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Fantasy Value Above Replacement: New and Improved!

You may remember that earlier this year I put together a series of three posts outlining a system for objective fantasy player rankings and valuation. The system was (and still is) titled Fantasy Value Above Replacement, or FVARz for short. Some flaws were pointed out in Februrary, and it’s about time I recognized them and corrected the system to allow it to be even better and more accurate.

The major flaw that was pointed out was the way I was adjusting for position. A players’ raw stats were only being compared to others at his position, instead of the entire player pool as a whole. After the changes to the FVARz system, this is no longer the case. Players raw stats are now compared to the entire player pool, while hitters and pitchers are separated for obvious reasons.

After comparing players to the entire pool, their zWAA is compiled and compared to their position. After the positional adjustment for replacement level, a players’ final value (zWAR) is produced. This value is then put through the same auction converter as before, yielding a projected (or retrospective) value for each and every player inserted into the system.

While the FVARz system is now a tad more complicated and difficult to use, I feel it now gives us a very accurate representation of a players’ auction value as well as an accurate way to rank players across positions.

There are a few specific things the changes outlined above have brought to light, and I have detailed them below. Stayed tuned to RotoGraphs today, as I will be publishing final values for the 2011 season.

Noted Improvements
– Players that had rare stats for a position — such as SB for catchers and first baseman — were being overvalued. Yes, 15 steals from a catcher is harder to obtain then 15 steals from an outfielder, but in the grand scheme of things, they are equal on your roto ledger. Players with the rare stats for a position will still get a boost simply because it helps their overall value, but that boost will no longer be just because they are different from the norm at their own position.

– Before, I took value away from pitchers because they only filled up four of the five stat categories. Now, because relievers are being compared directly with starters, an artificial adjustment is no longer needed.

– Saves are now more valuable. As starting pitchers and their lack of saves were introduced to the pitching mix, each save became more valuable and boosted closers in the rankings. A good non-closer can still crack the top-10 in the reliever rankings, but it will be near impossible to reach the top of the ladder now.