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March 1, 2011

Fantasy Beat

2011 Projected Average Roto Values by Position

by Michael Jong

In preparation for BP articles and various fantasy drafts, I have been using average values for the five standard roto categories for each position in order to get a read on what should be expected from each position and each category going into the 2011 season. I figured I'd share that data with BP readers as a quick resource for comparison, especially with PECOTA projections.

These averages were calculated using 2008 to 2010 MLB data weighted 5/4/3, with the most recent season weighted the heaviest. They are intended as a simple projection for the 2011 season. All averages for counting stats were given per 600 PA, with the exception of catcher, which is given per 500 PA (seems more appropriate given the playing time catchers usually receive). In addition to the five standard roto categories, OBP, SLG, and OPS were provided. Each category was calculated using data from the pool of all major league players, not necessarily players who were fantasy league worthy only. As a result, these numbers should be lower than the averages you would see in a typical mixed league and should be bumped up accordingly. Use this is a guideline for comparison, not a steadfast rule.

I am currently working on averages based on players from 2008 to 2010 who qualified for the batting title and averages based on PECOTA projections for players whom the Depth Charts have qualifiying for the batting title in 2011. Both of these changes would assist in providing a more accurate fantasy-relevant reference for averages.

Here's the spreadsheet. I hope this assists you during your fantasy drafting season.

Michael Jong is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Michael's other articles. You can contact Michael by clicking here

21 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

joshilles

The 5/4/3 weighting system = genius. This is exactly the kind of fantasy article I want when I pay for a BP subscription. Thanks.

Mar 01, 2011 05:58 AM
rating: 1
 
Lopecci

What the Fantasy folks really need is a cheat sheet(check list), for drafting. A simple, one or two page sheet listing the top 50 players or so at each position and a page of SP's and RP's, followed up by the top 100 prospects. Printer friendly of course.

Mar 01, 2011 05:58 AM
rating: 4
 
pobothecat

Isn't that what PFM is ... AND customizable to your league's exact scoring system?

Mar 05, 2011 00:53 AM
rating: 0
 
friel27

Great stuff! This is what I've been looking for.

Mar 01, 2011 06:23 AM
rating: 0
 
rotoman21

I would echo Lopecci's comments. Have one for both AL & NL combined, then separate ones for NL & AL by themselves.

Mar 01, 2011 08:17 AM
rating: 1
 
Sharky

Michael, that was interesting. A few thoughts for you:

1) AB would be helpful. It's linked to counting stats, but helpful nonetheless. For example, catchers BA is .253 -- but is that over 300 AB or 500?

2) It would be interesting to see this data on a league-specific basis (NL only, for example).

Mar 01, 2011 09:24 AM
rating: -2
 
Sharky

Never mind... I just saw the note you put to the side (500 AB for catchers, 600 for everyone else). But catchers don't average 500 AB. So this is perhaps misleading.

Mar 01, 2011 09:25 AM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Michael Jong
BP staff

Sharky,

The averages are for PA, not AB. Eight to ten catches make 500 PA per season, though I could always drop that to 450 PA.

Mar 01, 2011 12:39 PM
 
eighteen

Why produce a spreadsheet for fantasy purposes that averages all major leaguers when only the top half will be on fantasy rosters? How much harder would it have been to instead average the top 15-20 players at each position?

Maybe the spreadsheet would be helpful if a "bumping up" methodology more specific than "accordingly" was provided. Absent that, I don't see how it's a useful benchmark.

Mar 01, 2011 11:27 AM
rating: 0
 
YaoPau

Agreed. Numbers are way too low.

Mar 01, 2011 12:27 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Jong
BP staff

As mentioned at the bottom, I am working on a spreadsheet that shows only players who qualify for the batting title, which should exclude any bench players or other spot starters and as a result should be more representative of a pool of fantasy-selectable players.

Mar 01, 2011 12:40 PM
 
SimplyFalco

Michael,

This is a great start on a valuable fantasy tool. As has been mentioned, its practical application is limited since it is not selective towards just fantasy worthy players, but I appreciate your effort and look forward to something a little more specific.

Mar 01, 2011 20:24 PM
rating: 1
 
Flynnbot

i'd be interested in a spread sheet of what constitutes a "replacement level" player for a standard 12-team league.

Mar 02, 2011 07:48 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Jong
BP staff

Flynnbot,

I measure replacement level, fantasy or real life, as a level of overall contribution below average. That is, there's no real way of showing you what roto replacement level RBI looks like, but there is a way to show what an overall replacement level performance looks like for a player (in terms of z-scores or PFM's auction values).

Mar 02, 2011 12:08 PM
 
andyfoy

Slightly off topic, but is there anyone out there who is an experienced roto auction-leaguer, that I can bounce a couple questions off of, via email?

I've been playing standard and roto forever, and my friends and I are trying auction for the first time. Just have a few questions regarding the settings. Thanks.

Mar 02, 2011 13:13 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Michael Jong
BP staff

Andyfoy,

Any one of the BP Fantasy staff would be happy to answer your questions. Click on the contact link at the end of the post and you can direct an email to myself, and I can forward it to any of the rest of the staff for collaboration as needed.

Mar 02, 2011 15:17 PM
 
andyfoy

Thanks Michael, I'll drop you an email shortly. They should be pretty basic questions.

Mar 02, 2011 15:38 PM
rating: 0
 
varmintito

andyfoy:

I'm happy to offer whatever auction wisdom I've accumulated.

Mar 02, 2011 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
andyfoy

Thanks a lot. I'll see what I can get from Michael, and I'll let you know. Suggestions for settings are welcome.

Mar 02, 2011 15:40 PM
rating: 0
 
varmintito

The most important thing about an auction, and I learned it the hard way, is understanding its dynamics. Being able to anticipate the phases of an auction and exploit them will give you a big advantage.

Phase 1 is where the superstars get nominated Everybody has a full bank, and if you have to have Hanley, what's the difference between $44 and $46? The trick here is that you almost always will have to "overpay" for the true superstars. Spend too much here and you will have nothing but filler and gambles for 3/4 of your roster. Spend too little, and you're counting on nice complementary players like Nick Swisher and Vladimir Guerrero to anchor your offense.

The beauty of an auction is that you can obtain multiple "first round" players. Last year, one manager got Albert Pujols, Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, and Roy Halladay in the first hour. In shallow leagues, this is an especially viable approach, because replacement level free agents are still useful players. Much riskier in shallow leagues, where it might mean starting Brendan Ryan, Carlos Gomez and Melvin Mora just because you think they'll get regular ABs.

In phase 1, lots of managers try to get money off the table, nominating high-profile guys they have no interest in but know will go for real money. It is immensely satisfying when I nominate Carlos Zambrano, who I internally value at $4-$5, and somebody pays $15.

Usually, a handful of scrubs are nominated in phase 1. Either the nominating manager thinks he's a sleeper, or he's trying to get someone to waste a couple of precious dollars on complete garbage because "the book" says he's worth $4. If you think that scrub is a sleeper, wait to see if there is any interest. If it's nothing but crickets for 4-5 seconds, you can probably have him for $2. That's how I got 27 HR from a catcher-eligible Brandon Inge two years ago.

After this initial rush, many managers have seriously depleted their funds and have acquired their "must haves," and so they turn timid. They might keep bidding, but they drop out quickly. The ones who were most aggressive acquiring stars might not bid at all for an hour, waiting until more managers are as broke as they are.

This is phase 2, when the bargains happen. Last year, this is when I got Brett Gardner for $3 and Colby Rasmus for $2. Know which guys you like in tiers 2 and 3, and take your shots here.

Be aggressive. Don't get into bidding wars, but don't be afraid to bid $7 for a guy you think is worth $14, just because the guy just before him went for only $5 and you thought he was just as good (and, obviously, the only reason you should have allowed somebody else to buy that guy for $5 is that you had the position filled). The goal isn't to be able to brag about getting the single best bargain, but to get as many cheap contributors as possible. The better and more self-evident the bargains are, the shorter phase 2 lasts. It is rarely more than 20 players, although profit opportunities will crop up, especially for less well known players.

Then, curiously, the prices start to go up. Managers realize they're missing out on bargains so they get back in. Managers realize that there are only two adequate middle infielders left, and four teams need to fill that spot. Managers realize that there are only 3 established stars or quasi-stars left. In this stage of the very same auction last year, Erick Aybar went for $24 -- the same price as Dustin Pedroia a couple of hours earlier.

Then it settles down to mostly dollar picks, with the occasional bidding war between the handful of managers who can bid more than $1 (two years ago I got Andrew McCutchen for $4 at this phase). In my league, this means guys in position battles, middle relievers, rookies who will probably get a call up in June, veterans who will probably come off the DL in May, the half of a platoon that starts against righty pitchers, and second catchers. Some of these guys will return serious value, but all carry high levels of risk or low ceilings. I prefer to go with high risk hitters and middle relievers with good ratios.

There is a generally a premium on players in local markets, and a discount for players on low profile teams in distant markets. If your league members are from California, know the rosters of the Pirates, Orioles, Blue Jays and Marlins cold. Your competition will know who Hanley and Jose Bautista are, but you might be able to get Neil Walker, Gaby Sanchez, Ricky Romero, and Luke Scott for a buck or two (in my league, that would have been serious profit last year)

Mar 03, 2011 12:22 PM
rating: 2
 
andyfoy

Wow, way above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks a lot. As if you didn't cover everything, would you mind dropping me an email? I have a couple more basic follow-ups, if you have some time. Thanks again

andyfoy@gmail.com

Mar 03, 2011 17:12 PM
rating: 0
 
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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Value Pi... (03/01)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Beat: Donnybro... (02/25)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Know You... (03/14)
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