Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Second Biggest Change In The CFCL - Part II

The momentum was rolling to change or modify the categories we used for scoring.  The challenge we faced was trying to keep this fun (most important) while also providing as much realism to running a major league baseball team (most important 1A) without having to do six calculations for every category (not fun).

There were plenty of on-line leagues that used all sorts of weird-ass categories, so it’s not like we had to invent categories.  Actually there were A TON to pick from.  We just had to decide which categories best fit our league.

On offense it was a pretty easy decision to suggest On Base Percentage over Batting Average.  The key in all these potential modifications was to provide value for as many valuable players as possible.  Tony Gwynn and his .380 batting average is a valuable (Hall of Fame) player.  But in baseball a guy that bats .280 and walks a ton (.390 OBP) is just as valuable since he’s providing run scoring opportunities.

Rob Deer hitting 40 homeruns is great, but Bill Buckner hitting 40 doubles should be valuable as well.  So we suggested a move from home runs to total bases.  As an owner, and fan of our own team, it would be more fun (remember, most important) to watch your player hit a triple and know that you get credit for three total bases, rather than – using old categories – being excited because your guy is one for one.

In trying to make things as “real life” as possible, we also recognized that the player scoring runs was just as important as the guy driving in runs.  So lead-off man, even if he couldn’t run like Vince Coleman, was valuable if he could get on base and find a way to score by running the bases well, tagging up on fly balls and such.  So adding Runs as a category was suggested.

RBIs and Stolen Bases seemed logical mainstays and didn’t need any modification.  The argument could be made, and was during our discussions, that a player who steals bases without being thrown out a lot is more valuable than the guy who steals 50 bases but is caught 30 times.  That point is well taken and I think we had to decide at some point not to weigh ourselves down with too much.

On the pitching side we knew we had to do something about Wins.  It’s a historical category (300 wins almost guarantees you a spot in the Hall of Fame).  But because Wins were more of a team accomplishment assigned to an individual, you could draft John Smiley but be at the mercy of the productivity of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  So we suggested Quality Starts which had a more direct view of how the pitcher himself performed, regardless of run support.

We suggested tweaking Saves to include Holds so that middle relievers would have some value.

ERA and WHiP seemed to measure a pitcher’s effectiveness well enough and there wasn’t a lot that needed to be changed there.

Now we needed to figure out one more pitching category since offense had five.  What do we add to pitching to measure the pitcher, but not get too bogged down by Sabermetrics to make it impossible during a game to know if your pitcher did something good for your team.

We talked about adding strikeouts, but didn’t like the idea of a pitcher striking out nine and walking seven.  For everything good the pitcher did, he created just about as much trouble.  So we ended up suggesting going with a strikeout ratio of K/BB.  You would hear pretty commonly announcers mention that a pitcher with a 2-1 ratio of strikeouts over walks was good.  So the information was already out there and it’s pretty easy to see if your pitcher struck out 9 and walked three he’s doing pretty good.

So going into the 2003 season we changed ourselves from a 4X4 basic category league to a 5X5 more player quality specific league.  Looking back on it I think we made the right decisions.  Probably a little more accurate would be to have the Stolen Base category be SB-CS to balance out the K/BB on the pitching side.  But overall I think we got it right.  Here is a link to the conversations we had on-line in making our decisions.  The comments range from terribly insightful to terribly stupefying.  Additionally is the link that was sent out to the owners that officially proposed the stat categories.  If nothing else, this document shows the thoroughness the CFCL provides before making significant changes.  Enjoy.


  1. It pains me to see my arguments against Holds. Both completely at odds with my stance on, say, Homeruns and just plain dumb. I find it to be the hardest stat to find data for--making predictions difficult. On the other hand, I think its fidelity to valuing contribution from all relievers has benefited our league. The only stat with a bigger payoff has been QualityStarts.

  2. I bet you guys wish I was as quiet now as I was back then, huh? :)

    Assuming that's me and not Matt Bentel, it looks like I was just as wrong about QS as you were about holds Nick ...

    It's too bad we don't have the votes for each owner. I would have loved to have seen what I voted for and didn't. I can't even remember how I voted ...

  3. I may have the team-by-team voting results, Matt. I'll see if I can dig them up.