For those not infected by the baseball stat virus, I imagine it is hard to determine what is a bigger waste of time – people spending countless hours obsessing over fantasy baseball versus those that pore through historical baseball statistics and debate things like Hall of Fame worthiness.  It must be like a nutritionist determining the relative unhealthiness of fried foods vs. processed snacks.

With that, I give you the fried Oreo that is the Historical Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.

Some quick basics:

  • It includes every hitter and pitcher season since 1903.
  • Based on 12-team MLB (C/1B/2B/SS/3B/5 OF/CI/MI/UTIL/9 P) with a $260 budget and 5×5 categories (R/HR/RBI/SB/AVG, W/SV/ERA/WHIP/K)
  • All players are given a total $ value as well as a $ value per category (we will likely change all player raters to this going forward vs. showing Point Shares)
  • Please check out the extensive FAQ document for any methodological questions (and post there with similar questions).

Below are the various reports you can pore through.  Our data table allows for some cool filtering/sorting that will be familiar to anyone who uses our tools such as Player RaterStream-o-nator, or Hitter-tron.  There are quick instructions at the top of the table and more in-depth instructions below the report grid.

The four types of reports available for Hitters and Pitchers are:

  • Best Fantasy Baseball Seasons – broken out by era, position, Hall of Fame/Baseball Think Factory Hall of Merit inductees, and seasonal awards (Cy Young, MVP).  Also includes our own awards – the MVFH (Most Valuable Fantasy Hitter), FantCy (Fantasy Cy Young Winner – limited to SPs), and the Rotoids Relief Pitcher.
  • Best Fantasy Baseball Seasons by Decade
  • Best Fantasy Baseball Seasons by Statistic – this is ranked by Fantasy Baseball value  not the actual stat values (e.g., Bonds’ 73 does not top Babe Ruth’s best years)
  • Best Fantasy Baseball Careers – Sums up all seasons from 1903 where a hitter was worth more than $0.  Broken out by position as well (with a minimum of 5 seasons where that position represented the player’s most valuable fantasy baseball position.  The sums cover all years so Alex Rodriguez will appear very high in both the SS and 3B career rankings)
 Hitters Pitchers
Best Season 1903-2013|1903-1946|1947-2013
Best Season By Decade 1900s|10s|20s|30s|40s|50s|
Best Season by Stat R|HR|RBI|SB|AVG W|SV|ERA|WHIP|K
By Career All|C|1B|2B|SS|3B|OF|DH|HOF|HOM|
1+ MVP|MVFH Top 10
All|SP|RP|HOF|HOM|1+ Cy|1+ MVP
FantCy Top 10|RotoRP Top 10

Here are some factoids:

  • Ty “The Georgia Prick” Cobb has the top season overall ($62) for his Triple Crown 1909 season when he also finished 1st in SBs and 2nd in Runs (go Tommy Leach!).  Babe Ruth has 6 of the top 14 seasons.
  • Mike Schmidt’s 1981 season ($55.5) is the top post-war season with Hank Aaron’s 1963 season (44 HR, 31 SB) in 2nd and Joe Morgan’s 1976 and 1972 finishing 3rd and 4th.
  • Ed Walsh’s 1908 season is the most valuable ($56) when, even for the times, he had ridiculous stats.  464 IP in 66 games (49 GS) with 40 Wins, a 1.42 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP, and 6 saves (which led the league).    Walter Johnson is the only pitcher with two appearances in the top 10 (5th in 1913, 7th in 1912).
  • Pedro Martinez’s 1999 and 2000 seasons are the 1st and 3rd highest post-war seasons with Randy Johnson’s Cy Young seasons in 1999, 2001, and 2002 coming in 4th through 6th.  Sandy Koufax’s 1965 season finished in 2nd.
  • While Eric Gagne’s 2003 season (82 IP, 55 SV, 1.20 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 137 Ks) is the top reliever year post-1981, the top post-war season actually belongs to Joe Page of the 1949 Yankees whose mediocre 1.32 WHIP was overcome by his 13 Wins and 27 Saves (the next highest was 10).  Mariano Rivera didn’t get a sniff at the top reliever seasons as he never topped 83 K’s once he became a closer but he is the #1 most valuable fantasy baseball reliever of all-time thanks to his year-in, year-out consistency.
  • The top 5 career hitters are:  Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, and Barry Bonds.
  • The top 5 career pitchers are:  Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, and Greg Maddux (with Nolan Ryan earning about 50% of his value in K’s).
  • Most career MVFHs (Most Valuable Fantasy Hitter) – Babe Ruth and Willie Mays tied with 7.  Ty Cobb has 6.  Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams and Joe Morgan are tied with 4.  Ruth has the most top 5 finishes with 15.  Hank Aaron has the most top 10 finishes with 17.
  • Most career FantCys (Fantasy Cy Youngs) – Roger Clemens with 6.  Walter Johnson has 5 and there’s a 5-way tie with 4.  Johnsons (Walter and Randy) are tied with the most top 5 finishes at 10 and Walter Johnson has the most top 10s with 17.
  • Most career Rotoids Relief Pitcher awards – Rich “Goose” Gossage with 4.  There is a 6-way tie with 3 which includes Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley.  HOFers Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter surprisingly combine for only one (Fingers in the strike-shortened 1981).   Rivera had the most top 5 (9) and top 10 (14) finishes.
  • Best hitters never to win an MVFH (in career $ order) – Mel Ott (9 top 10s), Tris Speaker (8), Lou Brock (8), Reggie Jackson (6), Eddie Collins (9).
  • Best starting pitchers never to win the FantCy – Tom Seaver (4 2nd places, 11 top 10s), Warren Spahn (13 top 10s), Don Sutton (8 top 10s), Bert Blyleven (5 top 10s), Curt Schilling (7 top 10s).
  • Best relievers never to win the Rotoids Relief Pitcher Award – Hoyt Wilhelm (10 top 10s), Lee Smith (11 top 10s), Bruce Sutter (6 top 10s), John Franco (3 top 10s), Jeff Reardon (6 top 10s).
  • We do not have an MRP award yet (Most Razzuable Player) yet but the most valuable fantasy player was a hitter 73 times, starting pitcher 37 times, and a reliever once (Jim Konstanty – 1950).  Multiple winners amongst SPs are:  Christy Mathewson (1903,1905), Dizzy Dean (1935,1936), Dwight Gooden (1984,1985), Johan Santana (2004,2006), Pedro Martinez (1999,2000), Pete (aka Grover Cleveland) Alexander (1915,1916), Randy Johnson (1995, 2001, 2002), Sandy Koufax (1965,1966), Walter Johnson (1912,1913, 1918).
  • Least fantasy valuable MVP season – Marty Marion’s 1944 whose 50/6/63/1/.267 was worth $1.7 and that’s WITH a bunch of major leaguers away on war duty.  (On his behalf, he led the league in Defensive WAR but, jeez, he was negative offensive WAR….maybe this was a vote against War?).
  • Least fantasy valuable Cy Young award – Surprisingly, it’s not a reliever.  It is Pete Vuckovich’s 1982 ($8.7) and it’s not close.  He had 18 Wins and a 3.34 ERA but an atrocious 1.50 WHIP and 105 K’s in 223 IP.
  • Least fantasy valuable career for an MVP winner – Marty Marion (again).
  • Least fantasy valuable career for a Cy Young winner – Steve Stone with over half his career fantasy value from his 1980 award-winning season when he threw approximately 3,700 curve balls and 9 fastballs.
  • Least fantasy valuable career for a HOF hitter (limited to those who debuted after 1903 and did not lose time because of MLB’s racial policies) – Rick Ferrell ($20).  He was a catcher from 1929-1945 but only managed 6 seasons above $0.  39 catchers have managed to surpass his career total in one year.
  • Least fantasy valuable career for a HOF pitcher (limited to those who debuted after 1903 and was not in Negro Leagues) – Jesse Haines ($117).  He was one of “Frisch’s friends“..
  • Most valuable season with 0 HRs (since 1947) – Maury Wills in 1965 when he was worth $31 thanks to 92 runs, 94 SBs, and a .286 average.  The SBs alone were worth $24 as only 5 other players had 30+ SB that year.
  • Least valuable seasons with 40+ HRs – Adam Dunn in 2008 was worth $14 with a 79/40/100/2/.236 line.  He also owns the 3rd and 4th least valuable 40+ HR season.
  • Most valuable season with less than .220 AVG – Tony Armas in 1983 with a $17 from a 77/36/107/0/.218.
  • Least valuable season with a .300+ AVG (500 AB minimum) – Wade Boggs in 1996 with a negative $3 from a 80/2/41/1/.311 line (the HR/RBI were worth negative $10).
  • Most valuable 30/30 season – Hank Aaron in 1963 with $51 from a 121/44/130/31/.319 stat line.
  • Least valuable 30/30 season –  Raul Mondesi in 1999 with $18 from a 98/33/99/36/.253 stat line.