March 5th, 2010

CBS Brings Enhanced Analytics to Baseball Season

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Bloomberg has garnered plenty of interest for its venture into the baseball analytics market that includes new fantasy products. Intrigued fantasy players, however, should also take a look at a new offering from one of fantasy’s big boys.

Along with the 2010 edition of its fantasy baseball products, is rolling out in-depth analytical tools — which can be accessed for free on its fantasy news site.

Like in Bloomberg’s case, CBS Sports’ analytics spawned from tools geared toward business analytics. The effort is a collaboration with software company Tableau, which has been around since 2003 and hails itself as the product of combining “an Academy-Award winning professor from the nation’s most prestigious university (Stanford), a savvy business leader with a passion for data, and a brilliant computer scientist.”

CBS and Tableau began talking about the work in mid-2009 and produced some well-received tools for the recently completed NFL season. Of course, we all know that baseball is the game where stat (over?)analysis thrives, so the roll-out for this year’s fantasy baseball campaign sits as the centerpiece.

At the center of that piece is a stat referred to as “RC/27,” which means “runs created per 27 outs.” In plain language, it’s a projection of how many runs a lineup would produce in a single game if a particular player batted in every spot. For example, the rating of National League first basemen that’s sitting on the site as I write this tells me that a lineup of Albert Pujols’ would put up four more runs per game than a whole set of Derrek Lees. has tapped “data analyst” Al Melchior to present much of this research and will post new material at least several times a week through baseball season. The data presents other new stats — as well as explanations of their meanings — and the tools within these articles can be customized for different scoring systems and views. The company will also likely look to apply the tools to other sports in the future.

In this highly competitive fantasy games market, it will be interesting to see if CBS’ effort spurs similar undertakings for the other top commissioner engines. At the least, it’s another way for fantasy players to dig deeply into the numbers.