Fantasy Baseball Blog Fantasy Baseball

How Much Are Aroldis Chapman’s Strikeouts Worth?

Last week, I looked at the rough target numbers you need for each category to win the NFBC Main Event. For some background, the Main Event consists of 30 separate 15-team leagues that compete individually for 15 points in each category while simultaneously competing for 450 points per category in the overall contest. For the purposes of this post, I’m looking at the overall dimension of the contest, though any findings will obviously apply to the individual leagues as well:

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Pitcher Rankings Based on Steamer

I ran the Steamer pitching projections through my basic formula which compares players across categories based on standard deviations above replacement in each category. The merits of the approach are it generates a good overall value based on the projected the player pool. The weakness is it doesn’t account for the way people actually fill their pitching slots, i.e., it assumes everyone’s trying to maximize overall value of the nine slots rather than doing so for seven while separately trying to score well in saves in the last two. As a result, one-dimensional closers – those projected to help in saves but little else – are ranked lower than they would be in a typical draft or auction.

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NFBC Category Targets

I don’t believe in shooting for strict categorical target goals during a draft, but thought it might be useful to get a rough idea of what it takes to win the 450-team NFBC Main Event overall. Typically it’s around 80th percentile in each of the 10 categories, or 360 out of 450 possible points for each. Last year, 3600 total category points would have put you in ninth place, so it’s ballpark for what it took, though the winner, Rob Silver, had more than 4,000. But let’s keep it simple and aim for 80 percent or 3600.

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It was 20 years ago today

It was 20 years ago today that fantasy sports’ first player news update was written. The very first update was about Roger McDowell. A second update that day was written on Jason Bere. had launched in January, but added a new system of player news with a searchable database on this date. RotoNews later morphed into and the player news has remained in the same database. The original updates can still be viewed on

Roger McDowell
Jason Bere

Since 1997, RotoNews-RotoWire has written 590,801 MLB updates and more than 1.8 million updates among 14+ sports.

Before 1997, there were some web sites and print publications that had nuggets on players for fantasy purposes. However, RotoNews’ format of having a “news” and “analysis” (then called “recommends”) section for each update has become a standard that even competitors follow. And RotoNews’ player news system was the first that featured a searchable database.

An article from USA Today Baseball Weekly on April 16, 1997 below heralds the launch of the RotoNews player news pages (RotoNews didn’t even have it’s own URL at the time, that would come a few months later).


In 1997 we gathered information mostly from print sources, TV and a few online newspapers. With the invention of blogs and then Twitter, the amount of information available on players has increased dramatically. We write many more player notes per player each year as a result. Given those caveats, here are the top 20 most updated MLB players over the past 20 years. It’s a mix of big stars and frequently-injured players.

  1. Carlos Beltran    1,179 updates
  2. David Ortiz    1,044
  3. Alex Rodriguez    1,032
  4. Hanley Ramirez    984
  5. Carl Crawford    923
  6. Josh Hamilton    890
  7. Chipper Jones    889
  8. Jose Reyes    885
  9. Coco Crisp    875
  10. Albert Pujols    874
  11. Aramis Ramirez    842
  12. J.D. Drew    820
  13. Pedro Martinez    813
  14. Miguel Cabrera    809
  15. Jake Peavy    809
  16. Bartolo Colon    804
  17. Kerry Wood    802
  18. Derek Jeter    791
  19. Ryan Howard    788
  20. Joe Mauer    784

RotoWire’s Jeff Erickson has authored the most MLB updates with 45,282.

I’ve chipped in 23,352 MLB player notes since writing the first two and 66,136 overall in all sports (at least the ones we tracked).

Thanks to everyone who has read our work the past two decades on RotoNews, RotoWire or the many partners who utilize our player news (currently ESPN, FoxSports,, CBS Sports, FanDuel, Yahoo! Sports, DraftKings, MyFantasyLeague and many more). Here’s to another great 20 years.

What Went Wrong – NFBC Main Event

Let’s continue my “learn from my mistakes” tour. Take my NFBC Main Event team. Please. I finished in ninth place (of 15) in my league with 69 points, and never really challenged. That translated into 333/450 in the overall contest. Just terrible.

For those unfamiliar with the NFBC, the National Fantasy Baseball Championship is a series of high-stakes leagues run by Greg Ambrosius and Tom Kessenich. There are multiple live and online events, both with an individual league component as well as an overall contest. The Main Event is a series of 15-team mixed league teams where one can compete for the individual league title in addition to an overall grand prize of $125,000. Teams are selected via snake draft, and there’s no trading allowed.

I agonized about how to tackle starting pitching from the 12th spot in the draft in my league, debating whether to leap early to take Max Scherzer in the first round, leap early to take Chris Sale, Jake Arrieta or Madison Bumgarner at 2.4 (19th spot), or take what came to me in the third round or later. The NFBC pushes starting pitching harder than any other format both because of the trading ban and because of the overall contest, so waiting much later really wasn’t a viable option. I decided to open Door #3, and take what was given to me in the third round.

I chose ……. poorly.

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NL West fantasy division preview

We’re spinning around every division in baseball for their biggest fantasy baseball stories and players.

AL East  | Central | West … NL East | Central | West


1B/OF Ian Desmond, Rockies: New home improves his chances of repeating most of huge 2016 year, but risks with plate discipline remain. OBP leaguers shouldn’t overpay.

RP Mark Melancon, Giants: K/9 not the greatest among stoppers, but control is sparkling, and his new home will keep him as a top-10 fantasy closer.

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