HEAD-TO-HEAD: A H2H Approach to the Mayberry Method

Introduction

The Mayberry Method ("MM") was created by Ron Shandler in 2010 in an effort to simplify our draft approach and break our reliance on statistical projections. The strategy was designed for use in Rotisserie leagues. However, built into each seven-digit Mayberry code is a skill set analysis about whether a player is head-to-head league material. By "decoding" Mayberry, we can assemble a team that has the characteristics of a successful H2H squad.

MM Basics for H2H Application

If you are unfamiliar with the Mayberry Method, you should take a few minutes to read the articles contained in the link above. As a reminder, the seven digit MM code is broken down for hitters as follows:

PWR - SPD - BA - PT - HLTH - EXP - CONS

The four skills categories are scored 1-5 and the three reliability components are scored A-F. The corresponding skills index scores and projections that correlate with MM's 1-5 grades are as follows:

Power

PX            MM   Rough HR Approx
=========     ==   ===============
0 - 49        0    0
50 - 79       1    up to 10
80 - 99       2    up to 20
100 - 119     3    up to 30
120 - 159     4    up to 40
160+          5    up to 50+

Speed

RSpd           MM   Rough SB Approx
==========    ==   ===============
0 - 39        0    0
40 - 59       1    up to 10
60 - 79       2    up to 20
80 - 99       3    up to 30
100 - 119     4    up to 40
120+          5    up to 50+

Batting Average

xBA           MM
===========   ==
.000 - .239   0
.240 - .254   1
.255 - .269   2
.270 - .284   3
.285 - .299   4
.300+         5

Playing Time

PA            MM   Role
=========     ==   ====================
0 - 99        0    Non-factors
100 - 249     1    Fringe/bench players
250 - 449     3    Mid-timers
450+          5    Potential full-timers

Breaking Down MM From a H2H Perspective

In drafting a head-to-head team, we aim to assemble a team of players with similar skill sets as this creates a more consistent roster. In applying this approach, we've typically used the following filters as a starting point, although we have tweaked the model over the years:

ct% > 80%
xBA > .280
PX > 120
RC/G > 5

Due to week-to-week variability in counting statistics, any percentage category (here, batting average) should be prioritized. In reviewing the MM skills scores, we can correlate the power and contact skills as follows:

PX > 4 or 5 = PX of 120 or higher
xBA > 4 or 5 = xBA of .285 or higher

Only full-time players will have an opportunity to produce the counting statistics required, so we need to limit our search to those players who earn a 5 for playing time.

From a reliability standpoint, health grades are critical, particularly early in the draft. Our filter will cull those players with grades of A or B. This creates a top tier H2H Mayberry profile of:

4/5 - N/A - 4/5 - 5; with a health grade of A/B.

You may be wondering why the consistency grade is not included above. The consistency grades that are part of the MM scores are based on a year-over-year analysis. For hitters, they look for variations of RC/G between successive years.  If a player's RC/G has fluctuated by 2 or more runs, they receive an "F" score. In reviewing consistency grades for this article, it became apparent that players who had improved or breakout years, or a small sample size of at-bats, often had poor consistency grades.  While this is a topic beyond the scope of this article, week-to-week consistency is more critical in the H2H game, and therefore, we incorporate quality-consistency scores ("QC scores") as part of our analysis.

2017 Top Tier MM H2H players

Below is a list of players that meet the H2H Mayberry profile set forth above. There are additional columns that show each player's QC score as well as their ADP by round in a 12 team league. The players are listed in order of their QC score. 

Name                  MM Code    QC    ADP 
==================    =======    ===   ===
Arenado, Nolan        4155 AAB    126    1
Encarnacion, Edwin    4155 BAB    126    2
Rizzo, Anthony        4155 AAA    119    2
Santana, Carlos       4245 AAC    119   11
Donaldson, Josh       4355 AAC    104    1
Dozier, Brian         4445 AAC     69    3
Freeman, Freddie      4245 BAC     59    3
Machado, Manny        4245 BAB     52    1
Cespedes, Yoenis      4245 BAB     50    6
Trout, Mike           4445 AAB     44    1
Seager, Corey         4255 ACB     44    2
Carpenter, Matt       4055 BAB     33    7
Cruz, Nelson          4245 AAB     31    4
Gonzalez, Carlos      4345 BBC     15    7
Cabrera, Miguel       4055 BAC     15    2
Goldschmidt, Paul     4245 BAD      7    1
Benintendi, Andrew    4355 AFF      0   12
Harper, Bryce         4245 BBF    -15    1
Morales, Kendrys      4045 ACB    -30   15
Dickerson, Alex       4245 ADC    -35   33
Contreras, Willson    4155 ADB    -35    9
Kepler, Max           4345 ADC    -36   20
Tomas, Yasmany        4045 ACB    -37   13
Sanchez, Gary         4145 ACC    -55    4
Correa, Carlos        4355 ACB    -62    2
Bregman, Alex         4345 AFF    -67    9

The context derived from the ADP is important. Max Kepler (OF, MIN) falls into our top tier. He is not an early round draft choice with an ADP in the twentieth round. However, as your draft progresses, players with late round ADPs might be worth reaching for a round or two early. Similarly, we are not advocating taking Edwin Encarnacion (1b, CLE) over Mike Trout (OF, LAA) simply because his QC score is higher. QC scores are simply another consideration in evaluating who to pick and when. For reference sake, in 2016, only 6.6% of all MLB players had a QC score of 50 or greater. Only 11.3% had QC scores of 25 or greater.

If you were curious as to who else would have made our top tier but for health concerns, the following players had the requisite skills scores but below grade health marks:

Name               MM Code   QC    ADP
================   =======   ===   ===
Holliday, Matt     4045 FCA   29    22
Votto, Joey        4155 CBD   22     3
Kang, Jung-ho      4145 CCF    0    20
Dickerson, Corey   4045 CCC  -30    26
Peralta, David     4355 DCF  -60    24

Increasing the MM H2H Player Pool

As we have previously discussed, a homogenous team should have 6-8 core players with similar skills profiles. While it certainly is possible to draft 6-8 of the players listed above, it's helpful to have some back up options as well. Because we want to protect any percentage categories that are not based on a player's amount of at-bats per week, we will lower the power index to 3, but keep all other skill requirements intact:

3 - N/A - 4/5 - 5; with a health grade of A/B.

These filters generate the following pool of players, organized by QC scores:

Name                MM Code   QC    ADP
=================   =======   ===   ===
Murphy, Daniel      3255 BAF  154     3
Gurriel, Yulieski   3245 ADF  133    22
Betts, Mookie       3555 AAC   89     1
Cano, Robinson      3055 AAC   89     3
Seager, Kyle        3145 AAB   81     6
Beltre, Adrian      3055 BAC   74     7
Blackmon, Charlie   3455 BAC   46     2
Turner, Trea        3545 ADD   43     1
Braun, Ryan         3355 AAC   23     5
Polanco, Gregory    3345 AAB   23     6
Yelich, Christian   3345 BAB   22     5
Lucroy, Jonathan    3345 BBD    7     5
Kipnis, Jason       3345 AAC    0     8
Turner, Justin      3155 BCB  -37    11
Abreu, Jose         3045 AAC  -44     6
Drury, Brandon      3145 ACD  -52    22
Marte, Starling     3545 ABB  -56     3
Gonzalez, Adrian    3045 AAA  -67    14 

The interplay between tiers is important. This tier of players should be used in conjunction with the higher tier and not simply after the top tier options are exhausted. For instance, if you are picking in the first round and have your heart set on drafting Mookie Betts (OF, BOS), the prudent move in round 2 would be to scan the ADPs in the top tier and locate a few players that can provide a power boost, such as Encarnacion, Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC) or Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET). Similarly, if you've spent a high round pick on someone with a low QC score such as Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) and the remaining top tier choices also have low QC scores, then dip into the second tier to select Adrian Beltre (3B, TEX) in round 7.

Additionally, while our H2H MM code does not target players based on their speed skills, the second column of the MM codes above contains this information. You do not need to punt the steals category. Although we are de-prioritizing the speed skill, there are seventeen (17) players listed above with a MM speed score of 3 or higher. These players are categorized as having up to thirty (30) stolen base-potential. Therefore, you can still be competitive in the steal category most weeks applying this approach.

And in case you are wondering who would have qualified for this tier but for health issues, there is this lonely twosome:

Name             MM Code   QC    ADP
==============   =======   ===   ===
Pollock, A.J.    3545 FDF  -67     4
Moustakas, Mike  3045 FCD   29    18

Conclusion

The Mayberry Method may have been designed for the Rotisserie game, but when approached differently it contains all the information we need to determine whether a player is a worthy H2H pick. 


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.