FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. armis?

    Comment by Bradsbeard — March 29, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

  2. I agree entirely! Whereas actual runs aren’t good estimators of future success, they do cause real success or failure. Great post!

    Comment by robzk — March 29, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  3. armis, yeah, I was wondering about the armis.

    Comment by James — March 29, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  4. Based on the context, I think “armis” is supposed to read as “aren’t”.

    Comment by Larry Smith Jr. — March 29, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  5. I agree, this is an excellent post. I’m not really a fan of fantasy sports for many reasons, but I was goaded by friends who don’t understand why I love baseball so much but don’t enjoy fantasy to join their fantasy league. The season obviously hasn’t started yet, but I can easily see how learning more about baseball makes you worse at fantasy. Also, I look at my fantasy team and see a team that if it were a real team I would love to build around to start a franchise. I also see that a team whose best offensive player is Mark Reynolds will likely finish last in my fantasy league and thus give me a reason to never play again. lol

    Comment by Larry Smith Jr. — March 29, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

  6. Vi et armis is an archaic Latin legal phrase which means “with force and arms.” In other words, it means that the subject was taken by force or was under arrest. —- taken from Wikipedia.

    Comment by judas — March 29, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

  7. I think there is even more to that. It’s easier to project the sabremetric stats since they are more repeatable – that’s why they are more valid measures of a player’s talent. The traditional stats are more dependent on the team – especially RBI’s and pitching wins. So it is more interesting for the fantasy player because more research is involved. It’s easier to list the top 50 pitchers talentwise than win-wise. Do you want Zach Grienke on the Royals? Or do you want the Yankees fourth starter? These are more interesting questions than who is better.

    It’s even more obvious in football. Do you want Dwight Clark for your tight end this week if Peyton Manning is injured? If the Colts are playing a good defense as opposed to a poor one? These decisions are much more fun when you look at them in context instead of just “who’s the better player.”

    Comment by MikeS — March 29, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

  8. I agree–the question is, why?

    Comment by Alex Poterack — March 29, 2010 @ 5:54 pm

  9. Sticky fingers lead to sticky keys.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — March 29, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  10. nostalgic 49ers fan? :)

    Comment by Anon — March 29, 2010 @ 6:38 pm

  11. I think that was the biggest reason we switched to a point based system where actions provide value based off their effect on the game rather than limiting it to a category. So for example a single is 4 points, double is 5, triple is 8, HR is 10, walks are 2, RBI is 3, runs are 2, steals are 2, strikeout -1, etc. So a solo HR is 15 points of value, but doesn’t actually hit 3 categories.

    Players who hit for a high average with a low ISO aren’t at a huge disadvantage, but obviously the player with higher ISO will drive in more runs and thus score more points, slightly offset by the player with a higher average who will probably get more runs. We have points for fielding but it’s not nearly as effective as UZR or some other metric would be.

    Pitching fairly balanced as well, IP is 6 (so each out is 2 points), SO 2, ER -2, H -1, BB -.5, etc. Again it’s based off value, so even though pitchers with a crappy team or crappy run support (IE Greinke), a lot of his value is based off his actual contributions. While I think it would be better using FIP (IE subtracting more for HR, currently a HR is -1 for the H, -.5 for the HR, -2 for the ER) this is a fairly balanced method. Wins are 10, loses are -5, so while it is beneficial to have players who get more wins they aren’t entirely behind. Greinke had the highest total points for a pitcher last year in my league, followed by Lincecum and Verlander.

    Wow that became a rant, but for the most part I like it simply because it’s better than categories, where OBP is actually useful to some extent. Really from learning more about baseball I think I’m becoming better at fantasy… maybe. But it’s all fun and something to try to apply saber to. And I can pull off better trades by not applying ERA ;)

    Comment by StevenV — March 29, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  12. My league seems to do pretty well. Here’s hoping to it catches on! Thank you Tom Tango for unlocking my brain, and giving me the tools to make fantasy baseball based on runs scored vs run prevented, in a points sense.

    Comment by JWay — March 29, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

  13. Oh yeah, of course I totally agree on the “real” baseball level, and I’m in some leagues that are “advanced” as well (indeed, last year, I was in a “FanGraph WAR” league). But I think the noinfrequent “gap” in traditional between who is actually the better player “for real” and what will actually win you the league is intriguing.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

  14. Re “armis:”

    They should all be “aren’t,” but something weird my spellchecker did in the word processor program I drafted this in. I was some weird “replace all” thing, I think. Didn’t notice it until I already had it in the WordPress editor, and I thought I changed it, although I was also having connection issues at the time, so it obviously didn’t save… going in and changing it now.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  15. see my comment below re “armis”

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

  16. heh… see my post that is (as I type this) at the end of the comment thread. Mostly, I’m an idiot. Um, I mean, yeah, taken by force.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:45 pm

  17. I was hoping to use something like WAR or FIP in my league, sadly it just doesn’t work… plus I don’t know any of the more popular fantasy sites that track those stats =(

    (and I bet half my league don’t even know what those are!)

    Comment by StevenV — March 29, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

  18. Fixed

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:50 pm

  19. Hey, do watcha want. Obviously, I write here, so I for “real” baseball analysis, I use the good stats. And I’m in fantasy leagues that are more “advanced.” I’ not objecting to them. I’m simply trying to point out one area in which traditional fantasy categories might have something “on” the others. To each his or her own.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  20. I think if you look around, you can find them. Have you tried Beyond the Box Score?

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 29, 2010 @ 7:51 pm

  21. Not yet, I’m in enough leagues for now I think… maybe someday I’ll be able to try it out. Thanks for the tip =)

    Comment by StevenV — March 29, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

  22. As someone who is doing fantasy analysis for the first time since being introduced to sabermetrics many months ago, I sympathize and generally agree with Matt’s points. I’ve found fantasy much more challenging and at the same time rewarding now that I know the inner workings of baseball and don’t rely on last year’s stats to do my drafts. With any luck, I’ll unfortunately get hooked on it and never leave my mother’s basement.

    Comment by Michael — March 29, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  23. I total understand it completely. I used to love collecting RBIs and SBs as well.

    Comment by JWay — March 29, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  24. I was more ready to believe that you would unearth archaic latin legal terms and force us to learn them by using them repeatedly.

    Comment by judas — March 29, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  25. I don’t care if the Colts are playing the worst defense vs. TEs, Peyton Manning is healthy, and he’s averaging 6 TDs a game to his TE. I still don’t want Dwight Clark at TE, unless we’re turning the clock back and Joe Montana is starting at QB. Now Dallas Clark on the other hand…

    Comment by Pat — March 30, 2010 @ 12:34 am

  26. Oops. :)

    Comment by MikeS — March 30, 2010 @ 7:31 am

  27. I like the thinking here. I mean, the idea of considering that what we all assume might not in fact be the best thing out there. Or most fun, or whatever.

    But I have to say, I disagree. So WRA and WARP and what not aren’t perfect indicators of what a guy will actually do on the field. Neither are Wins, average, steals, etc. And you could easily make the case that wins, AVG, steals, etc. are way more arbitrary. At least using more advances metrics (or a points based system to simulate advanced ideas) you can agree with the logic behind why you’re getting screwed when a guy’s on field production doesn’t match up with what you expect.

    To me standard fantasy stats have the same pitfalls that advanced ones do, but at least there’s more of a correlation behind the advanced ones and more logic behind them as well. Right? Isn’t that just inherently better?

    What I DO agree with is that learning more about advanced metrics makes you worse at understanding and using standard ones. Agree 100%. It’s hard to re-train your brain back to where it came from before you started getting more in depth.

    Comment by JackWeiland — March 30, 2010 @ 9:47 am

  28. I think my point got lost due to my own unclear writing.

    What I’m celebrating about the traditional stats is their very imperfections, which presents a challenge to the smart GM to bridge the gap between what advanced stats indicate more accurately and what will actually happen “on the field,” as it were.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — March 30, 2010 @ 11:37 am

  29. I don’t agree with the premise that learning about SABR-y stats makes one somehow worse at the fantasy game. I don’t think it necessarily makes you better, either. I don’t really see much if any correlation between the two (or more importantly, causality).

    For fantasy success, its all about finding undervalued assets (both during the draft, through free agent acquisitions, trading, etc etc) in the scoring categories that your particular league uses. In that regard, it’s not unlike the central tenet of Moneyball. Learning more about xFIP or WRAA shouldn’t preclude that.

    Comment by Jason B — March 30, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  30. This assumes that the traditional stats are more indicitive of what happens “on the field”, no?

    Comment by JackWeiland — March 30, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  31. They’re different animals, definitely. I think what makes it harder is for most SABR-y type people traditional leagues make you value stats that you don’t value. So you don’t want to put the time into researching them because you just don’t care.

    It’s not harder per se, in an inherent sense, it’s just more of a challenge because human nature makes you give less of a crap about the traditional stats and you’re much less likely to invest time into doing your homework. That’s my personal experience, at least. Maybe it’s just that I’m lazy.

    Comment by JackWeiland — March 30, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

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    Comment by Cotes Driving Lessons — April 2, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

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