THE BAT vs. Vegas: 2016 Results

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By popular demand, my DFS MLB projection system, THE BAT, is back at RotoGrinders for the 2018 season! If you’re new to DFS or haven’t heard of THE BAT and its meticulous sabermetric methodology, head over here to read about everything THE BAT incorporates and why it may be the most advanced DFS MLB projection system on the market. If you want empirical, statistical evidence the projection system you’ve heard me talk about for the last year is even more accurate than Vegas lines, read on.

One suggestion I heard from last year’s subscribers was to run quantifiable tests on THE BAT’s accuracy. What a great idea! So throughout the 2016 season, I tracked how THE BAT’s results compared to Vegas which, of course, is the cornerstone of most DFS players’ research. I won’t bury the lead, findings are below, but the key takeaway bears repeating: in 2016, THE BAT was more accurate than Vegas in these tests.

Results were tracked very simply. Vegas sets the line and THE BAT selects either the Over or the Under. I tracked the percentage of time THE BAT was correct. Results are broken down by “All Games” or “Extreme Games;” the latter testing only games in which THE BAT strongly disagreed with Vegas, projecting at least a half-run more when guessing Over or a half-run less when guessing Under. After all, when Vegas guesses 4.52 runs and THE BAT guesses 4.59 runs, they’re basically saying the same thing. But when Vegas guesses 4.52 runs and THE BAT guesses 5.02 runs, well, that’s a big difference. And if THE BAT is right more often than wrong in these comparisons—and it is—that conveys a big advantage.

Game Over/Under

When THE BAT guessed “Over” on the Vegas Over/Under:

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When THE BAT guessed “Under” on the Vegas Over/Under:

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On the game level, THE BAT was a bit more accurate than Vegas overall, and significantly so when it had a strong take on a given game.

Implied Team Totals

When THE BAT guessed “Over” on the Implied Vegas Team Total:

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When THE BAT guessed “Under” on the Implied Vegas Team Total:

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If we break things down to the team level, as DFS players usually do when selecting players, THE BAT gains an even bigger edge… and a huge one when it deviates strongly from Vegas.

THE BAT seems to be especially good at predicting the under (in any capacity), which is perhaps why users rave about THE BAT’s pitching projections in particular. After all, predicting run suppression is a huge part of predicting pitchers.

If you’re not familiar with this type of data, some of these edges may seem small at first—even 60% is only a bit more than half the time, right?—but when it comes to Vegas, these are very significant figures. Vegas lines are sharp. Beating them at all is no small feat, and beating them at such a strong clip when THE BAT deviates strongly from Vegas can be extremely valuable for DFS players. If ownership is being driven by Vegas (and it is) and THE BAT chooses players both differently and more accurately than Vegas, that means THE BAT subscribers can find players that are both better and lower-owned. That’s a very powerful combination.

The Hidden, Larger Edge

Plus, as DFS players know, the game we play is a game of edges. Every little bit counts, and when you’re talking 2%, 3%, or even up to 10%, it’s actually quite large in the grand scheme of things. And while it’s impossible to quantify, the practical edge is likely larger still because of the hidden cost incurred by those basing their DFS judgments on Vegas: the errors in the translation process from Vegas’s team-level projections to DFS individual player projections.

Here’s what I mean: If your competition starts with the disadvantaged Vegas team projections instead of THE BAT, that disadvantage will be magnified by trying to translate those team projections to reflect individual performance.

• How much should each player contribute to that team total?
• How many of those runs will come from home runs?
• How many will come instead from a collection of base hits?
• How many at-bats will each player get?
• How do you divvy up runs scored and RBIs among the nine hitters in the lineup?
• How many strikeouts will a pitcher with a low opponent team total get?

This all necessitates guess work, and accuracy will be lost if Vegas is your starting point. With THE BAT, however, that muddy translation doesn’t exist. THE BAT works in the opposite direction. THE BAT projects the players first and then comes up with the team projection based on the players, ensuring 100% efficiency in the process. So not only was THE BAT more accurate than Vegas when projecting team run totals, it almost necessarily must be more accurate when projecting individual player stats.

Bottom Line

1)THE BAT is created by someone with a sabermetric background who has learned from and worked with some of the best baseball minds in the industry.

2)THE BAT incorporates scores of factors that affect player performance.

3)In 2016, THE BAT was more accurate than Vegas by these measures.

Past results do not guarantee future performance—that is what we’re doing after all, predicting the future—but it’s the smartest place to start.

Want more accurate projections at lower ownership? Subscribe to THE BAT now!

Even more exciting?

1) This season I’ve decided to publish THE BAT’s Game and Team Projections as part of my Premium Content Package. Last year, we simply published the player projections, but seeing how important team projections can be for stacking, I wanted to empower DFS players even more.

2) Now you can compare THE BAT’s team and game projections directly to Vegas’s projections right on the same page, allowing you to identify which stacks THE BAT likes more than Vegas, and which it likes less.

3) Other valuable information for stack-building is also presented: how much of a team’s production is expected to come from home runs, how many steals the team is projected to have, and how well-balanced the team’s lineup is. (Do you want a mini-stack with a couple of stars, or a full stack from a well-balanced team that will get contributions from everyone?)

Want to build better stacks using THE BAT’s Team Projections? Subscribe to THE BAT now!

Interested but want to get a look at THE BAT first? Check out the tutorial video to learn exactly what you’re getting with both THE BAT’s player and team projections.


Please note: if caveats and mathematics bore you, don’t worry about this section.

- What was used for this study? Final projections for THE BAT and closing lines for Vegas (purchased from FantasyData), since these more accurately reflect what DFS players use. Opening lines are softer, though, and THE BAT’s edge would likely be greater still when compared to them. And since all DFS players are not necessarily waiting until the games start to set their lineups, (juggling and re-juggling based on the moving Vegas lines), THE BAT’s practical DFS edge may be even bigger than the numbers this article specifies if your Vegas-based opponents aren’t all using the final closing lines.

- There were pretty significant upgrades made to THE BAT in the middle of last year (May 28 marked the biggest enhancement) and during the off-season, and those upgrades aren’t even fully baked into the above results.

- These tests include roughly 91% of the 2016 season. The remaining games were omitted due to either technical glitches in archiving THE BAT data on certain days or incomplete Vegas data. The missing data on THE BAT’s end occurred randomly, and presumably the same is true on the Vegas end, and as such wouldn’t be expected to affect the overall results.

- The formula used to calculate implied team totals is the formula provided by RotoGrinders co-founder Riley Bryant, also used on the RG Lineups Page: (TotalPoints / 2) – (Spread * (100 / (AdjustedSpread + 100))) / 2

- As I’m sure commenters will point out (and I will agree with), these types of studies hold more credibility when they are conducted by an objective third-party. There’s not much I can do about that, so you’ll just have to take me at my word, but between my reputation in the industry, the good things you’ll hear from those who subscribed last year, my background in the sabermetric arena, the corresponding methodology, and the success in the Man vs. THE BAT series, my hope is that you’ll feel confident in these results. As always, if you have any questions about these results or about THE BAT in general, I’m always happy to help.

About the Author

Derek Carty (DerekCarty)

Derek Carty is the creator of THE BAT X (for MLB) and THE BLITZ (for NFL) projection systems, widely considered the gold standard for projections and the driving force behind multiple Milly Maker winners. You may also know him from, from his time on Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter, or from his early career managing the fantasy sections for Baseball Prospectus and The Hardball Times. While perhaps best known for DFS, he also has an elite track record in both sports betting (career ~13% ROI on thousands of publicly-tracked bets as of the end of the 2023-24 NFL season) and season-long fantasy expert leagues (11 titles while placing in the top 3 in roughly half of all leagues). On the sports betting side, you may recognize his work from EV Analytics, ScoresAndOdds, Covers, and Unabated. For season-long fantasy, THE BAT X is prominently featured at FanGraphs. While known mostly for his analytical skills, he’s also proud to be the only active fantasy or betting analyst to have graduated from MLB’s exclusive Scout School. Follow Carty on Twitter – @DerekCarty