Friday, February 24, 2012

The Boy and His Baseball Game

I hope to join Full Spectrum Baseball in their fantasy baseball league opportunity and here is a story to outline all of my credentials.

Dear Mr. Fantasy recently wrote an article entitled Fantasy Baseball: An Early Form of Social Media. He recollected his first fantasy baseball league in 1992. Twenty years ago! I thought it would be neat to recollect my fantasy baseball history as well.

The title of this post was inspired by a story written by Day[9]TV, "The Boy And His Game."

If you read my introductory post when this blog was first created in September of 2011 or read my About section, then you know I have been a huge baseball fan since I was very young. I could not play well, so I did the only things available to an nonathletic nerd: I went to games, followed the statistics, and collected baseball cards. When that wasn't enough, I decided to take it a step further and created my own fantasy baseball league. Of course I never called it fantasy baseball because I did not yet realize it existed.

This began with a simple game I received when I was only ten years old. It involved placing baseball cards into their corresponding positions on a mat shaped like a baseball field, then you would spin a wheel to determine the fate of the batter (single, double, strikeout, etc). This enhanced my craving for more baseball cards and held my interest for a while until I yearned for more.

I decided to expand upon this idea sometime after my parents purchased our family's first computer, an Apple Macintosh Performa LC 500 series. It was an "all-in-one" with the system built into the monitor. The most unique feature was the CD-ROM drive that popped out like a cassette. I eventually got the hang of how to use a computer and wanted to use it for everything.

All of the data I created and recorded before the computer has since been lost because everything at the time was done by hand. A new era began in 1996 when I was a mere twelve years old. Of course I cannot recollect everything from that time period as it was half a lifetime ago, but I can infer everything I found stored in my 15 year old binder.

"Ryan's Baseball League" was not your typical fantasy baseball league. It began simply as a transposition of one team's record into another fictional team I created. The leagues were laid out identically to the MLB at the time and teams were matched up by randomly assigning them from out of a hat (i.e. Phoenix Falcons = Houston Astros, Denver Avalance = California Angels, etc). I gathered the data from our local newspaper since we did not have the internet quite yet and calculated the standings. Keep in mind, I was only twelve years old.

I asked some of my friends to become managers in my league in 1997. Eight people agreed to join and I decided to take the league a step further by drafting the players to the teams as well. I do not recall how the players were drafted, though I am certain some favoritism was involved for teams with human managers. I determined both league's MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and wrote a story about their playoff race.

The most notable addition to this season was the addition of two new teams to bring the team total to 30 and balance the leagues at 15 teams each. Why is this special? The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks were added to the MLB in 1998, so how on earth did I come up with the standings? I wish I could recall how I decided upon the team standings in 1997 because it may explain what happened next.

The league continued into 1998 with the addition of two more managers. I must have stumbled upon MacPaint while I was feeling exceptionally creative because I made logos for all 30 teams. Most of them are pretty lame, then I remember I was fourteen. I have to admit I am quite proud of my logos I created for the Charlotte Spurs, Atlanta Heat, Cleveland Cobras, and San Antonio Suns. My girlfriend liked the Denver Avalanche, Houston Black Hawks, Jacksonville Manta Rays, and Seattle Squids. This was also the year I discovered Comic Sans as you can see from the photos.

The league rolled along without much change from the previous season. The standings were determined and the playoff stories were written. One of the newest additions to the league included statistical leaders to support my awards. A quick glance at Baseball Reference shows I must have gathered the data from the newspaper once again.

The most exciting thing I discovered from this binder was the last photo I included in the album, Stadiums of "Ryan's League." The first thing I asked myself when I rediscovered these pages was "Did I to figure out park factors?" I was a smart kid, but I don't believe I can credit myself for that.

Unfortunately that is where the binder ends and I can only assume why because of a combination of several reasons: 1) My friends no longer cared for baseball as the Pirates were constantly losing, 2) I was in middle school and had trouble finding the time, 3) Girls became attractive once they lost their cooties, and 4) I found fantasy baseball online.

As you can see, I am a fantasy baseball veteran and intend to manage at least five teams this season. I have not placed higher than fourth since returning in 2010, but plan to change that this year. Although I experienced I hiatus from the sport during the mid-2000s, I am following the game more closely than ever. Why else would I have a blog about baseball?

If there is prevailing interest in my childhood baseball league binder, then I may properly scan all the pages from my binder to include in the album but keep in mind it's extensive. Leave a comment or contact me via Twitter/Facebook/email if you're interested!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Yahoo Top 400 Rankings

Did anyone else realize it is unusually difficult to access the Yahoo fantasy baseball player rankings?

Yahoo's baseball experts published their top 100 recently, but that is a far cry from what is needed to prepare for your draft. Not including Yahoo on my list is ridiculous as they are one of the fantasy sports leaders, especially if your teams are drafted here, so I tried to reach out to them for answers:

This was problematic as I am not planning on drafting my first team at least until March. Luckily I have a friend who already has a team and was gracious enough to copy the data into a spreadsheet for me. It took a lot of time from his afternoon and I am very thankful for it.

While he did this for me, I jumped into a mock draft by myself and copied their overall draft rankings to compare them against the experts. All of this data can be found in my updated spreadsheet which is still available via the tab on the top of this page or you can simply click here.

Additionally, I want to provide this data we retrieved to everyone. You can access this spreadsheet using the following link. Some names may be slightly misspelled and it's not as "pretty," but it's legitimate data from Yahoo. Please use it and enjoy it.

Yahoo Top 400 - 2012 Rankings

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fantasy Foot Race

One for the money...
You may not be keeping a watchful eye on my post that contains my 2012 fantasy baseball overall ranks, but it has been updated several times since it was first re-published on February 2nd. In case you don't have the page bookmarked already, you can access the list using the tab on the top of the page or this link.

Several new contributors were selected in addition to those who were previously mentioned. These new websites include Fantasy Baseball Cafe, Fox Sports, and The Hardball Times.

I would very much like to include Yahoo's list, but it is only available to players who currently have a team or have an official draft scheduled. I do not intend to draft my first team until at least March 1st after Spring Training actually starts. They do have a top 100 available to the general public, but I am avoiding lists shorter than 250 players. If you happen to have this list available to you and would like to share it with me and everyone else by proxy, then please contact me.

Two for the show...
In my travels across the web, I discovered two websites who had the same idea as mine. Feel free to check them out and compare my list to theirs.

Fantasy Pros - Expert Consensus Ranking
Mr. Cheatsheet - 2012 Roto Draft Cheatsheet

Three to get set...
I took my spreadsheet for a test drive in a three mock drafts just to see how it functioned, if it worked at all. Check out the results and let me know what you think:

Mock Draft #1 Mock Draft #2 Mock Draft #3
Draft Position: 3rd
1. Albert Pujols (LAA - 1B)
2. Andrew McCutchen (Pit - OF)
3. Cliff Lee (Phi - SP)
4. Ben Zobrist (TB - 2B,OF)
5. Mike Napoli (Tex - C,1B)
6. Yu Darvish (Tex - SP)
7. Asdrubal Cabrera (Cle - SS)
8. Drew Stubbs (Cin - OF)
9. Brian Wilson (SF - RP)
10. Jesus Montero (Sea - Util)
11. Chris Young (Ari - OF)
12. Sergio Santos (Tor - RP)
13. Shaun Marcum (Mil - SP)
14. Mike Moustakas (KC - 3B)
15. Adam Lind (Tor - 1B)
16. Derek Holland (Tex - SP)
17. Doug Fister (Det - SP)
18. Matt Joyce (TB - OF)
19. Colby Lewis (Tex - SP)
20. Chris Capuano (LAD - SP)
21. Trevor Cahill (Ari - SP)
22. David Robertson (NYY - RP)
23. Zack Cozart (Cin - SS)
Draft Position: 10th
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (Bos - OF)
2. Evan Longoria (TB - 3B)
3. Matt Holliday (StL - OF)
4. Carlos Santana (Cle - C,1B)
5. Eric Hosmer (KC - 1B)
6. Brandon Phillips (Cin - 2B)
7. James Shields (TB - SP)
8. Carl Crawford (Bos - OF)
9. Adam Wainwright (StL - SP)
10. Joel Hanrahan (Pit - RP)
11. Nick Markakis (Bal - OF)
12. Chris Carpenter (StL - SP)
13. Jason Motte (StL - RP)
14. Doug Fister (Det - SP)
15. Emilio Bonifacio (Mia - 3B,SS,OF)
16. Matt Joyce (TB - OF)
17. Colby Lewis (Tex - SP)
18. Ryan Roberts (Ari - 2B,3B)
19. Roy Oswalt (Phi - SP)
20. Trevor Cahill (Ari - SP)
21. Jonny Venters (Atl - RP)
22. Mike Trout (LAA - OF)
23. Shelby Miller (StL - RP)
Draft Position: 12th
1. Evan Longoria (TB - 3B)
2. Dustin Pedroia (Bos - 2B)
3. Matt Holliday (StL - OF)
4. Mike Napoli (Tex - C,1B)
5. Eric Hosmer (KC - 1B)
6. Jon Lester (Bos - SP)
7. Mariano Rivera (NYY - RP)
8. Drew Storen (Was - RP)
9. Drew Stubbs (Cin - OF)
10. Mat Latos (Cin - SP)
11. Freddie Freeman (Atl - 1B)
12. Jordan Zimmermann (Was - SP)
13. Nick Markakis (Bal - OF)
14. Erick Aybar (LAA - SS)
15. Ervin Santana (LAA - SP)
16. Jaime GarcĂ­a (StL - SP)
17. John Danks (CWS - SP)
18. Matt Joyce (TB - OF)
19. Trevor Cahill (Ari - SP)
20. Jose Tabata (Pit - OF)
21. Ryan Roberts (Ari - 2B,3B)
22. Ricky Nolasco (Mia - SP)
23. Tyler Clippard (Was - RP)

And four to go!
Just a friendly reminder to experiment in these mock drafts while given the opportunity. This season I am considering spending a pick on a non-closer relief pitcher in order to buffer my ERA and WHIP categories. There's no better place to test strategies than mock drafts.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2012 Overall Fantasy Baseball Rankings

Updated April 2, 2012 *The average draft round (ADR) presumes your participation in a standard 12 team league.

Code Website Name Twitter Weighted Value Last Update
CBS CBS Fantasy Sports @CBSFantasyBB
April 2
CHGM ClubHouse GM @ClubHouseGM
February 17
ESPN ESPN Fantasy Staff @ESPNFantasy
March 30
FBC Fantasy Baseball Cafe @FBC_GiantsFan14
February 24
FBCJ Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks @FBCrackerjacks
February 12
FGD Fantasy Gameday @Fantasy_Gameday
March 6
FOX FOX Sports @FOXSportsFowler
March 7
MB Matthew Berry from ESPN @MatthewBerryTMR
March 20
RB Razzball @Razzball
February 23
RC Roto Champ @RotoChamp
April 1
RS Roto Summit @JesseSakstrup
March 26
THC Tristan H. Cockcroft from ESPN @SultanofStat
March 27
THT The Hardball Times @THTFantasy
April 1
YAVG Yahoo Draft Average @YahooFantasy
April 2
YHOO Yahoo Experts @YahooNoise
April 2

Players who will not play in 2012 were removed to avoid the possibility of old data misleading anyone.

I will try to make every attempt to update this page frequently to make sure the information is up to date. Please contact me with any errors you may discover or if you find another reputable website with a similar top overall ranking. I've compiled the data from the following websites to create the average rank for nearly 500 players. If a player did not appear on a resource's list, then they were assigned a static value of 500.

What is the purpose of this spreadsheet?
Everyone has their own opinions regarding where a baseball player should be ranked during a fantasy baseball draft. These opinions are ever evolving, especially during the offseason while some men are still seeking a new home. How can you trust one resource? This is a compilation of lists sorted using unweighted as well as weighted rankings. The weighted value was determined for each website depending upon how many individuals were polled for their overall list.

Why should I care about standard deviation?
A low standard deviation indicates the data points tend to be very close to the mean, whereas high standard deviation indicates the data points are spread out over a large range of values. Simply put, it is a measure of confidence between every website I referenced.

For example, every website ranked Albert Pujols in their top three which is why he has the lowest standard deviation and why you should draft him with the highest confidence. Most of your top round candidates have a standard deviation of 20 or lower, so you can presume a score higher than 20 represents some sort of risk.
Standard deviation may not actually indicate a possible performance issue as it may just represent indecision. A great example is Yu Darvish who is a potential ace, but no one can be sure as he has never faced batters in the Major League. He was generally ranked anywhere from 79th to 131st, which means he can be expected to draft somewhere between rounds 7 and 11. FOX was the greatest outlier who ranked him the highest at 253, but don't count on him staying on the board that long.

This wariness allows you the potential to draft someone later as long as everyone else in your draft carries the same mutual uncertainty, but Yu better not count on it.

Sorry, I went there.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not Dead, Just Planning Ahead

I realize it has been over two weeks since my last article, but I am still alive and kicking. I have been working on several ideas at once rather than one at a time, but the most notable will be published tomorrow. I finally received the data I was waiting on in order to continue my fantasy baseball draft compilation and found a way to have it "automatically" update itself. Everything was entered manually up until that point, so doing this helped me recognize and correct several small errors, such as players who were ranked incorrectly, missing, and sorted improperly. Get excited!

Here are a few topics I'm still working on. Feel free to express any enthusiasm or disinterest.
  • Payroll Win Efficiency: How much does a team pay to win?
  • How Houston Moving Affects the MLB
  • MLB Divisional Travel Efficiency
  • League Realignment Proposals
  • MLB Expansion Ideas
  • How to Expand the MLB Playoffs

I have been enjoying a baseball simulation game called Two Out Rally which is a multiplayer online role-playing game. You play the game as a scout who can create players, write their stories, distribute their skill points, sign a contract with a team, train, and essentially help guide their destiny as a baseball player. You also have the ability to create and run your own team.

Season 12 just started with the introduction of Gamecast, which was inspired by the style of the ESPN baseball Gamecast. The developers are very responsive to ideas and there are always scouts around to help. If you're interested, then you should check them out and create a player using the link below so I can refer you.

In other news, my girlfriend suddenly became a baseball card collecting enthusiast when she saw the newest Rally Squirrel baseball card coming in 2012 Topps Series 1. I admit. It is cute.

Before you leave today, please cast your vote for my 2012 fantasy baseball team names based upon the formerly popular Super Nintendo game, Super Baseball 2020. Select as many names as you want. Thanks!

Fantasy Baseball Team Names:

Which team names should be chosen from Super Baseball 2020?

American Dreams
Tokyo Samurais
Naples Seagulls
Taiwan Megapowers
Korea Dragoon
Battle Angels
Battle Heroes
Ninja Blacksox
Aussie Battlers
Mechanical Brains
Metal Slashers
Tropical Girls free polls