Rotohog Baseball is a fantasy baseball game with free entry, large prizes, and a unique “stock exchange” trading mechanism. Thousands of players compete in a global contest to see who can accumulate the most points. Like some “salary cap” baseball games, Rotohog gives you the opportunity to turn over your entire roster every day, greatly increasing the importance of taking factors such as opponent and park into account when determining your lineup.
Different fantasy baseball formats place an emphasis on different types of players, and Rotohog is no exception. There are several types of players who are worth more in Rotohog than in other formats. In this article, I’ll talk about which players those are, and in future articles I’ll discuss some of the specific players who fall into each category.
In general there are two categories of players who will tend to gain the most value in Rotohog relative to other formats – those with extremely favorable home parks and those ‘wait and see’ players whose value can’t be fully assessed until after the season begins.
The increased value of players with favorable home parks comes from the ability to turn over your roster every day in Rotohog. You can select players with the most favorable situation each day, and avoid those with less favorable situations. Two important aspects of your evaluation should be what park a player is playing in, and whether the player is benefiting from home field advantage when they play in that park. When a player is benefiting from a favorable park (a pitcher in a pitchers’ park or a hitter in a hitters’ park) AND is at home, their performance will be far better than their average performance for the season. When they’re not at home, you can simply drop them and look for another player with a more favorable match-up that day.
Because of that, you should end up using players with extremely favorable parks more often than a slightly superior player who is projected for the same full season statistics despite playing in a less favorable park. Hitters with home games in Philadelphia, Colorado, Cincinnati, Chicago, Boston and Texas will frequently find their way into your lineup. The same goes for pitchers whose home games are in San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and other pitchers’ parks.
The second group of players who gain the most value in Rotohog are those who whose role or effectiveness can’t be determined until after the season begins. While you might stay away from them in a traditional league (where drafts occur before the season starts), in Rotohog you have the luxury of waiting to see how things turn out before you start using them on your roster.
This group of players includes players with health concerns, young prospects with star potential, and possible closers. You’ll have a chance to see if the player is being used in a role that will give them enough value to be worth using before you have to make a decision on whether to include them on your roster. For example, did the relief pitcher get his team’s first few save opportunities? You’ll see able to see how those with health issues or other concerns about effectiveness perform before you commit to using them. That’s an especially strong advantage with pitchers, where a high strikeout rate over as short a span as three or four starts may give you confidence that the player is healthy, or has reached a new level of performance.
A group of players who gain value from a more subtle effect are top starting pitchers who don’t tend to pitch deep into ballgames. Because a win is worth so much (20 points) relative to other statistics a player can compile, you’re generally going to benefit more from a starting pitcher being pulled after five innings with the lead, rather than having him left in the game another 3 or 4 innings. Players who tend to have this happen the most frequently are young pitchers (whose managers will tend to protect them from throwing high pitch counts) with very high strikeout rates, but relatively poor control. Some prime suspects are Joba Chamberlain, Edinson Volquez, Scott Kazmir, and Chad Billingsley.
One last group of players who are worth more in Rotohog are those who are strong in categories that Rotohog places a higher value than other formats. The best way to identify these players is simply to calculate their projected point totals based on whatever set of statistical projections you prefer. You’ll find some interesting names popping up high in the rankings. For example, I used Nick Swisher in my lineup a number of times last season, with very good results.
If there’s a general lesson in all of this it’s that whatever format you’re playing, you need to understand the specific rules of the game and how those will impact which players you should target.