Last year, our Pitcher List colleague Myles Nelson introduced the Worstball format to give us another way to consume and enjoy fantasy baseball. The basis is really straightforward – the worse that your player does in real life, the better your Worstball fantasy team will do! We’ll deep dive in to go over everything you need to know for drafting and managing your hitters in this format. Face it, everyone has woken up to check their fantasy baseball roster’s performance from the night before, only to find that their team was collective when 2/29 with 2 singles and no RBI. This is the league to celebrate those nights. This is the league to celebrate in reverse order!
Explanation of Scoring: Hitters
To start this off correctly, let me first explain that the rosters are structured a bit differently than normal. For hitters, you will deploy the following starting lineup: C, Corner Infielder (CI), Middle Infielder (MI), OF, OF, Utility. Smaller roster size makes managing your roster even that much more difficult.
Now for the good stuff. You may be wondering how you accumulate stats. Well, each category is weighted differently. The most amount of positive points at the end of the week is victorious. Right off the bat, you’ll get 1 point for each game started, each at-bat your player takes and every strikeout. 2 point categories are for each GIDP (Grounded into double-play) and errors made fielding by your player, so yes, fielding stats matter. The most amount of points that a hitter can gain in one statistical output is by being caught stealing (CS) which gets 4 points.
Your team is negatively affected when your player does something well. Half a point is deducted for each walk (BB) that your player takes and 1 point comes off the board for every single. Take away 2 for doubles, run (R), stolen bases (SB) and every RBI. Minus 3 for triples and the granddaddy of them all is for a home run (HR), which is -4.
Track Real Life Teams
When putting together your Worstball lineups, you’ll most likely be looking more at the surrounding team closer than you typically would in a traditional scoring league. Sure, the old adage of “playing time matters” in fantasy holds true, but as Worstball Season 1 proved, a Worstball player on your roster needs to be elite at making their real team keep them on the diamond.
Let’s take a near replacement level player on a contending team for example; say Brock Holt for his new team in Milwaukee. If Holt gets off to a slow start at the plate and makes a couple of errors while he’s at it, all is well for your Worstball team. If you fast forward a few weeks, all of the sudden rumors of a hot minor leaguer that could be breathing down Holt’s neck to take playing time away, or even an early-season trade could be made to solidify a roster that wants to go deep into October.
On the other side of the coin, you can definitely count on other players being in the lineup every day, either because of their contract situation or importance to the team. A perfect example of this situation in the inaugural season of Worstball was the reigning #1 overall pick, Mr. Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles. Much maligned by fantasy and O’s fans alike, it was almost a consensus that whoever ended up with the first selection would have the pleasure of taking Davis. In fact, he was a top 20 player for the majority of the year, but tailing off to #46 overall in the final season player ranks. This is the art of Worstball.
Top 10 Hitters Previous Year (2019 season)
While playing this format, you will most certainly fall victim to the massive point swings that are generated from game to game. Say Evan Longoria goes 3-3 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI, then you’ll have a negative score go against you for the day. The better your players perform, the more negative points they’ll accrue. The object is to have the most positive points at the end of the week. Miguel Sano had one of the most productive games of the season, tallying 19 Worstball points on June 19th by going 0-7 with 5 K’s.
|Player Name||Overall Rank|
|Yolmer Sanchez – CWS||#7|
|Willy Adames – TB||#11|
|Orlando Arcia – MIL||#12|
|Starlin Castro – MIA||#13|
|Leury Garcia – CWS||#14|
|Amed Rosario – NYM||#15|
|Eric Hosmer – SD||#18|
|Brandon Crawford – SF||#19|
|Jorge Alfaro – MIA||#24|
|Miguel Cabrera – DET||#26|
After seeing some completely unsuspecting names on this list, you’ll stop to wonder what in the world we’re thinking to put together this kind of league. The thought ran through my mind when I went back to pull this list of “how the heck did Yolmer Sanchez wind up as the top hitter?” Well, he played in 149 games and was extremely pedestrian.
The same can be said for all of these players, right at or below replacement level in WAR. You can see that the Marlins and White Sox were well represented here, both garnering 2 players each. None of these players would be classified as “toolsy” or “haven’t entered their prime yet.” It just goes to show that there is something to be said for being bad, but not necessarily bad enough to be replaced by someone else.
When to Draft Hitters
During your draft, you’ll want to attack in the same way that you do for traditional scoring. The major difference in Worstball is that lineups are much more fluid throughout the season than they are in normal scoring settings. You’ll want to actively ride hot streaks and watch out for a player’s two-week schedule. Map out who has the most chance to negatively affect the boxscore. As you can tell by the Top 10 scorers chart above, you won’t find many huge names. In fact, only Starlin Castro, Eric Hosmer and Brandon Crawford were drafted last season. Hitters will be much more volatile than pitchers in this format, so you’ll need to choose wisely. Just based on shear volume, you’ll want a few bites at the apple, but it may come at the expense of going after pitching first. Last year’s draft featured more hitters go early than pitchers, but with a full season under our belts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that flip this year (considering the top overall hitter was the #7 overall player). Established players such as Albert Pujols will probably be an earlier Worstball pick than say Leury Garcia who is a relative unproven commodity. Just remember, with all of the roster movement throughout the season, you won’t lose your season in this draft; there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a few horses to ride out the long haul though.
Early season playing time is crucial to establishing a baseline of statistical outlays. You can still use all of the top hitting advanced hitting tools that you would normally use but in reverse order. Launch Angle, Barrel%, K%, and Exit Velocity just to name a few. Once you find a trend or potentially spot a player toughing out an injury, the time to strike has arrived.
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)