Blog Entry

Remarks about the scoring system changes

Posted on: April 9, 2009 12:33 pm
Edited on: April 9, 2009 12:54 pm

Man, it is good to know you guys are alive! When things are going great on our site, as they have been for just about the whole Fantasy Baseball preseason into the regular season, nobody says a word. It is too quiet around here. We start to wonder, "Are they having a good time?" Sure, some users will write in to tell us we're doing a great job. But for the most part, if you are satisfied, you don't tend to chime in.

Well, it seems you have an opinion about the changes we made to the scoring system in Fantasy Baseball head to head leagues. And for the record, they are not all bad. We have actually gotten a lot of good feedback from users who are glad that we "cleaned up" what was a system that was littered with inconsistencies. 

I have seen a lot of speculation on both the message boards and from our awesome customer support team (Kay T, I am talking about you here) as to why we might have made the change.  So, allow me to explain why we felt a change was needed.   

  1. It was apparent that our site was becoming a place where people could essentially "game the system" by starting more 2-start pitchers each week rather than starting just their best pitchers.  In our Premium Fantasy Baseball games, we offer daily roster moves which led to "streaming" of pitchers.  If you are unfamliar with this practice, it basically means that it is better to just have a guy that is pitching and getting points for innings pitched than it is to have nobody pitching.  So people pickup guys who happen to be starting that day and then dropping them the next day and picking up another pitcher who is pitching that day. 
  2. We wanted to create true Fantasy balance between batters and pitchers in relation to actual baseball.  Meaning that the fantasy results should mirror that of an actual baseball team in terms of the contribution each player provides to their team winning or losing the game.  
  3. Competition.  Simply put, we want Fantasy Baseball to be the place where people come to find the cream of the crop in terms of Fantasy Baseball knowledge, so when they win a league here, they know they have beaten the best.

So, let me speak to each of these a little bit.

Regarding #1, if you couldn't tell from the initial description, streaming pitchers is not good for a bunch of reasons, but basically, it isn't Fantasy Baseball.  It just becomes a simple numbers game.  There is no fun or even skill in that.  Secondly, it creates a really poor experience for people who are new to Fantasy Baseball.  We want more people playing Fantasy Baseball. More people playing means you are all able to find more leagues to join, the competition keeps getting better, and the trash talking bar keeps getting set higher.  When new users would come in and see what went on with the streaming of pitchers, they got turned off immediately.  

Regarding #2, I think this has to do more with the evolution of Fantasy Baseball than anything else. Without getting into too much history here, I'll just explain that Fantasy Baseball started off as Rotisserie Baseball. So, it was not originally setup for head to head play.  As Fantasy Football became more and more popular, people wanted a way to apply that way of playing to Fantasy Baseball. There was a time when we had less than 25% of our leagues playing head to head Fantasy Baseball. In the last 7 or 8 years we've now seen that number rise to almost 50%. While some thought went into it at the time, the original head to head scoring system was just a way to apply points for pitching and hitting much like was done for Fantasy Football. It was flawed. And to be honest, I can't believe this site or any other sites hadn't done a better job of adjusting their scoring systems accordingly.

Since that time, head to head Fantasy has taken off in Baseball and more and more people were clamoring that the scoring system just wasn't fair. In more ways than just the pitching categories. So, Eric Mack (Sr. Fantasy Baseball writer), Corey Guerrera (Product Manager), Frank O (aka, The Man), and I sat down and did some real analysis to try and come up with the most balanced system. And that doesn't just mean balancing Batters and Pitchers, it means coming up with a proportionate balance. You don't start the same number of Pitchers and Batters. They don't get to earn points for your team the same amount of times per week. And the amount of damage that a Pitcher can do to a team is far worse than the amount of damage a Batter can do to a team...proportionally. That all needed to be thought about on a holistic level. What we came up with is what we put on the site. And that is not to say that it is right.  I think we'll have to look at what happens this year and perhaps tweak it again for next season. 

But in terms of creating a system that is a reflection for how a particular player performs, I think we did a pretty good job with that. We received a lot of complaints about C.C. Sabathia' s first start. There was nothing positive about that start. He couldn't get out of the 4th inning, gave up 8 hits, 5 walks, and 6 earned runs...he didn't even strike ONE batter out. In Roto, your team takes a beating for that performance. He put his own team into a big hole, why shouldn't that reflect in Fantasy? Besides, -17 points isn't that bad of a penalty considering most fantasy baseball teams will score somewhere between 225-275 points per week. It is proportionate. Even after a 3 day sample size, I challenge you guys to go into your leagues and go to STATS, select ALL BATTERS and look at the YTD Points, and then look at ALL PITCHERS and do the same thing. I think you'll find it to be a fair assesment of how each player has performed so far this year. And we'll see how the season progresses. Maybe we'll be wrong and we'll look back and say it was a mistake. If that is the case, we'll correct it.

This all leads me to my point #3 above which was that we wanted to be the destination for people who wanted to beat the best in terms of competition. The system we've devised will create that. No more streaming pitchers and no more batters who hit a bunch of home runs, but don't get penalized for striking out 200 times. People will actually have to think about who will best contribute to their team based on talent and skill. That's what Fantasy Baseball is supposed to be about. 


For the record, here is the scoring system:

Scoring for Batting Categories
1B - Singles 1 point
2B - Doubles 2 points
3B - Triples 3 points
BB - Walks (Batters) 1 point
CS - Caught Stealing -1 point
HR - Home Runs 4 points
KO - Strikeouts (Batter) -0.5 points
R - Runs 1 point
RBI - Runs Batted In 1 point
SB - Stolen Bases 2 points
Scoring for Pitching Categories
BBI - Walks Issued (Pitchers) -1 point
BS - Blown Saves -2 points
ER - Earned Runs -2 points
HA - Hits Allowed -1 point
INN - Innings 3 points
K - Strikeouts (Pitcher) 1 point
L - Losses -5 points
S - Saves 5 points
SO - Shutouts 5 points
W - Wins 7 points



Since: Feb 4, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2009 4:44 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

I think they tried to make the rules to try and even out the scoring between hitters and pitchers. If you compare the overall scoring of pitching to hitting it appears they are close in scoring. But the numbers are deceiving in head to head leagues! The new scoring has just about made hitting worthless! When you get negative pitching points and the other team doesn't your hitting can't makeup for it! When one of your pitchers gets between negative 10 and 20 and the opposing teams pitcher gets 30 to 40 positive points, I guarantee you have no chance at coming back! If the average team is going to score 250 to 270 points per week,how are you going to come back from a 60 to 70 point swing?  I recently offered ARod and Hanley Ramirez and the best offer I could get was for a relief pitcher! When the two best players in fantasy baseball have no trade value, you know there is a problem! Every week my hitters outscore the other teams hitting and I lose because of pitching! I would have been better off drafting 12 straight pitchers and filling in my hitting with whatever is left because hitting is worthless now! CBS will say the spread sheet shows parity in scoring between hitting and pitching, when in reality pitching points are what wins in leagues! Maybe they should just do away with hitting altogether!!!

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2009 8:41 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

Please eliminate live scoring. It's Monday and i just checked live scoring with a pitcher's stat line of 80 PC, 5 INN, 5 HA, 2 BBI, 2 K, 5 ER. Do the math and that's ZERO points. Toss in a few hits and a few strikeouts and there is no reason to even check live scoring more than a couple of times a day maximum.

Wow! I bet CBS Sports online advertisers on the live scoring pages are pissed. I mean, no need for even an auto-refresh timer on the live scoring pages since it changes as fast as a spider spins a web.

Live Scoring = Fingernails on a chalkboard...

Since: Jan 27, 2007
Posted on: May 12, 2009 11:19 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

Just like in real baseball, the loss is a factor based on luck. You may not realize it, but real baseball is about 30% luck based, which is a lot. If Albert Pujols strikes out on a Randy Wolf pitch, one can argue Pujols got unlucky, as Wolf is not a strikeout pitcher, and Pujols rarely records 60 strikeouts in a season, which is an anomaly for a power hitter. The same should go for a pitcher. Unfortunate things always happen that owners don't deserve, but that's the risk you take. Here, I speak on behalf of those who drafted Justin Verlander no. 1 last year - biggest bust I have ever seen. That, you could say, was based on extremely bad luck. But that's the risk you take. And besides, Dan Haren's positive points far outweigh the negatives, even from the loss, that the negatives don't even matter that much (unless that loses you a fantasy matchup) I understand that GDPs are luck based and I might sound like a hypocrite, but the batter did do what he was supposed to - make contact. On the other hand, it's up to the pitcher AND HIS TEAM to earn him the win. Take that for what it's worth.

It ain 't worth DICK. So what you're saying is that when I draft a pitcher I draft the whole team and then you A$$holes tell me I can't drop him. But when I draft a batter I just get him. "In the field everyone plays as a team, but at bat this is the time of individual acheivement." That's not luck that's CBS arrogance. 

If you hamstring me with the pitchers team batting average, then in fairness you can't make him undroppable.

ESPN and MLB here I come.

Since: Sep 25, 2006
Posted on: May 10, 2009 4:13 am

Remarks about the scoring system changes

I don't have a problem with the new scoring system. What does bother me, though, is that the benches were dropped from 6 guys to 5. Since the basic leagues don't offer DL spots, it would have been nice to still have that 6th bench guy to kick around and drop when a replacement is needed. Can anyone explain the reasoning behind the decision to drop to 21 man rosters?

Since: Dec 2, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2009 2:03 am

Remarks about the scoring system changes

Hey Levine or Mack, this new scoring system sucks and you all know it. Which is why you didn't give proper notice of the change. This is a simple FACT. Put back the old scoring system and put in a maximum of starts per week. Last year I also played on ESPN (which I hated because they had WAY, WAY, Way to many players in their starting line-ups. Who wants to have to have Randy Winn as an OF on their team?) but they did have a 12 start pitcher maximum per week. (Daily line-up changes) An owner didn't have to pick-up 2-start pitchers every week, you just used the SP's from your roster to fill those 12 starts. Isn't that what it should be? Your TEAM vs. your opponents TEAM? Not who can pick-up the best 2-start pitchers every day/week and bench the Becketts and Hamels because they have ONLY 1 start that week. Max starts and daily line-up changes will solve the "stacking" of 2-start scrubs because the Becketts and Hamels will still pitch during the week toward that 10 or 12 start maximum. Capeech?


CBS Fantasy Baseball Fans...Just buy the "Commish League" invite 10 friends and set-up the league scoring the way you want it...Which is what I did. Unfortunately, there isn't a maximum start option. (Please Levine, Mack make this an option next year. At least in your "Commish League's".) But, there is a daily line-up change option. We need both max starts and daily line-up change option, please.

P.S. I'm playing in both my commish league and the free league and the scoring is much better in my commish league and other owners in my league who play both agree. They hate the scoring changes as well. As for equalizing the hitters and pitchers scoring IS NOT happening. As of today the top 30 hitters score from 106.5-159.5 and pitchers score from 85-199 (Greinke is way above anyone else, taking Greinke's points away) top pitcher has 152. The pitchers drop fast after that while the hitters don't.


Michael Perry
SVML Commish League

Since: Jul 15, 2008
Posted on: May 9, 2009 1:18 am

Remarks about the scoring system changes

I had been playing fantasy baseball for about the last 4 seasons and had come accustomed to the older scoring system. Yes, you are able to throw out there 4 closers and 3 two-start pitchers to give yourself a decent shot at 200 fpts from just ur pitching staff under the old rules. CBS cannot use this statement or saying you can put up 7 two-start pitcher to defend their changes bc the playing field was level; we all played by the same rules and us, as members employed the best strategies in accordance to the CBS set rules. I hadnt noticed the rules change until after my draft and was a little upset over that and began to hate the new rules, especially how i thought it would kill the value of a good pitching staff. However, 4 weeks into the season and I will admit that I have gained a lot of respect for the updated scoring system and already prefer it. . It seems only logical to give negative points for negative production in any sport; in fantasy football and basketball leagues,  players are stripped of points for turnovers. What I have been pleased to see is that the difference between the best of pitchers and a subpar pitchers who have a good week has become more distinct. While I thought pitchers would be hurt more than hitters under the new system, I was wrong and through experience have realized that the good pitchers who pitch innings and have a good era are actually helped by the increase of points per out recorded. Under the old system, a 5inn5h5er5ko5bb (aka the "Ollie Perez" start) with a "run-supported" win would score you 15 points, a pretty good contribution to your team for one start. That pitching line is not indicative of a good start and should not be awarded better than average points. Under the new system, that same start gets you 7, and only bc you recorded a win helped out by good offense. But 7inn3h1er7ko1bb and W gets 28pts under old system, 29.  I believe the best way to judge a pitchers level of success is by his era. Give up less runs and that pitcher will score more points. The difference between excellent and subpar outings have been widened, as it should be.  When you look back in retrospect, it is a little ridiculous how a KO under the system would record you 1.67 pts but give up a HR was only -1.5.  Hitting wise, a batter who goes 1-4 HR, RBI, R, BB, 3 KO (aka the "Adam Dunn"is 7 under old, 5.5 under new system. But 3-5 2B, RBI, 2 R was 7 under old system and 7 under new. Which game do you think is better? I'll take the latter from any one of my players at any position in the lineup. The second mentioned stat line account for 3 team runs (1 rbi + 2 runs) while adam dunn accounted for 1. Nevertheless, I think some clauses in the new system can be modified to make the game better. For example, with RP losing points for blown saves and losses, and decreasing awarded points for saves, I dont see why cbs has forced owners to start 2. If you want to start more, you should be able to, if less, why not? With it being easy for a pitcher to have a bad game and get -10 fpts under new system, it's more of a gamble to pick up some joe schmoe with 2 starts in hope that he can win one or atleast have 2 10ish point starts and get about 20 for the week like we could last year. In sum, the new scoring is definitely fair just because we all play by the same rules. Secondly, the new system and been modified in a way that reflects actual production better than the former rules. I thought I wouldn't like it and have come to prefer it in just a few weeks. Give it time and be patient and I am sure you will all notice the game is still fun and fair.

Since: Feb 8, 2009
Posted on: May 8, 2009 2:19 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

The possibility of negative scores is great. The exact metrics may need to be refined, but having this dimension in the scoring system adds some interesting depth.  I have a friend who is in a fantasy football league in Europe (soccer to us). He and some friends created a custom league where the object was to assemble the worst team possible, who could accumulate the most negative points. It's harder than you would think. The trick is to assemble players who will play regularly but do terribly.  Everything gets turned on its head.  He says they have lots of fun with the concept. Negative points opens up this possibility.

Since: Jan 27, 2007
Posted on: May 7, 2009 2:59 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

I have to agree to disagree with you but we all are playing onder the same rules so it's still a level playing field. I will say I don't like the limiting of starts because that hamstrings my legitimately stud SP's (Billingsley, Lincecum, Haren) from a two start week. Two starts doesn't guarantee more points. Take Kyle Davies...Please (rim shot) He's a two start piotcher this week and after only one I'm already in the hole (-9) and he wasn't charged with the loss.
I also don't agree with trying to make batters and pitchers equal. They are not. If a pitchers throws 100 pitches per game he has 100 opportunities. A batter gets only between 3 and 5 normally. But with a pitcher every opportunityis a chance to lose points as well as gain, whereas a batter only loses points if he strikes out. So I believe the scoring system should favor pitchers because they are more at risk. If a pitcher is a two starter he has 200 opportunities and it would take a batter quite a bit longer to get there.
Also your argument for the penalizing the strikeout contradicts your argument for rewarding the HBP. How is the HBP skill based? A walk takes a "good eye", and HBP takes a bad pitch. But I do agree with penalizing the pitcher for it.

Since: Jun 29, 2008
Posted on: May 7, 2009 2:53 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

Hey everybody.  Time to let E. Mack know your thoughts because we do not think enough I guess to read the columns or send them feedback.  They think we only complain on the message boards about the scoring changes.  Seems all he has received is happy folks just ecstatic about the new scoring system.  Please folks see his response to me below and then respond back to him because obviously they do not pay attention to what we say on these boards and need it fed to them directly. 

Send Eric Mack (CBS Sportsline Fantasy Columnist) your info concerning the changes....

kimski518, I appreciate your comments, but I need you to appeal to the masses more. The e-mails I have read from the story have been surprisingly opposing your views. We need to hear more from people like you. Encourage them to send feedback, because while many believe the scoring system needs to be reworked, they believe the change was long overdue and better now than it was before.

Good luck. We look forward to hearing from you and your faction of dissenters. Apparently, happy people don't post on the message boards as much as reply to columns. Perhaps unhappy people don't read columns.

Regardless, we want to hear from people like you.

E Mack

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: May 7, 2009 1:53 pm

Remarks about the scoring system changes

Faker boy

Your retort is horrible. I almost didnt respond but, I figured I would give you some help understanding because clearly you are the only one here that doesnt get it. I do like helping the clueless.

I am sorry you didnt understand the McDonald's analogy. Most folks did.

Now I agree with you that the smart business/customer service move by McDonald's would be to have their employess notify anyone who orders a Big Mac of the change.
Wait a minute......... you do understand what I am saying. As a matter of fact  I agree with everyone on the point that the rule changes were poorly communicated. Really?

 I agree with everyone on the point that the rule changes were poorly communicated. Are you sure?

 I agree with everyone on the point that the rule changes were poorly communicated.

Alright then. If you say so......

That was my only point. I have no intent to start a lawsuit, I just said I wouldn't be suprised if someone did. And I really don't think I need to address any more of your post since you agree with everyone on the point that the rule changes were poorly communicatedSave your rants for someone else. My beef isnt with you anyway.....

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or