The Secret Formula 2011

The Secret Formula 2011

Postby J-Pav » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:01 pm

The Secret Formula 2011 has entered into production. While we won't be ready by Thanksgiving, I anticipate having something together by mid December. If you have any ideas for improving the TSF 2011, please forward them to my secretary (pictured here):


[b:f9d16a86ba][size=24:f9d16a86ba]The Secret Formula (tm) 2011[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba][color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Rachel Phelps[/color:f9d16a86ba]: I think he'll fit right in with our team concept.
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Charlie Donovan[/color:f9d16a86ba]: That reminds me, I was going to ask you. What exactly *is* our team concept?[/i:f9d16a86ba]

Welcome all to the eighth and what will be the final installment of [i:f9d16a86ba]The Secret Formula[/i:f9d16a86ba]. I apologize for not getting this out sooner, I’ve had some internet connection problems lately, not to mention some priority holiday responsibilities which worked their way into my alone time with the keyboard.

Straight to the soapbox…

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]I. PITCHING[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba][color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Ebby Calvin LaLoosh[/color:f9d16a86ba]: Why's he calling me meat? I'm the one driving a Porsche.[/i:f9d16a86ba]

For any newcomers, The Secret Formula is an amalgamation of veteran best practices with what I’ve called “salary construction”. Salary construction is simply taking the highest paid player from each of 20 Championship teams, adding them up and dividing by 20 to give you the average price for the highest priced player on a Championship team. I continue the process all the way thru the lineup to give you the average cost of every player at every position.

Similar to last season, this year’s numbers lingered very closely to this pattern (check your own leagues for additional confirmation):

[b:f9d16a86ba]The Secret Formula Pitching Staff[/b:f9d16a86ba]

1. $6.34
2. $5.00
3. $4.12
4. $3.20
5. $1.28 ($19.94 total)

Two-thirds of the time there has been a preference for * SPs. This was exactly in line with last year’s findings.

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

6. $3.61
7. $2.39
8. $1.41
9. $0.84
10. $0.80 ($9.05 total)

The cheapest bullpen I looked at totaled $5.78 and the most expensive came in at $11.63; however, just as we saw last year, that $9.00 area for a complete bullpen looks to be ideal for most any conventional starting rotation. Be cognizant of your RP innings distributions and be careful of overspending here. A lot of managers seem inclined to do just that.

While we now find ourselves dipping down into $29 million pitching staffs, back in the day I recommended keeping your total staff salary at $32 million. Most of the vocal dissent back then came from the super low dollar pitching staff guys. Those days appear to be over, if the last two seasons are any indication. Across the board this year, the average Champs staff was usually [i:f9d16a86ba]very[/i:f9d16a86ba] close to the numbers listed above.

While we’re talking about pitching, here’s something to mull over. When it comes to overall pitching, you really have to squint to tell the difference between a Championship staff and an average staff. It comes as no surprise that the average Champs team surrenders only 601 earned runs to 676 for a middle of the pack team, because after all, a better team by definition will have a lower ERA than an average team. However, I found that this is not due to giving up significantly fewer hits or surrendering fewer walks or striking out more batters. The only discernible difference I found was the starting rotation going deeper into the game: Champs teams on average had 43 complete games and 9 shutouts to 26 complete games and 4 shutouts for the average team. Those pitcher settings just might be a touch more important than you originally thought.

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]II. HITTING[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba][color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Willie Mays Hayes[/color:f9d16a86ba]: Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays, and I run like Hayes.
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Lou Brown[/color:f9d16a86ba]: You may run like Hayes. But you hit like ****.[/i:f9d16a86ba]

Once again, I simply rank order the salaries for all 20 teams from high to low and average them out across the board to see [i:f9d16a86ba]"How much salary is spent on the highest salary player? The second highest? The third?"[/i:f9d16a86ba] and so on.

[b:f9d16a86ba]The Secret Formula Hitting Chart looks like this:[/b:f9d16a86ba]

1. $9.49
2. $8.00
3. $7.14
4. $6.32
5. $4.42
6. $3.37
7. $2.86
8. $2.16
9. $1.66
10. $1.36

(Bench: $3.58: Total: $50.36)

The hitting chart can get a little blurry, but if I had to generalize I’d say we are moving away from the middle to the outer ends (notice how the $5 million guy has dropped out). There are a lot of strong high priced players and even more strong low priced players (especially as platoons).

Noting the move away from the middle, with one of my more recent teams, I abandoned the above suggestions and intentionally tried to draft nine players priced between $4.50 and $5.50. After the autodraft I had to plug a couple of holes when I missed several important picks. After adding a couple higher placed players here, and a couple of platoons there, guess what the eventual salaries ended up looking like?

I don’t know if the hitting chart matters or not. I will tell you what does matter: dropping players and forfeiting salary is the number one way to diminish your team. If at the end of the season your salary structure is way out of whack from what I indicated above, this will be why. In case you missed it, I posted this in another thread:

[quote:f9d16a86ba="J-Pav"][b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]10 League Sample[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[u:f9d16a86ba]Best Record[/u:f9d16a86ba] (Drops) vs [u:f9d16a86ba]Worst Record[/u:f9d16a86ba] (Drops)

1. 90-72 (0) vs 71-91 (5)
2. 98-64 (0) vs 65-97 (4)
3. 93-69 (0) vs 62-100 (24)
4. 90-72 (1) vs 71-91 (40)
5. 94-68 (0) vs 71-91 (29)
6. 99-63 (0) vs 68-94 (24)
7. 91-71 (1) vs 58-104 (26)
8. 98-64 (0) vs 54-108 (12)
9. 98-64 (0) vs 69-93 (2)
10. 100-62 (0) vs 72-90 (21)

Coincidence, maybe?


Since I only look at final rosters, salary construction might do nothing more than simply confirm that in-season drops are not something that Championship teams pursue (* Note: In the above chart, I failed to mention that trades also show up as player drops. Still, I think the chart speaks for itself without needing to split that hair).

TSF is incomplete without a word about selecting your lineups. Here’s this year’s word: once a week, or when you’re tempted to drop some underperforming player, go instead to the [color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Reg Season L/R[/color:f9d16a86ba] tab and sort out your guys by their current OBP (high to low, vs both lefties and righties). Once you’ve done that, make sure your best slugger is batting fourth or fifth. Also make sure you don’t have like five righty batters in a row. This will accomplish exactly nothing more than if you sorted out your lineup by the expected stats on the cards, but man if it doesn’t FEEL like you did something useful!

If you do it every week (and I actually did do this a few times), you will get some wacky lineups that eventually even out to where they should have been to begin with. Along the way you will ride a few Kicky Nobats hot streaks and watch your star player bat eighth until he “starts producing”. You really feel like you’re doing something useful. You’re not, but it feels as if you are. And if the exercise prevents you from dropping guys into the FA pool, then you’re actually coming out way ahead.

[size=18:f9d16a86ba]III. MIDDLE DEFENSE[/size:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba]“You’re killing me Smalls!!”[/i:f9d16a86ba]

Here’s the number two way to screw up your team. But if you want to do it right, take note that the average range and errors for the 20 Championship teams are as follows:

2B: 2e9 avg (5 managers chose ones, 11 chose twos, 3 chose threes, and 1 chose a four).

SS: 2e15 avg (7 managers chose ones, 10 chose twos, and 3 chose threes).

CF: 2e4 avg (10 managers chose ones, 9 chose twos, and only 1 chose a three).

While it can be done, and someone even snuck in Kelly Johnson at 2B this year, should you risk it? 90% ones and twos for eight years in a row now. Can it be said any louder?

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]IV. SCORE RUNS AND DO NOT ALLOW RUNS[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba][color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Skip[/color:f9d16a86ba]: What's our record, Larry?
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Larry[/color:f9d16a86ba]: Eight and sixteen.
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Skip[/color:f9d16a86ba]: Eight... and sixteen. How'd we ever win eight?
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Larry[/color:f9d16a86ba]: It's a miracle.
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Skip[/color:f9d16a86ba]: It's a miracle. This... is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.[/i:f9d16a86ba]

I tried to emphasize this last year and I’ll say it again this year: If you take no other lesson from this post with you, try and remember this one thing: score five runs a game and give up only four. On offense five is the number and the number is five. The number is not four, six or seven. On defense, surrender four. The number is four and four is the number.

Championship teams this season averaged 777 runs scored, or 4.80 per game. They surrender 685 runs (4.23 per game) for a net runs advantage of about 0.57 runs per game. This pythagorates into a 90-72 season, which will (more often than not) equate with a playoff position.

Unbalanced spending, while fun, does not correlate well with winning championships. Stop trying to break the runs per game record by spending $70 million on your offense. Unless you’re in my division.

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]V. BALLPARKS AND PLAYERS SUITED TO THOSE PARKS[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba][color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Ray Kinsella[/color:f9d16a86ba]: It's okay, honey. I... I was just talking to the cornfield.[/i:f9d16a86ba]

There continues to be no distinct pattern in “winning” ballparks. Get your best players on the bus and go win anywhere. If you know ahead of time that you’re going after lefty power hitters and want to load up for Miller, by all means do so. But don’t wring your hands if you end up having to bat four or five righties. It just doesn’t matter that much.

If we know how to spend our salaries, and ballparks just aren’t that important anymore, what’s left to do? All that remains is analyzing opposing teams for weaknesses (hello, Jake Arrieta) and making good roster selections. I’ll take the liberty of posting for [b:f9d16a86ba]marcus wilby[/b:f9d16a86ba] (no TSF is complete without him!) and advise you to spend some time at Studio 303 ( ). I will confess to being a lifelong Strat-O handwringer, so when I need to obsess I’ll check in here for a session. You have to remember these are face-to-face leagues of various sizes with some of our salaried players excluded from their non-salaried pool. But Marc showed me this site several years ago and it never fails to generate ideas for me. I like seeing how other folks draft and prioritize (big premium on the stud closers) even if it doesn’t mesh perfectly with our universe.

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]VI. WORSHIP HAL[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba]“I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.”[/i:f9d16a86ba]

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]VII. WIN YOUR DIVISION[/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

[i:f9d16a86ba][color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Crash Davis[/color:f9d16a86ba]: You be cocky and arrogant, even when you're getting beat. That's the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Ebby Calvin LaLoosh[/color:f9d16a86ba]: Right. Fear and ignorance.
[color=blue:f9d16a86ba]Crash Davis[/color:f9d16a86ba]: [exasperated] No, you hayseed. It's arrogance not [/i:f9d16a86ba]ignorance.

Six years ago I wrote:


CHAMPS Secret Formula:

1. $32 million on pitching, $48 million on hitting (or thereabouts).
2. Spend for "1s" and "2s" at SS, CF and 2B.
3. To win in '05, you must get the most mileage out of your pitching.
3A. Low WHIP (leaning towards lower [i:f9d16a86ba]total bases[/i:f9d16a86ba], I argue).
3B. Low ERA (you must finish well in runs allowed)
4. Players suited to your park (there is a tendency for Shea and Minute Maid to be the CHAMPS' park of choice).
5. Study the CHAMPS teams you've played against, as well as the teams with the best winning records in the Record Book.
6. Win your division. 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 luck) to win it all (10 teams=four playoffs=one title). [/quote:f9d16a86ba]

All things being equal, this stuff has held up pretty well I think.

[b:f9d16a86ba][size=18:f9d16a86ba]Good luck to all![/size:f9d16a86ba][/b:f9d16a86ba]

Post Script: I just entered my Theory in Action team, which is a complete disaster. I received 13 of 25 picks, missed like 8 of my top 10, and received the consolation number one waiver pick (which drafts on Tuesday). Here is a team link:

I'm not going to dissect it like years past, but feel free to ask me questions about what I'm doing along the way. Hopefully by the time you ask I'll actually have a few answers. Until I do, hopefully this helps some:

Last edited by J-Pav on Mon Dec 19, 2011 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby wavygravy2k » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:17 pm

Dear Erin,

I rated about 50 successful teams and came up with the following data:

AVG Pitcher Salary
AVG Starting Pitcher Salary
Teams with * Pitchers
Player popularity per position

It might be interesting to compare notes.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby Mr Baseball World » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:32 pm

When I saw this thread I was very interested in the formula..........somehow I saw the picture and have lost interest :wink:

Is your secretary looking for an extra source of income? :shock:
Mr Baseball World
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby the splinter » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:08 pm

seems her inbox is already full!
the splinter
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:10 pm


Since the "formula" has been largely the same over the years (and this year is more of the same), I would be surprised if you're finding things much different than I've reported in the past. I have in fact looked at the four items you've pointed out, and if you want to get the thread going, have at it!

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

Postby gbrookes » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:10 pm

What were we talking about?
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:25 pm

Back to baseball... :D

I'm seeing roughly $21 mil worth of starting pitching, $9 mil in the bullpen, with a much stronger tendency this year toward the *SP (where last year was more the opposite).

I don't see any trend to indicate favorite players, particularly pitchers. I see [i:c1f39a2d80]very[/i:c1f39a2d80] strong correlations to the formula salary structure though. I like this tendency because it means that there are many player options to try, and you don't have to come totally unglued when you have an unfavorable autodraft.

In fact, some of my better teams this year came with the first waiver pick. I've been fighting my ego to draft an all $0.50 team, skip waivers and see if I can make a regular roster half an hour before the season starts from the leftovers in the FA pool. I'm convinced it's doable, but it is a bit over the top.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby visick » Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:32 pm

The attention span in this thread is almost non-existent.

I'm sorry, did I say something?
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm

Postby J-Pav » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:24 pm


Here's a grounder for the chiropractor...

Do you think there's the potential for back problems here??

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

Postby Knerrpool » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:52 pm

Well, I think we just scared off all 3 of the females that had been playing TSN. But, it definitely makes for a nice desktop background.
Posts: 55
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:34 pm


Return to Strat-O-Matic Baseball Online 20xx

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests