The Secret Formula 2009

The Secret Formula 2009

Postby J-Pav » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:57 am

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=24:0f2e3f7d8b]The Secret Formula (tm) 2009[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“It would be possible to describe everything scientifically, but it would make no sense; it would be without meaning, as if you described a Beethoven symphony as a variation of wave pressure.”

- Albert Einstein [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

Do you know that over 1250 unique users have played SOM Online 2008? The vast majority of them dip their toe in the water once, and are never heard from again. On the other side of the spectrum, are the same names the readers of this post have all become accustomed to seeing time and again. The two or three dozen managers who win team after team, year after year.

Each year around this time, I try to put together a post that will benefit those players who really enjoy playing, but who are unable to turn the corner from just participating to regularly contending. The unspoken truth about success in this game, much as it is in any endeavor, is that tuition must be paid. You can play to try it, you can play for fun, you can play to join theme leagues, but if you are truly playing to win championships, then you must play a lot. I hope this post will shave a bit of that tuition cost for you, because I truly want to keep you coming back to play. Returning newbies are the lifeblood to the free credits in the veterans' accounts!

Will giving away The Secret Formula ruin my own chances for maintaining an edge on the competition? After six years of writing this post, the answer is a resounding no. For one thing, there are so many different ways to gain a slight edge on the competition, I could never list them all here even if I wanted to. For another, the difference between flipping coins and "success" is maybe five wins per season. Like the evidence presented in this post, sometimes you really have to squint to see the "slight edge." And then, once you can discern the difference, you have to decide if playing to win five more games than everyone else is even worth playing for.

I think it is.

Welcome all to the sixth installment of "The Secret Formula, version 2K9". In order to bring the newbies up to speed, what I have attempted to do here is take 20 Championship teams in the leagues I've participated in this season to see if I can decipher some of the [i:0f2e3f7d8b]what works, what doesn't and why[/i:0f2e3f7d8b] and pass that along to those who might benefit from some veteran insight. Last year I looked at best records teams, but decided that this year, best records do not matter. Only free credits (ie, Championships) matter.

I have been writing this post every fall for a few years now. You would probably agree with my wife when she says there's nothing I enjoy more than the sound of my own voice. Because this is probably so, over time, the "sound" of this post has gotten a bit monotonous. To combat the vanilla sameness of my annual pompous rant, I've asked a few of the [i:0f2e3f7d8b]Old Guard[/i:0f2e3f7d8b] to give us their thoughts on some of these things. Together, the eight of us have nearly 300 championships. You would be wise to consider what they have to say, and I hope including their thoughts will break the tiresome sound of me shouting from the soapbox.

This is going to be long, so we better get started...

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]I. PITCHING[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“You give us the pitching some of these clubs have and no one could touch us, but God has a way of not arranging that, because it's not as much fun.”

- Sparky Anderson [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

As you prepare to draft your team, have a plan for what you're going to do. Have you read Jim Collins' book "Good to Great"? It's an outstanding read if you're inclined to read such things. Let's apply some of what he says to our little universe.

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]"In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with where but with who. They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances."

- Jim Collins[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

Who do we want on our pitching staff bus? At the risk of this post sounding like a broken record, identical to last year I found three ways to organize a Championship staff.

[b:0f2e3f7d8b]The Low Budget Staff[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

This staff consists of starting pitchers (SPs) costing generally no more than $3.99, but usually utilizing those players in the $2.00 range. Five of the 20 successful managers chose this option, with total starting pitching salary budgets at or near $12.00 mil total.

The actual averages of the five SPs were:

1. $3.96
2. $2.83
3. $2.14
4. $1.83
5. $0.95

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="Jerlins"]Spending less on pitching:

1. The pitcher's card really only accounts for 35% of all dice rolls, the other 15% coming from defense.
2. I tend to focus on players with 600 plate appearances, they tend to cost more, and well, something has to be sacrificed.
3. All too often, a team's makeup consists of one too many $3 plus relief pitcher, normally, a waste of precious $ that can otherwise be spent on a hitter. 90% of my teams are made up of one closer, one set up, and the rest of the relief staff made up of sub $1 players. If you have a decent $3 to $4 RP, why would you want his innings taken by a $2-$3 reliever anyway?

A couple of pennies over $25 mil!! A PNC team that finished 1st in pitching on the cheap. Okay, so a PNC team [i:0f2e3f7d8b]should[/i:0f2e3f7d8b] finish near the top in pitching, but yet, it also finished 4th in hitting. Good hitting, good fielding, mediocre staff.

I haven't played in many hitters parks this year, but in the '07 set I played a few teams. Pitching? [i:0f2e3f7d8b]Who needs pitching?![/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

So what does this all mean? Well, nothing really. I don't rely strictly on an under $25 mil pitching staff. As a matter of fact, this year, I've spent a wee bit more on my pitching staff, though rarely over $27. I try to take what SOM gives, and this year the cards seem to favor spending a point or two more on your staff. [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

[b:0f2e3f7d8b]The Three Stud Starters Staff[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

Another one-fourth of successful managers utilized this option, which usually resulted in total starting pitching budgets around $25 mil. As the name suggests, three stud starters would be SPs who cost $6-7 mil with a $3-4 mil fourth starter.

The actual averages of the five SPs were:

1. $6.80
2. $6.34
3. $5.94
4. $4.23
5. $1.29

[b:0f2e3f7d8b]The Secret Formula Salary Construction Staff[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

The rest (10) of the successful managers used this option, which looks something like this:

1. $6.69
2. $4.46
3. $3.54
4. $2.88
5. $1.97

and sometimes adding a sixth starter at around a buck ($19-20 mil total SP).

Like I wrote last year, the reason you probably see this type of staff more often is because it's easier to patch this together from the free agent pool, when the best pitchers from the other two strategies have already been selected in the autodraft. Therefore, if you miss out on two or more of your drafted SPs, you might consider scrapping the original plan altogether and building a staff like this one if you cannot find suitable replacements for the pitchers you missed. Above all else, get the right people on the bus.

Question: Is one $6.00 starter the same as all the other $6.00 starters?

I leave that to you, to find an answer for yourself.

I understand there are problems inherent to averaging everything and saying [i:0f2e3f7d8b]"Aha! Look at this."[/i:0f2e3f7d8b] For instance, lost in all the averages is that 75% of Championship teams carry at least one SP greater than $5 mil. Some don't, but be advised that Game Five of the semis can be a fickle thing, especially when your opponent trots out Tim Lincecum against your $2.00 starter. But all things being considered, if your staff bears no resemblance to one of these three strategies and you find that you are not reaching the playoffs, then I hope this information gives you the framework to find a combination which will eventually be successful for you.

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="stevep107"]Regarding pitchers - since most teams will have a majority of right handed pitchers, I like to have an over-representation of left handed SPs on my team. Often, I will use four left handed SPs with all right handed relievers. Generally, I look for low WHIP. I look for SPs in the $3m-$4m range and RPs in the $2m-$3m range. I don't usually spend more than $30 mil on pitching. [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

[b:0f2e3f7d8b]Relief Pitching[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“We need three kinds of pitching: left handed, right handed, and relief.”

- Whitey Herzog [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

With regard to relief pitching, the salary construction chart looks like this:

Low Budget Staff RPs: 1. $5.44, 2. $3.70, 3. $2.16, 4. $0.69, 5. $0.63 ($12.62 total).

Three Stud Starters RPs: 1. $4.81, 2. $2.48, 3. $1.59, 4. $0.82, 5. $0.62 ($10.32 total).

Sal Construction RPs: 1. $4.62, 2. $2.56, 3. $1.92, 4. $0.98, 5. $0.73 ($10.81 total).

So overall, we end up with half of Championship managers spending $30 mil on total pitching, one fourth spending five mil more at $35 mil, and the other fourth spending five mil less at $25 mil. The teams' records bear out that no one pitching strategy provides an edge (in terms of wins) over the others.

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="qksilver"]Bullpen Usage in 2008

First, let me applaud Bernie again for his efforts with this enhancement. It really made huge strides in making bullpen usage more effective, and thereby added some intriguing possibilities to the TSN game.

In prior years, a five-man pen was critical in terms of salary efficiency for capped leagues, and the "avoid" settings really didn't work at all. That encouraged the use of stud R2 guys who would pitch 150 innings or more per season and who were effective vs. batters from both sides of the plate.

That has all changed now. While having those stud R2s is still useful & possible, I think moving to a traditional six-man pen is now the right call, because you can usually get the matchups you want. For an 80M league, here is a sample pen that I think does well in terms of price ratio relative to SPs & hitters, but can still be very effective:

R2 setup: $3.5-4.5M
R1/Cx closer: $2.5-3M
R1 or R2 setup: $2M
R2 or 3 mopup: $1M
R1 LH specialist: $1.5M
R1 RH specialist: $1.5M

On the low end this is a 12M pen, on the high end more like $14-15M. I usually spend $35-40M on pitching, and like my pen to be about 1/3 of that total. There are a few other key things to know:

1) It's key that both setup guys be close to E, like 2L to 2R, preferably 1L or 1R types. Corey Wade and Jim Johnson are two of my favorites for the high end guy (depending on your park).

2) The main setup guy should be the opposite hand from the majority of your SPs, and the closer must be the opposite hand from the main setup guy, and should also be close to an E rating. In one unlimited keeper league I featured a lot of LH SPs, and I had Rivera as my setup guy and Fuentes as my closer. Of course this is extreme in price, but again I have seen the concept translate well to $80M leagues. The key though is that you need to try to flip the other guy's lineup twice - once when you bring in your setup guy or specialists, and once for the closer. And it's key that the main setup guy is R2 so that he can get through most of the opponent's lineup before giving way to the closer.

3) The specialists must be R1s to work well, and if they have a C rating it's really nice, because HAL will use them correctly late in games if the matchup no longer favors your normal closer, and the opponent's bench is thin. Brandon League worked well for me in 2008 as a RH specialist. In an unlimited league featuring a ton of great hitters, and where most pens don't have anyone under $2.5M, League did fine, throwing 35.2 IP but saving 8 games and putting up a 3.29 ERA. 75% of the batters he faced were righties, and he only allowed LHs to hit .229 with four BB and one HR in a total of 14 IP vs LHB. Impressive performance for a $1.85M guy in an unlimited league.

4) I don't like skimping on the mopup guy, especially in a hitter's park. They will see plenty of action (50-70 IP) and halfway decent seems to do a much better job than the .50 guys. If your mopup guy flames out and doesn't get you to the 5th inning, it really hurts your chances for using the rest of the pen as intended. Pitcher parks can go low budget more easily here.

5) I always set closer to regular if any of my other guys have a C rating & the closer is not really high end. Giving HAL more flexibility now is not the bad thing it used to be.

That's it, otherwise I find the pen settings to be quite intuitive, so go at it and please feel free to PM me with stories of how these approaches worked out for you, I'd love feedback or questions. [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]II. HITTING[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“The pitching staff has carried this team the whole year, but it's nice when you score a lot of runs.”

- Ozzie Guillen [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

Those familiar with this post already understand what I mean by salary construction. For those who do not understand, I simply rank order all the salaries from high to low and average them out across the board to see [i:0f2e3f7d8b]"How much salary is spent on the highest salary player? The second highest? The third?"[/i:0f2e3f7d8b] and so on.

For 2009, The Secret Formula Salary Construction Hitting Chart, utilizing a Low Budget Pitching Staff, looks like this:

1. $8.95
2. $8.35
3. $7.85
4. $6.73
5. $5.93
6. $4.73
7. $3.48
8. $2.29
9. $1.66
10. $1.27

(Bench : $4.43)

The Secret Formula Salary Construction Hitting Chart, utilizing a Three Stud Starters Pitching Staff, looks like this:

1. $8.40
2. $6.16
3. $5.23
4. $4.59
5. $4.03
6. $3.48
7. $3.09
8. $2.38
9. $2.02
10. $1.43

(Bench: $4.27)

The Secret Formula Salary Construction Hitting Chart, utilizing a Salary Construction Pitching Staff, looks like this:

1. $9.71
2. $7.98
3. $6.55
4. $5.45
5. $4.71
6. $3.93
7. $2.81
8. $1.78
9. $1.74
10. $1.23

(Bench: $3.76)

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="stevep107"]Regarding hitters - because I usually like to play in stadiums that favour lefties, I have more left-handed hitters on the team. I usually get a SS and a CF with range '1'. However, I've been disappointed with Rollins in the 2008 set, so I am now toying with alternatives. I rarely use a full time position player with a range of '3' and never use one with range '4' or more.

Speed and OBP are more important than HR power in my opinion. I like guys who walk a lot and hit lots of doubles and triples. I always choose a catcher with a negative arm and almost always have outfielders with negative arms.

Favourite position players in 2008 at each position:

C - Mauer
1B - Loney (good value for money)
2B - Fontenot
SS - ? (Rollins has underperformed)
3B - Chipper
LF - Jason Bay
CF - Hunter or Victorino
RF - Ichiro [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

For the hand-wringers among us, last year I presented a discussion on the [url=][color=darkred:0f2e3f7d8b][u:0f2e3f7d8b]Baseball Musings Line-Up Analyzer[/u:0f2e3f7d8b][/color:0f2e3f7d8b][/url]. You can go back and read [url=][color=darkred:0f2e3f7d8b][u:0f2e3f7d8b]last year's post[/u:0f2e3f7d8b][/color:0f2e3f7d8b][/url] if you want to re-visit the discussion. Truth be told, I have not used the line-up analyzer once in the new card set. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on how to put together a line-up based simply on the experience I have playing the game.

Some of you might find this helpful: [url=][color=darkred:0f2e3f7d8b][u:0f2e3f7d8b]By The Book[/u:0f2e3f7d8b][/color:0f2e3f7d8b][/url].

What the analyzer, By The Book and my own experience have taught me is that as long as your best hitters bat one thru five, generally with the top OBP guy leading off and the top slugger batting fourth or fifth, none of the rest really even matters anyway. It's splitting fractions of fractions.

On the record, I will tell you this. In the past, almost without exception, I have tried to stagger my hitters to avoid having more than two hard righties or two hard lefties in a row. I refuse to let HAL bring in Brian Wilson to close me out in the ninth. When he does, he might get Josh Anderson out, but he's going to have to go through A-Rod and Carlos Lee too.

Off the record, with the low dollar closer mostly a thing of the past, I have found myself stacking some righty bats at the top of the order when I'm facing multiple reverse righties in a series. It just goes to show you that there are no absolutes in this game, and you have to be willing to try a different approach now and then.

Even though I'm not much of a line-up guy, this topic always seems to draw a lot of attention. So I borrowed [b:0f2e3f7d8b]Panzer ace[/b:0f2e3f7d8b] from the mystery card games to get his take on this:

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="Panzer ace"] is my basic line-up approach.....

The line-up:

The goal is to maximize the strengh of every hitter. It is a mistake to select a leadoff hitter based on speed alone and a #2 hitter on simply bunting or hit and run ability. Those factors alone don't occur enough to make them the deciding factor in line-up selection. Get the most out of what a hitter delivers. Your best OPS hitters in the heart of the order (#3-#5) is a simple start for some line-ups. Here is how I would select a basic line-up.

1. Best OB% with lower Slg%.
2. Best OB% with lower Slg%.
3-7. Best OPS (If OPS are close, rank the players with the highest % of OB early and the players with lower OB% and higher Slg% later).
8-9. Lowest OPS (OB% not high enough to bat 1 or 2).

A basic example of ordering players with similar OPS.

Three players, each with a .900 OPS should be placed as follows:

A. .400 OB/.500 Slg
B. .350 OB/.550 Slg
C. .300 OB/.600 Slg

After you rank your line-up based on the OPS your hitters deliver, then you can decide how much you want to consider alternating your R, L and S hitters. That is a secondary consideration, after you insure getting your best hitters the most ABs in the best spots in the line-up. [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

Of course, just when I thought I had all this figured out, [b:0f2e3f7d8b]qk[/b:0f2e3f7d8b] bombed me with this one (which just goes to show us veterans how much more can be discerned from this game [i:0f2e3f7d8b]after you already know everything[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]):

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="qksilver"]A Guide to 2008 TSN-SOM Lineup Construction

With Bernie's recent improvements to bullpen usage, which much more closely mimics the full range of capabilities on the CD game, and even enhances that, I've found that lineup construction has become one of the key differentiators in this year's TSN game.

Lineups in TSN:

Some of you may recall that I did a lot of initial TSN play based on park strategy and slanted lineups. Even in a neutral park setting, and even with the advent of Bullpen 2.0, I still recommend a minimum of six LH/SW and three RHs in a starting lineup vs RHP, and often go 7/2 or even 8/1. This seems extreme to a lot of managers, and they often feel I'll be susceptible to RPs they bring in now that they have finer-tuned controls. So why do I persist with this approach, and why does it work?

If the other manager has more control of the pen than before, I believe it's even more critical to create as many mismatches as possible against the starting pitcher, and get to the opponent's pen earlier. If you get to the pen earlier, and either force in a mop-up guy or tire out your opponent's best setup man by the 7th, often in the late innings you can force more mismatches. This is anecdotal, but I've had a lot of success with this method and will wear it out until someone shows they can counter it consistently.

That said, I always prefer to have one or two RHs in my lineup who can really hit in any park, with a substantial amount of OB or natural XBH on the hitter card. My favorite cards this year for that role are Ludwick, Manny & Glaus. The other 1-2 RHs on my teams are often C, SS or 2B. Alberto Gonzalez has been a favorite cheapie SS for me due to his great D and doubles on the card vs RHP. I still favor a lineup that is minimum seven deep in solid hitters in a DH league, six really good hitters in no-DH. Here's a sample lineup from a recent successful team:

Fontenot 2B
Bradley DH
Josh Anderson LF
Teixeira 1B
Hamilton CF
McCann C
Glaus 3B
Furcal SS
Hairston RF

Obviously, this is in an unlimited salary keeper league, but I find the same type of construction is still effective in 80M leagues, just the card quality goes down a bit. In this group, I feature 3-4 platoons depending on what kind of LHP I'm facing, and I try to keep the platoons to four maximum.

Traditional baseball purists and many SOM players will emphasize speed at the top of a lineup. I know there has been a lot written about having a * runner in the leadoff spot, and yes there's a small advantage to getting + GIDP balls converted to hits, but I've found this to be somewhat overemphasized. I also find the saber-approach of "it really doesn't matter how you set the lineup, we've proven it statistically" doesn't really translate to SOM. I'll get to that in a bit.

The most critical factors I have found in setting up lineups are as follows:

1) As much OB as possible in the top three spots, with a real minimum of GIDPs in the 2-3-4 spots
2) A minimum of three very good OB+SLG cards in the 4-5-6 spots
3) Decent clutch in the 4-5-6 spots
4) A bit of speed at the bottom of the order, especially if you're giving up some OB there

Let's deconstruct my first point, OB & lack of GIDPs at the top of the order.

Those of you who follow sabermetrics will say "What does lineup order matter? Studies show it makes no difference!" Well, remember, those studies are based on real MLB. Real MLB is [i:0f2e3f7d8b]much[/i:0f2e3f7d8b] less predictable than SOM. All the best prediction systems like PECOTA still can easily be way off in any given year about, i.e. how many GIDPs McCann will hit into for a season. However, in SOM we know, with an extreme degree of predictability, how many GIDPs he'll roll on his card, and the only real variables are 1) how many outs are there when he rolls a GIDP, and 2) are there runners on base in front of him when he rolls? Both of these factors are much more controllable in a TSN environment than in real life.

In my lineups, I'll generally allow for one or two guys who roll GIDPs more than 10% of the time on their cards. At the top of my lineup, Bradley has almost none, same with Anderson. You'll also notice Anderson has a high BA and high doubles in the three spot. This is to ensure that, as often as possible, I have runners on 2nd & 3rd or 1st & 3rd when Teixeira and Hamilton hit. This resulted in 40 HRs each and 114 & 116 RBI respectively, despite being in a pitcher/neutral park (Comerica), excellent pitching staffs from my opponents, and some uncharacteristically low OB in front of them (Fontenot .350 & Anderson .298 - Bradley saved the day at .401).

Where I usually allow for some GIDPs is the 5th, 6th or 9th spots in the order, though really anywhere 5th or later is ok. In the 5th or 6th spots you'll see the most 2-out hitting. Guys like Luckyman/Marcus Wilby have run some great numbers to show this is true and why clutch in those spots is more important. So the corollary here is that more two-out hitting by your basepath slugs = less GIDPs. Unfortunately, McCann had bad clutch this year, so I couldn't get a balance out situation of bad GIDPs but positive clutch, and Teix has more DPs than I like in the 4-hole, but it's a keeper league, there's only so much I can control! :-)

Point #2 seems obvious, but I see many teams trying to survive just on OB & speed in pitcher parks, and this is a huge mistake that I learned the hard way. On a recent pitcher-park team I only had two decent sluggers vs RHP and the 1st season of that keeper league we struggled badly to score runs. In season two, I made a deal to add Ludwick and the natural XBHs in the 5-hole (behind Anderson #3 and Berkman #4) have made a huge difference on that club. In season 2, Ludwick put up a .286/.352/.613 slash line in AT&T park, with 49 HRs & 150 RBI. Thank you sir may I have another!!! My top four hitters (Vazquez, Baker, Anderson, and Berkman) averaged .360 OB, and Ludwick's huge bat driving them in has made all the difference.

Point #3 is often misunderstood in SOM. The math shows that the number of clutch hits rolled in a season is so small, the difference in run-scoring due to high clutch is really minimal unless you are able to build a really extreme all-clutch lineup. So why do I insist on the right clutch approach, and what is it? Basically, in a clutch situation, HAL makes a calculated decision about who to pitch to based on hitter batting average (chance to drive in at least 1 run) in that scenario. If my #4 hitter has a man on & two out, and neutral or slightly negative clutch, but a ton of XBH (both natural & park-related), do I want HAL to pitch to him, or the guy behind him who almost certainly has less total RBI potential but slightly higher BA? Clear answer: I want HAL to pitch to my cleanup guy. The extra SLG is worth way more to me in that scenario that a few points of clutch BA, especially if it's 1st & 2nd or bases loaded & two out. In order to ensure that HAL does not IBB my cleanup guy, I have a higher-clutch guy in the 5-spot. HAL is faced with a "damned if I do, damned if I don't" decision, and I score more runs as a result. So the issue is not to try to roll more clutch hits, but to use clutch to force HAL into the matchup that you prefer in a clutch situation.

Point #4, speed at the bottom (vs. the top) is a question of, when is the time right to risk a baserunning out? Even if you steal at a 70% success rate (generally considered the breakeven point by saberheads), you are still removing a runner from base 30% of the time. If I have good OPS guys in the 3-4-5 spots in a lineup, I prefer not to risk those outs, because my chances of getting the run in from 1st is high enough already, and I greatly decrease my chances of a big inning while slightly improving my chance to score one run. So when I put speed at the top of the lineup, it's those rare guys that feature elite OB and an incredibly low CS %, like 85% or better. Those guys are very hard to find, and as a result, when I have speed, mediocre SLG & OB in a player (often SS, 2B or CF) I put them in the 7-9 spots. Because the hitters behind the seven slot hit more singles and maybe doubles, there is better risk/reward in stealing, because the odds of the weaker hitters driving in a run from 1B are lower than for my 3-4-5 guys, substantially lower. [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

Random thought on in-season transactions: I think it's good advice to consider this game a math puzzle, and not a "game". The reason I bring this up is because I see an inordinate number of managers "tweaking" their teams throughout the season to turn the tide of a losing cause.

On one of my last Championship teams, my record was 7-13 after 20 games. One of my cherished SOM superstitions is that HAL will always test my resolve in the first week of the season. Therefore, I do not jettison underperformers and I do not second guess myself.

20 games later I was 17-23. Now, two weeks of games is a lot of evidence on hand. It would have been very easy to start seeking trades (which no one will accept) or making free agent changes, because everything to this point suggests this team isn't going to work out anyway. Well, I thought my team building was sound, so like REO Speedwagon I rode out the storm.

I finished the season 96-66 (one of my better efforts) and won the ring.

Moral of the story: Juggle your lineup or play a five defender at 3B for a series, but do not forfeit salary to the free agent pool. Sit on your hands once the season starts and ride it out. The good dice rolls of your underperformers could be coming up in the ensuing weeks. And if HAL looks favorably upon you for your discipline, you could get a boatload of rolls that start to come your way.

[size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]III. MIDDLE DEFENSE[/size:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]"They had better defense at Pearl Harbor."

- Andy Van Slyke[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

You might think that after five or six years (I can't even remember any more) of making this post, some of this would start to sink in.

2B: 2e10 avg (Six managers chose ones, 12 chose twos, and two chose threes, and yes, that's me playing Hairston at 2B).

SS: 2e16 avg (Two managers chose ones, 15 chose twos, and three chose threes, and yes, those are my Ryan Theriot teams).

CF: 2e4 avg (Seven managers chose ones, 11 chose twos, and two chose threes, but no, the threes were not mine!)

To the fraction, the averages were 1.80 (2B), 2.05 (SS) and 1.75 (CF).

90% of the time, Championship managers had either ones or twos at these key defensive positions. Can you get away with a three here and there? Of course you can. The problem isn't the "three" per se, the problem is that in a small 12 team league you run the risk of giving strokes to the field when your better-hitting three fielder catches a fat tail at the wrong end of the offensive probability spectrum. It happens, just read the boards if you don't believe me. The net runs resulting from the range difference don't really go away though, do they? My advice: do as I say, not as I do and play the ones and twos. Or don't, because it's actually more fun that way.

For those of you looking for this year's Cristian Guzman here, I'll tell tell you his name sounds a lot like "Ryan Theriot".

More than anyone else among the [i:0f2e3f7d8b]Old Guard[/i:0f2e3f7d8b], [b:0f2e3f7d8b]dj[/b:0f2e3f7d8b] is the one most likely to be thinking more about defense:

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="durantjerry"]Many of you have probably played against me over the years. I love to experiment with different ideas and strategies. In the other comments section of the "Newbie Strategy" post in the Strategy Forum, it says to strengthen your middle defense and goes on to elaborate further down. This advice is correct to a certain extent. However IMO, your goal really s/b to maximize the net runs produced by any player. So, where two players have the same cost and a great defensive player produces 125 runs offensively and allows only 25 runs defensively(+100 net runs) vs a poor defensive player who produces +125 net runs, the poor defensive player will actually generate more runs for your team and is the better choice. The problem is, my above example is not realistic and then, how do you go about quantifying the net runs produced figure. I believe you could figure out expected runs produced based on the card %'s and there is an ongoing discussion in the strategy section concerning this topic, but I have to admit the discussion is too deep for me.

[b:0f2e3f7d8b]Great Defense[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

Over the years, I have experiemented by putting together great defensive teams many times, and of course that started with exceptional middle defense. I have used this strategy in both slugging and pitching parks, the choice of which can be dependent on the type of players that are available that offer great defense. In my experience, these are the teams where if you get it right, you have a chance for 95+wins. By getting it right, I mean the great defense combines with a good/great offense and decent pitching(or visa-versa) that gets picked up by the great defense. The problem is, the players you need are usually the ones everyone wants. You may really have to sell out your draft to get the players you want and you may also have to spend a lot, forcing lesser choices in other areas(pitching?). The hope is the great defense turns an otherwise mediocre pitcher into something more. As an illustration, many of you probably saw my "less than 30 errors post", where I sold out to put a very low-error team on the field in US Cell (Pedroia/Hunter /Rollins). To follow is Matt Cains pitching line to date in a no-DH league:216.1 177 68 70 177 2.83 1.14. I think it is reasonable to say that the defense has made Matt Cain a little more than he actually would normally be. Again, the problem is creating the optimum overall team balance and knowing when you need to sacrifice some of the defense for a little more offense. I do this based on experience and merely enter my lineup in the drop down. I find a good indication is usually hitter #'s 6-9. I usually require productivity through #8. I will carry Jack Wilson at #9 for his defense if my offense is good, but if your seventh or eight hitter is really a #9, you need more offense. If I am going to err, it is usually towards putting more offense on the field, especially vs good players. Hopefully you can upgrade the corners while keeping the middle strong.

[b:0f2e3f7d8b]Poor Defensive Players[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

I have also experimented with varying degrees of success with poor defensive players in the middle. A big advantage of this route is the players are usually easier to get and relatively cheaper. This allows extra $$$ to be used to maximize net runs at other positions and frees up top draft picks. While some of my experiments have been successful, I have yet to reach the 95-100 win plateau that I have been able to achieve with great defense. A couple of years ago I used "4" rated Brady Clark(about a .400 OBP) in CF. He was just about surrounded by "1" rated defensive players and the team posted the best record by winning about 89 games. Last year I used the "4" rated tandem of HanRam and Uggla at 2B /SS and was leading the wild card until a collapse in the final dozen or so games, but still finishing over .500. This year, my $100 Tour team started Uggla at 2B(Camden Yards) vs RHPs and played .600 ball after he took over in about game 40, winning 92 games overall. If going this route, with no way to accurately quantify net runs produced, I would advise that the poor defensive player has to be very good offensively to make up for the poor defense. I tried the 2006 or 2007 Peralta at SS with terrible results, as he just isn't elite enough offensively to make up for his defensive shortcomings. In the case of Uggla, he posted a .996 OPS(he also only made five errors) and the next best 2B was around .860. So, his productivity was outstanding, especially in relation to what other players at his position were able to achieve. For that park, there are few 2B that could compare with what Uggla can do there. A couple of final words of wisdom:try this in hitting parks with low single factors where runs are relatively cheaper and less runners get on base and a non-DH league is a good place to experiment, as a player like "4" rated 2007 HanRam is usually left undrafted.


This probably isn't anything many of you don't already know, but maybe someone will pick up something. I would just advise not to be tied to any particular approach and to not be afraid to try something different if your looking for a change or find yourself in a position where opportunity knocks and going against conventional wisdom may be the best choice.

As mentioned above, see the Strategy Forum discussion concerning more on the offense vs. defense discussion. [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]IV. SCORE RUNS AND DO NOT ALLOW RUNS[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“The old saying in baseball is pitching and defense will win championships, but scoring runs will win you games. We have to score too.”

- Eric Reichenbach [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

This is the place in the story where I remind you that winning teams generally win the net runs game. The lopsided 300 homer teams do not dominate the way they once did.

Let's look at our three strategies:

The Low Budget Staff teams average around 800 runs scored, or 4.96 per game. They surrender a 4.24 ERA for a net runs advantage of about 0.72 runs per game.

The Three Stud Starters teams average around 742 runs scored, or 4.58 per game. They surrender a 3.79 ERA for a net runs advantage of about 0.79 runs per game.

The Secret Formula Salary Construction teams average around 773 runs scored, or 4.77 per game. They surrender a 3.82 ERA for a net runs advantage of about 0.95 runs per game.

The moral of the story is that you need the hitting salary to score five runs per game, while maintaining enough pitching salary to allow only four. Do not get caught up in trying to turn the five into a six. In newbie hands, this team is virtually guaranteed to miss the playoffs.

On the other hand, are those that run amok with pitching. I will admit here, I won a ring with a Four Stud Starter strategy (Lincecum went 14-18, Sabathia 17-18, E. Santana 19-11 (yay!) and Haren 13-16). I won this ring with an 84-78 regular season record, scoring 4.39 runs per game and surrendering 3.76. I finished as an eight games-out-of-first place wildcard. As you can imagine, here's what happened in the playoffs: 7-3 record, 1.88 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, overcoming my anemic 3.20 runs scored per game. Thank you HAL (peace be upon Him).

What did we learn? Despite spending half my total salary on pitching, my ERA was exactly the same as any vanilla Three Stud Starter team. I merely spotted the field a $7 mil hitter. That was the last time I tried that experiment, but hey, if you don't try anything different, you don't learn anything different.

I always recommend the Strat-O-Matic Baseball Ratings Book. Remember, your lineup consists of three hitters generally priced below three mil. Ignore this low budget one-third of your lineup at your own peril. You must actively seek out the better players in the $1-2 mil range as enthusiastically as you evaluate the $6-7 mil hitters. I'll remind you of this again about salary construction: [i:0f2e3f7d8b]it starts at the [b:0f2e3f7d8b]BOTTOM[/b:0f2e3f7d8b], not the top[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]. It's pretty easy to replace Adrian Gonzalez with $9 mil, but not so easy to replace your Montanez/Renteria DH platoon at $2.75.

[size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]V. BALLPARKS AND PLAYERS SUITED TO THOSE PARKS[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]"Every ballpark used to be unique. Now, it's like women's breasts - if you've seen one, you've seen 'em both."

- Jim Kaat[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

If you thought you would see here all the advantages of PNC Park, you would have been reading my mind. But a funny thing happened on the way to citing the obvious. PNC (12-12-7-1) has one ring out of the 20 Championship teams. There's only one Yankee Stadium (4-7-15-9). One Turner Field (9-9-4-10). In fact, there appeared to be no ballpark "advantage" among the teams I looked at. If you describe pitcher's parks (generally) as those below 10-10-10-10 and hitter's parks as those above, you can say that 75% of Championship managers chose pitcher's parks.

However, in more detail...

Low Budget Starters teams played in parks averaging 8-8-8-6, Three Stud Starters teams averaged 9-9-7-6 and the Secret Formula Salary Construction teams averaged 10-9-6-7, for an overall average Championship home field of lefty singles 9, righty singles 9, lefty homers 8, righty homers 7 (ie, 9-9-8-7), which looks exactly like no stadium in the 2009 SOM Online universe. Well, maybe a little like Progressive (which also won only one ring).

A neutral stadium is the Champions choice? Cats and dogs, living together? No, just remember Jim Collins. Get the right people in the right seats on the bus first. Then go where you're going. This year, you do not need to find a stadium first, then draft a team to fit that field (although that's fine and dandy). Build your autodraft with your favorite choices and see if you have an abundance of RH sluggers selected. If you do, simply click "Choose Ballpark" and select Camden Yards, or Coors or Turner. No need to agonize if you miss Pujols. Just go with Youkilis.

Or, you can even go with a counterintuitive approach like this:

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="keyzick"]Team Building Strategy...

I call it "[i:0f2e3f7d8b]The Wildcat[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]" - adopted the name after realizing it's a strategy similar in style to what the Dolphins accomplish with their wildcat offense. They can't match the talent of their peers, so they compensate by being the only team to employ a very unique offensive scheme. Because other teams are built to beat the more commonly used schemes, the wildcat causes them all sorts of problems, but if everyone used the wildcat, it would be easily defeated.

Sorry for the big analogy, but it helps to understand the philosophy. It's somewhat contrarian, but it CAN be effective. The keys are UNIQUENESS and doing the OPPOSITE of what's expected (call that "[i:0f2e3f7d8b]The Costanza[/i:0f2e3f7d8b]"

Majority of the league in hitter's parks, including you? Grab the best pitching not affected by BPHR. You can always find values on offense if you're going to be playing in hitter's parks (>'s become singles, #'s become HRs, etc..).

Playing in PNC, Yankee Stadium, Chase (lefty favored hitters parks)? Get some big righty bats, your opponents may line up his staff to start lefties in your park. Here is where I'd keep my pitching to lefties and/or righties who are strongest v lefties.

Hopefully you get the idea. I should note, that a league's makeup, if varied, may not always allow for these schemes. It should be deployed after careful review and strategizing. I most often use it only after a poor autodraft...but have occasionally purposely built teams with the "apparent" opposite traits my park would favor. It's not foolproof, but it can work! [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]VI. WORSHIP HAL[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes.”

- James Agee [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

What are your chances for winning a Championship? If you're one team out of 12, then you have an 8.33% chance of winning a ring, everything else being equal. Right?

But wait. To win your division, you need to beat out three other teams (25% chance). Then you have a 50% chance of winning the semis. Then you have to overcome another coin toss to win that elusive ring. Now you end up with 25% x 50% x 50% = 6.25% chance of winning a ring. That weird vacuum of space between 6.25 and 8.33? That is where HAL resides (peace be upon Him).

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]VII. WIN YOUR DIVISION[/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]

[i:0f2e3f7d8b]“Indecision has often given an advantage to the other fellow, because he did his thinking beforehand.”

- Maurice Switzer [/i:0f2e3f7d8b]

Back in 2002, [b:0f2e3f7d8b]luckyman[/b:0f2e3f7d8b] had already forgotten more about this stuff than I managed to learn that first year when I was a brand new newb. The boards back then had lots of insightful discussions, and I benefited from the collective wisdom shared in the community. One thread asked the reader to post their "Dream Team" and list a roster of players that you would consider "perfect" if you could acquire all 25 players on your card. It is from that post that this post was borne.

Over the years, [b:0f2e3f7d8b]luckyman[/b:0f2e3f7d8b] (aka marcus wilby) has played the role of Chief Devil's Advocate in my Secret Formula posts. This year's effort would not be complete without a blast from him as well:

[quote:0f2e3f7d8b="marcus wilby"]What's the best way to win a championship in a 80M 200X league?

Let me first provide an obvious first step: Spend your money on players you need (and try to avoid as much as possible the 20% penalty cut that affects in-season transactions). A 60M roster will have a hard time outplaying an 80M team, everyone will agree on that.

Well, as simple as this platitude sounds, you can go a long way in understanding the ways to build an optimal roster with this one response.

Consider pitching. Imagine you spend 3M on a reliever who never comes in to pitch. That’s 3M of waste, roughly three wins per season, a situation akin to spending 77M on your team instead of 80M. Yet, this situation is no different than having a 3M reliever throwing 40 useless innings (or perhaps even with 100 innings, but with only a few decisions, few holds, few saves). And I see this happening all the time.

Knowing exactly what you will need in terms of pitching for your upcoming season is perhaps the most difficult skill for a new Strat-GM to acquire, and perhaps one area where you can improve most. J-Pav’s identification of the “The Secret Formula” gives you a rough idea on how much money you should spend on your average pitching squad. On “average”, in an “average” stadium, with an “average” starting pitching rotation (roughly 20M), you should need roughly two very good relievers (typically a set-up man and a closer, who will pitch when the game is on the line), a third moderately good reliever, and two cheap relievers who will mop-up, relieve in overtime, or replace unavailable relievers.

The reason why this set-up works is simple to understand. Your “average” starting pitching is not good enough to rely upon when the game is still on the line in the late innings. There will be plenty of important innings left to have enough work for at least two very good relievers. In fact, because you have many “average” starting pitchers, chances are you will have to rely on a third reliever on some occasions. Moreover, because you have an “average” offense in an “average” stadium, there will be some occasional comebacks, so you better spend some money on that third reliever and provide him with the role of keeping your team in the game in addition to backing-up your best two relievers. So, on “average”, here is roughly how you should assign the roles:

-5M best-reliever, set-up/closer
-3-4M second best-reliever, set-up or closer (best complement for the best reliever)
-1.5-3M third best-reliever, keep the team in the game while trailing, backing-up the two best rp
-1+M fourth best-reliever, when team is back late or in overtime
-1M specialist vs one side
-0.5M mop-up

Experienced strat-o-gamers know that relievers can pile up innings, so the two best relievers should have at least 200 innings between them, and perhaps as much as 300 innings. So J-Pav’s run down of The Secret Formula allows you to have a rough guide to where to start spending your money. But of course, your job as a GM is to understand whether or not the team you have under your hand departs or not from this “average” model.

If you play in an “extreme” stadium, one for example that prevents most stadium hits, and if you happen to draft three or even four very good *SPs, then the dynamics for the roles within your bullpen changes dramatically. You will be more inclined to rely on your very good SPs even late in the game, as they are probably better or equal to most of your relievers.

Moreover, the prevention of hits caused by your stadium will allow your very good SPs to be stronger late in the games, thus reducing the importance of having a good set-up reliever. On the other hand, the prevention of hits will boost the number of games decided by one run, which will increase the need for a very good closer, preferably a C(6).

Again, the prevention of stadium hits, and stadium home runs in particular, will reduce greatly the capacity of your team to make comeback wins (not to mention the fact that, in such a stadium, you will stay away from sluggers, reducing again the capacity of your team to make big comebacks).

The last point means you don’t really need a good third-wheel back in your bullpen, just like you don’t really need a good set-up man. As extreme as this may sound, in these situations, you really need to spend only on one extremely good closer. And because, by rule, you still need 10 pitchers, you better draft cheap specialists to fill up your bullpen and use them to set-up your closer in the few games where the starting pitcher will not last as long as hoped.

This is exactly what I did for a recent team (stadium, Petco, extremely low single rates, very low home run rates), a team headed towards 100 wins, currently at mid-season:

On this team, 25M was spent on SPs, 6M was spent on the closer, and 3M was spent on the last five relievers (basically 0.6M per pitcher). The closer, Soria—one of the best in this year’s edition, should finish around 150 innings and so far he has been involved in 11 decisions in only 78 games. The rest of the bullpen will share between them around 150 innings after season ends. Needless to say, with 150 innings left to be thrown, most of them in hopeless situations, there is no logic in spending a lot of money. Moreover, the multiplication of specialists gives my team a plus-value that allows that bunch of relievers to remain relatively efficient (common ERA under 4.00).

In a less extreme environment, chances are you will need at least one better reliever. On another team, I went with a Fenway stadium (very high single rates, very low home run rates), but with better defence than the preceding team. I spent 22M on SPs, a middle-upper class of SPs not as extreme as the 25M spent on the preceding rotation, and 6M on a set-up/closer (in this case, Nathan). For this team, I had a chance to run almost 100 seasons of simulation, varying with different scenarios, one top-reliever vs two vs three top relievers.

Here is the TSN version, which was quite successful, with 98 wins:

Within this environment, I had the best results in my sims when I added a second, good-quality reliever to assist my top closer. Going with Nathan only (and a bunch of 0.5M relievers), I had on average 90-91 wins per season, whereas I could reach on average 95 wins with somewhat less offense and a second quality-pitcher. In the TSN “real” version, Nathan finished with 150 innings, which left 250 innings to be dealt with by the rest of the bullpen. I acquired Hoffman (somewhat of lower quality than what might have been optimal) during the course of the season.

Projected to a full season, his total of innings would be roughly around 80 innings, leaving 170 innings for the rest of the bullpen. I could have probably improved this team by acquiring a better reliever than Hoffman, and by changing the roles so that this second reliever took a share of roughly 150 innings, leaving 100 useless innings to the lower dollar rest of the bullpen.

If you go the other way around, with an extremely potent offensive line-up in an extremely offense-oriented stadium, then you might think that one should go all-out with relievers, to the detriment of starting pitchers. Things are not this simple, though, because starting pitchers always pitch some meaningful innings, regardless of the environment in which they pitch, simply because they start when games are tied 0-0. I tested two teams in TSN, where I spent on average 1M per starting pitcher, in one case with exceptional defence, and the other case with poor defence; I also simmed a few seasons with such teams.

Overall, results are mixed: my TSN teams reach on average 90 wins, but could not go much beyond that, despite overpowering opponents with home runs. Also, even with perfect settings, it’s hard to limit your starting pitchers under the 850 innings mark (roughly 5.1/5.2 innings per start). This limit leaves your bullpen with roughly 600 innings left to deal with.

Considering that between 100 and 150 of those innings have low win-lose importance, there is truly, roughly 450 innings that are potentially game-turning innings—a job for, at most, three very skilled relievers in the TSN-SOM environment that allows relievers to have 150 innings per season without major problems.

These notes, and my own experience, lead me to believe that even in very potent offense-environments, there is no need for more than three potent relievers. Limiting your bullpen to three stellar relievers leaves open the question on how much money you should spend on your starting rotation, but my experience is that 10M is probably a minimum in order to have an optimal investment on your pitching.

In conclusion, the most optimal investment you can spend on pitching depends on the environment in which your team is involved. On average condition, with an average of 20M spent on SPs, one outstanding reliever complemented with a good reliever and another capable reliever appears to be the most optimal bullpen composition (overall bullpen around 10M).

In an extreme pitching-oriented environment (25M-30M spent on SPs), one extremely good closer appears sufficient (overall bullpen around 7M). In a hitter-friendly environment, there is a probably an upper-limit of 15M to be spent on relievers, and perhaps a lower-limit of 10M to be spent on starting pitchers. The exact money spent on pitching in a hitter-friendly environment to have an optimal return of your investment is not yet clear, but is probably between 20M-27M.


1. How to best spend your money on bench players
2. The interaction between bench players and injury-prone players
3. The interaction with line-up constructions [/quote:0f2e3f7d8b]

The Secret Formula 2009 has been a long post. I hope you made it this far, and I hope you benefited from the journey.

If you can somehow manage 85 or 86 wins on average, you will be considered among the top managers in this community. If you settle on a pitching strategy, get the right hitters on the bus, mind your middle defense, and do not let your salary construction get too far out of whack, you have as good a chance as any veteran manager to out-match three opponents and win that division title. If you burn some incense to HAL (peace be upon Him), you just might bag that elusive ring or at least pocket a consolation credit so you can try again.

Lastly, a quick thank you to [b:0f2e3f7d8b]durantjerry[/b:0f2e3f7d8b], [b:0f2e3f7d8b]Jerlins[/b:0f2e3f7d8b], [b:0f2e3f7d8b]keyzick[/b:0f2e3f7d8b], [b:0f2e3f7d8b]marcus wilby[/b:0f2e3f7d8b], [b:0f2e3f7d8b]Panzer ace[/b:0f2e3f7d8b], [b:0f2e3f7d8b]qksilver[/b:0f2e3f7d8b] and [b:0f2e3f7d8b]stevep107[/b:0f2e3f7d8b]. Thx for the help guys!

[b:0f2e3f7d8b][size=18:0f2e3f7d8b]Good luck to all![/size:0f2e3f7d8b][/b:0f2e3f7d8b]
Last edited by J-Pav on Thu Nov 05, 2009 8:39 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:07 am

[b:b203c1502d][size=18:b203c1502d]Don Draper says:[/size:b203c1502d][/b:b203c1502d]


"[i:b203c1502d]I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I've already been[/i:b203c1502d]."
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby kab105 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:59 am

[b:19321adf73][color=red:19321adf73]Fantastic post![/color:19321adf73][/b:19321adf73] Thank you and all the contributing managers that took part. If I had the power, I would give each of you a free credit.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby Salty » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:47 pm


Very well done.

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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby Jerlins » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:52 pm

Aray hit the nail on the head, best TSF yet!!! Posts similar to this annual affair gave me (and still does) plenty of ideas to be able to compete on a consistant level. Thanks for offering me a spot in this year's post.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:08 pm

Thanks guys - hopefully after everyone's done watching football we can stir up some discussion in the coming days.

Newbs - when I can get to it, I'll post my [i:ef2bc6bc09]Theory in Action[/i:ef2bc6bc09] thread. I have a team built using these principles hoping to "call my shot" and win a ring sampling my own cooking. The post will have my team link, autodraft card, waivers picks and FA moves to demonstrate in real time how I put a team together.

Last year I lost Game 6 of the Finals to [b:ef2bc6bc09]Jeepdriver[/b:ef2bc6bc09]. This year I hope to go all the way - but I have to win my division first and then navigate around [b:ef2bc6bc09]stevep107[/b:ef2bc6bc09], [b:ef2bc6bc09]durantjerry[/b:ef2bc6bc09], [b:ef2bc6bc09]keyzick[/b:ef2bc6bc09], [b:ef2bc6bc09]Aray[/b:ef2bc6bc09] and a slew of others.

In the meantime, this post right here should stir up some conversation. This is the time to ask questions if you've got 'em.

(You're welcome [b:ef2bc6bc09]Jerry[/b:ef2bc6bc09], and thx again!)

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

Postby J-Pav » Mon Nov 02, 2009 11:30 pm


1. East won w/ 5th best record overall
2. East won w/ best record
3. East won w/ 2nd best record
4. East won w/ 2nd best record
5. East won w/ best record

6. Central won w/ 3 way tie for 3rd best record
7. West won w/ tie for 2nd best record
8. East won w/ 2nd best record
9. West Wildcard won w/ 4th best record
10. East Wildcard won w/ 3rd best record

11. Central Wildcard won w/ 3rd best record.
12. East Wildcard won w/ 3rd best record
13. Central Wildcard won w/ 2nd best record
14. West won w/ 3 way tie for best record
15. Central won w/ 2nd best record

16. West won w/ best record
17. Central won w/ best record
18. West won w/ 2nd best record
19. West won w/ best record
20. East won w/ 4th best record

I think this is a pretty good illustration that the playoffs appear to be largely coin tosses. Six best record teams won rings, seven next-best records, four third-best, and three fourth (or fifth) best records. Wildcards won 5/20 rings as did the West champion, East won 7/20 rings, Central only three, but 20 certainly isn't a large enough sample for this to matter.

My eight rings (only six came in the above 20 listed, two came after) were in eight unique ballparks: Turner, Progressive, Angel, Petco, AT&T, McAfee, Busch and Kauffman.

I really think the parks matter less than they ever have. I'm always trying out different parks. Other guys seem to "specialize" in one or two. The more you play, the more I think you try different things. If you play less, I could see trying to figure out one type of park.
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Postby crs76 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:18 am

Excellent post.

My formula that has worked for 2008 has been having numerous platoons with injury prone players in a lefty leaning park, although I am having some success in Camdem with my latest team. Texas Rangers hitters have also been working well for me. My high dollar hitters generally lean towards hitting RH pitching better as there are numerous cheap lefty killing players out there to use in platoons.

As far as pitching goes, making sure your bullpen depth corresponds to how strong your starters are, seems to be the key. Before V2, I just let Hal do as he pleased, he did well if he had good choices to pick from.
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