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Ichthyomancy: Marlins Year 23

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Welcome to the 2016 Major League Baseball season! Make predictions and win fantastic prizes!

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ichthyomancy

Noun:

  1. Divination interpreting the appearance and behaviour of fish. A form of augury.
  2. Divination interpreting the entrails of fish. A form of aruspicy.

* courtesy of Wiktionary.com

Welcome back to regular season baseball. This year, Fish Stripes will be tracking everyone's predictions through each of the 162 Marlins regular season games. You'll be scored and graded on a fixed system, run by yours truly. Hi, I'm Kevin, your host and grader. Main man Michael Jong will play the role of tiebreaker in the case of any disagreements. Let's get down to how you can score. These "bets" are entirely for bragging rights, as there are no cash prizes. In other words, you're playing for nothing but pride. Hopefully, the Marlins will be playing for more this season.

If you played this last season, then you know I dropped off the grid after a month and a half. Couldn't be helped - I was stuck in a European country literally without internet from mid-May through mid-September. I can assure you that this will not happen this season, although I will disappear for the first week of May. Scoring will continue as normal through the time I am gone.

Attendance

Attendance is a big deal in Marlins baseball, like it or not. In each game, we will guess the attendance of the game, home or away, and the closest guess will be worth 2 points.

Individual Games

You can make your best prediction for game scores. A pass costs you nothing. Post your prediction of the score, and if it's a direct hit (with the correct teams), that's three points. If you pick the correct winner and by the actual number of runs, that'll be two points. Predict which team wins, and that's a single point.

Individual Predictions

These are our prop bets. You're allowed to make up to two "outside the box" predictions for each contest. Points will be awarded based on the probability of something happening. If you've predicted something unfathomably rare (a no-hitter, pitcher hits two home runs, Giancarlo Stanton steals seven bases) and it comes true, that's going to be a lot of points. Everyday things will be worth less. What the heck? The game is free - swing for the fences!

Heroes and Zeroes

In concert with Ichthyomancy, we'll also be tracking daily Heroes and Zeroes. It will be a complement to the already excellent post-game coverage that you've come to enjoy here at Fish Stripes. In it, I'll use www.fangraphs.com and their Wins Probability Added (WPA) metric. According to Fangraphs:

WPA is the ultimate context dependent statistic. You get credit based on how much your action contributes to the odds of winning, meaning a home run in a 1-1 game in the 9th is dramatically more valuable than one in a 10-1 game in the 9th. For this reason, WPA is terrific at telling the story of the game and the players who delivered in big situations. When did the winning team pull away? Who had the decisive hit? These are questions WPA can answer.

It doesn’t tell you how well a player performed, it tells you how important their performance was.

With this in mind, I'll be ranking each players' contribution to each game, and ordering them from first to worst. WPA is invaluable at awarding context dependent results, and as such is not a good indicator of future performance. It is, however, a very good benchmark as to which players came through in each contest, and which players did not.

The top three players will be labeled in the Hero section, and the bottom three in the Zero section. I'll be ordering the players from each team, so don't expect any homerism. As the season goes on, I'll start to track performance with a rolling 10-game WPA total, so we have a sort of "Hot or Not."

Predict a hero or a zero, for either team, and it's a straight point each, for a maximum of three additional points.

Seasonal Predictions

Ok. You've got until the opening pitch on Tuesday, April 5th to tally up your chance at some important bonus points. Make some preseason predictions, go ahead, get outrageous, and we'll award you up to five points depending on your educated guesses.

Where to place your picks?

Make your season predictions here. You can also make your picks for opening day here. Picks for each game after the first will be in the previous day's Heroes and Zeroes article.

Looking forward to hosting the Detroit Tigers at 7:10 on Monday? Us too! Let's get together and follow the Marlins this season. Keep it locked in right here at Fish Stripes for everything important in Marlin World, and join us in the Game Thread!