The Fantasy Baseball Guide 2012: Coming February 15th

This year’s guide is at the printer, and should start showing up in stores soon. Here’s the front cover.

Trust the eyes or the numbers? Defensive analysis still highly subjective – ESPN

Jerry Crasnick

I don’t think the answer goes one way or another. But we’ll have to let time prove that.

The bottom line, and the big picture, should be that these determinations are very specific, and even then may not mean much. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t suck to be categorized, but maybe it does.

You be the judge.

The Fantasy Baseball Price Guide —

Last Player Picked

Mays Copeland has made a player rater. He has explained how he derives the values of the rater, and how he prices those values. He’s made some software that makes it easy to customize those ratings and prices for your league. He has also, most impressively, created an interface that allows the user to use a variety of projection systems (Marcel, CHONE, ZIPS, others I’m forgetting, and even a composite of them all) to create a list for their league’s format. 

The problem? The smell test. I ran the numbers for my Tout Wars NL league and the answers stunk. JJ Putz was named the fourth most valuable closer in the NL, by virtue of his 19 saves (!). F-Rod ranked first, with a projected 35 saves. The cloud, it seems, doesn’t always compute. Will Albert go for $49, as the PG suggests? In a word, no. But that isn’t the mistake (it is only a symptom).

Bid prices are different than projected values. Ignoring this truism means imagining that Johan Santana might be worth $48, as the LPP site suggests, but we all know that is wrong, even if Johan is healthy, which he may not be.

The problem is that there is no automatic pricing system based on projections that is going to properly price players for auction. Why? Because projections are, inevitably, 25  percent (or more) wrong. Even my projections aren’t perfect. We value projections because they fix for us what a player is expected to do, but what matters are the prices everyone else is willing to pay. And how our expectations stack up against them. That market evaluation is where the heavy lifting of draft prep comes. It combines the information in the projection with our assessment of risk, and filters it through our knowledge about the league we play in.

A system that projects Santana for $48, when he will not go for more than $38 in your league, is failing to properly allocate $10, compounding the effect of the error.

I dig Mays Copeland’s efforts, and maybe he isn’t selling the Pricing Guide as a list of bid prices, but rather as a way to compare different sets of stats (projected and real), though that wasn’t what I took away. My problem is that when he disses other sites, like the rototimes player rater, he offends me. Actually, he makes me an enemy. It isn’t that the rototimes rater is perfect, it isn’t, but it’s a lot better than anything Mays has come up with. His strict adherence to category scarcity blithely ignores the way people actually play the game. 

From the spirit of his site, I would think Mays would find ways to improve the rototimes rater. but instead he chooses to diss it and promote himself. That would be okay if he got it right. Mays hasn’t yet.

Update: I went back and checked his 2008 prices, figuring that would be a better test of the Price Guide. It is better. The Putz problem is a result of the projections, not anything the pricer is doing wrong, but he’s still giving Steals and Saves full value, so he prices Mariano Rivera at $49 last year. That is probably correct in a math sense, but doesn’t reflect the way the game is played. Also, his 2008 stats have Matt Holliday in the AL, which makes them useless for evaluating what actually happened last year. So, an interesting efffort showing some promise, but there are kinks to work out.

The art of making a Rotisserie deal

Mike Pianowski

Let me again recommend an excellent but hard to find Tout Wars essay, this time from the hyper competetive Mike Pianowski. I don’t personally believe him that he’s writing this story for himself, personally, but I think that that only amplifies the content. And I’m pretty sure Mike knows that, too.

Tout Wars — final al

Have at it

A 12 team AL only league auctions players. It should be straight forward, no? But it isn’t. The link takes you to the TOUT WARS AL results. You can decide who shone and who sucked. Feel free to comment if the mood fits.

On Monday I’ll post the NL results, which I was involved in. That is, as a team, scrapping for advantage.

The one thing I know for sure is that your league will vary.

Cheers.

Бейсбол для бейсболистов, тренеров по бейсболу, фанатиков бейсбола и для всех, кто интересуется бейсболом.

What is this page in Cyrillic?

Russian Baseball

I found this page because somewhere on it you’ll find a link to a full version of Michael Lewis’s influentual book Moneyball, which is clearly posted illegally. (Unless I’m wrong about Russian law.)

But what you’ll also find is a variety of Russian baseball love, not all of it IP impaired.

Feel free to comment on the good stuff. And the bad stuff.

A genius?

Fantasy Baseball – Rotoworld.com

This Aaron Gleeman column about AL sleepers this year is notable because every name belongs on it. These are the guys to pick up if they’re cheap. I’ll wait for his NL list to decide if he’s a genius.

MLB team in Ghana

iTeam Blog–New York Daily News

This isn’t really news. MLB has made a PR move into Africa. But that’s a really good thing to do, and that they got Omar Minaya and Dave Winfield among others to go means a lot. I like Reggie Smith’s quote, that the ballplayers in Accra haven’t been overcoached. But I guess the bottom line is I think Africans would be better off is they played baseball, so I’m all for the trip.

How much is Matsuzaka worth?

The Hardball Times

As usual, David Gassko does a great job breaking down the components. But, of course, I have quibbles. . .

It isn’t clear to me why there is little chance of Matsuzaka breaking down. It seems to me some significant portion of the risk is that the pitcher breaks down, no matter how convincing the history is.

He doesn’t address the explosion of revenue that accrues when you win. Tampa Bay might generate more revenue winning 80 games than 70, but that bump is tiny compared to the bump you get (I’m assuming) going from 87 to 97 wins and winning the World Series.

The risk in this scenario is different than the one for a team trying to compete (rather than win the whole enchilada).

With so much money in the owners’ pockets it’s hard not to think that the concept of “value” is pretty much dead.