LINK: What Makes A Fan?

Screenshot 2014-04-22 23.12.43This NY Times story digs deep into Facebook Like data to discover what teams Facebookers are fans of, then maps that to the Facebooker’s ages when their teams won World Series.

When I was eight the Yankees lost the World Series to the Cardinals, then spent the next 15 years in CBS and Steinbrenner hell. It was hard not to like Horace Clark, but it was in those years when I was nine to 17 that my love affair with the Mets took hold.

Over at I think we see constant evidence that the bands we fell in love with when we were 15-25 or so are the ones that stick with us forever. Baseball seems to ring a somewhat earlier chord.


LINK: Zola at on Saves

Todd keep doing great work. I’ve heard Todd moan about this too often to be surprised by this, but his presentation is clear and keeps moving forward. It feels like he’s overstating the hurtfulness of the bad closers qualitatives, that the real non-save impact value of closers are the strikeouts the best bring, but he’s seen the numbers, which I look forward to at some point.

LINK: OBP’S Lawr’s Lawr Michaels tackles on-base percentage, as Tout Wars’ AL and NL leagues transition to the greatest stat ever! Um, to a better stat than Batting Average. Read it here.

LINK: Fantasy Baseball Name Generator

You should know about this Fantasy Baseball Name Generator, just because it could be a ton of fun. For now it’s amusing. I’m not wowed by the names, for one. Those riffing off the Team are at least contextually interesting, or not. The purely random names can be funny or not, purely at random apparently.

Screenshot 2014-03-11 10.58.33

My suggestion, which they say they will add next year, is a generator based on the original Rotisserie League naming convention, by which teams use their last name to create a pun in the form of a team name. Like Okrent Fenokees. Perfect.

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.


LABR AL Results 2014

Have been posted at Real Time Sports.

What you need to know: Tanaka went for $19. Most expensive starter was Yu Darvish at $28. Scherzer and King Felix were $27.

Jose Abreu went for $24, and Prince Fielder in Texas went for $33. Top hitters were expensive, generally. Pujols went for $29, Manny Machado for $19. Trout was $45, Miggy went for $42.


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.


Tips for Mocksturbation from Lord Zola

A highly wise and readable piece about mock drafts by Todd Zola at Fantasy Alarm. Recommended! Especially the part about getting out of your comfort zone.

Jay Jaffe’s Basement League Baseball: A remembrance

Screenshot 2014-01-20 10.37.41Who among us did not nurse a fevered infatuation with some form or forms of simulated baseball game while growing up? If not for that, would we be here today? I mean at Ask Rotoman, not in the larger existential sense.

My father introduced me to a dice baseball game he invented when he was in school when I was a boy, and I recreated the Mets’ early years and documented the simulated seasons just as enthusiastically as he had done the New York Giants of his youth. This involved cutting out the day’s box score and pasting it into a notebook beside the simulated scoresheet of the dice game. I know, crazy.

The baseball writer Jay Jaffe has a similar story, which he tells in this piece at Old Time Family Baseball. Charmingly.