In recent years, fantasy baseball has seen an explosion in popularity. Major League Baseball, with its long, storied history and the enormous quantity of data available, naturally lends itself to the modern-day recreational activity known as fantasy baseball. Fantasy baseball is a game in which participants manage an imaginary roster of real players and compete against one another using those players' real-life statistics to score points. Early forms of fantasy baseball began in the early 1960s, but beginning in the 1990s, the sport was revolutionized due to the advent of powerful computers and the Internet. The data used in this project come from an actual fantasy baseball league which uses a head-to-head, points-based scoring system. The data consist of the weekly point totals that were accumulated over the first three-fourths of the 2011 regular season by the top 110 hitters and top 70 pitchers in Major League Baseball. The purpose of this project is analyze the relative value of pitchers versus hitters in this league using hierarchical Bayesian models. Three models will be compared, one which differentiates between hitters and pitchers, another which also differentiates between starting pitchers and relief pitchers, and a third which makes no distinction whatsoever between hitters and pitchers. The models will be compared using the deviance information criterion (DIC). The best model will then be used to predict weekly point totals for the last fourth of the 2011 season. Posterior predictive densities will be compared to actual weekly scores.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Statistics



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Selected Project




fantasy baseball, hierarchical Bayesian models, MCMC