Posted by contrarian23 on 8/5/2012 10:39:00 PM (view original):
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)
A few retrospective comments. After 161 games, my status of being in the cage is still uncertain. But I ended up with 4 playoff teams (after being on track for just 2 as of a couple of days ago) so I have at least a chance.
The 70M Angels were intriguing. Only one other owner chose them, and they did not perform well for him. Not great for me either...played below .500 ball for most of the season, currently 81-80. But there were no dominant teams in the division, and a late hot streak (23-11) was enough to push them into 1st place.
Offense was a real disappointment. At 70M, especially with no deadball pitchers around, I expect players to pretty closely mirror their real life totals, unless in an extreme park. The Angels team OPS was 100 points below actual, with no regular exceeding his actual totals. I was very pleased with the pitching staff: Tanana (19-14, 3.25), Weaver (18-14, 3.30), Rudy May (14-11, 3.08) and Finley (10-17, 3.73), Bob Lee (2.69), Tom Murphy (3.19), and Troy Percival (2.53, 26/30 saves). Not a lot of blowouts for this team. A few too many minus plays (98) on defense, but Boone absolutely shut down the running game (only 36 SBs attempted, and he threw out more than half of those), which was critical considering how many speed teams were in the league.
The 80M team made the playoffs as well (currently 89-72). Top to bottom did about as well as I expected. The standard OL formula worked well enough, though a couple of the guys on offense were putrid (I'm looking at you, Stuffy McInnis, with the .299 OBP and .298 SLG). The "speedy 4" of Henderson, Raines, Garr, and Castillo scored 382 runs and stole 275 bases. Boggs had a .384 OBP. As with the 70M team, having a strong A+ arm catcher - in this case Tenace - proved critical. Lots of attempted steals againt him, but he threw out 47% which is a ratio I'll take any day of the week. We were 275-66 in our stolen base attempts, while our opponents were just 72-82.
The 3-man rotation of Joss, Sparks, Howell was a real strength, and Howell turned in a brillant season (29-11, 2.54). I was a little light on IP and had to burn my mop ups a bit more than I would have liked, but I'm pleased with how this one turned out.
The 90M 1993 Mets made the playoffs (currently 91-70) by the skin of their teeth. This team also did about as well as I expected. Good offense (796 runs scored, 4 guys with 100 RBI) led by Coleman (.280, 109 SB, 116 runs), HoJo (.282/.333/.504, 52 2B, 25 HR, 29 SB, 113 RBI, 113 R), Hundley (30 HR, 113 RBI), and Bobby Bonilla (.303/.352/.496, 200 H, 27 HR, 118 RBI). Bullpen was a little weak, but the rotation delivered. Tanana (20-8, 3.87), Gooden (16-13, 3.16) and Saberhagen (18-19, 3.91).
For much of the season, the 100M team was in 1st place and looked rock solid, but a 5-16 stretch around the game 100 mark just killed them. These guys were an unequivocal disappointment. I think this was a 90-95 win caliber club, but they're sitting at 83-78. Offense was very good, led by Gwynn (.372/.424/.527, 258 H, 131 R), Bonds (.302/.401/.584, 51 HR, 129 RBI, 137 R), Williams (53 HR, 142 RBI), McGriff (.283/.365/.531, 46 HR, 110 R, 126 RBI), Justice (34 HR, 107 RBI). Even Macfarlane contributed with 22 HR and 85 RBI. These guys scored 846 runs, belted 250 HR. But they gave up almost as many HR as they hit, and the bullpen was awful except for Jackson and Hoffman. Maddux was terrific (25-11, 2.78). Andy Ashby (17-15, 4.74, 1.27 WHIP) was surprisingly the 2nd best of the starters. I may just have mismanaged this club, sadly.
The 110M (97-64) was my strongest. This was the only club of the 6 where I built in a safety net of IP, and it definitely helped. I noticed a lot of clubs in serious fatigue troubles especially in the 2nd half. King (49-18, 3.16) and Joss (25-19, 3.64) were about what I expected, and the cookie bullpen of Toney, Nehf, Milacki, McDowell and Nathan was more or less lights out all season. This was another team with a really good net stolen bases performance: 265 SB vs 66 CS for the offense, while Sanguillen threw out 38 of 75. Brucker and Oquendo allowed a bunch when they were in the lineup, but this was a huge overall advantage. Ruth belted 35 HR with 141 RBI, and the rest of the offense did about as expected. 905 runs scored, team BA of .290.
The 120M was a mistake from the get go. I confess I never even considered going with 5 or 6 players, and I am stunned by how many owners did so - and how well they did. I just didn't think that an additional 10-15M penalty could possibly pay off, but it obviously did. About the only thing that worked on this team was Ruth. He hit as well - maybe even better - than I expected, and his pitching exceeded my expectations. But Mariano sucked, and the 2 big-ticket Boudreaus really disappointed. 44 Boudreau posted a .706 OPS (.843 actual) and 48 Boudreau was .815 vs .987. The other Boudreaus were even worse, but I wasn't expecting much from them. Having said all of that, it is utterly humbling that another owner with the same 3-man combo won well over 100 games. So I can't decide in which role I was worse: GM, or manager.
Congrats to everyone. Hope I make it round 2, but either way good luck to the finalists. And as always, thanks to schwarze for running a great tournament.