The Secret Formula 2007

Postby emm9230 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:07 am

bump as i'm finding this useful
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Postby J-Pav » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:05 am

How do you tell the difference between a team that will win 95 games versus one that will likely win closer to 75?

What the heck is WHIP for your offense? Why is it important?

What [i:193ebd891c]is[/i:193ebd891c] it about Joe Beimel??

Is baseball a game of inches, or does 0.06 separate the winners from the losers?

The exciting answers to these and other questions can only be found in my latest sporting blog post!

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Postby J-Pav » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:05 am

[b:e0253991d3]C2, I mention your name in there![/b:e0253991d3]

:D :D :D
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:06 am

[size=18:b317e79bb3][i:b317e79bb3][b:b317e79bb3]HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!![/b:b317e79bb3][/i:b317e79bb3][/size:b317e79bb3]

Posts: 55
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Postby teamnasty » Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:16 pm


Is there a way I can follow your blog/season where you're testing the formula? A link maybe?
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Postby J-Pav » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:21 pm

[b:c288bf4348]The Secret Formula[/b:c288bf4348] team:

[b:c288bf4348]The Secret Formula Redux[/b:c288bf4348] team (aka Hoosier Daddy):

The blog posts both contain links to the teams. Just click on the blog box next to my name. FWIW, I'm trying to figure out this blog thing. There's some good info in there, but nobody seems to be reading it. If you read it and like it, please post an approval and a comment. If you want to explore any particular subject or strategy, send me a pm or post a comment/question in the blog space.


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Postby toshiro » Wed Nov 28, 2007 8:56 am

Mauer is a bad buy in my opinion. I hope for your sake I'm wrong about that J-Pav. An 8 mil singles hitter with nominal speed, well I don't care what position he plays. Great for roto, not for strato.

For the 'old style' challenge that you allude to (less luck more skill) it strikes me that 1969 could be that. I just started a few leagues there. The draft seems vitally important, moreso than almost any other strat game I played. The player pool is shallow as a kiddie pool. There are oftentimes, no "Plan B" options at a position (SS, 3B, 2B) unlike atg or 200X. Woe be to you if you play in a slanted park, but don't get your 'A' list choices. It's not uncommon to see people using sub 1 mil position players as starters. There just aren't a ton of options. A live draft for 1969 would be wicked.
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Postby J-Pav » Wed Nov 28, 2007 2:59 pm


I first doubted the Mauer card for the same reason. Plus, I think you can get great stats from McCann and Bard for less price. But the one thing I really like about Mauer though, is that his obp is all over the card, so HAL seems compelled to let him produce reliably and consistently, not in streaks, like some of my other choices.

I rarely see him go less than .300 BA, .400 OBP, .500 SLG in any ballpark environment. Lots of hits, lots of obp, few strikeouts, not to mention significant "D" (errors, arm, range, throwing, passed balls, etc). Usually he'll lob on 15-20 bombs for good measure. He almost always scores 100 runs per season, so what's not to like?

I play in a lot of pitchers parks, and here he is even [i:531053bc5a]more[/i:531053bc5a] valuable.

As for 1969, I don't know, I only play the current year's 200X.
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Postby J-Pav » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:58 pm

Hey all,

For several reasons, I decided to jettison my [i:b251bb5627]sportingblog[/i:b251bb5627] thing. I'm going to put the five entries I made back here in case anyone is interested or wants to chime in.


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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:59 pm

[color=blue:2eb1ce3d50][i:2eb1ce3d50]The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.[/i:2eb1ce3d50]

--Sun Tzu, the Art of War[/color:2eb1ce3d50]

[size=18:2eb1ce3d50][b:2eb1ce3d50]THE SECRET FORMULA (tm) 2007[/b:2eb1ce3d50][/size:2eb1ce3d50]

Welcome all to The Secret Formula 2K7. This is the fourth annual installment of The Secret Formula diatribe, where I attempt to share with the newcomers to the game some better vet practice, while allowing the SOM veterans (affectionately referred to as the [i:2eb1ce3d50]Old Guard[/i:2eb1ce3d50]) an opportunity to voice their own observations and counterpoints.

Normally one would have to wait until December for the new edition, when out of boredom over Christmas vacation I start banging on the keyboard. But I guess we might be seeing some early 2008 cards, so I figured why not kick this off now? Hopefully some of the Old Guard will show up and we'll get a good discussion going. At the very least it should save us a week or two of reading posts that are more or less the same thing over and over.

I present you,

[b:2eb1ce3d50]The Secret Formula (tm) 2007[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

I. Salary Construction
II. $32 million on pitching, $48 million on hitting (or thereabouts).
III. Spend for "1s" and "2s" at SS, CF and 2B.
IV. Score Runs and Do Not Allow Runs
V. Choose Players Suited to Your Park
VI. Worship HAL
VII. Win your division.

Let's begin.

[b:2eb1ce3d50]I. SALARY CONSTRUCTION[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

I have two admissions to make. One, I'm pretty proud of the fact that last season I introduced the concept of salary construction. I thought it was fresh and insightful and will take full credit for somehow making the ability to add and divide appear novel. Two, other than my The Secret Formula: The Theory in Action teams, I have never personally used salary construction.

But this doesn't mean it can't be useful!

What is salary construction?

Let's look at the best records teams from my last eighteen $80 million leagues. The average record is 93-69 for these 18 teams, which is identical to last year.

Next, lay out the average salary structure for pitching. Ordering the pitchers from high to low regardless of SP or RP, we get the following:

1. $6.29
2. $5.21
3. $4.26
4. $3.52
5. $2.87
6. $2.20
7. $1.78
8. $1.38

So the arithmetic average of the 18 most expensive pitchers is $6.29. The second most expensive pitcher averaged $5.21, and so on.

If we add all that up, we get $27.51, with room for two or three more cheapie pitchers.

Let's do the same thing for the offense:

1. $10.12
2. $7.60
3. $6.64
4. $5.78
5. $4.94
6. $4.01
7. $3.21
8. $2.24
9. $1.86
10. $1.25

If we add that up, we get $47.65, with room for three or four more hitters (we have $4.84 left over to divide among our six lowest priced players).

Again, this represents the mean average salary structure of 18 teams who had the best record in an $80 million league.

From this base, we can launch a newbie mission. Instead of trying to go for Pujols, Beltran and Hafner on your bomber team because "like wow that would be really awesome, dog!" only to miss two or all three in the autodraft anyway, try this: start at the bottom and spend all your energy trying to find the best overall player for your team concept in the $1.10-$1.40 range. Then move up to the $1.70-$2.00 range for the next guy and do the same, and so on up to the top dollar player, trying to be mindful of filling all the positions. When you get to the top, you'll likely discover there's a nice high dollar player at the last position who perfectly complements the lineup. If there's money left over, see how adding a dollar here and there can really upgrade a position for you. When you're done, you'll likely discover that you have a better than fair chance of getting the majority of your selections in the autodraft if you order them well on your draft card.

Let your competitors chase all the high dollar guys while you build your base foundation in the draft. If you miss your hammer, no worries, there are always plenty of high salary guys left over to choose from. Don't let the results of your draft influence your feelings about your team. You didn't "fail" because you missed Pujols at number one. Your team is not doomed. You'll have a solid core with only two or three holes to fill and you'll be well ahead of most of the competition.

Remember, Strat-O is a math game, not a sports game. Think of the players as sets of data, not as your favorite personality. One data set at one price is easily interchangeable with another, so don't get too hung up individual player names.

If in the end it doesn't work out and your guys underperform, well that happens. But at least look like you knew what you were doing when the league started.

Follow the salary construction which imitates a good team.

Dress well, play well. Fundamental.

[b:2eb1ce3d50]II. $32 million on pitching, $48 million on hitting (or thereabouts).[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

For the first time in four years the total pitching salaries on best records teams has fallen, from $32m to $30m.

But a funny thing happened on the way to $30m.

Starting from my first team and moving to today, the pitching salaries of the best records teams have climbed from eight of the first nine all being in the 20s, to the second nine having seven in the 30s. With the benefit of real game experience, managers are paying up for pitching as we move forward in time. Since I usually write this post over Christmas vacation, by the time two more months go by the average salary could easily increase up to $32m. So I'm not ready to surrender the point just yet.

On average, the best records teams currently spend about $18m on starting pitching and $12m on relievers.

For you newbies, we've beaten this point to death over the last three years anyway. Take this away with you: if you're in Chicago looking for Wrigley Field, you'll get there if you tell the cabbie "take me to Clark and Addison" just as well as if you had said "take me to 1060 W. Addison." Just get yourself in the ballpark. If you're new to the game, you will usually do better to err on the side of stronger pitching. Once you've banked a few credits, then try out the $20m staff and see how it goes. In the meantime, spend $30-32m or slightly more on pitching, that's my recommendation. Stick with the salary construction that winning teams exhibit.

For you hard-cores out there, the arithmetic mean was just below $30m, the median (half above, half below) was also $30m, the low to high was $21.48 to $36.69 and $30-31m was the mode (seven of the 18 teams had pitching salaries here).

[b:2eb1ce3d50]III. Spend for "1s" and "2s" at SS, CF and 2B.[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

Well, they fooled me again. I keep thinking I'm seeing more 3s up the middle, but it's much the same as last year: 2s at 2B, 2s at SS and 2s in CF on the best records teams (actually, the CF average is down to 1.5 thanks largely to the deeper pool of 1 and 2 CFs). Much like last year, about 20% of the middle defenders will be 3s, and most of those will be 2B. But in the end, 1s and 2s up the middle continue to be the choice of winning managers.

It can't hurt to follow their lead.

[b:2eb1ce3d50]IV. Score Runs and Do Not Allow Runs[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

"Caution - Water On Road During Rain." This is an actual, honest-to-goodness road sign. Don't leave yet, my veteran friends, I have a small nugget here in Obviousland.

Best records teams hit .267 (versus a league average of .265), have obp of .339 (versus a league average of .331) and slg to the tune of .446 (versus a league average of .443). This is interesting because it's not interesting. The best records teams more or less hit like any old team, maybe with a few extra walks for good measure.

But they pitch a bit better than the rest, with a 4.22 ERA (versus a league average of 4.52, a seven percent improvement) and a whip of 1.32 (versus a league average of 1.38, a five percent improvement) and that's a point worth noticing. Against the league they are on average top five in batting, and top four in pitching. I know it might look like we're splitting hairs here, but like Branch Rickey said, baseball is a game of inches.

Pitching and defense. Would it be a cliche if it weren't true?

Interesting trivia of no clinical consequence:

[url=]What would happen if the Gold Glove team played the team of Silver Sluggers?[/url]

I only put it in here because it mentions SOM.

[b:2eb1ce3d50]V. Choose Players Suited to Your Park[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

Invest some time trying to notice who performs well, where and why. A one-clean-homer-ten-ballpark-homer guy will generally not do well in RFK. Understand the ballpark splits. Although the heavily slanted stadium is no more, I think ballpark selection might be one of the most under appreciated advantages to this year's card set. The best records teams have ballpark singles averaging 1-8 lefties, 1-7 righties and ballpark homers averaging the same (1-8 lefties, 1-7 righties). Teams will win at The Cell (most likely in the hands of a knowledgeable vet), but if you're still learning the game, you might want to give your staff a fighting chance in a park that's slightly more "pitcher friendly."

If I remark on the death of the Big Bat strategy, we'll be bombarded with Big Bat teams that won a ring. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I've seen a gigantic quantity of All Big Bomber teams finish sub .500 this year. It's fun to draft this way and it used to win all the time in seasons past, but this is a very difficult thing to master this year. If you want to try it, let me know. I'd like to be in your division.

In the meantime, try and choose the hitters that will best complement your ballpark splits. Don't get carried away. Maintain some balance and you'll come out just fine.

Lastly, for you rookie managers who can't decide where to put Kicky Nobats in the order, try this:

[url=]Where should your best hitters bat?[/url]

or this:

[url=]Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis[/url]

Your batting order is pretty irrelevant anyway, as long as your hammer doesn't bat below fifth. The only caveat I would suggest you adhere to would be to roll bones, draw straws, flip coins or do whatever you gotta do, but however you decide to create your lineup, without exception, DO NOT LET HAL MAKE YOUR OFFENSIVE LINEUP FOR YOU. I actually like how HAL handles my bullpen. But I once gave him a week with my lineup in an experiment to check out his game, and I kid you not, HAL will find a way to create a lineup that performs six sigma worse than chance. It's truly that bad.

[b:2eb1ce3d50]VI. Worship HAL[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

I apologize ahead of time to the [i:2eb1ce3d50]Old Guard[/i:2eb1ce3d50] for ending this year's installment with a less than heroic abstraction like Worship HAL. I understand everyone is hungry for a gaming the game insight like The $60 Million Pitching Staff, or something especially clever; however...

I've been noticing that several forum posts regarding this year's game (SOM 2007) center around the Bill James Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball, and how it's not holding up well in HAL's World.

When you score more runs than you allow, you have a reasonable expectation of seeing those positive net runs correlated with WINS, although oftentimes a manager will experience the exact opposite, resulting in the HAL Hates My Team thing you read about in the posts. In my last ten leagues (both tour and autoleagues), there have been 10 teams that have had seasons either greater than or equal to six wins more than the projection (HAL loves), and 11 teams with greater than or equal to six losses more than the projection (HAL hates). As the year has worn on, I've been trying to put my finger on what might be influencing this, in order to turn the advantage in my direction.

At first I thought it might be the stadium slants. But this was a dead end. The 10 teams HAL loved had average ballpark ratings of singles 1-9, 1-9 and home runs 1-9, 1-9 (more or less the overall average stadium slant). The 11 teams HAL hated had average ballpark ratings of singles 1-10, 1-7 and home runs 1-10, 1-9. No discernible differences here.

It wasn't big dollar bullpen set-ups, or lots of bunts or unusually high stolen bases, although sometimes these might be present.

The only thing that stood out to me was the team's record in ONE RUN GAMES. The 10 teams HAL loved had a .586 (270 wins - 191 losses) winning percentage in one run games, while the 11 teams HAL hated had a miserable .402 (214 wins - 318 losses) winning percentage in one run games. I thought this was important because in these 10 leagues, 29% of the games were decided by one run!

Aha! Win the close games!

To do that, we go right flaps down and head over to Boston and ask Bill James how to win the one run games.

[url=]One-run Records as a Basis for Managerial Evaluation[/url]

You can enjoy the article or skip ahead to the spoiler...

[b:2eb1ce3d50]IT'S ALL LUCK![/b:2eb1ce3d50]

How about the [i:2eb1ce3d50]Hardball Times[/i:2eb1ce3d50]?

[url=]Ten Things About One-Run Games[/url]

[b:2eb1ce3d50]IT'S ALL LUCK![/b:2eb1ce3d50]

Anybody else?

[url=]One Run Bummin'[/url]

[size=18:2eb1ce3d50][b:2eb1ce3d50]IT'S ALL LUCK![/b:2eb1ce3d50][/size:2eb1ce3d50]

Unfortunately we're all doing a lot of agonizing over what in the end amounts to nothing more than blind luck. So don't beat yourself up over it when your best laid plans don't work out the way you had hoped.

Beginning with the 2006 season, I watched my overall win percentage plummet from .540 plus (while doing some very wacky experimental teams with an overabundance of easy credits) down to .520 where I bottomed out, wondering why my calculations were getting me winning statistics, but not wins. When you could game the game, you could win with injury teams, low dollar pitching staffs, high dollar pitching staffs, stolen bases only, home runs only, double-play pitchers, all SP/RP pitching staffs, all lefty batters, all righty batters, there was virtually no boundary on the concepts you could pursue and win with. Now, those mispricings are no more. You win with solid fundamentals and with HAL's blessing. That's pretty much it, in my opinion.

So here's the defining moment my friends and fellow competitors. You can do everything exactly right, but still have a mediocre or worse season for no reason other than HAL decided that this is how it must be.

Therefore, you must [i:2eb1ce3d50]Worship HAL[/i:2eb1ce3d50]!!

Now, before we all go screaming for the exits, it's not really all that unfair. Generally speaking, good teams win the close games, and lesser teams lose the close games. In my example from above, 70% of the teams HAL loved already had winning records, and 70% of the teams HAL hated already had losing records, so usually HAL was just helping teams to get to where they were already going. I know, it stinks to be among that 30% where you would be in first place but only for HAL. Still, it happens and its probably gonna get a little worse before it gets better.

Last years theme spoke to competing for an ever-diminishing slice of SOM pie. I don't really see this changing. It's going to get harder and harder to differentiate between skill and chance as SOM pursues perfect player pricing (nice alliteration). We're not there just yet, but we're on the way.

[b:2eb1ce3d50]VII. Win Your Division[/b:2eb1ce3d50]

You can't win it all if you're not in the playoffs to begin with. After that, it's pretty much a numbers game (and some luck!) to win it all (10 teams=four playoffs=one title).

Like I said last year, it can't all be magic. Beat three competitors and you get a crack at glory.

* * * * * * *

Hey, you can pay twice as much and get a whole lot less.
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