Review: Bloomberg Fantasy Toolkit

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This post is sponsored by Bloomberg Sports Front Office. Click here for the free 7-day trial.

I'm an easy sellout. You send me a T-shirt, I'll shill your product. Here's me reading my favorite Mets blog in my new wears. 

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So, to the product. The Bloomberg Sports fantasy tool is a webapp used to manage and research your fantasy teams. When you log on via mlb.com, the front page looks like this:

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click to embiggen this picture and check out the places I numbered:

  1. I don't know how my mlb.com username became "Sport Lover." I am not a British woman. 
  2. This is called a "spider chart" and it's pretty cool. It show how a given player, or in this case a group of players, performs relative to the rest of the league in a way similar to Justin Bopp's DiamondView graphs (as seen in the Amazin' Avenue Annual). It's also cool that, as you mouse-over this graphic, it gives you a comparison of the average player vs. the average top-100 player at that spot on the graph. 
  3. The analysis wing of Bloomberg is headed by Jonah Keri and features many DraysBay writers past and present, including R.J., Erik and Tommy. Eno Sarris, a Mets fan, is also there, lest this blog:Rays::fangraphs::Mariners.
  4. I think the biggest question about this product is whether it sufficiently replaces the team manager provided by your host site. The three little icons I've highlighted here are for three currently unavailable services: a projections tool, a trade analysis tool, and a scouting report tool. Those services would go along way toward distinguishing this app as a premier fantasy-analysis service. Unfortunately, I can't say anything about them, as they don't exist. The preview pictures look cool, though. 

Actually using the tool, you can view pages similar to that one for a team, position, player, or your own fantasy team. Once you input your own fantasy roster, you can use the spider graphs, among others, to see where you compare to the rest of the league. This feature is especially useful in roto leagues, I'd guess, but here's my outfield in a head-to-head league, in which I punted SB for HR and OBP:

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As you can see, Adam DunnJason Bay, Jason Heyward, Carlos Quentin, and Nick Swisher get more homeruns and RBIs than the league average player, but fewer pitching wins. From there, you can click to read news stories about the player, or more statistical info. Here's how you can compare players of the same position:

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Visually, the presentation of the data is amazing. If you understand sabermetrics, however, most of these graphs don't really add any analytical value. If they could show maybe changes in swinging-strike % for pitchers or contact-rate for hitters, that might be more useful. You can sort these comparison graphs by BABIP, although including a league-average line for pitchers would be helpful there. Right now, the statistical tools are held back by just using stats your might use in your fantasy league, stats that aren't very predictive. 

As such, I'd recommend this tool to someone who has multiple teams, especially on different websites, or someone who doesn't understand advanced baseball stats but plays fantasy (which is probably most fantasy players out there). Right now, this app is like the iPad, beautiful and a great for basic funtions, but a few features away from appealing to more serious users. 

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