Secret Formula 2006

Postby Jerlins » Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:44 pm

Interesting read, very imformative, well researched, and for the most part, correctly assessed. I respectfully disagree, however, not only with the amount spent on pitching, but how the dollars should be allocated percentage wise with the staff, at least concerning the 06 edition (I believe 05 was correctly interpreted).

With your permission, so as not to hijack this thread, I'd be happy to show you my 90+ wins teams (10 of them) as well as my current teams on pace for 90+ wins (4 of them), in which maybe one or two, is even close to hitting $27 to $28 million, let alone the $32 million you mention as a prerequisite to building a successful team. While all the other parts of the formula are in place, for example, park selection, percentage of hitting allocations top to bottom, and so on, I'm never close to the magical pitching dollars needed to be spent.

Amazingly, using the 48/32 allocation, was quite successful in 05 for me. My first 06 team used that as a barometer, and all it got me was a 76 and 86 record, still the worst record I've ever recorded in my short Strat career.

In conclusion, other than $ allocation, everything else rings true, and its a wonderful tool for which folks should adapt when constructing a team. A big thanks to your efforts in sharing with the community!!!!

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Postby worrierking » Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:44 pm

Great work, J-Pav. Well-researched and written entertainingly. Cudos.

Isn't it interesting that we are discussing things like Geekor's strategy of finding guys with few GIDPs? A couple of years ago, we certainly were not advanced that far into the minutia of strategy were we?

As to the discussion Lucky and I had about teams that were performing well. It was just an observation that it looked like the best team of the most common type of stadium was the team that ended up winning in most cases. If there were 8 hitting parks in a league, say two Coors, three Cells, an Ameriquest and 2 Citizen's Banks, then the best of the hitting teams seemed to win the most games rather than a Petco team, or some other pitching park. It seemed like it was tougher going against the grain in 06. I still think that's true. In the past, if you had the only pitcher's park team, you would win often by having free access to all the best players of the type that fits your park, with no competition. This observation may be tainted by small sample size, but a few folks who I respect like Luckyman seem to agree, so I think it's probably valid.
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Postby BRADSANDBOTHE » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:17 pm


I have completed 15 seasons with pretty good success.
9 Teams have made playoffs
8 of the 9 lost in the Semi-finals
1 team won a ring, but it was a 100m team (the only non 80m team I had)
My average wins for those 15 teams was 84.4
My average losses for the 15 teams was 77.6

If I threw out my first 2 '06 seasons, my averages would have been 85.4 vs 76.6

I spent slightly less on pitching and, obviously, slightly more on hitting.

I will say that with my propensity to lose in the semi's (8 of 9 times) would go to the fact that I didn't have enough pitching. I had the usual 1 stud and I scrimped on the 3,4 and (5) Starters to beef up a bit.

Based on your observations above, I would have to agree that maybe that extra Million spent on Pitching would have been the ticket to get me over the hump.

Very Interesting observations as well as Geekor's Double Play theory.

I will keep more of this information tucked away to see if it will help me in '07 to win a few more rings instead of being the guy that gets a ride to the dance, but doesn't get in.

Good Stuff,

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Postby J-Pav » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:24 pm




Thx for the reply!

Let me respond to the response. Opinion pieces like this are generally controversial by nature, because we all have different opinions, our logic colored by our own personal observations of things. I am often concerned about posts like [i:7600a44ed5]The Secret Formula[/i:7600a44ed5] because I wonder if my observations really only apply to the way [i:7600a44ed5]I[/i:7600a44ed5] see things, and not to how anyone else sees it.

When you see things through the lenses from behind a very large bat, it's hard to see the nuances of speed teams. I was totally in love with my '03-04 Beane Count teams (maximizing net walks plus homers) and miss them greatly. Since that doesn't work as well as in the past, I needed to find ways to work within the new paradigm (however, notice the Big Win teams and at a glance total the Beane Counts...often the Big Win teams STILL have very favorable 100+ net walks plus net homers).

To get out of MY own comfort zone, I sometimes look at what the other winners I've played against are doing. You very politely disagreed with the 32/48 split, but what you are disagreeing with is that when I average 16 teams (with the most wins in the league) pitching salaries, it's not totalling $32 million. But ON AVERAGE, it is (as it has for at least the past three seasons).

I'm not saying you can't win with a different amount. [b:7600a44ed5]Geekor[/b:7600a44ed5] posted a nice team for us with very low pitching salary that worked well for him. I played a tour league with [b:7600a44ed5]Spicki[/b:7600a44ed5] where he spent like $43 million on pitching and finished [i:7600a44ed5]third in offense[/i:7600a44ed5]!! I say this because I too would like to be this inventive. But when what you're doing doesn't work like you think it should, then looking around to see what [i:7600a44ed5]is[/i:7600a44ed5] working can only help lead to improved insights. I think this would be especially helpful for newbs who haven't yet mastered the joys of SPs like Bedard and Dempster and Cabrera.

If you total all the stats of all your own teams, you would probably get a very good idea of what works for [i:7600a44ed5]you[/i:7600a44ed5]. If you total the stats of the [i:7600a44ed5]other[/i:7600a44ed5] good competitors (i.e. CHAMPs or best records), I'm pretty sure you'll find that they probably (generally) fit the profile as I laid it out. Remember the disclaimer! I recognize that there are lots of ways to win in SOM!!


That post with [b:7600a44ed5]luckyman[/b:7600a44ed5] was one of the more insightful posts this year. It should have generated much more discussion than it did. It totally agrees with what I've seen, but I haven't had the time or inclination to really investigate it.

Thx [b:7600a44ed5]Bodie[/b:7600a44ed5], [b:7600a44ed5]Jerlins[/b:7600a44ed5] and [b:7600a44ed5]Worrier[/b:7600a44ed5] for the replies.
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Postby Jerlins » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:53 pm

J-Pav, you said it best. If you are a new player, a seasoned rookie, or a hard core vet, for the most part this formula will work well for you. Once familiar with the cards and the game itself, you can take the formula, and tweek it a bit to your level of comfort zone.

Durantjerry inspired me to experiment with some hard core hitting Petco teams, and while the first has been average at best (you're in the same league) after 72 games (though run differential is 2nd best at this writing), I've made subtle changes to my next three Petco teams in hopes of perfecting dj's original premise that a loaded lineup can win in Petco.

I've found myself selecting a stadium and giving it a go 4 to 5 times before moving onto the next stadium. With each Ameriquest team for example, each team seemed a bit better than the previous one, so I've found myself satisfied with the experimental results.

Back to the original contention about pitching though, I believe its the defense that actually makes the pitching. A 1 in CF, surrounded by 2's around the rest of the diamond (maybe one more 1) can turn a mediocre staff ($16-$18 in SP), into a much better than average one. And when those 1's and 2's are also tops at their position in hitting the ball, well, you've covered all bases so to speak. Here's my sub $12. SP staff that finished in the middle of the pack in pitching, and at the Cell no less. I believe it was the defense up the middle that made my staff competive.

Yes I understand its a minute sample, and that luck played a great part in its success, but I've followed that routine on most every team since and it's worked well. Sluggers that can field well (ARod, Lee, Jones, etc) might be the way to go in 06. But like you mentioned, differing opinions lead to different paths to success. It's why we play the game and have as much fun as we do trying different things.

All in all, you surely have my endorsement in what you've written as how to build a successful team. Again, great job!!!
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the contrary voice...

Postby bomp helium » Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:23 pm

I've always been a contrarian -- if you want me to do something tell me I can't -- so when I joined last year and read the "secret formula" thread I immediately began experimenting with other paths. Six championships (three in 2005, three in 2006) in 34 teams isn't the best, but not bad either, especially for an absent-minded and perpetually-distracted I think there is actually room for debate on this...

I've always felt that fielding is mildly overrated. Perhaps it is because in real-time baseball the fielders are out there all day, looking important. A batter takes a few hacks and heads to the bench. So perhaps we have always psychologically overvalued the defensive aspect of a player's performance because that's where we see the player the most -- at his position in the field. But while Manny spends 95 percent of his time looking at chicks from his post in RF, he earns his salary in the ten minutes or so he is at the plate...

Is Ichiro REALLY more valuable than Manny Ramirez?

I ran the numbers in a thread last year and it sure seems that more than half of a players impact is offensive (number of likely X chances versus number of PA). For example, Manny may get one RF-X in a series, while he gets 15 PAs. I contend he'll do more damage in those PAs than in that one X chance.

Defense is really a subset of pitching (occuring on the pitcher's card), and i contended then (and now) that your money is better spent on starting pitching. Opponents' hits can come either off of X rolls or hits on the pitcher's just depends on how you want to distribute the money (i.e., where you find the best value). I contend the better value is in pitching.

I did an experiment, repeated four times in 2005. Barry Larkin (a four at ss!) won two championships for me, and so I kept drafting him (not a problem; he's always available). At 6 million or so cheaper than Jeter, that allowed me to use that cash to make a huge upgrade in starting pitching (say Danny Haren to Jake Peavy) that I felt more than compensated for the extra bases Larkin allowed. And for every base Larkin allowed defensively, I contend he produced more than that with his bat. My experiment went like this:

At the halfway point of four seasons, I dumped Larkin, moved Lugo (3e29!) to ss, and picked up Pokey Reese (2B1)...the money was about equal: Larkin was all offense, Reese all D; each batted 9th...the experiment was to see which player -- all other things (except the rolls) being equal -- would be the better teammate. Same rosters, same opponents, same park. EACH TIME in my ridiculously small sample, my team took a significant dive after the change...from well over .500 to .500 or got ridiculous at a couple of points, with nine and 13-game losing streaks...of course the losing streaks were followed by a few beer-inspired roster moves, but the scent in the air was clear: Reese was keeping my lineup from turning over. The bottom of a lineup is key, in that those are the guys the sluggers are often driving home. "Turning the lineup over" is what creates big innings. Reese's fine defense appeared to be negated by his rally-killing tendencies.

So my experience matched my intuition: hitting trumps defensive range, at least in these cases. It could be that defense is less a factor at Coors than Petco. I accept that's very much a possibility. It could be luck. It could be fate. It could be many things. But that's how it went down.

In 2006, I've continued the experiment and have just begun using Ronny Cedeno, this year's Larkin, at ss. He's a .300 hitter with a .67 pricetag. He's a winner so far (19-11). My feeling is that he's such a pricing bargain that it allowed me to have Ortiz, Berkman, Ramirez, Alou, Jones, Piedra and Valentin in my lineup. All inept glove-men, by the way, but all OBP-SLG machines. I'll keep you posted.

What I'm thinking is that the defense model may work for Petco (I've yet to play there), but to build a team at Coors, it may be OBP-SLG that wins. These are not the findings I was neccesarily looking for. But it appears, in hitting parks at least, that defense up the middle may not be the only path to success....

Great thread J-Pav. Thanks for opening the discussion...I just wanted to add another experience...
bomp helium
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Postby Palmtana » Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:04 am

Inspired by J-Pav’s[url=] Secret Formula thread[/url] from last year, I recently surveyed the 13 champ teams from Event 1 of the Players' Championship as well as 13 champs from leagues found at random (all 80M, autodraft). I started out just wanting to see if MM really was the park of champs (it is) and ended up gathering some other data as well. I looked at the division of $ between SP and RP and, for a reason I can’t recall, SLG.

[b:60cac6ecea]Pitching $[/b:60cac6ecea]

The 32M number holds up well for the random leagues, while the Event 1 teams averaged less:

Random - 31.41 [SP-17.21; RP-14.2]
Event 1 - 28.28 [SP-17.0; RP-11.28]

Any guesses where the 3M difference in relief pitching showed up? It wasn’t slugging. The Random leagues had a SLG of .431 and the Event 1 teams were at .428. I’ll go back and look at OBP and BA and see if there are significant differences.

In last years Secret Formula thread J-Pav reported that the champ teams he surveyed had a 4.05 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. This year, with all of my 26 teams combined, it was 3.97 and 1.31.

Of the 26 teams, only 5 spent less than 25M on pitching. (For you players currently in MM with cheapo pitching, don fret. 4 of the 5 were in MM.)

[b:60cac6ecea]The Utley/Young Effect[/b:60cac6ecea]

Last year J-Pav wrote:[i:60cac6ecea] Not some, not most, but ALL 13 teams had either a "1" or a "2" at SS and CF. At second base, again 1s and 2s, but a third of the teams played 3s successfully.[/i:60cac6ecea]

This would equate to average ratings for the ‘05 game of (approximately since I don’t have the exact proportions of 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s):

SS - 1.5
2nd - 1.8 (I estimated 5-1’s, 4-2’s, 4-3’s)
CF - 1.5

Average for all 3 positions: [b:60cac6ecea]1.6[/b:60cac6ecea]

This year (average for all 26 teams):

SS - 1.85 (4-3’s - always Young)
2nd - 2.2 (11-3’s - 5 Utley’s, 2 Kents)
CF - 1.65 (3-3’s - 2 Griffeys)

Average for all 3 positions:[b:60cac6ecea]1.9[/b:60cac6ecea]
13 of the 26 champs had a full time 3 at SS or 2nd.

[b:60cac6ecea]Where to Play (or “Hi, I’m Chris Carpenter. Draft me high.”)[/b:60cac6ecea]

I tallied not only the champs, but all division winners as well as WC’s to see which parks were most successful. Of the 104 teams, they played in:

(Parks represented 3 or more times)
Yankee, PNC-7
Cell, Safeco-6
Tropicana, Comerica, Turner, GAB-4
Wrigley, Coors-3

The 26 champs played in:

Petco-4 (The Petco’s went big with pitching averaging 38.3M.)
GAB, Jacobs, Kaufman, Safeco, Turner - 1

The WC won 7 of the 26 leagues.

What does this mean for you? I’m not that smart. I just like to collect data. For me it means trading Gomes (I’m now hurting for a #2 hitter, geekor) for Harden on my Cell team starting soon and DH’ing Thames in hitters parks and Hocking in pitchers parks.
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Postby J-Pav » Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:17 am


Great post, thx for joining the discussion.

I normally like to be the contrarian, too, as George Bernard Shaw writes "[i:f9c88f8203]the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.[/i:f9c88f8203]"

I'm always open to the variant perspective. I think I see a couple of holes in your argument, however, and it may take a true stat guy to to be called upon as a [i:f9c88f8203]defense[/i:f9c88f8203] witness. The Strato Berce website states that a 4e10 at SS equals a 1e84 SS, so Adam Everett is costing you 75 baserunners that you need to make up. That means a .250 hitting "1" equals a .400 hitting "4" (if you use 500 at bats, a .250 hitter (125 hits) needs to now get 200 hits to even things out from his bad glove). Did Larkin hit .400? Did he steal bases like Everett? Bunt? Hit and Run? Additionally, the [i:f9c88f8203]true[/i:f9c88f8203] stats nuts (unlike me, a more user friendly stats nut) once had this insane discussion many years ago about [i:f9c88f8203]lost opportunity cost[/i:f9c88f8203] that occurred when a 1 on defense ended an inning with a double play. I don't doubt your anecdotal evidence, and maybe even under the right opposing ballpark conditions your observation is very valid. I would just say that you're swimming against the current, in my estimation.

Also, the average autoleague ballpark ranks for homers when I add them up, tends to be in the 1-9 range. There are just too many very smart small ball managers to contend with now to hang on to an all out Big Bat strategy.

Remember, you're arguing with my ability to add, not my ability to predict who will win any particular league. When I see 16 teams averaging 93 wins all doing the same things (on average), if I'm not beating them, maybe I should try joining them. If you are beating them, then keep it close to the vest! As for me, [i:f9c88f8203]I've been doing everything wrong[/i:f9c88f8203] according to [b:f9c88f8203]MY OWN POST[/b:f9c88f8203]! Therefore, I need to sample some of this home cooking myself. It certainly won't hurt my winning percentage at this point (although from the I Love Me section, I've still managed to win four rings (22 finished teams) this year in spite of myself).

Thx for the counterpoint!


[b:f9c88f8203]I hope that anyone who experiments with this will check back here and post a few links to see how the execution holds up to the theory.[/b:f9c88f8203] If I can only win a free team or two...
Last edited by J-Pav on Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby J-Pav » Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:33 am


Thank you for the additional documentation, it's much appreciated!

I would guess that there's been a conventional wisdom is that it's somewhat easier to win in a pitcher's park in 2006, so the tour teams tended to go in that direction. More pitcher's parks means less bullpen, with offensive stats that are drowned out by the lower split rolls.

Just an opinion though, as my 2006 tour experience was completely dysfunctional this year. Although, with the benefit of hindsight, my misery bears out my new insights. I was completely too clever with my tour teams when "fundamentally sound" would've been plenty clever enough. Unfortunately for me, the tour started before I recognized just what "fundamentally sound" meant for the new cards. The [b:90ab20507a]Doh![/b:90ab20507a] moment occurred when I only too late realized it meant following my own damn advice!
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Postby worrierking » Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:18 am

J-Pav, another issue that might need to be looked at is the standard deviation from the average rather than just the average itself.

If the dollar amount spent on pitching averages 32 million was that coming from a group of twelve teams that each spent exactly 32 million or twelve teams, six of which spent 45 million on pitching and six that spent 19 million on pitching. Both sets of twelve would average 32 million, but are featuring very different ways of achieving success.

I don't know how to figure standard deviation, but I understand how to apply it. Perhaps you could compare your teams from '05 and '06 and see if there is a greater variance in either year.
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