Every once and awhile I will be reading through comments on articles and in the forums, and I’ve noticed an interest in leagues involving WAR, wOBA, etc. I’m not surprised, since this is a statistical site that uses those numbers every day. However, not enough is being said about these “strange” leagues, so I think we need to shed some light on the situation.
WAR leagues are always going to be fun and much more realistic, seeing that they actually use defense, which is just as important as the offensive side of the ball. Since UZR is involved, you can’t exactly set up a Yahoo! league to track WAR, whether you want to or not. That leaves you with two options. You can continuously call Yahoo! until they give in, or you can start your own WAR league. I’ve heard of some readers forming their own leagues using WAR, and doing a draft on their own time. This is a great idea, and the boys over at Beyond The Boxscore have a draft every year. In fact, BtB takes it one step further and uses MLB contracts and assigns each owner a $60mm salary cap. This makes drafting hard, and forces owners to put a lot of work in (I should know, I’ve done the draft each year and am actually running a league this year). These leagues aren’t difficult to run after the draft, because each owner can enter his players into his FanGraphs account and check on his team quite easily.
Every fantasy league has the option to use “runs” as a category, but that just counts how many times the player crossed the plate, not how many runs he actually contributed at the plate. Fortunately, there is now a very easy solution for this. In a league I am in with BtB writer JinAZ, he has set our scoring to a “wRC*10 scale”. This point system can now be found on Beyond the Boxscore, if that is something you are interested in. I have to say, I am very excited to see how the draft goes for this league, because the rankings will be different from standard rankings, though by how much remains to be seen.
The new wave of fantasy leagues will eventually be noticed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the “Big Three” (CBS, ESPN, Yahoo) implement more advanced stats in the coming years to satisfy their customers. Don’t forget, the more you bug them, the sooner they will be implemented.