More and more complex techniques like sabermetrics are being utilized in the attempt to get the upper hand in fantasy baseball. With points-based rankings being fairly commonplace on the Internet and easy to access for even the most casual devotee, the search is on for methods that will give participants a more accurate measure of projecting how a player will do before the draft.
Sabermetrics is the analysis of baseball (though it is also in several stages of usage for other sports) through what is called objective evidence. Like typical projection mechanisms, the chief element of this evidence is field statistics. The phrase is based on the acronym SABR, or the Society for American Baseball Research. It was first coined by Bill James, who is widely credited with being an originator of the usage of baseball statistics in fantasy sports, though James himself was not a fantasy participant, just a fan of statistical measurement.
Sabermetrics goes a bit beyond typical statistical measurement, providing an overarching picture of the statistical impact of players through speed (measured in multiple-base hits, steals, and times caught stealing), power (home runs, but also runs driven in and multiple-base hits), and consistency (batting average, but also measuring the runs scored while that player was in the line-up). Probably the most important statistical contribution of Sabermetrics is on base percentage (batting average plus the percentage of times the player gets on base through walks). Though OBP is a relatively recent statistic, it is a powerful contributor to fantasy baseball rankings, as those with higher OBP are those in the best position to score runs as well as drive them in. Other Sabermetric measurements that have been utilized are OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging) and WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) for pitchers. Sabermetrics defines a player’s value by their contribution to runs comparative to the average player. A high impact Sabermetric player might contribute 50 runs more than the average player over the course of the season.
While Sabermetrics was designed as a comparative tool for purists to measure players against each other, it is a perfect tool for fantasy sports for that exact same reason. Rankings are highly subjective in nature, so the more statistical (or objective) data that can be gathered, the better comparison (and thus ranking) that can be made. This tool can make a substantial positive impact on not only draft picks, but also free agent and waiver wire pick ups, not to mention making sure you get more than you give in a trade.
Interestingly enough, the SABR is not the best source for fantasy baseball Sabermetrics, as they remain focused on era comparisons and pure statistical contributions. Sites like Fantasy Baseball Hub and others have Sabermetric links dropped straight into ranking sheets. These might just push you over the edge in your next Fantasy League. Good Luck!