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Roto Guide: Six Baseball Sites to Make You Smarter

To get the most out of a baseball season you will need to familiarize yourself with important statistics and, better yet, where to find them. Fifteen years ago, most people only talked about was batting average and ERA. Times have changed quite a bit in a short span, and knowing where to get certain information is key. To help with this, I’ve created a short list of baseball sites I frequently visit to stay up to date on team news, player trends, and baseball in general. Here they are, in no particular order.

[Related: Roto Guide: Predicting Breakout Hitters]

1. Baseball Reference

Everyone has that crazy uncle who thinks he knows everything there is to know about the Yankees… Baseball Reference is kind of like your loony uncle Larry, except it actually “does know everything about the Yankees.”

The website itself is likely the largest collection of baseball information you will find in one place, and it’s fairly simple to navigate. The player pages are spectacular and allow even the most casual baseball fan to get a quick snapshot of individual player statistics. For a bit of a deeper dive, pages like Advanced Stats, Splits, Game Logs, or even Home Run Log can be infinitely valuable. Who knows, you may even fall upon a fun little fact like: Over 25% of Mike Trout’s career home runs have come in the first inning.

The beauty of Baseball Reference is that it has a little bit for every level of fan — even the super fan. For the advanced statisticians, there is a tool called the “Play Index,” which allows super users to query the massive Baseball Reference database and look for individual statistics on players, teams, or circumstances. Next time you hear a stat on a broadcast that sounds like this… “The last time a rookie hit for a cycle during a day game was 1948 when Jackie Robinson…” I totally made that up but you get the point. The Play Index is amazing.

2. Baseball Savant

Baseball Savant feeds directly off the Statcast data, bringing in an interesting new wealth of information into the baseball universe. Like Baseball Reference, Savant has player pages but they are much more visually appealing and allow for a bit easier digestion of some key advanced metrics. Although the individual stat pages are informative, the Statcast Leaderboards seem to be the big ticket item on the site. Here you can view league leaders in a filterable format for Exit Velocity, Sprint Speed, and Expected Stats.

Exit Velocity is always a fun leaderboard to check out, but don’t forget to spend a bit of time sorting through a newer page for Savant in the Expected Stats. Here you find stats like xBA, xSLB, and xwOBA. These stats use the Statcast hit probability metric to determine which batted balls were supposed to be hits based on similar batted balls versus what batted balls were actual hits. This metric may prove to be more predictive over time. For example, Carlos Santana has a batting average of .151 through 93 plate appearances in 2018. His xBA, on the other hand, is .277. Baseball Savant also has a big boy search tool they call Statcast Search. Admittedly, I’m far from a master of this tool but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating its capabilities.

3. Brooks Baseball

Brooks Baseball is the ultimate tool for data scouting pitchers — so helpful that even players themselves use the site. A few weeks ago, Trevor Bauer tweeted out an image from Brooks mapping a sequence of pitches, one of which he was convinced was a strike but called a ball. The image Bauer posted was clear as day that the pitch indeed was a strike.

Brooks’ “At-A-Glance” feature on individual players is a helpful, quick way to get to know the pitcher and what he features as far as a repertoire. The main attraction from a deeper perspective is the Velocity and Movement and Usage and Outcomes pages. Here you can get a quick snapshot view of a pitcher’s velocity over time as well as his pitch mix at any given time.

4. Fangraphs

If you were stranded on a desert baseball island and could only take one website with you, mostly likely Fangraphs would be the choice. Fangraphs is jam-packed with statistical nuggets of information on players, team, and the league itself. You could spend years combing through the pages and still feel like you are just scratching the surface of the site itself (trust me… I have).

One of the most useful pages on the site by far is the player graphs. This tool allows you to view a particular player and a stat or group of stats over a period of time. By itself, this may be one of the biggest diagnostic pages available to the public. Take for example Giancarlo Staton — if you view his graph page on Fangraphs and select K% you will quickly see that he has never had a season where he had a strikeout rate lower than the league average. You can also see that his current 33% strikeout rate is the highest of his career. From here you can build on this graph by adding other metrics like Stanton’s Z-Contact%. Now you start to see the bigger picture. Not only is Stanton striking out way more than league average and at the highest clip of his career but he is missing pitches in the zone like never before (Ruh Roh, Scooby).

The other tool that comes highly recommended is the Batting and Pitching Leaders pages. Here you can take a look at single season, career, or custom year ranges of league leaderboards. Information like Rhys Hoskins having a league-leading OBP of .483 becomes extremely accessible. Also, there are many more advanced stats that are visible by clicking through the additional tabs like Batted Ball, Advanced, or Plate Discipline. Honestly, an entire book could be written on the Fangraphs site and still probably wouldn’t do it justice but instead of reading about it… Go CHECK IT OUT!

5. Roster Resource

Roster Resouce is a must visit for fantasy managers and baseball fans. It is easily the most accurate and up-to-date roster information available. The sheer amount of information condensed into one page is incredible. You can quickly view starting lineups, including the most recent lineup constructions. You can also see depth at each position throughout the organization and a bird’s eye view of the 40-man roster. Injury status, transaction dates, and prospect lists are all front and center in one easy to scroll team feed. For deep leagues or dynasty, this site is priceless.

6. Rotoworld

So much of fantasy success is all about staying on top of the news. Rotoworld makes this easy with their seemingly 24/7 player news feed. They provide quick, insightful snippets of information covering players at all different levels of the game. Bookmark this and make it a part of your daily routine to jump in and out every so often to stay up to date on all that transpires throughout the league.

  1. karen frye says

    Hey, you all know any best ball leagues with bench players? Where can I find a Roto league with 30 + or – players? Thanks

    1. Doug Anderson says

      Our best ball leagues have 40-player rosters. If that setup doesn’t work our commisioner product will let you create pretty much anything you want.

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