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FanGraphs Points Leagues: What Hitters Will Be Overrated by Traditional Fantasy Rankings?

Rank the top-10 fantasy hitters from last year, by performance, in your head.  Does the list look like this?  Here is ESPN’s Player Rater’s Top 11, based on a traditional 5×5 roto league:

1. Carlos Gonzalez (#7)
2. Carl Crawford (#42)
3. Albert Pujols (#2)
4. Joey Votto (#4)
5. Miguel Cabrera (#3)
6. Josh Hamilton (#5)
7. Jose Bautista (#1)
8. Robinson Cano (#6)
9. Hanley Ramirez (#17)
10. Ryan Braun (#37)
11. Juan Pierre (below replacement)

You may quibble here and there (Pierre might seem out of place, for example), but my guess is that the list is reasonably close.

Things change a bit if you were playing using FanGraphs Points.  The number in parentheses above is my 2010 rank order of hitters based on FanGraphs Points, which are built on linear weights.  That ranking takes into account position, and gives incomplete credit for playing time because DL stints can be made up for with substitutions.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good ranking of value in our system.

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How Pitching is Scored in ottoneu FanGraphs Points Leagues

Interested in playing in my ottoneu league, using this scoring system?  See the bottom of this post for info on how you can join!

Last week we looked at hitter FanGraphs Points, which are built on linear weights.  A complementary pitching points system was more difficult to devise: you can’t just use linear weights, because then you’d be rewarding the pitcher who gave up the most runs!

Therefore, it was necessary to develop a system that had some objective basis, but would a) reward good pitchers for being better than bad pitchers, and b) have point totals that would correspond to those of hitters.  And, just as our hitting system doesn’t track statistics that are substantially affected by other players (like RBI or runs), our pitching system should reward pitchers for what they do as opposed to what their teammates (pitchers and fielders) do.  That means no wins, runs allowed…or hits.

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How hitting is scored in ottoneu FanGraphs points leagues

I love a lot of things about fantasy baseball.  But like many of you, when understanding players in real life, I have become increasingly immersed in the sorts of statistics that are commonplace here at FanGraphs: wOBA, FIP, WAR, etc.  And that created a problem for me as a fantasy manager: I just don’t enjoy leagues that reward managers for things like RBI, pitcher wins, etc.

Last year, I decided to do something about it.  Inspired by this post by Tangotiger, I created a custom Yahoo league that used a scoring system designed to more accurately reflect “real” baseball–or, at least, real player value.  It was a blast.  And on the basis of this success, FanGraphs adopted this scoring system as one of the ways that you can play the ottoneu fantasy game.

What makes it different from other points systems?  It is based upon those same, advanced statistics that we use to evaluate players in real life: linear weights for hitters and FIP for pitchers.

Let’s start with the point values for hitters:

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