I’m not a sports fanatic, but I do follow baseball. Well, to be precise, I follow analysis of baseball; and, specifically, the ever-evolving field of sabermetrics in its search to discover the best means of evaluating player performance offensively and defensively and, hence, players’ on-field value relative to each other and how that affects the process of team building. Careful roster management is the key to putting a successful team on the field, and the more information you have about the abilities of your players and how they complement each other the better chance you have of fielding that successful team.
Of course, the hell of it is that the length of one baseball season, 162 games, is both such a long grind in the everyday life of each particular team and each player and such a barely statistically significant sample size (it’s only 162 games!) that it is sensitive to the vagaries of chance–player injury, umpire disposition, weather, disparate run enviroments, the number of balls in play that drop or don’t drop in for hits, to name only a few–and therefore one season’s win-loss record may not reflect a team’s true talent. As in everything else, in baseball process is key: a viable process leads to repeatable results.
The following list of sites are the ones I frequent most and have learned the most from or enjoy reading the most for the strength of the analysis, quality of information, and the strength and entertainment value of the writing in the context of both real baseball and fantasy baseball.*
*There’s a bit about fantasy baseball following the list.
- Fangraphs, especially Dave Cameron and Jeff Sullivan.
- Tangotiger‘s blog, by the brilliant, mysterious, pseudonymous Tom Tango.
- MLB Rumors.
- USS Mariner.
- SB Nation, especially Rob Neyer and Grant Brisbee.
- Drunk Jays Fans, especially Andrew Stoeten.
- Hardball Talk, especially Craig Calcaterra and Aaron Gleeman.
- Hardball Times.
- Joe Blogs, by Joe Posnanski.*
- Razzball, especially Grey.
- Rotoworld player news.
- Baseball Reference.
*I shamelessly stole from Posnanski this brilliant stylistic device of placing footnote-like material immediately following the paragraph in which the asterisk appears.
Since I don’t work for a major league baseball team (they really don’t know what they’re missing in not hunting me down to offer me work!), I play fantasy baseball–I play fantasy baseball because it offers me the chance to do my own exercises in team building using what I’ve learned over the years as a foundation, and to experiment with different methods or strategies of roster construction; and to evaluate those strategies over the long term, rather than on the strength of one game, one month, one season. And I’m pretty good at it, I win more than I lose.
In a sense, these days, the actual outcome of any particular ball game or baseball season or playoff series only matters to me in its illustration of the efficacy of the roster management of the teams involved, for the light it shines on the flaws or strengths of the process used. That being said, I am excited as hell about the roster the Toronto Blue Jays put together over the offseason and looking forward to the experience of living and dying with every pitch of every game.