dollars are left (after keepers).

“Inflate Me”

Dear IM:

Yes! You are absolutely right. In a keeper league (4×4 or 5×5 doesn’t matter), where inexpensive players are carried over from one year to the next, you need to adjust the startup prices in the Guide or prices create yourself or you obtain elsewhere to account for these lower priced players.

For example, I allocate $3120 for 168 hitters and 108 pitchers in each 12-team AL and NL league, because that is what is going to be spent.

In your keeper league, however, you may have 50 hitter freezes and 20 pitcher freezes. What you need to figure out is how much money is going to be “saved” by your having these freezes.

To do this, list the players in your league who are going to be frozen. Then compare their keeper prices to the startup league prices from the Guide (or the updates). Total each column.

Let’s say the 70 keepers in your league are going to cost their teams $700 in keeper fees, but my price list says that they’re actually worth $1000. How is that going to affect your league’s prices in the auction?

1. To start we have $3120 in value.

2. In your league (after keepers) you’ll have $3120 minus $700 which equals $2420 in cash for buying the available players.

3. Based on the values in the Guide, this money is chasing $3120 minus $1000  in value, which equals $2120 total value in your auction.

4. Figure out an inflation rate by dividing the amount of cash you have by the amount of value ($2420/$2120) which equals 14 percent.

5. This extra money is available to be spent in your auction, which means that a player I gave a price of $35 might actually cost 14 percent more, or $40. (Multiply $35 * 1.14 = $40)

The important thing to recognize here is that teams that don’t take the inflation into account will stop bidding at $35 or $36, thinking they’re going over budget. The savvy player will know that a player’s par price is higher than that (in some leagues, depending on the keeper rules, it can be much much higher).

So, knowing your inflation rate is a big help while tracking your auction, but there are some confounding issues.

The 14 percent inflation is usually not distributed evenly. 

For one thing, the 14 percent increase in price of a $3 player doesn’t round up to $4, so what rounds down is distributed to more expensive players. This effect is echoed up the line, so that more money is distributed to more expensive players.

But it also makes strategic sense to manually allocate more bid money to more expensive players.

Would you rather pay $4 for a $3 player, or get the edge when budgeting of going to $41 on the player who rounds up to $40. The fact is that you might still get the same cheaper player and the more expensive one if your budget allocates the inflation money to the top group.

In which case the important number is not the 14 percent, but rather the $300 extra you have to pay the available player pool. Go through your list and bump the prices of top players you like the 14 percent, and then distribute the remaining money (which you didn’t give to those players who cost less than $12) to the players you fancy.

This is subjective, of course, so you’re going to want to be careful, but the effect of inflation is somewhat subjective, too. As an aggressive player you should make sure you err going after the players you value more than those you don’t. Your budgeting can help make those choices clearer in advance.

Another reason to allocate the money to more expensive players is because if you don’t spend on them early on, you may end up holding the bag in the end game by either not having spent all your money, or by being compelled to pour too much extra cash into the last available (and now wildly overpriced) talent.

It’s much more effective to spend an extra dollar on three or four expensive guys than to spend $5 on a $1 player at the end. Or leave $4 (or more) on the table, unspent.

The bottom line is that the proper tracking of inflation can give you a huge advantage over owners who either don’t think about it or try to wing it. Knowing whether owners are spending more or less than they should in the early rounds of the auction will help you decide whether to spend now or wait for bargains later.



Dear Rotoman:

Jose Abreu gets hit by a TON of pitches.  How much more valuable does that make him in a OBP-instead-of-Avg league?


Dear A:

José_Dariel_Abreu_on_March_9,_2013One thing we don’t know is how many pitches Jose Abreu will be hit by in the major leagues. In 2010-11 he was hit 21 times in Cuba, which ranked fourth in the league. Considering he led the league in hitting and slugging and tied for the most homers (with Yoenis Cespedes), fourth doesn’t seem like a lot.

But let’s look at what it means to be hit a lot by major league pitchers. Last year the leader in the category was Shin-Soo Choo, who was plunked 26 times, followed by Starling Marte (24) and  Shane Victorino (18).

But as a percentage of plate appearances Marte led all of baseball last year, getting hit in 4.2 percent. He made a hit in 25.2 percent of his plate appearances and walked in 4.4 percent, so getting hit by a pitch represents one seventh of his on base value.

This compares with the average batting title qualifier, who made a hit in 24.4 percent of his appearances, walked 8.5 percent of the time, and was hit by a pitch 0.8 percent of the time (or about one thirty-third of his on base value).

There are two ways to look at this.

One seventh is 14 percent, a small but measurable part of a player’s value. Let’s say a hitter was worth $20, $4 in each of the five cats. One seventh of $4 would reduce his value in OBP from $4 to $3.42, or $3. His total value would be $19, not $20, which seems small but represents a five percent decline.

The other way is to note that the average player is hit about one percent of the time. Someone who gets hit like Marte is hit about five time more often, so he gets five times more value than players who don’t get hit. For someone like Marte, who doesn’t walk that much, the HBP boosts his OBP up to the average level for a batting title qualifier.

Either way, it matters, but isn’t a game changer.

One final thought about those HBP. In discussing them above, I treated them as if the choice was between a HBP or an out, but clearly some HBP would lead to bases on balls, and some bases on balls for a regular player might become a HBP for a player who crowds the plate or tends to dive in on the delivery. That narrows the difference some, and reduces the expected value of our most prolific guys with a talent for getting hit (not hits).

ron-hunt-hitWe don’t know if Juan Abreu is going to be Starling Marte or Shin-Soo Choo. He probably won’t be Mark Trumbo, who had the most at bats with no HBP last year in the major leagues, and he could turn out to be Ron Hunt, who holds the modern record for most HPB in a season. That would be 50 in 1971, which represented 7.8 percent of his plate appearances!

That was 20 percent of his on base value that year. Let’s consider that the ceiling, at least until we get to see Abreu play regularly.



Ask Rotoman: Dynasty Reserve Round 1 Pick 1, Maikel Franco or Danny Salazar?

Dear Rotoman:

I’ve been playing in a dynasty league since it started in 2001.

Ed. Note: The writer goes on to describe the league rules, which are very complex and unusual, but the whole thing comes down to one fundamental question:

I’m in win-now mode and my main question is: who should be my No. 1 pick?

I have it down to Maikel Franco — the No. 26 prospect (the 25 ahead of him are all rostered) who also happens to be a 3B (unless they move him across the diamond) who would take over for Miguel Cabrera in 2015 at the hot corner, when Cabrera has only 1B eligibility, or…

Danny Salazar — who posted some obscene numbers last season over a brief 52 innings. Whomever I take, the other player will not be there at the No. 9 overall — my next pick.

Other available players include Khris Davis, Jonathan Villar, Josmil Pinto, Sonny Gray, Corey Kluber, Koji Uehara, Jim Henderson, John Lackey, Joc Pederson, Alex Wood, Arismendy Alcantara, Jose Quintana, Travis Wood, Garin Cecchini.

What say you?
“Classic Question”

Dear Classic,

For me it all comes down to the alternatives. While Salazar probably has a better shot of having a very nice and productive career, on your list of available players the only potentially transformative hitter is Franco. And while he’s hardly a sure thing, count me in the group that is dubious he’s going to put it all together, the Phillies did a great job with Domonic Brown, developing his rough skills. So there’s some reason to hope Franco will reach his potential.

And that’s enough for me to say take him. There is a chance there, while on the pitching side you have a bunch of pitchers who may be as good or nearly as good as Salazar. That gives you a shot at both a pitching and a hitting win you won’t have if you pass Franco by.


POSTSCRIPT: Which would have been the end of it, especially when the writer said that was exactly his opinion, but then he noticed that the Baseball Forecaster projected Danny Salazar to earn $21 this year.  Could he be, the writer asked, that good?

He could be. Last year Salazar’s fastball averaged 96 mph, and two years after Tommy John surgery he showed good control. In fact, he struck out better than 11 batters per nine in both minor league levels and in the majors, while walking 2.6 per nine in the majors. The only fly in the ointment? He allowed 1.2 homers per nine, not far out of line given the number of fly balls he allowed, but obviously a blemish.

The notable thing about Salazar’s major league run last August and September is that he pitched better, pretty much, than he had in any previous season in the minors. One of the best signs of a pitcher making progress is when he improves his K and BB rates as he faces tougher competition. So it isn’t at all unfair to project Salazar to be just as good next year, based on the skills he’s shown.

On the other hand, how indicative of quality is a short major league season? It’s probably worthwhile looking at other pitchers who put up limited innings (fewer than 75) in their debut season before they turned 25. Since 1973 I found 99 such players. What I wanted to see was how predictive the short season results were for the next season.

I first sorted by WHIP in the short season, then looked at the Top, Middle and Bottom thirds. The results show the classic regression to the mean:

Top: 3.70/1.24 ERA/WHIP  becomes 4.26/1.34
Middle: 4.62/1.42 becomes 5.00/1.49
Bottom: 5.77/1.67 becomes 4.56/1.41

But another way to look at it is to see how many pitchers in each group put up decent seasons the second year.

Top: 12 of 32
Middle: 1 of 23
Bottom: 2 of 21

As a group the top third didn’t collectively dominate the way they had their debut seasons, but talent definitely persisted and clustered.

Which doesn’t prove that Salazar will persist, but given his heater, his control, his ability to miss bats, he has a good chance to help the Indians this year. And he might even earn that $21. But absent a track record and insight into the way he might adjust once the hitters adjust to him, I think a much more modest bid limit is prudent.

In the Fantasy Guide I gave him a bid price of $8, and thought that was aggressive, but I’m going to bump that to $10. Given all the talk about him this spring, already, that probably isn’t going to get him. But it pushes a little more risk onto the guy who ends up rostering him.

And what I really hope for is the baseballHQ fans to get into a bidding war.


The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2014 Professional Edition Has Landed!


The 15th annual is on its way to stores now. It includes profiles of more than 1,400 players, Picks and Pans or more than 300 players by an awe-inspiring roster of fantasy baseball talent, special profiles of this season’s Top 25 Rookie candidates, an excerpt from Larry Schechter’s new book, an NFBC-rules Mock Draft of top industry professionals, five Strategies of Champions pieces in which winners tell how they did it, and our§ information packed Draft At A Glance pages for each position, filled with tier notes, bid price lists and fast facts about last year’s profits and losses.

Bad K’s American Dream League Team

At dinner after our annual American Dream League draft, Hacker owner Steve Levy asked me if Tout Wars was tougher than our neighborhood league, the American Dream League, which started in 1981. The ADL is not an experts league, but between Alex Patton, Les Leopold, Peter Golenbock, and moi, I doubt any league has gotten more books and magazines published about fantasy baseball over the years. And that is a disservice to the creds of the other members, who have written professionally about baseball for longer than the league’s 33 year tenure.

But therein lies the crux of my answer. The ADL is as chock full of canny baseball and fantasy analysts as any league, but the pace is different. In the ADL we go seven rounds deep on reserve, and no one struggles to come up with viable names, but during the auction the ADL lopes, with plenty of patter, recaps, and counting of the money. The Tout Wars auctions are played at a gallop. And time matters, because time pressure undermines those with poor organization.

That, of course, is one way to look at it. The other is to say that an AL only auction that takes six hours to complete is full of time for chatter, banter, badinage and riposte. It also offers plenty of time to consider what’s going on and try to adjust and beat it. In an auction where the bidding proceeds quickly there’s plenty of pressure and opportunities to make mistakes. In this slower format, mistakes may be made, but it’s also possible to discern trends and strategies and counter them.

Which leads us to my 2013 American Dream League team.

Read more…

NL Random Roster Notes, March 15, 2013


Casey Kelly was working his way into the interesting territory, and then today appears to be committed to TJ. We shant see him before 2014.

Before I posted today’s updated files Mike asked me to change the newly appointed Padres second baseman, Jedd Gyorko, to $7. I failed to do that. You can do it, and the new price will also be reflected in next week’s update.

STATLAND is here!

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 1.58.42 PMSince the original Fantasy Baseball Guide, in 2000, a section in the back of the book called STATLAND has included Profit and Loss charts and Multiposition Eligibility charts from the preceding year’s play.

This year, when the player profiles were longer than the hole we had to fill them, we decided to move STATLAND online. Here are the charts in a variety of formats.

Multiposition PDF
2012 Profit-Loss PDF

Statland in Google Docs

Wise Guy Baseball is Here!

Gene McCaffrey is a fine baseball and fantasy baseball mind, as well as a deft turner of phrases, and a killer rock’n’roll guitarist/songwriter. Plus he’s funny.

He writes about the fantasy game (or rather, games, including salary cap and NFBC format games for big money) in Wise Guy Baseball, his book. He also contributes to the Fantasy Baseball Guide via his Picks and Pans.

WGB is a book of many pleasures involving sabermetrics and good advice. I like to wade in, pick up fact-based bits about players’ skills and tendencies, and learn something. But what puts the fat on the fire is the sly humor: Of Nyjer Morgan (obviously before he left for Japan): The emergence of Carlos Gomez means less playing time. Gone are the days when we could bank on Nyjer leading the NL in caught stealings.”

Ordering info at Go now!