If you’re like me, you enjoy fantasy baseball. If you’re even more like me, you are frustrated by some of the limitations of fantasy baseball. Most of the stats regularly used in the hobby are ones that very poorly reflect a player’s performance. Often, a player’s fantasy baseball stats such as runs scored, RBI, and wins are more a product of the team’s performance than the player himself. This causes some very good players on poor teams to be undervalued and worse players on better teams to be overvalued.
Another issue I have is the way certain players that dominate a particular category have so much fantasy value. Jacoby Ellsbury’s 70 steals last year have led him to be ranked the 6th best position player by ESPN.com. While Ellsbury is a good player, any system that ranks him above Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp is just silly. Another thing is that defense is essentially ignored completely. It’s hard to take a game seriously when Franklin Gutierrez’s defense in CF is valued the same as Vernon Wells’.
The problem with started a league based on advanced metrics such as UZR, wOBA, and wRC+ is that ESPN and Yahoo! don’t allow you to use them. Categories are very limited to say the least. I decided that instead of doing this; why not just use the stat that is generally regarded as the one that best encompasses a player’s value. I decided Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was the way to go. Since I’m more familiar with ESPN, I’ll be starting the league there. My plan is to have 20 teams, with each team having 5 keeper players from the real life team. That is, if you choose the Yankees, you might make your keeper players Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera, and CC Sabathia (whatever you see fit). The rest of the players will be pooled together and either drafted or auctioned. I will then do weekly calculations of the players’ performance based on their WAR numbers and post the weekly standings. We will essentially ignore ESPN’s standings as they’ll likely be different from mine.
Please let me know if you guys are interested by putting your email address in your comment and which team you’d like and I’ll send you an invite. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions about his.
Edit: I'm considering scrapping the pick a team, get 5 keepers idea in favor of just a straight draft. We'd still have keepers if we want to keep the league going in 2011, but they would just be your drafted players, not the ones from any specific team. I think this might create a greater appeal. Anybody who is interested let me know which you prefer.