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2022 Fantasy Baseball: Introduction to SIscores

Breaking down the metric that fantasy baseball managers are using to dominate leagues on draft day.

The development of SIscore started with the theory around average player scores. When drafting, it is challenging to determine a baseball player’s value when you have multiple positions in the fantasy baseball market, never mind numerous scoring categories. The average player theory is a way to compare a player’s value for overall impact in team-building in 5 X 5 roto formats and within the spectrum of each position or category.

Once we have a baseline of the average player, we can determine which players have the most significant edge. After establishing these scores at each position, the next step is then comparing the best option at other positions.

Each season, the player pool changes in the fantasy baseball world. Some positions will have more depth, and others will only have a couple of reliable options. Therefore, when a fantasy owner is preparing to do his draft prep, he wants to find each position's hidden values. He can select the most potent options at the other positions early in the draft by doing this.

Sports Illustrated has developed a way to determine each player’s value with each category relevant to their production. For example, hitters have five offensive categories (batting average, runs, home runs, RBI, and stolen bases). Pitchers also have five categories (wins, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and saves).

With these scores, a fantasy owner can quickly look at stats to see which players have the most value either by last year’s stats or this year’s projections from any source. When using projections, a fantasy owner’s success will only be as strong as their ability to interpret information. Therefore, finding the best source for that information is essential.

Our SIscore is built for 12-team, 5-by-5 Roto leagues with once-a-week pitching moves. In the future, we could modify the options for 10-team and 15-team leagues, and we may even add bi-weekly pitching move formats.

The most challenging part for any fantasy owner to understand is draft rankings or cheat sheets due to the underlying information behind each player's profile. At any position in baseball, I may only like a handful of players. When I rank them, I can't leave players I don't like off the cheat sheet, and it wouldn't be fair to list them poorly just based on my opinion.

Here’s a look at the midpoint values in 2021 in a field of 2,388 teams in all 10 categories:


  • BA: .2589
  • R: 1,065
  • HR: 307
  • RBI: 1,023
  • SB: 105, 


  • W: 82
  • SV: 60
  • ERA: 3.791
  • WHIP: 1.188
  • K: 1,343

Average Draft Position

Fantasy owners use ADPs (average draft position) to prepare for the upcoming draft season. ADPs give fantasy owners a feel for a player's value in the open market. It is a great tool, but a fantasy owner must understand the value of the information.

ADPs from mock drafts have less merit as a full roster of owners doesn't complete many drafts, and many drafters may lose interest at some point during the draft. The best information in fantasy baseball comes from owners playing for real money or owners competing in a real league that will be played out during the season.

Value of SIscores

Our SIscore can work with any projections to deliver results. First, we research all 30 baseball teams. We then do our team profiles for each team's projections. With this information, we provide Sports Illustrated rankings based on the SIscores. Also, we can back-check the results from the previous season to see how each player stacked up against their competition. The goal is to compare players with different skill sets and find which options have the most value to a fantasy team.

At the same time, we can deliver weekly rankings based on playing time and opportunity. We break the season into 27 weeks (two half weeks – Week 1 and the All-Star break) to develop the weekly results. If a player is projected to play in seven games, he’ll have a better chance to produce stats in the counting categories. More playing time doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have a higher score than a player with a much higher skill set with five games.

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Note: SIscore equations are adjusted each season for the current playing field in major league baseball. If home runs are declining, a big power hitter will be rewarded for his edge in home runs. Likewise, an elite base stealer will have a higher impact in the stolen base category if steals are scarce.

corbin burnes (1)

Wins Category

The midpoint for wins in 2021 was 82, divided into nine pitching slots to come up with 9.111 wins per pitcher. I then used the overall standing from a league with 2,388 teams to determine the points gained for a win or lack of a win. First, I used +/- 750 spots in the overall standing to get a range of points gained or lost from the midpoint of wins. It was amazing to see 1,570 teams fall between 72 and 91 wins. Next, I divided 1,500 overall points by 19 wins to find that each win was worth 78.95 overall points. There were 199 leagues in this competition, so each win within a single league environment was worth .39673 league points.

ERA and WHIP Categories

The midpoint in innings for the ERA and WHIP categories dropped to 1,269 in 2021 (1,344 in 2019) due to more major league teams using opener pitchers. ERA (3.791) and WHIP (1.188) showed improvement last season. I then subtracted the innings pitching by the pitcher from 1269. I multiplied that number times (.41789 = 3.791/9). This data gave me the total number of runs allowed for the remaining innings for the midpoint in ERA by inning. I then added the total number of runs allowed by each starting pitcher, and I divided that number by 1,269 innings. This result delivered each pitcher's +/- impact based on the number of innings pitched or projected to pitch. The range of 1,500 league points was divided by a gap of .552 in ERA (4.077 – 3.525). This result (2,717.3913) was then divided into 199 leagues. I used a -13.655 data point to show a lower ERA awarded more points.

I repeat this same process for WHIP. The range of overall points (1,500 spots) was divided by .09 (gap in WHIP from 1.143 to 1.233). I then divided it into 199 leagues to deliver -83.752. Again, I used a negative number as a lower WHIP is the desired result.


For strikeouts, the midpoint total was 1,373 strikeouts. Pitchers aren’t equal in Roto formats, but I still need to divide 1,373 by nine pitching spots. The average sum of strikeouts per pitcher came to 152.56. The range of strikeouts for 1,500 teams came to 242, with a low of 1,207 at the 1,994th position and 1,449 at the 444th position. Each strikeout was worth 0.031147 points in the standing after dividing by 199 leagues.


This midpoint for saves was 60 in this event. A fantasy owner typically will get saves from two to three roster spots in their starting lineup, but we need to base the target goal on nine pitchers leading to a negative score for each starting pitcher in saves. There were over 1,500 spots in the overall standings in a 2,388 team event, and there was a difference of 39 saves. This total came to 0.193274 points in a single league per save. Many fantasy owners play the save category differently, creating a wide range of results. A format with an overall prize does lead to more teams competing in this category.

trea turner

Batting Average

I used the same theory for ERA and WHIP for batting average. Looking at the starts for all 2,388 teams, I determined that I needed 7,177 at-bats and a batting average of .2589 to be at the midpoint in 2021. For each player, I subtracted their at-bats from 7,177 then multiplied the result by .2589 to give the total number of hits to deliver a midpoint batting average. I then added the player's total hits to this number, dividing that total by 7,177 at-bats. These results gave me the impact of each player as far as +/- in batting average. The range of 1,500 spots in the standing was 0.0123 points in batting average or about 88 hits over 7,177 at-bats. So, 1,500 divided by .0123 divided by 199 leagues = 612.82 points for batting average.


The midpoint for runs was 1,065. The range was 150 runs over 1,500 spots in the standings, which delivered 0.05025 points per run in a single league.

Home Runs

The midpoint for home runs was 307. The gap between 444th place and 1944th place in a 2,388 team format was 67 home runs or 0.1125 points per home run in a single league.

Runs Batted In

The midpoint for RBIs in 2021 was 1,023. The difference in 1,500 points in the overall standing in RBI was 151 RBI. This number worked out to .0499 points per RBI in a single league.

Stolen Bases

A team needs to get 105 stolen bases to finish at the medium point last season. The gap between 1,500 spots in the overall standing was 45 stolen bases leading to each steal being worth 0.1675 points in roto formats.

Using these totals, a fantasy owner can easily see which players had the most value last season. It is a tool that also helps you make future decisions. The real trick is to create these values for this year’s projections. A fantasy owner can make better draft decisions by understanding the player pool and each player’s value within each category. Here’s a look at the chart for both batters and pitchers to show power points gained or lost in each category within a league environment in 2021.


To add some food for thought about values in each category, a player would need to hit these stats to gain three points in each category in a league environment >>> .327 BA, 136 runs, 48 home runs, 133 RBI, and 26 stolen bases on the hitting side. Likewise, pitchers would need about 17 wins, 23 saves, 1.90 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and 248 strikeouts to gain about three points in the standing in each category. Note: All pitcher gains or losses in ERA and WHIP are based on 150 innings pitched.

Draft Decisions Trade-offs

Once we have each player's projections calculated for SIscores, we can compare all players' values. To have the most success, we need to compare players at like positions to help identify potential edges and sleepers. Here’s are a couple of examples of how to use SIscores in your decision making in fantasy baseball drafts:

In the early 2021 drafts, Trea Turner, Fernando Tatis, Juan Soto, Jose Ramirez, Bo Bichette, and Vlad Guerrero are the first six players off the boards in 12-team leagues in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. 

Top 14 batters last season by SIscore


As expected, six of the seven hitters drafted finished as the top six players from 2021. Juan Soto (ADP of 3.8) ranked 14th. When looking at the top-tier hitting options, a fantasy owner needs to compare the best players available in the second and third rounds, plus understand how the best hitters in the game stack up against the top pitching inventory. 

Top 10 pitchers from 2021 by SIscore


The top starting arms in the game came in lower than the previous season due to only four pitchers recording over 195 innings. In 2019, 20 pitchers finished with a minimum of 195 innings.

Last season, three hitters (Trea Turner, Bo Bichette, and Vlad Guerrero) and pitcher (Max Scherzer) scored over 9.00 in SIscore. Fernando Tatis was the best player in baseball, but he missed 32 games.

For any team starting their roster with an elite shortstop (Turner, Bichette, or Tatis), their next step in their team build will be finding elite arms and top bats with their next couple of selections. 

Top rounds 2 & 3 hitters and pitchers


Of the player listed above, Luis Robert and Shane Bieber ranked poorly in 2021 by SIscore due to missing many games due to injuries. If the spring training reports are positive, Bieber will be a second-round cheat ace, but he will draw plenty of attention in drafts as the draft season moves closer to the start of the year. Robert flashed in his 68 games while owning a high ceiling in four categories. Also, the health of Jacob deGrom will determine his future ADP.

The next pieces added to each team plan will vary from owner to owner and hinge on draft flow.

ADPs and a player's draft value help a fantasy owner make trade-off decisions within drafts. Once fantasy owners have this information, they must decide how much they trust or agree with a player’s projections. He then should compare that player with other players at the same position in the projected ADPs.

The bottom line is that a fantasy owner is trying to gain an edge with each of his first few picks in the draft while filling as many categories as possible. Each decision takes a fantasy owner in a different direction.

We also had access to multiple other events with large amounts of teams competing for an overall championship. The information we used is from a league with once-a-week transactions for pitching.

Team builds from an early draft position


I structured the possible outcomes in each of these teams with a base stealer with power, an ace, and a middle-of-the-order home run hitter. Each SIscore falls in a competitive range based on last season’s stats. When drafting for this season, each player won’t repeat their previous success, leading to fantasy owners having different opinions on the player pool.

The next step when making decisions for 2022 comes from reviewing projections with SIscores. The second level of information helps put a player in perspective based on his career path and current opportunity. The first set of forecasts won’t be released from Sports Illustrated until each major team has been researched over the next six weeks. 

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