Subscriber Benefits at Pattonandco.com, Available Now!

pattonlogoSpring training is rapidly approaching, which means fantasy baseball prep time is going into high gear.

Alex Patton and I, Rotoman, offer a fun baseball discussion board at pattonandco.com. Every player has his own discussion thread, so you can ask questions and get answers from a strong coterie of fantasy experts, baseball fans and roto players, including Alex and me. The discussion boards are free and open to everyone, though you need to register to be able to post.

On top of that we offer a Subscriber package each spring, for rotisserie and fantasy players who want a little bit more.

What are the benefits?

Rotoman’s projections

Roto bid prices from me (5×5), Alex (4×4) and Mike Fenger (5×5), in an Excel spreadsheet, text files, and as part of the Patton $ Online Window program. These include probable lineups, highlight the top prospects, and are updated each Thursday until the Thursday after opening day, incorporating the latest news, better thinking, and useful comments.

The package is $36.

And the player discussion boards are free all season long, so please check us out even if you’re not interested in the Subscriber benefits.

Not to Brag or Anything

We have the most loyal customer base in the universe, no kidding.

Why? We hear from our customers every year about their good seasons and their bad, and always with their thanks for providing straightforward draft prep information tailored, through the discussion board, to every person’s particular needs.

Our data is bespoke, from rotisserie veterans, but also open enough to help you make your own adjustments and tailor things better to the way you see them happening. This is a powerful combination, and we’re proud of it.

About the Software

Patton $ Online was one of the first fantasy baseball software packages available anywhere. It helps you make lists, adjust for inflation, update and change projections, and keep an eye on the prices you’re willing to pay at your auction.

It is also super fast, written in machine language back in the day when computers weren’t so fast. That’s the good part.

But the fact is that it is an old program that uses old menuing and interfacing, so while it is popular among our loyal veterans who are familiar with it, it presents a learning curve for newbies. We encourage you to try out last year’s edition. This archive has the program, the excel and text files, so you can try it out. We hope you find it helpful, but don’t want to overpromise what we can deliver.

The good news is that the spreadsheet has all the same data, and can be used to craft the same sorts of lists and adjusted bids.

The bad news is that the program runs on Windows. To use it on a Mac you’ll need a copy of Windows running in Boot Camp, or Windows running on the virtual machines Parallels or Fusion. The program run great in Parallels and Fusion, and will run on WINE for a while, but will then it will crash when you try to change data. Which limits it’s use there.

I’m running it this year on a Lenovo Ideastick 300, which cost me $69.99 at Best Buy. It’s a Windows 10 computer about the size of the original Ipod Shuffle that plugs into the HDMI port of a TV or monitor. Paired with bluetooth keyboard and mouse, it’s a limited but capable and protable addition if you have any reason to use Windows.

If you’re interested, please feel free to download last year’s program and data for free. If it works for you, great, if not you got to experience the Patton $ data and decide if you want to be a subscriber as you prepare to win the 2017 fantasy baseball season!

Let us know if you have any questions, and we hope to see you at pattonandco.com.

 

 

 

LINK: Strength of Schedule is a Little Thing.

soslightsAs the editor of a fantasy football magazine, I’m aware that schedule strength is a big thing in the make believe pigskin racket. But we don’t talk about it much in baseball because it is a little thing.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.

Jeff Sullivan, at FanGraphs, took a look at the relative strength of the divisions today. That’s a little interesting, especially the historical chart, but really, didn’t we all know that already?

Commenters also pointed out that division strength is meaningful but unevenly distributed. The best team in the division plays the four weaker teams, it doesn’t have to play itself. And the worst teams plays the four stronger teams, it doesn’t get to play itself.

So Jeff did some math stuff, I’m not sure what, and came up with a strength of schedule for each team. Assuming he got the math stuff right, we get a little more granular on the way strength of schedule affects baseball teams.

Some folks in the comments created and posted images that add info, like hitting/pitching splits to the graph.

This summary of team WAR in the site’s Depth Charts pages could be a good way to find systemic imbalances that might affect fantasy value and is worth checking out, too.

I’m pretty sure we’ve got most of these things priced in, but it can’t hurt to have more information.

 

RESOURCE: The Hardball Times Correlation of Every Batted Ball Tool

I sure hope I linked to the Hardball Times Correlation of Every Pitched Ball Tool last year. It is a web app that helps you compare two stats and see how they correlate, either in one year or compared to the next or preceding years.

It is an easy way to quickly test ideas, to see whether the data supports that one stat is a leading indicator of another.

Steve Staude has just released a hitting version of the tool.

Accompanying the two tools (and an accompanying spreadsheet with all the data) he explores some fundamental issues about batted ball data and strike zone data that point to all sorts of evidence to support or crush conjectures.

I happen to like this chart, which shows various rates on batted ball types.

Screenshot 2014-03-01 15.27.07

Steve points out that BABIP on Fly Balls compared to Ground Balls makes it look like Ground Balls are better, but reminds us that since Home Runs aren’t included in BABIP, it is misleading. All the other stats give a better idea of the relative value of Fly Balls and Ground Balls.

 

One time, Nate Silver was wrong!

About politics, anyway, in 2004: “Here, too, there is a useful political analogy. The Democrats in particular have been reluctant to throw their resources behind candidates with appealing skills but unproven track records, which in turn prevents these politicians from gaining the exposure they need (or are perceived to need) to run for higher office. It’s a self-perpetuating problem. So we’re going to get Hillary Clinton running for the White House in 2008. And we’re going to lose again, just as surely as if the Diamondbacks had tabbed Jimy Williams for their managerial vacancy.”

Read the whole story about recycled baseball managers and recycled politicians at Baseball Prospectus.

Brawny: Wise Guy Baseball

Gene McCaffrey is one of the sharpest fantasy guys around, because he’s smart and inquisitive and makes use of the latest data while watching the game closely. That’s the secret, of course, numbers and scouting combined.

Gene is a wizard of the Diamond Challenge, a game I’ve never played, though many say it is the best of the fantasy games. But he is also a roto guy, a former Tout Wars champion and a member of the world’s most original experts league, the XFL.

I’m writing this not to polish Gene’s knob, but because I was reading his annual book, Wise Guy Baseball 2011, and came across this nugget:
Ryan Braun comment from Wise Guy Baseball 2011

I don’t recall ever seeing fantasy players ranked as if they were fantasy teams before, and there’s something cool about it. The game is all about making better choices than the next guy, and doesn’t this show that clearly? The 2010 Mock Draft in the Guide went: Pujols, H Ramirez, A Rodriguez, Crawford, Utley, Braun, Kemp, Mauer, Mig Cabrera, Teixeira, Ellsbury, Fielder, D Wright, Upton, Howard. The top 15 in the chart are close enough to show who did best, but I’m thinking there is more when can learn from this simple technique.

You can order Wise Guy Baseball at wiseguybaseball.com or shoot Gene an email at genethem@aol.com

The Players Who Weren’t Traded

I don’t know about you, but I spent the last few days leading up to the interleague trade deadline clicking on the excellent mlbtraderumors.com. And even now that the deadline has past and the smoke (Smoak) has cleared, they’re still relevant and worth checking out.

This post about the players who weren’t traded is full of useful information, but none more so than the list of players who cleared waivers in August last year and changed teams. If you weren’t in the best position to cash in on the semi blue chippers who just changed leagues, have hope. If the past is prelude, there is more yet to come.

Metsgrrl’s Guide to Citi Field

Yes, the new home of the New York Mets is more than a year old, and I haven’t been. To see the Mets, that is. I’ve been to the very beautiful ballpark for the Tout Wars drafts this past March, hosted by the NFBC, and I entered the year looking forward to visiting the new ballpark for fun. In otherwords a game. But once baseball season starts we begin work on the football magazine. Spare time goes to the family. Time flies, there is editing to be done. Etc etc you know what I mean.

But now the magazine is on its way to the printer, and longtime Guide and Patton$ contributor Mike Fenger is in town with his baseball loving daughters, and we’re going to the yard.

Metsgrrl (on the right)

So, I started casting around for information and came upon this excellent piece of work. Metsgrrl has guides to other parks and tips for traveling to them. The wider travel site is newish, but you can see the seeds of a similar love for the ballpark experience her work abroad as the metsgrrl blog shows for all things Mets. All highly recommended.

Ps. In my list of favorite ballparks it’s hard to fend off the glories of Fenway and Wrigley (Chicago), and alas I was a dues paying member of the Save Tiger Stadium committee for a while but never got there to see a game (I did once stand outside while the Tigers were out of town, and soaked in its surface glories), but I’d like to make a quick case for Comiskey Park. Beautiful ironwork, old style enclosed ballpark, excellent sausages even in the 80s, and a general feeling of the dusky dark appeal of the morbid baseball fan. I can see why they moved on, but that place was baseball’s Notre Dame.

One other story: I did see a game at the Polo Grounds when I was wee lad of seven. It was a night game, Mets versus Colt 45s, and I remember it similarly had a darkness similarly to Comiskey, except that the game I saw in Chicago was a day game. Those two were baseball parks Edward Gorey might love (though I dare say his game was more badminton than rounders). Lost and mourned, at least by those who got to get there.

Forecaster and Handbook are out!

I got my copy of the Baseball Forecaster about 10 days ago, but closing the magazine meant not cracking it, even though I’ve got a short bit in it (which happened to run here first, about WHIP v. WH/9), until now.

Ron’s lead essay is very smart. It’s about how wrong we are about players, year after year, and he wonders why we pursue exacting but nearly always wrong projections. Then he comes up with something new, called the Mayberry Method.

There’s a lot to like about the way the MM summarizes a player’s skills in a descriptive way. Yet despite it’s simplicity, I’m not convinced it is going to catch on. New stuff often doesn’t, even when it has real merit. On the other hand, the benchmarks MM describes so succinctly are becoming increasingly entrenched as leading indicators, making me wonder why–if we’re getting better at defining leading indicators–we’re not getting better predicting breakouts.

As Ron says in the piece, we may be smarter now than we were 20 years ago, but that may not be such a good thing.

Steve Moyer always gives us so-called experts a copy of the hot-off-the-press Bill James Handbook at First Pitch Arizona, for which I am very grateful. Not that I wouldn’t buy it, I have many times, but this way it ends up in my hands even sooner.

The book continues to grow, with increased focus on the defense awards and rankings, focus on baserunning skills, and the ever useful park factors. I’m a great fan of baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com, both of which I use all day long, but I sit and read the Bill James Handbook, poring over its pages as if it were a ripping good yarn, which in many ways it is.

I’m glad for both these books and recommend them highly.

Save $25 on First Pitch Arizona!

For what I think is the seventh time I’m heading out this November for Ron Shandler’s First Pitch Arizona symposium. This year’s dates are November 6-8, though I’m flying the fourth so I can get in a game on Thursday afternoon.

You cannot imagine how great it is to watch some of the best young talent around (this year we have Stephen Strasburg) in a near empty park, allowing you to sit just about anywhere you want (including behind home plate, where you can sometimes spy the radar readings of the ML scouts who are always in attendance.

Read more…

If the season were a horse race. Isn’t it?

BaseballRace.com

When I was a kid I had a toy race track and I spent an inglorious number of hours turning the dice to see which horse prevailed in that race.

As we all know now, but I didn’t as a magical thinking second grader, the winners came completely at random (though I may have given blue an advantage, since it was my color).

Baseballrace.com animates each season’s pennant race, so you can see in a picturesque display how far ahead the front runners were and how far behind were the laggards.

I’m not sure there’s much actual utility here, but the imaginative display of information may well help you or me or someone else to come up with an idea that changes the way we think. And even if it does not, coming up with something no one else is doing is reason enough to be proud. And wouldn’t it be a great idea for him to license the software to fantasy league stats providers, so that we can live and relive the year of our grief in a horse racey animation?

Okay, maybe not. But maybe.