All Forums > SimLeague Baseball > WIS Championship > Team Building Strategies
8/3/2012 7:21 PM
I'll give away my strategy for doing well in this tournament.  You can move on with a bunch of .500 teams and one or two that make the playoffs.  You will never move on if you have one of your teams be an absolute disaster.  Always, always, always make sure you have enough innings.

90 Million

Went right to the '25 Yankees and the '08 Athletics.  Hated the pitching for the Yanks and the A's so I moved on.  Thought that a deadball team was best because you could get 300+ innings for 1 twist.  Scoured all teams from 1900 to 1920 and found the 1910 Naps.  Joss, Cy Young, Cy Falkenberg, and a 200 IP scrub.  Those will be my only four pitchers.

100 Million

Went directly to Walter Johnson.  Great pitcher, bad teams.  The 1919 season seemed to be the best pitcher with the worst record.  Made the team around him.  Tried to incorporate the Cubs from this year because of their great pitching but was just over the cap.  Went with more hitting instead.

120 Million

Cool idea.  First looked at Nap Lajoie and Rogers Hornsby, settled on Nap.  No way I was going with a non-Catcher behind the plate.  I went with the ever-popular Joe Ferguson, so I could use the Astrodome, thereby eliminating the Ruth/Foxx HR issue.  For pitching, I plugged in Mariano Rivera.  The starter spot went originally to Pedro, but his cost per IP seemed very high.  Wanted a current pitcher to negate bad defense, but couldn't do it.  Tried to make Joss, Johnson fit but wound up with Mordecai Brown.   
8/3/2012 8:34 PM (edited)
$70 Mil – Low Budget Braves
I found, frankly, that there were quite a few teams with about the same quality of pitchers and 1B and OF. So… decided to search for quality MIF in the general price range for this league. Kelly Johnson and especially Jeff Blauser popped up, so I went with the Braves. Yep, that’s about it with regards to my thought process for this team.

$80 Mil – One Step Forward, One Step Back
I wanted Addie Joss on my team. The ’08 version. I also decided to use Petco Park so I wanted hitters who hit 3Bs. I didn’t pay too much attention to the “2nd round” team; I just looked for players who seemed to give me reasonable options in either direction. I figure I can cobble together something decent in the 2nd round… but just getting there is the important thing. Well again, that’s about the sum of my thinking for this team.

$90 Mil – Very Twisted (Thank God) 1993 NY Mets
This was the team that I spent the most time on. Wow, what a complicated puzzle! Frankly, I hated every option I could find. Teams that were really good, like the 1939 Yanks, still had holes. Teams that were horrible, like the 1932 Cincinnati Reds, that actually had some useful players that season, still had far too many players that were never any good anywhere, anytime (so no twisting available). I eventually stumbled on the 1993 NY Mets. They have a useful hitter, Bobby Bonilla, who can play 3B or OF, and 2 pretty good pitchers, Sid Fernandez and Brett Saberhagen, good for about 260 innings or so. Plus, they had some good players (Jeff Kent, Eddie Murray, Dwight Gooden, Frank Tanana, Todd Hundley, etc.) who were just having some horrendous years. This team offered 13 twists. So… off I went; I built up a team and didn’t like it so much. Then… I went on a 2-week trip and by the time I got back, I needed to submit some teams. I just couldn’t find anything better so the 1993 NY Mets it is! I do see that another respected owner picked them, so hopefully this was a good choice.

$100 Mil – 2011 AnaTorCin RockieDodgers
This was my last team I built, and I had about 3 hours to do it. I had tried before to find something that worked, with no success whatsoever. Good to see that 2011 seems to be a popular (but not necessarily good) choice. I liked Kershaw for the barely-over .500 Dodgers and Haren and Weaver for the not too far over .500 Angels as my starting pitchers. The Rockies provided a SS (Tulo) and a good reliever and two outfielders, one good, one just ok. Of course, Kemp from the Dodgers was nice. I chose the Reds to give me my 1B (Votto) and 2B (Phillips) as well as a mediocre catching platoon. Sweet! (I say that sarcastically). The Blue Jays provided Bautista at 3B and a mediocre starter and some good relievers. I have absolutely no confidence in this team whatsoever. Lots of wasted money on players who won’t perform up to their price. Under .500 team for sure.

$110 Mil – AKA Charles F. Koenig
Yes, that’s Silver King’s real name, apparently. I really went off the rails on this one. I decided, for some reason, to go with the Petco Park strategy for this team. In other words, I picked up players who hit lots and lots of triples. Heck, even Silver himself hit 7 triples in 1888. As for the pitching staff, just your generic Fred Toney’s, Jack Northrop’s, and Babe Adams, with a sprinkle of Pedro Martinez to round it off. Nothing particularly special, but I only have 1490 total innings, but… hopeful Petco Park will make that ok.

$125 mil - Roger, Rogers and Me (And Pedro Too)
This is the *only* team I have any confidence in whatsoever. First of all, I knew I clearly wanted Hornsby. He has excellent seasons at SS, 3B, and 1B, and even one OF, and… of course lots of choices for 2B. Additionally, Hornsby has several cheap seasons for the bench. As for pitching, it was clearly Pedro. Enough great seasons, and some cheap seasons for those mopup situations made it seem like a pretty easy choice. The big question here was who the third (or third and fourth) player was going to be? I needed a player who could play C and also cover two OF spots. I considered Foxx, but as much as I admire him, he didn’t play the OF (or when he did, he was pretty damn brutal). I really didn’t want to play a C out of position. I also didn’t want to play two OF out of position, but also I really wanted to keep it at 3 players if I could. I believe I came up with an inspired choice: Roger Bresnahan! Roger has one stupendous and several other nice seasons (when you take normalization into effect) at C and OF. The other cool thing about Bresnahan: He even pitched 50 innings one year (not very well, but the season is pretty cheap)! I think my defense will be better than average throughout the field because I’m not playing anyone out of position, and I think Bresnahan will be a great leadoff hitter! Plus, since I got to spend the full $125 mil, I can have some really great Hornsby seasons. I’m playing in a pitchers park to protect Pedro from the Babe Ruth homers, especially since Bresnahan doesn’t hit homers and Hornsby’s value isn’t built on the homer per se either.

In summary: The clone team should do well. The other five probably won’t. I don’t think I did a very good job drafting this year. I know especially that my $100mil team is going to be very disappointing. In short, enjoy the 2nd round without me!
8/4/2012 1:02 AM (edited)
70M – It's in the Cards
This cap seems to be a basestealers province, so I immediately began with Vince and the Redbirds. The 1961-2011 restriction however made me take a long look at a cheap homerun team instead. I tried my darnedest to put together a Yankees team in Yankee III, but couldn’t put together enough pitching for that ballpark. Next, the Expos offered a nice balance of speed and cheap power and I quickly settled on neighbors to the north. Defense was suspect, so I simultaneously worked on both the Expos and Vince&Co. When all was said and done, the batting averages and the performance history for the Redbirds was too much for me to ignore. I fully expect a team with homeruns to be the way to go; I just couldn’t find it. I hope one doesn’t make it into my division. St. Louis Cardinals sans Tudor.
Hitting: 5165 PA/.295 AVG/.356 OBP/310 SB
Pitching: 1301 IP/1.08 WHIP/ 1.69 BB
Busch II: -2,-1,-1,-3,-3


80M – Build 2 Pick 1
I was tempted to simply forgo the second round team, but after narrowly missing the cage the last two seasons, I was sure that if I did that, I would certainly make the second round. However, since I did build for both teams, Ill undoubtedly never use the second! The offense wasn’t much of an issue. I again built a speedy team with Ricky, Rock, and Vince who have consistent seasons in the 4-6M range. Yadier was a must have for dealing with teams built like mine. The pitching was more challenging. I used two strategies – find pitchers who had two consecutive comparable seasons, and find pairs of pitchers with one good season and one short season back-to-back and merge them. For the latter strategy I found Pete Alexander 18/19 and Vida Blue 70/71. Pairing the 18 Pete and the 71 Blue, the stats are very close to the 19 Pete and 70 Blue. I’ve also had recent stellar luck with Phil Ortega and his ‘66 season. The ‘67 season is not quite as good, but looks like it might serve as apt filler for the rotation in round 2.
As a last minute switch out, I jettisoned Ricky for Sheff, claiming a small amount of power for those parks that favor it.
I chose what I consider my stronger team for round 1, hoping the general trend is a weaker round 2 (jinx).
Hitting: 5337 PA/.297 Avg/.365 OBP/335 SB
Pitching: 1324 IP/.217 OAV/1.01 WHIP
Petco: -3,-3,+2,-3,-3


90M – HoJo&Co
This was the second team I built, thinking it would require the most research. I originally searched through sub-.500 teams, but soon switched to sub-.400 teams to save time and to also give me the most twists. It was the second day of searching that I found the ’93 underperforming Mets. Tanana, Gooden, and Saberhagen twisted to prime. Sid the Squid’s only decent year didn’t need to be twisted, and a blasé’ bullpen – all point to a team carried by its offense. Vince, Murray, HoJo, Bonilla, Kent, Fernandez, all twisted to their most productive offensive years (or close). I bailed on my usual attention to range and tried to muster a team that could perhaps hold on late to some 9-7 wins. This is the worst of my teams per the cap, but my search for other teams found nothing better. It’ll be interesting to see what diamond in the rough I missed in my search. I intended to go back and relook at this cap, but never did.
Hitting: 5524 PA/ .295/.381/.488/ 189 HR/ 186 SB
Pitching: 1493 IP/.215 OAV/ 1.04 WHIP
Shea: 0,-1,-1,-1,-1


100M – 2002 Ari, Bos, LAD, KC, Mil
I really tried to find a deadball year I liked, but I’m too addicted to defense and bullpen and couldn’t find a single year to satisfy that craving. The 2002 squad showed up right away and I tried my darnedest to get away from it due to the HR allowed. But after a solid week of searching, I threw in the towel and settled. The rotation begins and ends with the DBacks and Red Sox of Pedro, Lowe, Unit, and Schill and the Dodgers gave me my catcher (LoDuca), power and OF def (Green) length in the pen (Perez) and relief (Gagne). At this point the combined record was 80 games over .500!!! Enter the Royals (-30) and Brewers (-50) to even the score. The Royals gave me legs in the OF (Beltran) and punch at 1B (Sweeney) and the Brew Crew gave some surprising pen help (Vizcaino, Durocher) and a two headed 3B (Loretta and Houston). The rest of the Sox netted me Nomar and Manny and Embree. Scraps of the rest let me put together a solid PH squad – Colbrunn (.626 SLG) and Kincade (.600 SLG). I was forced to overdraft PA with my last Brewer, but Sanchez affords me good def replacement for Manny and some speed. To add insult to injury I put this homer prone staff in Miller. Sometimes you have to embrace your weaknesses!
Hitting: 5781 PA/.302/.373/.498/202 HR/114 SB
Pitching: 1441 IP/.210 OAV/0.98 WHIP/1.98 BB/………(0.80 HR)
Miller: -2,0,0,+1,+1


110M – Silver Edition
I’m gonna run that sucker into the ground.  I only grabbed 700 extra innings and no mop-up. I put together a doubles/range team and stuck the squad in Municipal. That’s right – essentially a 1350 IP team in Municipal. This will be a tightrope walk that could fail miserably. The least effort was put into this, my least favorite theme.
Hitting: 5608 PA/.316/.395/.482/ 442 2B
Pitching: 1409* IP/.200 OAV/0.86 WHIP/1.12 BB/0.08 HR
Municipal: +1,+3,+3,-4,-4


120M Clones – Lajoie, Redmond, Adams, Rivera
I’ve been playing pinotfan’s clone league for the last few seasons and have had success with Lajoie at all cap levels. He may drop a few balls, but he sure gets to a lot. And he’ll play anywhere you ask him to. I expect to see a boatload of Mike Redmond as you can put together a 4 or 5 headed catching monster with him and use up your slots fairly easily. I was willing to let Adams start, despite his tendency to give up hits. His walks allowed should temper that a bit and he counters the other Babe a bit in his HR allowed. The infield range should also help settle Adams. The stadium allows Lajoie’s triples to manifest. IP may be low, but with a 13-man staff, the rest can be managed.
Hitting: 5448 PA/.353/.391/.494/368 2B/104 3B
Pitching: 1401 IP/.209 OAV/0.91 WHIP/1.33 BB
Pro Player: 0,-1,+2,-2,-2

8/3/2012 9:53 PM (edited)

Quick intro. I played SIM years ago, just warming up with a new account. I always focus on rotation first and usually refuse anything other than a very strong SP core. My team choices reflect this. 1st WIS Championship ever! I got ranked highly due to some early WS luck with this account. Maybe I'll live up to it.

$70M - I Hate the Yankees
(I hate myself for making this team - Go A's!)

Strength: Cookie-cutter lineup
Weakness: Fatigue issues on both sides of the ball, catcher platoon with two weak (B- & D) arms

I hardly ever play $80 mil or below. Lacking any other ideas, I searched for franchises with a load of cookies and built around that. I originally started with pitching and tried Boston (Lowe, Pedro) but the offense was getting too expensive. So I focused on hitting first and wound up with the Yankees - Clark, Randolph,and Boggs are studs for <$4 mil. For the middle of the order, the Yanks have some great, cheap HR guys (Giambi, Tartubell). Hopefully with modern era and low cap the usual WIS dampening on HR won't be so bad. For the staff I went with the best ERC+ guys I could afford, no grand strategy there. Struggled mightily with the cap and am very light on IP (1,241) and PA (5549). I originally was thinking Yankee (III), but the ugly IP total caused me to go with Yankee (I) at -2 1B instead.

$80M - Back and Forth (Kicking myself for missing a Back to the Future reference opportunity)

Strength: Nearly same team shows up next year
Weakness: Nearly same team shows up next year

I don’t play open leagues much, will probably get crushed here. So I dunno how this team will do. On offense, the strategy was simply to find the best on-base guys in the $3.5M - $5M range. Sorted by OBP#, anyone on the list multiple times pretty much made the team. Wound up with usual suspects Bishop, Tenace, Weiss. More unusual perhaps were Jim McTamany, Mel Ott, and Bobby Abreu. Offense has no cohesive theme other than high OBP. For pitching, had to go Joss--everyone at least considered the ‘07/’08 combo, right? Johan Santana and Jason Schmidt both had an ace season next to an okay season, so they'll swap being the second ace and the #3 so-so rotation each season. Most laborious work? Searching out back-to-back 200k seasons.  Fun find: Tim McCabe, star RP turned 200k guy next time round.

$90M - When I'm 64 Dodgers (I hate myself for making this team, too. Screw you Gibson - Go A's!)

Strength: Koufax/Drysdale/Singer
Weakness: Only one really good bat, pen suspect

All you guys who passed on this team, here's your chance to see them in action. I too went through a mess of teams. The recent Giants squads had potential. The ’56 Indians for the pitching. I almost always came up one twist short and would have been forced to put an auto-out/useless player or two at the end of the lineup when the twists ran out. Finally with the Dodgers I felt I found a comfortable 1-8. I’m sure many of you scrolled through Dodgers history and saw that sub-.500 anomaly from the height of the Koufax-Drysdale era. The entire offense slumped that year. Even the twists aren’t great. I wound up splurging on the ’63 Koufax and rolling with a line-up featuring not one $6 mil position player. But at least the whole lineup is passably decent. The one pretty sad bat is Ken McMullen ’68, and at least he brought a B/A glove to 3B. Also, the bullpen is simply mediocre.

$100M – 95 ATL/SEA/LAD/MIN/TOR (Wow, no two teams from the same division, only 13% odds that would happen randomly*)

Strength: Pitching strong everywhere
Weakness: Lots of money wasted on 20-30 HR seasons, lucky to get 10 HR apiece in the SIM?

I won my first World Series in a $120M single season theme with a ’95 squad. I started here, toyed with a couple other options. I can’t remember the year but I had one perfect 5 team cobmo just 2 games over .500. Argh. I wanted to assemble a top rotation, which was pretty hard given the theme. Maddux, Nomo, Johnson rotation (Ismael Valdez as a meh #4) were all great, and by taking the two cellar dwellers I snuck in at just under .500. For the anchors, MIN had plenty of useful pieces. TOR was a nastly mess of $2 million bench players and mop-up pitching. One thing about the 90’s – most every team has a great reliever so few worries out of the pen. Would up with one weird player: Ryan Klesko had a .310 / .396 / .608 line. Will WIS kill his power?

$110M – King’s Ransom (1st time ever with Silver, curse you vets)

Strength: Home runs
Weakness: Fatigue, King has fully half the staff IP

I too went for the HR gamble. Zig when others zag. This entire team has normalized HR totals higher than RL totals. Gavvy and Cy had to be there. HoJo, Foxx are classic. And Mel Ott. This team will be fun to watch. Stadium is Yankee (III).  Just for kicks I threw some really high OBP guys into the mix (Boggs, Castillo, Wakefield) to up the 3-run homer option. I really tried for guys who had more than just HR in their game, hopefully that pays off in the Petco type parks. I know people will be bringing speed teams so Joe Mauer, my staple big money A arm was a must. I really didn’t want to go the boring Joss/King route, so I went with Guidry instead, figuring people might stack lefties against King (I know I went lefty heavy). Lots of LOOGYs in the pen. All this spending hurt me on innings. But this is already a mad-hat risky team, so let’s go all in!

$120M - Pedro Pudge Rock A-Rod (Nicknames suck these days, Pudge is the O.G. Fisk version)

Strength: Stud defensive catcher and tons of infield offense
Weakness: Weird  pen of 4 100ip pitchers and a possible horrible heart of the order if HR’s don’t occur

Oh look, another Pedro team. If you want to avoid a 2 pitcher tandem, well Pedro had you covered. And as I said before, I love ace pitching. Almost everyone chose an 80’s speed OF, mine was the Rock, Tim Raines. I handled infield differently. At such a high cap, there just weren’t many multi-position players with really big offensive seasons. There is one guy who had pretty good defense, a HOF bat, and made a transition off SS halfway in his career – Alex Rodriguez. I used an A/B shortstop season at 2B, and then great SS and 3B seasons and now my 2-3-4 heart of the order is taken care of. This left one problem – catcher. Lot’s of people went Foxx. I wanted to, but the price was so steep. Instead I chose put a budget .400 OBP Raines on 1B and get whichever catcher I darn well pleased. WIS is addicted to speed, so I went with Pudge (Carlton, not Ivan). Only thing I couldn’t manage was finding a good lefty bat. With so many Pedro’s running around, anyone with a lefty lineup could be well pleased with the results.

* I fudged the math on the 5 teams, all different divisions stat. I assumed an equal distribution of 5 teams per division. That's a simple stat problem, and the answer looks like this: after 1st team is picked, the odds of each new team from a different division follow the pattern: (25/29 * 20/28 * 15/27 * 10/26). With skewed divisions, the math has to account for different odds depending on which divisions are picked - completes the issue greatly. Oh well, won't be a problem next year.

8/4/2012 1:40 AM
Team Name: Not So Great Fathers of Saint Diego
Salary Cap: $70 Million
Ballpark: Petco Park

I always suck at low caps because I never play them. Hopefully this year will see some improvement. Was looking for a park that would help with the inevitable lack of innings on my staff. Settled on SD and Petco early, but had to work some to ind pieces that fit. Ended up with an interesting offense, with 4 base stealers who stole 167 bases at an 85% clip, 4 guys over .290 avg, and even 3 guys who managed to hit 20+ HRs. The pitching staff isn't exciting but at this cap and with this park, they should hold their own.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 4899 pa, .282 avg, .343 obp, .396 slug, 211 SBs at 78.7%, $35.27 million
Pitching: 1209.7 ip, 2.92 era, .213 oav, 1.10 whip, 0.93 hr/9, $31.4million


Team Name: Open League Losers
Salary Cap: $80 Million
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium

Another cap not really in my comfort level and a theme that says you will get the same roster for round 2, just a year forward or back. Yeah, like that matters to someone who has never made it past round one. This offense doesn't do anything great, save maybe hit singles. So I figured we throw up lots of ballpark minuses and take our chances. Also made sure we got a stud arm behind the plate to counter the thieves who were bound to show up, so welcome Yadier! This team should rely on a strong bullpen and decent starting pitching. Im not excited about this team.

Team Stats
Hitting: 5183 pa, .302 avg, .353 obp, .448 slg, 1129 singles
Pitching: 1345.3 ip, 2.80 era, .217 oav, 1.04 whip, 0.77 hr/9


Team Name: 96 Brave Men
Salary Cap: $90 Million
Ballpark: Fulton County Stadium

I spent a lot of hours tinkering with teams. Tried many twists, few twists, medium twists, but kept coming back to a good RL team that would still get 4-5 twists. Hello Hotlanta. The best Smoltz, SP variety, obviously a Maddux, and one of the better Braves bullpens of the era. The offense plays right to the home field...bombs away. Only Lemke didn't hit 20 HRs, so while we may not reach our RL totals, 85-90% should be enough to bang out a good season.

Team Stats
Hitting: 5766 pa, .290 avg, .351 obp, .476 slg, 220 HRs
Pitching: 1445 ip, .212 oav, 1.14 whip, 0.71 hr/9


Team Name: 2011 Angels-Red Sox-Giants-O's-Royals
Salary Cap: $100 Million
Ballpark: Angel Stadium

A theme I liked, even though I never found a way to get the Dodgers and Tigers on a team. Pretty much knew I was using 2011 from the start with plenty of pitching available. After many trials with Verlander and Kershaw heading things up, I looked at the Philies with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels before pairing the Angels top 2 with the Giants duo and making the rest fit around that. Boston gave us three big pieces on offense, plus 2 big bullpen arms. Needed a couple lower win teams and the O's provided the C, an OF, and a super utility man in Andino. The Royals were mostly filler with a couple decent bullpen arms and a good hitting backstop.

Team Stats
Hitting: 6066 pa, .298 avg, .355 obp, .468 slg
Pitching: 1415.3 ip, 2.77 era, .216 oav, 1.05 whip, 0.62 hr/9


League Name: (Silver) King's Ransom
Salary Cap: $110 Million
Ballpark: Tropicana Field

Oh boy, finally a big cap...but Silver King gets to eat 30 million. Yippee. Having never faced him or used him, I didn't really about him...I tried to focus on the other pieces. I figured the rest of the staff needed to have some shutdown guys for the pen, so enter Adams, Mo, Romo, and Busby. Decided to try Verlander as my #2, with a tandem 3/long relief in short season Pedro and Cliff Lee.
For the bats, well I figured defense and balance is usually safe when facing the unknown. Navarro is here to control the running game, Goodwin, McGee, Collins, Remy, and Belanger should provide our running game and lots of contact, with Ortiz and Miggy hopefully able to add a few 3 run homers.

Team Stats
Hitting: 6239 pa, .292 avg, .348 obp, .419 slg, 271 SB at 73%
Pitching: 1553 ip, 2.05 era, .204 oav, 0.91 whip, 0.37 hr/9


Team Name: Da Honus on Mariano Smoltz is Lieberthal
Salary Cap: $120 Million
Ballpark: Veterans Stadium

I really wanted to use Greg Maddox or Pedro....but I just couldn't make it work with the hitter I had picked out. I settled on Wagner because he qualified everywhere but C at some point and his good SS defense years should translate decent to other positions in years he didn't play there. Wagner gets caught a lot, but against some out of place arms I figured that might improve, plus with lots of out of position cones, I figured his high averages and solid obp would play up. Chose the Vet to further exploit this as Wagner doubled and tripled an awful lot. Lieberthal ended up as kind of a throw in real C after settling on Smoltz 4 best years plus all the Rivera I could find. Figured if I had to use 2 pitchers, may as well get a reliever with lots of real good seasons.

Team Stats
Hitting: 6135 pa, .335 ba, .398 obp, .496 slg, 357 2Bs, 139 3Bs
Pitching: 1553.7, 2.65 era, .215 oav, 1.04 whip, 0.60 hr/9

All in all, aiming for a top 50 showing. We shall see if my lower cap teams can tread water and allow that goal to be possible.
8/4/2012 12:19 PM

$70m - Kansas City Mathletics

I couldn't get motivated to work on this team.  On day one I built basically the exact speedy Dodgers team schwarze decribed.  I looked at it again at the deadline and I didn't like the team's OBP#, so I build an Athletics team based on high OBP.  This also gave me the advantage of using Municipal Stadium to cover up my pitchers high HR/9.

(Including Scrubs) 
AB: 4761 AVG: .288 OBP: .374 SLG: .404
IP: 1298 OAV: .225 WHIP: 1.14

$80M - The Lucky Leprechauns

My basic concept was Petco to help minimize IPs and, as a result, use powerless hitters / high walk-rates.  I have a good combination players with two good seasons in a row and players with a good season followed by a $200k-ish season (Kid Elberfeld, Roger Nelson, etc.).  My Season 1 team is about 10% stronger than Season 2 but they both are competitive.


(Including Scrubs) 
AB: 4490 AVG: .274 OBP: .388 SLG: .392
IP: 1351 OAV: .212 WHIP: .98

$90M - 1977 Cincinnati Reds (6 twists)

I like this team.  Like schwarze said,  basically their entire offense is good to go as is.  I did twist Peter Rose (69), Joe Morgan (76), and Bob Bailey (70).  Bailey is not a fulltime player (429 PAs) but he is too good to pass up (OPS 1.004) and I needed some 3B help.

I also twisted 3 SPs - Caldwell (78) Soto (82) and Nolan (71).  The biggest weakness is the bullpen. I really only have 2 good relievers and the both are under 50 IPs.  I think I can manage this as I have a so-so inning eater with 127 IPs.


(Including Scrubs) 
AB: 4783 AVG: .298 OBP: .377 SLG: .494
IP: 1372 OAV: .234 WHIP: 1.12


$100M - 1964 MLN-LAA-LAD-MIN-CHC

This was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I dismissed 80% of the seasons in about 10 minutes because the pitching was not good enough.  Out of the remaining seasons, most of them either had a) all the good pitching clustered among 90+ win teams b) poor offense across the league.  In the end only had to decide from about 5-8 seasons.

The two other seasons I considered most seriously were 2010 and 1969.  I liked the RP in 2010, but I ended up with the issue of having 13 pitchers and not enough IPs since all the RPs have about 40 innings.  1969 was very similar to 1964 but I simply found a better 1964 combo.  

All five of my teams were middle of the road so I didn't have to cover any 90 win teams.  Koufax and Drysdale are awesome.  I added the Cubs purely for Santo's big season. Hope this team does well.



(Including Scrubs) 
AB: 4999 AVG: .298 OBP: .368 SLG: .494
IP: 1458 OAV: .212 WHIP: 1.05


$110M  - The Olympian Gods

I had two and a half basic ideas for this team.  

1. High average hitters with no power to match up well against King.
2. Use short season starters as a bullpen so anyone can fill in for King when needed.  My #2 SP is ’62 Koufax (181 IP)
2.5. Use Dodger Stadium

This team has some base-stealers, but it is mostly about the singles and speed on the basepaths. 

(Including Scrubs) 

AB: 5483 AVG: .348 OBP: .411 SLG: .465
IP: 1395 OAV: .206 WHIP: .94

 $120M - Speaker, Hornsby, Pavletich, Adams

When I saw this theme I instantly thought "Will I use Hornsby, Lajoie, or Wagner?"  When I looked into it, I saw Hornsby has a ton of scrub seasons which are incredibly valuable in this theme.  I never considered a team without him and I bet he will be the most used player in this theme. 

Babe Adams will probably be the second most used player.  I
 tried Maddux and Martinez but they were expensive and didn't have the short seasons that Adams has. 

Pavletich was my secret weapon.  At first I
 wanted to use just 3 players but I couldn't make it work.  It was hard to find a player who can play 3+ positions with a good Catcher season.  Pavletich is great because I will be using 3 of his seasons as a platoon catcher.  They break down as:

1965 PA:
 217 OPS#: .921 Arm: D-
1966 PA: 260 OPS#:
 .87 Arm: B
1968 PA: 110 OPS#: .786 Arm: A+ 

If I need an arm I
 have it, if don't I have great offense.  He also came with two scrub seasons.

Speaker rounds out the team.  I also had a version of this team with Cobb but I
 liked the consistency of the 3 Speaker seasons better.  Also Speaker came with League Park II (1B: 2, 2B: 3, 3B: 0, HR LF/RF: -2/-2) which is good for my team.

(Including Scrubs) 

AB: 4997 AVG: .360 OBP: .437 SLG: .549
IP: 1425 OAV: .238 WHIP: .101

 

8/4/2012 4:35 PM (edited)
$70 Million: Holding All The Cards
SBs seem to be the most cost effective way to generate offense at the lower caps so picking the Cardinals was pretty easy having cheap 87 Vince Coleman (109 SBs) and  74 Lou Brock (118 SBs). Went way light on the IPs so pitching fatigue will be tough to manage but I’m hoping for low scoring games with low pitch counts (otherwise I’m in for a world of hurt).
 
Ballpark:               Busch Stadium (HR LF/RF:-2/-2 1B:0 2B:0 3B:1)
Offense:              PA 5364, AVG .278, OBP .342, SLG .363, OPS .705, 373 SBs
Pitching:               IP 1243, OAV .245, WHIP 1.16, ERA 3.19, HR/9 0.67


$80 Million: Seasonal Changes
This was the toughest theme to put together. Don’t know how this team will perform versus people who might just throw in the best $80 Million team with no expectations to advance. A lot of the pitching staff are players I typically wouldn’t use in this cap level so don’t have high expectations for this theme.
 
Ballpark:               Target Field (HR LF/RF:-4/-4 1B:0 2B:1 3B:1)
Offense:              PA 5702, AVG .286, OBP .369, SLG .390, OPS .759, 202 SBs
Pitching:               IP 1340, OAV .219, WHIP 1.01, ERA 2.36, HR/9 0.22


$90 Million: 1916 Chicago White Sox
I’m a strong believer in run prevention with solid pitching/defense (and not allowing the long ball) so I started to look for a team which had a combination of some good pitching with some offensive punch and came across the 1916 Sox. Looking at Baseball-Reference, found that Ed Walsh also pitched on the team so twisted him along with Eddie Cicotte to get a pretty good pitching staff with an OK offense. Again hoping to win some low scoring games.
 
Ballpark:               Comiskey Park (I) (HR LF/RF:-1/-2 1B:1 2B:0 3B:1)
Offense:              PA 5779, AVG .271, OBP .339, SLG .367, OPS .706, 196 SBs
Pitching:               IP 1447, OAV .213, WHIP 0.97, ERA 1.95, HR/9 0.09


$100 Million: 1920 CLE/PIT/SLB/CHC/PHA
Wanted to find a season where there were hitting teams with almost no pitching and good pitching teams with very little hitting. I liked the 1920 St. Louis Browns and the 1920 Pittsburgh Pirates so started with them. Pitching staff isn’t up to the quality I’d prefer so with a high # of available IP, I decided to go with League Park II for my home ballpark to help with the offense and can hopefully outscore my opponents.
 
Ballpark:               League Park (II) (HR LF/RF:-2/-2 1B:2 2B:3 3B:0)
Offense:              PA 6429, AVG .323, OBP .386, SLG .448, OPS .834, SBs 121
Pitching:               IP 1638, OAV .255, WHIP 1.14, ERA 2.55, HR/9 0.18


$110 Million: King and His Court
Since every single team would have 88 Silver King, I reckoned the best way to attack him was to avoid RHB and go with mostly left-handed (or switch) high AVG, OBP hitters with a lot of speed/SBs. Paired King with a tandem of 06 Doc White/Barney Pelty that will rotate for my 2nd SP.
 
Ballpark:               Target Field (HR LF/RF:-4/-4 1B:0 2B:1 3B:1)
Offense:              PA 6178, AVG .323, OBP .402, SLG .476, OPS .878, 279 SBs
Pitching:               IP 1487, OAV .202, WHIP 0.90, ERA 1.67, HR/9 0.14


$115 Million: 3-Finger Rajah & Mo Butch Babe
When first designing this team I thought of using pitchers who had good reliever season (B. Adams, P. Alexander, E. Walsh) to reduce the need for adding a reliever but I could get a good enough combo that didn’t have too big HR/9# that I was comfortable with. So I came to the conclusion that if I was going to take a reliever, I was going to use the GOAT which of course is Mariano Rivera. Then to counter-act opposing power hitters, I opted for Mordecai Brown who has a fair # of elite/good pitching seasons to cover for starts with a very low # of HRs allowed.
Since I was going with speed in the lower caps, I decided home-run hitting would go well in this cap (especially since I could take Yankee Stadium III due to the inclusion of Mo) that meant going with Ruth for all 3 OF positions and 1B. Then for middle infielders I thought about going with Lou Boudreau but then I thought people taking base stealers would run all over me so I decided that I would buck the trend and go with 5 clones and reduce my cap to $115M. This allowed me to take Roger Hornsby who had plenty of good bench seasons and 79 Butch Wynegar to help keep the SBs down to a minimum.
 
Ballpark:               Yankee Stadium III (HR LF/RF:3/4 1B:1 2B:-1 3B:-3)
Offense:              PA 5823, AVG .316, OBP .417, SLG .543, OPS .960, SBs 71
Pitching:               IP 1559, OAV .212, WHIP 0.96, ERA 1.78, HR/9 0.21
8/4/2012 4:52 PM
I love the self-analysis with this...

I have been doing just progressives for a long time now so we'll see...I tend to go low-innings which may hurt me when there aren't as may scrub teams...

$70 Million - Houston Tatterdemailions

My thought process almost immediately was to make this an Astrodome team.  It would eliminate any HR-heavy teams advantages at home quite easily, and I like the speed of most Astros teams.  I built the pitching first, and decided to go with the super bullpen (Wagner and Dotel) + the half-seasons of JR Richard and Randy Johnson.  From there I added average starters with low BB/9 (and low total innings pitched).   The offense is average heavy with significant speed.  Low PA's will encourage bench play - we'll see if the injury setting limits this plan.  I love Greg Gross's early Houston years, despite the lower speed, and Bourn has always done well for me.  I added this team to the free 10 game league to test it, and it won the league - which I took as a good sign as it was $10 million less despite the competition gap.

AB: 4338 
BA .280 OBA .351 SLG .367

IP: 1280 OAV: .246 WHIP 1.16


$80m - DiscontentIsTheFirstStep

Used my progressive experience to pick 1994 pitching staff and then build around that year in pitching.  All pitchers are floating around 1994 this year or next.  Used Saberhagen and Valdez to add/subtract between 1994 and 1995.  Went with the Astrodome again - I love its forgiveness - and then loaded up with high-average speed guys.  Doubles came into the mix sometime into it as well.  Went with good d too...not too sure of this team.

AB: 4758 BA: .295 OBA:.345 SLG: .417
IP: 1401 OAV .231 WHIP 1.14


$90 million - 1993 Metastrophe

Not surprised to see the popularity of this team.  Infamous losing team with great talent.  The twist pitching ability of this team is incredible with Tanana, Gooden, El Sid, Saberhagen, and Schourek all there for twisting purposes.  I went with the best Tanana, Gooden, and Saberhagen years, keeping the half season of El Sid for a 93.  Bullpen is not as tight as I would like but it should be good enough as I suspect most twist teams here kept many of the original bullpen guys.  The offense - twisted Coleman, Murray, Kent, Bonilla, Johnson, Burnitz, and Hundley.  It seems many kept the 93 Bonilla - not sure why I didn't.  I love the 89 HoJo ss defense.  I am using 93 Orsulak/Thompson as the final OF'er - liked Thompson's defense as the cf'er is Burnitz otherwise - both hit good enough.

AB: 4764 BA: .292 OBA: .377 SLG .501
IP: 1483 OAV .221 WHIP 1.07


$100m - 2000 BosZonaLADRockExpo

This one took forever - wanted a real good pitching staff with all-around hitting across every position.  I was not willing to give if any of the positions did not hit well - which is how I ended up in the steroid era I guess.  I always like Pedro so Boston was easy - also gave me Nomar at ss.  Then I went to the Rockies for more offense - Helton, Cirillo (?), Juan Pierre (??) - somehow I guess I forgot why I went with the Rockies.  The Expos were bad with Vlad and Vidro, allowed me to add the Zona pitching tandem of Schilling and Johnson, and close out with a typical Kevin Brown Dodger season.  I kind of like this team which means disappointment awaits.

AB: 2808 BA: .325, OBA .402, SLG: .563
IP: 1274 OAV: .220 WHIP 1.05


$110 million - Silver Surfer

Now we are way beyond my usual salary seasons - was not really sure of what would work.  I was concerned about getting in the innings from the King - so I decided to make him my bullpen.  Then picked a higher inning Maddux and Mathewson season and will make them start in a two man rotation.  Added Gagne to close out because if this team does manage to work, I want to make sure I don't blow it at the end.  The offense is high-average guys.  No real logic to them - and I even noticed when doing this that I picked ups Galarraga Rocky season for some reason.  Astrodome because I am clearly out of original ideas at this point.  Also, it looks like my $100 m team is better than this - hmmm...

AB: 5180 BA: .315 OBA .366 SLG: 436

IP: 1488 OAV: .206 WHIP .89

$120 (+5)m The Pedro Rogers Foxx 3

Came to like Hornsby pretty quick - many low salary seasons.  Played around with many others - did not like the pure rhb limitation of going with Foxx but ended up with him anyway.  There are some insane seasons between the two of them - OF may be a problem.  Went with Pedro again - he did have a few low dollar seasons, and I was less-concerned with that pitching.  Picked the Expo stadium because of the short left-field porch and picking the Astrodome would have been cheating.  

AB: 5191 BA: .345 OBA .434 SLG: .603
IP: 1376 OAV: .213 WHIP 1.04

 




 
8/4/2012 5:49 PM
I don't have the highest rating but I will share my strategy. 

70 Million The Yankees.  I am not a fan of 70 mil themes.  Typically I play in the 100 to 120 range.  However last year my 70 mil team was my best so I tried to duplicate the strategy tweaking it a little by keeping all SP over 200 innings and cheap with two 225 plus starters.  Guidry, CC, Alexander and Al Downing provided the combination I liked best.  Typically I am not a fan of the Yankees but I always liked Donny baseball and his 4.7 mill season at 1B along with Willie Randolph under 4 mil and Brosius sub 3 mil allowed me to run out Paul O'neil, Bernie Williams and Dave Winfield in the OF the obligatory Jeter at SS and after much debate I took Posada as the catcher over Munson.  Mariano closes the deal with Steve Farr and his palmball setting him up.  I have high hopes this team will win more than 50 games. 

80 Million Lots of choices most of them were extremely difficult.  I like balanced lineups.  I went with somewhat a more modern lineup because based on the cap I felt pretty comfortable with low budget modern players who had done well for me in the past. I did harken back for George Burns but the rest where Ray Durham, Paul O'neil, Carlos Delgado, Robin Ventura, Dave Winfield and Jody Davis and Freddie Patek for low budget options I like to use.  Pitching wise I went with guys I have had sucess with like Doc White and Mike Morgan, along with Mike Cuellar.  I am gambling on Soto as he gives me good back to back options and feel pretty good about my bullpen flled with some of my personal favorites like Rick Honeycutt and Tome Henke   I am confident this team will show up for the majority of its games. If it somehow advances I feel the 2nd round team will often find the ballpark as well. 

90 Million  I hate Barry Bonds.  But the 1986 Pirates and Barry Bones were too much for me to pass up.  I liked having Johnny Ray, Tony Pena, Sid Bream and Jim Morrison as serviceable role players I did not have to twist.  Johnny Ray and Morrison had the potential to be solid contributors at 2 and 5.  Barry's 93 campaign paired with Bobby Bo's 95 season were too tempting as my 3-4 combination.  Lee Mazzili is a personal favorite for leadoff and Bill Almon rounds out the lineup.  The pitching rotatation of Rhoden, Deleon, Walk, Bielecki and Robinson is mildy competent although Don Robinson may become the closer by default.  If the pitching holds and Barry only serves 1 50 game suspension we will win 12 games and make the NFL playoffs as at least a wildcard. 

100 Million   I know many favor the deadball.  I thought long and hard about 1902 and 1906 but ultimately settle on 1998 because it was my kind of team.  I picked up the 1998 Marlins who had some decent cheap bullpen and bench guys along with some catcher named Piazza who had a pretty good year.  This allowed me to bring the Atlanta Braves into the fold giving me a solid Greg Maddux Season along with Chipper Jones.  I was able to get one of Smottz's better years to fill in rotation holes and act as a setup man (I don't mind non closer starters as relievers).  Balancing that out lead me to the Mariners, Jays and Orioles.  It gave me a dominant Clemens year and a Big Unit 3rd starter year I could live with.  AROD, Griffey, Alomar, Shannon Stewart and Shawn Green fill out the rest of the lineup except for 1B where I almost scrapped the team because I was stuck with Palmiero.  He is batting 6th sandwiched in between Arod and Piazza so I am hoping that he will do anything since I have never used him.  This is my favorite team and I feel very strong we will break the Chicago Bulls single season win total. 

110 Million Regretfully, I have no idea how to use Silver King other than go with a two man rotation and hope.  I will probably regret the choice of Rube Waddell as the number two starter but of the 400 inning pitchers at the price I wanted to spend who were named Rube he seemed the best choice.  I actually have had modest sucess with him in 3 man rotations so I am hoping.  I didn't want to go crazy on pitching since I was now 40 mil into two pitchers so I went with all my favorite bullpen guys and anticipating a deluge of lefty hitters I picked up a few guys I really hope pay dividends.  I didn't go crazy on lefties and yes I picked up a couple of 30 HR guys and gambled on Big Poppys 54 HR season and a solid Mel Ott year.  I went with my favorite up the middle combo of Frankie Frisch and George Davis in the middle.  Put Frank Mccormick at 1B and Larry Gardner at third.  The OF has Ott in Right, Willard Marshall in Left and Wally Berger in Center.  I put them on the southside of Chicago so we can have SIlver King murdered and disposed of if he tanks.   

120 Million and the Hammer  I don't know why the Hammer got so little love in this theme.  I know the conventional Wisdom is that you go with a middle infielder but the Hammer has a very respectable 2B season with solid fielding and of course some very good 1B and OF seasons.  I am not opposed to playing a clone at catcher as I would rather have as much good fielding as possible.  I picked the Big Unit to pitch along with Phil Niekro.  Why?  Because in real life who could hit Johnson after seeing Niekro's knuckler for 5 innings and who could hit Niekro after Johnson's smoke for 6 innings, plus they both have decent seasons to pick from as relievers which left me needing a SS or a Catcher.  I value SS over Catcher but I needed cheap as the Hammer was at the time filing 7 positions.  (He has a tolerable 3rd base season).  I dropped the Hammer off of third and picked Maury Wills to stay under the cap and provide some serious speed.  Crazy you say?  This time will play 162 games and they will come in first or second in all of them.  What could go wrong? 
8/5/2012 9:47 PM
70 mil -- Spirit of St. Louis

Love speed at low caps so Cardinals seemed like an obvious choice...got worried when I was the only Cards team in my whole league but then I saw that there are 17 Cards teams in the other three leagues so I feel better.  Vince/Brock/Lonnie/DeShields provide plenty of speed (assuming they get on base) with Pujols to drive them in and Yadier behind the plate to counteract other speed teams.  No Tudor but DeLeon and Tewks at the top of the rotation.  The bullpen is a bit suspect and we have no pop at all but I'm optimistic.

80 mil -- Regressing to the Mean

Ugh.  This one drove me bonkers.  I ended up going with a power-heavy team in Yankee St. III which I'm sure will be a huge mistake.  Cy Williams was an easy choice and added HoJo, Dunn, Frank Howard, David Wright and Ug(h)gla.  Pitching looked for guys with back to back similar seasons so have Doc White/Pfeister and perennial WISC favorite Tiny Bonham.  Pen also suspect and deadball teams will just kill us.

90 mil -- Nap's 1910 Naps

Knew I wanted a team with a losing record and a ton of twist options (not sure how I overlooked the 93 Mets).  Looked closely at the 91 Astros and 92 Dodgers (both popular choices) before settling on the Naps.  Couldn't pass up the Addie-Cy combo and Nap/Shoeless/Bill Bradley/Flick provide plenty of offense.  My pen is weak and I have a total stiff (Stovall) at 1b but I like the pitching better than any other one I put together.

100 mil -- 1964 (Braves/Angels/Cubs/Twins/Dodgers)

Surprisingly, this was the first team I finished.  I had used the 64 Dodgers in a previous 90 mil losing team WISC season so I knew they had a great Koufax/Drysdale combo.  The Braves gave me Aaron, Mathews and Torre and I took Santo and Billy Williams from the Cubs and Killer and Oliva from the Twins.  Larry Jackson and Dean Chance provide great back ends to the rotation and the 'pen is solid with Bob Lee and Worthington.  This team came in just under 100 mil and the total record was exactly .500 so it seemed like karma.  Playing in Wrigley to enhance our power.  I have to play Hank at 2b, which could be problematic, and 60s teams always scare me but I'm optimistic about this one (and was happy to see one other owner come up with the same combo).

110 mil -- Silver Linings

Built a team I really liked here before realizing this was a DH league.  Whoops.  Wasn't sure what I wanted to do other than go with a 2-man rotation so I paired Silver up with Iron Joe and added Toney, Northrop and Kuo to the pen.  The offense is power-speed heavy (Rickey/Raines/HoJo/Morgan/Chipper) but I didn't think about the error frequency so we could be hurting defensively. 

125 mil -- Pedro's Cross Dutchman

I tried a lot of different things here, including Foxx/Ruth/Maddux in various combos.  I didn't want to totally sacrifice defense so I settled on Honus because he has great seasons everywhere but catcher.  I found Lave Cross with a great C season and a good 3b season to use but somewhere along the line I dumped his 3b season so I probably should have upgraded my catcher but Cross provided the most usable junk seasons.  Pedro was a no-brainer (after Maddux) as many other owners have recognized.  I liked that I put together a team with 3 guys but comparing to other rosters, we don't seem as competitive.  At Dodger Stadium to counteract other Foxx/Ruth teams but we'll be lucky to finish .500.
8/5/2012 10:39 PM (edited)
70M: Angels Everywhere
Annually, this seems to be my worst theme.  Every year as the WISC comes around, I find myself getting frustrated at how unprepared I am to win at the 60M and 70M leagues.  Every year I promise myself I'm going to start playing more themes at these caps.  Hasn't happened in 5 years.  Hmmm....Cause, meet Effect.

Anyway, I actually built a team from every eligible franchise, and as another owner posted, I didn't find much in the way of hidden advantages.  Teams came out very comparable to one another.  So, I started thinking about what other owners might do, and I figured that the Cards would be the team of choice here.  Everyone seems to love speed at this cap.  I started looking for 3 things: cheap A+ catchers, a pitching staff with a low OAV, and an offense that would be diverse enough to win a variety of ways, since I figured everyone with those Cardinals would be loading up on Molina. 

The Angels gave me the best combination of those 3 things: the 82 Boone, a nice rotation of 76 Tanana, 10 Weaver, 71 R. May, and 89 Finley.  And a bunch of productive bats under $4M: 80 Thompson, 91 Winfield, 98 Erstad, the cookie 07 Figgins.

No doubt this will continue to be my weakest cap, but for once I feel like I at least have a decent game plan.

Not including scrubs, offense is .287/.358/.434, pitching is .209 OAV, 1.10 WHIP.

80M: Irrational Exuberance
Name reflects that I (a) saved my better team for season 2 and (b) will no doubt therefore not survive round 1.  My strategy here was not very different from most of the other owners who have posted: cookie-based lineup heavy on singles and speed.  My rotation is Joss, Sparks, Howell.  Combined Ralph Garr with Miguel Dilone, who each have a dominant OL-type season combined with a low PA season.  71 Garr will play in season 1, with 80 Dilone waiting in the wings if somehow season 2 becomes relevant.  I snuck a long-time favorite (68 Lanier, my favorite OL shortstop) onto the roster.  Was anyone else delighted to discover that there are quite a few position players and pitchers with consecutive $200K seasons?  Only in WIS would this bring a smile to someone's face...

Offense (w/o scrubs): .292/.363/.391  (should I be concerned that my 70M has a better offense?)
Pitching (w/o scrubs): .219, 0.99 WHIP, total of 25 HRA

90M: 93 Mets...no, really
Historically, whenever there has been a common choice in these themes, I've gone in a different direction, and usually been punished by the gods for my insolence with a sub-.500 record.  This may be the first time I've ever selected a team that turned out to be the most common selection.  I looked at a lot of teams, including several of the ones that have been discussed here (really liked the 64 Dodgers), but once I came upon these guys, I stopped the search.  Others have described this team's various strengths; suffice to say I was able to create a team here that had both a higher OPS and lower OAV than any other team I created.

Offense (w/o scrubs): .301/.392/.519
Pitching (w/o scrubs): .210, 1.02 WHIP

100M: 1994 BOS, KC, ATL, SF, SD
Again, made a lot of different teams, but there were just too many possibilities, so I had to come up with some rules for narrowing the search.  I wanted at least 1 all-time-great pitching season, and another really good SP.  So I focused just on teams I could build around a dozen or so elite SP, and then looked for the best offense I could combine with them.  Again 1964 looked tempting, as did 1968, but ultimately I found I could build a much better offense with 1994, and the chance to use Maddux was just too good to pass up.  The rest of the rotation is Cone, Clemens, and Ashby.  4th SP is definitely a weak spot here, and the bullpen is not great either.  I'm  pretty happy with the offense of Bonds, Gwynn, Matt Williams, John Valentin, McGriff, and Justice.  Backup catcher Brian Johnson brings an A+ arm and will spot start against SB-happy teams.  Can't decide how I feel about this team, and I have a sneaking suspicion that somewhere out there was a much better season choice that I missed.

Offense (w/o scrubs): .310/.392/.545
Pitching (w/o scrubs): .209, 1.07 WHIP

110M: Dumb, Dumber, and Dumberer
My least favorite of the themes, not because I dislike Silver King, but because I figure most teams are going to look very similar.  I paired him with 08 Joss, have Toney, Nehf, Milacki, McDowell, and Joe Nathan in the bullpen.  Pretty typical offense, with a couple of favorites at this cap (22 Ruth, the 00 McGraw with the .505 OBP, 38 Earle Brucker as my backup C and DH, and the 87 Oquendo with the .408 OBP as my supersub).  These guys could win 70 or 90, and neither would surprise me.

Offense (w/o scrubs): .324/.408/.453
Pitching (w/o scrubs): .203, 0.90 WHIP (I have 1515 IP excluding mops, probably a little more than I needed, but I like the safety net since so many of those IP are tied up in 1 pitcher)

120M: 3 and only 3: Babe, Lou, and Mo
Having read the other summaries, I think I'm in serious trouble in this theme.  My initial thinking was the following: (1) use as few players as possible w/o leaving $ on the bench (125M has no advantage over 120M if you've got lots of PA/IP you'll never use); (2) most owners will use Maddux, Martinez, or Randy Johnson on their pitching staff; (3) the only way to beat those guys is with walks and power - all 3 of them shut down the single/SB offense; (4) there are not many elite offensive players with high SB and high SB%, so the A+ arm at catcher is less important here than any other theme; (5) don't use anyone out of position on defense.

With those as my guidelines, I tried lots of different combinations, mostly looking at 3 or 4 players.  Rule 3 meant that I pretty quickly focused in on Ruth, who covered 1B and OF, leaving me with gaps all over the rest of the infield.  Boudreau was the obvious candidate, and I was very pleased to discover I could use him to fill 2B and 3B on top of SS and C, all with very little excess PA on the bench.  If anything, I think I may have underdrafted PA on this team.  Then the big question: use Ruth as an SP or not?  Ultimately I decided that I liked the combo of him and Rivera better than any of the other combinations I tried.  Looking at what others did, I now think this was a pretty serious error.  We'll see, but I expect this team will lose a lot of 12-7 games.

Offense (including Ruth's 3 pitcher seasons): .310/.406/.516
Pitching (excluding mop up 95 Rivera): .199, 1.02 WHIP (1581 IP, again excluding 95 Rivera)
8/5/2012 11:51 PM

$70M Theme - BRAVE STRANGERS
I hate low-CAP leagues so I never do well in them.  It's interesting to put together a roster but after playing with mostly $100M and $120M teams, I'm never happy with what I put together at a low CAP.  Anyway, this was the first team I tried to put together and after playing around with it for awhile, I just knew I had to have the Yankees.  I had a great Yankee team put together - both hitting and pitching-wise, and I saw visions of playoffs in my head for that team.  Therefore, I did the only rational thing that I could do as the 69th-rated owner in this tournament - I scrapped the Yankees and went with the Braves.  They don't look nearly as good stat-wise and I feel nauseous just looking at the roster.  My thinking is that teams I have a lot of confidence in will always let me down.  SO, I went with a team I don't like and even when they lose 100 games, I won't kick myself too hard.

$80M Theme - A WING AND A PRAYER
I probably spent less time on this theme than any of the others.  I just went through the stat pages, looking at players that I knew I had used in the past and looked at three-year periods for all of them where the season in the middle was surrounded by a season that was better and a season that was worse.  Therefore, assuming a miracle would occur and I'd make it to Round Two, it would be easier to build my roster by just figuring out which way I want to go with all 25 players.  Some will have better seasons to use and some won't.  Not rocket science - nor will I ever be accused of being a rocket scientist.

$90M Theme - 2009 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
See my reasoning for my $70M Theme team.  I had a great team put together with the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks that I felt really comfortable with.  Therefore, I knew I had to get rid of them.  If I remember correctly, I got so tired of looking and figuring out stats with this one, I just said to heck with it and went with the 2009 Cardinals - which only gave me six twists.  Just to make things even worse, I used five of the six twists on offense - while maintaining a putrid pitching staff.  Yeah, I'm stoked about this team doing well.

$100M Theme - 2002:  BOS / TEX / LAD / MIL / MON
This will be interesting.  I knew from the get-go that I wanted to use 2002 because I liked getting Odalis Perez, Derek Lowe and Pedro with their 200 IP's each for a relatively low price, as well as Gagne closing from the pen.  The HR/9 ratio is a bit scary since we're playing in Fenway but I think having an offense where the starting eight has 258 bombs among them, my team "should" be able to stay in any high-scoring affairs.

$110M Theme - THE SILVER BULLETS
This team scares me.  Either I've done something genius here or I'm a complete idiot and this team will lose 120 games.  Along with the "King", I drafted four SP's that have IP's ranging from 119 to 127.  My plan is to use them as Starter 2A, Starter 2B, Starter 3A and Starter 3B.  That way, Silver will pitch at least every third game and I can always use him more if need be.  Also, the four other SP's I'm using will only pitch once every six games.  If they can just average six innings per start, that would have them finishing up the season with 162 IP's.  I'm pretty sure none of them will get that many since I'll be moving Silver around to pitch every other day at times but, even at that, it doesn't push them too far beyond what WIS calls the maximum rate of effectiveness.  As I said, it's gonna be scary.

$120M Theme - FOUR-LEAF CLONER
My favorite team to build - not to mention I love the CAP.  I figured going into this that most other owners will be going with either the Ruth/Foxx mentality or the Rickey/Raines mentality when it comes to offense.  Therefore, let's go with a pitching staff that has a low HR-allowed rate and has a great defensive catcher with a solid arm.  Mordecai Brown was my choice with his several good, low-cost seasons and I've got him backed up in the bullpen with EIGHT Mariano Rivera's.  Not sure if it will work or not, but it'll be interesting.  Along with Bill Dickey as my Catcher, for my offense, I knew I wanted an infielder that had some pop but was mostly a 1B, 2B, 3B-type hitter.  I ended up with Hornsby to go with Dickey.  Through some roster shuffling, I was able to get Roger's 1921, 1924 and 1925 season on the squad and he'll be playing every position except C and LF.  Ten Hornsby's and three Dickey's make up the offense and Dickey will be getting some playing time in the OF to stretch his legs.  I'd like to say I have high hopes for this team - but then we all know better, don't we?


 

8/6/2012 12:52 PM (edited)
#1: Low Budget Modern Franchise
The Indians were one of the first teams I thought of for this league, although it doesn’t seem like a lot of other people shared my initial impression. The offense gets OL cookie Miguel Dilone (who I’ve actually never used before, to be honest) and cheap power hitter/A-arm catcher Gary Alexander, there’s a lot of cheap seasons of Baerga and Vizquel for the middle infield, and Thome and Manny can provide some power. Cleveland has a lot of cheap modern pitchers who don’t give up too many HR, too—I’ve got Nagy, Black, Swindell, and Blyleven in my rotation. The bullpen isn’t as deep as I’d hoped, admittedly.
I thought about the Cardinals too, like everybody else, but I didn’t really like the way their rotation or lineup was coming out at $70M, and I've never really been comfortable with stolen-base teams (to my own detriment).
Team stats (minus scrubs)
HITTING: 5,222 PA, .278/.347/.446, 163 HR, 147 SB (73%), $36.2M
PITCHING: 1,276 IP, 1.18 WHIP, .249 OAV, 5.67 K/9, 2.16 BB/9, 0.54 HR/9, $32.4M

#2: Progressive/Regressive
Truthfully, this team’s a bit of a mess. I left it for last and ended up dinging myself with 2 penalty points because I couldn’t get the last couple players in under the cap. Went with the similar seasons at similar salaries approach and targeted solid defense and OBP on offense plus typical OL type pitchers with, shall we say, mixed results. I think I’ve got a pretty good bullpen, at least? Stuck the team in Safeco, hoping that I might get lucky with some low-scoring games. Usually I like the $80M WISC leagues, but this one just totally threw me for a loop.
Team stats (minus scrubs)
HITTING: 5,096 PA, .297/.386/.423, 64 HR, 153 SB (63%), $40.9M
PITCHING: 1,315 IP, 1.15 WHIP, .251 OAV, 3.17 K/9, 1.75 BB/9, 0.32 HR/9, $37.1M

#3: Variable Twist
Now this league was fun. I spent a lot of time looking for pythagorean underperformers to start with (which ended up helping for league #4, of course), but I decided early that I might as well go all out, pick a <.350 WP team, and take 14 twists. I was really tempted by a 1935 Boston Braves team with the Babe, but I wasn’t quite confident enough in the pitching. Like jfranco, I also got some ideas from onezero’s worst teams twist league—I had the 51-103 1908 New York Highlanders win 90 games in the third season. They’re a good fit in a $80M–$100M cap: Willie Keeler, Hal Chase, and Birdie Cree in the outfield and Jake Stahl at first should all hit very well. Pitching is the real strength, with a Jack Chesbro/Al Orth/Hippo Vaughn solid rotation (just a two-man bullpen, admittedly). I looked at some of the other popular choices, but I thought this one would be the most entertaining.
Team stats (minus scrubs)
HITTING: 5,114 PA, .310/.364/.416, 26 HR, 193 SB (51%), $39.3M
PITCHING: 1,460 IP, 1.00 WHIP, .217 OAV, 4.36 K/9, 1.87 BB/9, 0.10 HR/9, $47.6M

#4: 5 x 5 x .500
My first thought with drafting this team was to build around Babe Ruth. 1921 seemed like a great fit, since Detroit and Chicago were both comfortably under .500 despite having several excellent players. Unfortunately, I don’t think there was any way to get Ruth and Carl Mays on the same team while staying under the $30M per-team maximum. None of the other combinations quite worked out for me, but I am surprised nobody else took 1921; that DET/CHW combo is really a good starter. I definitely understand the popularity of 1919, though—that was another favorite of mine. I tried quite a few other seasons from the 1920s in an attempt to get Ruth (or at least Hornsby) on a team, but it never quite added up.
I ultimately went with 1915, however; the bullpen options on the 1915 Brooklyn Tip-Tops of the Federal League were what pushed me in that direction. Wiltse and Falkenberg are two of my favorite cheap relievers, and Benny Kauff should hit very well. The Indians (shortstop Ray Chapman, starter Guy Morton) and Reds (3B Heinie Groh, starter Fred Toney) got me far enough under .500 to add the Phillies (Pete Alexander, obviously, plus good seasons of Gavvy Cravath and Fred Luderus) and White Sox (Eddie Collins plus some more relievers).
Team stats (minus scrubs)
HITTING: 5,672 PA, .299/.392/.423, 60 HR, 236 SB (59%), $49.1M
PITCHING: 1,483 IP, 0.98 WHIP, .213 OAV, 4.28 K/9, 2.01 BB/9, 0.11 HR/9, $47.8M

#5: The Silver King Experience
I don’t think I’ve used King since the old days when you could set him as your long reliever and get 1,000 innings out of him. I’ve never been one to try inventive rotation setups, so I decided to start King every other game and hope for as many CGs as possible. I paired him with two cookie-ish ~250 inning guys (Bernhard and Morgan) and my usual bullpen choices. In retrospect, drafting only 224 reliever/nonscrub innings might be cutting it short, but I’m optimistic.
My offense looks a lot like most everyone else’s, I think. High-BA guys (Boggs, Cobb, etc.) who hit doubles and triples. Raines to leadoff and steal some bases; high OBPs at the bottom of the lineup to work pitch counts and get King out of the game quicker.
Team stats (minus scrubs)
HITTING: 5,844 PA, .335/.418/.465, 59 HR, 290 SB (60%), $55.5M
PITCHING: 1,429 IP, 0.91 WHIP, .202 OAV, 3.47 K/9, 1.56 BB/9, 0.11 HR/9, $52.4M

#6: How Low Can You Clone?
The theme for me this year seems to be trying to draft Babe Ruth and failing. He seems like an obvious fit for this league, since he can fill as many OF spots as you want, man first base, and give you at least 300 innings in your rotation. But I just couldn’t get the pieces to fit around Ruth. His lack of cheap seasons was one stumbling block, but more importantly, I was finding myself using too many clones to fill out the other infield positions plus catcher.
Shitfing away from Ruth, my first big question was to build around Hornsby or Wagner. Honus can pretty much fill every position aside from catcher himself, so I was thinking a 3-man team would work well with him. Getting enough cheap seasons was too difficult with Wagner, though, so I went with Hornsby; he’s solid across the infield and has a big season in the outfield. Hornsby should also play well against both modern (good power) and deadball (high BA) pitchers. For the rest of the offense, I figured Foxx fit best at catcher and Raines was priced right to fill out two more outfield spots. Taking both of them should also keep me from being too dependent on home runs or stolen bases. Foxx should be good against the Pedros, while Raines can run on anyone who ditches catcher defense.
For pitching, I went with the popular Babe Adams, because of his flexbility in starting and relief. This ended up giving me a very offense-heavy skew, which I hope doesn’t come back to hurt me. My “good” Adams innings are a little short, but I think I’ve got enough “meh” innings to keep me out of the fatigue death spiral. (I do seem to guess wrong on that at least once every year though …)
Team stats (minus scrubs)
HITTING: 6,034 PA, .345/.428/.565, 197 HR, 205 SB (70%), $70.9M
PITCHING: 1,372 IP, 0.96 WHIP, .232 OAV, 3.32 K/9, 1.05 BB/9, 0.13 HR/9, $45.4M
8/6/2012 6:13 PM (edited)
Reading the team building strategies is one of the best parts of the WISC in my opinion – always very enjoyable to see how the great owners think. After my abysmal showing in last year’s event (Schwarze will have the exact details, but I think I finished the first round in about 15th place but didn’t win a single playoff series and found myself on the outside looking in for the second round), I had hoped to be able to spend a bit more time on this year’s version, but like many (all?) of you I found that there was a point of diminishing returns on the “research” and I’ll also rely a bit on the “life got in the way” excuse too. With that, here goes:


70MM: Cardinals


Like a lot of people, I have a list of “cookies” (a.k.a. players who represent good value) for open leagues. My baseline for research for this team was that list in large part, as well as finding a good ballpark for the cap as well.  Based on prior years and other leagues, I targeted 1275-1300 IP, and went from there on pitching. I find that finding “value” is a bit more straightforward with hitters, so I fairly quickly narrowed my choices down to the Expos/Nats, the Astros, the Pirates, and the Cards. I do like the idea of basing this team on speed, but didn’t go all-in on a speed team (though I may regret that as some of the other teams, especially the other Cardinal teams, look pretty good!). Coleman was an easy choice, and I’ve had good success with Reggie Smith (despite his less than stellar defence), and I think that the ’91 Felix Jose is a gem of a season. I didn’t go with Molina behind the dish, and may pay for it based on the popularity of the speed concept, but instead found a good Ted Simmons season. I managed to squeeze in Herr’s best season, and the ’94 Jefferies at 1B, but the left side of my infield is a bit more shaky with a mishmash of guys sharing the PAs. 


My pitching looks to be OK, with a rotation of Carpenter (I guess the “ace”), everyone’s old friend Tewksbury (who walked two in his first start!), Danny Cox, and Curt Simmons. The bullpen is also decent looking, though Rick Ankiel is part of it, so maybe not. I generally enjoy low cap leagues (and in the past have probably lobbied Schwarze to include more of them), but based on the other write ups so far, I may have missed the boat on this one… Conclusion: Some degree of cautious optimism, but that’s tempered by the fact that everyone else’s write-up so far outlines a better team than mine.


80MM:


I enjoyed putting this team together – and as was mentioned earlier, I derived a certain amount of (very, very sad) satisfaction from finding players with consecutive scrub seasons! I wanted to build two relatively similar teams, and think I did just that. Not sure which one is “better” per se, but that’s probably of no consequence considering my post-season tendency to soil the bed. Going on the same value analytics as above, this team features a number of very familiar names. My lineup includes Schang, Clendenon (I seem to have an unhealthy attraction to this guy), Alomar, Bonilla, Raines, Cravath, and Singleton (yeah, I told you there were some very familiar, dare I say, unoriginal names in here!) Shortstop is a little less familiar perhaps, with an Aaron Miles season and an Alex Cintron season (gulp). 


Pitching features a similar roll-call of who’s who in Open Leagues, with Joss, Summers, and Sparks as the “rotation” to go along with Pascual Perez (who’s been instructed to throw as many eephus pitches as possible), and a handful of guys who nobody in their right mind would have chosen. Conclusion: Bah, who knows really – I definitely need big hitting seasons by at least three regulars, and Sparks to come up trumps on the hill (’08 Joss should be just fine) for this team to break .500.


90MM: 1911 Boston Rustlers (AKA Braves)


I should have gone with the 93 Mets. I can’t possibly be more direct than that. I initially targeted hopeless teams with enough twistable talent to make a decent team out of the 10+ twists I was certain that any team in this league would need to be successful. I created a handful of teams that I liked: ’07 and ’08 Red Sox, ’16 Cubs, and the ’93 Mets among others. I then stumbled upon the 1911 Rustlers (apparently the Braves went by the Rustler moniker for one season – who knew?) and immediately fell in love with them. 


They were absolutely awful, leading to 14 twists (basically the entire roster), but included a handful of absolute studs (or so I thought anyway). A rotation of Cy Young, Lefty Tyler, and Jeff Pfeffer, and serviceable seasons for the bullpen in Cliff Curtis, Orlie Weaver, and Ed Donnelly. A lineup featuring Kling, Tenney, Bill Sweeney, Buck Herzog, Steinfeldt, and Mike Donlin (one of my faves in the Sim, and in real life – seriously, look up that guy’s life!) and a handful of platoon types to fill in the rest of the OF. And a park that fit the shape of the team too – brilliant! I was absolutely chuffed with this squad – 90+ wins in the bag, WooHoo!


Then I was brought down to Earth with a very loud thump when I discovered that Jeff Pfeffer was not in fact “big” even though BBR lists Jeff as 6’3” and 210 lbs vs. “Big” Jeff at 6’1 and 185 lbs (so yes, “Jeff” was in fact bigger than “Big Jeff”). Dammit, so my perfect team was in reality far from perfect, as “Big” Jeff is not nearly as good as “Jeff.” Still, I made some changes since I had come so far with this team and felt as though I couldn’t walk away despite everything in me saying I should (like that one girlfriend in High School…). Conclusion: Probably a 65 win team. Should have gone with the 93 Mets…


100MM: 1919 Boston, Detroit, Washington, Chicago Cubs, and Pirates


Looks like a couple of others I found the pitching from this season just too good to pass up, and that was my main reason for settling on this team. That and the fact that this was by far the most frustrating team to put together! Once I found a team that fulfilled all the criteria I just couldn’t be bothered finding another…


Pitching is without a doubt the strong point of this squad, with a rotation of WaJo, Ol’ Pete, and Babe Adams. The bullpen is suspect, but might just be adequate enough. Ruth’s monster season anchors the lineup, but Cobb, Veach, and Heilmann should also be OK with this cap (I hope). I’m not going to mention the rest of my lineup – let’s just leave things at that. Conclusion: Congrats to Schwarze for thinking of this theme. I’m thinking my team is just “ok” and that the people who built multiple teams will have a big leg up on me in this league…


110MM:


I think (and I’m hoping) that IP will be the key to this league. I haven’t used Silver King since “the good old days” of the SIM, so my first instinct was the check the old records section to see if my name was still there from my prior “Sliver King” experiments! Turns out Scott (aka SFord, and my longest standing WIS pal) beat me with a 111 win season for King vs. my 110 win year, but that I’m the proud owner of the Most Saves in a Season record with 79 (also Silver King)! Ah, good times, when “What if” actually meant “What if?”


OK, back to the present – I quickly settled on a lineup of some hitters who have done well for me a higher caps in the past (remember than anything above 80MM is a “high cap” for me) and am rolling out a pretty standard lineup as a result. It does include my favourite SIM first baseman in Ripper Collins – who now that I’ve mentioned him will probably bust out with a .266/.310/.368 line! With my batting spend pretty much set, I built a handful of teams that toggled on quality vs. total IP. I think I had teams with 1400, 1425, 1450, 1475, and 1500 IP built before panicking a bit and convincing myself that I still needed more.


A few people have mentioned the IP death spiral, and I’ve certainly had that happen with WISC teams in the past as well. With the DH in play here that’s certainly something that came to my mind early. Also, as others have said, getting the maximum benefit from Silver’s 700 IP could certainly be a challenge. To that end, I put together an OL team to test out how much usage I could get out of a high IP starter (I used an Ed Morris season rather than King himself) while not tinkering too much with my lineups (aside: I generally only have the chance to check my teams once a day at most, and sometimes not for a few days at a time, so my teams are all generally built on the idea of “set and forget”).  I found that I couldn’t really use all the IP I had, so figured I’d err on the side of too many IP rather than too few. Conclusion: Probably should have gone with 1450 IP instead of 1525, since the quality was watered down significantly (think Al Grabowski instead of Carlos Cisco). 


120MM: The Beast, The Babe, and Mo


Looks like I’m distinctly in the minority for having gone with only three clones in this league, and that doesn’t make me feel good. Like many others, I immediately looked into Hornsby (though for some reason wasn’t clever enough to think of Wagner. Seriously, I was probably the only person in this tournament who didn’t think of the finest SS to ever play the game!), and had a very solid team of Hornsby, Ruth, Foxx, and Rivera put together and basically ready to go in the Draft Center. I toyed with replacing Rivera with Hoffman in order to get a bit more out of Ruth, and also tried to figure out a way to use Joss, Three Finger, Walsh, Pedro, Maddux, and Adams, but just couldn’t make it work to my satisfaction, so I just kept my four clone team ready and went to work on the other teams.


Then, for reasons known only to me (and not even to me at this point), I decided that the extra 5MM in salary was worth it to go back to work on a 3 clone team. I figured Ruth and Foxx would be among the most popular guys in this league (I’m actually surprised that there aren’t more Ruth/Foxx teams), and despite toying with using a non-catcher at catcher, I eliminated Hornsby in favour of Foxx. Now, I don’t think the Beast played a lot of middle infield, so that’s where the rub is for this team will be (well, that and pitching, but that’s still to come below). Still, a lineup of 5 Foxxes and 3 Ruths should be able to hit, right?
 
As for pitching – ugh, just ugh. I think I just might be the only guy in this competition who’s dumb enough to go with two ~350 IP starters as a “rotation!” That’s right, the only two pitchers on my roster (out of 13 pitchers) to average more than 1.76 IP/G are the ’16 and ’17 Ruth. So basically Babe comes out, throws maybe 3 innings, then 11 Riveras come in to try to finish things up. I have 1518 IP in total, but I think my pitching screen will look like a rainbow of colours before long. Conclusion: Starting pitching is a complete joke, both in terms of quality and quantity. Hitting would probably have been better served using Hornsby or Wagner. Middle infield defence will be atrocious. I wasted more than I would have liked on my bench, despite having only a four man “bench.” Sounds like a 50 win team to me!


Overall, many thanks (again) to Schwarze for running this show – it’s certainly a WIS highlight for me, and despite my record in the past, is something I look forward to every year (yes, such is the state of my “hobby” time!). Good luck to everyone, and a hearty apology for the length of this babble, and for the numerous typos (and for including the Queen’s English) that I’m sure are part of it. If you’ve read this far, you deserve something – a tootsie roll at the very least!
8/6/2012 11:05 PM (edited)

I might offer a little different perspective on some of these themes.  I'm a grad student now and am actually working on 2 different projects right now, so I really didn't have a lot of time to devote to teambuilding.  Even my team names reflect an abject lack of effort and creative thought.  Right now I would have had more, but that's not how the schedule worked out.  Such is life.  Regardless, my research time was limited, so I had to rely heavily on things I knew or vaguely remembered from my SLB history.  This is, then, an account of how the "other half" lives in the WISC.  Here it is:

$70M - Philadelphia Phillies

I figured right off the bat that in a $70 million league consisting of all modern players there would be an opportunity to get some meaningful offense going.  It's been a few years since walks + pop have been part of the winning equation in SLB, but if they're going to work anywhere this would be the place.  So I just hopped on the team builder and put in some $/PA values I was comfortable paying, the league-allowed range of seasons, a minimum number of PAs that was meaningful to me (200 I think), and sorted by OPS#.  There were Phillies jumped out at me all over the place in the search results, so I went with Philadelphia.  Simple as that.  I knew that there was an affordable Jim Bunning season I could use as my "ace" in a $70 million cap (turns out it's '64) and a Larry Jackson who could eat innings.  I tossed in shorter seasons from Larry Christenson ('78) and Cory Lidle ('05) and there's a rotation.  Bunning and Jackson are 1 and 3 and allowed to come in in relief.  Unfortunately my starters are homer-prone, but the Vet is actually neutral for home runs, so I can live with it.  My bullpen has 1.1-1.2 WHIPs with low HR/9 across the board, lot of similar looking guys.  Fabio Castro will be a stud 32-inning closer at this cap.

            The offense may have come together even better than I had hoped, albeit not exactly as I had pictured it.  There are only 2 30-homer guys on the squad ('68 Dick Allen and '07 Pat Burrell), but there are a lot of doubles (+ doubles park!) and a lot of walks in there.  Several platoons, and all my bench guys can hit.  In fact, there are no mop-ups or scrub bats on this team, ever man on the roster can contribute.  The PAs and IP are both a little low but not terribly low, I think livable in a -2 singles park.  I have an A+ catcher arm against righties, D- vs. lefties.  If you want to steal against me you should throw lefties and hope I don't notice and put Dalyrymple in against you.  Otherwise I have pretty good infield defense and bad outfield defense.  Overall I have:

5031 PAs, .271/.379/.456, 178 homers, no speed      $34,657,563

1323 IP, 1.14 WHIP, 0.60 HR/9                                 $35,127,483

I left almost $215K on the table in this theme, which is a lot for me, but I didn't see anywhere where I thought I could spend it and make the team any better, although I suppose I could have added a few insurance PAs.  Maybe I should have done that...  Worst case scenario I can stop PHing for pitchers to save about 2-3 PAs per game from my hitters, which actually can make a significant difference in terms of bench fatigue.  It's a good desperation strategy against teams you don't need to beat badly, but not too attractive in the WISC where every win counts for a point in the standings...

I'm hoping this team can win me 85-90 games, but I don't feel great about the pitching, so 75 may be more likely.

$80M - One Step Forwards and/or Back

I was dreading building this team, and did it the last night.  Actually only took me about an hour, I can't believe how easily it came together.  I did grab a few guys who are cheap a few seasons in a row.  My original strategy for this was to just set the max cost search field to $200 or $225K and start putting in letters for the last name and wait to see repeats in back-to-back seasons, but I never got to that point.  I only needed a handful of those guys.  My two teams won't look identical at all, I'm not going to waste everyone's time outlining all the changes but here are two of interest:

In season 1, Aramis Ramirez will be a full-time 3rd baseman.  In season 2 (in the unlikely event I make it), he'll be platooning with 1969 Rick Joseph.  My season 1 Joseph is an overpriced scrub at $430K.

In season 1, '18 Toney is a stud long reliever.  In season 2 he'll be a pretty solid starter.  Dizzy Dean goes from setup to long relief to take his spot.

A lot of other pitchers change roles as well, but it's not really that interesting...

Anyway, this offense is built around power.  It's not the ideal strategy for an $80 million league; power is next to worthless in OLs most of the time now.  Nevertheless, I couldn't live with myself if I played a major SLB tournament without power hitting, as that's been my MO for many years of playing this game.  Highlights of the team include Ted Williams, Manny Ramirez, Edgar Martinez, Ed Walsh, and Babe Adams (as a starter in both seasons).

Season 1 (scrubs removed):

5116 PAs, .298/.407/.509, 163 HR, no meaningful speed     $39,384,693

1243 IP, 0.99 WHIP, 0.16 HR/9                                             $39,038,297

Season 2 (likewise):

5107 PAs, .302/.400/.503, 167 HR, nobody got faster          $40,365,164

1371 IP, 1.09 WHIP, 0.25 HR/9                                             $38,516,020

The dropoff to in pitching to season 2 is really a product of the fact that I have no mop-up innings to remove, so everybody gets averaged a little bit more; in fact, I think I might like the season 2 staff a little bit better...  The offense isn't quite as good, though.  Obviously I shorted myself on PAs and IP a little bit again, but I'm in another -2 singles park.  That will be a common theme throughout my teams.  Two years ago I went a little safer and frankly didn't have the top-end talent to compete, made only 1 playoffs and was quickly dispatched from that.  This year I decided to go for the throat.  I don't have a ton of time to micromanage, but I should be able to check in once a day or so and try to keep things from getting to out of control.

I'm sure the average owner spent close to an order of magnitude more time on this league than me, and I'm sure there will be a lot of homer-limiting pitchers and parks.  Seeing the previous respondents in here makes me even more sure of that than I already was, which was pretty darn sure.  If this team wins 70 games I'll be happy, but we are good at walking and decent with non-HR XBH, so we may have a shot to steal games here and there even against the deadball teams.

$90 Million - 1992 Los Angeles Dodgers

Not much to say about this one.  It was a true grad student special.  As soon as I saw the theme I knew I was using the LA Dodgers, and once I built the team I was quite sure of it.  I may have spent 20 minutes looking at other teams just for shitting and giggling, and I may yet explore other teams I could have used just for the fun of it.  But I really didn't do a lot of research here, I knew the Dodgers had the guns and the losses to twist them into bigger guns and I ran with it.  I'm using Piazza (C, A+, C-) out of position at first base so I can put Mike Scioscia behind the plate.  No great-hitting first basemen on the team anyway, and while I felt like I needed Piazza's big bat it's hard to turn down a .400 OBP catcher with an A- arm in a theme like this.  The rest of the offensive firepower comes from Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Eric Young, and Brett Butler.  As others have mentioned, SS isn't a strong position for this team, but you do get a .331 OBP with a D/D glove from '92 Offerman.  Oh, that's not good?  Oh well, he'll bat 7th (with Eric Young 9th, pitcher 8th) and try not to botch his defense too badly, he can play every day and he only costs $3 million.  I'm running a 5-man rotation, the important pieces of which are Pedro, Hershiser, and Bob Ojeda.  This team probably has my best single odds of making the playoffs, and shortening down to those 3 guys will give me a very strong postseason rotation.  The bullpen (featuring '88 Jay Howell and '86 Candelaria) isn't exactly a strength, but it's not a weakness either.

With scrubs removed:

4707 PAs, .301/.392/.489, 146 home runs, 5 good thieves               $44,915,326

1370 IP, 1.09 WHIP, 0.40 HR/9                                                         $43,368,735

I have a decent number of scrub PAs to help with fatigue, though Dodger is actually +2 for hits.  We'll see how that goes.  The biggest issue is that the team isn't exactly tailor-made for the park.  My bats are generally lower-hit, higher walk with good XBH, which is pretty much the exact opposite of what you'd like in Dodger.  It is what it is, I like the talent on this team and as alluded to above feel that this team has a reasonable chance at a playoff berth.

$100 Million - 1929 Cin-Cle-NYY-Phi-Was

This is another under-researched team.  Here is what I knew: 1) The Yankees still carried great offensive firepower after the official Bronx Bombers lineup of '27, but by '29 and '30 had fallen to well under .600, making them tenable for this league. 2) I didn't want to use the most offensively-biased season in history for any theme.   3) The '29 Phillies were pretty bad and carried a few very good hitters themselves.

I pretty much went with my first plan here as well.  I figured, take those two teams, the losing squads must have a few pitchers here and there that I can use.  Just find a losing squad with a couple of good arms.  Turns out the Indians and Reds were my huckleberries there.  The Senators rounded things out by providing me with both a quality SS and one of the few seasons of Firpo Marberry with enough IP/G to survive in a 3-man rotation.  Here's my guys:

Yankees

$25,297,329

Phillies

$27,033,665

Indians

$15,127,981

Reds

$13,130,007

Senators

$19,189,301

Babe Ruth

$7,301,053

Lefty O'Doul

$9,299,385

Willis Hudlin

$7,613,512

Red Lucas

$8,659,814

Firpo Marberry

$8,115,340

Tony Lazzeri

$7,162,293

Chuck Klein

$7,547,093

Ken Holloway

$3,262,143

Clyde Sukeforth

$2,540,521

Sam Jones

$4,006,335

Lou Gehrig

$7,079,120

Pinky Whitney

$6,629,516

Ed Morgan

$2,503,632

Rube Ehrhardt

$815,329

Joe Cronin

$3,970,452

Fred Heimach

$3,554,863

Spud Davis

$2,640,672

Glenn Myatt

$1,073,116

Marv Gudat

$681,156

Ad Liska

$2,857,232

George Burns

$200,000

Cy Williams

$916,999

Milt Shoffner

$675,578

Billy Zitzmann

$433,187

Charlie Gooch

$239,942

 And with the guys I hope to have see the field as infrequently as possible removed, the sum stats are as follows:

5947 PAs, .338/.417/.558, 206 HRs, no speed                       $57,590,736

1414 IP, 1.27 WHIP, 0.26 HR/9                                             $38,750,395

Obviously with these guys coming from the season before 1930 the offensive stats will be depressed a bit by normalization, and the pitchers should get a boost.  Nevetheless, this lineup should HIT.  The reality is that these were some of the best pitchers from 1929, with 1.2 WHIPs being near the league lead, but they'll probably still get hit harder than I'd prefer.  My strategy for this league differed from a lot of other people's.  I don't have any great teams, but as a result I didn't need to pull from any truly terrible teams either.  This is a very different team than what a lot of other people seem to be fielding, so I really don't know what to expect from them.  I do think that '29 Ruth, Gehrig, and O'Doul make a great core of hitters to build a team around at this cap, and I really like my platoon group of catchers as well as the rest of my bats.  I'm hoping this team surprises me a little and makes a playoff run, but winning 70 or fewer games certainly isn't out of the question either.  My league and division (which I haven't really analyzed yet) may be of vital importance to this team's success or lack thereof.

$110 Million - The Silver King Experience

That's right - I had the creativity here to name my team after the theme.  Go team.

This was also my most poorly thought-out team.  We're not specifically built to beat Silver King, but what we are built to do is abuse fatigue.  I think a lot of teams in this theme may struggle with pitching fatigue (mine included), so I took a high-OBP group of hitters.  A tired pitching staff is a walk-prone pitching staff.  The first thought in this league is to take high-contact hitters to combat a deadball staff.  I know most other SLB players are better at the high-contact, high-speed game than I am, so I decided to gamble on the opposite route to exploit fatigue.  My lineup features walk specialists Ted Williams, Manny Ramirez, Todd Helton, and Walt Weiss as well as a pair of pretty darn good hitters in Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker.  We generally play solid defense, and Gary Carter should easily control the running game of my opponents.

            I paired a tandem of '95 Maddux and Ferdie Schupp with my Silver King.  The bullpen is solid, with Toney, Dizzy Dean, Babe Adams closing, and '16 Chick Robitaille to help absorb inning after Maddux and Schupp.  I'm guessing I went shorter on innings than at least 80 or 90% of managers.  I feel very comfortable with King, and I know from experience that even on something like a 120-130 pitch count I can toss him for 4 straight games if I need to to help alleviate team fatigue.  Granted, by start #3 he'll be terrible.  But he'll help bring everybody else on the staff back into the green numbers, and after one day off he'll be back at least into the 90s and ready to go for me again.  So that's my safety net.  I'm figuring on getting something from 86-88 starts out of King, but if it has to be closer to 100 I'm perfectly comfortable going there.  I'm betting I'll be among the leaders in terms of getting innings out of Silver, and I'll be pretty proud of it if I am.  He's off to a good start with 18 shutout innings and 2 wins on day 1, and while my opponent was throwing scrub pitchers (a strategy I strongly disagree with, though I won't get into the math behind why it's really a silly illusion that makes it seem like a good idea), it looks like a regular lineup Silver held down.  Of course, now that I'm forum jinxing him he'll suck for a week.  As long as he gets his innings I'll live with it.

Scrubs removed:

5285 PAs, .323/.427/.543, 178 HRs, Biggio the main speed thread at 39/43                       $51,151,270

1393 IP, 0.86 WHIP, 0.15 HR/9                                                                                 $56,349,084

It's not a lot of innings for the cap, but they're of very high quality.  Another team I'm not sure what to expect from, but I'd probably call this my 2nd-strongest shot to make the playoffs even though, as I said, it's not really all that well thought out.  It just looks like a strong combination of bats+arms, and if fatigue doesn't get me the talent should shine through against any pitching, Silver included.

$125 Million - Three's Company - Honus, David, & Pedro

I really don't remember how I settled on Honus Wagner to cornerstone the offense on this team, but I did it pretty quickly.  My initial thoughts ran to Foxx and Hornsby just like most people's did, but I've used both of those guys in clone leagues in the past with relatively modest success.  My next thought was to use speedy outfielders, hoping for poor catchers.  I ALMOST went this route, and may regret not doing so.  In fact, I'm highly suspicious I'll wish I had Rickey in my outfield, but there's really no great speed guy who can cover nearly all the positions that Honus can.  I decided to opt for the extra $5 million and take the guy who can play 8 positions with reasonable defense and an interesting bat.  I was always suspicious we'd see modern pitchers in this league, but really I figured Pedro was the only one who's really homer-prone who would be popular.  You'd need to hit a LOT of Pedro's to take full advantage of power hitting.  On the other hand, Maddux and most deadballers are most susceptible to high average hitters, with deadballers obviously prone to the non-HR XBH.  Honus fits that profile well, and was understandably popular.

            My first instinct was to use Pedro as my pitcher, and once I built a staff of Pedros and saw how nice it looked I really didn't do any further exploring.  At this point I had everything but catchers, so I wanted a guy who could hit reasonably well and play adequate defense behind the dish while also eating up some roster spots.  David Ross fit the bill perfectly.  Here's a guy who's got pretty much nothing BUT partial seasons, a decent bat, some years of decent arms, and a few extra guys I can stick on the bench for about $1 million apiece who are good enough pinch hitters to not be totally dead weight.  I've got 5 Rosses on the team to man catcher, 4 of them can hit enough to be useful pinch-hitters in some capacity when they're not starting, and the whole group cost just a little over $9 million.  This was just what I needed, and my team was done.

I just left everybody's stats in on this one, since the line between scrub and meaningful player is kinda blurry and I may have to use my scrub-hitting Ross as a defensive replacement, with my worst Pedros still likely to use at least most of their innings.

6687 PAs, .330/.397/.484, not much HR power, tons of steals but at horrible percentages            $71,517,837

1511 IP, 1.03 WHIP, 0.70 HR/9                                                                                             $53,307,456

If I cut down to the starting Honuses and 3 Rosses who will do the starting and cut the worst 2 Pedros I get lines of:

5214 PAs, .346/.412/.518 and

1438 IP, 1.01 WHIP, 0.69 HR/9

Not great pitching lines, but obviously Pedro normalizes very well and I'm hoping and thinking he should hold his own.  Nevertheless, I don't really expect this team to do very well.  There wound up being even more Foxxes and Rajahs out there than I had anticipated, and those guys are definitely going to get theirs against Pedro.  I'm also disheartened by the sheer number of Pedros in the league - those guys are going to be tough for my Honuses to do damage against.  This is my one team with a losing record on day 1, and if my Wagners don't start to step up their hitting this could be a long season for this group.

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