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Introducing the Beyond the Box Score Saber-Slanted Fantasy League

SB Nation, in its infinite wisdom, has paired up with to provide SBN fans and blogs like BtB an intriguing opportunity. As you may have already gathered from the title, BtB is hosting a new fantasy league this upcoming season! But this won't be your dad's rotisserie league. No sir, there are two primary differences between this league and your usual ones.

1. This one is a Fantasy Baseball Commisioner League.

2. Well, it's not called "Saber-Slanted" for nothing. Allow me to explain.

Now I'm no fantasy nut (says the guy who writes for BP Fantasy, first piece is up, check it out!) but I do love my stats and I'm getting back into fantasy baseball now. But anyone who is into sabermetrics will probably get a little annoyed at having to pay attention to things like batting average and RBI. Sure, it was what the game was founded upon, but there have been years of work on how runs are scored in baseball and how we can attribute those runs to individual players, so why should we still use archaic measures from ages past?

Well, one of the best parts of the Commisioner League is that it offers plenty of categories to track and score, and these categories allow us to get creative with our scoring system to fit a more appropriate and familiar feel.

Introducing the League

The league, as it is currently set up*, will be a 14-team league drafting from a mixed AL-NL pool. I will stand as The Commissioner of the league, hereby accepting the responsibilities that come with the title. The scoring system will be points based, meaning various counting stats will be assigned point values and counted up. I am amicable to going head-to-head with points, which gives the league some "adversarial" feel, so I'll leave that decision up to both you, the readers, and internal BtB staff. Tell me what you want in that regard.

* All rules mentioned in this section are subject to changes by The Commissioner. But feel free to suggest changes so that we can make this the best league possible.

Rosters will be 22-man teams with 16 active players, five bench slots, and one injured slot. Of course, only active players will be scored for your team in any given period. Lineups must be set by the first Sunday game of each week. In other words, the weekly scoring period begins on Sunday, so set your lineups before the game then. The following are your necessary starting positions each week:

C, 1B, 2B. 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF, 1 UTIL, 4 SP, 3 RP

And now for the saber-slanted part. Here is the scoring system as I have it currently set up.


Event Points
AB -1
1B 6
2B 9
3B 12
HR 15
BB 3
SB 2
CS -3



Event Points
IP 5
K 2
BB -3
HR -13
Saves 5
Holds 2


I did not develop this system. All thanks go to BtB author JinAZ, who is also running a league with this scoring system. Thanks Justin!

Now, if you know your linear weights and FIP components by heart (and who doesn't really?), you should be able to recognize why those points are assigned the way they are. If you take a look at the hitters, you'll note that the system looks much like a linear weights model with a baseline of zero runs (an absolute runs model). In most absolute run models in linear weights, the value of an out is around -0.10 runs. Setting at-bats at that result allows all AB not resulting in a hit to appropriately count as an out. Each hit is scaled to the linear weights total for that hit above the value of the out, similar to how wOBA handles hits. For example, a single is worth around 0.48 runs; the system handles it as six points, but because the hit occurred in an AB, it ends up being worth five points, around 10 times the linear weight total. All non-AB events like walks and HBP are handled as 10 times their linear weights.

For pitching, you can clearly see the FIP components of HR, K, and BB and their respective weights. The innings pitch weight was derived by trial and error, but it makes some sense. An inning pitched by an average pitcher is worth about 0.055 wins above having no one on the mound (derived from a .500 pitcher being worth 0.5 wins per 9 IP). Applying a general 10 runs/win conversion gets you close to 0.5 runs, or five points per inning. You may be upset to see saves and holds included, but it was a necessary evil to make relievers worthwhile to pick up. These categories were used to simulate the reliever leverage component of WAR.

The rest of the rules will be mentioned on Friday, when I post a roster of potential players and the full rules list. If you are interested, please state your interest in the comments! I have six slots reserved for BtB-related authors or alumni, with three of them already taken by myself, Jeff Zimmerman, and JinAZ. Three more slots are left for those guys, meaning there are eight slots available to the readership. Generally speaking, I'd say it's first come, first serve, but additional decisions will be made based on availability for our draft and such.

The following is what I'd like to hear some comments/discussion on:

- The rules: Do you like them? What would you want to see different?

- The draft: Auction, standard live drafts, or just straight up autodraft?

- General availability about this process.

- Should there be an innings cap on pitching?

And Now Comes the Pitch

So, you've got a chance to sign up for this BtB Saber-Slanted Fantasy League, but what if you want to make your own? Well, SBN was kind enough to set up this deal for you fantasy junkies who are interested in getting your hands on a Commissioner League. If you set up your league through this link, you and I both get something. You get a chance to set up a Fantasy Baseball Commissioner League at half the price it usually costs, $90 down from the regular price of $180. I'd say that's not bad. I'm also not going to lie to you; I get a little cut for getting you to sign up. If you don't want to help a poor college student get a little extra money, I totally understand. But if you are interested in getting your hands on a cool setup for a fantasy league, here are some of the features that you'll get for your money:

- Customize entire league the way you want...rules, scores, teams + more

- LIVE scoring & stats so you can follow along as your teams rack up points

- Keeper league capability to carry on the tradition for many seasons to come

- Expert analysis provides up-to-date information on all players & teams

- Live chat/league messenger to trash talk with your competition

- 14-Day Free Trial included

So, if you're interested, sign up a Commissioner League through this link to get your half-off discount and get your fantasy game on. But if you're just interested in joining the Beyond the Box Score Saber-Slanted Fantasy League, or BtBSSFL for short, tell me about it in the comments section! is an SB Nation partner and paying sponsor of the SB Nation baseball communities.
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Commissioner League.