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Fantasy Baseball Software Review: The Baseball Engine

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Tyrone Schiff of the TheBaseballEngine.com for putting this review together for his site.

Yahoo!’s ranking statistic O-rank proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for me in July 2010.

I had been playing on Yahoo! (my league decided to migrate to ESPN this year) in a 12 man, high competition MLB league since 2006 with my college buds from the University of Michigan (go blue!), and until then considered O-rank an insightful and useful statistic. What bothered me about O-rank was that it was a snapshot in time. To me, it lacked context.

While looking at O-rank, I found myself wondering about the baseball player’s general trending. Were they doing better or worse than usual? Were they trending up or down?

In a sport like baseball which has 162 games played over half the calendar year, being able to capture trending performance and player trajectory seemed really important and meaningful, but obviously absent from the box score and O-rank.

So, one cold, January morning in Ann Arbor, The Baseball Engine begun. 

The Baseball Engine is a fantasy baseball research dashboard for managers, owners, and players of fantasy baseball. With The Baseball Engine you can visually compare up to 4 batters or pitchers in over 90 statistical categories.

Comparisons are plotted on a line graph, each day stitching another data point to the player’s overall trend. By taking this approach to your fantasy baseball research, I believe you can make more intelligent decisions when drafting, trading, and picking up players.

In any of these situations, I would consider performing your research using this framework:

Start by comparing the player’s BE Score (if comparing like players) or BE Rank (if comparing across player types). The BE Score is a ranking method created by and for The Baseball Engine. Players with higher BE Scores are more valuable than those with lower BE Scores and can also help you make predictions about future performance.

Consider outfielders Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) and Jay Bruce (CIN). On May 21, with traditional research you would have gathered that these players were putting up relatively equal numbers on the year.

But with The Baseball Engine, you would have been able to tell that since May 9, Jay Bruce was on a decline and Giancarlo Stanton was potentially more valuable in the near short term based on his BE Score trajectory and uptrend.

That’s actionable data that can improve your squad.

Next, toggle to some other statistics (there are over 90 of them) and get a sense of the player’s comparative performance. Take a look at the end of season projections which uses real-time data, trending, and last year’s end of season values to make its prediction.

Change the date range to see how change in performance over the past 1, 7, 15, or 30 days. Read the most up-to-date player news by hovering your mouse over the note next to the player’s picture.

Combined, these are incredibly granular data points in a context that are easy to understand and digest.

I think that the quality of analysis provided by The Baseball Engine will be unlike any fantasy baseball research experience you’ve had before.

Having a context in which you can make comparative decisions quickly and objectively to improve your fantasy team will make a big difference throughout the season.

In the future, I would like to continue to improve and enhance the research experience on The Baseball Engine.

I have received several requests already to star, favorite, or save particular players for quick accessibility after repeat visits. Others want alerts delivered to their inboxes. Some even want their entire fantasy baseball squads synced to The Baseball Engine.

One of the most interesting ideas has been to generate custom rankings based on fantasy baseball league settings.

I think these are all awesome ideas because they come from actual users of The Baseball Engine. I would really like to hear ideas you have for The Baseball Engine, too! Contact me anytime at tyroneschiff@baseballengine.com.

The Baseball Engine is designed for fantasy baseball players, owners, and managers who want to raise their game to the next level.

It might be considered a departure from the traditional box score, but the trade offs are all positive. I hope that you use The Baseball Engine every day to make great decisions that help you dominate the league!

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