Rotisserie Hall of Fame

by Ron Shandler

Short of bringing in a bulldozer to Cooperstown, NY, there is not a lot we can do to truly change the current system. However, within the community of fantasy baseball brethren, we can correct the system in our corner of the neighborhood.

For fantasy leaguers, it is all about the stats. We don't care whether a player exhibited sportsmanship or integrity so long as he helped us win our leagues. That will be our absolute criteria.

And we already have a tool that provides us with a completely objective statistical measuring stick: Rotisserie dollar values.

The calculation of roto dollars puts all players on a level playing field. And since it is driven by the caliber of offense and pitching in each season, it effectively allows accurate player valuations across years. So a 30-HR performance in a high offense season will not generate as high of a roto value as that same performance in a low offense season. Note these two comparable performances from Gary Sheffield:

YEAR  TM  AB   R    HR  RBI  SB   BA   R$
==== === ===  ===  ===  ===  ==  ====  ===
1992 SD  557   87   33  100   5  .330  $40
2001 LA  515   98   36  100  10  .311  $30

Despite scoring more runs, hitting more HRs and stealing more bases, Sheffield earned $10 less during the steroids-fueled 2001 season. The 19-point difference in batting average would not be nearly enough to justify such a drop in roto value.

Rotisserie dollars are the absolute arbiter of a player's value within the context of the season in which he was playing. It doesn't matter if the player was a steroids user or if the media had a grudge against him. It doesn't matter if he was a bad person or if his stats were inflated because of his home ballpark. And it doesn't matter if he never merited serious consideration for Cooperstown. All that matters is whether his statistical performances helped his fantasy teams during his career.

Here are the criteria for induction into our Rotisserie Baseball Hall of Fame:

All players must have a minimum of 10 seasons in the Majors and finish ranked among the annual top 15 of all batters or pitchers at least once. In addition, BATTERS must meet at least two of these three criteria:

  • Minimum of $20 average dollar value over the course of his career.
  • Minimum of $25 average dollar value during his *peak 10 years.
  • Must have finished ranked among the annual top 15 of all batters at least 4 times

PITCHERS must meet at least two of these three criteria:

  • Minimum of $15 average dollar value over the course of his career.
  • Minimum of $20 average dollar value during his *peak 7 years. 
  • Must have finished ranked among the annual top 15 of all pitchers at least 4 times.
*In most all cases, the "peak" period will be assessed as consecutive years. In some isolated cases, particularly when an injury may have cost a player a full season, the peak year requirement may include non-consecutive seasons.

All dollar values are calculated based on a standard 5x5 game, with the player pool constituting approximately 80% of all players across both leagues. A 68%-to-32% offense-to-pitching allocation is used.

The Waiting Period

Isn't it a bit excessive to have a 5-year waiting period prior to induction? Once a player retires, he is either worthy or not. So our Roto Hall makes its decisions quickly.

For any player who officially announces his retirement, the Roto Hall inducts him during the winter following his last season, or the following winter if his announcement is delayed. So Greg Maddux would have already been inducted back in the winter of 2009. Tim Raines has been a member of the Roto Hall for over a decade.

For players who do not make an official announcement, we wait two years. If there is no sign that a player will return to the majors after two years, he is inducted at that time. One such player we've been waiting on is Manny Ramirez. His qualifications make him a no-brainer; we're just waiting for him to stop threatening to return.

This system does present the remote possibility of a player coming out of retirement and putting up poor numbers that cause him to fall short of the eligibility criteria. In those cases, we hope he enjoyed his short stay in the Roto Hall as we bid him farewell.

Inaugural Inductees

Since this system is based on Rotisserie values, we will begin our Hall at the start of the Rotisserie era, which would be 1984's publication of the book, Rotisserie League Baseball. For potentially eligible players who retired during the 1980s, we'll go back as far as 1980 to assess their Hall-worthiness but adjust the criteria to accommodate the shorter evaluation period:

  • The minimum career average dollar value will apply only to the period of 1980-1989. 
  • The minimum peak average dollar value will be assessed over five years within 1980-1989.

Annual Induction

Each year's new members will be inducted at about the same time as the BBWAA announces their new members, in early January.

Other Voices

There have been other writers who've looked back at history through a Rotisserie lens. The following are other worthwhile reads:
All-Time Roto Team : Which Historical Seasons Would Have the Biggest Fantasy Impact? by Chris Liss, Rotowire.com
The Historical Fantasy Baseball Player Rater by Rudy Gamble, Razzball.com

ROTOHALL HOME PAGE
Why the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame election process is flawed
The Rotisserie Hall of Fame eligibility criteria
Rotisserie's Gold Hall
Players who just missed getting in
Roto Hall of Fame statistics and rankings

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