What It Takes To Win


What It Takes To Win: SBs

Next in our What It Takes To Win series, stolen bases.  We're trying to determine the stats you should strive for to achieve fourth place in each of the ten standard 5x5 categories.  If you get nine points per category, you'll end up with 90 and a good chance at taking the title.  I'll use rotisserie leagues that I consider standard - 12 teams, 5x5, 14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.  I was in two such leagues in 2008.

In the first league, 176 SBs snagged fourth place.  In the second, 173 did it.  Last year we used a 169 SB benchmark.  This year we're going with 175.  If you want to be safe, shoot for 13 SBs per position player slot.

Only five players are projected to reach all of our offensive benchmarks: .283 AVG, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 83 runs, and 13 SBs.  They're all first-round picks: Alex Rodriguez, David Wright, Ryan Braun, Matt Holliday, and Ian Kinsler.  You may be able to get Holliday in the early second round.  You might even be able to get both Kinsler and Holliday if you draft 11th or 12th.

Obviously you don't need to and can't assemble a team of hitters who all reach these five offensive benchmarks.  But balance is huge in assembling a fantasy team.  Let's pull it back a bit to .280-17-75-75-10.  Now we can add Matt Kemp, Chase Utley, Bobby Abreu, Alex Rios, Joey Votto, Hunter Pence, Jay Bruce, and Alexei Ramirez

The speed component that is easy to overlook.  You get a couple of burners and figure you're set.  Not true - too many zero SB players and you just lost a category.



What It Takes To Win: Runs

Next up in our What It Takes To Win series, runs scored.  We're trying to determine the stats you should strive for to achieve fourth place in each of the ten standard 5x5 categories.  If you get nine points per category, you'll end up with 90 and a good chance at taking the title.  I'll use rotisserie leagues that I consider standard - 12 teams, 5x5, 14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.  I was in two such leagues in 2008.

In the first league, 1157 runs were required for fourth place.  In the second, 1151 did the trick.  Last year we used a benchmark of 1143 runs, which seems light.  I will put the number at 1154 for now.

That means roughly 83 runs per each of the 14 hitter spots on your roster.  I see 75 players pulling off the feat in 2009.  Applying other benchmarks of a .283 AVG, 20 HR, and 80 RBI, we are down to 24 players.  I think we'll find that the only players who meet all five offensive benchmarks are first-rounders.



What It Takes To Win: RBI

Next up in our What It Takes To Win series, RBIs.  We're trying to determine the stats you should strive for to achieve fourth place in each of the ten standard 5x5 categories.  If you get nine points per category, you'll end up with 90 and a good chance at taking the title.  I'll use rotisserie leagues that I consider standard - 12 teams, 5x5, 14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.  I was in two such leagues in 2008.

In the first league, 1093 RBIs were required for fourth place in the category.  In the second, you needed 1130.  Last year we went with a 1111 RBI benchmark, which happens to be right in the middle of the '08 figures.  I'm comfortable sticking with 1111 RBI, though it'd be safer to shoot for 80 per roster spot and end up with 1120.

I've got 80 players getting 80 or more ribbies in '09.  If we use our other benchmarks of a .283 AVG and 20 HR, we're down to 30 players.  The latest drafted of those is Raul Ibanez in the 11th round.



What It Takes To Win: HR

Next up in our What It Takes To Win series, home runs.  We're trying to determine the stats you should strive for to achieve fourth place in each of the ten standard 5x5 categories.  If you get nine points per category, you'll end up with 90 and a good chance at taking the title.  I'll use rotisserie leagues that I consider standard - 12 teams, 5x5, 14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.  I was in two such leagues in 2008.

In the first league, 284 HR were required for fourth place.  In the second, 296 did the trick.  Last year, the benchmark was 283 HR.  In a 2007 roto league of mine with similar settings (it had two extra bench spots) 274 HR were required for fourth place.  I'd be comfortable aiming for 285 HR.

Since we are talking about leagues with 14 active hitters, you should aim to get 20-21 HR out of each starting spot on average.  If you're going to employ a Juan Pierre type who's only good for one home run, you'll have to average around 22 HR for each remaining starting spot.  On the other hand if you have Adam Dunn's 40 HR you can aim for 19 HR per each remaining spot.

I'm currently projecting 87 players to hit at least 20 HR.  That includes 3 catchers, 24 first basemen, 5 second basemen, 5 shortstops, 19 third basemen, and 40 outfielders.  I have 32 players projected to hit at least 20 HR and reach our benchmark batting average of .283.



What It Takes To Win: AVG

The What It Takes To Win series here at RotoAuthority attempts to determine what stats you should strive for to achieve fourth place in each of the ten standard 5x5 categories.  If you get nine points per category, you'll end up with 90 and a good chance at taking the title.  I'll use rotisserie leagues that I consider standard - 12 teams, 5x5, 14 hitters, 9 pitchers, 3 bench spots, 2 DL spots.  I was in two such leagues in 2008.

Today we'll take a look at batting average.  In the first league, a .282 AVG was good for fourth place.  In the second, an AVG close to .281 did the trick.  Those are very close for two different leagues; maybe readers can offer more data if their league uses an identical format?

Last year we suggested you strive for a .283 team AVG.  I'm comfortable using that figure as the benchmark again.  I'm projecting about 67 players to pull it off with 500+ ABs: 4 catchers, 18 first basemen, 9 second basemen, 12 shortstops, 12 third basemen, and 24 outfielders (some players are eligible at multiple positions).  Players projected to be right around .283 include Russell Martin, Bobby Abreu, Geovany Soto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Damon, Vernon Wells, and Willy Taveras.



What It Takes To Win - Correction

A reader pointed out that I've been making an error in this series.  I kept talking about how third place in each category would net you 9 points per and 90 total.  In reality third place gets you 10 points per and 100 total.  I still feel that the goal should be 90, so you should be striving for fourth place in each category.  Below are adjusted benchmarks for all ten categories.

Hitting

  • .283 AVG
  • 283 HR
  • 1111 RBI
  • 1143 runs
  • 169 SBs

Pitching

  • 3.87 ERA
  • 1.26 WHIP
  • 1179 Ks
  • 98 wins
  • 90 saves

Monthly benchmarks

  • .283 AVG
  • 48 HR
  • 186 RBI
  • 191 runs
  • 29 SBs
  • 3.87 ERA
  • 1.26 WHIP
  • 197 Ks
  • 17 wins
  • 15 saves



What It Takes To Win - Monthly Offense

A review of our What It Takes To Win benchmarks for a 12 team mixed league with 23-man rosters:

  • .288 AVG
  • 313 HR
  • 1141 RBIs
  • 1185 runs
  • 172 steals

In a roto league, you can dig yourself into a deep hole if you are weak in a category and wait too long to correct it.  With that in mind, I decided to throw out monthly benchmarks that you can shoot for with your offense.  This will help you gauge your strengths and weaknesses beyond just looking at the league standings.  I am going to keep it simple and just divide by sixth months.

So at the end of April, your ideal team should have these stats or better:

  • .288 AVG
  • 53 HR
  • 190 RBI
  • 198 runs
  • 29 steals

But if you really want to overdo it and micromanage, here is what a solid day would look like (dividing by 31):

  • .288 AVG
  • 2 HR
  • 6 RBIs
  • 7 runs
  • 1 steal

Seems pretty easy to do, until you have a couple zero RBI days or your team hits .089 on the day.



What It Takes To Win: ERA

Time for another installment of  What It Takes To Win.    In this series, I examine my keeper league and determine the necessary thresholds to finish strong in each category.  I feel that my league is fairly standard: 23-man rosters, 12 teams, normal 5x5 categories.  I've got three years of data to work with, and my goal is to finish at least third in each category.  10 points times 10 categories equals 100 points, enough to win the league.  Last time I looked at steals.

In looking at three years of data for my league, I've determined that a 3.73 ERA should earn you at least third place in the category.

  • Among those with 160 innings pitched, 27 starters were at 3.73 or below in '07.  18 such starters pulled it off in '06.  I've predicted 18 to do it in '08. 
  • Jake Peavy was the only player under 3.00 in '07; Johan Santana and Roy Oswalt managed it in '06.
  • Best late-round bets for low ERAs: Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, and A.J. Burnett.
  • Since your closers are almost always under 3.73, you can push it a little higher than that for a starter or two.  If you widen the net to 3.90 and below you find 15 additional starters (including low-K bargains Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux).



What It Takes To Win: Steals

Time for another installment of  What It Takes To Win.    In this series, I examine my keeper league and determine the necessary thresholds to finish strong in each category.  I feel that my league is fairly standard: 23-man rosters, 12 teams, normal 5x5 categories.  I've got three years of data to work with, and my goal is to finish at least third in each category.  10 points times 10 categories equals 100 points, enough to win the league.  Last time I looked at runs.

In looking at three years of data for my league, I've determined that 172 steals should earn you at least third place in the category.

  • That's 12.3 steals per position player.  I've got 69 players swiping this many or more.  In real life, 73 stole 12 or more bags in '07 and 56 did it in '06.  If your two catchers and your 1B swipe 9 bags total, you really need about 15 steals per player.  In other words, assemble a speedy outfield.
  • Only four players are projected to meet all benchmarks (basically hit at least .288-22-81-84-12).  Those are David Wright, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Hunter Pence.  At most you'll have two of 'em.
  • I'm projecting eight 20/20 players in '08:  Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Chris Young, David Wright, Grady Sizemore, Corey Hart, Alfonso Soriano, and Brandon Phillips.  Relaxed to 17/17 you'll find B.J. Upton, Eric Byrnes, Matt Kemp, Ian Kinsler, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and Curtis Granderson.  These are the types of players I typically strive for, because it's easier to win with a balanced team.



What It Takes To Win: Runs

Time for another installment of  What It Takes To Win.    In this series, I examine my keeper league and determine the necessary thresholds to finish strong in each category.  I feel that my league is fairly standard: 23-man rosters, 12 teams, normal 5x5 categories.  I've got three years of data to work with, and my goal is to finish at least third in each category.  10 points times 10 categories equals 100 points, enough to win the league.  Last time I looked at RBIs.

In looking at three years of data for my league, I've determined that 1185 runs should earn you at least third place in the RBI category.

  • That's 84.6 runs per position player.  I've projected 63 players to score at least this many (but no catchers will pull it off).  74 players managed it in real life in '07; 78 in '06.
  • Using previous thresholds for AVG, HR, and RBI, only 15 players reach the benchmarks in all four categories.  The latest drafted is Chipper Jones in the sixth round, and then Garrett Atkins in the fifth.
  • In another post, I'll attempt a rundown of each team's leadoff hitter.  Always a good place to look for runs.





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