There was a time in the not so distant path (2014) when I had only two children – my oldest daughter and the Razzball MLB tools. Soon after, the child count went to six (three daughters, MLB/NFL/NBA tools) and the concept of having free time to take on big projects went up in smoke.

When you enter this stage in life, you find that you have exchanged dollars of time that you could have invested in productive pursuits for tokens of time that could only be used to: 1) hoard and efficiently crank out little projects/pursuits, 2) hate on others who waste their dollars of time, and 3) bemoan how you spent those dollars when you had the time.

Most of the time I have invested on Razzball – setting up the projections/tools, the player pages, etc. – has proven to be an okay investment in time. It certainly hasn’t made me rich but there are worse things in life than making some money on your favorite hobby.

But, by far, the STUPIDEST investment in time I made on Razzball was the Historical Baseball Player Rater which created fantasy dollar values for every year starting with 1903. What the hell was I thinking?

This dawned on me soon after finishing the work and I blocked it out of my memory for the most part^. Enough that I did not even bother to incorporate any new years since 2014.

^ Patrick Davitt dug up the Historical Player Rater for our interview/podcast in 2018. That was a pleasant trip down memory lane.

Looking back, I can see that some good came out of the endeavor. Thinking through how you normalize stats across 100 years with markedly different hitting + SB environments, reliever usage, numbers of MLB teams, etc. led to improvements in the Player Rater methodology for preseason/season-to-date/rest of season player values. A beneficial side effect to having to adjusting league size (a 12 team mixed league when there were 16 MLB teams is more akin to AL/NL only…thus you have to convert to 6 team mixed) was it forced me to move away from displaying Point Shares (my Standard Gains Point variant) for category values to auction dollars in the Player Rater.

Additionally, as more fantasy analysts started using the Player Rater for their analysis, there was a greater demand to look back at previous years.

So with a little bit of unwanted free time on my hands (fuck you COVID-19), I incorporate the 2015-2019 player rater data into the Historical Player Rater and created ‘last 5 year’ Player Raters for Hitters and Pitchers. All can be found under Player Rater in the main menu.

Some general notes:

  • The Last 5 Year Player Raters are based on 12 team mixed league value with standard 1-catcher rosters (13 hitter/9 pitcher). There is little difference in ranking/value between this format and NFBC aside from catchers (which, as many of you know, I refuse to adjust up as much as traditionalists).
  • Here is an FAQ on the Historical Player Rater.
  • I have made improvements on the Player Rater since the Historical Player Rater work. After comparing the two, improvements made between 2015-2019 include 1) removal of any positional adjustments (which do serve a purpose historically) and 2) greater variance in category $ values. Hence, you will find some odd quirks like Nolan Arenado’s 2015 season being the highest $RBI season ever and 5 of the top 11 seasons since 1947 are between 2015-2019.
  • While it is a completely pointless exercise, there are less fun ways to kill time than to see which hitters had the most top 10 fantasy hitter years or which pitcher had the most valuable fantasy season of the past decade? You can even try the Top 200 Fantasy Baseball Hitter Seasons quiz on Sporcle (here is another quiz with the Razzball Player Rater’s Top 100 for 2020). If you like them, please rate them 5 stars and Nominate them to be added to the Sporcle homepage!

Enjoy and stay safe everyone.

  1. Norman Ginsberg says:

    Are these quizes available on the Razzball site; I don’t want additional sites/passwords to manage.

    • I find the quizzes work better if you visit the site vs embedding them. You can take the quizzes without logging in (just can’t rate or nominate them)

  2. Bumgarner on a horse statue says:

    Report- Cole Hamels is pain free. Would you trade Hilliard for him? 20 teams thanks!

    • That make sense. In that deep of a league, you need SP depth and Hilliard has PT risk. In shallower leagues, i’d roll with Hilliard.

  3. TheTinDoor

    TheTinDoor says:

    Matt Kemp!!

    • 2011 was a magical season for Kemp, Ellsbury, and Granderson.

  4. Joe Duprey says:

    This is a treasure trove. Thanks for compiling/sharing.

    The pitcher who stood out to me was Pedro. His efficiency was something unimaginable, especially in ‘99. It was like watching the best closers two weeks compiled into a single game.

    The hitter that stood out to me was Howard Johnson. His power/speed game is very muted and he deserves to be thought of as a much higher caliber player

    • Pedro and Randy were both insane for their era. Wish I could go back and take them as my 1st round pick :)

      Howard Johnson had an insane 5-year peak for fantasy (very good peak in real life). From 1987-1991, he AVERAGED 96/31/95/32 and had SS/3B eligibility almost every year!!!

      • LenFuego says:

        And that was really pre-steroids era for Hojo – those kind of numbers got washed out once the late 90s hit and the steroid boys were going crazy.

        • Just a weird career as he didn’t even have nother year with 400 ABs!

  5. The Great Knoche says:

    Distant Path?

    Anyhoo potential plan coming together for baseball in 2020. Some of the options were different.

    • Implementing an electronic strike zone to allow the plate umpire to maintain sufficient distance from the catcher and batter

    • No mound visits from the catcher or pitching coach

    • Seven-inning doubleheaders, which with an earlier-than-expected start date could allow baseball to come closer to a full 162-game season

    • Regular use of on-field microphones by players, as an added bonus for TV viewers

    • Sitting in the empty stands 6 feet apart — the recommended social-distancing space — instead of in a dugout

    So…what happens if a guy is on first? Can’t hold him on?
    if you get within 6 feet of someone while holding the ball is he out?
    Are there only force outs at the bases since tagging someone would involve getting within six feet?

    I’m still a skeptic, but it’s a t least a glimmer of good news.

    • i have no idea how this works but summer MLB in outdoor Arizona parks would be brutal

      • The Great Knoche says:

        Play all the games at Midnight when it’s only 102 degrees.

    • baby seal says:

      Haha, I was going to comment on the same typo!!

      Are these your ideas, or did you read this somewhere? I don’t think we’ll have baseball if they feel the need to implement these types of measures…

      This goes a bit overboard. If you’re in the game, then you can be held at first. You’re either sick and not in the game, or healthy and in it. They aren’t doing electronic strike zones either, sorry. Not happening. I love the microphone idea either way, though.

      They will have to do daily testing, maybe even more frequent than that. May need to ask players to sign waivers or something along those lines. This has a very real chance to blow up badly in their faces. But I’m more optimistic than you.

      • The Great Knoche says:

        Its on ESPN this morning. All the bullet points are included. My sarcastic questions at the end.

        • baby seal says:

          Cool, thanks. The Arizona thing is interesting and something Grey has mentioned.

          Would probably destroy my many Story shares… I’m off the Rockies until further notice…

      • Norman Ginsberg says:

        I was wondering where the catcher and umpire stand?

  6. Coolwhip says:

    Great stuff Rudy! So that “most top 10 fantasy hitter years” list is interesting… Knew Hornsby was great, but not THAT great.

    Also, clearly the “best” or “safest” first round pick (i.e. mostly likely to return 1st value) in today’s game is Mike Trout followed by Mookie Betts… Trout is has been top 10 every year hes played a full season. And Mookie following with every year since his 2nd. Obviously Acuna and the like havent been in majors until recently… but this is telling all the same.

    • You are welcome. I was surprised how great Betts’ seasons look….but, remember, he played in Fenway. That’s a wonderful AVG/R/RBI park. The move to LA is going to hurt in that regard (it won’t for HRs…question mark w/ SB). Trout is so good.

      • baby seal says:

        I have taken Bellinger over Betts each chance I’ve been given the choice. Usually a little concerned when elite players change leagues — it’s more of a tie-breaker thing to be clear — but usually leads me to “fading” those guys. I like the work you did on Runs w/ Betts. Super interesting.

        Same thing w/ Rendon — and he also has the Big Contract Expectations to deal with too. Older player coming off a career year. Too many dings for me. But on the flip side, both of these guys have great plate discipline, so it’s not a *huge* point of emphasis if they were to fall too much.

        As a Yankee fan, I have seen this story play out a few times and know the psychological element is very unpredictable. I try to avoid that type of variance if I can help it, especially early in drafts.

      • Coolwhip says:

        Thats true, will be interesting how a full season of Betts looks in Dodgerland… although, there’s a possibility we never see that if he opts out after this short season. You think park will hurt his production despite going to such a prodigious lineup?

        • baby seal says:

          What he’s said before is that Runs scored is *much* lower in the NL. And Fenway is great for AVG. He may hit a few more HRs, though. And steals is a bit of a wildcard, but probably fine there.

    • baby seal says:

      “Past performance is not indicative of future results” :-)

      I would say Yelich probably has as good a chance as those guys. (Pretty sure) his per game numbers are the best.

      Rudy — any chance u can add $/G in there?

      Matt Kemp was a BEAST in 2011! .324/115/39/126/40. What a shame to miss the 40/40 club by ONE homer!

      Most interesting takeaway for me: really puts Cole and Verlander’s seasons into perspective from last year. The $ value gap is almost exponential on the pitching side (not actually, but just trying to make an illustrative point).

      Verlander earned nearly $10 more in value than the 6th best pitcher season in the last 5 years?!!?

      • I developed $/G after I did the Historical Player Rater. Would take too much work/testing to get it in there. Sorry.

        I am just bummed I only had one Cole share (and no Verlanders) last year. Had at least 2 DeGrom shares which were very good but negated by Stanton shares. The Cole/Verlander seasons were ones for the ages.

        • baby seal says:

          All good, thanks for the reply! Guess that time spent would be lamented in your 2025 post? :-)

          An excerpt from the future: “This FKing baby seal character gave me a horrible idea that was a total waste of time.” lol

          Totally agree on the pitching side! I almost traded for Cole in May — was trying to package Pham + parts. But the guy pulled out last minute… (that’s what she said!)

          DeGrom gets a bit unfairly dinged here (even though the math is totally accurate). Having those ratio anchors is HUUUUGE.

          • Coolwhip says:

            never take advice from an underdeveloped marine mammal ;-)

            • baby seal says:


          • Ha. DeGrom hasn’t gotten Win good fortune in past 2 years. Mets aren’t great but 11 wins/season is just bad luck.

            • baby seal says:

              Yeah, it’s insane. Part of the reason he’s (almost) a target for me in any sort of QS or W + QS league…

              He’s probably the best QS pitcher in baseball. If he finally gets the W luck… boom goes the dynamite!

              My only league like that is the weird category league B_Don setup. I actually did get DeGrom there for $39, I think. Also has GMSC and a few other sabermetric-like cats.

              But I kind of regret that, because in retrospect, having so many dollars tied up in one pitcher made it tough to fill out the rotation. Was my first auction ever. So I’m pleased overall–great learning experience.

              • It does take practice/planning to get an ace at 1st round money and both 1) fill out your pitching staff and 2) not overspend on pitching. definitely something i’ve worked on. talked about that in the LABR post earlier this year –

                My auction strategy would be similar…but sometimes certain rooms are tougher and gobble up all the ‘value’ targets :/

      • Coolwhip says:

        LOL… seal! you naysayer!

    • KrazyIvan says:

      Another 2B caught my eye:Joe Morgan. He had 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 8th best seasons by players positioning the keystone.
      He’s basically like drafting Trea Turner and having him never get hurt.

      • Imagine Joe Morgan’s value in an OBP league?!?!

        • KrazyIvan says:

          wOBA in ‘75 and ‘76 were .443 and .455! The dude was insane!! That’s one reason why I just tuned out who ever was doing the play by play with him on tv and came to attention when ever he spoke about a hitter/or hitting. When Joe spoke about batting you knew it was straight facts.

          • morgan was an amazing baseball player. not so much as an analyst but I’m sure he had some great insights sprinkled in.

            • Coolwhip says:

              ditto. He wasnt a very good analyst, but he did give some interesting insight from a player perspective and tell some fun stories.

          • Dave D says:

            Yeah, Morgan was unbelievable in his prime. When I first started watching games the Reds vs. Dodgers games were phenomenal: Morgan, Bench, Rose , Griffey, Seaver vs Garvey, Lopes, Cey, Baker, etc. Saw them at Chavez Ravine in person 1978 season for one of my first live games. Special stuff.

            • KrazyIvan says:

              That sounds amazing!

              • Dave D says:

                The 1977 Reds starting lineup #1-8 had 160 SBs and 170 homers. Basically a 20-20 starting lineup. They were very exciting to watch.

  7. lennydykstraisjustkmisunderstood says:

    it may be pointlist but still a great Great list. ………………… Where is Gray Today?

    • baby seal says:

      It’s not pointless!

      Maybe doesn’t have a direct 1:1 takeaway for the 2020 season, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless and doesn’t have valuable information.

      • lennydykstraisjustkmisunderstood says:

        I was trying to make a pun but it wasnt’ very good ……….Rudy mentions pointless or stupidest was referencing that ………..the info in great…no offense intended

  8. Snacks Zillion says:

    Thank you for this Goldmine of cool info. Couldn’t have come at a better time!!!

  9. LOLmets says:

    No article from Grey today? Is he filming a YouTube video baking a delicious carrot cake?

    • Dave D says:

      I hear he’s getting an”essential service” aka a Brazilian waxing before he goes swimming in the buff this weekend at the in-laws pad in Palm Springs.

  10. KrazyIvan says:

    Schmidt being ranked #1 in the modern era for all time season during the strike shortened season of ‘81 could be an indicator that if we play this season we could have a new #1. Bellinger was on the best pace I can ever remember last year. Not saying it would be him but there a few guys that could threaten that $55.3.

    • Definitely. 1981 has a couple of big years…Dawson and Dwight Evans come to mind. Bagwell’s 1994 certainly wasn’t hurt by having a month missing.

  11. Dave D says:

    Thanks for posting this great stuff Rudy! I get you on the kid thing. I guess its their turn now.

    If I’m drafting the most desirable post war fantasy season (offense) with first overall pick, I’m probably going with Rickey 1985 and his line of 146-24-72-.314-80. Thats video game stuff. Also, how about a starting catcher with a line of 97-45-148-.293-5? Bench was SO good.

    For SP Im going with 1965 Koufax 26-2.04-0.85-382-2. Two bonus saves with 26 W’s? Slam dunk!!!

    • Ha. Nice…it is crazy seeing some of those old stat lines.

      • Beat the Bots says:

        Yeah, was looking at Bonds’ stats today, and one MVP year he had a .600+ obp…crazy haha

        • KrazyIvan says:

          This rater helps strengthen the argument that the best prewar player was Ruth and best modern player ever was Willie Mays.

        • Dave D says:

          People forget how good BarrySr. was. 1977 with the Angels was insane. 1973 lights out. If he took better care of himself he would likely be HOF. He smoked and lived hard though.

  12. goodfold2 says:

    historical player rater is awesome. unless something changed i think the best player season ever was ty cobb’s 1909 (or was it 1911, i haven’t looked in a bit). due to how few HR’s everybody had back then and he had like 9 in ONE year!!!! plus his crazy runs, steals were high, AVG (likely OBP too) just sick season compared to rest of the league in that time.

    • yup, he’s still in 1st. Cobb led the majors in HR (9, 2nd was 7 which is like 50 and next highest is 39), SBs (76 SB, one other player had more than 35), hit .377 (two other players above .314), 1st in RBIs, and 2nd in Runs.

      • goodfold2 says:

        yeah those steals and HR numbers at bat shit (relatively to league, esp the steals) and AVG. i’m curious as to how in the hell he was only 2nd in runs actually.

  13. Jonathan says:

    Great stuff!

    In a 12 team dynasty, 5×5 with obp, holds and k/9

    Would you trade Giolito for Kershaw and Abrams?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Thanks. I don’t know much on Abrams other than he’s a high schooler with a good hit tool and great speed. I mean that sounds great but it might be 2023 before you even get a taste. So I am fine w/ this trade.

      • Jonathan says:

        More wondering how long we have kershaw as an ace?

        • IMO he is a year-to-year guy. Just look at what happened w/ Felix Hernandez at his “low 90’s but he’s still crafty” stage. Fell of a cliff. I feel that’s the norm and Greinke is the anomaly.

  14. KrazyIvan says:

    Best thing I read about the conditions which under baseball could be governed under is the 7 inning double header. There are only 10 spring training complexes in the Phoenix area. For this to work there has got to be a double header going on at every park that weather will allow (just maybe not with the same teams). 7 inning games would solve a lot of problems-hard time getting pitchers ramped up? A seven inn ing game mean they only need to pitch into the 4th. Too hot? Start games earlier (can be broadcast to east coast at normal times) and start the second game later for west coast viewers who can still catch the game finishing about the same time.
    By the rules it only has to go 5 to count so playing 7 would be alright in my book.

    • Coolwhip says:

      If all games are 7 innings, Odorizzi might threaten the #1 Pitcher ranking! LOL

      • KrazyIvan says:

        Think about Lamet only having to face the lineup twice through!

        • Beat the Bots says:

          Or Kyle Gibson!

  15. 1978 Gator season confirmed many forget how ridiculously good he was that year essentially as good as Cole last year I remember going to every away game that season with my grandchildren we would meet up with him for dinner after the games and spin yarns and eat gator tail tots Billy would sip his whiskey milks Mikey would always go for swims in rivers to hunt catfish and every once in a while Lou would come in and kick over all the tables and spit and yell on everybody and talk about moving to the northwest and you know just restarting it all oh 1978

    • catfish is lucky gator didn’t douse him in tabasco and eat him.

  16. Rick Brown says:

    Hey Rudy,
    Great stuff! Love that a Canuck makes the top 20 all-time.What a year Walker had-even if he did play half his games at Coors.

    • Walker was incredible with the Rockies!

  17. ryan says:

    In my 14 team h2h dynasty league I was offered an interesting trade. I would get ketel marte and max muncy for austin meadows sixto sanchez and my 1st round pick in next years draft. i think this is a solid deal for me, Also I don’t mind trading my pick because I already have an abundance of solid prospects and my pick. Anyway should I consider this trade?

    c wilson contreras

    1b jose abreu

    2b ozzie albies

    3b rafael devers

    ss bo bichette

    lf juan soto

    cf ronald acuna

    rf austin meadows

    util yuli gurriel

    bn cj cron

    bn omar narvaez

    na andrew vaughn

    na robert puason

    na corbin carroll

    na jeter downs

    na julio rodriguez

    na erick pena

    sp brandon woodruff

    sp julio urias

    sp max scherzer

    rp scott oberg

    rp ryan pressly

    rp brandon kintzler

    p robbie ray

    p kevin gausman

    p alex wood

    bn miles mikolas

    bn carlos rodon

    bn deivi garcia

    bn sixto sanchez

    bn edward cabrera

    bn nathan eovaldi

    bn matt shoemaker

    na luis patino

    • I don’t love the deal. You don’t need Muncy. Sixto due up in 2020. 1st round pick could be big (though you do have very good prospects)

      • ryan says:

        From the looks of my team, what type of trades should i look to do?

        • i’m not seeing any major weaknesses except for Saves (assuming that’s a standalone category) which can wait.

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