In the past few weeks, I wrote about my and, I presumed, others’ distaste for certain categories in rotisserie and head-to-head baseball leagues. Some of us don’t care for wins, saves or other cats, or we think we have ideas for better ones. Reader response has been fantastic, I think. Some good discussion, some good points, some good concepts put forth.
Running Frog made a good point. Wins seem to correlate well enough with things like a great number of strikeouts, a good ERA and a good WHIP. He, like others, doesn’t see a reason to change.
I dislike the win in general because:
- If not for its somewhat subjective assignment to an individual, it’d be a team statistic, not just for fantasy purposes.
- Saves and holds are exclusive to relievers, whereas wins aren’t exclusive to starters.
The latter point may not be an issue for some. Relief pitchers generally perform better than starting pitchers in ERA and WHIP, but starters accumulate more strikeouts than relievers do. Some would like to see good non-closing relievers matter more, and somewhat random wins helps them to achieve that. I think that there may be other ways to do that, but I digress.
I really appreciate Quality Starts. It’s binary and therefore simple. In the absence of something better – and perhaps there isn’t something better – it works.
I really like the suggestion from Metsox: QS+CG. It’s a way to reward pitchers who come up with that pitching performance that’s of much greater value to his team than the quality start. Complete games are relatively rare, so in the instances that they’re earned, they can have some significant meaning in your standings.
Complaints about the QS are fair. It rewards a pitcher for having gone six innings and having accrued a 4.50 ERA, but not for having gone eight and doing the same thing. Is a 4.50 ERA really what we want to call “quality”? I think the quality of the start will have been inflicted upon our team ERA and team WHIP, as well, so the fact that three earned runs in six frames isn’t of great quality doesn’t concern me. The fact that four earned runs in eight innings doesn’t meet the criteria seems a bit unjust, though. In the instance in which a pitcher satisfies that otherwise unrewarded effort, perhaps he’d register a CG in Metsox’s league. At least there’d be some redemptive value, in that rare instance.
I stated that a modified version of Pure Quality Starts or Game Scores could be a good alternative to W’s. As I and commenters pointed out, the original versions of those rubrics incorporate many of the stats we already use for other fantasy categories. Game scores in particular become a lot like points. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. But there seem to be some fundamental flaws with either of them, even if we remove some of the elements that count for them.
One idea intrigues me most, however. I’d begun to work on the development of it, jotted down some ideas and parameters. I wanted something that was like slugging percentage or ISO against a pitcher, but not a rate. Something like total bases allowed, but not that heavy on its own. Something that might even hit ground-ball and fly-ball pitchers a little more evenly, because the former tend to do worse in WHIP than the latter. It’d have to involve walks. Hit by pitch? Am I too finicky? The little things matter, but how much do I want them to matter in my game?
Then I took a break to go through comments and ponder them heavily. That’s when I came upon and contemplated the idea from MDL, one of the first commenters on the wins blog. That section of the thread pretty well captured my eventual destination, minus a couple of details. I’d include free passes issued. I’d also consider coming up with a threshold that the pitcher must reach, in each start, in order to record one of these – to make it binary, a trait that seems kind of an essential, at least for roto purposes. One responder noted that it’s quite similar to a points league, otherwise. Perhaps it becomes a points system, though, and we come up with some correlative cat for relievers. Kind of like Fantasy Game Scores for starters as well as relievers. Or perhaps they contribute to the same category, and we have only three! Heresy.
Kind of a kicker: Do away with WHIP to make four pitching categories and eliminate much of the duality. Use only four hitting categories to even things out.
To sum: O – TBA – BB = X, where X may be some number that must be equal to or greater than a level that we determine to be quality, after some more research and discussion, in order to register one of these things.
What could we call this category? Ideas, MDL? Perhaps the Quality Fantasy Start? Otherwise, Fantasy Game Score? I think it has promise.
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