Questions and answers on bullpen

Questions and answers on bullpen

Postby MARCPELLETIER » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:09 am

[b:41cbb7b33d]What is the ideal bullpen?[/b:41cbb7b33d]

The CONCEPTUAL response is easy: you need to buy as much, and no more than, the number of critical innings you need from your bullpen. But determining, on a practical level, how many critical innings you'll need from your bullpen is no easy response and depends on your stadium, on the quality of the rotation, and of course on the type of league 200M vs 60M. By critical inning, I mean an inning where the game is on the line.

But there are rough guidelines:
1- your best reliever should ALWAYS be your first set-up man. If he has good closer ability, then he should ALSO be your closer.
2- Your best relievers should NEVER throw in mop-up situations.
3- Your worst relievers should ONLY pitch in mop-up situations. To me, throwing in the 4th inning is NOT a mop-up situation, unless your team is behind by 10 runs!!
4- Specialists (extreme 9L/9R) are really nice options, especially if you can have them cheap, but make sure your bullpen is deep enough. My own zone of confort is: no more than 2 with a regular usage of bullpen; up to 4 if I don't need a deep bullpen (say, if my starting rotation is really strong), or if I have a deep bullpen (say, going with 12 pitchers).

[b:41cbb7b33d]Should I use F-ratings for my relievers?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
The F-levels are a tool to force Hal to leave the reliever on the mound at least until he reaches the fatigue level that you have predetermined. At F-8, the reliever starts to get tired. At F-0, he's completely worn out.

In my experience, a pitcher at F-0 becomes pretty bad. No one knows for sure how the formulas work, but there is definitve evidence that with low F-levels, the dice fall on the offensive cards much more often.

So the settings are to be used for your best pitchers, to make sure that Hal uses them to the full extent of their strenghth, but be careful to not choose a too-low F-level.

Actually, even if you select a high F-rating, say F7, it can lead to danger. Basically, by selecting F7, you tell HAL to not "think" about removing the pitcher before he reaches F7, but this does not mean it will remove the pitcher then, particularly if you have also selected "slow hook" or "conservative use of bullpen". In such settings, HAL will remove the pitcher only if he gets into deep trouble, unless perhaps you have a 1-run lead down the 7th or 8th inning, in which case HAL will follow your bullpen instructions.

[b:41cbb7b33d]If so, why do you suggest to use "quick hook" as well ?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
For my taste, Hal is always too patient with such instructions, particularly considering that I always have at least one good reliever in the bullpen. So the settings I preferred most for my best pitchers is to use a high F-rating, say F7 or F6, but set the pitcher on "quick hook". This way, Hal almost automatically removes the pitcher as soon as he reaches the F-state I defined, and does not allow the pitcher to get as much in trouble as with more conservative ratings., and I do so particularly when my team has deeper bullpen.

When should I let my closer come in?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
For a R1/C6, I typically use "do not use before the 7th inning" , and I make sure to forsee the possibilty that he gets tired before the 9th inning by having a second reliever with closer ability. In playoff games, I will sometimes change this to "not use before the 8th inning" for home games, particularly with a rested bullpen.

[b:41cbb7b33d]Do I set my best set-up men to "do not use before 6th inning" and "do not use in blowouts"?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
No to the first question: your best set-up man is your bridge to your closer so you want them early if the game is tight. In fact, I like to use the best set-up man not being a closer with the first role in the middle innings, backed-up by my #3 reliever. I also like to assign to my #3 reliever the first role of mop-up, so that he's the one assigned to come early, when there is still a chance of a comeback. So I keep the "do not use in blowouts" only for my best set-up man and my closer.

[b:41cbb7b33d]Do I use "Max IP 1-2 IP"?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
I never use this setting except for specialists (anything close to 9L/9R).

I never use the MAX 2-3 IP, except in leagues with gentleman's rules for bullpen usage (and even then, I would rather prefer to have my best reliever set at 1-2 IP against weak teams, and let them free against the best teams or divisional rivals).

[b:41cbb7b33d]Do I not even use items like "tied and late" "tied and 9th plus" and "behind and late"?[/b:41cbb7b33d]

yes, i always use them. I put there my best relievers. perhaps 1-my best 2-my second best for tied games both late and 9th, and 1-second best and 2-my third best for behind and late

[b:41cbb7b33d]If I don't use any F levels for my starting rotation, should I still leave them on "Quick Hook"?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
It depends on the quality of your starting pitchers, but quick hook with NO F-level will make your starting pitchers go on average 5-6 innings, with some hooks as early as the 4th inning if you set your bullpen as aggressive (in the strategy section). With starters set on quick hook and the strategy section set at "conservative bullpen usage", you should expect the same number of innings than on normal hook, but Hal will manage your bullpen differently (more patient on the conservative usage; quicker on normal settings). Quick hook plus F8 will give you an average of 7 innings per starter. These are all roughly estimated.
What about maximizing closer?[/b:41cbb7b33d]
As for maximize closer, I am hesitant with your team to use it. Basically, the most impact is what happens in games you lead by 3 runs. Without maximizing, the computer will probably start the 9th inning with whoever pitched the 8th, which in my case is often the best-set-up-man-not-being-a-closer. If you maximize, then the computer will go with your closer.

But in my experience, this maximizing option will have no impact in games you lead by one, because then the computer will go with your closer no matter what.

In my opinion, with a 3-run lead, I prefer to have my second or third best reliever finish the game, rather than see my best reliever being used for one inning and not being fresh or available for the next game.
Last edited by MARCPELLETIER on Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby apolivka » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:41 am

Great post Marcus.

A couple of observations that I've made are:

Never use a .50 cheapie for Mopup duty if you any kind of decent offense. HAL very much respects the mopup role and will leave him in a very long time even if you start scoring runs and coming back. I normally like to have my 3rd best reliever or so (hopefully a R2) as the mopup man.

The most important relief innings EVER are those when the game is tied. Make sure your best reliever is pitching in those situations. Maximizing your closer is almost always a bad idea because he should be your 1st or 2nd best reliever. (Why MLB managers have a fetish against using their closer in a tie games is, well, contrary to the strategy of winning)

It is also my firm belief that HAL does a better job of managing your bullpen if you do not use F0-F9 settings. The "roles" are KEY, however, and will make a huge difference in how he uses the pen.

In a no-DH league especially, I like to have my 1st reliever out of the pen be opposite handed of my starters. In a close game, HAL will do more pinch hitting and double switching against you which is usually to your advantage. It will typically weaken your opponents defense and force more pitching changes. Then, hopefully, your closer will switch around back to the same side as your starter and either face guys their bad way, or make HAL do even more changing.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby MARCPELLETIER » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:43 pm

[b:a56c026b90]It is also my firm belief that HAL does a better job of managing your bullpen if you do not use F0-F9 settings. The "roles" are KEY, however, and will make a huge difference in how he uses the pen.[/b:a56c026b90]

Thks apolivka.

Actually, your comment will clarify one of my statement above.

I use the F-level for a specific pitcher when I want HAL to skip my instructions list and simply stuck with the given pitcher.

So while I agree with apolivka comment, I still use the F-level when one (or a few) of my pitchers (being it a SP or RP) are head and above better than the rest of the bullpen. But I wouldn't use the F-level for a 2M reliever (except perhaps for closer roles).
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby artie4121 » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:34 pm

Thank you Luckyman for your treatise, and apolivka for further input.

This game is remarkably mystifying in that one or two tweaks can make the difference in that 1 to 5 wins that separate Champs from Chimps.

Thanks again . . . (now to actually LEARN this stuff)

Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby theClaw » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:25 am

Awesome post!
I have for the most part stuck to the earlier 200x games and have muddled through the 2v version of the bullpen when playing 99,2009.
You have helped me with the simple way you have laid this out. :)

Lucky, don't know if you remember but I believe we played in your first league together in 2001. I thought I new my strat because I played for multiple years in the mid seventies but I quickly understood the depth of understanding you had in this game over me. I have enjoyed your posts through the years.

Dave Clawson
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby MARCPELLETIER » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:22 am

thanks artie and Claw. I sure remember you, Clawman!!
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby Jake Squid » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:17 pm

Nice post.

Your guidelines are a near perfect match to mine. My difference is that I ALWAYS get L & R specialists. 9s when I can, but I'll go as low as 4. And I do that whether I've got a 5 man pen or a 6 man pen. It's worked very well for me so far.

Also, like apolivka, I never use F settings for my relievers. I use them sparingly for starters, though.
Jake Squid
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby MARCPELLETIER » Wed Jul 21, 2010 10:14 pm

Updating with new questions from other forums:

[b:1900ace654]My lefty specialist faces too many right-handed hitters. How can I change that?[/b:1900ace654]

a) Increase the bullpen. The deeper the bullpen, the better Hal is in managing specialists. Ideally, you need at least three specialists, in addition to a good set-up/closer. This said, there is a price to pay for a larger bullpen, and in many cases, there will be other ways to spend your money wiser, so it's a case-benefit scenario that you have to figure out.

b) In mop-up situations, HAL cleverly becomes much less aggressive. If your specialist has been used in such situations, then the number of right-handed hitters will inflate, but it's not necessarily a bad thing in truly winless situations with some other, better relievers needed to rest. Still, you could use "don't use in mop-up situations" to avoid this, if it really annoys you. In any case, the point is that if we exclude those mop-up situations, you might find out that the ratio of your specialist in critical situations is more likely to be 66% LH-33%RH.

c) The "specialist role" kicks in only after the 7th inning, where Hal starts to use pinch-hitters. So you might want to "force" HAL to use Sambito before that as well (for example by having him as a middle man, with the same other settings that you mentioned).

Actually, in my own experience, I have NEVER seen HAL done a pinch-hitting move before the 6th, and I have seen it only once in a 6th inning, but I don't check the boxscores every night, so perhaps it happens a bit more often.

d) In addition to the settings you describe, having an "aggressive" use of bullpen (on the Strategy page) is very important to avoid having Sambito stay on the mound vs the following hitters--but be careful, the aggressive mode might expediate very good relievers quite fast if you don't carefully counter-balance with other settings (slow hook, F-rating set low than 9).

e) Against teams that are capable of good pinch-hitting, you might want to do some micro-managing, series after series, and set the "lh specilist role" at the top or bottom of the lines of command depending, respectively, depending if you like the match-up with your specialist or not.

[b:1900ace654]I have a S/R pitcher that I use for spot starts and that I want to use in the bullpen, but HAL never uses him in the bullpen, why?[/b:1900ace654]

Here is the main reason why this could happen:
a) The pitcher needs to rest 3 days after he starts.

b) The pitcher will rest if he is set-up to start in the next series.

c) The pitcher will sit if HAL [i:1900ace654]thinks [/i:1900ace654] that he might start in the next series. To avoid this, set-up a five man rotation without the given S/R pitcher in the [b:1900ace654]rotation[/b:1900ace654] page. Of course, this will force you to manage your rotation on a day-to-day basis with the Per-Game starter.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby edgecitytx » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:21 pm

Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby padrenurgle1 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:47 am

Good stuff. I'd like to add that I *do* use the 1-2 or 2-3 inning limits on all but superstar relievers like Rivera or Gagne or Wagner, and why. Unless you have other settings like quick hooks and avoidance in place, you can easily end up with generally good relievers pitching into fatigue situations. A lot of late guys can only throw one inning before being vulnerable, and I used to have the experience of a good reliever giving up several runs while other good arms are watching, just because Hal didn't see a reason to take them out at the start of inning 3.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Return to Strategy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest