Moneyball for Fantasy Baseball - Overvaluing Name Recognition

As we continue toward the end of the fantasy baseball season, it becomes increasingly important to get production from wherever we can. One of the hardest things to overcome as a fantasy baseball owner is name recognition. How do you keep yourself from holding on too long to a player because of their name, as opposed to the production they provide?

We are basically at the point in the season where there really shouldn't be anyone who is untouchable on your roster. (Clearly, this is more relevant to redraft leagues than keeper or dynasty leagues). This of course includes the caveat that you are always looking for upside and potential, so it still doesn't necessarily make sense to cut a top-flight player with higher upside for the current player on a hot streak. But there are definitely players below that level who may still be in your lineup more because of their name, and less because of what they are providing. Let's take a look at some examples:

These 3 players have the following statistics. One player is owned in 89% of Yahoo leagues, 1 in 35%, and 1 in 6% through Saturday's games. Who would you rather have from these 3 players?

Name

Position

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

Player X

2B

.339

18

0

7

9

Player Y

2B

.315

13

2

7

1

Player Z

2B

.198

8

0

9

0

  

 

Nearly everyone, I imagine, would rather have had the production from Player X or Player Y for the previous month. But Player X, Jemile Weeks was still owned in just 35% of leagues as yesterday. Only 6% of Yahoo leagues saw that Player Y, Kyle Seager was owned. But the player who has been struggling is owned in 89% of Yahoo leagues. That player? Martin Prado.

Here's each player's season-to-date statistics:

Name

Position

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

Jemile Weeks

2B

.306

43

0

28

21

Kyle Seager

2B, 3B

.267

14

2

7

1

Martin Prado

2B, 3B

.261

60

11

52

4

The key to this is the fact that you need to watch players who have not shown the same skills in multiple seasons. There are probably quite a few owners who have been happily running Prado out there at 2B or 3B, not realizing that his performance recently has been even worse than his season overall. As you get down to the last few weeks of the season, you have to take a deeper look at each player in your lineup, and see if there is anyone who is simply not pulling their weight. Those few statistics could be the difference between winning your league and finishing in 2nd.

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