MLB
February 8, 2012 posted by Collin Hager

2012 Fantasy Baseball – Introducing the Hager Value-add Calculator

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Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers 1B

As Albert Lang has been pointing out in his work for FantasyPros911, drafting and running a fantasy team in a head-to-head format is far different than in a standard rotisserie scoring league. Whereas you are drafting to pick up total points in various categories with rotisserie scoring, most head-to-head leagues require you to draft to win a category on a weekly basis. A player that may be the highest rated at his position in one format is not in another. Few sites cater to this type of league and even fewer give detailed rankings as to how to draft them.

But we are here to help.

Is there a real way to determine how a player will perform in this type of scenario? While nothing is foolproof, there is a way to put some method to the madness. Enter the Hager Value-added Calculator (HVaC). The HVaC is designed to provide a way for owners to evaluate players in a head-to-head format. It takes into account the five key categories for pitchers and hitters, provides weights for those categories based on position, factors in how much better than the average that player projects, and adds in a “scarcity” factor for each spot. The values create rankings and the rankings give an owner the perspective based on their own or their favorite website’s projections. The lower the score, the better.

Each of the five categories can be found more or less easily in certain positions, thus why weighting them differently is key.

–Steals are most prevalent at Shortstop and in the Outfield. They are weighted more highly there simply because if you do not draft them in those spots it will be hard to find material value in other positions.

–First Base is quite simply a power position. The average player there hits 20 home runs a season. Failing to take advantage will put an owner behind every week. At Third Base and Catcher this is also true.

–Second Base yields the most balance in terms of runs, RBI, and even steals. Home runs here are more of a bonus and need to be treated as such. It is not to say you cannot win drafting Robinson Cano, but you may get greater value out of Dustin Pedroia because of his performance across five categories whereas Cano stops at four (no steals). The key is finding the players that can create that value and understanding what you can get out of each spot.

Here is an example using the number-one ranked overall HVaC player, Miguel Cabrera. FantasyPros911’s own Paul Greco has the following projections for Cabrera: 

Not bad numbers at all. Here is what the average first basemen projected to get more than 350 at-bats is expected to provide a fantasy owner in 2012:

Obviously, Cabrera is drastically better than the average overall, but by how much? Moreover, how does that correlate to any given week for a head-to-head owner? Assume 20 weeks in a typically head-to-head season.  Take a look at the numbers below:

These values tell us that in any given week Cabrera produces nearly two full runs and better than two RBI over the average player at his position.

Adding to that is the fact that he gives what ultimately amounts to almost an extra two-for-three game each week because of his batting average. Not too bad at all and it shows why he possesses this kind of ranking in a head-to-head format. Cabrera truly is head and shoulders above the competition with numbers like these.

Still, there is more to it than just the numbers. Each position produces at a different level and has to be accounted for as such.

How do we factor in the importance of each category to a position?

Take a look again at the average first basemen. Based on the numbers there, we should assign very little to steals since over the course of 20 weeks having four steals will not make or break you in a category.

At first base, the key numbers are in the power department. Not having home runs, RBI, or runs coming out of First Base will put an owner in a distinct hole. Batting Average is tougher to call. The position brings with it the ability to truly overachieve and create differentiation.

The method is more easily understood by reviewing  the table below and how it breaks out for each position:

Now, add in the fact that some positions simply are thinner than others. If we take that in to account and multiply the weights and values from the mean accordingly, here is how Cabrera looks in raw numbers:

Cabrera’s HVaC score is 2.53 against a perfect score for the position of 1.50, the best of the best across the board.

The system puts into perspective some of the issues that owners have in this type of format. Simply quantifying who can improve your team the most from a week-to-week basis can be a challenge. Determining by how much and how to judge that against others can be even more of a problem. The HVaC provides a solution to just this problem. It yields a position-factored analysis in terms of how to draft and gives straight math as to how to apply and factor in the challenges associated with drafting the best team for a tough format to measure.

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