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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Competition. Simply put, we want CBSSports.com 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|