Under the radar: Separating lucky from unlucky in the first half
To succeed at fantasy baseball, you have to learn the value of statistics. You have to know the flaws of elementary stats like batting average, earned-run average and win-loss records, and dig deeper for more complicated ones like on-base percentage plus slugging (OPS) and walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP). It also helps to get your PHD in Advanced Statistics like one owner in my league did (Denise, we never had a chance).
But no matter your expertise, there will come a time during the season when you ask yourself: is winning a product of my skills or dumb luck? If anybody has the answer, it would be the omniscient sabermetricians, the statistics gurus who believe everything in baseball is quantifiable, even luck. After searching through my favorite stat-heavy websites such as Fangraphs.com and BaseballProspectus.com, and despite feeling of a lesser mind, I uncovered my four-leaf clovers.
A traditional win-loss record favors pitchers fortunate enough to play for a team with strong run support and a decent bullpen to protect the lead. A more telling stat is expected wins and expected losses, which uses historical performances to calculate what a pitcher's record should be during their starts.
In this stat, every ball put into play is analyzed, excluding home runs. If a ball is lined on a trajectory that would typically send it past an average fielder, it counts as a hit, thus eliminating the impact of defenses. A batter with a BABIP that is much higher than .300 is fortunate while anything below .300 means he's not so favored. The opposite is true for pitchers.
To be fair, the speedster has created his own luck with 12 infield hits though not nearly as much as the industrious
This stat calculates what a pitcher's ERA should be based on the number of hits and walks they allow per nine innings, rather than just earned runs.