What Else Would You Change, Fantasy Baseball Player?

If you were fantasy baseball’s “King for a Day” or “Queen for a Day,” then what would you do? Just imagine: The entire community must bow to your will. All commissioners are at your command.

I may have opened Pandora’s Box here. We might gain some serious insight into the makeup of some of our fellow readers who are bold enough to comment, particularly if the filter is off.

Last week, I expressed my dissatisfaction with the wins category in our fake baseball games. I wondered aloud if something beyond quality starts or wins plus quality starts, something like a modified version of Pure Quality Starts or Game Score, would do, even if it meant changing other categories to accommodate. I’m hopeful but not blind to the likelihood that something with a binary result like quality starts is most suitable for the standard game.

The response to that blog so far has been great. Some yays, some nays, most of the thoughts somewhere in the between, with plenty of impassioned comments – one way or another. I appreciate discourse, especially on a topic about which I don’t have all the answers – which is all of them – but often I have plenty of questions after I hear someone else’s. I look forward to surveying the feedback and coming up with some sort of reaction, an attempt to facilitate further discussion.

In the meantime, I’m curious about which other traditional categories you dislike and what might be your suggestions for alternatives. Many people play in leagues that have customized scoring, whether the scoring is rotisserie, head-to-head, or any other format, and they have a blast. Those leagues aren’t for everyone, or even most people, usually. Doesn’t make them wrong or anything. If there’s one label I’d be OK with having ascribed to me, it’s “relativist.” There are a lot of statistics in baseball, and a lot of fantasy games that people enjoy because of them. The possibilities seem boundless.

Practically, though, they’re not, really. My expectation is that, when you boil them down, many of the traditional categories do a respectable job in achieving what it is we want from our games. The work of some of my colleagues in the industry has helped me to form that belief. Thanks for the encouragement, eh? All I’m saying is that you might be disappointed, at least as far as my conclusions go. Fair warning.

Just because that’s what I anticipate doesn’t mean there’s no reason to discuss it, even for me. I could be wrong (yet again), obviously. That’s cool with me. Fantasy sports is one of the few arenas in which I’ve grown plenty comfortable with the idea that something I think, say, write or do might be incorrect. I wouldn’t gain more perspective if I didn’t ask. I might not like or agree with some of the viewpoints, but I might agree with or like some of them a lot. It helps you and I to understand the all-important why, as long as that’s something we’re willing to do.

Last year, Tout Wars experimented with a replacement for batting average in the mixed league auction. AVG was out, OBP was in. I understand that this isn’t a new idea, but it’s uncommon for an industry league to go against tradition, even for the sake of a potentially better game. (They’ve experimented with other things, too. I don’t have the time or space to get into the Tout LLC’s mission or why I think it’s kind of refreshing. If you’re interested, then head to their site.) They were pleased enough with the reception to institute the change in all four of their leagues in 2014.

A few years ago, the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Industry Insiders Leagues made some alterations, too. The setup exchanged AVG for OBP and HR for SLG. A couple of years ago, they made a switch from W to QS on the pitching side. The mix is challenging, if for no other reason than it’s different.

One of those changes in particular is, I think, outstanding. Dare I say ideal? Slugging percentage is a better alternative to home runs in an otherwise pretty traditional format. SLG rewards non-HR extra-base hits and doesn’t result in nearly as much duplicity for the home run. I think it works better with on-base percentage than batting average because of the redundancy of those two categories otherwise. I think it’s a great substitution because it incorporates two rates for hitters like there are for pitchers.

I think Perry Missner, supreme commissioner of those FSWA leagues, has set up the best 5×5 arrangement in the fantasy game. He’s surveyed the participants every year. He’s introduced the possibility of the substitution of SV for SV+HLD, if I recall correctly, and that’s probably a good way to go to distribute value among relief pitchers a little more equitably, even if the hold is a bit random and unbiased, like the win. Perhaps for that reason, W+QS is a good correlative evolution of his QS category. I think Missner is kind of cool revolutionary.

What do you propose? What have you found that works best in your leagues? What hasn’t? Why do you or don’t you believe that any of the suggestions work?

You’d include fielding statistics? How exciting. … Have you tried Scoresheet?

Print This Post

Nicholas Minnix oversaw baseball content for six years at KFFL, where he held the loose title of Managing Editor for seven and a half before he joined FanGraphs. He played in both Tout Wars and LABR from 2010 through 2014. Follow him on Twitter @NicholasMinnix.

newest oldest most voted

OPS instead of Average
PQS instead of Wins
SLD instead of Saves

All Yahoo needs to do is get PQS in and I’ll be happy.


What are PQS and SLD?


Pure quality start
Save + Hold = Sold