Draft day is by far my favorite day of the fantasy baseball season. Even more so when the draft is an auction. All of the preparation and anticipation leading up to the day culminates into my version of Christmas. I don’t believe in all the hocus pocus of religion, so draft is where it’s at for me. Fantasy football draft day falls just a bit shy of baseball. There’s just so much more that goes into constructing a well balanced baseball roster that makes it that much more interesting than football. While I do look forward to actually playing the game throughout the season, what I find more interesting than playing is negotiating trades.
There are many tactics that can be employed when trying to convince another owner to agree to a deal. Use rankings to your advantage, but only when they actually improve your story. Be selective when referencing rankings. Be sure to find the ones that make the players you are trading away seem better than the players you would be receiving. Just remember to use the same ones whens attempting a second negotiation with the same owner. Unless you have good reason why the previous rankings are no longer your “go to”. Keep in mind that just because the rankings say player A is better than player B, that does not make it so. Nearly every set of rankings you will find on the Internet are generic and likely not very applicable to your league’s settings. You’d be surprised at how many do not realize this. And let’s not forget that very few sites even have points league rankings. So what you want is a set of rankings that says Player A is better than B when you are trying to trade some combination of A for B. When in reality, B is the better player. But who can you be sure?
I always make my own rankings tailored specifically to my league. I’m sure that surprises none of you. I realize that for most of you that is a difficult task, so let me give you a tip. The most important stat is points. The second is points per plate appearance, or points per start when we are talking pitchers.
If you are clueless when it comes to using Excel, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. Or stated another way, you are missing out on an opportunity to gain an advantage over your league mates. Do yourself a favor and learn the basics of Excel. Search the web, there are tons of free resources.
The first step in creating a customized set of rankings is to download year-to-date statistics. Normally I’d love to tell you to get them from Razzball, but the season stats we currently provide for download do not split hits up into singles, doubles and triples. I will talk to the powers that be about that. In the meantime, I’m going to point you at Fangraphs. Once loaded, find the link that reads “Export Data” and give it a click. This will download a CSV (comma separated file) which can be opened and interpreted by Excel. You can do a “Control-F” search to find the “Export Data” link.
Ok, now for the dirty work. Great movie by the way. Norm McDonald, Chris Farley and Artie Lange! The top row contains all of the column headings. Sorry if this is obvious to those of you fellow Excel gurus. Scroll over to the right until you come to the last column. Add a new column heading called “Points”. In order to calculate points you will need to enter a formula in the cell underneath the one you just entered “Points”. This will most like be cell X2. This formula is based on your league’s scoring system. Let’s assume the following scoring system.
RUN (+1), RBI (+1), 1B (+1), 2B (+2), 3B (+3), HR (+4), BB (+1), KO (-1), SB (+1), CS (-1)
What you need to enter for the formula is the following (provided you did not delete any columns):
Here’s a quick explanation. In my spreadsheet column G contains the number of singles, H has doubles, I triples, J homers, K runs, L RBIs, M walks, O strikeouts, T stolen bases and U caught stealing. Your columns should be the same, but if not, you need to update your formula accordingly. Once you have the formula entered and working for the first player row (row 2), you can drag it all the way down the worksheet to apply it to every player. There’s a way to double-click the cell containing the formula to transfer it down, but that’s an advanced tip.
Now add another column next to the new points column we just created and give it the label “PPPA”. This stands for points per plate appearance. The formula for this should be the new points column divided by the plate appearances column. In my case that would be:
Once I’ve dragged that formula down I like to sort by the plate appearances column in descending order. Then I delete all players with less than a certain number of plate appearances. This number depends on how far we are into the season. At this point I would get rid of everyone with less than 200 plate appearances. If you want to cherry pick a few players with less plate appearances because maybe they’ve just been called up or are solid players that have missed time due to injury, that’s up to you.
At this point you’re done. You can now sort by either “Points” or “PPPA” in descending order to generate rankings. Most points is most important, but when I need to compare two players where one player has more plate appearances, I like to compare their PPPA. If you want to get fancy you can add a third column labeled “Rank” which takes each player and calculates his rank in points and PPPA and adds them together. If a player had the most points and the second best PPPA, his rank would be 3. One from being ranked number 1 for points plus two for being ranked 2nd in PPPA. The lower the rank the better. You can see this column in action in the attached spreadsheet example. If you sort by rank in ascending order you will get a rudimentary set of rankings for your league. Notice I said rudimentary (aka basic) as there is much more you do to make this more precise, however I am not going to go into that today. I did include “Weighted Rank” which gives a bit more weight to the “Points” ranking since most points is most important. I hope this helps some of you get a sense of ranking players in points leagues.
Here is the spreadsheet: Rankings Spreadsheet
In other news, here are the top hitters since the All-Star Break.
Christian Yelich – In 47 plate appearances Yelich has 65 points (1.38 PPPA)
Rhys Hoskins – Rhys is only one point behind Yelich in 53 plate appearances (1.21 PPPA).
Matt Carpenter – Two weeks ago I said to grab Carpenter. He’s been on fire since. Sixty-two points in 53 attempts (1.17 PPPA).
Khris Davis – If your name sounds like Khris or Chris Davis then you likely hit home runs and strikeout. Prove me wrong. Khris has 7 homers and 14 strikeouts in the last 14 days. He has 57 points in 51 plate appearances (1.12 PPPA).
Mike Trout – Of course Trout makes the list. When does he not? In 43 plate appearances he has 55 points (1.30 PPPA), which includes 14 walks.
Jose Ramirez – Ramirez has 49 points in 42 plate appearances (1.17 PPPA). He’s literally been better than Trout this season.
Jonathan Schoop – 50 points in 43 trips (1.16 PPPA). Schoop there it is!
Rougned Odor – 49 points (1.11 PPPA). I’m still steering clear of him. Something just doesn’t smell right.
Matt Chapman – 49 points in 49 plate appearances. I think you can figure out the PPPA yourself!
Yonder Alonso – Somewhere over yonder he has a 1.15 PPPA.
Juan Soto – The American League Rookie of the Year has 45 points in 40 plate appearances (1.125 PPPA).
Anthony Rizzo – Haven’t heard much from Mr. Rizzo this year, but in the last two weeks he’s got 48 points in 51 plate appearances (0.95 PPPA).
Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney.