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Fantasy Baseball By the Numbers: Gleyber Torres, Corey Seager, Bo Bichette

Fantasy Baseball By the Numbers: Gleyber Torres, Corey Seager, Bo Bichette

Hear me out.

Counting stats like OPS and WHIP have been correctly accepted as affecting fantasy baseball projections. There is demonstrable proof that statistics like these can relatively predict a fantasy baseball player’s success rate. All of that makes perfect sense to me.

But since this column is about how to gain an upper hand in fantasy baseball, it’s my job to think outside of the box to find an edge.

Now that I have a platform, it’s finally my time to answer a question that has plagued me about fantasy baseball for a lot longer than I like to admit:

Are married baseball players more consistent than unmarried baseball players?

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Fantasy Baseball By the Numbers

Surprisingly, there was little to no information on this. I cannot be the only person who has ever considered this.

In my mind, married players:

  1. Sleep more
  2. Have a more consistent routine

This is all conjecture, so I had to get creative to find the information I wanted.

Buckle up.

The Effect of Marriage on Productivity

A University of London study from 2011 found that married baseball players are paid 20% more than their unmarried teammates.

I am not sure of the study’s purpose or what they were trying to prove by tying marital status to salary, but the amount of research they did was pretty impressive. Hand-sampling thousands of baseball players and using baseball cards and newspaper clippings to determine productivity no doubt took a lot of time.

But I found myself most interested in a few parts they just glazed over:

Section 7.2: “There is little robust evidence that marriage is consistently correlated with higher productivity.”

Section 7.4: “Both of these results confirm that marital status is somehow correlated with career longevity.”

It makes sense. There are fewer crazy nights out and a more reasonable sleeping schedule.

Further down in section 9.1, you’ll see they buried the information I am looking for,While the results in Section 7.2 showed that marital status has no robust statistically significant effect on the mean value of our productivity measures, perhaps marriage has an impact on how consistently a player performs (the variance).”

Go on

“This result is particularly interesting as low-ability players have the highest variability in their performance, and marriage has an overall net stabilizing effect on this variability. High-ability players, however, see an increase in variability. For these players, thedistractionof marriage may override any stabilizing effect. This is in line with much of the popular anecdotal evidence that marriage interferes periodically with the performance of elite-level athletes.”

Bingo. So basically,low-impactplayers perform with less variability when married, whilehigh-impactmarried players traditionally have more variability in their results.

That oddly makes sense to me. Time to put it to the test.

2024 Underperformers

Let’s review last week’s “FantasyPros Top-10 Underperformers” to see who fits this mold. I’ll call the top-100 ADP playershigh impactand anyone after ADP 100 “low impact.

The theory is unmarried low-impact players and married high-impact players will underperform at higher percentages than their counterparts:

The only players who did not fit were Kenta Maeda and Lars Nootbaar and both their ADPs were higher than 220.

This is unsettling; let’s take it a step further.

2024 Top-25 Underperforming Players:

Some underperforming players drafted in the top 40 and their marital status:

And then there are players exceeding expectations so far in 2024:

I am not cherry-picking players, I am going through top ADPs and current YTD stats.

Going back to 2023:

2023 Fantasy Baseball Underperformers

I was being facetious at first, but this theory really might hold weight. High-impact married ball players perform with higher variance than non-married high-impact players. Low-impact married athletes perform more consistently than unmarried low-impact players.

Target unmarried players in the top 100 and look for married sleepers in the later rounds.

Is it odd that this actually somewhat makes sense?

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