I don’t have a long history with Razzball. I either found the site for the first time or became truly interested in them for the first time (I don’t remember which, the latter I think) when I found this old Rudy post on rating different baseball projection systems via Google search heading into the 2013 baseball season. I quickly decided to make Steamer projections my goto, which led me to targeting Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt in my 2013 home league (a H2H OBP league) auction. (Goldy had a great year, Rizzo not so much, I only ended up with one of them.. guess which one).
Here’s how I came to write for Razzball…
Looking for an OBP writer and a writer to focus on steals. Ping us if interested…
— Razzball (@Razzball) February 13, 2015
I consider OBP leagues my specialty and I had been wanting to write for someone so that just seemed perfect. Unfortunately, they didn’t pick me to write for OBP (maybe it would have helped my case if I replied with a screenshot of my player values/projections spreadsheet with the OPB-AVG column highlighted, which is to say I had analysis ready to go). A couple weeks later I ended up sending an email to [email protected] to basically check what other writing opportunities they had available, specifically wondering if the “steals” spot might still be open. Given you’re reading this, you know what happened.
Sprechen sie SAGNOF?
In German there could/should actually be a word for Steals Ain’t Got No Face. By a word I mean.. one word. One word that would describe what we know as “SAGNOF”. Seems appropriate. If you are the least bit familiar with the German language you know what I’m getting at. Consider this: According to online publication, “The Week”, and their list of eight favorite ridiculously long German words: “Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften: The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes this cumbersome word as the longest German word in everyday use. It means “insurance companies providing legal protection.”” (And stolen base may or may not translate to “gestohlen Basis”).
SAGNOF’s a way of life at Razzball. Why get speed early when you can get it late? Loading up on HR/RBI/AVG early (because you can’t load up on it late) is the way to win your leagues. For that matter, you don’t need to come out of your draft with much/any speed at all. It will be sitting there for you on the waiver wire. I believe A.J. Pollock was a favorite around Razzball. But I saw him dropped in at least one RCL after a slow start and he’s got 37 stolen bases to date, along with a stellar overall 5×5 line. Billy Burns was a player I didn’t think had a realistic chance to contribute this year. He’s tied for tenth in MLB with 26 stolen bases and brought a .298 average along with it, the latter stat greatly exceeding all reasonable expectations.
Why is it so easy to acquire speed late? For good reason I’d say. The base stealers seem to be a bit more unpredictable than the sluggers. Many of their fates rely on the whim of the BABIP Gods. They are always a two week long slump away from being benched and possibly sent down. But acknowledging the risk with speedsters isn’t enough.
The fact is we have to actually try to predict what the speedsters will do. My favorite way of doing that is by leveraging a good projection system, like the Steamer/Razzball projections. Sure the projections will be wrong from time to time, like they were with Billy Burns. He was originally projected for a .230ish average. The projection systems don’t really have any way to account for a player whose skills have suddenly changed, which is something that does happen more frequently with the younger players. In Burns’ case, he seems to have sacrificed drawing walks with making contact early in the count, an approach that’s just fine for fantasy baseball.
Generally, the players are going to regress back to something quite similar to their projections. And when they don’t it’s just as likely to do with luck (good or bad) as it was due to a change in skills. So that’s the approach I took when handing out advice to the masses and when writing these posts. Projections based insight is what led me to tell you to pick up Jake Marisnick (formerly Jake Marsinick, at least in my posts) but also what led me to tell you to sell high on him, if possible, when his performance was greatly exceeding what his projections suggested he should do. Projections along with peripheral stats (things like K%, BB% and BABIP for hitters) will always be the first types of research I do when I’m wondering if a player’s performance is legit. And of course with most players not living up to expectations, the question always becomes “but what will they regress to”? (Which is where things get tricky…)
So this is my way of starting to wrap up the year. I’m not sure if this is the last post I’ll be writing this year, or if I’ll have a proper year end post. If so that post will have a lot of “what I got right, what I got wrong, and what I learned”. Those of you that are vying for first place in your leagues, I don’t have anything for you, yet I don’t think you need much. You might be planning on how you are going to get the most games started past the maximum games started, for instance. Gotta maximize those Ks and Ws. Whatever your strategy is, I think those of you in that position have pretty much got it figured out already.
For those of you in head to head leagues finals.. Umm.. Good luck. You’re going to need it. I know. I’ve had years in head to head where I’ve dominated the season long “standings” for each category (that reminds me… brb, off to put in my FAAB bids for my home league..) but came up short in my match ups. Just not enough sample size…
P.S. Lance is looking for someone to permanently fill a position in his OBP home league. Ping him if interested/Inquire for details.