Awesome Fantasy Baseball Tool Coming Soon...

It is only January 6, 2010, but fantasy baseball drafting season is quickly approaching. As such, I undertook the time-consuming task of compiling a sortable, luck-neutral data set from last season in order to help determine which players were "for real" last year and which "overperformed." Using THT's xBABIP calculator and Fangraph's batted ball data, I created a rough calculation of xBABIP splits for every player who accumulated 300+ PA's last season. I then used the xBABIP data to calculate xAVG, xOBP, xSLG and xOPS, assuming all additional hits would be singles. The numbers are rough estimates for two reasons. The first reason is that Fangraphs does not allow full and free access to its specific batted ball data (how many specific GB, FB, LD's, etc. a player had in a given year). In order to calculate these specific numbers, I had to make an estimation formula based on Balls In Play (BIP) and batted ball percentages. The result was close-enough numbers. For example, the formula estimated that the real David Eckstein had 212 GB, 158 FB, and 24 IFFB. He actually had 209 GB, 156 FB, and 24 IFFB. The xBABIP using the real data and the formula-estimated data was almost identical. Thus, I'm sticking with this method. The second reason that these numbers are but rough estimates is that I used the Kansas City Royals as the base team from which to calculate xBABIP for all players in the sample. I did this for two reasons, both stemming from the fact that the THT xBABIP formula that I used was based on 2008 data. The first reason I chose the Royals as the base team is that Kaufman Stadium was the most neutral park in terms of its impact on hits in 2008, according to ESPN's park factor data. Secondly, the Royals were middle of the pack defensively as a team in 2008 (18th overall). For these two reasons, I used Kansas City as the base team from which to calculate xBABIP for all 285 players who amassed 300+ PA's last season.

It should also be noted that one's 2009 BABIP/xBABIP should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also important to look at a player's career BABIP and multi-year BABIP trends in determining whether or not the xBABIP projection makes sense (but do not forget that some players, like Jay Bruce, will have sample size issues with their 3 year trend BABIPs). Furthermore, there will also be some glaring omissions from my data set (most noticeably Travis Snyder, Troy Glaus, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Rickie Weeks, Xavier Nady, and Alex Gordon) because many 2010 relevant players were either injured last season or called up late in the season and did not reach the 300 PA cutoff point.

Given the fact that the other three members of this blog participate in both of my pay leagues, I will not release the entirety of this data until after both of our drafts are completed (probably March 22). Until then, I shall give you a taste of the data with the five most extreme xBABIP split players and their adjusted lines (assuming all additional hits would be singles and that all subtracted hits would be singles).

Five most unlucky players from 2009 (click to enlarge):

Five most lucky players from 2009 (click to enlarge):

Look out SexyRexy, TBO, and Cubsfan4ever. I'm going for the repeat.