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  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

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    • 2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • x3

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    Baseball is the ultimate sport to model, for a few reasons (it’s standardized, very binary with the same pitcher vs batter matchup, large sample sizes, etc.). Things that might have been difficult to quantify even a few years ago, such as weather or defense, are now much easier.

    Which aspects of daily fantasy baseball do you think are most important that maybe aren’t currently quantified, or very difficult to model? These might be the things you look at as “tiebreakers” or items you use to separate your top-rated/projected players.

    For me, I think it’s pitch framing. I’ve seen so much great research that pitch framing is incredibly important, but it’s currently just a small factor I consider on top of everything else since I have yet to find an intelligent way to model it.

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

    • 460

      RG Overall Ranking

    • x3

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    A nice FiveThirtyEight piece on pitch framing: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/buster-poseys-pitch-framing-makes-him-a-potential-mvp/

  • fathalpert

    • Moderator

    • Blogger of the Month

    Hi Jonathan, first things that come to mind:

    1) Revenge factor – I do think it’s real but don’t have the data to back it up given its complexity.
    2) Hometown factor – does a player play better when his hometown friends and family are in the stands watching him?
    3) I know a lot of models factor in ballpark, but I wonder if that incorporates things like how some stadiums might be harder for batters to see at certain times of the day because of shadows or the backdrop.

  • finn4

    1. Fatigue: Ex. Flying cross country and playing the next day

    2. Strength of the Defense: Ex. Royals defense is great, can help lower BABIP, decrease amount of hits/runs for a pitcher. Padres defense is awful, can increase BABIP, runs, amount of pitches a pitcher may need to throw in a given inning. Defense may also have an affect on the pitchers confidence.

    Ian Kennedy is a great example. The sample size is small, but he has looked so much better this year with the royals than he did last year with the padres. Again the sample size is VERY small, but other than the stats being better, Kennedy has looked a lot more confident this season. May it be because he is playing in front of a great defense other than an awful defense?

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

    • 460

      RG Overall Ranking

    • x3

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    @fathalpert said...

    3) I know a lot of models factor in ballpark, but I wonder if that incorporates things like how some stadiums might be harder for batters to see at certain times of the day because of shadows or the backdrop.

    I love this one because I think it is a very real thing. I was watching MLB TV and saw a segment on how batters say the backdrop in a park is incredibly important to their success.

  • jreidlivewire

    Mental toughness comes to mind.

    If I had to choose between two players with similar baseline stats as far as their respective matchups, I would opt for the one who was more mentally tough, given other factors like ballpark and weather being similar.

    How do players perform in clutch situations or how often does a player have the opportunity to perform in a clutch situation?

    For example let’s say my targets for 2B on DK are Jean Segura and Daniel Murphy. I haven’t collected any data on this but theoretically let’s say Segura has been in 8 clutch situations this year and has come through in 5 of those. Let’s say Murphy has come up in 0 clutch situations. Segura has produced 20 points from those clutch situations. You can see where I’m going with it.

    The clutch factor.

  • shivdaddy

    Momentum. Bob and Dan like to fight about it all the time on The Ticket.

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

    • 460

      RG Overall Ranking

    • x3

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    I’m sure mental toughness and clutch play exist in some form, but I would be skeptical of our ability to quantify them and use past data to make accurate future predictions – similar concept to BvP, which “exists” in that I’m sure some batters crush certain pitchers (and will do it over the long run), but separating the signal from noise is challenging/impossible.

    I’m more talking about stats that we can quantify and that are predictive, but may be tough to add to a projection model for whatever reason.

  • Maxkim

    I agree with fatigue; I’m sure it COULD be quantified but I haven’t seen a study on it yet.

    what about matching up a guys swing with the pitcher he’s facing? The fact that fly ball hitters do well against ground pitchers because of their uppercut swing is gaining traction, I’m sure there’s more of these kinds of things that go on in baseball.

  • hobbes2d

    @finn4 said...

    1. Fatigue: Ex. Flying cross country and playing the next day

    2. Strength of the Defense: Ex. Royals defense is great, can help lower BABIP, decrease amount of hits/runs for a pitcher. Padres defense is awful, can increase BABIP, runs, amount of pitches a pitcher may need to throw in a given inning. Defense may also have an affect on the pitchers confidence.

    Ian Kennedy is a great example. The sample size is small, but he has looked so much better this year with the royals than he did last year with the padres. Again the sample size is VERY small, but other than the stats being better, Kennedy has looked a lot more confident this season. May it be because he is playing in front of a great defense other than an awful defense?

    From a peripheral perspective Kennedy did well last year. He had a fluky HR/FB % even for him especially considering he pitched at Petco and I agree with you that their awful defense played a role as well. I was hoping the Giants were going to sign him because I expected he would bounce back this season. KC is a great place for him.

  • pmsimkins

    • 2014 FanDuel WFBC Finalist

    • 2015 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    Most of the “intangibles” I’ve seen listed, that I agree with, are really actually tangibles.

    Fatigue – Performance in first game of series in new city is tangible.

    Park light conditions – Park and player day/night splits are tangible.

    Pitch framing – Catchers are rated

    Clutch play – Stats with runners in scoring position

    I think the true intangibles like revenge, guy’s birthday, friends in the stands, went to college in that town etc. are even less of a factor in baseball than in other sports. Hitting a baseball is primarily about seeing it, reaction time and muscle memory (mechanics). It’s not particularily effort driven the way other sports can be.

  • hobbes2d

    Pitch framing definitely is a great stat though for as great as Jonathan Lucroy is at framing it hasn’t seemed to help the Brewers starters much at all lol.

  • mjordantmac

    • 2016 FanDuel NBA Playboy Mansion Finalist

    I think the on deck routine for some guys can help determine what their week will look like. Something I incorporate into my models. (Not kidding)

  • Jeets232

    I have found umpire data to be hard to find

  • jreidlivewire

    @Jon Bales said...

    I’m sure mental toughness and clutch play exist in some form, but I would be skeptical of our ability to quantify them and use past data to make accurate future predictions – similar concept to BvP, which “exists” in that I’m sure some batters crush certain pitchers (and will do it over the long run), but separating the signal from noise is challenging/impossible.

    I’m more talking about stats that we can quantify and that are predictive, but may be tough to add to a projection model for whatever reason.

    I get what you’re looking for now. Maybe something such as “how well does a player bounce back from having a bad game?” There’s plenty of data out there now but I don’t think I’ve seen any projections or stats using that. Another example is, and this might be limited for who it affects, but how much better do certain players make their entire team? Think Peyton Manning in his prime. The WAR stat is a recent example of that, but how often does anyone consider that?

  • deactivated60279

    Umpires. This can change the flow of games so much.

  • MTro86

    RG Writer

    Injuries.

    Is a guy hurt and not telling anybody? Sometimes you can see it in velocity or control for a pitcher, but that’s not always an injury.

    Is the severity of an injury being disclosed when we do know about it?

    When is he fully healthy?

    Even when we do know about an injury, what portion of his performance do we discount and how do we even pick out a part in the middle of a season?

  • JonBales

    RotoAcademy Lead Instructor

    • 460

      RG Overall Ranking

    • x3

      2015 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    • 2019 DraftKings FFWC Finalist

    Injuries is a great one. We know they have a major impact on performance, but getting that information and properly accounting for it can be difficult.

  • yanks237

    I think something not used enough is pfx data specifically for hitters. Rather than the BvP argument what if we find a way to classify pitchers based off their pfx data. Obviously split into right handed and left handed, but then based off pitch movement, velocity and spin rate.

    Example results could be Bryce Harper manhandling righty change ups with certain movement and so on. I think this would be a great way to gain an edge.

  • nickvinin

    Pitchers depending on league? NL pitchers have the advantage of facing the opposing pitchers. AL pitchers have to advantage of not being pulled early for a P/H. Are the two a wash or is their an advantage based on league?

  • eom

    @finn4 said...

    1. Fatigue: Ex. Flying cross country and playing the next day

    2. Strength of the Defense: Ex. Royals defense is great, can help lower BABIP, decrease amount of hits/runs for a pitcher. Padres defense is awful, can increase BABIP, runs, amount of pitches a pitcher may need to throw in a given inning. Defense may also have an affect on the pitchers confidence.

    Ian Kennedy is a great example. The sample size is small, but he has looked so much better this year with the royals than he did last year with the padres. Again the sample size is VERY small, but other than the stats being better, Kennedy has looked a lot more confident this season. May it be because he is playing in front of a great defense other than an awful defense?

    strength of defense is fine for those situations where it’s early season and a guy changed teams, but most of the time I think it’s pretty much baked into pitcher performance, since he’s in front of the same defense every day, which is also why I’m maybe not as sold on something like xfip as most people probably are.

    I’d also say maybe similar on pitch framing, assuming a pitcher uses same catcher every start, but if he’s getting a couple different catchers it’d be interesting to split that out, I think, although as you split these things out more and more you have the problem of increasingly smaller samples, of course.

    I’m a super baseball noob, though, so I’m just trying to learn all this stuff.

  • eom

    @Jon Bales said...

    I love this one because I think it is a very real thing. I was watching MLB TV and saw a segment on how batters say the backdrop in a park is incredibly important to their success.

    do these stat sites track park history for hitters?

  • divusjulius

    • Blogger of the Month

    @jon-bales

    There is one intangible of batting order that I strongly feel has an impact on batter performance but has not yet been quantified , and that is the plate discipline/pitch selection/ length of at bat (i.e number of pitches thrown) of the player batting right before the batter we are thinking of rostering.

    You can see the effect during game play—so many times over the years you see a long, tough at bat (lot of foul tips, works the count etc) , and no matter what happened to the first batter with the quality at bat, the batter up next gets the clutch hit, goes yardor drives it to the gap..etc etc.

    everybody knows that its great to be in the batting order spot right before the monster (usually #3 benefits from #4 behind them), but I don’t think enough attention has been paid to the reverse: the effect of the batter in the spot directly in front of our batter (maybe #1 to #2 or #2 to #3). Again, I don’t mean the traditional table setting benefits of the OPS of the batter in front, but rather the quality of their at bats)

    of course its not all the time, but we’ve all seen it happen in games, hitters talk about how helpful it was for observing patters, timing, release point, finding somekind of tip off, whatever. maybe the pitcher just gets fatigued for one pitch and makes a mistake —we’ve heard them complain about these situations too.

    i imagine this is the kind of thing one could study as a trend; i’m still very new over there, but i’m hoping to figure out how to do it, and then apply it.

  • cjstetzer

    greatest strategy that is rarely used…8.9.1 hitters in AL ..pitchers let up on bottom of order hitters..

  • GTRandy27

    Definitely agree with pitch framing, which also has a lot to do with quality of umpire. Traveling is the big thing I would love to see quantified into statistics.

  • MTro86

    RG Writer

    @GTRandy27 said...

    Definitely agree with pitch framing, which also has a lot to do with quality of umpire. Traveling is the big thing I would love to see quantified into statistics.

    Along the same lines you’re thinking, there was a study a couple of years back on Hardball Times I think about the hangover effect of double-headers and there seemed to be one for the next couple of weeks at least. Assuming the same would be true after a long extra inning games.

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