Sunday, March 25, 2012

David Bobke - Roto For Complete Freakin' Morons

Let me be clear here. I am not attempting to write “Roto For Dummies.” I am attempting to write “Roto For Complete Freakin' Morons.” My goal is to simplify some of these concepts so that even a novice baseball fan looking to play Fantasy Baseball for the first time can hold a sporting chance in a league of experts.

Concept #1: Roto Scoring

I'll start this by stating the obvious. In real baseball, you have Runs, Hits, and Errors on the scoreboard. You probably get player profiles during the game with Batting Averages, Home Run totals, Stolen Bases, and the like. None of these stats, except Runs, ultimately matter in real baseball. The other stats contribute to the Runs scored, but the Runs themselves decide the fate of the team, whether they win or lose.

If real baseball were run the way Rotisserie FB were, categories like Hits, HR's, SB's, and BA would all impact who won the game.

I'm warning you now...I'm inspired by Danica McKellar's “Kiss My Math,” and my examples may reflect that. This COULD get weird...

Let's say we have a Visitor team and a Home team playing a real baseball game. These numbers will show what you'd see in the newspaper's box scores, the teams with their Runs, Hits, and Errors.

Visitor: 5 10 1
Home: 3 11 0

In a real baseball game, the Visitor wins this game. The runs column is the only thing that matters. The runs and that one error play into how the runs came to be, but when you read that box score, you know only one column matters.

Got that? Let's take that real baseball game and expand on the stats. This next box score will tell us Runs, Hits, Home Runs, Stolen Bases, and team Batting Average for this game. Keep in mind, this is the same game, and in real baseball, we already know who won this game, but now we're going into Roto ball scoring.

Visitor: 5, 10, 1, 0, .270
Home: 3, 11, 0, 1, .297

In Roto FB, the Home team wins this 3-2. They won the Hits, Stolen Bases, and Average categories, while losing Runs and Home Runs.

This is a really simplified version of Roto ball, but (hopefully) it shows you how each category is important. Now in a Points FB league, you can compensate for a lack of Stolen Bases by having a lot of Home Runs. In Roto ball, you can't fall back on that. You need a little bit of everything.

Another grade school, no matter how good I was in my English class, my strength there couldn't cover up my deficiency in another subject like Science. I could be a genius at Math too, but if I stunk at Science, no amount of Math awesomeness could bolster my Science grade. If I suck at Science, I suck at Science and that's all there is to it. I can't ask to do more English and Math assignments and drop the Science ones, like I might in a Points FB league...ya follow? Wink wink?

Another way of putting it...Points FB is like 2-D, Roto FB is like 3-D. Points is Super Mario Bros., Roto is Paper Mario. Roto is geekier, and I think it requires more know-how. There's more to keep up with, and if you're into that kinda thing, it's more fun. And more frustrating. But more fun too. I find more pride in doing well in Roto.

The box score example I gave earlier oversimplifies things a little. Roto scoring isn't just about offense; it's also about pitching.

Your standard 5x5 Roto league probably has the hitting categories I've listed earlier (probably RBI's instead of Hits), but pitching stats like Strikeouts, Earned Run Average (ERA), Wins, Saves, and Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP) are probably in there as well. If you're in a 6x6 (so named because there are 6 offensive categories and 6 pitching categories) you have categories like On Base Percentage (where walks help your percentage) and Holds. There are other categories that could be used of course, but for sake of discussion, let's stick with the 5x5 for these discussions.

Next time, we'll get into how to know what to look for in your draft.

Side note: 5x5 is “Five by Five”, not “Five ex Five” or “Five times Five.” You will be made fun of if you call it by the wrong name.

Another side note: What do you mean you don't know who Danica McKellar is? She was Winnie on “The Wonder Years!” She's wicked smart!

David Bobke

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