BLOOMBERG SPORTS FRONT OFFICE 2011 IS A MUST FOR FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER AND FAN ALIKE

This past Saturday I spent the afternoon at Bloomberg Headquarters watching a demonstration of the Bloomberg Sports launch of Front Office 2011. There are two forms of Front Office, one for the fan/fantasy player and the Pro application that is becoming a staple in MLB front offices for its “leave no pitch or hit behind” usage of the application. Before we look at the Pro version of Front Office, let’s look what this application has for the fantasy baseball owner’.

The Draft Kit

With the Draft Kit gives you the ability to draft the strongest possible fantasy team by using what Bloomberg Sports calls its “B-Rank” which is a statistical secret sauce that ranks players based on the scoring system used by your league. You set up your draft list by best players available, by position or by more intense, players you should be targeting and the one’s you need to pass by.

There is also a Fantasy Factor section that list pros and cons of all players to help to make the right choice for your team. Target Round gives you Bloomberg’s take on what round players in your draft should go. This again is based on your leagues scoring system.  

What Front Office does as well is, it integrates your fantasy league (Yahoo, MLB, ESPN, CBS etc.) into the application.

So now your draft is over and you look over the team you’ve assembled and you’re not happy, you shorted yourself on pitching or a day after the draft you read the middle infielder you draft has a torn ACL and is gone for the season, what do you do, besides bang your head against the wall? You go to Front Office Free Agent finder and you look for the middle infielders  still out there who can give you some power numbers you need or if stolen bases are used as a scoring category, you can find that as a specific stat as well. You can also find that diamond in the rough you’ve read about and no one in your league pounced on yet.

Front Office also has a Lineup Manager to help with suggestions on who to start and who needs to grab some pine. Whether it’s a starting pitcher on his off day or the outfielder that is slumping, Lineup Manager gives the statistical information you need to make the lineup switch to up your league point total. You can also match your lineup with your opponents and Front Office will compare the two as your league can be synched into Front Office.

Front Office 2011 goes on sale in a week for $19.95 for the season. Besides all the stats and graphs you get baseball news on your favorite team and players on your fantasy team as well. It’s your one stop for all you baseball news and needs.

As impressive as the Fantasy version of Front Office 2011 is, the Pro version was close to jaw dropping. One of the informative and entertaining portions of the presentation was when former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson, now a consultant of Bloomberg Sports as well as his own 3Psports pitching site, gave a mesmerizing demonstration on the use of the pitch f/x of the Pro Front Office. One of the pitchers that Peterson used was John Axford who Peterson mentored as pitching coach of the Milwaukee Brewers last season.

After bringing up Axford’s pitch f/x numbers on the screen, Peterson then clicked on from the drop to show the type of pitches that Axford threw during the season, the location of the pitches, what pitches were balls, strikes taken and swinging. If that wasn’t enough info for you, you can click on the pitches and you get game video of the pitcher/hitter confrontation. Peterson also pointed out to us how he used the data and video from Front Office to fix a defect in Axford’s delivery. From watching his delivery, Peterson had Axford move slightly to the right of the pitching rubber as he saw his arm angle was not where it should be when his front foot lands. By going over this video with Axford he saw the problem, made the adjustment and was successful in getting Axford to be a very effective closer.  

As If that wasn’t enough to impress you there was a “but wait there’s more” moment when the demonstration turned to having the Front Office App on an iPad.

All game information can be downloaded into this program 20 minutes after the last out of a game.  So say the Mets have just finished a game at Citi Field and are enroute to St. Louis to face the Cardinals the next day. By the time the players have given post game comments, get showered and dressed and board the bus for LaGuardia, the next days starting pitcher can load his iPad with video of the Cardinals game that night and get a detailed statistical analysis of his history versus Cardinal hitters complete with video of the at bats. The same holds for the hitters. They can get analysis right at their fingertips as to how they hit the next days starting pitchers or how he got them out.

If you are a fantasy baseball player or even if you’re just an ordinary everyday baseball fan, this application is well worth the $19.95 investment. Take a brown bag lunch to work for a couple three days to defray the cost if you have to.

By the way, Sandy Alderson should be proud, the Mets bloggers were in full force at this event as I was honored to share a table with Kerel Cooper of On The Black (Kerel has video of Peterson’s presentation) Mike Silva of NY Baseball Digest, Jon Levin of Subway Squawkers, Mark Healy of Gotham Baseball. I also got to chat with Ted Berg and James Kannengieser of Amazin’ Avenue who heard my distinct Brooklynese over the speakers when I had the floor to ask Rick Peterson a question, and at the break located me  and said “I heard that voice and I knew who it was”  it was a fun and informative day at Bloomberg Sports.

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THE BASEBALL REVOLTION WILL BE COMPUTERIZED VIA BLOOMBERG SPORTS

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seen the future and it is covered in numbers, charts and trending lines and it will change the way we follow the game of baseball.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be invited to a presentation by Bloomberg Sports in conjunction with MLB.com of their new baseball statistical analytical tool. This new technology will not only change how fantasy baseball aficionados compete in Fantasy Baseball Leagues but it will change the way you follow your favorite team.

Bloomberg Sports has two different applications, one for fantasy baseball and the other that gives MLB front offices more information on players than you  could possibly imagine,  we were given a preview to both.

Fantasy Baseball Kit

Former NYC Deputy Mayor and now President of Bloomberg LP, Dan Doctoroff,  lead off the impressive presentation of this product by comparing what Bloomberg has done for the way folks in the financial industry receive data that’s how baseball fans and fantasy players will get all the info they need about every player in MLB to field the strongest fantasy team they can. Now I’m not a hard core fantasy player but even if I didn’t play, as someone who craves as much baseball info I can get, this site will do that and more.

The stats are easy to look up and with the ability to find just about every statistic you need to make your draft choice is just a click, click, click away. Say your in Round 9 of your draft (by the way this tool works with just about every on-line sports sites that run Fantasy leagues, Yahoo, ESPN, CBSports etc. with a pull down tab for easy access) and you want to find a decent utility man who has a good OBA some power and can play some outfield as well as infield, you can customize the Draft Kit to give you a list of players who meet that criteria.

The players are displayed on the screen like baseball cards, as you click on the player, his whole baseball life is at your fingertips. Not just statistics but any news item that mentions that player. All news and stats come to in real-time.

Not only is this site a fountain of baseball information, it is ascetically appealing. Easy to read color charts and player trending graphs are so vibrant and easy to follow.

Along with The Draft Kit there is also an In-Season Tool that is sold separately that gives you real-time news, content, and scores from all MLB teams as well as content written by the Bloomberg Sports staff of which Jonah Kerri is the lead writer, with more top quality baseball writers coming on board soon. You can follow every player on your team in real-time as stats are updated after every at bat. As Mike Silva said to me as we watched the presentation, “It’s like day trading for fantasy baseball fans” Well said.

If you purchase just the Draft Tool Kit is will cost you $19.95. If you buy the In-Season Tools that will cost you $24.95 but if you buy both the both Bloomberg Sports is bundling both for a cost of $24.95. Not only do you get the Draft-Kit and In-Season Tools but you also get the Premium content for the Bloomberg Sports writing staff headed by Jonah Kerri. A worthwhile investment in my opinion if you’re a big time fantasy baseball player and or a hardcore baseball fan.

Pro Application

If the Draft Kit/Draft Tool site wasn’t intense enough, after a delicious lunch, the Bloomberg Sports team of Bo Moon and Stephen Orban, put the presentation into overdrive as we got to see what has been pitched to all 30 MLB teams to help there front office’s work a lot more efficiently.

The Pro App was the one most of the bloggers in attendance were drooling over. It had every stat and parcel of player information you could think of (One of the most asked questions to the Bloomberg staff was about adding more intense sabermetic formulas to the app and they said that will be done, hopefully by next year.) including service time Rule 5 eligibility and options to minor leagues. Also Pitch F/X, pitch counts and pitcher/batter tendencies. Examples were of what certain pitchers throw in different counts and what pitches they go to certain batters. In one way this could be a boon to managers making in game decisions or a bane of their existence as the second guessing could be overwhelming (this info in the hands of bloggers could be like a third world country obtaining a Nuclear weapon) in fact, it was told to us that as much as some teams have bought the program and have embraced it, many felt the facts and figures were “overwhelming” I tried to see which category our beloved Metropolitans fell, but mum was the word.

As much as I was impressed by this product and I was more impressed by the presentation and the hospitality by the Bloomberg Sports and MLB.com staff. They are first rate people with a first rate product.

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