What matters in fantasy baseball? The numbers. They decide who wins and who loses and unlike actual baseball, things like team chemistry don’t factor into anything.
With that said, sometimes I like to have a look at some blind stat comparisons. If the numbers are the only thing that matters, defending the ownership rate gap with some of these guys is challenging, if not impossible.
We’ll start with a few pitchers pitchers.
Blind Stat Comparison, No. 1
|Player 1||111.1||84/38||63||8-6||3.15||1.10||35.3 %|
|Player 2||109||106/54||73||7-8||4.29||1.47||62.4 %|
I’ll be fair to the fantasy players here, Player No. 2’s ownership rate is in a nosedive, it’s just been a slow process. Similarly, Player No. 1’s ownership rate is rising, but it’s also been a slow process. Player No. 1 has been solid all year, so these numbers aren’t the result of a phenomenal hot streak that’s happened over a few outings.
The gap in ownership rate is probably best explained by a pretty common bias — age. Player 2 is in his Age 23 season and to be completely fair, is coming off of a very good season. By the same token, Player 1 is 35 and has dealt with a lot of injuries throughout his career.
Still, the only thing that matters is what these guys are producing in 2014. The gap in productivity is too wide to justify such a big difference in fantasy ownership.
Let’s stay in the battery.
Blind Stat Comparison, No. 2
|Player 1||73/305||31||10||39||0||.239/.294/.377||94.6 %|
|Player 2||58/197||27||8||37||2||.294/.402/.477||32.2 %|
Actually, there wasn’t a shortage of catchers that I could have used. No. 1 is really one of the more unheralded players in the league and really, should be on a lot more fantasy teams.
Unlike the previous comparison, age isn’t really the culprit. Actually, No. 1 is the younger player by a few years. No, this is more about name, and team, recognition. Player No. 2 is an All-Star that as of this season, plays on the most high profile team in the league. Although the team from Player No. 1 is much better, they get ignored quite a bit more.
You can certainly argue that the at-bats favor Player No. 2 more, but I’d only argue that point if you don’t mind losing. The season is more than half over and while Player No. 2 has logged more at-bats, the counted stats are pretty close, while the ratio stats are a walkover in favor of Player No. 1. Maybe you believe Player No. 2 will turn things around but even if you do, Player No. 1 should be owned in more leagues. There are plenty of catchers I could have made this argument with.
Lastly, let’s have a look at some first basemen.
Blind Stat Comparison, No. 3
|Player 1||72/281||36||14||49||2||.256/.352/.480||51.2 %|
|Player 2||63/261||39||17||48||1||.241/.341/.464||95. 3 %|
Not only do the numbers not justify the ownership gap, but Player No. 1 also has outfield eligibility.
Player No. 2 has the bigger name here, but I really can’t defend this. Now, I’m not saying that No. 2 shouldn’t be owned in leagues, but that’s a big number, especially when a comparable player has such a smaller ownership rate.
Note: All ownership rates were in ESPN leagues on the morning of July 14.