Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Complete Over-Analysis of My Fantasy Baseball Season

The 2011 MLB regular season is now wrapped up and the finish was incredible.  Congrats to the Rays and Cardinals for allowing the Braves and Red Sox to suck so hard in September.  While I don't have an MLB team that I avidly follow, I did have a fantasy team to live vicariously through.  Mike, of BA Benny notoriety, arranged a league for some card bloggers, and I opted in.  I hadn't done fantasy baseball in more than 10 years, so I really had no idea what I was getting into.  I was fortunate, however, to land the top pick in the draft, AKA Albert Pujols.  What follows here is a complete over-analysis of the season. 

First, here are my results from the draft.  It was a snake draft, so I started with the first and 20th picks.  A benefit to being first, is that you get to pick two-in-a-row each time.

#     Player
1     Albert Pujols, StL 1B
20   Ryan Zimmerman, Was 3B
21   Josh Hamilton, Tex OF
40   Tommy Hanson, Atl SP
41   Chris Carpenter, StL SP
60   Jimmy Rollins, Phi SS
61   Mike Stanton, Fla OF
80   Brian Wilson, SF RP
81   Jay Bruce, Cin OF
100 Aaron Hill, Ari 2B
101 Max Scherzer, Det SP
120 Miguel Montero, Ari C
121 Vernon Wells, LAA OF
140 Nick Markakis, Bal OF
141 Jeremy Hellickson, TB SP
160 Ike Davis, NYM 1B
161 Vladimir Guerrero, Bal DH
180 Erick Aybar, LAA SS
181 Matt Thornton, CWS RP
200 Drew Storen, Was RP
201 Bronson Arroyo, Cin SP
220 Kevin Gregg, Bal RP
221 James Loney, LAD 1B
240 Jim Thome, Cle DH
241 Jake Peavy, CWS SP

Overall, I was ecstatic to pick up Pujols, Zimmerman, and Hamilton as the core of my team.  I went somewhat light on pitching, though.  By the end of the season, after several transactions and injuries, my draft class amounted to 64.3% of my total season score.  That averages out to around 2.6% per player.  The breakdown of scoring for position players and pitchers I drafted is shown below:

Draft class position players were clearly the top performers, producing 39.9% of my total season points.  That was good for 2.7% per player, which was above average.  The breakdown of draft class performance compared to all players is shown below:

While position player and relief pitcher points mostly came from the draft, starting pitcher points came largely from acquisitions.  In retrospect, that seems to be expected, especially with spot-starting pitchers for certain matchups.  The pie chart for the full season shows that starting pitching also took a bigger role in season points:
I started the season pretty poorly as I really didn't know what I was doing.  My wins and losses are shown below:

At the halfway point (10) I finally hit a groove and reached .500, but my team had some injuries, including Zimmerman and Hamilton.  With my DL and bench full, I was forced to start a couple of injured guys.  As a result, I dropped my next two matchups.  After that, I went 5-1 to finish the regular season.  My final record of 12-8 was good for third place behind BA Benny (15-5) and Dennis (18-2) from Too Many Grandersons.   My team got hot at the right time of the year, and almost all of my spot-starts produced big numbers as I took out BA Benny in the semifinals.  That led to a matchup with Dennis, who at 18-2 seemed untouchable (though I can lay claim to one of those regular season losses).  Again, my team stayed hot and my pitching was insanely good.  I was able to pull off the unlikely victory and take home the fantasy baseball title.  As for proof of my progression as the season passed, I've shown my points-per-day for each matchup below, as well as lines of my playoff performances.

The light blue line shows my season performances while the dark blue line is a regression showing my improvement throughout the year.  As hoped, my semifinal performance was on par with some of my best performances of the season, and my finals performance was well above what I had done before.  I should note that my finals numbers are inflated because I used all of my remaining acquisitions in the last two days after the victory was in hand.  Dennis and I both felt like the number of finals acquisitions allowed was quite high, so I wanted to put it to the test.  As a result, I was able to start 6 pitchers on each of the last two days.  All in all, I'm proud of myself for figuring this fantasy baseball thing out and hitting a groove to finish the year. 

At this point, we've reached the Team Awards part of the show:

Cy Young: Drew Storen, Was RP - Storen amassed 437 points in just 75.1 innings.  He also delivered heavily in the late-season matchups and playoffs.  His 437 points was the second highest total on the team.

MVP: Albert Pujols, StL 1B - Who else? Pujols put up a ridiculous 529 points 147 games.  The 147 games played was second only to Jay Bruce's 157. 

Rookie of the Year: Jeremy Hellickson, TB SP - Hellickson was my third-highest point man behind the Cy Young and MVP winners above.  I picked him 141st in the draft based on a hunch, and it sure paid off. 

Comeback Player of the Year: Stephen Strasburg, Was SP - He only made a few starts with most of them pretty limited on pitch count, but he was quite dominant while he was in.  His season ending 6 IP 1 H 0 ER line was great. 

Late Acquisition of the Year: Doug Fister, Det SP - This guy was just plain electric.  I picked him up at the start of the playoffs to fill in for an injured Tommy Hanson, and he was fantastic. He averaged 4.4 points per inning pitched. 

Semifinals MVP: Doug Fister, Det SP - He put up 23, 40, and 31 in three starts.  The 31 points was on the final day of the matchup to help seal up the win.  His 94 points was 33 more than the next closest.  His stat line for those 3 starts: 2-0, 22.2 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 24 K. Nasty.

Finals Co-MVPs: Matt Garza, ChC SP and Ted Lilly, LAD - Garza put up 86 points in three starts while Lilly added 96 points in four starts.  Lilly's 4-point blunder to start the playoff kept him from running away with the award, despite following it with 30, 30, and 32 points in his next three starts.  Garza showed good numbers with 18 and 28 points in his first and last starts, but the middle start was a gem.  Dennis was starting Randy Wolf (who had been with my team for quite a while in the regular season), Garza's opposing pitcher.  The Cubs rose to the occasion with Garza delivering 40 points to Wolf's -5. 

Game of the Year: Matchup 20 (Last regular season game) - My entry into the playoffs was much like the ones that happened last night in the MLB.   I came in to the matchup holding an 11-8 record in third place.  My opponent had a 10-9 record and was tied for fourth place.  If I lost, we would have identical records and I would have lost the tiebreaker with him for third place.  I always would lose the tiebreaker with the other 11-9 team, knocking me to 5th place and out of the playoffs.  I led after day 1, but quickly dropped off, trailing by 57 points going into the last day.  I had used up all of my acquisitions just to stay close, but I could feel it slipping away.  I only had one starting pitcher for the day, so I had low expectations.  Ivan Nova did put up 23 which helped a ton.  My opponent started Brandon Morrow and Jered Weaver.  Morrow ended up at -3, so that helped, too.  Weaver, however, had been rolling recently and looked to be my demise.  What I didn't see coming, was the Rangers taking Weaver to the woodshed giving my opponent -11.  To top it off, Josh Hamilton put up 12 points against Weaver.  I ended up storming back to pull off an impossibly close 5-point victory.  Check out the scoring progression below:

  I still can't believe that I eked that game out and went on to win the whole shebang. 

Hats off to everyone in the league for a great season. 

Congrats to Dennis for winning the regular season crown in dominating fashion.
Congrats to AdamE for winning the third-place game. 
Thanks, Mike, for running the league.

There you have it: I have overanalyzed the crap out of my results.  At least I refrained from posting the full points breakdown for every player I had throughout the year. Just for the record, that "points per day" plot is a bad-ass plot.


SpastikMooss said...

Whoa, cool analysis! I used to do fantasy recaps for a league I was in but they were never this awesome haha.

The Lost Collector said...

Impressive graphs and charts. I love it.

Reminds me of the How I Met Your Mother episode..."Here is a bar chart of my favorite pies and a pie chart of my favorite bars."