Those that have been reading my points league posts since I started with Razzball a few years back know that I dislike batters that strikeout a lot. I’ve been a vocal supporter of penalizing batters for strikeouts. I have even gone as far to say that if you are in a points league that does not subtract points for strikeouts that you should find another league. In points leagues strikeouts cost you points. Anything that costs you points is a poison. Take a player like Khris Davis. Last year he had about 399 fantasy points, finishing just inside the top 50 batters. Davis struck out 195 times. In leagues that penalize one point for a strikeout, that’s 195 points he lost. That’s as many points as Alex Gordon had in all of last year. Chris Davis with a “C”, had 190 points. Like Khris Davis with a “K”, he also had 195 points deducted for strikeouts.

Now get ready for this. After an exchange in the comments section of a preseason post I’ve been thinking about the value, or lack there of, of a strikeout. My thought process was that a strikeout is pretty much the worst out you can make. It’s entirely unproductive and it can’t even advance the runners (ignoring strike three that gets away from the catcher). How is this any different than a popup in the infield? If you think about it, it’s not. They both result in the same outcome. So if we subtract a point for a strikeout, shouldn’t we subtract a point for a popup to first base? I think the answer is no. I’m starting to think that a batter shouldn’t lose a point for either of these events. Or, more accurately, he shouldn’t lose a point for a strikeout since he already doesn’t lose a point for the pop out.

How would this change the landscape of points leagues? Well for leagues that don’t currently penalize for strikeouts, they would remain the same. Duh. For everyone else, a fair amount of players would suddenly become a quite bit more valuable. Khris Davis’s 399 points now becomes 590 points. And instead of being a top 50 batter, he becomes a top twenty. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge become the number one and top batters overall. If I’m being honest I am really thinking this is the right move. I can’t believe the words are actually coming out of my mouth. And by “out of my mouth” I mean being typed by my fingers.

Let’s take a quick look at how this rule change would effect this season’s year-to-date rankings. Subtracting one point for a strikeout here are the top twenty.

Mookie Betts – 191 points
Manny Machado – 173 points
Mike Trout – 168 points
Bryce Harper – 163 points
Jose Ramirez – 162 points
Freddie Freeman – 155 points
Nick Markakis – 150 points
Ozzie Albies – 149 points
Didi Gregorius – 147 points
Francisco Lindor – 143 points
Aaron Judge – 140 points
A.J. Pollock – 135 points
Mike Moustakas – 132 points
Andrelton Simmons – 129 points
Javier Baez – 128 points
J.D. Martinez – 128 points
Kris Bryant – 126 points
Jed Lowrie – 125 points
George Springer – 124 points
Carlos Correa – 123 points

Without subtracting for a strikeout, here is the new top twenty.

Mookie Betts – 210 points
Mike Trout – 201 points
Manny Machado – 196 points
Aaron Judge – 194 points
Bryce Harper – 192 points
Ozzie Albies – 184 points
Freddie Freeman – 183 points
Jose Ramirez – 178 points
Francisco Lindor – 178 points
A.J. Pollock – 173 points
J.D. Martinez – 173 points
Didi Gregorius – 169 points
Nick Markakis – 167 points
Carlos Correa – 163 points
Jed Lowrie – 160 points
Justin Upton – 160 points
Javier Baez – 159 points
George Springer – 159 points
Mitch Haniger – 158 points
Giancarlo Stanton – 158 points

While Mookie Betts remains the top player, there are a lot of the same names in both lists, just in a little bit of a different order. It’s also important to keep in mind that we are only seven weeks or so into the season. The further into the season we get the more I think the list changes. Some players that made the list once strikeouts were ignored are Justin Upton, Mitch Haniger and Giancarlo Stanton. Some players that are considered strikeout hitters that are slowly creeping their way into the picture, falling a bit outside the top twenty, are Trevor Story (156 points) and Khris Davis (153 points).

It’s a lot to chew on, but I’m seeing a revolution being started right here. What do you think? Joey Gallo was overhead screaming “I’m ready to get this shit started!”

My two cents.

Vladimir Guerrero’s starting percentage in CBS is 1 percent. Shouldn’t it be zero? Are there leagues with no bench?

Someone needs to tell Adam Wainwright that his career is over. Maybe move his desk to the basement and take his stapler.

Edubray Ramos. I kinda like that name. Hello my name is Edubray. Hi Ed. No it’s Edubray. You mean Odubel. No, that’s another guy. What do you think all of us minorities looks the same. I bet you think that’s Vladimir Guerero pointing at Maikel Franco.

Rob Deer approves not deducting a point for a strikeout.

I plan to see Solo solo. Is there any other way?

Kevin Pillar is under-owned.

Why is a nickel bigger than a dime?

Does Mike Moustakas own a diner? If so, does Billy Butler eat for free?

Are any of you planning to wait in line this Saturday for Nine Inch Nails tickets?

Has Julio Teheran turned a corner?

A post on Nick Markakis is coming.

Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney

   
  1. bob says:
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    There are leagues with no benches, i am in 2 of them.

    Both start all 25 players on your roster, if you want to keep a minor leaguer, you lose a spot that can score you points.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @bob: That’s what I figured, but I still put it out there…

  2. Disenfranchised says:
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    Thanks for having this discussion with me during the preseason and coming back to it after giving it some thought.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Disenfranchised: You know it man. Thanks for helping me see the light. I just needed some time to really think it through. Gonna be a tough sell the keeper leagues, but no reason redraft leagues can’t make a change…

  3. Stickball Al says:
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    I’ve been in a points money league with 11 of my friends for 7 years now. We use the minus 1 point for every K. After the 2nd year I tried to get them to drop it. I seem to be in a league with a bunch of old view Malamoney’s. I brought this up with you last year in one of your blogs and you shot me down big time. I tried to argue the point that we lose 1/3 of the players because of the K’s. My number one rule in this league is “If the player K’s over 25% of the time he is almost un-useable” Plus players tend to hold onto fringe players much to long and it makes trading very difficult also, because they value their players so high. Trading partners want almost guaranteed stats instead of maybe hoping a slumping player will turn around his year or prospects will come thru big time if you take a chance. The waiver pool is the Dead Sea, instead of the Great Hope. I tried to get my league to go with minus 1/2 point for K’s and a few guys seem to listen, but got shot down again. I won this league last year and should be happy, but I would like it to change this rule. The bottomline is forget the minus K’s and enjoy your whole league more. I am going to copy this blog of your’s and send it to each member of my league. Maybe you can enlighten at least 6 of them and we will change the rule next year. Thanks for opening your mind to a much more fun way to play points league Malmoney !!!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Stickball Al: Always gotta be open minded to change. If you’re not, then you’ll be stuck in the past. Things change. However, this is going to be a tough sell in keeper leagues, but no reason redraft leagues can’t make a change…

      • Stickball Al says:
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        @malamoney: My league is a redraft league so there’s hope. I might need a crowbar to open a few of my fellow Irishmens’s minds up though !!!

    • Disenfranchised says:
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      @Stickball Al: If they must have their Ks maybe you should try convincing them to weight Ks based on BB:K ratio vs just eliminating Ks. The last time I did extensive stat research into it the league average was around 1:4 BB:K. So maybe you can convince them to go to -. 25/-. 5 based on the idea that just because a guy strikes out doesn’t mean he doesn’t have good plate discipline or provide quality plate appearances.

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Disenfranchised: I know we talked about this as well, but I’m not a fan of normalizing strikeouts against walks…

      • Stickball Al says:
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        @Disenfranchised: Maybe or win the league 3 times in a row, and then they might be open to change things. Like kicking me out of the league. Lol !!! This is a tough crowd…

  4. malamoney

    malamoney says:
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    @Stickball Al: Or perhaps just a couple of Guinnesses!

    • Stickball Al says:
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      @malamoney: Actually a lot of Guinness and some good Irish whiskey. We hold our draft at Britannia Arms which is a large bar and grill here in San Jose. It might be my best chance Malmoney or it could get a little loud and rowdy. Lol !!!

      • malamoney

        malamoney says:
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        @Stickball Al: As far as rule changes go I am a firm believer that they need to be voted on at the beginning of the season before so that all teams have a full season to adjust to the coming change(s). Having a vote right before your draft to make a change for that year is generally a pretty shitty thing. Although there are some rules that would be ok in that scenario. Like adding another DL spot…

  5. Michael Regan says:
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    By getting rid of the penalty for K’s, you are not making more players usable, you are just changing which players are usable.

    • Mother of Assy says:
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      @Michael Regan: each player scores more points, so not really. More players do become more viable, intriguing options – Matt Davidson, anyone?

      • Michael Regan says:
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        @Mother of Assy: @Mother of Assy: That’s right, each player scores more points, but the gap between the top 50 and the waiver wire fodder doesn’t shrink.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Michael Regan: It is slightly expanding the players that are useful. I realize that some players will leap frog others, but it still brings more players in to the mix…

  6. peteshally88 says:
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    Wanted to get your thoughts on a trade. H2H points keeper league I give Severino(11th rd keep) goldy(4th rd) and matt Adams and get JD Martinez(10th rd) degrom(1st) and Robbie ray (13th) My lineup is good not great. My rotation is JV Dallas Teheran soroka Heaney

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @peteshally88: Matt Adams is mostly a non-factor. I’d rather have Goldschmidt over JD, but when you consider the rounds it skews that towards Martinez. Severino in the 11th is amazing. So is Robby Ray in the 13th. The question is, would you keep deGrom in the first?

  7. Mother of Assy says:
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    My points league made this switch a few years back for similar reasons, and I think it was probably the best thing we did. If batting average ‘doesnt matter’ in a points league (since obvs it’s not a 5-category format), and an out is an out, we felt it should reflect that. Plus, with hitters being the way they are currently, along with a points league being more fun when you can score more POINTS, it seemed like the right move.

    Now if only we could find a way to make steaks/speed guys more valuable! That’s the next hurdle. No -1 pt. for a Caught Stealing? We don’t know

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Mother of Assy: Nice. I’m not sure these are the same issues. My primary motivation for not penalizing for a strikeout isn’t about making strikeout happy batters more valuable. The motivation is that I don’t think it’s fair/right.

      So I’m not a fan of trying to make speed guys more valuable than they already are. Being caught stealing should definitely have a penalty. A batter got himself on base with a base hit or walk. For that he gets a point. Now he does something that erases himself from the bases. He should lose that point that he got for getting on base. In the case of the strikeout, the batter never got a point in the first place. So penalizing him a point doesn’t make sense. Like I said in the post, how is a strikeout any different than a pop out to short?

      I was in a league that wanted to give 2 points for stolen base, but I lobbied heavily against it. Why are we trying to make base stealers more valuable? If that’s the case, what about guys that hit lots of singles, but little to no power. Take Dee Gordon. Last year he led the league with 170 singles, but only had 2 homers. I know he steals bases too, but that’s a separate way he contributes to making him valuable. How about DJ LeMahieu. Last year he had the third most singles (149), but only 8 home runs and 6 stolen bases. Why not make these guys more valuable.

      I realize it’s not exactly the same thing, but it’s similar.

      Thanks for the comments…

      • Chris L says:
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        @malamoney:

        I think the biggest selling point of the no penalty for Ks is it makes a subset of recognizable players more interesting. In my leagues the idea gets traction because people want Judge, Stanton, et all to “be good” in Fantasy.

        You are making it clear that you don’t value the change just to let different type of players excel but the push back I get in my leagues is that we are effectively trading one subset for another. The lead off guys for the cleanup guys.

        As a side note of something I have been debating.: strikeouts are a huge part of the modern game in a way popouts are not. Both in frequency and as a result of player strategy. I think lots of points people want to acknowledge that in some way.

        On stolen bases (2pts), I have played in those leagues and I actually found them very enjoyable. Stolen bases are so rare it’s a bit of an X factor in drafting. Rather than just comparing straight power stats it balances out the relative strength of players with different skill profiles. Also it had the hidden benefit of making roto centric advice more applicable to your points teams.

  8. Peteshally88 says:
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    I would not keep degrom. So it’s not time to panic on goldy yet then?

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Peteshally88: No it is not. I would be buying low…

  9. Peteshally88 says:
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    Appreciate the feedback!

  10. I'm just lost now lol says:
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    Drop who ?? Tallion, t ross, flaherty, berrios, arrieta in a 10 team points league h2h weekly al/nl ….we have a 4 man bench and a DL spot…. so 5 spots to use to rotate offense or pitching and I have E Andrus, C Mart, Y Molina and Kh Davis all on the DL so I have 1 F’ing spot other than my starters. So after kh davis going down yesterday, i’m short a OF to start so I have to drop a pitcher or take a 0 in my line up cuz making a trade has been a bitch ( 2 for 1 to free up a spot ) which one of those guys would you drop so I can pick up a OF to play…. if I can’t get a trade through by 5pm? thx for the help man !!!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @I’m just lost now lol: I’d be leaning towards Tyson Ross. I like Taillon, Berrios and Flaherty. Too much upside with all three of them. Then it comes down to Arrieta vs Ross. I’m going with Arrieta.

      The two for one trades are tough. I never want to be on the side that gets the two players because we both know that the one player is always the best in the trade. And everyone wants the best player. If you are going to pull it off you are going to have to take a discount.

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