Friday, March 11, 2011

Analyzing Fantasy Baseball Heuristics - Part One

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Jorge De La Rosa
2011 Goose Joak Original

Tonight, on the eve of my first draft, I look at the last three years worth of fantasy baseball rankings and draw some conclusions.


Heuristic #1: Don't spend a lot on pitching, because pitching is fluky
My Finding: Well...it may surprise you.  Over the last two years, elite hitters do not seem less risk averse than elite pitchers.

Consider:

1a. Elite pitchers did not slip up.  And, get this -- they held their ground equally or better than top ten hitters.
  • Based on Yahoo's preseason rankings, half of the top ten preseason pitchers in 2010 are still top ten preseason pitchers in 2011
    • Other than Wainwright and Santana -- who are injured -- the lowest any of them dropped to in the 2011 preseason rankings was 20th 
    • MLB.com is the exact same.  Half of the top ten preseason pitchers in 2010 are still in the top ten preseason pitchers for 2011.
      • Only 4 of the top 10 preseason hitters in 2010 are still in the top ten preseason hitters for 2010!
  • Based on Yahoo's preseason rankings, half of the top ten preseason pitchers in 2009 were still top ten preseason pitchers in 2010.
    • Other than Brandon Webb -- who was injured -- the lowest any of them dropped to in the 2010 preseason rankings was 24th
    • MLB.com is the exact same.  Half of the top ten preseason pitchers in 2009 were still in the top ten preseason pitchers for 2010
      • The exact same is true of hitters!
1b. While new pitchers emerge, guys do not become elite overnight
  • Of the top ten pitchers going into 2011, the lowest rated going into 2010 was Cliff Lee -- no slouch at #20
  • Of the top ten pitchers going into 2010, the lowest rated going into 2009 was Justin Verlander -- more unexpected, but not a slouch at #34
  • The highest rated pitchers of 2011, who were not ranked in the top 72 of 2010 (roughly the active list of SP in any league) were:
    • Brandon Morrow (NR to 29)
    • Dan Hudson (NR to 31)
    • Phil Hughes (NR to 36)
    • Madison Bumgarner (NR to 38)
  • The highest ranked pitchers of 2010, who were not ranked in the top 72 of 2009 (roughly the active list of SP in any league) were:
    • Brett Anderson (NR to 32)
    • Clay Buchholz (NR to 38)
    • Tim Hudson (NR to 40)
    • Kevin Slowey (NR to 41)
My Conclusion: Big bats are still important.  But don't be afraid of quality arms.  And don't expect an ace to appear out of rubbish.

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