Alternate History Sports

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9/11/2022 8:55 pm  #1

AltLB Discussion 2023

No, that's not a typo, I wanted to start a discussion about next season before two-thirds of the league moves on to football full-time.

Basically, I'm wondering what y'all think about using Fantrax's points system (rather than categories) for baseball. (For those of you who don't know how it works, the short version is that the best team in the league in each category gets 24 points for that category and the worst team gets 1 point.) Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I dislike categories, and I'm not saying my team would be significantly better under the points system - in fact, I have no idea. That said, with football season starting up and QCS and I in the lab trying to figure out luck calculations, I was thinking about why baseball's points are so different than every other league, and thought it would at least be worth starting the conversation. I think both ways of doing it have pros and cons. Hey look, here are some pros and cons:

Categories (current system)
- Forces teams to remain somewhat balanced, at least in hitting vs. pitching
- Creates more direct, head-to-head competition
- Keeps more teams relevant, leading to more competitive teams
- Generates more realistic, baseball like scores (if you ignore half-runs I guess)

- Not directly based on statistics
- Does not reward teams for winning categories by large margins
- Extremely dependent on opponent's performance
- Difficult to compare scores with other fantasy leagues

Points (proposed new system)
- Rewards teams for winning categories by large margins
- Provides a better overall idea of a team's performance
- Not dependent on opponent's performance
- Generates more fantasy league-like scores

- Not directly based on statistics
- Allows teams to concentrate more on a few statistics if they can consistently win them by large margins
- Dependent on the performance of the entire league
- May not lead to as much parity

At the end of the day, what it'll usually come down to is something like this: imagine a game where Team A outscores Team B in 6 out of 10 categories, but Team A wins all 6 of those categories by slim margins while Team B's 4 categories are all won by much larger margins. Obviously, Team A would win under the current system, but Team B would almost certainly have more points, and I'd argue that Team B had the better week overall and deserves the win more. That said, I'm very open to discussion here, so feel free to disagree with or add to the points I've made here. Maybe if I'm bored I'll whip up the results of the league this year if we used points to see what it might have looked like (or maybe if someone else is bored they'll beat me to it haha).

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9/16/2022 7:47 pm  #2

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

I don't hate the idea of switching to points, but what's hanging me up, and is why I'd ultimately be against it, is that it's dependent entirely on the performance of the whole league. I don't mind categories being dependent on your opponent because that's what it's like in real life, too. I like keeping points around as a league-wide thing for judging team performance outside of the context of an individual match.

That said, I also have a proposal of my own. One thing that bothered me about scoring was that hitting categories were looking for exactly two things: hits and home runs. Walks and extra base hits were completely ignored, meaning players that frequently drew walks weren't rewarded for it. Meanwhile, we were rewarding Runs, which are completely dependent on the lineup batting after the player. To that end, I propose this:
- We replace AVG with OBP (on-base percentage), which basically combines batting average with walking percentage (and hit by pitch, for the Adam Dunns of the world) so that walks are rewarded.
- We replace Runs with Slugging Percentage, which measures how many bases a player gets per at-bat, rewarding extra base hits and not playing in front of good players in the lineup.
Like IDM said I'd love to discuss and refine this further but I think it would create more interesting ways to establish an identity for our offense (i.e. focusing on players that draw walks or get lots of extra bases) and I'd like to see it adopted for next season.

Timothy_1947 wrote:

Although I’m not a owner, I think the points system could be a good idea. Also, are the Cincinnati Centaurs joining the AltLB next season?

I believe the way it works is that if we lose owners going into next season, the new owners coming in can choose to either keep that brand or switch to one of the 6 that were left unused.

Last edited by QCS (9/16/2022 7:49 pm)


9/22/2022 8:11 am  #3

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

Personally, I like keeping categories over points too, not super comfortable with scoring systems that depend on the entire league's performance beyond the 1 on 1 matchup taking place.   However, I do agree that it wouldn't be a bad idea to consider a couple of stat swaps, here's what I have in mind...

Replace AVG with OBP (On Base %):  Completely agree with Quice on this, walks (and hit by pitches) should definitely be rewarded, as walks are just as effective as base hit singles are at getting someone on base to get runs scored, (that'd also eliminate weird stat lines like what IDM dealt with the Las Vegas Atoms last night, going 2 for 32 for a .063 AVG, yet still scoring 6 runs- clearly some walks and hit by pitches that his team should get rewarded for that don't count in the current system).  

Replace Runs with some variant of Runs Created OR Total Bases: I also agree that Runs is too depending on your teammates rather than your own contributions.    Runs Created, (and there are a few variations of this formula, ranging from very basic to some versions even accounting for stolen bases and double plays, etc) is designed to estimate the number of runs a batter contributes to the team.  I think this would be a natural upgrade over Runs, just like OBP is an upgrade over AVG.  Meanwhile, Total Bases is quite literally the amount of bases a hitter gets from hits (so if you hit a home run and a double, your total bases is 6 for the day).  It doesn't account for walks and hit by pitches or stolen bases (which is another category anyway), but Total Bases times OBP gives you Runs Created (the basic formula anyway).    Slugging % is basically a Total Bases divided by At Bats, so either would work here, Total Bases being a whole number and easier to track without the additional math involved.

***Another idea could be to use OPS (On base Plus Slugging) somewhere here as it's OBP and Slugging % added together and usually correlates well with run created.  That'd only be one stat, though.   If we replace AVG and Runs with OPS, We'd have to come up with another stat to make up for the lost category, (that or eliminate one pitching stat to even things out).***

Replace Strikeouts for K-BB % (Strike Out % minus Walk %) or K/BB ratio: Strikeouts are totally fine as it is, but K-BB% could debatably be a better stat for measuring a pitcher's true skill, plus I think it'd make relief pitchers more valuable too, as currently, they don't get near the same opportunities as starters do at getting strikeouts.  We could also just use the Strikeouts to Walks ratio as well here.

Replace Wins with literally anything: Wins, like Runs, are WAY too dependent on the rest of the team's contributions as opposed to just the pitcher's own skill.    In the current format, a pitcher could pitch a no hitter through 8 innings, but not get a win if his offense didn't score either and the closer blows the game in the 9th inning.   Meanwhile, a pitcher could allow 9 runs in 5 innings, but so long as his offense (through no contribution of his own by the way) scores 10 runs in that timeframe, he could still get a win.  Basically, if you want wins, you almost have to pick starting pitchers based exclusively on how good their team is, (this is definitely something I personally did when I drafted my starting pitchers).

Another thing we could do, if we can't find stats to replace these with, you could just eliminate Runs and Wins altogether (making any changes to the other stats as you'd want), as those are the two stats that are most reliant on your teammates rather than you're own work.  Problem is, you'd only have 8 categories as opposed to 10, which is abnormal I think for Fantasy Baseball.  Ironically, we'd get even more realistic looking baseball scores with only 8 categories, which I think was one of the cool things about scoring by categories in the first place.

Finally, I wanted to suggest a new tiebreaker.   Obviously, I already benefitted once from our current playoff tiebreaker (sorry, Scratch) and could easily benefit again this week (sorry, IDM).   I like that my whole year's work gets rewarded, but I think I have an idea for another tiebreaker stat we could consider.   I know it's a very controversial stat and there are multiple versions of it, but WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is the closest thing we've come up with so far that is both one stat and able to be fairly applied to both batters and pitchers.  Something like the team's combined WAR for that week could be an effective tiebreaker that could be applied during the playoffs and actually eliminate ties altogether even in the regular season.   Again, I'm certainly grateful for the current higher seed tiebreaker, but I also know that it could be controversial too for some.

Definitely want to be clear, I think things are fine as they are, and I don't mean to take a shot at Gritty or anything by any means (he's doing a Grit job as always!!!) but since we're talking about possible upgrades to the process, I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring too.


9/22/2022 11:32 am  #4

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

I'm glad this has sorta turned into a "what categories do we all want" thread because that's also a very good discussion to have. I do want to bring this back to points briefly (don't worry, there will be more in a bit) to say that it's absolutely fair to be skeptical of or just plain dislike a format that depends so much on the other 22 teams, but to play devil's advocate a bit here, you could think about it as you're still going 1v1 with another team in each category, you just have the ability to get more than one point for each category you win if you win it by a lot. I know that's sort of a weird way of looking at it, though.

I'm absolutely on board with OBP instead of AVG. I think I prefer SLG over something like RC or TB just because it would be nice for both hitters and pitchers to have two rate stats apiece. Personally, I think having 3 counting stats and 2 rate stats means that the "Jam strategy" of starting as many players as possible still gives you a bit of an advantage, since in theory you can win 6 of the 10 categories simply by having more players than your opponent, but you still have 4 categories that more accurately track who's actually better at baseball (and to some degree give a slight advantage to teams with fewer players active in a week). I like the idea of some sort of strikeout-vs-walk rate in theory, but I'm not sure I would want to give pitchers three rate stats. That said, that's just my personal preference.

Your point on wins is a good one, but don't saves and holds have the same problem? A pitcher's team has to be winning by exactly 1, 2, or 3 runs when they enter the game in order for them to get a save or a hold, and quite often, they won't even pitch at all if their team is either losing or blowing their opponents out. Personally, I think we should keep both wins and save/holds simply because they're good, simple counting stats, and I think having to factor in a player's real-life teammates is just part of playing fantasy sports. (You can throw runs in this boat too if you want.) It's kind of like having a good wide receiver with a terrible quarterback throwing him the ball, or a good running back with a terrible offensive line. Sometimes you have to consider that that player's not going to be as good if their team isn't as good, and that should factor into your decision making.

Tiebreakers is a good thing to bring up, too. Personally, I think I'm fine with the current tiebreaker as long as it's also applied throughout the regular season. It felt weird last week when NY-OAK ended in a tie, and instead of having it be a tie like it was all season, it's suddenly a win for the Blackbirds just because somebody has to move onto the next round. If we're gonna have a tiebreaker (and we obviously should in case of playoff ties) we should have it during the regular season too.

As for WAR as a tiebreaker ... I'm not 100% sure. I like it in theory, but I don't know if enough WAR would accumulate over the course of a week for it to have much of an impact. Most starting pitchers and position players average about 2 WAR over the course of a season, and relievers get even less. At that point, then, we're talking about maybe a tenth of a WAR per player per week, and I don't know if that's enough to work as a tiebreaker. Maybe if I saw some actual numbers I'd be convinced, idk.

[]National Dashball League[/url] || []US Quadball Redesign[/url]
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9/22/2022 12:49 pm  #5

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

Forgive me for the double post but I thought this made more sense as its own post rather than being lumped in with all that category stuff.

So I did the thing and rescored the season with points instead of categories. Here's the spreadsheet; huge thanks to QCS for already having all this data. I figure if nothing else, it'll be a cool thing like that time Jon Bois rescored the NBA without a three-point line, but it might give a better look at what to expect if we do decide to make the switch.

Feel free to explore the spreadsheet as much as you want (or as little as you want), but I do want to cover some things I found interesting. I realized after I typed it all up that it's a lot more than I want to put in a forum post, so here it is as a Google doc instead. If you don't want to read it all, what it comes down to is this: On a macro scale, not much would have changed - the league would basically look just about the same as it does now. For a couple of teams, though, and especially for a decent amount of games, I think the points system would have given results that, at least to me, more accurately reflect the skill levels of each team and more importantly, give a more accurate result. Again, this is all just my opinion (well, except for the numbers. those are facts), so feel free to get in the comments and let me know why I'm full of bologna.

[]National Dashball League[/url] || []US Quadball Redesign[/url]
     Thread Starter

9/22/2022 2:37 pm  #6

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

Agreed on replacing Ks with K-BB% (that never even crossed my mind), we should be rewarding Ks and punishing BBs, just like we should be rewarding walks on the hitter side. I'm with IDM on not replacing Wins, they're the classic stat for pitchers and I think we should keep it.

I'm not against switching to points full-time, my only issue with it is that it's week-by-week dependent on the entire league and not on whoever you're playing, and at that point, why not just switch to the classic full-season points style? I know it's not perfect but I do prefer having the direct head-to-head matchups and a little bit of jank in our fantasy sports. If we do decide to switch to points, however, I'm also totally fine with that.


9/22/2022 3:09 pm  #7

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

I am a proponent of categories, personally. At the end of the day, my goal is to beat the person I'm up against. If I have a bad week pitching, and my opponent has a worse week pitching, I still win. Similar to when a real baseball team wins 18-11 (which happened recently). Those pitchers were bad, but the offenses were good. So we're not taking away from the team that won with bad pitching because their pitching was worse than the rest of the league's pitching.

However, maybe the compromise is with getting away from category points and into player points. Fantrax has the option where everyone gets x amount of points for each hit, home run, strikeout, etc. So then you earn a point total based on your team against your opponent's point total. So it should eliminate that weird thing where you win a couple close categories and lose the larger difference categories while still pitting it one team vs one team.

Obviously I can't show how things would've been different with that like IDM did, but it seems to be a "best of both worlds" thing.

- you get rewarded for every stat you get. If you have 12 HR and your opponent has 3 HR, you're not wasting the extra 4 your team got!
- fewer ties. Ties in baseball are weird.

- more difficult to see what EXACTLY your team can do to "flip" the game. It's easy to see "I can take that category with 1 HR, which will give me 1 point", it won't be as easy to quickly identify.
- Potentially fewer close games. In one of IDM's examples, the Gemini and Thunderbirds had a couple close categories and a couple that were very different. This game may have been out of reach of the Thunderbirds because of that, so could lead to less interest in the matchups on the weekend.

2x Alt Champion :: AltLB Champion Oklahoma City Bison - 2022 :: AltFL Champion New York Emperors - 2022

9/23/2022 11:00 am  #8

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

I agree with everyone to a certain extent. My fantasy baseball league that I have had since college has started to rethink some of the categories. I definitely prefer categories for baseball. I like the idea of making some updates to our scoring system (updating categories, tiebreakers, etc) but completely swapping out the scoring system or positions (in the case of the AltFL) runs the risk of messing teams up that have been planning and building under a certain system.

With all of that said we can address these types of questions in time for next season. 


9/23/2022 12:46 pm  #9

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

Gritty wrote:

I agree with everyone to a certain extent. My fantasy baseball league that I have had since college has started to rethink some of the categories. I definitely prefer categories for baseball. I like the idea of making some updates to our scoring system (updating categories, tiebreakers, etc) but completely swapping out the scoring system or positions (in the case of the AltFL) runs the risk of messing teams up that have been planning and building under a certain system.

With all of that said we can address these types of questions in time for next season. 

Yeah, that's totally fair. I mostly just wanted to get the thought out there while things were still fresh in people's minds. At the end of the day, though, like with the AltBA merger, the last thing I want to do is end up driving people away, and it seems like people generally prefer categories, so that's fine with me.

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9/23/2022 4:43 pm  #10

Re: AltLB Discussion 2023

Thanks, IDM. I forgot the pain and the hurt of our game vs Arizona, and you reopened the wound.

On a more serious note, I'm down for whatever. I'll find a way to game the system eventually.


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