Analysis

WAR League Update

For those of you who don’t know, every year I run a fantasy league. It’s not just any fantasy league, however, as this year there are 100 teams in it. In like December, I posted a link for any followers who were interested in playing to sign up for a chance at a team. The only requirement was that they follow me on Twitter (as the draft took place through direct messages), and that they’ll be able to respond within 24 hours at any time while the draft was taking place. Failure to respond within 24 hours would lead to their draft pick getting skipped.

The league this year consisted of two divisions of 50 teams. The standings kept for the league combine the two divisions, so there will only be one first place finisher instead of two. Each division had a separate draft, meaning two teams will have Mike Trout, two will have Bryce Harper, etc. Each team consists of only four players. The draft was a snake draft, so those picking in the top few picks in the first round would have to wait nearly 100 picks (or, around a month’s time) until their next pick. Since the draft began in December, there were several months given for the 200 pick drafts to finish. A live, online draft is simply unfeasible with that many people.

That’s not all! The only stat that matters in this fantasy league is Fangraph’s version of WAR (fWAR). Whether you like WAR or not, it allows a one number comparison between pitchers and hitters that most other stats cannot. Homers, wins, ERA, OPS all don’t work for that reason, and making it points based like some fantasy leagues could get a little confusing. For those who weren’t familiar with WAR, projections were given so the average fan would have an idea of what went into WAR and what players typically perform well in it, and wouldn’t be at a severe disadvantage for not understanding the WAR calculations.

There are no trades and no free agency, so the players you draft are the players that’ll be on your team all year… except in case of injury. If a player is injured in Spring Training or April, a team has the option to replace the player for the rest of the season with any player that was not drafted in their division’s draft. If Mike Trout gets hurt on April 22, with 1.7 season WAR, and their team decides to replace him with Joe Shmo, the team will get the 1.7 WAR Trout had already accumulated and whatever WAR Shmo accumulated for the rest of the season.

A Google Sheet has been kept throughout the year and updated every couple of weeks so players can follow along and view standings as the season progressed.

It had been awhile since I posted about it on Twitter, so I’ve decided to write a piece on how the league is shaping up for the last month of the season.

In first place, @ Flahertysucc is at nearly 20 WAR. With the 12th pick in the West Division draft, they astutely selected AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts, who has accumulated 8.6 WAR, leading the Majors. One pick doesn’t make a team in a 100 team league, however. With the 89th pick, they drafted rising star Ozzie Albies (3.7 WAR), and with the 112th pick, selected NL MVP candidate Matt Carpenter (5.4 WAR). To cap it off, Kenta Maeda (2.3 WAR) was their fourth round selection. As you can tell, you need to draft nearly perfectly in order to be in first place out of 100 teams. Two MVP candidates was good for only a 1.1 WAR lead over second place.

In second, @ eric_cronin22 has accumulated 18.9 WAR. Coming from later in the West Division draft (42nd pick out of 50), Eric drafted Astros’ 3B Alex Bregman (6.7 WAR) in the first round. In the second round, he drafted NL Cy Young hopeful Aaron Nola (5.5), and then snagged another potential Cy Young contender in Trevor Bauer (5.9) in the third round. Eric missed with his last round pick in Manuel Margot (0.8), but the average fourth rounder has only been worth 1.4 WAR this year compared to 3.5 for first rounders.

Capping off the top five are the legendary @ MLBRandomStats at 17.6 (Betts/M. Chapman/C. Hernandez/Braun), @ cubsshort5 at 17.0 (T. Turner, Nola, Baez, Berriors), and @ jewsson at 16.7 (Trout, Story, Peralta, Bundy).

@ eastontetz ranks in last place at 3.0 total WAR, having drafted Miguel Sano, Jose Quintana, Yuli Gurriel, and Aroldis Chapman.

Best pick by round:

Round 1: Mookie Betts, 8.6 WAR

Round 2: Matt Chapman, 6.4 WAR

Round 3: Trevor Bauer, 5.9 WAR

Round 4: Matt Carpenter, 5.4 WAR

Shown above is the distribution of team WARs

Fortunately, but unfortunately for this, I have way more followers right now than I did at the beginning of the year. I had nearly 300 people interested in playing this year, but unfortunately, I could only manage to run two 50 team drafts, leaving a majority of people left out. This year, I’m expecting a lot more responses, but don’t have a better, more feasible way of getting more people included. If you have a suggestion for how I could do that, please direct message me @ MLBRandomStats. If you’re interested in playing, the signup form for 2019 will come out after the 2018 season is over.

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