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June 18, 1999

Ask Rotoman

Rotoman Returns

by Peter Kreutzer

(Ed. Note: Peter Kreutzer joins Baseball Prospectus Online this week with his fantasy baseball column "Ask Rotoman". Kreutzer, formerly of ESPN.com, will be taking reader questions and dispensing his unique brand of fantasy baseball insight throughout the summer.)

It's good to be back.

After an off-season that saw Rotoman welcome Rotobaby to the family, and a parting of the ways with this column's former home, "Ask Rotoman" is back, and eager to provide answers to your burning fantasy baseball questions.

How did I get here? Last month, Keith Law suggested I bring my wit and style to Baseball Prospectus. His arguments were quite convincing, and the chance to write for the Prospectus' savvy audience was quite an incentive.

So now that I'm here, I turn the column over to the readers. Send me questions. I'm probably not going to send out many personal answers, because that baby is just off the page and she wants to get bounced and sung to and fed, and this year she wins out. But I might, because I have opinions and I'm happy to express them.

And in the column, which will appear weekly, or thereabouts, we'll tackle the more intriguing questions of the day. They sure as hell won't be issues that the gaggle of other fantasy advice columnists are falling over themselves answering. These will be issues that come from you, and all I can say is the better the questions you ask the better the answers I give.

I hope the answers will amuse you, and I hope they will always make you think about how and why you play this compelling game. And maybe they'll help you play the game better. Maybe.

Before I sign off on this reintroductory column, I thought this might be a good place to introduce some of the results of a major study I did in the offseason. What I did, basically, was derive bona fide roto draft prices for all players in every season since 1900, for pitchers and hitters. The results are really interesting, and so I share some of them here happily and with an eye to using your reactions to refine them.

For instance, I'm not happy that so many of the all-time great roto pitching seasons occurred during the dead ball era. This is counter-intuitive to me. Yet it is hard to dismiss the amazing accomplishments (relative to their leagues) of that period's premier pitchers. And it's foolish to underestimate the impact that 464 innings of a 1.42 ERA and 40 wins--Ed Walsh's performance in 1908--might have on a roto team. In fact, as my entire 1999 staff is on pace to win 56 games, I shudder to think.

So, without further ado or explanation, here are the 20th Century Roto Top 10 Lists:

10 Greatest Roto Hitting Seasons

Name                 Year       AB      AVG    HR   RBI  SB    PK$
TY COBB               1909     573     0.377     9  107  76    $78
BABE RUTH             1920     458     0.376    54  137  14    $69
GEORGE SISLER         1920     631     0.407    19  122  42    $69
BABE RUTH             1921     540     0.378    59  171  17    $68
HONUS WAGNER          1908     568     0.354    10  109  53    $68
TY COBB               1911     591     0.420     8  127  83    $65
KEN WILLIAMS          1922     585     0.332    39  155  37    $65
TY COBB               1917     588     0.383     6  102  55    $64
TY COBB               1910     506     0.383     8   91  65    $64
BABE RUTH             1927     540     0.356    60  164   7    $63

10 Greatest Roto Pitching Seasons

Pitcher              Year       IP      ERA     W  Ratio SV    PK$
ED WALSH              1908   464.0      1.42    40 7.74   6    $80
JOE McGINNITY         1904   408.0      1.61    35 8.67   5    $79
ED WALSH              1910   369.7      1.27    18 7.38   5    $72
CY YOUNG              1901   371.3      1.62    33 8.75   0    $72
CHRISTY MATHEWSON     1908   390.7      1.43    37 7.53   5    $71
PETE ALEXANDER        1915   376.3      1.22    31 7.58   3    $69
WALTER JOHNSON        1913   346.0      1.14    36 7.02   2    $69
CHRISTY MATHEWSON     1905   338.7      1.28    31 8.40   2    $68
ED WALSH              1912   393.0      2.15    27 9.76  10    $67
CY YOUNG              1903   341.7      2.08    28 8.72   2    $67

10 Greatest Roto Career Hitters

Player               Last     Years   Career PK$  Avg PK$
TY COBB               1928      24      $960      $40
BABE RUTH             1934      20      $872      $44
HANK AARON            1976      23      $775      $34
WILLIE MAYS           1973      22      $764      $35
RICKEY HENDERSON      1998      22      $746      $34
LOU BROCK             1979      19      $681      $36
HONUS WAGNER          1917      18      $649      $36
TRIS SPEAKER          1928      21      $641      $31
SAM CRAWFORD          1916      17      $632      $37
EDDIE COLLINS         1927      20      $620      $31
MEL OTT               1945      19      $608      $32
FRANK ROBINSON        1975      20      $605      $30
STAN MUSIAL           1963      21      $595      $28
LOU GEHRIG            1938      14      $594      $42
ROGERS HORNSBY        1933      17      $580      $34
MICKEY MANTLE         1968      18      $558      $31
JOE MORGAN            1984      19      $557      $29
JIMMIE FOXX           1945      18      $556      $31
TED WILLIAMS          1960      18      $553      $31
PAUL MOLITOR          1998      20      $540      $27

10 Greatest Roto Career Pitchers

Pitcher               Last     Years   CareerPK$  Avg PK$
WALTER JOHNSON        1927      21      $785      $37
PETE ALEXANDER        1930      21      $616      $29
CHRISTY MATHEWSON     1916      17      $605      $36
LEFTY GROVE           1941      17      $546      $32
WARREN SPAHN          1965      22      $500      $23
CY YOUNG              1911      13      $470      $36
DENNIS ECKERSLEY      1998      25      $469      $19
ED WALSH              1917      13      $453      $35
HOYT WILHELM          1972      23      $448      $19
CARL HUBBELL          1943      16      $447      $28
TOM SEAVER            1986      22      $440      $20
MORDECAI BROWN        1916      12      $424      $35
ROLLIE FINGERS        1985      16      $418      $26
DON SUTTON            1988      25      $417      $17
EDDIE PLANK           1917      16      $399      $25
ROBIN ROBERTS         1966      21      $396      $19
GAYLORD PERRY         1983      25      $376      $15
ROGER CLEMENS         1998      15      $364      $24
TED LYONS             1946      21      $358      $17
RICH GOSSAGE          1994      23      $358      $16

Have a question for Rotoman? Contact him directly at rotoman@baseballprospectus.com.

Related Content:  Ty Cobb

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