February 7th, 2011

CBS Fantasy Buddies Up with MLB.com for 2011

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Right after I posted the “officially baseball time” item, I skipped over to e-mail — yeah, I skip … I figure it beats prancing — and was greeted by a message announcing the fantasy partnership between MLB.com and CBS Sports.

First of all, this partnership is noteworthy because it belonged to Yahoo! in 2010. At least some further interest is added by the fact that CBS’ longtime deal to run the commissioner product for NFL.com ended before the 2010 football season.

Whether it has anything to do with NFL.com pumping up the inclusion of game highlights in its new in-house fantasy product for the season just ended, video highlights is among the selling points in the ad touting the CBS-MLB alignment.

In announcing CBS Sports’ baseball product as the “official” commissioner of MLB for 2011, the ad mentions the following new features:

“- In-game and post-game video highlights for all your players
- Free MLB.com GameDay package
- Enhanced league management tools for the Commissioner
- New look
- Simple drag & drop roster management”

MLB.com GameDay is the audio package that provides local-radio coverage to games in every MLB market, which will apparently be available to everyone in your league if you sign up with CBS.


Are We Officially into Fantasy Baseball Time Now?

Monday, February 7th, 2011

There might not be an official turnover from fantasy football season to fantasy baseball until some brand decides to be the official soft drink of it — I’m looking at you, Royal Crown Cola — but Monday, Feb. 7, could stake a pretty strong claim this year.

The Super Bowl is now behind us, which officially ends the 2010 NFL season, means at least 14 minutes before the American sports scene jumps completely into NFL Draft hype and gives us about three days before we completely tire of Aaron Rodgers’ face. (That’s meant as a knock on the media blitz, not the player himself.)

On top of that, Baseball Prospectus rolled out early this morning its first batch of PECOTA player projections for the 2011 season.

Although we all wish the system were an annual homage to former Royals infielder Bill Pecota, the acronym stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm and is BP’s “proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparison with thousands of historical player-seasons,” according to the site. (Ed. note: Oops. I guess it is at least somewhat homage to The Real Pecota. I’m sure I knew that at some point and forgot.)

“Nate Silver is probably the most famous sabermetrician not named Bill James, and PECOTA is where Nate made his biggest mark in our community,” BP’s Colin Wyers said in presenting the first season of post-Silver PECOTA numbers. (Silver, of course, has moved on to the much more fantasy-laden world of politics with FiveThirtyEight.com.)

Wyers also acknowledged the strong impact of fantasy on the readership of his site in introducing an update to BP’s WARP stat: “We know that many of you are relying on these forecasts for your fantasy teams, and we thought that it was better to get the forecasts out now rather than wait for when the entire site was ready to transition to new WARP.”

In addition to BP, MLB.com has rolled out its 2011 fantasy coverage with the Player Preview package teased from its homepage.

Of course, others might argue that fantasy football season ended a while ago, and the “experts” draft at the recent Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference that was broadcast live by Sirius XM ushered in baseball time.

Then there are those who might not care about football and point back to the December release of Ron Shandler’s 2011 Baseball Forecaster, or perhaps the November arrival of the updated Bill James Handbook. Still others who might prefer to actually focus on their family for a bit no doubt await pitchers and catchers reporting before moving into baseball mode.

No matter, really. Until RC decides to throw its weight behind one of those dates, every stat geek can pick a favorite. Whether or not you’ve grabbed a guide or fired up Excel, there’s no doubt that fantasy baseball is fast approaching.

Related: PECOTA reaction on Twitter