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During the offseason, I wrote several posts criticizing the ESPN Player Rater and went as far as create my own to critique it.

Below are the links to these posts. Interesting reading if you’re a fantasy baseball or stat junkie. Much less interesting than smack if you are just a junkie.

Part 1: How Valid Is The ESPN Player Rater?

Part 2: Are Fantasy Baseball Pitchers Correctly Valued By Player Raters?

Part 3: How Do You Value Fantasy Baseball Hitters?

The whole journey to prove/disprove the ESPN Player Rater eventually led me to the Point Shares concept that is the foundation of my 2008 drafting and player valuation.

Anyway, I checked in on the ESPN Player Rater in 2008 and it looks like they listened to good ol’ Rudy. Some of the improvement I’m seeing:

  • Negative values (particularly in AVG, ERA, WHIP) – Where 2007′s version would have a floor at 0, the current rater penalizes very bad performance. CC Sabathia currently sports -3.31 points in ERA and -2.64 in WHIP.
  • No arbitrary cap at 5 points per category – I’m seeing some category leaders at 3 and Michael Bourn at a 7.64 for SB.

It’s too early to do a full assessment of the methodology. I figure I’ll do a Point Shares update at the All-Star Break and compare it then. But given the shit I gave ESPN during the offseason, it’s only fair that I give them credit for coming to their senses (and listening to me).

Has anyone in Razzball Nation been using ESPN for their fantasy league? If so, post your feedback! Grey and I went cold turkey on ESPN FLB after last year’s debacle (first two weeks of stats were fried – I had to calculate the data offline and make year-end adjustments). But I thought their new platform was pretty good. Interesting to hear what the rest of y’all think.

Oh, and just in case the worldwide leader is listening, add smart people to Baseball Tonight. Replace Eric ‘The Emmitt Smith of ESPN Baseball” Young and John Kruk with guys from ESPN.com like Keith Law and Rob Neyer. If you must pander to the masses, go with some tail like Erin Andrews.

  1. Greg says:
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    Prefer Yahoo still. ESPN have too many positions and searching for players is for some reason harder. I don’t like that if I put in a pitchers name while hitters is highlighted, I don’t get a result. Most people seem to quit the league too because they randomly drafted it.

  2. Art says:
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    Thanks about explaining about the rating. I did not understand how they were compiled. I use both Yahoo and ESPN. I think that both of them are kind of similar in their performance just in the “fantasy” sense. The presentation is a little better in ESPN. I like the idea of a popup window when clicking on the players name . That popup includes the stats for the player for the past 10 games, as well as the recent news. The stats do not have to be refreshed and they give you real time update in standings(for free).
    A custom trophy selection is a nice touch.
    One thing that I really like in the ESPN is the new message board on the LEAGUE front page, built much more like a forum. It even allows you to create a poll. Still, it does not make it up for not having a real forum on ESPN.com . (i googled espn forum, found their message board, and it is atrocious. And, why dont yahoo or espn have a forum? It just seems like such an easy thing to set up and would create immediate value for either of the sites.)
    As a fantasy baseball addict, i can tell you that I dont feel any difference in the in the user experience

  3. Dave says:
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    I’ll start this off saying I’ve been in a yahoo keeper league for many years and always liked yahoo. This year I joined an ESPN keeper league as well, so here’s my two cents as an ESPN newbie…

    ESPN Pros: Free stat tracker (both stats and standings update in real time); message board is MUCH better, i.e. organized with specific threads; FA search is better. Where yahoo lets you view stats for the last 7 days or last month, ESPN also lets you look at their stats the past 15 days. Also, you can search for FA’s that are specifically on the DL.

    ESPN Cons: Making trades. The first few weeks many didn’t even know how to do it. When you do receive an offer, its somewhat hidden unless you know where its posted… Could be done better. Also, its a pain to view how other teams did that day. Takes 2 or 3 clicks to get there as opposed to 1 for yahoo. Same thing with checking how you/other teams are doing on their Innings Pitched, which I think is important to keep tabs on.

    But I think the most important differences between the two are the draft itself and position eligibility.

    Yahoo’s draft was MUCH better than ESPN. A million times easier to search for players while that clock is clicking down against you. But ESPN makes up for it with a much wider selection of players. ESPN has all the guys like Kershaw, Scherzer, etc already in their player pool. Yahoo waits until they get called up. For instance, Cueto was drafted in my ESPN league, but it took a #1 waiver to get him in my yahoo.. Major points for ESPN there. Why yahoo does this I’ll never understand. Even a recent article by soon to be bald Brad Evans of ESPN really did not sufficiently explain this. But I digress.

    Finally, ESPN requires 20 starts the year before to gain position eligibility. Yahoo only 10. Thus, its harder to put together a complete lineup each day on ESPN as there are a lot less guys with multiple positions. Kind of annoying, but if you know this going in, you can adjust.

    Overall – If you asked me the first week of the season, I’d say Yahoo b/c of the draft, position eligibility, and many years of loyal service. But the free stat tracker, and larger player pool including minor leagues makes me lean towards ESPN now. ESPN… but its close

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Rudy probably forgot but I did join an ESPN league this year (I have a hard time keeping my teams straight so the fact he forgot isn’t surprising). Though as he did mention, we were life-longers over at ESPN, but their glitch last year was the last straw. So we migrated to Yahoo for all of our key teams. Almost a month into the season using both, I pretty much echo Dave, the haphazard way Y! adds players is not only a major problem with waivers, but it’s also a counterproductive to doing your homework. I want to grab a guy that’s in the minors that should be getting the call, I should be able to grab him immediately before my leaguemates. Having to wait, levels the playing field way too much. I don’t want nine or eleven or fourteen owners aware someone’s been called up while I wait on waiver claims. Rudy actually covered this already:

    http://razzball.com/explanation-on-yahoos-fbs-player-availabilty-policy/

    So, yeah, that sucks.

    I also like the player news of ESPN. Let’s face it, Yahoo’s number one business is not sports. Their news sucks. Their research tools are equally crappy. I’m the first one to bash ESPN for their commentary/expert analysis and all of that shizz, but Y!’s fantasy baseball is pretty mediocre and you have to pay for live scoring.

    BTW, my favorite is still CBS Sportsline, but they charge. But, as always, you get what you pay for.

  5. Bob says:
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    I prefer Yahoo. My bias is that I truly hate the WWL (World Wide Leader) in sports, ESPN, the Eastern Sports Programming Network. As I SoCal, I would somehow like to convey to them that there are actual teams (Championship winning teams that play on the West Coast. Go Lakers!). And any site that employs that Bill Whatever his name from Boston is a site I have no interest in. They must get rid of that guy. If I have to read one more article that says Kevin Garnett is MVP I think I will have to kill myself – give me a freakin’ break.

    Anyway, aside from MY west coast bias, I do agree that their player availability policy is ridiculous – why reward numb-nuts buy making Cueto unavailable until after he comes up and throws the gem.

    However, everything about the interface and user experience favors Yahoo from my perspective. From the draft on, I prefer Yahoo. I think the tools are improving every year. I find the interface to be very stable. I don’t mind spending the 10 bucks for the real-time stats – it gives you all four teams on that user ID so that’s 2.50 a team – not a bad deal.

  6. Great feedback guys. I’ve become a Y! convert based on the StatTracker which is a real easy way to manage how 4 teams are doing that day, see how your competitors are doing, see what impact there has been on the standings, and see live-game tracking. The design may be spartan but very functional. I don’t miss ESPN Gamecasts at all….

    And, as repeated a zillion times, hate Yahoo’s player availability policy. Razzball Nation has been loud and clear on that one (oh god, is that an east coast bias thing to put Nation after everything…well, if Red Sox Nation is all ESPN, I guess this would be the opposite….)

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