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Roto Fantasy Baseball: A Can't Miss Mathematical Approach to Hitters

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Roto Fantasy Baseball: A Can't Miss Mathematical Approach to Hitters
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Who’s your favorite baseball player? 

If you’re a die hard fantasy baseball owner, the answer should be, “They have names?” 

Fantasy baseball is a stats game, plain and simple.  Quite frankly, you don’t care if your starting shortstop swindles retirement checks from old people or feeds homeless puppies in the offseason.  Unless, of course, he’s heading to the big house or catches rabies. 

The fact is, you care about his stat line. All a player's name should be to you is a place holder for those stats. 

Far too many owners are drawn to "their guys” come draft time, and this is often a fatal mistake in the fantasy baseball world.  So, how do we eliminate the bias from your fantasy roster?  The answer is old fashion arithmetic. Specifically, Dominance Factor (DF).

Obviously the goal for any fantasy baseball owner is to create a roster that makes you competitive across the board and allows you to compete for a championship.  Throughout a draft, this becomes a balancing act. 

You’ll undoubtedly be faced with decisions over which player to take at certain points in your draft.  Is Michael Bourn’s superior speed worth passing on Shin-Soo Choo’s overall game?  Odds are the current way you are drafting your team leads you to having no idea. 

DF gives you a tool to make these decisions.

To understand DF, you need to be familiar with two imaginary players.  The first player is the fantasy stud.  He projects to lead the league in just about everything.  For this player, think Babe Ruth with Ricky Henderson speed.  His stat line is: .320, 40HR, 120RBI, 120R, 50SB.

Marc Serota/Getty Images

The second player is the fantasy bum.  This player has a stat line similar to what happens when a guy who should be in triple A starts all season in the Big Leagues.  Basically, we are talking about the entire Houston Astros lineup last season.  His stat line is: .250, 10HR, 40RBI, 40R, 10SB.

Obviously, you want your players to be as close to the stud’s line as possible to be competitive, but there just are not that many guys even close to that level of production.  However, with a simple formula you can easily compare your options as your draft unfolds.

The first step is to get a set of reliable projections.  Living in an Internet world makes this a breeze. 

Simply typing “2012 MLB player projections” in a search engine gets you almost 6 million options from which to choose. This brings me back to emphasizing the word "reliable."  You must find a reliable source.

If Billy down the street thinks Jeter will hit .300 this year, I don’t put a lot of stock in it.  If Bill James says it, I’ll like my chances.

Once you have exported the projections to a spreadsheet, you’re ready to put in your formula. 

One thing to always remember is that all five stats in a 5x5 roto league are equally waited.  With that knowledge, you must realize that some players can gain your team five points in a category, but at the same time, lose you five points in another—Michael Bourn is a prime example. 

Marc Serota/Getty Images

DF takes this into account when applied. 

The formula measures how dominate a player is as a complete roto baseball player.  DF consists of all five roto categories, each worth 20 points that are summed to create 100 total potential points. 

The goal is to evaluate how much closer a player is to the stud than the bum, and you’ll do this by taking the percentage of the difference and multiplying by 20 for each category. 

Stay with me. 

It’s less complicated than it sounds.  A good example to use would be Matt Kemp.  Assume Kemp to project to a stat line of: .295, 31HR, 104RBI, 97R, 31SB.

As with most players, he falls some where between the stud and the bum.  To calculate DF and evaluate his value to a team, subtract the bum's stat from the player's stat for each category and divide by the difference between the bum and the stud.  Then multiple the resulting number by 20 to get his value for each category. 

Using Matt Kemp’s average as an example you would have: (.295-.250)/(.320-.250)x20 = 12.86 Points.

For the other stats, you would do the same thing giving Kemp:

Average: 12.86 points

Home Runs: 14 points

RBIs: 16 points

Runs: 14.25 Points

Stolen Bases: 10.5 Points

Adding all of these together, Matt Kemp ends up with a DF of 67.61.  With the projections I have, he ranks No. 4 in the league in DF behind Ryan Braun (74.25), Albert Pujols (71.62) and Miguel Cabrera (70.91). 

To further put this in perspective, he projects to be twice as valuable as Drew Stubbs (35.19) and Jason Heyward (34.08). 

While it may seem complicated, if you use Excel and place average, HR, RBI, R and SB in the C through G columns and paste the below formula in column H, you will have the DF for every single player in seconds. 

DF formula for Excel for Column H:

=((C2-0.25)/0.07)*20+((D2-10)/30)*20+((E2-40)/80)*20+((F2-40)/80)*20+((G2-10)/40)*20

Using one simple formula you can take into account how much a players weaknesses hurt you and easily see if his strengths make up for these deficiencies. 

That, my friends, is how to use simple math and a simple spreadsheet to dominate your fantasy league this season and win bragging rights until you get to do it all over in 2013. 

Have a great season!

 

UPDATE:

The starting pitcher and closer aricles can be found at:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1094653-roto-fantasy-baseball-part-2-a-cant-miss-mathematical-approach-to-starting-pit

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1096316-roto-fantasy-baseball-part-3-a-cant-miss-mathematical-approach-to-closers

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