Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Types of rookies you want

by Todd Zola, MastersBall.com on August 14, 2013 @ 15:00:00 PDT

 

Pages 1 | 2 | all

Last week's Round Table dealt with the emergence of rookies and whether the landscape has changed and they should be trusted for our fantasy squads. The consensus among the Knights was indeed that no player should be categorically dismissed.

Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper
Rookie hitters have been useful

This got me thinking. I gave the Knights a well-deserved week off (read: I failed to send a question out in time). Instead of our usual discussion, today I'm going to present a bit of research looking at the number and quality of rookies the past three seasons.

The filter is rookies who would have value in a mixed league with 15 teams. The criteria were set to identify all rookies who played at least half the time they were in the majors. Doing it in this manner captures the late-season call-ups who played regularly but accrued only 50 to 150 or so at-bats for the season. Filtering by just at-bats would miss these rookies. A similar adjustment was made for starting pitchers. Relievers were left out of the study since it is assumed that if a rookie was in line to get saves, he was going to be picked up regardless of any other consideration.

Here is the number of rookies who debuted from 2010 to 2012 and met our filter, by month:

Hitters
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
TOTAL
2012
4
4
2
5
6
4
25
2011
0
6
5
6
10
10
37
2010
7
4
7
8
4
4
34
Pitchers
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
TOTAL
2012
9
5
5
3
10
3
35
2011
8
8
5
4
8
6
39
2010
4
2
5
4
4
8
27

Of note is the paucity of useful rookies promoted in June and July of last season. Later in the month, I'll do another follow-up that focuses on just 2013, where it will show last year was the exception.

Here are the average rotisserie stats for the rookies who qualified:

2012
AB
H
HR
SB
RBI
R
BA
April
456
127
16
17
55
72
.275
May
290
78
6
10
36
35
.269
June
201
50
8
3
35
24
.249
July
182
46
4
8
19
23
.248
August
122
27
3
1
12
13
.218
September
61
17
1
1
5
10
.280
2011
AB
H
HR
SB
RBI
R
BA
April
May
283
74
7
6
32
38
.262
June
303
85
4
11
27
35
.281
July
163
44
4
4
18
24
.268
August
136
35
3
3
16
17
.260
September
58
16
2
0
8
6
.269
2010
AB
H
HR
SB
RBI
R
BA
April
425
113
10
8
49
60
.265
May
309
84
5
5
28
37
.271
June
274
73
8
4
36
36
.268
July
163
42
3
3
18
22
.260
August
129
30
3
3
11
14
.233
September
77
17
4
3
10
12
.214

With the disclaimer that every case is individual and no decision should be based on a broad-brush observation, it does appear that rookie hitters could have some value based primarily on the batting average column. In a 15-team mixed league, an average of .250 is reasonable for a replacement player. Again, each decision is unique, but based on the data, I am much more comfortable considering rookies for injury replacements.

Here's the data for starting pitching:

2012
IP
W
K
ERA
WHIP
April
114
7
101
3.97
1.27
May
101
6
70
4.40
1.38
June
68
3
48
4.16
1.38
July
41
2
45
2.53
1.17
August
30
1
24
5.44
1.46
September
13
0
13
4.26
1.29
2011
IP
W
K
ERA
WHIP
April
110
6
79
4.50
1.37
May
71
3
56
4.69
1.43
June
49
1
33
3.83
1.38
July
47
2
22
4.90
1.42
August
41
2
25
4.98
1.50
September
19
1
13
4.40
1.43
2010
IP
W
K
ERA
WHIP
April
112
7
80
4.52
1.43
May
45
2
32
4.50
1.51
June
78
5
53
4.27
1.34
July
64
4
45
4.20
1.35
August
41
3
35
4.91
1.45
September
21
1
14
3.83
1.32

Keeping in mind that again each decision is unto itself, the global data is not as optimistic for rookie pitching. The majority of these ratios will be detrimental to your squad. Not to mention, rookies don't throw many innings, so if you need to use FAAB to get the rookie pitcher, you're likely going to need to use more to replace the pitcher later in the season.

The purpose of this little exercise was not to derive some game-theory strategy to revolutionize fantasy baseball, but rather to give a quick peek into the utility of rookies. At least based on this cursory treatment, I'll really look at emerging hitters but likely shy away from emerging pitchers.

I know what you're thinking.

Jose Fernandez.

There will always be exceptions.

That's why looking at players individually, as the Knights concluded last week, is the best practice.

Facebook Twitter Google +

Pages 1 | 2 | all

About Todd Zola, MastersBall.com

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for fantasybaseball.com, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at MLB.com and SI.com, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums.

MastersBall.com Fantasy Baseball

Don't miss these great reports....

What do you think? Sound off!



Recent KFFL releases