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In recent posts, I used the results of our 2013 Razzball Commenter Leagues (based on 64 12-team mixed leagues with daily roster changes and unlimited pickups) to show:

So this leaves 30% of Hitting Standings Points that could be attributed to a manager’s in-season moves.

Inspired by one of our commenters (initials SF), I thought of a way to reduce the size of that 30% black box.  While estimating the quality of a manager’s in-season moves is very complicated, estimate the quantity of a manager’s moves is EZPZ.  That would be interesting…..but what kind of guidance would that provide?  Making roster moves just for the sake of it is a waste of time and if you, our loyal readers, are going to waste your time, we prefer you do it on our site vs. your league site.

So I settled upon using a team’s total ABs as my ‘quantity’ metric since this is the most effective outcome from high quantities of hitter moves that has nothing to do with the actual quality of these roster moves.  Even if a fantasy baseball manager was below average at selecting free agent hitters (on off days for starting hitters), they still likely benefited more than doing nothing since four of the five standard hitting categories are counting stats.  It is certainly possible for a team with moderate manager intervention but incredible player health to get a high number of team ABs but teams with large deviations from the average team AB totals are mostly driven by in-season management.

Note #1:  I will also be publishing a post soon that measures the impact of maximizing team IP so fantasy baseballers can understand how to best leverage their bench spots.

Note #2: Our awesome 2013 RCL commissioner – will miss ya VinWins –  did not collect quantity of transactions but I would have passed on it in favor of ABs even if he had.

What percentage of a team’s hitting standings points can be attributed to their maximization of ABs?

Below is a scatter graph that illustrates how end of season drafted hitter value explains ~70% (R^2 of 47.5%) of RCL team hitter standings points.  Note that all ‘actual’ standings points in this analysis are based on how the team compared against all 768 RCL teams (scaled to 12 roto points per category) versus their specific league.

End of Season Value of Drafted Hitters Against Hitter Standings Points

Based on the resulting formula from this analysis (-0.14+.241*Hitting Draft Value), I can convert the above graph into one showing ‘projected’ hitting standings points vs. actual based solely on the value of their drafted hitters.

Actual vs. Projected Hitting Standings Points Based On Drafted Hitter Value

The red dot is my team.  The yellow dot is Grey’s team.  Based on my model (the trend line), everyone above the line ‘overperformed’ the average team effectiveness of in-season moves and everyone below it ‘underperformed’.  As you can see, there are quite a number of dots far above/below the trend line.

I then ran a regression test with the end of season value of drafted hitters and total team ABs.  With just these two data points, the correlation between actual and projected standings points jumps from 69% to 86.7% (R^2 increase from .475 to .752).  In other words, the number of team AB is a very good predictor of team success above and beyond how well a team drafted.  (The formula is -76.62+.012*Total AB+.163*Team Drafted Hitter Value)

Projected vs. Actual Hitting Standings Points Based on Draft + Team AB

While an equal number of teams fall above/below this new trendline, the dots are more tightly packed as the model is smarter.  Grey and I’s teams are still above the trendline but not by much.  I believe this is a case where the quantity of our ABs was the primary reason we finished higher than the trendline in the first model because our AB totals were extraordinary – I finished 11th out of 768 RCL teams in total ABs while Grey was 17th.  With this extra piece of information, the majority of our ‘overperformance’ has now been explained.

Note:  There is a common phrase that ‘correlation does not imply causation’ – e.g., just because a windmill spins faster on windy days does not mean that the windmill is the cause of the wind.  But I think this is a case of correlation and causation because there is such an obvious connection between counting stats and ABs.  I had 650 (?!?!) more ABs than the average team in my league (excluding me).  You think having the equivalent of a 14th hitter might have helped my R/HR/RBI/SB? 

Based on this regression analysis, I would now explain a team’s hitting standings points in a 12-team mixed format like RCL as follows:

  • ~70% based on how your draft goes (only ~15% of this 70% could be gleaned by pre-season rankings)
  • ~17% based on how you maximize ABs
  • ~13% based on the quality of one’s in-season moves (and possibly other factors)

Before I move on, just a note.  These results do not mean that the quality of those ‘maximized ABs’ is irrelevant.  It means that the quantity of a team’s ABs based on average decision-making in an average RCL explains 17% of a team’s success.

Additional note/sales pitch – the best to improve the quality of those additional ABs is through our Hitter-Tron which has gameday values for every hitter as well as values for the next 7 days.  Hitter-tron, if you’re not using it, the guy kicking your ass in your league is.

Quantifying ‘Hitting Grind Points’ 

Here is a look at the RCL Expert league ‘projected’ vs ‘actual’ hitting standings points based on just drafted hitter value and the combination of drafted hitter value + total ABs.

Team Hit Pts (overall) Hit Draft Value $ Projected Hit Pts Based on Draft AB Projected Hit Pts Based on Draft + AB AB Grind Points
Team Podhorzer 56.02 196.9 47.3 7,416 45.9 -1.4
Razzball Grey 52.55 171.1 41.1 7,950 48.2 +7.2
Team sayre 45.12 130.5 31.3 7,171 32.1 +0.8
Razzball Rudy Gamble 40.58 96.6 23.1 8,008 36.8 +13.6
Team Singman 38.88 133.7 32.1 7,126 32.1 0.0
Mastersball.com Carey 35.99 161.7 38.8 7,142 36.8 -2.0
Team Roto 35.12 122.2 29.3 7,596 35.9 +6.6
Team Minnix 31.97 80.3 19.2 7,497 27.9 +8.7
Team Pianowski 23.97 170.8 41.0 6,897 35.3 -5.7
Team Davenport 21.14 139.7 33.5 6,562 26.2 -7.3
Team Guilfoyle 20.48 91.4 21.9 7,021 23.9 2.0
Team Carty 18.99 83.3 19.9 7,280 25.7 5.8

Three points to make on the above:

1) My team had the most ABs in the league and had the highest number of ‘hitting grind points’.  Based strictly on my draft, the model would predict only 23.1 hitting points.  After factoring in my high AB total, it now estimates 36.8 points.  The ‘hitting grind points’ are the difference between those two estimates.

2) While the standings projection model is clearly not perfect (note Podhorzer’s had 10 more standings points than projected), the model including ABs comes much closer to projecting each team’s actual hitting points (6th column) than using the model that just incorporated the drafted value (4th column).  Look how Ryan Carey of Mastersball had a $65 advantage on me after draft day (equating to 15 standings points) yet I finished with 4.58 more hitting points.  That’s a 20 standings points gap of which my AB advantage (~800) explains 75% (the model predicts us even, eliminating that post-draft 15 standings points advantage).

3) The impact of maximizing team ABs is greatest for teams with poor drafts and least for teams with great drafts.  It should intuitively make sense that teams with bad drafts have more hitting standings points to gain from grinding it out than a team that drafted well.  Mike Podhorzer’s (of FanGraphs/RotoGraphs) team was already projected at 47.3 hitting points.  If you would add my ‘grind points’ to that estimate, he’d be over 60 standings points!   So while Grey nearly matched me in ABs, that only contributed an extra +7.2 ‘grind points’ because he had better draft results than me (damn you Braun, Ike Davis, and Rutledge!)

Here is a neat little grid that shows what the model projects as ‘hitting grind points’ based on various draft outcomes and AB totals:

Team AB Percentile
25th (6,865) 50th (7,243) 75th (7,526) 100th (8,286)
Draft Hitter Value Percentile 25th ($114) (1.6) 3.0 6.5 15.7
50th ($134) (3.2) 1.4 4.9 14.2
75th ($159) (5.1) (0.5) 2.9 12.2
100th ($259) (12.9) (8.3) (4.9) 4.4

So a team that has an average draft for hitting (50th percentile) could net up to 14.2 ‘grind points’ if they were to hit the 100th percentile in ABs but are helping their cause even if they reach the 50th percentile in ABs.  For a team with a great draft, however, the only way to avoid losing points is to hit well above the 75th percentile in ABs.

The Reduced Effectiveness Of `Hitting Grind Points’ In A Super-Competitive League

All of the above analysis is based on the RCL averages.  The average league in the RCL had 7,141 AB/team.

I re-ran the analysis based solely on teams with 7,500+ ABs (note: our most competitive league – the ECFBL – averaged 7,683 AB/team!) and the results were that the draft explained about 60% of a team’s hitting standings points (vs. ~70%) and their total ABs only boosted the correlation up to 63.5%.  That leaves a much greater percentage of team success (36.5% vs. 13%) that goes under the ‘Quality of In-Season Moves’/Other bucket.

Essentially, grinding out ABs in a super-competitive league is a cost of doing business.  Analogically, while working 100 hour weeks may help you get ahead at your white collar job, they just keep you employed at an Asian sweatshop.

Here is the revised ‘Hitting Grind Points’ grid based on all teams with 7,500+ ABs:

Team AB Percentile
25th (7,107) 50th (7,500) 75th (7,893) 100th (8,286)
Draft Hitter Value Percentile 25th ($114) (1.9) 1.9 3.8 5.7
50th ($134) (2.0) 1.8 3.7 5.6
75th ($159) (2.1) 1.7 3.6 5.5
100th ($259) (2.6) 1.2 3.2 5.1

Thus, the more this analysis encourages all RCLers to maximize ABs, the more grinding out ABs becomes table stakes and the advantage becomes neutralized.  But if people in your other leagues do not read Razzball, you are all set.

Impact in Daily Roster Leagues (where you can make next-day pickups) and Weekly Roster Change Leagues

I do not have any league data on these formats but my guess is that quantity of ABs is still a factor above and beyond drafted hitter performance – just less so.

For daily roster change leagues without same-day pickups (you can pick up a guy for tomorrow), you can maximize ABs by 1) Promptly replacing injured players (duh), 2) Benching players on their team’s off days, 3) Having a bench guy available to swap in when one of your starting players gets an unexpected day off.  Since you will also want bench spots available for pitchers, one way to maximize your bench is to have a multi-position eligibility guy at UTIL or on your bench.  Yahoo’s two UTIL default setting provides an additional opportunity to do this.  I wouldn’t mind reaching a round or two for Brandon Moss knowing I can swap him into 1B/OF/UTIL and that his playing time is very predictable (starts against RHP, sits against LHP).

For weekly roster change leagues, there isn’t much you can do except 1) Promptly replacing injured players and 2) Rotating in bench hitters whose teams play more games than a starter’s team (assuming both have similar ABs/Game and likelihood to start).  In reality, I imagine the only correlation you would see here is a negative correction for abandoned teams who failed to replace injured or benched players.

Conclusions

  • Maximizing a team’s ABs is the #1 most effective way to improve your fantasy team’s hitting success that is completely in your control in daily roster change leagues.
  • The effectiveness of this strategy is positive for all participants in leagues (even the team that drafted the best offense can still benefit) with the greatest benefit for poorly drafted teams who have the most to gain.  The success of your offense vs. pitching should dictate how much of your bench you reserve for hitting vs. pitching (in last year’s RCL where my pitching was much better than my offense, I was using 2 and sometimes all 3 bench spots for hitters while Grey was doing the reverse)
  • Take multi-position eligibility players into account on draft day to provide better roster flexibility for swapping out inactive hitters on a given day.
  • In super-competitive leagues, failing to maximize ABs will cost you some a couple of standings points on average.  Consider it table stakes.
  • If you do not have the time/stomach to maximize team ABs and some people in your league do, DO NOT JOIN THAT LEAGUE.  I say that not because you are doing the other guys a disservice – it is simply because you have very little chance of winning even if you nail the draft.  Get in a weekly roster change league.  If it makes you feel better, I am very selective in the daily roster change leagues I join BECAUSE I know the commitment that they require.

 

  1. Oaktownsteve says:
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    Yep. Cats out of the bag now. Been riding that model in RCL. If folks actually get the pitching figured out all the strategic advantage will be gone from my game.

    • @Oaktownsteve: Yeah, I was surprised at how big of an advantage this is. Last year’s craptastic draft gave me a great opportunity at seeing the impact first-hand.

      • Oaktownsteve says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        Same with me. I managed the snot outta my RCL team.

        I think Albright is going to employ my pitching system or something near it this year. You best watch out. I know you don’t want him to beat you twice in two years.

      • kingforaday151 says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Ding, ding, ding Rudy! Great post. I take crap for making 100 moves a year, but three years in a row I have drafted stud pitchers, made over 100 moves (primarily on offense), and won all three years. It’s more than coincidence that most every team in the top half of the standings is also in the top half of games played at end of season.

  2. *** ANYONE INTERESTED IN JOINING A RAZZBALL-SPONSORED NFBC DRAFT(http://razzball.com/leaguerecap-2013nfbc/) , E-MAIL ME AT RUDY AT RAZZBALL.COM. SPECIAL OFFER – ONE IN 28 PEOPLE WHO JOIN WILL PLAY FOR FREE!) DRAFTING WILL START ON MARCH 1ST. ***

  3. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Nice article Rudy! I definitely believe in this strategy. I find it fairly easy to maximize AB’s with all positions except catcher. In one competitive league I’m in, the top 3 teams usually find a way to maximize even their catcher AB’s, which usually means drafting two starting catchers, one on the east coast or central time zone and one on a west coast team. Do you think it’s worth rostering two catchers to do this? If that’s the case, I might even consider rostering Gattis and Doumit, two solid catchers on the same team. I’d be almost a lock to maximize those AB’s and get decent stats to boot. Or maybe I’m just craaaazy.

    • kingforaday151 says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: I’ve used this logic, usually will overpay a bit for a C that has duel eligibility as well as a C only player. In a 1 catcher league I feel it’s the only way not to clog a roster spot. If you draft Gattis, you can plug him in at OF/UTIL on days when your primary C plays, not sure Doumit needs to be your other C though. When/if Laird catches, you’re still without a C. Now if you draft Posey or Mauer, and then Gattis, you’ve got a solid corner man/UTIL on days when Gattis plays. Golden…

    • F@Shake N Bacon: For a shallow daily roster change league, I would punt catcher at the draft and stream catchers until you get a hot one and then ride them for a bit. I agree with kingforaday in liking the 1B or OF eligible catchers for more flexibility. I played Posey at CI a lot of last year while riding AJ Pierzynski’s hot summer.

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Yeah, I like the multi-eligibility as well. So a 12-team league would qualify as a shallow league, correct?

        I like the idea of getting a decent starting Catcher with multi-eligibility (like Gattis) and then streaming another catcher on a hot streak.

        • Yes shallow = 10-12 team

  4. Cram It says:
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    Man, you do some crazy shizz Rudy. God/Allah/Krampus bless you.

    I’ve always believed in maximizing AB’s. It only took one year of me having 80 less games played on offense than the winning team. Granted about half where at Catcher, but only finishing about 30 Runs, 10 HR’s and 100 RBI behind the highest scorers in those categories.

    So this is where I disagree with Grey that you don’t need bench bats.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Cram It: Interesting…I’d argue the leagues are too thin and that leaves too many bats out on the FA pool at any given time. But of course, that’s league-centric. You play with a buncha bench bat hoarders, you have to keep up with the Joneses.

      • Cram It says:
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        @Sky: Maybe. I’m a fan of deep benches and smaller FA pool but that’s gotta be one deep league to limit streaming hitters that much.

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          The main streamable bats in the keeper league I reference to Oaktown is a Thursday or Monday backup catcher bat. The FA pool is barren for streaming but still has talented players (read rookies or 4th OF who should be starting over someone else) that you can plan around to pick up.

          • Cram It says:
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            @Sky: See I’d want to be in a league like that.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              @Cram It: My only gripe is its H2H (no one is gonna change it even though everyone bitches they don’t have time to keep up with it…lotta schmucks in there to be honest) but yeah if I ever created a league, keeper or no, I’d definitely use it as a template. Probably change the extra IF positions to 2 CI and 2 MI but appreciate the challenge it represents on draft day.

              • Cram It says:
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                @Sky: Ha. Yeah I don’t like H2H either. I always suggest having extra bench spots before every season and people bitch about that. Hell, I should just take over the league. We’re actually looking for a 12th every year and it’s $100 entry, so if you’re ever interested, lemme know.

    • c0wfunk says:
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      @Cram It: last year I found that streaming a hitter for off days ended up being more effective than most of the bench bats I held onto. That way you don’t end up with a bench bat who also has an off day and you can play the matchups each day. My league is head to head categories so most of my extra players end up being pitchers so your mileage may vary.

      • @c0wfunk: Same here. The only hitters I want on my bench are ‘starters’ with a day off or dealing with a short-term injury. I made an exception at one point last year rotating in some OFs based on platoon advantages (both De Aza and Joyce who were awful or benched against LHP).

        • c0wfunk says:
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          @Rudy Gamble: Yeah I did well for a while moving mclouth in and out as a platoon with nava, but when they were both off it was frustrating.

          There was also a period where I basically had 2 stud OFs (trout and cespedes while giancarlo was on the dl) and 4 others who I was moving into OF3 and 2 Util spots based on day to day matchups and weekly category needs. That was actually pretty successful for a bit (I had aoki, gardner, mclouth, and nava).

          When giancarlo came off the DL I couldn’t move any of those OF guys for anything. Someone even picked up a rockies pitcher off of FA and offered him to me for aoki.

          • c0wfunk says:
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            @c0wfunk: had domonic brown too. Damn I had a good outfield!

    • Simply Fred

      simply fred says:
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      @Cram It: Interested on more about bench bats…
      In my mind a bench bat is primarily ‘wasted’ on the 4 days a week that teams play a full lineup of games–all players are active, hence, he just takes up room on the bench. If one streams SP on the full-slate days, and hitters the other days, that would seem to get more IP and more AB from a single position. Thoughts…?

      • @simply fred: Agree. But I’d dump a bench pitcher for a hitter rather than lose the ABs. It becomes tougher if you’ve got very good pitchers on the bench though.

      • Cram It says:
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        @simply fred: I mean, I guess it’s entirely on the type/size/settings for a league. Yes a bench bat is ‘wasted’ most of the time, but he’s typically a fringe guy that you would start over another slumping fringe guy anyway, say at your MI position or 4th OF. I don’t how much bench room some of you guys have that you can pick up 3 bats off of FA on a day when you have a lot of guys off due to schedule. That’s crazy to me. I’ve never had an issue reaching IP with pitchers, so I would rather have 3 bats on the bench then 3 starters on the bench that you might stream once a month.

  5. Sky

    Sky says:
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    TBH, this is a reminder to me of some of my gripes with the RCL set up: it’s too thin. Too many good players available on waivers at any given moment. It’s definitely a set up that caters to a more frenetic player and the ability to be scouring your league at the right time of day to make the right moves. It plays out as quantity over quality too often. Not poo-poo’ing it – it’s just another way to play it – but I appreciate the season weighing your draft a bit more than this particular set up has to offer.

    • KB says:
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      @Sky: One of the reasons I prefer fantasy baseball to football, it’s a 6 month game instead of a 1-day game. I bet a similar study in football would show the draft being responsible for 95% of a team’s success. The in season management in football is so very minimal.

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        To be fair, that really depends on league size. A lot more injuries in football, too. The draft helps but no one drafted Doug Martin’s backup to begin the year – Mike James. Then he went down and it was Bobby Rainey; even in a 14 teamer with multiple flex positions and 2 QBs were either of those guys owned until they were useable. I’d actually say it’s a bit more frenetic than an RCL if its standard league size.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Sky: weird thing was james was one of only a handful of backups basically not owned by anyone pre-injury (due to him having no role at all,nor being known to be even decent if he would’ve had to start)

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            @goodfold2: Blount same. Montee Ball was drafted in the first 4 rounds of many drafts and Knowshon was either undrafted or a late, late pick. There’s always a surprise RB here and there.

    • Oaktownsteve says:
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      @Sky:

      It’s almost like a daily league. Why I like it. Nfbc for the long con and RCL for the buzz of a liquor store stick up

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        Haha, exactly. I’m fine with it for what it is. But in terms of time spent, you really have to be in the right league to enjoy it. If I were in your league, I’d probably tune out by May because I wouldn’t be able to keep up, pace-wise. It’s why I appreciate my keeper. 12 team, roster 30, start 2 at every IF position, 2 UTIL and 5 OF (LF,CF,RF,OF,OF). It’s thin enough to be aware of surprise players or to ride a hot bat but it’s also not a league you throw a 25 HR OF at bat out because ‘hey look a squirrel’ tactics win in the long run.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          You don’t throw out 25-homer OF, at least not on purpose…

          • Sky

            Sky says:
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            Marlon Byrd was on and off plenty of rosters last year and hit 24. Dom Brown hit 27 but was probably dumped by most in August. Maybe 25 is an extreme number given the dearth of power but I’m just speaking from experience/memories of commenters. But its of course league-centric when it’s all said and done. Probably wouldn’t happen in Oaktown’s league.

            • Oaktownsteve says:
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              @Sky:

              You’re in my league, Sky. Not my league that is but a league with me. That league is gonna be really competitive. Panda and Magoo just to name two are wicked good

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                Of course, forgot about that one…ugh. Welp, I’m now officially prepared to get stream-rolled.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Byrd was an extreme example and probably wasn’t on a ton of rosters all year even in deeper leagues… I held Brown all year until he was DL’d…

              • Sky

                Sky says:
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                I’m just saying its league specific. The two I was in had plenty of talent on FA at any given moment. Definitely not a complaint, just a style that isn’t 100% me. That said, I just looked back at my Writers League and this might explain it:

                http://games.espn.go.com/flb/tools/transactioncounter?leagueId=54891

                I finished second behind Tehol and we led the league in moves. Flipside:

                http://games.espn.go.com/flb/tools/transactioncounter?leagueId=3444

                Then again, I led this league in moves and finished middle of the pack. F you, Fielder, Ike Davis, BJ Upton, Espinosa, Bautista, Moustakas…and the list goes on.

                In the end, this is my experience in this setup. Sounds like it won’t be the same with you. How many times will you pick up and drop Jon Jay before the season starts?

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Yeah, I hear ya… Jon Jay’s not a guy I give many at-bats too…Not much of a chance for steals or homers…

                  • Sky

                    Sky says:
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                    You gettin all serious on me and shizz. Was making fun of your roster ADHD ways.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Ha… Devil’s advocate, Keanu Reeves style!

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Now I’m thinking of his hot red-headed sister. While you chronically rosterbate I’m gonna…well lets just say I’ll see you later.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      As Pacino would say, nice..hooha!

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Can’t believe he’s 73. That ‘hooha’ probably is now followed by incontinence and coughing.

      • Cram It says:
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        @Sky: @Oaktownsteve: Yeah I don’t like my leagues feeling like a daily league. Hence why we installed waivers and move limits over the years to curb the frenetic style and help people who can’t be at a computer 24-7. Might as well go play Draftkings then and get more instant gratification…and possibly money!

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I just prefer baseball to be reflective of what you gear up from January-March for: a good draft. But its a ‘to each his/her own’ kinda thing.

          • Cram It says:
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            @Sky: Truth. I would like the draft to be a better indicator of how the season plays out, as opposed to who gets luckier with the 5th OF they’re rotating in off of FA everyday.

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              That’s my big thing. All that time spent and it really amounts to dropping a guy the day after you draft him so you can plug in at MI.

            • I don’t think it’s ‘luckier’ w/ the 5th OF. There’s as much skill picking daily OFs as there is in the draft. I would argue the more decisions one has to make, the more skill separates itself vs. luck.

              But I hear what you’re saying. NFBC-style mixed leagues seem more up your alley.

              • KB says:
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                @Rudy Gamble: Totally agree with Rudy. I think picking up the 5th OF (say, I don’t know, Nate Schierholtz on a Thurs. afternoon in Wrigley Field w/ wind blowing out in RF facing Mike Leake) is totally about skill, or at least research and attentiveness, which often separates the winners/losers in the long run in fantasy baseball.

              • Cram It says:
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                @Rudy Gamble: I can see that side of the argument. I just don’t want to be in that argument. I played Draftkings last season, and I spent hours picking bats. It’s crazy consuming and if I was in just ONE league that meant everything to me (see $$$), I could get on board with that style of play.

                • Totally understand.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  As an aside, I take it by your statement that you’re a DFS player? I’m running that dept for Razzball this year. Good to know I’ll have at least one person reading (or at least you’ll post ‘I read this’).

                  • Cram It says:
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                    @Sky: Haha. You talking to me? What’s a DFS player?

                  • Cram It says:
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                    @Sky: Daily Fantasy Site? I was last year, I may dabble this year, so yeah I’ll read it at least. What happened to JB?

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Yeah, DFS = Daily Fantasy Sports. Sorry, I’m used to following/reading about it on 140 character limit on twitter. We’re going to have seven day a week coverage this year, was testing the waters for who already reads who might read more.

                      I’ll keep your league in mind; If I ever move on from my keeper, I’d definitely be interested. What’s the payout structure?

                  • Shake N Bacon says:
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                    @Sky: I’m a reoccurring draft kings (DFSer) as well. Still got $39 left on my account. Looking forward to the daily articles.

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Nice! I’ve moved away from GPPs and onto 50/50 or triple ups. Even been playing some basketball to tide myself (mostly freerolls unless I like my lineup for the night). Glad to have ya!

                  • Bigsmooth says:
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                    @Sky:

                    Big time DFS player here and very much look forward to your daily coverage!

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Nice! I will have some other writers in the fray as well. My main day will be Fridays but will probably swing a few extra here and there. I am debating owning the first week, though. At least Mon-Fri of the ‘real’ season kickoff. I seriously hope they don’t do something for that Dodger/D-Back sitch. Twould be weird.

          • Cram It says:
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            @Sky: I couldn’t reply to your last….er, reply…but the league payout is 60/30/10% for 1st/2nd/3rd. I know you’re stretched thin this year, so no rush for upcoming years!

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              Yeah, I just want to be in a league that everyone participates. Took one guy two weeks just to take his own damn team this year. I get it, it’s not like it’s your job or life but he’s the same guy that doesn’t respond to trade requests for a long time or if he does, doesn’t even give a response as to why he declined. If you sign up for something, you are saying you’re participating. It was why I was hesitant with our league. I don’t want to be that guy.

              • Cram It says:
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                @Sky: Gotcha. Yeah we don’t have anybody like that. We’ve all been friends for a while so there’s definitely a reliable checks and balances system. Except for that 12th guy. We can’t find a legit dude that will stay with us and isn’t a flake.

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Gotcha, I will definitely keep you looped. Won’t work this year but I’ll keep this on my mind for 2015.

                  • Montezuma's Revenge... right now! says:
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                    @Sky: 60/30/10 %’s like a good small home poker tournament payout structure.

        • @Cram It: Fair arguments. I think this study shows how crazy effective the frenetic style is when done correctly.

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    I was kinda surprised how high I ranked in total ABs, because I don’t remember streaming hitters that much…I think my players stayed healthier than most and notched a ton of ABs… Perez (for a catcher), Choo/Beltre, Cano, Goldy, Jones, Rollins…

    • @Grey: Yup, very healthy everyday players. I recall you streaming a lot of SAGNOF (EYJ, Leonys).

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Yeah, I believed I streamed for runs too, so aimed for guys at the top of lineups and more ABs…

        • Simply Fred

          simply fred says:
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          @Grey: A gold nugget right there!

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @Grey: it’s probably exactly why you knew about how few runs/at bats that NYM lead off guy had. probably had him 30 or so times.

          • Yeah, grey was riding EYJ last year. But I recall a few of my hitters (AJ, Infante) who had awful Run luck. If Infante hit in the #2 hole for the Tigers last year, he would’ve been a top 8 2B.

  7. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    Rudy, superbly thought out, measured, and spelled out! Looking forward to IP!! (If managing AB #1, then managing IP must be #2, ways to improve performance.)

  8. A Hill O' Beans says:
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    Great article Rudy!

    In a much less detailed, and much less impressive way, I was also looking at how maximizing your ABs (in addition to maximizing your IP/GS with relievers) was able to improve your ranking in the RCLs last season.

    http://razzball.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=35514

    At the time I was looking into it in August, 70% of the teams in the top 60 overall RCL standings ranked in the top 100 for AB (80% of the top 10 teams).

    IP/GS was the other stat I looked at, and 50% of the top 40 teams ranked in the top 100 in IP/GS.

    If you somehow managed to have your team in both the top 100 in IP/GS and in AB, which 31 teams did, you had a 30% chance of being in the top 20 of the overall RCL Standings. This is compared to a 3% chance for the average RCL team.

    Fascinating stuff Rudy, and you seem to do this better than anyone else.

    • @A Hill O’ Beans: Thanks! Until last year, I thought such frenetic player moves were masturbatory at best but it’s clear that this pays dividends. My hope is that Razzballers either take advantage of this to succeed in their leagues or get out of this format if they don’t like the pace.

      • costaricanchata says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        that’s quite the confession .

  9. AverageJoe says:
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    This is some NASA shizz!

    It’s so obvious to maximize your ABs that so many people don’t do it…. Just one of those things.

    Rudy great spot today with Dr. Roto on Sirius, cust sayin.

    • @AverageJoe: Thanks! Agreed it’s obvious but I don’t know how many realized how valuable/important it was…

  10. Clint says:
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    And thus, I have the reason for more bench spots dedicated to hitters than pitchers explained to me in typically awesome Rudy’s way, I presume? My league has 2 utility and 8 bench spots available and I was thinking of using only 1 bench spot on a late starting pitcher with all the rest being hitters. Sound like a winning strategy or am I going too far? We start 2 SP’s, 2 RP’s, and 4 other P’s (which I had pegged to break down to 1 RP & 3 SP’s itself, btw).

    • @Clint: Way too far. I’d probably go 5 pitchers, 3 hitters. I like pitchers more b/c 1) I have more flexibility to bench SPs on bad matchups and 2) You can slot in RPs when SPs are off.

      • Clint says:
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        @Rudy Gamble:

        But doesn’t that then beg the question herein of “Is a winning strategy to max out your AB’s over your IP?” If I’m interpreting this article correctly, it appears as though slotting the back end of your hitting roster on off days etc for more AB’s seems more efficient when combined with simultaneously streaming a few backend roster pitchers. This, as opposed to streaming more hitters while maintaining a bevvy of drafted pitchers to choose from who, I’ve always presumed perhaps falsely, are more erratic & can hurt your team’s points standings harsher if they implode? I guess what I’m saying is, if you draft a large stable of hitters aren’t you more likely to find a consistent offense to carry your team than drafting a larger stable of pitchers & trying to stream more hitters? Appears as though you and Grey are opposed on this issue if I read you both correctly?

        • We aren’t opposed. I have a post coming up on IP as well. I think you can go anywhere from a pitcher-centric draft (only 60% hitting) or hitter-centric (70% of investment in hitting). If you have great hitter health (like Grey), no need to employ this strategy beyond a couple of positions. My plan is still to draft a balanced team with the knowledge that i can use this + SP/RP streaming when injuries or bad performance occur

  11. 2 Giant rings says:
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    I’m in a deep 20 team daily league with 6 bench spots. It’s super competitive. Everybody understands they need to maximize abs but some guys are consistently good at it. I am not. In a league that deep you maximize abs by drafting players who play every day, be lucky on the waiver wire and making good trades. We roster 560 players so there are no regular abs available on waivers. I just don’t see how I can improve at maximizing abs other than by becoming better at drafting, trading and proactive waiver work. If I’m missing something I’d like to hear it because I usually don’t do well in that league.

    • Nope, you’re right. The deeper the league, the more it’s dependent on drafting + trading + good waiver luck (e.g., Puig or even Lake last year). The one suggestion might be to always take fliers on young hitters when they are called up. Be ready to pounce on them since they are the only real shot at improving on ABs post-draft (w/o trading someone)

  12. Rags says:
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    Any chance your pitcher article comes out tomorrow? Wanna give a sneak preview? My auction is tomorrow night. I’m in a deep-ish points league. It’s H2H daily and I’ve only ever done Roto weekly with no bench. Kinda freaking out what to do with my bench.

    We’ve got 1C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, 4OF, 3Ut, (so 14 hitters) and 9 pitchers (with an 8 start/wk max) and a bench of five. There’s a separate bench of 8 for MiLBers (96 owned overall) so mid-season call ups aren’t going to be much help.

    In my five spots, should I keep a catcher to maximize my C spot (maybe like a doumit), a multiposition bat, and three pitchers streaming SP and RP as needed? Should I go heavier on the hitting because of the depth of the league? I figure six starters with a streamer or two on the bench should be enough to hit my 8 starts, and since it’s points, I don’t have to worry about balancing my categories.

    Thoughts? Any help would be appreciated. THANK YOU!

    • @Rags: I haven’t finished the other post. Might be a week away. That mix on the bench sounds about right. Doumit’s playing time may be challenged but maybe getting a Gattis who can play OF gives you a little more flexibility. I’d think through your UTIL as well. Maybe 2 OF (that’ll have the best depth) and an infielder.

      I’d also look into middle relievers if you have a GS limit, daily changes, and no IP limit.

      • Rags says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: Yeah, we get points for holds, so I was just counting MR as a lesser RP.

        I just meant Doumit as a cheap second catcher, but I’m sure you’re right. I just overspent on BJ Upton last year and am bitter about that OF.

        Thanks for the advice. I’m excited for the challenge of a new format, but you don’t get much different than going from NL-only roto with weekly lineups and no bench to daily mixed league H2H points with a bench and start limit. I’m a masochist apparently. But leaning on you guys at Razzball to help me through…

  13. Mike says:
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    14 team h to h 6 x 6 yahoo league with 5 bench. Last year my bench was all starters. We have a 10 trades per week thinking about keeping a infielder and OF with 3 SP’s on my bench. I took first in the regular season but playoffs I had two guys get injured that killed my power. Should I keep 5 pitchers again?

    • @Mike: if you have a high GS/week cap, you need a bunch of SPs. Probably 2 hitters/3 pitchers makes sense.

  14. Three true outcomes says:
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    Maximizing at bats is an easy way to gain a competitive advantage. Instead, try a league that won’t allow it. Our 5×5 roto league has a yearly transaction limit of 30. I was able to maximize at bats last year by drafting two catchers, rostering multi position players (Zobrist/Prado) and paying attention to the daily lineup. This removes streaming from the equation and gives a better indication of how well an owner managed their team (quality), not how many moves they made to maximize their counting stats (quantity).

    • Yup, I hear you. To each their own. I play a lot more weekly leagues b/c those daily leagues are too time-consuming.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Three true outcomes: i could see cutting weekly transactions down to like 3-5 per week but 30 moves a year clearly handicaps those with underperformers/injured players way too much. Injury luck would become the prime cause of success in such a system

  15. The Fuzz says:
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    I can see this strategy working for two types of managers: those who invest heavily in pitching (therefore no need for MR help), or those chronic rosterbaters that like to switch out their bottom 2-3 roster spots every day/all year long.

    I typically invest heavily in hitting (and use MR or SP sleepers to bolster my weak pitching staff), sometimes so much so that I feel like I can’t drop one of my 3 bench spots to try out a player for a day. And I’ve been successful in pay leagues using that approach, but what you are saying is a game changer if in the extreme you essentially gain an entire player’s worth of ABs over the course of a year.

    I guess my question relates more to draft strategy. Would you deliberately invest earlier in pitching (quality vs. quantity) so that you feel more comfortable add/dropping from the bottom part of your hitting squad?

    • @The Fuzz: You’re forgetting another type – the team that gets decimated by injuries and unexpected demotions. I finished with an average offense last year despite drafting Braun, Nelson Cruz, Rutledge, Ike Davis, and Alcides Escobar. I really only had one great pick which was Pence.

      I don’t think my draft strategy will change because of this except I’ll bet more on upside with the last hitter picks knowing they’ll likely be dumped after week #2 if they aren’t performing/playing.

  16. Joe says:
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    New razzballer, but what an amazing site. I’m in two keeper leagues with somewhat limited benches. What are the thoughts on trying to keep the elite AAA prospects on your roster while also utilizing bench spot to the best degree. I was planning to target Taveras and Springer knowing they wouldn’t contribute right away. How do you balance?

    • Welcome and thanks! That’s a tough one, Joe. If you have daily roster changes and unlimited pickups, I’d reserve no more than one spot for a prospect who might not play 1/2 the year. If it’s weekly changes, I’d reserve a little more room.

  17. Scooterboy says:
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    The three big stories out of Cardinals camp today are, Jamie Garcia having shld issues again, Trevor Rosenthal leaving his session early due to groin issues, and Carlos Martinez getting caught with pornographic material on his twitter favorites page. Only one of these concerns me though, and that is Rosenthal. I had no plans of drafting Garcia anyway, and Martinez strikes me as someone who would be a good candidate for guest commenter here on Razzball.

    • @Scooterboy: Yeah, Garcia’s not surprising. He’s undraftable now in just about every format except NL-only. Not sure what to think of the Rosenthal issue but worth monitoring. He’s going rather high on the closer list in my drafts – after Kimbrel/Chapman/Jansen/Holland. I don’t feel nearly as comfortable w/ him than those other guys.

  18. Thorbs says:
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    Unreal article – really interesting.

    On a semi-related note, I’ve always wondered if you could quanitfy the impact of manager choices in pitcher start/sits…every year I either overthink or underthink and usually miss out on a dozen great starts and suffer through a dozen 4 IP, 4ER ones because of it.

    • thanks. that’d be a lot tougher of an exercise. it probably plays a really small role – especially if you take out the no-brainers like sitting @COL, @NYY, @BOS.

  19. Elijah says:
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    “Making roster moves just for the sake of it is a waste of time and if you, our loyal readers, are going to waste your time, we prefer you do it on our site vs. your league site.”

    I thought not only were moves for the sake of moves a core strategy of Grey’s, but also one of the reasons to waste your time on this site: finding guys to drop and add obsessively for several hours.

    • No, talk and deliberate about potential moves is what you do on our site. Not necessarily make them.

  20. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Rudy do you know if there is any good information out there regarding umpires and strike zones? Maybe an indicator that a certain pitcher might have a decent game vs. an awful game depending on how big an ump’s strike zone is? I remember reading something a few years ago about Roy Halladay’s no hitters being umped by the same guy that gave him a big strike zone off either side of the plate.

    • Hmm, nope but I think gambling sites track this

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: which gambling sites? that would be wonderful info.

        • Not sure. But I could’ve sworn I saw a mention of this on a degenerate forum once

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Rudy Gamble: guessing you don’t remember which degenerate forum, as there are so many. 2+2? Pocket 5’s?

  21. Whats your thoughts on Mike Minor and minor concerns over him being behind schedule this spring because of some minor shoulder scoping?

    • Haven’t heard much but wouldn’t over-react unless it has to with pitcher elbo

    • I haven’t heard anything on it but I wouldn’t generally worry unless they mention the elbow or forearm.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now! says:
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        @Rudy Gamble: those minors starting to add up, huh

  22. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    re: streaming vs. bench hitters:

    I prorated Rudy’s streamed hitters for 158 GP (btw: he easily out-performed any in my league). Assume he relied more heavily on hittertron…?

    73R/16HR/59RBI/9SB/.261AVG

    not too far off Grey’s projections for #112 Utley:

    65R/16HR/73RBI/10SB/.274AVG

    doubtful one would get a full 158 GP with Utley as a bench hitter. think i do better just by streaming…? you going to draft a guy at #112 just to fill in?

  23. Nightpandas says:
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    Nice article Rudy!

    Wondering if you have any specific thoughts around my 6bench spots and maximizing AB for my 15 team yahoo league. 35 moves for the year and position limits. Typically I am over at 1b, of and util spots but under on innings pitched and 2b, as and way under at catcher.

    • I don’t think AB maximization is key for that format but perhaps a 2nd catcher with upside like Grandal or Pinto can help in 2nd half? I’d also consider an OF who is undervalued due to injuries like Maybin, Quentin, or Cain?

  24. Nick says:
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    Rudy, great article. You and Rotoman are the only ones I’ve seen, and I read a lot of fantasy baseball blogs, getting into the nitty gritty of how much different components of the season correlate to end of season results.

  25. Jimbo says:
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    That’s why one of my daily leagues changed to a 50 move roster limit.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @Jimbo: 50 per season really could handcuff somebody with a lot of injuries/underperformances. that’s only just over 2 a week or so. 4 a week is probably adequate to nix streamers while still giving a niggling injury team some respite.

      • matt says:
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        @goodfold2: 100 moves max should be the standard. In my opinion. That’s the model we use 5 DL spots is what I don’t like

  26. Yescheese says:
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    That tight graph is pretty compelling! Even hitter tron can’t wait to hit that. Great work Rudy!

  27. matt says:
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    I think there should be a 4-5 move per week cap or 100-120 max per season. That’s my honest opinion. I don’t follow the rest of the metrics but I get the jest of it

    • matt says:
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      @matt: another example playing in H2H leagues NO GS limits

  28. R dizzle says:
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    Holy cow, I can’t believe I haven’t used this site before. There is more useful content on this site in a week than you see in a year on other sites.

    My question: can you try maximize ABs in a league that isn’t daily and isn’t weekly for roster moves? We have a waiver run on Sunday night, Weds night and Friday night. We have 23 roster spots. Start seven P and twelve hitters. (C 1B 2B 3B SS CI MI 4OF Util)

    So if I have 4 bench spots, should I have 2 of those devoted to streaming ABs?

    • Thanks for the kind words! The maximizing ABs works best when u can make swaps day of to take advantage of game day lineups. But the Hittertron on this site (you will love it) will project for at least the next 7 days. Your best bet is to swap out guys with off days or likely to be benched in a platoon. I’d say one for hitters + two for pitchers + one swing guy that can be a hitter on weeks when two of ur hitters have off days.

  29. MPC says:
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    Rudy, really interesting stuff. Thanks for putting in the work

  30. ShebBadger says:
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    Great, great analysis! I’ve always been partial to lead off hitters to maximize counting stats. Over the course of the season, the lead off or 2 hole hitters get a significant number of extra AB’s.

    Wondering if you’ve crunched the numbers based on batting order to quantify the value of a leaf off guy with similar skills to a 7th or 8th place hitter. — 4 or 5 extra AB’s per week.

    Thanks again for the great number crunching.

Comments are closed.