The Guide has Arrived!

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2011
The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2011

I just received copies from the printer, and copies should start arriving in northern Ontario any day now, and elsewhere soon thereafter.

I’m told that we’ll be back in Wal Mart this year (a snafu last year kept us out) and Barnes and Noble and Borders, as usual. Please let us know where you find it, and where you don’t.

This year’s edition has a new format for the Mock Draft devised by designer Brian Meissner, which is so smart and useful I’m speechless, and what I hope are more fun and informative cheat sheets, plus tons of Picks and Pans and, on the back page, Joe Sheehan’s five sleepers.

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2010 is OUT NOW!

The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2010 cover

On newstands everywhere!

San Diego State 2009 Baseball Statistics


I was writing the profile of Stephen Strasburg for the Guide tonight, and chanced to visit the San Diego State baseball stats site. Strasburg’s line is incredible, which is why we’re all salivating over him, but the curious fact is that every player on the site has a link to a player page except Strasburg.

I don’t have time to investigate now, but it would seem that SS has pulled a BB (remember when Barry Bonds removed himself from the MLBPA licensing agreements, so he could make his own deals?), or else San Diego State doesn’t want to pay the bandwidth charges for all the people looking to read Mr. Strasburg’s bio.

The Cluelessness of WHIP

Tout Wars AL Standings-

For years, in the Fantasy Baseball Guide (which I edit), we ran the pitching stat called Ratio. Every year, people would complain and tell me that in their league they used the pitching stat called WHIP, and ask why we didn’t publish that instead.

For years, I replied that:

1) Ratio (((Hits+Walks)*9)/IP)) is much more descriptive/granular than WHIP ((Hits+Walks)/IP), and that,

2) Ratio looks better, since it’s on the same scale as ERA.

I then usually also note that I used Ratio in the leagues I played in, and if they had a problem they should do the same.

I didn’t win this argument. Many readers said they saw my point, but even if they agreed with me, the other people in their league did not, and so weren’t inclined to change. After a lengthy discussion with such readers a few years ago, I changed the magazine. We now publish WHIP instead of Ratio.

To ease the transition, the first year I included a handy WHIP to Ratio converter to cut out of the magazine, which I assume some people are still using. It featured a bodacious picture of WHIP kitten Anna Benson. Unfortunately, I’ve lost mine.

I bring this up now because I was looking at the Tout Wars AL standings just now and was struck by the WHIP category:

Team WHIP Pts Dif
Siano – 1.32 12 0
Colton/Wolf – RotoWorld 1.34 11 0
Sam Walker – 1.34 10 0
Moyer – Baseball Info Solutions 1.37 9 2.5
Erickson – 1.37 8 -1
Michaels – Creative 1.37 7 0.5
Berry – 1.37 6 -2
Shandler – Baseball HQ 1.37 5 0
Peterson – STATS LLC 1.38 4 0
Collette – 1.38 3 0
Grey – ESPN 1.41 2 0
Sheehan – Baseball Prospectus 1.42 1 0

My first reaction, assessing the three-way race between Siano, Michaels, and Shandler, is that this is unbearably close. After all, there are five teams at 1.37 and two more at 1.38. Siano is safely atop the category, but couldn’t Michaels easily gain two points? Couldn’t Shandler easily gain four?

In both cases, such gains would erase Siano’s lead. And certainly the numbers say it’s that close. It’s a virtual tie, for pete’s sake.

In fact, it’s not, but WHIP isn’t granular enough to tell you that. Here is the same rankings using Ratio.

Team Ratio Pts Dif
Siano – 11.84 12 0
Colton/Wolf – RotoWorld 12.02 11 0
Sam Walker – 12.10 10 0
Moyer – Baseball Info Solutions 12.292 9 2.5
Erickson – 12.294 8 -1
Michaels – Creative 12.312 7 0.5
Berry – 12.330 6 -2
Shandler – Baseball HQ 12.367 5 0
Peterson – STATS LLC 12.387 4 0
Collette – 12.451 3 0
Grey – ESPN 12.65 2 0
Sheehan – Baseball Prospectus 12.75 1 0

I went to the third place among the “tied” teams to show a little more information. To show how much distance there is between these tied teams, here are few facts, looking at Shandler since he’s the last of the teams with a 1.37 WHIP:

If Shandler gets 10 innings with no hits or walks his Ratio drops to 12.263, enough to pass everyone, and his WHIP drops to 1.363.

If Shandler gets 10 innings with 10 hits+walks, a pretty good performance, his ratio drops to 12.338, and he gains no points.

What if Shandler pitches 25 innings the rest of the way, with an excellent Ratio of 9.00 (a WHIP of 1.00) which would be way good, his Ratio would end up at 1.366, which would gain him two points but would still look like 1.37 on the CBSSports reports. His Ratio would drop to 12.297.

The point is that using WHIP, especially displayed to the second place, it looks like there’s a virtual tie, when the reality is that the standings are close, but it would take an extraordinarily good effort for one team to break ahead of the others. Ratio better illustrates this and it provides better and more information, which is why I still think it is a vastly superior stat.

Which is why I think you should change. Let me know when you do.

Oh Ladies!

::Girls Guide to Fantasy Baseball

Jordan Zucker is the host/proprietor/star of Girls Guide to Fantasy Football, a charming site with a weekly (during football season) fantasy football vlog roundup. She is also on the TV show, Scrubs. Now she’s recruiting women for fantasy baseball leagues. So, if you qualify, or you know someone who qualifies, now’s the time.

Ask Rotoman :: The Season is Done

Ask Rotoman :: My drafting is done.

The link is to my preseason post auction look at my American Dream League team. Rereading it now I have to say that if you’d told me that Josh Hamilton would be great, that Gavin Floyd would be very good and that Edwin Jackson wouldn’t suck, that Justin Duchscherer would almost lead the league in ERA, that K-Rod would set a saves record, that Joe Mauer would lead the AL in batting average, that Milton Bradley would lead the AL in OBP, I would have been very happy.

If you’d told me that I was able to trade Richie Sexson for Asdrubal Cabrera (who was awfully good from mid-August on), that I’d be able to trade both my closers for a hitter and a pitcher (though neither was great) and still finish tied for third in saves, that Glen Perkins came off my reserve list and did a very creditable job until mid-September, I’d have been ecstatic.

How did I finish 8th? Two black holes: I spent $28 on Travis Hafner and he earned -$4. I spent $33 on Justin Verlander and he earned -$4, too. That’s -$67 I needed to make up just to get to even, from my two most expensive players.

Josh Hamilton earned a profit of $18. Duchscherer earned a profit of $12. Gavin Floyd earned a profit of $15. Francisco Rodriguez earned a proft of $22. That gets us to $67. It took my four best buys to wipe out the misery of my two worst buys.

After that things reverse. Milton Bradley earned a profit of $18. Joe Mauer earned a profit of $6. Torii Hunter earned a profit of $7. Okay, up $31. But… Juan Uribe lost $8, Brad Wilkerson lost $11, Reggie Willets lost $8, and some costly pitching stints from Andy Pettitte, Livan Hernandez and Jason Jennings wiped out the rest.

In a winning season not all the pieces click, but you just can’t have your best picks be offset by disasters. In this case I blame my opponents, who drove up the price of power hitting to such a level that I had almost no choice but to spend ridiculously on Hafner, though he came with risk. I can only blame myself for Verlander. He looked like the best available starter to me then, and he still does now. But clearly I was wrong.

The irony was that in 2007 I picked the right stud pitcher in this league, Johan Santana, and the wrong cheap guys, Cliff Lee and John Danks, who this year earned $40 and $16 respectively.

(For the record, ADL was won by Steven Levy, who had good freezes but then made great choices all draft long. Others in the money, in order, were Alex Patton/Bruce Berensmann, Michael Walsh and Walter Shapiro.)

In the other leagues:

Tout Wars was a disaster. An impressive run of injuries early, some savvy rejiggering in the middle kept me in the middle, but the pitching staff fell apart in August and September. The bad finish is in part a tribute to a Go for it trade in June that didn’t work out all the way, but this was a doomed season healthwise for this team. (First place went to Mike Lombardo for the third time in four years. He’s a great player. Second went to Glenn Colton.)

Rotoman’s Regulars is a format (20 team Yahoo) that bewilders me. I finished third three years ago but the last two years have been a disaster, mostly because I don’t know how to churn good guys off my roster to pick up guys who are playing better. Some of this is about attention, some of it is about temperment. Some of it is about a bad draft (did I really take Andruw Jones and Kelvim Escobar?) I think for 2009 I will be hosting the league, maybe I’ll even be the commish, but I’m not going to play in it again. Too painful, but a great game and an excellent format. (The winner was frequent Guide contributor JD Bolick. Runner up was Eun Park, who won the league in its first year.)

XFL is a 15 team mixed league with an auction in November and a 17 round reserve draft in March. We were in a rebuilding year (it’s a keeper league) but I had an awesome auction and not a bad draft, and we finished fourth. My partner, Alex, thought this was a bottom of the standings team, but he didn’t see the blooming of Youkilis and Jose Lopez and the continued excellence of Bobby Abreu and Randy Winn (this league uses OBP rather than BA). (Steve Moyer finished first, going away, with Doug Dennis and Trace Wood somewhat behind after swapping places daily until a week ago.)

All in all a dismal season for me. Not the other guys.

For those who’ve asked, I’m working very hard on a video about butterflies that will be done very soon. Work on the magazine is underway. There will eventually be real content on this page again. This year, with no weekly gig, I spent less time writing and way more time managing my teams, which I thought would be good. Fail! We’ll see how it works out next year.

Thanks for reading.

Mid-Season Marks for NPB Grads


Guide contributor and Asian baseball specialist Tim McLeod does a nice job surveying the Japanese players in the US thus far this season.  I’m curious how the gaijin are faring in Japan this year, Tim, if you need an idea for a followup.