I recently started working on my next book looking at how to create customized rankings and dollar values for a points league. For the most part, much of the same principles followed for ranking players in a rotisserie league still apply. But then I stumbled upon a major difference, one that I can’t find guidance on anywhere.

## Points Leagues Cut Right To The Chase

One really nice thing about points leagues is that the goal is much more straightforward than in a roto league. Instead of trying to compose a balanced team in the 10 different categories of a rotisserie league, you’re really just competing in one category… total points.

Because of this, we can cut through some of the exercises we have to do for ranking a roto league. We don’t have to mess around with league history, determine Standings Gain Points for each category, and don’t have to convert each player’s projections into SGP.

## We Just Have To Calculate Projected Points For Each Player, Right?

This is the biggest task, for sure. Make sure to build in a replacement level calculation, too.

I think that’s what most people would do and just stop there. But if you want an edge, I think we can dig a little deeper.

## Quickly, Here’s How I Would Calculate Projected Points

I’m going to go into much more detail in the finished guide and include screenshots, tips, and tricks to make this a spreadsheet you can use into the future. But here’s the high level:

- Download a set of reliable projections
- Document your league’s scoring settings (e.g. 10 points for a HR, 2 for SB, etc.)
- Multiply the projected stats by your scoring settings
- Determine and adjust for replacement level

Follow these steps and you’ll end up with the total number of “useful” or “draftable” points.

## Why Do We Have a Rotisserie Split?

When doing rotisserie calculations we do set an official split. Something like 70-30 or 65-35. This split takes 70% (or 65%) of our auction budget and designates it specifically for hitters. This seems a bit odd on the surface because we know that 50% of the points come from hitting and the other 50% from pitching.

The reasoning behind this split varies:

- Some say it’s derived from the fact that we draft 14 hitters and 9 pitchers (a 61-39 split).
- Some say it’s because we’re better at predicting hitter statistics than pitchers, so it makes more sense to pour our money into the hitter side of the split.
- Still others say it’s because more good pitchers come into the league during the season than good hitters do. If there are more options coming available after the draft, it makes sense to spend less during the draft and to focus on acquiring the hitters that can’t be found during the season.

Regardless of the reasoning, there’s a lot of consensus that the split should universally be in the 65-35 or 70-30 range.

We need a split in rotisserie because half our points come from resource A (hitters) and half our points come from resource B (pitchers). Even though 50% of our spending is on resource A and the other 50% on resource B, we start our needing more of resource A, resource A has a higher return on investment (we’re better at projecting it), and resource B is easier to replace later on.

## The Big Difference Between Points Leagues and Roto Leagues

In rotisserie leagues we have a hard rule that says half of your scoring comes from hitting and half our scoring comes from pitching.

**There is no such rule in a points league. **

In fact, the percentage of scoring done by hitters and pitchers will vary from league to league, based upon the different point scoring systems. When you add up the projected points from all the hitters and pitchers your league will draft, you may find that hitters are projected for 30,000 points and pitchers for 20,000.

The percentages will also vary from season to season. As hitting production continues to decline in MLB, the scoring in a points league from hitters also surely declines.

If a points league existed with the same scoring over the last 15 years, the percentage of points from hitters has surely gone done over that time and the percentage of points from pitchers has surely increased.

## Do We Care Where The Points Come From?

No. Whether a point comes from a hitter or pitcher is meaningless. If we get the point from a stolen base or a pitcher’s win doesn’t matter.

As long as we have the most total points at the end of the year, it doesn’t matter what percent came from hitting.

## Do We Need a Points League Split?

I don’t like the term split, because of what we just talked about. In a rotisserie league you are trying to walk this tight rope of being competitive on two different resources. So we use the term “split”. If you neglect hitting (or pitching) too much, you really hinder your ability to compete. You do care somewhat where you get your points in a rotisserie league.

We don’t care in a points league. We don’t have this competition between the two resources.

But we do still need to be mindful of these things:

- We’re better at predicting hitter statistics than pitchers, so it makes more sense to pour our money into the hitter side of the split.
- More good pitchers come into the league during the season than good hitters do

## I Prefer the Phrase “Discount Pitching”

If we can better project who the good hitters will be, then we should pour more money into buying hitters. A hitter projected for 300 points over replacement level is a safer investment than a pitcher projected for the same.

I’m probably mincing words here. But I prefer to think we need to discount pitcher dollar values (or projected point totals) for this inherent unpredictability.

I think the term discount better reflects the adjustment than using the word split.

## How Would That Work?

Let’s go through a high level example. Assume you’ve done all of these things:

- Download a set of reliable projections
- Document your league’s scoring settings (e.g. 10 points for a HR, 2 for SB, etc.)
- Multiply the projected stats by your scoring settings
- Determine and adjust for replacement level

You have a 12-team league in which each team starts 14 hitters and 9 pitchers. The end result of all the work above is that the top 168 hitters are projected for 30,000 points and the top 108 pitchers are projected for 20,000 points over replacement level.

If we are not applying any kind of discount, that would give us 50,000 points to be chasing in the draft. If we assume each of the 12 teams has a $260 budget, that’s $3,120 (12 * $260). We usually have a rule that each player must be valued for at least $1, so that leaves $2,844 to chase those points ($3,120 – $276). Or $0.05688 per point ($2,844 / 50,000 pts).

We haven’t talked about what a proper discount might be, but let’s just say 10% for this example. If we do apply a 10% discount to the pitchers’ projected points, that gives us 30,000 points for hitters and 18,000 for pitchers. Using that same $2,844, that is about $0.05925 per point ($2,844 / 48,000 pts).

## How Much Should We Discount Pitcher Statistics?

Crap. I knew you were going to ask that. And unfortunately, I don’t have a blanket answer. It’s going to depend on factors like your league’s scoring system, league and roster size, and the projections you use.

If your league has a point system that favors hitters already, that’s going to require different weighting than a league that favors pitchers. If you have an eight team league, the number of good pitchers coming into the league during the season would be treated differently than if you’re in a ten team league. Some projection systems may be better at projecting pitcher stats than others, so a lower discount would be needed.

## I’m Working on an Example

I’m working on example for a points league that I’m playing in. I’m looking back over the 2010 through 2013 seasons to see how well the preseason projections did on identifying the top 168 hitters / top 108 pitchers.

We can use that data to determine what the ideal discount would be **for that specific league**.

That’s the difficult part. I think this would need to be done for each individual league. There’s no simple answer on what the discount should be.

## More Things To Think About

Even after I compile all of this data and get the results on how accurately we can identify the top hitters and pitchers, there are other factors that need to be taken into consideration.

And I don’t know that we can exactly quantify what they would do to the discount we identify. But here are some thoughts:

### Streaming

If your league’s rules allow you to stream starting pitchers as a viable strategy, the discount for pitchers would rise (devalue them further). This might be offset by the degree to which you can also stream hitters, but if you can identify pitchers with advantageous matchups or pitchers in two-start weeks, you can “build” valuable pitchers without having to spend large amounts in the draft.

### Innings Limits

This would minimize your ability to stream pitchers. If you have strict innings limits or games started limits, pitchers become somewhat more valuable

### You Own Skills at Finding Players

The results may show that 35 hitters and 40 pitchers we did not expect end up in the top 168/108 players. But if you know that you’re often not fast enough to snag the hitters or that you’re really great at identifying breakout pitchers, those things should be considered as well.

## Stay Tuned

More info on how to perform this research should be coming soon. And if you’re in a points league, be on the lookout for a book demonstrating how to calculate custom rankings and dollar values.

## As Always

Stay smart.