My first foray into the world of rotisserie baseball came way back in 1994, when I used to have to compile the stats by hand, transcribing the weekly updates from a newspaper, then faxing all those results to each owner, who would then leave their transaction requests on my answering machine's tape. Now get off my lawn!
Around that same time, before things like Twitter and Facebook and even ESPN.com, those of us with fast enough dial-up connections were trying out these newfangled online services, one of which was Prodigy, which offered up a baseball simulation game named after then-Cincinnati Reds manager Davey Johnson.
You'd join a league and draft a team and, after about two weeks of the actual major-league season had passed to create a buffer, each day you would set a starting lineup. While you slept, every one of the players you started would have one of their real-life boxscores chosen at random and placed into a complex formula to determine how many runs your team scored.
At the time, it all seemed very mysterious, but the math of the process was actually quite sound and, truth be told, actually has some modern-day applications that go beyond simply playing in a sim league. Taking a look at the formula that the program utilized and comparing it to the standard scoring system used in ESPN points leagues shows a fairly positive correlation.
As such, I ran the current stats from 2019 through the formula, in order to see which offenses are actually the ones you should consider to be good or bad matchups for your points-league pitchers. By this time of the season, we all fall victim to a kind of knee-jerk reaction to deciding that we want to avoid pitchers facing what we consider to be strong offenses -- like the Twins and Red Sox, while also seeking to stream pitchers facing what we've determined to be a sad collection of bats -- see: Tigers and Marlins. Not all of this established and "obvious" hierarchy is borne out by the stats.
Here's a look at all 30 teams, ranked in order of what this formula has deemed to be a "pitching neutral" determination of their expected runs per game average for their next game. Keep in mind that teams with a less stable lineup due to a high number of injuries is going to be projected for fewer runs per game because of the need to consistently go deeper into their organization in order to field a starting nine than will healthier squads.
I expect some of these placements might cause many readers to question the legitimacy of this formula, but that's the point. Any perceptions forged from early-season results need to be shaken up a bit by the reality of where we are today.
For example, the Pirates may have scored just 90 runs in April, with a .231 batting average, but over the last 28 days have outscored the Dodgers, with a much lower K-rate and a better triple-slash. It's Pittsburgh's lackluster pitching that has been the reason they remain below .500.
Anyway, it's food for thought... and seriously, get off my lawn!
Top 300 rest-of-season rankings
The following list reflects AJ's rankings for points leagues, going forward. Note that this is different from a ranking of how each player has played thus far in 2019. For a ranking of performance to-date, check out the ESPN Player Rater here.