BABS Tutorial – Database and Spreadsheet

by Doug Gruber

This tutorial is designed to get you up and running on the BABS reporting system for both the BABS Database as well as the BABS Master Spreadsheet. The underlying philosophies that drive the system, as well as a broader explanation about how the system works and its fantasy applications are described in detail in The BABS Project 3.1 eBook.

MARKETPLACE

ADP: Average draft position rankings, from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC), based on 15-team mixed league contests. Other formats will have different raw numbers, but the relative rankings of the players will be similar.

R$: Rotisserie dollar auction values as converted from the ADP rankings.

THE BALANCE SHEET

Batters and Pitchers: Batter and pitcher asset groups are assimilated within the spreadsheet. Batters are shown in black font and the pitchers are shown in blue font.

Pos: For batters, these are the player’s eligible fantasy position(s) based on prior season games played (normally 20 games, or most games if fewer than 20). Batters are indicated with their position numbers (2= Catcher, 3= 1B, etc.). Note that some batters at multiple positions (e.g., Fernando Tatis, Jr. is shown as both 6 for shortstop and o for outfield). For leagues that may require outfield positions to be defined more specifically as left field, center field and right field, the outfielders will carry numbers of 7, 8 or 9, respectively. Pitchers are shown as SP for starting pitchers or rp for relief pitchers.

Tm: Current team for each player. Free agents are generally listed as FAA or FAN. For some, especially earlier in the off-season, they are listed with their most recent team prior to becoming a free agent.

BATTERS

The column headings for batters are shown in the black ribbon across the top of the spreadsheet.

PT: Playing Time
F    Full-time      Approx. 500+ PA
M    Mid-time       Approx. 350+ PA
P    Part-time      Approx. 200+ PA
     No-time        Fewer than 200 PA

BATTERS: ASSETS

Pw: Power
P+   Extreme Impact      Top 10% of skill
PW   Significant Impact  Top 11-25% of skill
p    Moderate Impact     Top 26-50% of skill
Sp: Speed
S+   Extreme Impact      Top 10% of skill
SB   Significant Impact  Top 11-25% of skill
s    Moderate Impact     Top 26-50% of skill
Av: Batting Effectiveness
A+   Extreme Impact      Top 10% of skill
AV   Significant Impact  Top 11-25% of skill
a    Moderate Impact     Top 26-50% of skill

Note: Batters in the 51-75% range for each skill are assigned no rating.

Players with a walk rate greater than 10%, an asterisk (*) is displayed next to the batting effectiveness rating.

Pk+: Park Effect. Batters who have changed home parks during the off-season, but only if they are moving from an extreme pitcher-friendly park to an extreme hitter’s park.

Rg+: Regression. Batters who had poor statistical performance last year, but underlying skills and random luck suggest they should have performed better, may be candidates for a positive bounce-back this season. These players may be undervalued by the market based on recency bias. Example: Cody Bellinger

BATTERS: MAJOR LIABILITIES

Sk: Skill liabilities. Batters who are in the bottom 25% of either power or batting effectiveness skills.
-P         Power in the bottom 25% of skill
-A        Batting effectiveness in the bottom 25% of skill
-PA      Power and batting effectiveness in the bottom 25% of both skills. Stay away!

Note: For players with a walk rate below 5%, a (-) is displayed on the Liabilities ledger.

Inj: Health Risk. BABS assumes a baseline that every player has a 25% probability of missing playing time while on the IL due to injury. Players who have greater odds, based on their injury history and current health situation, are noted with these designations:
inj-       Minor injury risk with 26-50% chance of missing time.
INJ       Major injury risk with greater than 50% chance of missing considerable time.
INJ+     Major injury risk long term, expected to miss at least 2 months of season

Ex: Experience Risk
e          1-2 years of big-league experience (<1000 PAs)
EX        Less than one year of big-league experience (<500 PAs)

BATTERS: MINOR LIABILITIES

Nw: New team. Experienced hitters who have changed leagues and/or teams and may have an adjustment period. Example: Corey Seager

Pk-: Park effect. Hitters who may be negatively impacted by moving from a favorable hitter’s park in the prior season to an extreme pitcher’s park for the current season. Example: Eduardo Escobar

Ag: Advanced age. Players who have reached an age where the risk of performance decline is often more rapid. Example: Charlie Blackmon

Rg-: Negative Regression. Batters whose statistical performance perhaps exceeded their skill sets in the prior season and may be a candidate for negative regression. Example: Salvador Perez

PITCHERS

The column headings for pitchers are shown in the blue ribbon across the top of the spreadsheet.

PT: Playing time
F    Full-time     Approx. 180+ IP
M    Mid-time      Approx. 120+ IP
P    Part-time     Approx. 85+ IP
     No-time       Fewer than 85 IP

PITCHERS: ASSETS

Er: Pitching Effectiveness
E+   Extreme Impact      Top 10% of skill
ER   Significant Impact  Top 11-25% of skill
e    Moderate Impact     Top 26-50% of skill
K: Strikeouts
K+   Extreme Impact      Top 10% of skill
KK   Significant Impact  Top 11-25% of skill
k    Moderate Impact     Top 26-50% of skill

Note: Pitchers in the 51-75% range for pitching effectiveness and strikeouts are assigned no rating.

Sv: Saves. This category is more opportunity-based than skill-based.
SV   Significant Source  30+ saves
sv-  Moderate Source     10-29 saves

Expectations for saves totals fewer than 10 are not projectable so are not rated.

Pk+: Park effect. Pitchers who may be moving from a hitter’s park in the prior year to an extremely friendly pitchers park for the current year. Example: Robbie Ray

Rg+: Positive regression. Pitchers who had poor statistical performance last year, but underlying skills and random luck suggest they should have performed better, may be candidates for a positive bounce-back this season. These players may be discounted by the market based on recency bias. Example: Luis Castillo

PITCHERS: MAJOR LIABILITIES

Sk: Skills liabilities. Pitchers who are in the bottom 25% of either pitching effectiveness and strikeout skills.
-E         Pitching effectiveness in the bottom 25% of skill
-K        Strikeouts in the bottom 25% of skill
-EK      Pitching effectiveness and strikeouts in the bottom 25% of both skills. Yikes!

Inj: Health Risk. BABS assumes a baseline that every player has a 25% probability of missing playing time while on the IL due to injury. Players who have greater odds, based on their injury history and current health situation, are noted with these designations:
inj-       Minor injury risk with 26-50% chance of missing time.
INJ       Major injury risk with greater than 50% chance of missing considerable time.
INJ+     Major injury risk long term, expected to miss at least 2 months of season

Ex: Experience Risk
e          1-2 years of big-league experience (<300 IPs for SPs and <150 IPs for RPs)
EX        Less than one full big-league season (<150 IP for SPs and <75 IP for RPs)

PITCHERS: MINOR LIABILITIES

Nw: New team. Experienced pitchers who have changed leagues and/or teams and may have an adjustment period. Examples: Jonathan Gray

Pk: Park effect. Pitchers who may be negatively impacted by moving from a favorable pitcher’s park in the prior season to an extreme hitter-friendly park for the current season. Example: Kevin Gausman

Ag: Advanced age. Players who have reached the age where performance decline is often more rapid. Example: Corey Kluber

Rg: Negative Regression. Pitchers whose statistical performance perhaps exceeded their skill sets in the prior season may be a candidate for negative regression. Example: Logan Webb

ASSET GROUPS

The player list is ordered by asset groups which are presented in descending order of underlying skill. The database provides batters and pitchers separately; the Master Spreadsheet presents batters and pitchers intermixed. Each asset group is separated with a solid dark line. The order of the players within an asset group is based on their current market price (ADP). Note that some asset groups may contain a single player.

Players who have either a full-time (F), mid-time (M) or part-time (P) playing time expectation are all shown together in the respective asset groups. Players designated as no-timers are also listed by asset group but appear later in the report.

It is very important to understand that the BABS listing is not a straight ranking of players. Rather, it is a ranking of asset groups. Players within these asset groups have a common skills profile, but will have varying playing time expectations and risk factors, and are ordered based on acquisition cost.

Let us look at a simple example of a four-player asset group (p, A+). BABS has taught us that players in the same asset group are essentially interchangeable. In this group, Vlad Guerrero Jr., Corey Seager, Ketel Marte, and Jesse Winker have an identical skills rating, but have much different market values. To acquire Guerrero would take an early first round pick. Similarly skilled Seager and Marte can be acquired about seventy picks later, according to ADP. Better yet, Winker’s price is currently in Round 7, or about one hundred picks after Guerrero. Asset groups provide a convenient, visible method to leverage the market to obtain highly skilled players.

Also keep in mind that while BABS ranks the asset groups by descending skill, there is not a big difference from one group to the next; consider it more of a continuum. For example, BABS lists the S+ group ahead of the A+ group ahead of the P+ group, but all three groups contain players with extreme skill in these hitting categories. Depending on your roster construction, it may be more valuable for you to acquire a batter with extreme power versus one with extreme speed, even though the S+ asset group is listed before the P+ asset group.

TARGETS: ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

BABS also provides targets for both assets and liabilities as we construct our team rosters.

ASSET MINIMUMS         12 Mixed   15 Mixed   12 AL/NL
Power                    14         14          9
Speed                     8          7          4
Batting Effectiveness    14         14          9

Pitching Effectiveness    7          6          4
Strikeouts                7          6          4

In a 15-team mixed league, BABS sets a minimum goal of 35 assets for our batters and 12 assets for our starting pitchers, for an overall target of 47 total assets. Players with extreme skills (P+, S+ or A+) count as two assets towards our targets, and players with significant or moderate skills count as one asset. However, players with a skill liability count against our total as -1 asset.

These targets are aggressive; however, they are what we need to strive for to be competitive in our fantasy leagues. To obtain 35 assets for only 14 batting positions requires us to average 2 1/2 assets per batter. Triple-asset players are extremely valuable.

BABS LIABILITIES- RISK BUDGET

BABS assigns a cost value to each liability factor and includes as additional penalty for top players with market values of ADP 1-60/$20+.

RISK BUDGET                                        
Health Risk: 
Minor Injury             inj-         $1
Major Injury             INJ          $3
Long Term Injury         INJ+         $5
Top Players                          +$3
Experience Risk:
1-2 years exp.            e           $1
>1 year exp.             EX           $2
Top Players                          +$1
Skills Risk:
Power, Ks               -P, -K        $1
Average, ERA            -A. -E        $3
Dual Skills Liability   -PA, -EK      $4
Top Players                          +$3
Minor Risks (Pk-, Nw, Ag, Rg-)       $0.25
Total Risk Budget
Exceptional         Under $30
Acceptable          $31-39
Whatever            $40 or Over

Your liability target will depend on your tolerance for risk. To help quantify your total risk cost, the BABS spreadsheet will include a column where liability costs are totaled for each player.

As an example, near the top of the pre-season BABS asset groups is Yordan Alvarez with an asset rating of (P+, AV), which counts as three total assets. But Alvarez also carries a major liability in health (INJ) and a minor liability in experience (e), while being considered as a Top Player with an ADP in the 2-3 round range. A selection of Alvarez would certainly help us obtain our asset targets, but he also counts as $7 towards our total risk budget (INJ $3 + e $1 + Top player risk of $2+$1 = $7 total). On the other hand, Jose Ramirez with a (PW, s, AV) asset rating also counts as three total assets, but he comes with a clean sheet on the liability side of the ledger ($0 risk cost). While Ramirez’s asset group is ranked below Alvarez’s group, he costs us much less risk.

TARGETS: PLAYING TIME AND SAVES

Playing time is also important. Targets for playing time are not stipulated by BABS, however, in the same 15-team mixed league example, an owner should aim for at least 12-13 F (full-time) batters and at least three F (full-time) starting pitchers.

Saves are not included in the pitcher targets, but owners should seek to acquire at least two pitchers identified as having saves opportunities, with priority going to those highly skilled closers with a Significant Saves (SV) classification.

SUMMARY

Owners should spend pre-draft time to construct an ideal draft roster, using the BABS Database and Master Spreadsheet. An ideal roster would exceed the minimum asset targets, would be at an acceptable level of risk according to your budget, would include full-time players…while keeping the market acquisition prices at the forefront of our draft plan. A sample roster and drafting strategies appear in The BABS Project 3.1.