Patton $ Software Is Out Now!

pattonlogoAs reliable as spring and the cry, “I’m in the best shape of my career,” comes the 2015 edition of Patton $ Software.

The software contains my 2015 baseball projections, my suggested bid prices (and Mike Fenger’s) for 5×5 and Alex Patton’s 4×4 bid prices, prospect lists and expert league draft results, as well as ways for you to enter your own bids, make up-to-the-minute draft lists for your fantasy drafts, edit and automatically adjust the projections and show what players earn with different statlines. In short, everything you might need to prepare to win your fantasy league this year.

There is a new procedure for buying this year. Go to pattonandco.com and register, if you’re not already registered. Click the menu item that says Subscribe and follow the instructions (essentially, click the blue button, enter your payment information, and authorize payment for $36).

Read more…

David Gonos Likes The Fantasy Baseball Guide!

FBG2015-coverI just found this review of the Fantasy Baseball Guide on David Gonos’s website.

David is a friend and colleague, and also  a good guy. He’s also a straight shooter and a knowledgeable fantasy writer, which is why his praise here means so much to me.

He also does a good in-depth job of describing the Guide’s contents. The magazine has been out for almost six weeks now, which means it is selling out in some outlets (Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and other drug, book and grocery stores), but use David’s promo code (gonos15) and save a buck at thefantasysportsguide.com on the digital version.

ASK ROTOMAN: How is a stat service like a nice Chianti and fava beans

All Hail Rotoman!

Is there a ‘3rd party’ available for a weekly FAAB process?

Currently, our FAAB rules require us to turn our weekly roster changes and FAABs into the commissioner on Sunday Nights by 9pm.  The league-friendly commissioner, has made that 9pm kind of a ‘soft deadline’ and has on occasion accepted FAABs and roster changes past that 9pm deadline with a friendly reminder to get it in on time.  In addition, new job responsibilities have delayed the FAAB results and roster changes until Tuesday, sometimes Wednesday mornings.

My thought here is… IF there is a 3rd party process available, any and all deadline and integrity concerns can be completely eliminated.

There is NOT an integrity issue with the commish.  Just looking at alternative methods for assuring that the FAAB process is timely and legit.

Sincerely,
Hannibal Lester

Dear Hannibal,

Almost all stat services have automated FAAB processes. These require that teams enter their claims and picks and moves into the box, via a form of some sort, and at the appointed hour, as the bells strike, the software does it’s utterly rational magic and awards are made.

In the past I’ve used the systems at Yahoo, ESPN and CBSsports and found they all worked well enough. It has been a while, however, so chances are decent they have improved, though I don’t know for sure.

I can enthusiastically endorse the BidMeister at onRoto.com, which is quite flexible and fault tolerant, though it does force you to submit your bids structured as replacement blocks. That is, all your claims to replace your first basemen go in at once, then your claims for a starting pitcher, then the outfielder.

I was at first wary of this, but once you take this into account you can gain most of the control you want by ordering the blocks and using your FAAB.

And this is how a stat service is like a liver, which goes so well with the favas and a nice Chianti. It filters out the labor and toxins of a fantasy league, increases communication and information, making the thing work better, and does so quietly, at least in the best of times.

Sincerely,
rotomansignature

Beat Rotoman in a Daily Game, this Friday!

Screenshot 2014-09-22 20.16.00It’s free! And if you beat me you can win a $10 entry to a future game.

I don’t know much about that, but what I do know is that I’ve never played a daily game before. So I’m inexperienced.

I know, too, that while the illustration shows a football player, I’m playing baseball.

I also know this game is the work of a guy named Brandon Ward, who runs a Daily Game site called Advanced Sportstistics. You can register and join FreeRoll3 from this page.

Brandon’s gimmick is advanced stats. Hitters accrue points for Runs Created, among other things, while pitchers gain points for FIP (and, non analytically, wins).

I’m not sure about the categories, there seems to be a problem with redundancy, but the game is free, so I’m going to give it a try. And I’m going to beat you.

Good luck!

LINK: The Rise of the Daily Game

The New York TImes has an informative story today about the rise of the daily fantasy baseball game, which has been embraced by MLBAM and managed to avoid being classified as a game of chance.

The writer quotes a guy who says he works 35 hours a week playing the game and made $50,000 last year, which seems very possible. It also mentions a recent surge of casual players who are increasing the pools. It might be time to start playing.

 

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

Todd Zola and I were members of the alt.rec.fantasy.baseball 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.

Historical Fantasy Prices

Chris Liss has a history of trying to calculate historical fantasy prices. He recounts that history in a post at Rotowire that is well worth reading.

His post reminded me of my first post as a short-lived Baseball Prospectus writer back in 1999. I wrote a long impassioned screed hating on ESPN, my former employer, for totally misunderstanding the fantasy game and the informational needs of us players. BP Bowdlerized it, probably for my own good, but frustratingly. They left the results of my data driven look into baseball history intact.

What I did was calculate roto values, in league context, for every year in baseball from 1903. The results are interesting because of the way they demonstrate Stephen Jay Gould’s point about the way that a limited sample increases the relative achievement of the elite. The point, I think, is that in a small league with limited talent, the best players dominate in ways that can’t happen when the game is more universal and talent is more widely distributed.

(The results are far more useful in post WWII era, when the player population has stabilized, gradually. Those year-to-year numbers became the basis of the Magic Grid I started using back then to find comparable seasons in order to assess likeliness of performance (earnings) for different types of players based on their histories.)

What would it be like to play roto in 1915? My values win, hands down. That’s what they calculate. But Chris measures something else that has its own value.

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 wiseguybaseball.com. Go now!

All Star Stats Is Down. For the count.

Perhaps because of Rotoman’s kvetch last May about the terrible and terribly expensive service All Star Stats was providing, All Star Stats announced today that they are shuttering their terrible stat service.

They’ve made a deal with CBSsports.com to provide services free in 2013. I haven’t used CBSsports.com’s stat service in a couple of years, but then it was not friendly for league commissioners. It does have a lot of bells and whistles and I can say that they were trying to improve things, so they may be fine.

What I can say for sure is that onRoto.com is an excellent baseball stat service with a good price and lots of fun features. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

KVETCH: All Star Stats is Horrible!

It is 9 am on Thursday morning. My coffee is gone and my preworkday ritual of checking my fantasy baseball teams has been disrupted because All Star Stats hasn’t updated yesterday’s stats. Instead I see this (click to expand):

This is the third day this week ASS (as we mockingly call them) has failed to do what every other stat service seems able to do; that is, update the standings before midmorning. Yesterday they didn’t update until after 11 am!

This is absurd because ASS is an expensive service. The book rate to run a league for the season is more than $500. We complained a few years ago and they cut the price by a couple hundred dollars, but we still pay a premium. (I should note that the screen capture is from the XFL, which is comped by ASS because we’re a longtime “industry” league. I can’t complain about that. It is the American Dream League that is being bled by the service thieves at All Star Stats.)

If this was the first time there were service problems, so be it, but I was just searching through my email and discovered that we were complaining about this exact same issue in 2007! There have been many days with the same problem every year! Many days. Yes, we are idiots.

What has kept us at ASS all these years is what kept us at USA Stats in the years before that company was bought by All Start stats. (Before that we were with the venerated and brilliant Heath Data Services, perhaps the game’s first stat service, which has not ever been matched, but was sold to USA Stats in the mid-90s.) That is inertia. A league full of older guys fears having to learn a new system. The discomfort zone is high, even when the company delivering the goods now is doing a terrible job of it, costing 350 percent more for fewer features and less reliability.

I can promise you, we will not be with ASS next year. Even the most frightened of our cohort is realizing that this level of indifference is degrading, insulting, cannot be tolerated by reasonable people. Not being able to get our stats for a few hours from time to time isn’t the biggest deal in the world, for sure, but why should we pay extra for this? I should note that the ASS support people write apologetically very well, what with all the practice they’ve had.

ASS is owned by NBC, which is owned by Comcast, neither of which has any organic connection to the fantasy baseball world. They are playing us for fools, and it is well past time we all move on.