Player projections and steroids

Still at the Sloan Sports Conference, I’m watching a panel on gaming. Andy Andres, Mark Kortekaas of of CBS Sports, and Jeff Ma of PROTRADE are mostly talking about fantasy sports. Andy, who does data analysis at BaseballHQ, was asked about how steroid affect projections. What did he say?

“You just never know.” Andy thinks that looking at before/after steroid trends, singling out players, etc. is a tough thing to do. He’s of the opinion that forecasting is inherently complicated, and that incorporating steroids is not necessarily going to make projections more accurate. “It’s confusing,” he said. “I’ll stop there.” But does it even matter?

Keith Woolner, now working with the Cleveland Indians, is saying that he’s trying to incorporate scouting data into the his player forecasting model. But that’s for real baseball, not fantasy baseball. Jeff Ma thinks that incrementally improving forecasting is not going to be a money-making engine for the fantasy gaming industry. He thinks that subscriptions and advertising on the way to go. So maybe we in the analytical community shouldn’t be trying to build a better mousetrap – just a shinier one.

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