Monday, March 10, 2014

The Switch To OBP: Winners and Losers

Part 2 - Best/Worst by Position

A current trend in fantasy baseball scoring has been to replace Batting Average with On Base Percentage (OBP). Some leagues have simply replaced Batting Average with OBP, while others have added OBP as another hitting category. If your league has recently made the switch, this article is for you.



By making the switch to OBP, fantasy baseball scoring has been altered. As an owner, you need to know to what degree.  To start, we look at the league statistics from 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the league Batting Average was .255 and the OBP was .319. In 2013, the league Batting Average was .253 and the OBP was .318. The league difference between Batting Average and OBP (MLBDiff) over the last two years was roughly .065.

For fantasy baseball purposes, not every player has that same average MLBDiff. For example, Shin-Soo Choo benefits significantly from switching to an OBP system. From 2012-2013, his .284 Batting Average has not left many of his owners in awe (14th among OFs). However, his .399 OBP ranks 3rd among OFs and helps propel him into a higher tier. Shin-Soo Choo has a .115 difference between his Batting Average and OBP, which is .050 points above the MLBDiff (.115-.065).



Salvador Perez falls on the other side of the token. From 2012-2013, his .296 Batting Average ranked 5th among qualifying Catchers. However, his .325 OBP drops him all the way to 12th among qualifying Catchers. Salvador Perez has a .029 difference between his Batting Average and OBP, which is .036 points below the MLBDiff (.029-.065).

The goal of this article is NOT to rank players based on OBP. The goal of this article is to highlight certain players that substantially benefit or lose value from the switch from Batting Average to On Base Percentage.  Remember, the switch from Batting Average to OBP changes the value of players by varying degrees. Some players who would have negative value due to their poor Batting Average become positive players (see Adam Dunn). Some players who have above average Batting Averages become less valuable in the OBP setting. The following two charts represent the players that gain and lose the most value by switching to the OBP format.

(All player data was gathered from Fangraphs.com. I used the past two seasons as a sample size.)

Players Who Gain The Most:


PlayerValue Above
MLBDiff
Actual BAActual OBP
Joey Votto .068 .317.450
Dan Uggla .064 .201.330
John Jaso .053 .273.391
Josh Willingham .052 .238.355
Shin-Soo Choo .050.284.399
Adam Dunn .050.211.326
Carlos Santana .046.260.387
Yasmani Grandal .044.271.380
Mike Napoli .042.246.353
Jose Bautista .042.251.358
Alex Avila .036.235.336
Edwin Encarnacion .036.276.377
Chris Carter .036.228.329
Russell Martin .035.219.319
Mark Reynolds .035.221.321

Players Who Lose The Most:


PlayerValue Below the MLBDiffActual BAActual OBP
Alexei Ramirez -.039 .275 0.301
Omar Infante -.039 .294 0.320
Yuniesky Betancourt -.038 .218 0.245
Ichiro Suzuki -.036 .273 0.302
Salvador Perez -.036 .296 0.325
Manny Machado -.035 .279 0.309
Erick Aybar -.033 .280 0.312
Wilin Rosario -.033 .282 0.314
Nolan Arenado -.031 .267 0.301
Alcides Escobar -.029 .263 0.295
Zack Cozart -.029 .250 0.286
A.J. Pierzinski -.029 .275 0.311
Delmon Young -.029 .264 0.300
Daniel Murphy -.028 .288 0.325
J.P. Arencibia -.028 .211 0.248
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