Secret Formula 2006

Postby J-Pav » Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:30 pm

I don't think they vary that much at all, given the tendency for these teams to have won in (mostly) hitters parks, where I would expect to see managers trying to get more mileage from a little less pitching, so they can get the bigger bats.

Thx for the additional statistics!

Odd that you saw so many offenses prevail (in terms of wins), when my leagues show a more even mix, probably more on the pitcher-friendly side of neutral.
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Postby bomp helium » Fri Dec 22, 2006 7:49 pm

As Plato suggested, [i:df809f222b]"study the impossible..."[/i:df809f222b]

statistics are difficult...they can not only be used to mislead, but they themselves can be misleading...for example, say 85% of champions use the SECRET FORMULA...that's an impressive statistic...unless in those leagues 90% of the teams used that formula...then that same statistic could be used to make the precise opposite argument...

restated, of course 85% of the winners will be strong up the middle, because that's the "secret formula" that 90% of the teams use...

that's why we love's an's more complicated than the numbers...the numbers are as tricky as a popup in the sun on a windy day...

just finished a 2006 season...I was in 2nd place very late in the season when I dropped Visquel (2.75) and picked up Berroa (.60)...sounds ridiculous but the upside was I was able to get Soloman Torres (2.42) for Novoa (.87)...Torres was key as they went on to be champs, with Berroa hitting a key three-run HR in finals game six...

so maybe there's ANOTHER SECRET FORMULA:

1) the lineup. score more runs than they do. Win 7-5. The lineup is most potent when it turns over, so 1-9 quality hitters is suggested. High OBP. High BA. High SLG. The idea team average is .300/.400/.500. Defense is secondary. Nine bats. High average. Clutch. High OBP. Bashers. Bombers. Ted Williams is the prototype. Get Nine Ted Williams (with the heads).

The advantage of a strong lineup is that it turns over (insert joke here). The advantage of turning the lineup over is that your best hitters are 1,2 and 3, and you want them hitting as much as possible, and with men on base (or even women). Your 8 and 9 hitters set the table for the Elites and also extend rallies. If 1-9 are strong then the Whole is much stronger than the Parts.

EXAMPLE A: Two outs and two on. 2005 Pokey Reese strikes out.
EXAMPLE B: Two out and two on. 2005 Barry Larkin walks. HAL brings in a lefty. 2005 JT Snow walks. 2005 Robb Quinlin singles. Y.A. hits one in the water. Six runs in. Game Over. Larkin's walk is perhaps more valuable than "one base", since it allowed the lineup to turn over, where the professional hitters could drive in runs.

Conversely, of course, a bad fielder can also extend a rally for the other team, so that is true as well. DAMN.

2) Strong SP. The other 50% of the rolls land on the pitchers card. Yes, our sluggers are a bit slow in the field, so there will be a few "X-roll" hits on their cards. We must compensate by getting pitcher's with strong cards. And since we have extra cash from not overspending for defense, we can get two #1 sps and three other quality guys and set them for Conservative. We can have a 1-9 hitting machine lineup AND strong starting pitching. Add a decent closer, based on park, two decent-to-good R2s, two cheap high-value R1s, and some enthusiastic scrubs for the bench...

3) Defense. Oh. I almost forgot. Keep the E numbers down (4e8, not 4e22)...hide your worst gloves: RF, LF, IB, C (too many examples to list)...even 3B if the bat is good enough (Jones, Wright)...3s are okay at 2B, SS and CF (with reasonable Es) (Young, Eckstein, Utley, Kent, Griffey) complete hacks (no Juan Pierre! no Todd Greene!)...there's nothing WRONG with good defense of course, as long as they can HIT...A-Rod is not a problem...but the better VALUE may be A-Ram...

4) money. it's about managing a budget. putting the most money on the field. Spend on Nine Hitters, Five Starters. $70 million for those 14 guys. Then a closer (2.79-5 mill), two relievers (2-3 mill), two cheap Joes (<1 mill), and four .50 scrubs to back up The Nine. get the best quality and fit you can for the least money. Specialty reserves are excellent. Cheap defensive reserves can make a difference in the late innings. But they have to be able to defend themsleves at the plate. .250 minimum to play. Speed and occasional OBP can be had for cheap. Guys like Deivi Cruz, Gaithright, Bubba Crosby, Surhoff...

5) Injuries. Don't worry. Be happy. They'll get hurt, miss two games, come back and hit a three-run HR. Don't worry about it. They're priced accordingly, and I think many of them fall into the "high-value" catagory. Excpet for Drew. I've had it with him. It's good to have a "super-reserve", a <$1 multi-positionalist who's not a complete idiot with the bat (Mackowiak). But Freel would be overkill. Too expensive. Never sit money on the bench. Minimize Sleeping Salary (dollars not on the field).

The important thing is a Lineup that Turns Over. It's fun. the next important thing is Starting Pitching that Discourages the Other Lineup from Turning Over. Then a Park-Specific Closer, a Reasonable Defense up the Middle, one or two Strong OF Arms, a Catcher with a Decent Arm, some Speed, Clutch Hitting, Low DPs...

And Lots of Luck...

LINEUP: 1) high OBP, speed. Wants to score from first on a double. A good place to stash a guy who hits into DPs, since he's most likely to bat with bases empty. 2) high OBP, low DPs, good SLG. Wants to hit a double. 3) best hitter, if not the league's best hitter. Wants to hit .400 with 175 RBI. 4) protects 3 with good OBP and power from both sides and loves to hit 3-run homers. 5) protects 4. 6) protects 5. 7) protects 6. 8,9) second leadoff hitters, with good speed and decent OBP (.350). they set the table for 1-3. Don't skimp on OBP at 8-9! (Freel! Lugo!)...

A typical possible ANOTHER SECRET FORMULA lineup that will never happen now that I am releasing it in a thread ($49 million):...

Abreu (OBP, speed) -- 7.00
Alou (OBP, BA) -- 4.91
Ortiz (OBP, power) -- 9.07
Jones (OBP, power) -- 6.07
Ramirez (OBP, power) -- 7.45
Utley (OBP, power) -- 6.41
Valentin (OBP, power) -- 5.07
Duffy (OBP, BA, clutch) -- 4.19
Renteria (OBP, speed) -- .86

typical ASF pitching ($30-32 million):

SP Johnson -- 6.46
SP Peavy -- 5.87
SP Blanton -- 3.85
SP Webb -- 3.14
S/RHalsey -- 1.04
R/C f-Rod -- 3.32
R/C Torres -- 2.42
R/C Macdougal -- 1.32
R Sanchez -- .76
R Merker -- .51

Hopefully, you win 7-5 60% of the time...

the ASF must be tailored to the Home Park (a tremedous potential advantage). Pitcher's parks favor high BA, OBP and speed. Hitters parks favor OBP and power.


returning to the thread (sorry):

of course, SS and 2B ARE the premier strategic defensive choosing Larkin as my test subject was just a way to test the theory in basic principle I agree with traditonal "baseball wisdom"...the example of Manny (or Sheffield) milling about the pastures of RF may be more a appropriate Ichiro a more valuable teammate than Sheffield?...does Ichiro win more games with his glove than Sheffield wins with his bat?

All of this is possibly a Coors-specific discussion, since my experiment took place there...but I would suggest that the secret formula might be park-specific, and hence there may be more than one "secret formula"...

bomp helium
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Postby J-Pav » Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:23 pm

There's only one[i:f8ba4beb15] [b:f8ba4beb15]The Secret Formula[/b:f8ba4beb15][/i:f8ba4beb15] (tm) because I trademarked it in this very thread!! (Note to [i:f8ba4beb15]Old Guard[/i:f8ba4beb15]: [i:f8ba4beb15]tm[/i:f8ba4beb15] means "trademarked"). Accept no substitutes.


You make a persuasive argument for your point of view, and I don't want to debate you over an observation. I grant you it's valid.

The Secret Formula recipe is an unsophisticated way for a new player to delve into the game with something of an edge. It works as a "formula" per se, because it's simple and understandable and has very specific guidelines that work in the widest variety of conditions. It knows where it wants to go and how it wants to get there.

The "secret" is the tongue in cheek portion. The secret is hiding in plain view. It is the fundamental characteristics shared by the teams who win a lot. It was [b:f8ba4beb15]BigMahon[/b:f8ba4beb15] I think who described the secret formula as standard better vet practice, or something like that.

I've tried to say it many times, many ways, this is not the be all end all. I'm not trying to sell anybody anything. For the most part I'm adding [i:f8ba4beb15]x[/i:f8ba4beb15] numbers and dividing by [i:f8ba4beb15]x[/i:f8ba4beb15]. Don't be mad at my algebra.

This is the only way I know to describe what I see when I start pooling big win teams and decoding what they're doing differently than the rest of the pack.

I don't buy the argument that "85% of the winners will be strong up the middle, because that's the secret formula that 90% of the teams use." Really you shouldn't throw that out there as an unsubstantiated remark. I'm not using well chosen examples and I'm not looking to sell something. I'm using grade school algebra to back up an opinion.

When I add up eight or sixteen or twenty-four teams and the answer is Barry Larkin, trust me, I'll be drafting Barry Larkin. Until then, selling down defense for bigger bats appears to me to be an uphill battle. It's a specialty dish that may work in some circumstances, but more often than not, I think it's a recipe for unnecessary frustration.
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Postby J-Pav » Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:49 pm

How is it that this thread is 40 hours old now and [b:5ec72d88ac]luckyman[/b:5ec72d88ac] has yet to pay us a visit?? The Christmas lines must long in Canada today.
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Postby Mean Dean » Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:41 pm


Browsing around I found this from DeanTSC as a response to Valen in his strato experts:Advanced Fielding Chart question thread.

I don't have a clue how to interpret it, but it looks like fun if you've got the urge to get really down and dirty. [/quote:b258b98a6c]Well, here's how :P

Larkin OPS vs. R in a 8/8/8/8 stadium: .461 OBP + .404 SLG = 865
Everett OPS vs. R in same: .329 OBP + .308 SLG = 637
OPS on a ss(X) to Larkin (4e8): 683
OPS on a ss(X) to Everett (1e17): 190
Ratio of X-rolls on defense to times at bat on offense for shortstops: .583

Sooo, Larkin is 228 OPS points better than Everett on offense, but 287 OPS points (.583 * (683 - 190)) points worse on defense.

What doesn't this take into account? One huge thing is defensive double plays. These OPS numbers only take into account the hits/errors/outs on the gb(X), not the specific type of outs. So you have to throw in the DPs, and assume that Everett's defensive lead over Larkin is more than that calculation is showing. It's also true that OPS is not a perfect stat. It doesn't include GIDPs (Larkin grounds into a ton, Everett hardly at all); it undervalues OBP relative to SLG (Larkin's a high OBP/low SLG guy, so it's underrating his hitting); and it doesn't include speed/bunt/H&R (Everett's the better basestealer and bunter, Larkin the better H&R guy, Everett's running speed is very slightly faster.) Another small issue in general with the calculation is that you can change the ratio of ss(X) rolls to offensive plate appearances by changing the batting order position. In this particular case, because the better hitter would likely hit 1st and the better fielder 9th, that factor probably evens out.

Right now, I don't have an uberstat that can correct all of these problems. But since Everett starts off with a 59-point OPS lead and most of the other factors favor him anyway, I do feel confident that Everett is better than Larkin. But is he $1M better? That's the key, and it's very difficult to answer statistically. Even if you had the perfect uberstat, such a stat would probably tell you in most cases that a cheaper player is a better buy, per dollar. But "per dollar" only gets you so far when you basically have a salary floor -- you're obligated to spend $80M or damn close in salaries; unspent money has no use. So I dunno how you'd go about proving whether you'd rather have Everett, or Larkin + $1M. It probably ends up depending on what the rest of your team looks like: do you already have a big offense (favoring Everett), or do you need a leadoff hitter (favoring Larkin); do you have a pitching staff with high OBP-against and good ability to hold baserunners (favoring Everett), or do you have the opposite (favoring Larkin)... it can get very complicated, and then the decision on the [i:b258b98a6c]other[/i:b258b98a6c] players might itself depend on the context of other players! So even if we can get more precise about comparing Player A to Player B, it's still really tricky to translate that into team creation philosophies.
Mean Dean
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Postby J-Pav » Sat Dec 23, 2006 9:06 pm


Thx for the post.

When it's all said and done, do you think the players are for the most part, pretty well priced, or are there still glaring statistical/pricing inefficiencies?
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Postby Mean Dean » Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:12 pm

I think the pricing is [i:2cde8815da]remarkably[/i:2cde8815da] good, in the sense that if you and I draft $80M rosters that consist of 9 everyday hitters, 5 bench scrubs, 4 or 5 starting pitchers, 1 closer, and some middle relievers, playing in a neutral stadium against neutral opponents... if we did that, the teams we would end up with would be very close to equally good, no matter which specific players we chose... which is all that you can ask the pricing to do. That means that the key to success is coming up with innovative ways to fill out a draft list, compose a roster and utilize players. And that's awesome, that the game can be primarily about that.
Mean Dean
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Postby spicki17 » Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:44 pm

this is a great post with a lot of good research. here is my take on it:

1 - 32/48 breakdown: to worrierking's and charlie's points, the problem with averages of salaries is that it takes out the actual teams that played. what i mean by this is that a coors team requires a pitching salary typically lower than that of a small park team. at least that is my feeling. so by saying 32M is the right amount for pitching, it may be for a rogers center/mid-range park team. also, by doing averages of individual players on each team, it always makes things more middle-of-the road. you average a small batting team with a big batting team and you get lower averages. so this is deceiving. i personally like some huge boys and some little boys on some teams, and some teams of all 5M guys. its all about who you can get.

2 - 1s and 2s up the middle: definitely agree with the good defense up the middle. any team i take seriously i will not play a 3 at any of those positions.

3 - good pitching: i think this one goes without saying.

4 - players suited for your park: this is one of the most important ones on the list. even if you are a petco team playing with 3 coors in your division, you need to have your boys perform well in petco (since they play 81 in petco and only 36 in coors). no question, teams need to be modelled off the park. but, the main miss here is the forget to mention that the batters need to be slanted against the pitchers in your division (a lot of heavy righty pitchers means you load up on good vs righty batters). that is almost as important as the park. the big '06 miss is the parks. last year was great to have shea and wrigley teams, but this year the park is a lot less influential. since the best parks are for righty hitters, and righty hitters get dominated too easily by pitching, and since the caliber of lefty hitters is so low, park means less this year by far.

5 - study the champs: i would say to study champs you are playing against for who they take, so you go for less of their players in an autodraft. it doesnt hurt too to see what wins for other people.

6 - win your divsion - obviously helps!

my favorite quote of any on this post was:

I think this would be especially helpful for newbs who haven't yet mastered the joys of SPs like Bedard and Dempster and Cabrera.

because of have never used any of those 3 all year!

the last point that i think was missed in this thread was that i believe that the most important part of drafting a team is finding the steals. there is no mention on how getting a 3M guy who is really a 3.5M to 4M underpriced guy helps out your margin of error on the rest of your team.

another interesting note is that strato (in my opinion) well overpriced OBP this year. thus, the huge slugging numbers were underpriced. thus the reason for a lot of my coors and bigger park teams. i love OBP as much as the next guy, but when i have to pay what they are asking me to pay for it, it aint happening.

great post J, happy holidays!

- pappa spicki
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Postby J-Pav » Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:59 pm


What do you think about the observation that [i:ff12538cd6]the best team of the most common type of stadium was the team that ended up winning in most cases[/i:ff12538cd6]?

I guess where I'm going is that the pricing inefficiencies at least left the destiny of a team in an individual managers' ability to create opportunities, even exploit them. The only real tool after that is the ballpark consideration. If you have the most innovative Petco lineup ever devised by mankind, are you doomed if there's five Minute Maids in your autoleague?

It seems like for so many players the thrill left with this year's card set. Next year is bound to be even more perfectly priced. I'm wondering if SOM should implement a way to have unique ballparks, since the ballpark selection appears to be an increased indication of success (if what [b:ff12538cd6]Worrierking[/b:ff12538cd6] wrote about is correct), and return a little more control back to the individual manager?
Last edited by J-Pav on Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby J-Pav » Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:19 pm


Great take on things. Interesting how we all look at the same picture but see it in different ways.

You started going in an opposite direction from where I was going with my back and forth with [b:a5898460b7]Dean[/b:a5898460b7].

1. You're saying you can still buy value. I won't say for [b:a5898460b7]Dean[/b:a5898460b7], but I'm leaning more towards "perfectly priced." I totally agree on match-up considerations (vs. both opposition hitters [i:a5898460b7]and[/i:a5898460b7] pitchers). That's why Cabrera was able to go sub 3 ERA and almost sub 1 WHIP for me in one of those five Minute Maid leagues!

2. I also see [b:a5898460b7]Worrier[/b:a5898460b7]'s take on ballpark selection, yet you don't see it as a problem. I'm worried the ability to truly innovate is, each year in tiny increments, being taken out of my hands and put into HALs (which we all know is not good). The truth may lie in the diminishing slice of pie theory: the inefficiencies are there, but they're almost too hard to see with the naked eye anymore. Or I'm just old and the eyes are getting bad!

Thx for posting!
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