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Tuesday 28th Mar 2017

It is common knowledge that savvy fantasy baseball players do not chase Wins. We know that, don’t we?

Sure we do. However, all player ratings and projections appear as if Wins were the most prominent of the five Roto categories. Open anyone’s projections spreadsheet, sort by $ value and you will most likely find the pitchers in descending order of the Wins column. Or very close to it. The spreadsheets are essentially saying, heck no, screaming loudly that the good pitchers are those with the most wins.

Nevertheless, Wins is just one of the five Roto categories and points are points. Let’s look at the ERA, WHIP and K categories of this year’s expert league winners. In Tout Wars AL (Schechter had 33 out of the possible 36 points for K, ERA and WHIP), NL (Cockcroft 35/36), Mixed (Zinkie 40/45); in LABR AL (Schechter 33/36), NL (Ambrosius 32/36), Mixed (Zinkie 41/45) and in my own KFFL-BAD, the winner, Steve Gardner (USA Today), had accumulated 32 out of 36 points. It seems that all the winning teams had done extremely well in these three categories.

The reality is that if we go after strikeouts and low WHIP, and possibly low ERA, wins will follow. The biggest negative of concentrating on Wins as the main valuation category is overspending for the top pitchers. That said, the re-positioning of the pitchers based on a new valuation of K, ERA and WHIP would not change the spreadsheet drastically. Some pitchers, like Zack Greinke, may move down by a few spots and Madison Bumgarner may move up, but not by a lot. However, the spreadsheet ranking will be closer to the perspective held by the experts.

Here is the suggestion for a formula to edit and re-adjust the spreadsheets accordingly.

First, let’s delete pitchers who are projected to pitch less than 100 to 120 innings, say 110, a good number. That leaves 150 or so pitchers on the spreadsheet, a sufficient number for a mixed league. Deletion will also eliminate the closers.

Let’s look at this spreadsheet below (taken from an old 2013 set of pitcher projections) where, to simplify, several columns were removed. I left only four rows; the real spreadsheet will be over 150 rows long.

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

Player

AGE

W

IP

K

ERA

WHIP

MIX12

MIX15

NEW

Verlander, Justin

30

20

237

237

2.620

1.017

$38

$38

J2

Kershaw, Clayton

25

17

226

237

2.628

1.053

$33

$34

 

Strasburg, Stephen

25

15

205

237

2.854

1.059

$28

$28

 

Lee, Cliff

35

16

223

215

3.027

1.085

$26

$26

 

On your spreadsheet, insert a column on the right. In this example, the new column is J. The formula for column J would be as follows: (place cursor in the cell that has J2 in this example and type:

=AVERAGE(RANK(E2,$E$2:$E$5,0), RANK(F2,$F$2:$F$5,0), RANK(G2,$G$2:$G$5,0)

You must change this formula to use the columns from your spreadsheet. Here, E is for the strikeouts column, F for ERA and G for WHIP. Your spreadsheet will be different. The first RANK is for column E, strikeouts, the second for ERA and the third RANK is for WHIP. You can re-adjust this formula and, say, remove the first RANK if you want to average on ERA and WHIP only. Alternatively, have any combination, for that matter, or more than one column, each with different ranking based averages. Once you have the formula entered for the first cell, pull it down to the end of the spreadsheet. That will populate the column. Then re-sort based on column J.

Also note that this example has only four rows that go from row 2 to row 5. Your formula will have the number of the last row in place of the number 5.

Do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any questions about the formula.

Once re-sorted, the spreadsheet will emphasize K, ERA and WHIP.

All this is nice, but we cannot ignore a pitcher’s age and durability, two important factors to consider when drafting. Age is available on Mastersball’s spreadsheet. At this point, the only missing item is prediction of who will get hurt in-season and who will not. I will be eternally grateful if you can send me a formula to predict that.

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