Beats, brags, and varianceby Paul Singman
April 20, 2010
Fantasy baseball beat
|My examples that unclutch hitting exists in fantasy baseball. (Icon/SMI)|
This past Sunday in my friendly yet competitive Head-to-Head home league, I found myself in a tight race with one of my friends in our match-up. With the pitching categories split, the winner was going to be decided by a couple of close hitting categories. These two categories—hits and OBP (I didn't choose the categories)—were actually tied coming into the Sunday Night game featuring the Mets vs. the Cardinals.
My friend had zero hitters on his team participating in the game while I had two hitters. And they weren't just any two hitters; they happened to be Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, the best hitter in the game and certainly a very good one. Surely I thought I would get at least one hit out of the two of them and without asking for too much, perhaps a walk thrown in to win OBP as well.
In a rare showcase of hitting incompetence from my two batters, Pujols went 0-for-5 and Reyes 0-for-4, leaving me with a disappointing loss for the week and on the receiving end of some Monday-morning smacktalk. While I am not going to attempt to calculate the odds both hitters fail to reach base in the same game, I can tell this was a rare feat—somewhere around 5 percent likely—making it a definite bad beat in fantasy baseball terms.
I'm not sure if the THT Fantasy readers are sadistic enough to keep track of the bad beats that have happened to them, but if you have experienced something "sick" in a league feel free to share it along with any brags as well in the comments.
Poker and fantasy baseball
For those of you unfamiliar with the origins of the title of this article, the phrase is used in a popular sub-forum of Two Plus Two, a Website dedicated to everything poker-related with a vibrant (albeit sometimes unwelcoming) community. While myself or THT does not endorse gambling in any fashion, I am enjoying the merging of the two communities occurring in the CardRunners Experts League in which Derek is participating.
I will forgo jumping into the "Intuition vs. Quants" discussion, having laid out where I stand on the issue at the moment already but instead comment on the nature of the two communities themselves.
The poker community operates quite nicely being fairly consolidated in which the route to gaining credibility is quite straightforward: become a winning player. In fantasy baseball it is much harder to distinguish oneself as a "winning player" and with sample sizes so small over a fantasy baseball career (it takes a full year for one sample), even the most methodologically sound player could fail to win a league for years.
Usually I side with parity and cringe when I hear people say Tiger or Federer winning every match is good for the sport, but the emergence of a dominant fantasy player would certainly be good for fantasy sports in general. The problem is no one has the ability to predict player performance with such greater accuracy than anyone else to ensure victory or top finishes and even if someone could, it is unlikely he/she would use the advantage to dominate fantasy leagues.
I suppose my point is that the fantasy baseball community will largely remain as is—a scattered collection of Websites that for the most part ignore each other. Most sites are indistinguishable in terms of quality of content; or better put, people are not at the end of the season reviewing the advice given by each particular site to distinguish the most helpful ones.
And despite as much of a fantasy baseball hero Derek Carty (or anyone else) might be to you, it remains unlikely that he will ever be able to gain the same sort of widespread reputation that a Tom Dwan or Phil Ivey has in the poker world.
Paul has been managing fantasy baseball teams for many seasons and writing for THT Fantasy over the past three years. He is currently a student at UPenn welcomes readers' thoughts at his email here or in the comments below.
<< Return to Article