Friday, June 19, 2009

Well, I'm an idiot

So, in my last post I did some work with standardizing scores. I'll leave it up because I'm an idiot.

When I was adding up standardized scores, I didn't take into account negative categories, where lower is better than higher (Losses, ERA, WHIP) so my rankings got all switched around.

I started playing with this idea because the (wrong) results were pretty cool and caught my mistake today.

Here are the same tables from the last post in their corrent form. (Again, click links to see the full pic).

Basically there was no movement in the standings except a few people who were close in the standings would flip. Whoopity-do!

Also, my all Steals, no pitching idea would flop horribly.

The no pitching would actually not be the horrible part. Because there are 3 negative categories in the league, I would be on the good side of an outlier for those, but would be on the bad side for the three positive categories (W, K, SV). If I dropped my pitching stats to 0 in the above league, I would have a +.86 combined z-score for pitching as opposed to the -.75 I currently have. The overall swing would be 1.61 or so and would jump me from 6th to 4th.

On the hitting front though, any gains in SB, even if I managed a standardized score over 3, would be more than counteracted by losses in RBI and HR, not to mention the OPS we use in that league.

What a failure of a day and post.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Standardized Scores

So, the past few weeks I've been mathing up the couple of fantasy leagues I manage. Mostly, I've been converting weekly head-to-head play results into rotisserie league scores. In the league I've been in the longest, we are already rotisserie, so converting to head-to-head isn't all that easy or informative so I didn't do it. What I did think about was the ranking system.

In most rotisserie leagues, your accumulation of a certain stat is ranked against your peers. You are then assigned a number to go along with that rank, but the current system does not account for incremental changes at all. In a ten team league, the person with the best whatever gets 10 points and the next gets 9. If doesn't matter if the person in first is ahead of the next place by 1 run or 200 runs, they can only get 1 more point than the second place person.

I decided to look at what would happen if you gave out points based on standardized (z-scores) instead of ranks and here are the full results (click pic to see full pic).

And here are the much more managable summary results (no individual categories) (again click for full somewhat readable table).

First, it is amazing how much movement there would end up being in the standings. The current 5th place team rises, and convincingly, to first. The 1st and 3rd place teams both plummet. I suppose this means those dropping a lot may be winning several categories by a little and losing a few others by a lot. It could also mean that they are tanking a few categories along with other teams. If 3 or 4 teams give up on saves, then only 1 team appears at the true bottom of the rankings and gets 1 point, the others would get 2-4 points and not suffer than much from the tanked category.

On the other hand, if a category was particularly close and bunched together, someone may suffer and get a low ranking despite being close to the league average or even the league leaders. In the standardized system, they wouldn't lose many points and wouldn't be anchored trailing slightly in a tight race.

There's a lot of stuff to this system, and I find it pretty fascinating. One interesting note is that of the 100 possible spots (10 categories by 10 teams), I only caught 3 that would be considered outliers (past + or - 1.96) and all 3 were averages and not pure numbers. That is to say, based on the number of times per something else and not just the total result.

It would be interesting to see a league run this was for a season to see how you could exploit the system. I think if I were playing in this league, I would make a go at drafting an all steals offense and not even play a pitcher.

If you could get enough steals, your players would probably stay near average in runs and batting average. The gain from being so far above in steals would most likely more than make up for what you lose in HR and RBI.

As for the pitching, by giving up on wins, K's and saves, you'll be a low outlier. But first, you'll drag the overall average way down making you less of an outlier. Second, if you have a 0.00 ERA and WHIP, not to mention 0 losses in this league, you're likely to lead those categories by at least as much as you lose the stats.

Of course, all of that would be for not if someone else used the same strategy. Or would it?

NL- West

NL West

I was dead wrong about the Diamondbacks, but the rest I got right. Dodgers are playing very well.

Still, nobody cares about the NL West.

NL Central

The NL Central is the most interesting division in baseball for me. No team has been great, but no team has been awful either.

Lots of change from May, but a lot of that is based on the snap shot day I randomly took. The reality is that the top 2 are very close, the next two are really close and the bottom 2 are very close. Only 5.5 games separate top from bottom and 5 of the 6 teams have postive run differentials (a couple of just over even). Only the Astros look like they have been outwinning their play by staying near .500 despite a -38 run differential.

I still think that the Cubs have the potential to take over the division if any of their hitters start regressing back up to the mean. They should also get a shot in the arm from Aramis coming back and are likely to make some splash trade.

NL- East

NL East

Phillie remains the only impressive team in this division. The Marlins were a flash in the pan to open the season, but immediately after the last standings update fell off completely. I can see the Braves making a run if they make some good trades, but otherwise it will be the Mets chasing the Phillies until September.

It's worth noting that the Phillies, with their terrible starting pitching and closer, are playing way better than expected right now . The Mets are on the other side, playing well under their talent. For what its worth, people who believe in team chemistry have plenty of ammunition here as the Phillies appear to be riding the high of a championship while the Mets are expecting to collapse like they have the previous two years. Not sure if it is my proximity to NYC or actual general thought, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Mets pull a 2004 Red Sox and trade one of their faces for the right pieces. If I had to guess, I would say Reyes is more likely to be traded than either Beltran or Wright, especially as Wright seems to be the hope of the future.

Standings- AL West

AL West

Looks like the Mariners are in the same boat as the Blue Jays in falling back to Earth after a strong start. If I was rooting for my predictions, I would mention that how the Texas pitching reacts to the long summer heat remains to be seen. Without my predictions, I would now guess that there is a dogfight between the Angels and Rangers for the division with Seattle hanging around close enough to make a move if the other teams falter. Angels have been making a strong move very recently though.

Standings- AL Central

AL Central has completely kicked around both since May and my initial predictions. Not even a good trend here other than bad baseball in general.

Somehow I have 2 and 4 right, but have completely missed on 1, 3 and 5. The good news for the bottom half is that none of the teams are playing extremely well. The bad news for 4 of the 5 teams is that it looks like the wildcard will not be coming from the AL Central. Despite my initial thoughts, it looks like the AL Central has a better chance of being the division that others complain about as not worthy of a playoff spot instead of the division that others fear to play.

Mid-June Standings Look - AL East

Here's an almost mid-season look at the standings vs my predictions. I'll do separate posts for each division to make putting up the picks easier.

AL East

Well, the only difference in the standings since early May is that the Blue Jays have fallen back into the pack. Two points of interest: 1) The top 4 teams all have run differentials over +30. Only the Orioles have a negative run differential and they remain the only AL East team under .500. Worth noting that while the Rays and Jays are tied at 5 games back, the Rays have the AL's best run differential at +75.