Tristan's 6x6 rankings have been updated through March 24.
We are slaves to tradition.
Rotisserie baseball enters its 37th season, and in all that time, the fantasy baseball community has barely altered it; only the expansion from 4x4 (batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, wins, saves, ERA and WHIP being the "original eight" categories) to 5x5 (adding runs scored and strikeouts) roughly about the turn of the century qualifies as a significant change.
Wake up, people! It's 2016, we're deep into the sabermetric revolution in baseball, evidenced by the increasing popularity of alternate scoring systems -- the rise of points leagues as compelling as any -- yet we've scarcely modernized the original rules. These days, most everyone appreciates the value of a walk, the folly of putting stock in pitcher wins, the flukiness of categories like batting average.
The advent of sabermetrics essentially fuels a Rotisserie modernization, to better reward player skill than the original system. For four seasons now, I've strongly urged fantasy leagues to migrate to a 6x6 scoring system, replacing such categories with ones that better exemplify a player's own ability, rather than team- or luck-influenced measures. Perhaps you've already adapted these new categories in your league. If you haven't and might consider it now, first read my detailed pitches from 2013 and 2014.
This "modernized" scoring system, six categories apiece for hitters and pitchers -- one I originally proposed as far back as 2010 -- uses the following statistics. All of these are available on ESPN as custom-league categories.
Why these new categories?
On-base percentage (OBP): It rewards walks, which, besides pitcher strikeouts -- remember that they were not a part of the original Rotisserie baseball rulebook -- were a glaring omission from the initial rules.
Slugging percentage (SLG): It values doubles and triples, things that were also overlooked by the original rulebook.
Net stolen bases (SBN): A new pitch for 2015 that's now a permanent part of the 6x6 -- though I still personally prefer stolen base percentage, if your league supports it -- this rewards players for the effectiveness of their base-stealing ability, rather than volume. It also penalizes players for committing outs in such situations, which is an important addition to a sabermetrically angled scoring system.
Quality starts (QS): Regardless of your opinion of the category, it is a better indicator of individual starting-pitching, single-game success than wins are. Its critics' favorite argument against it is also its laziest: "But a quality start means a 4.50 ERA!"
In response: That is the minimum qualification for a quality start, with the only quality-start-eligible pitching lines resulting in a four-plus ERA being the ones with three earned runs allowed and either six, 6⅓ or 6⅔ innings pitched. And keep this in mind: In 2015, there were noticeably more nonquality-start wins (359) than four-plus-ERA quality starts (283). In addition, there were 418 quality starts of a sub-two ERA -- those can only be starts of six-plus innings and either zero or one earned run allowed -- that failed to result in a win, with 46 of those at least eight innings in length. To put that into perspective, there were two more wins in which the starting pitcher's ERA for the game was at least seven (48).
Innings pitched (IP): It has been the most controversial of the 12 categories in my longest-running league that uses 6x6 scoring, but it's also a logical category for which to reward a pitcher. Simply put, innings pitched equals outs, or at least multiplying them by three gets you that number. And aren't outs one of a pitcher's two primary goals (the other being preventing runs)?
Critics say that roles drive innings totals, and that's true for managers who attempt to force wins by keeping a laboring starter in longer, but the volume of those has decreased over the years. Twenty-five seasons ago (1991), there were 344 instances of a winning starting pitcher pitching exactly five innings with a nine-plus ERA; that number dropped to 141 only 10 years ago (2006) and to only 12 last season (2015). In addition, the "role-driven" criticism could also be applied to RBIs and runs, but no one ever clamors for their removal from Rotisserie scoring.
By the way, in fantasy terms, innings pitched also acts to counterbalance a relief-pitcher-heavy strategy, especially when adding the next category to the mix.
Strikeouts per nine innings ratio (K/9): Some might prefer the simplicity of strikeouts remaining a counting category, but doing so while including the other categorical changes would severely depress relief pitcher value while encouraging a streaming-starters strategy. Switching it to a ratio rewards skills over volume, while enhancing the importance of selecting starters' matchups. The change has another benefit: It makes middle relievers more useful.
Rankings for Rotisserie 6x6 leagues
In order to help owners, both old and new, to Rotisserie 6x6 leagues, listed below are adjusted top 250 rankings for this scoring system.
For additional help in your player valuation in Rotisserie 6x6 scoring, I highly recommend entering the specs into our Custom Dollar Value Generator, perhaps even using it to make comparisons between 5x5 and 6x6 scoring in your league.