Bill James defined sabermetrics as "the search for objective knowledge about baseball." To me I call it objective evidence. Fantasy baseball is all about the numbers, at face value, while sabermetrics is centers on revealing what's behind the numbers.
Sabermetrics is a good tool, among others to evaluate players, especially in the area of "hidden" talent... take a pitcher who is pitching well but getting poor results....using some of the advanced stats and if they continue pitching well, you can determine their results pretty much have to improve. To me that’s the beauty. Sounds like something you might want to employ for your fantasy team, right?
Well be careful; do not rely on these exclusively. My approach is like this: Combine the available metrics with reasonable forecasts, available news, and first hand observations, stir (or shake, your preference), and often reasonable conclusions can be drawn. The fun is in determining whether your assessment of a certain player is on or off target, and adjusting for what you learn in the process.
These next metrics I have listed might just push you over the edge in your next Fantasy League. Good Luck!
Today we look at hitter and later pitchers.
We all know the basic 5 categories used in most leagues (R, HR, RBI, BA, and SB) now let’s look at some additional stats and what they tell us about players on or teams.
Slugging percentage basically gauges a player’s power by measuring all of the bases accumulated via base hits. In order to have a high slugging percentage, a batter must not only be a successful hitter, he must also hit frequently for extra bases. The formula divides total bases by at-bats:
Slugging percentage = [singles + (doubles × 2) + (triples × 3) + (home runs × 4)] ÷ at bats
In many instances, the players who hit the most home runs will also be among the leaders in slugging percentage. It doesn’t necessarily measure how good of a hitter you are, as much as it measures how dangerous of a hitter you are.
On-Base + Slugging (OPS)
This stat was first conceived in the 1980s, and is considered by some to be the first Sabermetric statistic. OPS measures exactly what its name suggests: On-base percentage plus slugging percentage. Essentially, OPS will take two useful stats and put them into one category. It measures a player’s ability to get on base, as well as his ability to hit for power. Many people believe that OPS is the most accurate and comprehensive indicator of the best hitters. More and more leagues are using this stat as 5x5 leagues tend to expand. One of my current Dynasty H2H leagues uses this category and I notice it is gaining popularity across the other leagues.
Isolated Power is a measure of a hitter’s raw power, essentially reflecting extra bases per at-bat. Those players who accumulate a lot of total bases also tend to post high Isolated Power numbers. It can be found using this simple formula:
Isolated power = (slugging percentage – batting average)
Why is ISO important? It is the best indicator for showing us which hitters are generating the most extra-base hits, homeruns included. Extra-base hits, such as doubles and triples also lead to good things fantasy-wise: Runs and RBI.
Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP)
BABIP is a statistic measuring the percentage of plate appearances ending with a batted ball in play (which excludes home runs, walks, and strikeouts) for which the batter is credited with a hit. In other words, when Player-X hits the ball in play, how often does he get a hit? Since a particularly high or low BABIP is usually difficult to maintain, the stat is often used to explain fluky seasons by hitters. To some extent, it measures how lucky a player is getting when he hits the ball in play. BABIP uses the following formula:
BABIP = (hits – home runs) ÷ (at bats – strikeouts – home runs + sacrifice flies)
The major league average for BABIP is usually around .300. In 2009, it was .299. The 2010 season saw the average BABIP fall slightly to .297.
We turn to the top 10 batting averages on balls in play from 2010:
- Austin Jackson (.396)
- Josh Hamilton (.390)
- Carlos Gonzalez (.384)
- Joey Votto (.361)
- Omar Infante (.355)
- Justin Upton (.354)
- Colby Rasmus (.354)
- Ichiro Suzuki (.353)
- Jayson Werth (.352)
- Joe Mauer (.348)
If the numbers previously mentioned hold true, these 10 players will (on average) experience a decrease of .039 points in their BABIP and .034 in their batting average this season. This is especially discouraging for some of those 1st and 2nd round picks like Hamilton, CarGo, Votto and Mauer.