It had been a couple years since I bought Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster as my preseasons have been preoccupied with building our tools, running analyses, and optimizing our Steamer-based projections. But after enjoying Larry Schechter’s Winning Fantasy Baseball last January, it felt like a good time to solicit second opinions.

Baseball Forecaster has been a yearly production by BaseballHQ since 1986. While Ron Shandler is still involved, the book is produced by a team that is now led by Co-Editors Ray Murphy and Brent Hershey. I have played in a couple of expert leagues with BaseballHQ contributors and – to date – it has not gone so well for ol’ Rudy (if they played RCL, I’d like my chances).

So after last year’s frustrating expert league performance, I decided to leverage Baseball Forecaster as a sanity check against players that my system loved more/less than consensus…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There is so much great Hall of Fame analysis currently online – e.g., Jay Jaffe’s SI series, Bonah (Ben Lindbergh and Jonah Keri) on Grantland, Tom Tango, several ESPN writers – that I feel I have little to add. I find myself agreeing with much of this analysis and the general sabermetric consensus that the ballot is ridiculously packed with HOF-worthy talent.

So rather than provide derivative HOF analysis, this post provides a fantasy baseball spin on all the players I feel deserve HOF-entrance. I threw in a few non-fantasy points/links where I thought it interesting.

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After hitting the ‘Publish’ button on my recent post titled ‘Razzball Streamonator TKO’s ESPN Fantasy Forecaster‘, I pictured reading and answering the comments to be like a victory lap*.  Look at me, I’m Cal Ripken!  While I got a healthy share of pats on the back from Razzball Nation (thanks as always!), some commenters were also kind enough to note that Streamonator and Hittertron could learn something from the ESPN Fantasy Forecaster – notably the handy dandy 7-day grid with all the probable starters.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The ESPN Fantasy Forecaster is a comprehensive weekly post chocked full of information to help fantasy baseballers in weekly leagues.  It is penned (typed?) by FSWA Hall of Famer Tristan Cockcroft who, incidentally, is our favorite ESPN fantasy baseball writer and someone very well-liked and respected among experts.

Each week, the ESPN Fantasy Forecaster estimates the value of every start with a ‘Game Score‘ – a metric devised by Bill James. It is unclear whether Tristan calculates the estimated Game Scores or this comes from someone else at ESPN.

This post is a head-to-head test of our Streamonator vs the ESPN Fantasy Forecaster to see which is better at predicting pitcher starts/stream values.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I remember the first book I ever bought on fantasy baseball. It was titled ‘Rotisserie League Baseball’ by Glen Waggoner and Robert Sklar. I purchased it at one of those bookstores that only appeared in malls (B. Dalton? Walden Books?). It must have been around the 1988 or 1989 season as I can recall that Gerald Young had a high $ because of his SB prowess (one that peaked with 65 SBs in 1988 and cratered in 1989 with a preposterous 34 SB / 25 CS.).

Somewhere within the pages of this paperback gem was the origin story of fantasy baseball. As origin stories go, it was remarkably believable (versus, say, Abner Doubleday inventing baseball). Daniel Okrent came up with the idea and pitched it to a number of writer/editor friends in 1979 at a New York restaurant called La Rôtisserie Française. To think, if he brought it up one week earlier, we might all be playing Beefsteak Charlie Baseball instead of Rotisserie Baseball. I recall the authors of this book – who were part of this group – teasing Okrent because his team (the Okrent Fenokees) had yet to win a season (he never did win one).

This is all a preface as to why when asked if we would help promote the e-book release of one of Daniel Okrent’s books, I signed us up. This is the man that invented WHIP! Without him, how else would have I occupied all those thousands of hours? Spend time with friends and family? Contribute to society? Invest myself in an actual MLB team?

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It has been almost 2 years since we launched our first daily fantasy baseball tool (Streamonator in 2012).  Since then, we have launched several other tools such as Rest of Season Player Rater + Hittertron in 2013 and DFSBot in 2014.

Razzball Nation has been a huge part of these tools from the start – both in encouraging us to create them and providing ongoing feedback to make them better (e.g., we now report ‘next week’ data on Fridays to assist those in weekly roster leagues, added game time, etc).

But one valid ‘ask’ that we have not been able to deliver until now is:  “How accurate are Razzball daily projections?”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our fantasy baseball pitcher (Streamonator) and hitter (Hittertron) tools are designed to help make their daily and weekly decisions. Should I stream a starting pitcher? Which hitter should I pick up? Whom do I sit/start? Et cetera.

Some of you who play Daily Fantasy Sports leagues like (our DFS sponsor) DraftKings probably use Streamonator and Hittertron to help choose your daily lineup.  I hope the tools have been helpful though I realize they were never ideal – notably, because 5×5 value does not necessarily equal a daily fantasy baseball site’s point structure.

Well, good news. We now have a tool specifically designed for those of you who play daily fantasy baseball games.

Introducing the DFSBot (GIF/JPGs submissions welcomed).

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sonny Gray – aka “The Oxymornic Forecast” – stormed through Texas with a 3-hit shutout (6 K’s) that netted him his 4th win and an ERA/WHIP of 1.76/1.14. Not bad for a 16-year old if you ask me. Is he getting a little lucky? Yes he is, question I just asked myself. But he certainly looks like (at least) a top 25 SP right now and has the benefit of a nice home park. Makes me wish I had him on one of my eleventy teams (why don’t you like him Steamer?)

Anyway, the other oxymoronic Grey asked me to pinch-hit as he was going to a ‘one-man show’ tonight. Hoping that isn’t code for renting a hotel room by himself and running up adult movie charges on the Razzball corporate card.

Please, blog, may I have some more?