Other things I learned while playing with the CD-ROM

Other things I learned while playing with the CD-ROM

Postby MARCPELLETIER » Mon Jul 27, 2009 5:09 pm

The "Bunt for a Hit" rule, which TSN uses, allows much more successful bunts than I thought initially. That rule depends on the speed ability of the bunter, so the ideal bunter is a A-bunter 1-17 speed.

In fact, one guy I found on a website who simmed an entire season with J.Ellsbury using extensively the Bunt-for-hit rule. When forcing defense to play back, Ellsbury on-base was over .400. With defense playing corning in, which decreases Ellsbury bunting ability to B, on-base was still at .336.

Fortunately, HAL draws the corners in for all speedy A or B bunters. Still, this move means that some outs to third and first basemen become singles. The advantage is not much (.005, so that a .310 hitter becomes a .315 hitter), but you might still consider it when making your lineup.

[b:aa52df719c]How does it change my strategy?[/b:aa52df719c] All things being equal, A-bunters 1-17 will have increased on-base when leading off. Also consider the "bunt a lot" option for cheap under 1M speedsters, in order to increase their on-base.

Forget about what I said in the past, about the importance of leading off with a *-runner. In fact, HAL holds pretty much everybody who have at least a D steal rating.

To keep it simple, everybody is being held EXCEPT runners with ratings such as 2/- 20-6 (chances to get the lead too low), 7/- (3-1) (chances to be safe too low), or 4,5/8,9,11 (13-2) (chances of getting out too high). A few more players will be held or not depending of the situation (say Mauer, who has a E rating 3/- (13-5). But pretty much everybody else is held.

[b:aa52df719c]How does it change my strategy?[/b:aa52df719c] Forget about the importance of *-runner (when playing in TSN-strat). Simply avoid E ratings for leadoff hitters.

This strategy, quoth the CD-rom, "will cut the offensive player's power and batting average down dramatically. However, using this strategy will also dramatically increase the chances that you will walk the batter. The pitch around strategy may only be used from the 7th inning on when there are 2 outs, first base is open and the tying or go-ahead run is on base or at bat."

Hal loves this option. I've seen this option applied to Spilborgh and Mauer, who are not exactly sluggers. [b:aa52df719c][ACTUALLY, this is WRONG. See post below. Hal rarely uses this option].[/b:aa52df719c]

Also, by "first base open", understand "even if bases are empty".

[b:aa52df719c]How does it change my strategy?[/b:aa52df719c] Consider deeply the importance of having good pinch-runners, particularly if you play in low-hitting ballpark with affordable position players.
Last edited by MARCPELLETIER on Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby MARCPELLETIER » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:34 pm

I continue my list of things I've learned as I was playing the CD-ROM...

[b:0b2f44bdf4]The fatigue system[/b:0b2f44bdf4]
The fatigue system with the CD-ROM is not the same as in the face-to-face mode. The main difference is the introduction of the pitch count, which can affect pitchers in a number of ways.

Pitch counts are mainly affected by stamina. As a rule of thumb, every pitcher has a pitch count close to 16 pitches X innings (so, close to 112 pitches for S7, 16 for R1. However, pitch counts are also influenced by what happened in the preceding inning.

As i posted in another thread, in the traditional game, if a pitcher allows three hits during or past his "power inning" (which corresponds to the first inning, for a R1, the seventh inning for a S7), his dots get on. With the computer, the same situation corresponds to a drop of 5 in the fatigue rating.

When a pitcher (both SP and RP) gets over his "pitch count", he becomes in a state of vulnerability. After reaching that maximum or soon afterwards, he will likely drop 1 point of fatigue for every hit/walk allowed. When the pitcher starts to lose points, then simply throwing balls will likely make him lose points.

All these situations can be combined. So a reliever who is still F9, but over his number of "assigned maximum pitches", who throws seven pitches (-1) during an at-bat that results in a hit (-1), which corresponds to the third hit of the inning (-5), may end up with a F2 rating.

Finally, a RP that goes beyond his number of maximum of innings (say, a R1 going beyond three innings) has a sudden drop to F0. I presume the same rule exists for SPs that go beyond 11 innings, but I couldn't say for sure.

Interestingly, relievers who have pitched in two consecutive games, do not have a F0 rating for the third game. Rather, they have a F6 rating, and have a F5 rating the day after if they are used for a third consecutive game. Their drop of ratings follow the rules above, so they are really good only against a few hitters, except for closers, who remained F6 throughout the "closer rule" situation. This probably explain why only specialists throwing at one hitter and closers appear in more than two consecutive days in TSN-STRAT.

What is the value of F6, as opposed to full strength (F9)? Honestly, I couldn't tell. I presume that the pitcher allows something more, but it's cleary not something at a visible scale. My guess is that, for every drop of 1 rating, corresponds an increase of 1 on-base (over 216 PA). So a F6 would have 3 additional chances of on-base on his card.

However, the quality of an abused pitcher can be easily seen. By an abused pitcher, I mean not only a pitcher who has got down to F0, but who is being kept in the game with this F0 state. You then easily see an increased proportion of readings on the offensive card, and outs coming form readings on the pitcher card become eventually totally absent.

(As a note of recall, TSN and Strat have specified that the F0 state is not a static one. A pitcher gets worse as his state remains F0).

[b:0b2f44bdf4]How does it change my strategy?[/b:0b2f44bdf4] Be very careful of abused relievers. If you want to tweak the bullpen settings to encourage the use of a super-reliever, make sure that Hal calls for another reliever when this super-reliever reaches F0.

however, I would not hesitate one second to set a super-reliever to "do not remove before he turns F1", especially if the rest of the bullpen is tiny. I'm pretty sure that a F1 6M reliever is better than a full-strength 2M reliever.
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Postby MARCPELLETIER » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:42 pm

[b:8050ff5ae6]The running game[/b:8050ff5ae6]

This part of the game is perhaps the one that surprised me the most when playing with the CD-ROM.

Forget about Bernie telling you that the "more baserunning decisions" option only affected a small amount of plays.

The truth is that it impacts immensely the game.

Hits coming from the defensive charts (DEF-X), and single** assigned to weak hitters in lieu of homerun readings on the pitcher's card are the only events that are never optional.

All other hits, including ballpark single, single*, si(of), single**, double**, double (of), weather effect singles, even clutch singles, are affected by the "more baserunning" option in substantial numbers. Roughly 33% of all hits are read as is (single** for a clutch single, for example), and 66% will require a coaching decision. And thus, for roughly 66% of those hits, the running ability of the runner on-base that tries to move an extra base will have an impact in the game.

The impact of this unexpectedly high number of running decision was immediately felt in my team. I played a full season with Pagan (1-14) and Spilborghs (1-13) at the top of my line-up, two players with strong on-base ability. As they were always being held at-first base, their "true" running ability were respectively 1-13 and 1-12, before the adjustments. The specific adjustments depend on a number of factors, but the net result is usually negative, so their capacity to take an extra base were on average near 1-12 and 1-11, numbers I considered too low for becoming aggressive with the heart of the line-up getting ready, but I have to say, it was a drag. I had Mauer as my third hitter, and he hit in countless double-plays. Indeed, his performance would have shattered the all-time single-season record for GIDP, with 40. Clearly, my team has a problem.

(Actually, I didn't need simulations to find that my line-up was suboptimal, as Mauer leads my real-time TSN league in GIDP and is also heading towards the all-time single-season GIDP season).

Of course, Mauer's card, with 24 gbA vs rhp, is part of the problem, but at-first, I didn't feel this would turn out to be troublesome. 24 gbA is high, but is not astronomical. Mauer is not in the top100 for most gbA (Guillen and Victor Martinez lead with 35 gbA), and the average gbA vs rhp is only slightly below, with 17. The real problem with my team is the low running abilities of Pagan and Spielborghs, the fact that they are not really good stealers either, and the unexpected high number of extrarunning decision, turning, for the case of my team, almost 66% of all singles into single*.

Of course, one question is whether I should go conservative or aggresive with the running game. Considering the personality of HAL, the computer is surprisingly conservative when taking those running decisions. When you think about it, the running decisions are no different than stealing base decisions. Say you have a player on first, and the hitter at-bat hits a single with the option of taking an extra base. The decision a coach has to make is no different than deciding whether to go steal third-base or not: either you go with the sure thing, and leave the runners at first or second, or take a chance with the extra-base.

to be continued....
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Postby coyote303 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:58 pm

Nice posts. Thanks!
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Postby voovits » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:16 am

I do agree with you in that the "more baserunning decisions" is a lot more than Bernie hinted to, and I have also seen those extra baserunning decisions on clutch singles (when they occur, it does not register as a clutch single in the statistics, which is mildly annoying) and ballpark singles as well as the usual other single and double rolls. I do not think the percentages are quite as high as you said, but I don't feel you're too far off.
I personally like it better with more decisions when playing the CDROM anyway. I play mostly against the computer and it tends to do mostly the same thing every time, depending on the circumstances (on an semi-related note, I love how easy it is to abuse the double steal option).
Unfortunately you have no control over specific situations in the online game, making it difficult to decide on the stealing and baserunning settings to use.

As far as the post about fatigue. Abusing a relief pitcher could easily be fixed. If the CDROM setting "try to limit overusage" is put into effect then HAL will not let pitchers exceed their actual IP by too many innings. If that turns into the case, then using pitchers for 3 or 4 consecutive games becomes practically non existent. I absolutely love this setting and when I play a season, it is always active. It adds more strategy to the draft as it forces you to consider ABs and IPs when selecting your players. It is a feature that can easily be implemented into the game, but will never happen as salaries would need to be restructured.
When playing the CDROM game, I use common sense when determining when to yank a pitcher. I hardly ever visit the mound or check current fatigue.
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Postby MARCPELLETIER » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:50 am

[quote:054d15f27e]THE PITCH AROUND OPTION
This strategy, quoth the CD-rom, "will cut the offensive player's power and batting average down dramatically. However, using this strategy will also dramatically increase the chances that you will walk the batter. The pitch around strategy may only be used from the 7th inning on when there are 2 outs, first base is open and the tying or go-ahead run is on base or at bat."

Hal loves this option. I've seen this option applied to Spilborgh and Mauer, who are not exactly sluggers. [/quote:054d15f27e]

Actually, I was way wrong about the last part. Hal rarely uses this option, and certainly not vs mauer and spilborgh. My mistake comes from a misunderstanding of my use of the cd-rom.
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Postby MARCPELLETIER » Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:11 pm

[b:8631fa2543]the running game[/b:8631fa2543] (suite)

So I basically wrote so far that:
1) there is an awfully high number of running decision
2) having players at the top of the line-up with average running abilities will definitively cost you runs, particularly for non-powered teams

As I was about to write, the computer is surprisingly conservative when making baserunning decisions. While I have seen Hal trying to steal third with ratings as low as 1-11 (a bad thing), I have never observed such low numbers for taking third base (a good thing). In fact, i have observed a few times Hal not going home with ratings that I would feel very confortable to.

So the questions become:
A- how many runs does it generate with optimal runners
B- how many runs does it give or cost to go with aggressive or conservative baserunning settings.

My generate gut feelings, after noticing what I hereby reported, is that

A- speed generates more runs than expected, considering the importance of baserunning decisions, and
B- going aggressive with a fast team should pay back a lot of dividends.

I still have to figure out the contribution of running and answer question A, but fortunately, some folks on the som community have done some simulations and published the results on the web that can answer question B. I wish I could replicate is some time their results, but the results go along with my gut feelings.

What they did is simulate 25 seasons with all teams set at the same baserunning settings (5 seasons with all teams set at super-aggressive; 5 seasons with all teams set at aggressive; etc).

Their results, showed basically two things.
1- Overall, the aggressive and super-aggressive generate the most runs in the sims. The impact was roughly 30 additional runs with those settings, with a very slight advantage to aggressive settings.

2- The number of runs in fact fluctuated with the average speed of teams.

a) The fatest teams (average 1-15) generated the most runs by having aggressive or superaggressive settings, and the least runs with extra-conservative settings. The difference appears to me even bigger than I had expected, over 40 runs, which would amount to 4 wins per season. Statistical fluke?

b) the production of runs by the slowest teams (average 1-12) did not change as much, but their performance seem to follow an inverted U-shape, with most runs generated with extra-conservative settings, followed by super-aggressive settings. The same pattern was observed with teams having 1-13 ratings on average, so the pattern seems real. But in either case, the differences did not amount to more than 20 runs per season.

I should mention, these authors only sim 5 seasons per condition, and admittingly their results are affected by a lot of noise (in fact, the authors themselves have not jumped to any conclusion, as they felt their results were too noisy). But their results are in-line with what I expected. So my overall conclusions:

1- Hal is conservative when it comes to baserunning decision.
2- Going aggressive or superaggressive only tints Hal to become "normally aggressive"
3- If you have a fast team, on average 1-15, you will generate many runs simply by going aggressive, perhaps as much as 40 additional runs per season.
4- Overall, I believe the running abilities are underestimated in TSN. By how much? I don't know. Still need to answer that A question.
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Postby RICHARDMILTER » Sun Sep 06, 2009 5:01 am

Good stuff. I wish more people used this ,"Strategy" section. I too play the CD-ROM frequently, and it is of great help in understanding the decisions computer Hal will make for you,...and your opponents. I always appreciate your input, Mr Wilby, thanks.
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Postby MARCPELLETIER » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:19 pm

bump for question about aggressive running.
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Postby GR8YEAR68 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:43 pm

Outstanding topic. I have played with running setting when able or should I say, willing to spend the time micro-managing my teams. One side of this is how I set my OF to deal with smallball/rabbit teams. I generally have Mays in CF, and Dave Parker in RF, LF is either Al Simmons(80Mil or Higher) Vince Coleman in 60MIL. Now , I for one would set my team to conservative against those arms, and for the most part it keeps the rabbits in check. This is also a run saver vs tags at 3rd. In some leagues where I just wish to see big #s and don't make an issue of defense, it really is noticable. I think the most annoying thing to see is a team with a 3 or worst 2b/ss and the same in the OF and win.
With certain teams who load up on 17 runners, OF arms are very important. Catchers can be helped by the pitcher hold rating.
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