Two years ago, I had an idea. Every scoring and ranking system I seemed to find spent their time inspecting and dissecting players based strictly on total production and for rotisserie scoring only formats. It often appeared that a section of the fantasy baseball community was being ignored – the head to head owner. The strategy here is slightly different. With a goal to win a category on a weekly basis as opposed to over a season, how a player performs in short bursts is important. Not only is this a bigger piece to the puzzle, but also positional performance and scarcity become increasingly strategic factors in designing a weekly lineup.
Enter the HVaC system.
The HVaC is a scoring system that will allow the head-to-head owner the ability to judge players based on the value they will add over the average starter at the position. It goes a step further to rank players in the Top-500 by these factors while weighing out positional depth and category strength as determining factors. For example, you will not win steals in any week through drafting a First Baseman. That said, you had better get your RBI totals there as projections indicate that they will have the highest totals in that category amongst all positions. Thus, we adjust the weighting of those categories to give you a more true value of the position based on the needs you have in selecting them.
The same is true in the middle infield where if you do not find runs scored and steals, you will struggle to do so elsewhere. While Troy Tulowitzki’s power is a tremendous asset, but his projected steals will hurt a team if they do not have a way to recover in another spot. It becomes a category where a team will struggle to compete every week. This is why the formula looks at players like Jean Segura and Elvis Andrus more favorably than Asdrubal Cabrera and Tulowitzki. It becomes about finding the players that can help you win based on how the position needs to perform for you to do so.
With pitching, it becomes more possible to place greater weight on the categories where a pitcher has more control. We know that as owners controlling for wins is a challenge but we often forget how much harder this is in a head-to-head format. In any given week, the best you can likely hope for is seven or eight starts from your five starting pitchers. The likelihood they all record wins is extremely low. Why not put greater emphasis on strikeouts which are more easily compiled? With relievers, we can put less weight on ERA and WHIP because those factors will not harm you simply due to the lack of innings they will throw in any given week. Ultimately, making these changes provides a better blend in the top pitchers than would sometimes be seen in lists for rotisserie scoring.
In many cases it creates very few surprises for the guys on the mound. The interesting pieces come when you blend hitters and pitchers together. While rotisserie leagues may suggest that you draft a pitcher like Clayton Kershaw at the end of round one, the HVaC says wait until the end of round two before Kershaw comes off the board. Pitching simply will not have the same impact and the matchups those pitchers have in a given week will have greater importance. Even further, relief pitchers get buried on this list. The best bet is a player like Craig Kimbrel and he barely cracks the top-20.
The HVaC is here to provide a tool for owners in head-to-head leagues that will present players based on how the position will benefit an owner in any given week. Looking at the way a position needs to perform will allow an owner to select a team that will give them the greatest chance for success and category optimization. Over the next few weeks, we will look at each position as well as the top players overall, how they rank, and why they rank there.