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The Value of Knowing Your League and League Rules
Pitching Part 2
by Ray Flowers
May 14, 2004

There’s always some guy in your league who tries to trade you Joe Borowski for Greg Maddux, and most of the league just says…huh, why would you trade a HOFamer for a pretty average closer? In this brief article we will attempt to show you just how important it is for you to be aware not of the NAME of the player, but what his production really is in the categories that your league counts. 

In most standard leagues, called 5x5, there are five pitching categories:

Pitching- W, K, ERA, WHIP, SV

(We think that if a league counts Wins it must count Loses also, as each category is equally dependent on other relevant factors). 

The problem that most people get into is that they let the name/reputation of a player dictate their decisions when it comes to trade time. Now who would make the above trade? Again the question boils down more to who you already have on your team, versus the direct comparison of the two above players.  

In this comparison we will again take two teams and add to each of them either Borowski or Maddux. Lets assume that our hypothetical team had Brandon Webb and Damaso Marte on it already. Here are their 2003 stats: 

  W L SV ERA WHIP Ks IP

Webb

10

9

0

2.84

1.15

172

180.2

Marte

4

2

11

1.58

1.06

87

79.2

Maddux

16

9

0

3.96

1.18

124

218.1

TOTALS

30

20

11

3.14

1.15

383

478.2

 
  W L SV ERA WHIP Ks IP

Webb

10

9

0

2.84

1.15

172

180.2

Marte

4

2

11

1.58

1.06

87

79.2

Borowski

2

2

33

2.63

1.06

66

68.1

TOTALS

16

13

44

2.49

1.11

325

328.2

*Bold indicates leading figure 

Webb, Marte and Maddux (W/M/M), predictably, finish first in Wins and K’s, but perhaps surprisingly they only finish 58 K’s ahead. On the other hand we have Webb, Marte and Borowski (W/M/B) who finish first in Loses, ERA, WHIP and in Saves (and if your league did count Loses you are better off with W/M/B as they save you 7 loses or 45%). Much like our SB discussion that we had in our previous article on OFFENSE, the value of the SV bears a closer examination. 

In 2003 there were 1199 Saves and 2429 Wins in the majors. This comparison shows that for every save accumulated there were 2 Wins (mirroring the 2 to 1 ratio of HR to SB). This means that saves are twice as valuable as Wins in the fantasy game, and therefore a great premium should be placed upon them than wins. So while W/M/M collects 30 wins and W/M/B collects 16 (a two to one margin in favor of W/M/M), they fall woefully behind in Saves: W/M/M 11 Saves, W/M/B 44 Saves. This ratio is far greater than the 2 to 1 disparity in Wins… it jumps to 4 to 1 for saves. That means that W/M/B accumulates a 4 to 1advantage in a category that is twice as difficult to gain a point in. So if we assign a value of 1 to Wins and 2 for Saves (to mirror the ratio of 2 wins to 1 save, reversed in this case to give the added value to the save that is twice as difficult to attain), we get the following aggregate totals: 

W/M/M- 30 W, 11 SV OR  30(1) + 11(2)= 52

W/M/B- 16 W, 44 SV OR  16(1) + 44(2)= 104 

This comparison of Wins to Saves says that we gain a two to one advantage if we take the lineup with the closer, Borowski (W/M/B ). When you consider that you would also win WHIP, ERA, and finish only 58 K’s behind, maybe that trade of Maddux for Borowski wouldn’t have been that dumb after all. 

We would like to offer one other caveat to this discussion…don’t be seduced by the Win. Russ Ortiz last year was a fine pitcher finishing 4th in the NL Cy Young race mostly on the basis of his league leading win total of 21. But was he really worth that much when you consider his other stats? Let’s once again compare two teams, one with Russ Ortiz, the other with Kip Wells of the Pirates. 

  W L SV ERA WHIP Ks IP

Russ Ortiz

21

7

0

3.81

1.32

149

212.1

Borowski

2

2

33

2.63

1.06

66

68.1

TOTALS

23

9

33

3.42

1.25

215

289.2

 
  W L SV ERA WHIP Ks IP

K. Wells

10

9

0

3.28

1.25

147

197.1

Borowski

2

2

33

2.63

1.06

66

68.1

TOTALS

12

11

33

3.12

1.20

213

265.2

 

Closer than you thought? R/B finished with 11more wins than K/B, and in this case also finished with 2 less loses. But K/B finished ahead in both ERA and WHIP, while finishing a mere 2 K’s behind. So straight up we would have to lean towards a team of Wells and Borowski, especially when you consider that you most assuredly could have gotten more than Wells if you had traded Ortiz (perhaps another “lesser” player who could have helped fill another need you might have had). The moral of this story is know thy league… 

Ray Flowers can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: ballyard44@yahoo.com


 


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