Help me up my pNERD (where p = player).
May 29, 2014 10:45 AM Subscribe
I play fantasy baseball in a league with friends, some of whom pay no attention and others who have baseball stats in their very DNA. I myself am moderately ok most of the time, but generally have a low-level understanding of what I'm doing, so when things go wrong my solution is usually to flail around with free agent players while watching my ship sink, week by week. I'd like to get off this plateau and actually learn more about the game, sabermetrics, etc so I can be a legit contender, but I'm lost in the morass: every resource I can find is super basic or way over my head. Help!
posted by AthenaPolias to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My deal is basically this: I grew up watching baseball with my dad, as a lot of people do. I was really invested until the strike in '93, and at that point I was so disgusted with grown men demanding more money for essentially playing little league (I was a kid, so my logic was just that black & white) that I stopped paying attention entirely. I didn't start watching again until 2004 and stayed an uber-casual viewer until 2008. With this timeline, I missed out on almost all of my developmentally-crucial years with the game, as well as baseball's acceptance of sabermetrics. When I stopped watching as a kid, I knew that batting average was king; when I returned to baseball, it was like an entirely different game. This discouraged me from learning more until I was invited into this fantasy league. In my first two seasons I gave it the ol' college try, learning the basics of stats & fantasy, and became one of our fair-to-middling players. In the past few years, though, I haven't really improved that much. I've had great runs at various points in the last three seasons - winning streaks of 4+ weeks, a really good shot at the playoffs - but because I kind of lucked into the streaks in the first place, when things inevitably went downhill I didn't know enough to be able to adequately protect my own interests. I've never made the playoffs once. Considering I seem to show potential but never really fulfill it (as my middle school teachers always said on my report cards), this pisses me off immensely.
Right now, I'm at the top of my league. It's a great feeling - but I'm not really sure how I managed it, and I know I won't be able to do much when I start to lose again but frantically read faketeams.com for each week's two-start pitchers, drop low-scoring players for other decent free agents, and hope that's enough. It's not, and I know this, but where do I start?
I'd love any resource to help with this. I do read faketeams, and occasionally fangraphs.com, but the latter is way over my head. There are so many stats in play these days that it's nearly impossible for me to figure out which are more or less important, much less how to balance them with what the individual players are performing and what my team needs more or less of. So anything would help - basic books? Online guides? Even any histories of teams, players, etc. I've looked into some - my team is the Red Sox, and I've looked at histories relating to them, I obviously know about Moneyball, etc, but I'm just not sure what would help. The twist: I don't have a ton of time to dedicate to this - I'm a grad student who needs to dissertate more than anything else - but trust me, my frustration is exquisite.