Team Building Strategies Topic

If you want to read how i did my teams here ya go.

70 MIL - Double mint Twins.    I built a team for every team that could be used.  i chose the Twins who was not the "best" team i could have used.  I chose them for two reasons.  1.) I didn't want to choose a team everyone else used.  Cards and Yanks for example.  2.) they suited target field VERY well. better than other teams adapted to their parks.   They also had the SP depth i wanted at this cap.  using a 4 man rotation. and solid defensive range.
.277/.358/.399 with 5085 PA and .238/1.14/3.18 with 1325IP

80 MIL - All in 4 round 1     I really didn't care for this build at all.   I'm not overly concerned with round 2 since I haven't made the top 45 in my 2 attempts thus far. I basically just chose players that had similar back to back seasons. and fit the cap and show decent numbers.   Not really expecting much from this team.
.302/.369/.456 and .221/1.02/2.49 and 1387 IP

90 MIL - 72 Orioles      Twist teams are my favorite to do.   I looked through what seemed like hundreds of teams for a .500ish team with quality pitchers already staffed.  Always seems easer to twist offensive players one year.   among favorites were 60's Dodgers, 90's braves and lots of Houston teams.  even looked at everyone's favorite 93 Mets.  but in the end I had to turn back to a tea of use partially in the past.  the 72 O's.   They provided me with 7 twists and solid pitching.  With all my offensive twsting I did draft far too many PA with 6151.  this team with def. lean on it''s pitchig staff to get Wins.
.263/.343/.402..................210/1.02/2.32 and 1,411 IP.

100 MIL - 1959 CHW-Cinn-SF-NYM-Pitt    took the time to look for low win % teams with 1 quality SP.    After  got 5 teams with a SP i pieced them together until i found one year that gave me a starter at each position.  Again I over spent on PA this time with 6636, Who knows why?  But this offense is stout so thy might use a lil more then i think just not that many.
.296/.369/.471 and .232/1.08/3.02 1480 IP. 

110 MIL - Silver King is my ding-a-ling    Never came close to using a guy like this.   This was fun because I came up with some wacky strategy that just might be awesome.  Here it goes. for pitching i figured i want 7 Inning from King every other game which get me to around 560.  if he can go deeper BONUS.  i then drafted 3 high quality low Inning starters to start every 6th game. and a small Bull Pen.  offensively i knew alot of innings would be against silver obviously and the key to the game is who can get the best usage from him.   I read a forum about how BB and ks both cost a pitcher more pitches.   so high K rates and BB rate pitcher  use more energy per game.   my entire offense is high BB and K batters.  6 of 8 starters are also lefties or switch hitters.   My plan is to simply wear out the teams in my division and hope that come seasons end my stamina pulls us through.
.287/.406/.465 with 5850 PA and .208/.92/2.12 and 1585 IP

125 MIL - Foxx, Phillips,  and Pedro.   I hate clones simple as that. Pedro was an obvious choice because i only wanted to use one pitcher. I fill out the field with Foxx (like many of you0 and Phillips.  I was the only one to take him and i really hope i did find a jewel none else did.   I didn't overlook defense either i tried to keep that as strong as possible.   I really like how this team fit the cap and that gives me a little more confidence.

.294/.404/.477 7344 PA ( a ton!!!! and i plan to pinch hit a TON) .209/1.00/2.68 with 1556 IP.
8/7/2012 2:47 AM (edited)

Like most of you, this is a very fun time of the year for me. Thanks as always to schwarze for continuing to put on such a great tournament. I hope that the first 5 games won’t skew my opinions too much of my teams but here goes......

$70 Mil – Low Budget Expos/Nats
The obvious key driver for the low cap seems to be speed. I also wanted to balance it as best as I could with some power given the modern twist of the theme. I figured that I would go with a Cards team as many have built but when it came down to deciding it actually came down to between the Expos and A’s. I liked the balance of the pitching staff better with the Expos so I went with them. ’85 Bryn Smith, ’78 Steve Rogers and ’94 Pedro anchor the staff. On the hitting side – I have the usual SB suspects in Raines and LeFlore. Vladdy adds more SBs and pop. Part-time Gary Carter to cut down on the SB teams. I usually find low cap themes boring and this is not much different. I have had moderate success with the low-caps and wouldn’t be at all shocked to have between 75-85 wins with this team. 

$80 Mil – MNH’s Chapter 1
With a team name ready to fly in the face of any WIS jinx I was prepared for a theme that would drive me insane. I fairly quickly realized that this wouldn’t be the case.  I started with pitching and looked for the usual deadball suspects. I have Joss but neither team has the ’08 version. I like to have a fairly balanced staff that gives me a chance to win each game and didn’t see it happening spending all that money on the ’08 version. For the pen I knew I had to go modern to give me a chance to have back to back quality seasons (except for 1915 George Dumont). The pitching staff came around fairly quickly and was right around the 40mil mark which is my comfort level. For the bats I just started by looking at cookie/speed type guys. Tried to get walks and XBHs and didn’t really worry about homers due the likelihood of facing a bunch of deadballers. As some have mentioned, finding that key awful player who had back to back sub 300k seasons was very satisfying.  All the pieces ended up fitting pretty well at the end – after a tweak or two to the pitching staff I was pretty much set. Once I had the team set I didn’t bother looking at it again (very different from any other theme I’ve ever done). One change would set off a chain reaction and it wasn’t worth it to me. My round 1 team certainly has better hitting but my round 2 team might have a bit better pitching. Nonetheless, I chose what I thought was the better team for round 1. I figured that milking the most of my IP would be an important factor so I lowered my total IP to 1282 (including 58 mopup) and put the team in Safeco. I don’t think it should be an issue but after last year’s round 2-80 mil fiasco I wouldn’t be shocked at anything at this point. Assuming fatigue issues are kept in check this team should be just fine and contend for a playoff spot.

$90 Mil – 1916 Chicago Cubs
I certainly love these types of themes. This one and the 100 mil one were the most fun for me. I pretty much looked at every season to find that one perfect team and leaned towards more twists than less. I never did find that perfect team but I did look strongly at the 1907 and 1908 Red Sox and the 1926 and 29 Cards. The 26 Cards were too two player heavy (Hornsby and Alexander) – didn’t like that. The 29 Cards didn’t leave me very comfortable with the pitching staff. The ’07 Sox had great pitching but not enough guys who got on base. I finally had to decide on the ’08 Red Sox vs my chosen Cubs team. My problem with the ’08 Sox team was that it was too heavily weighted to pitching (in terms of dollars) so pretty much by default I chose the Cubs team who had the best balance in my opinion. A strong starting staff of ’14 Hendrix, ’18 Vaughn and ’04 Brown should keep me in just about every game. The bullpen is thin with only 3 useable pitchers (all from 1916 fortunately). To complement the strong staff, the lineup is very balanced. ’14 Dutch Zwilling, ’12 Heinie Zimmerman and ’14 Art Wilson will be studs given normalization. In addition we have ’23 Cy Williams and ’11 Frank Schulte. They will have some sneaky pop (again given normalization) and I stuck them in Weeghman Park (+2 Hrs) to help them hit the ball out. Through 5 games they have 11 HRs which is somewhat surprising but fitting with what I was trying to accomplish. I am a bit surprised that only 1 other owner took them so I have a bit of cause for concern but under 90 wins will be a failure for this team in my view.

$100 Mil – 1910 Cards, Sens, Naps, Sox and Cubs
I could probably write a dissertation on my process for selecting this team. I was a little disappointed that given the amount of time I spent searching I was never entirely happy with my options. I looked at every season every which way pretty much; great teams with terrible teams, average teams and other average teams.   It came down to 2011, 1992, 1928 and 1910. I didn’t like the structure of my staff for the 2011 team so they were gone. From the comments here I have seen others who structured a more sound staff than mine for this season. Oh well. 1992 looked pretty good in all aspects but they were too vanilla. 1928 had amazing hitting and 1910 had amazing pitching. In the end I got too scared of the 1928 staff at this cap. Not one person took 1928 so it looks like I likely made the right call by staying away. I am actually quite surprised at some of the staffs that people felt comfortable with at this cap – given this likely won’t play as a true 100 I could be way off on this opinion. I have ’10 Johnson and Walsh leading the way and decided to trim some dollars on my 3rd starter for better hitting from the Cubs and went with Brown there. The hitting could be a serious problem with no one really of note other than Lajoie and Solly Hofman. Johnson and Walsh will have to carry a big load for this team to be a contender for the playoffs. I guess I’m hoping that everyone’s teams pretty much suck but it will be interesting to see what strategies ended up paying off.

$110 Mil – As Good As Silver

Thankfully I got a bit of experience from last year’s WISC with Silver – otherwise I may have really screwed this team up. I started by choosing 2 200ipish SPs to tandem with King. I originally had ’95 Maddux and ’00 Pedro but didn’t want to spend that kind of $$$ so downgraded to ’14 Dutch Leonard and ’06 Doc White (two lefties in case everyone went LH to counter King). This might not be much of a downgrade in fact and it saved me a bunch of dough. From there I just finished the staff with fairly premium low IP relievers. I ended up bumping my IP up a bit after some tweaking – I went from the low 1400IPs to 1498 (including 57 mop up) due to the DH and the fact that King’s 700 ips aren’t true 700 ips. I stuck them in Safeco just to be safe and figure that King could probably take a beating every once in a while if I had to serve him up at low rest (since he would bounce back and not suffer an IP death spiral). For hitting I knew I wanted speed and a balance of high average and walks (to counter any owners who threw out some non-King low avg/higher bb guys). I also tried to get some decent to great fielding to help King out. I expect 90 wins+ for this team.

$120 mil – Maddux & Rivera, Hornsby & Foxx
When I first read the rules for this theme I was pretty disappointed but seeing the various strategies used I think it will actually be a fun one to follow. From the get go I figured I would use 1 pitcher and 2 hitters (I didn’t want to play guys out of position because I don’t have the experience of knowing how to do it or when it could/couldn’t work). I built Maddux, Pedro and Mordecai teams. I ditched Pedro because he was too expensive and went with Maddux over Mordecai due to Maddux filling more roster spots. I think Maddux might be the best, most consistent pitcher in the sim and certainly can throw out 4/5 seasons against anyone so I feel he was the obvious choice here. I then looked at hitting and quickly realized that a lot of guys I wanted to use wouldn’t work because they simply didn’t have enough cheap seasons. I found that Hornsby had a few and could play multiple positions. For catcher it was between Foxx and Boudreau for me. Foxx could play a bit of OF and had some cheap seasons too so this was a no brainer.   At this point I realized that I was wasting over 5 million in money due to not having enough cheap players and also didn’t really like the structure of my Maddux-only pitching staff. Since I had wasted 5 mil I had no problem adding another player. I humoured myself by first adding Raines and seeing how much that helped my situation.   It obviously didn’t solve my pitching issue so I got rid of Raines and looked at who I could use in relief. Rivera was the obvious choice here. He filled a ton of roster spots to the point where I don’t have any excess IPs or Abs. I put the team in Yankee Stadium (III) to take advantage of the Pedro teams I am likely to face. I have high hopes for this team and feel that this theme will very quickly separate the haves from the have-nots. 

I am cautiously optimistic about my round 2 chances. I have a couple of teams I’m not crazy about and I am biased by my somewhat fast start. Plenty of time left for my teams to disappoint. 

8/8/2012 4:40 AM (edited)
$70M – Do or do not, there is no Tribe - This build went very methodically.  I started by looking for a team that had starting pitchers that would fit the salary cap AND all had different years during the target period.  That was a bigger stumbling block than I would have originally envisioned.  I guess good pitchers hang out together and excel during the same years… Once I built a staff that could handle 900-1000 innings in their ballpark, I checked their offensive starters for usable DIFFERENT seasons at different positions.  So basically, I went for 4-5 SP and 8 good position players from a franchise, figuring that I could fill in both the bullpen and the positional blanks with spare parts and duct tape.  It turns out that the Indians provided the right pieces and had some remarkably usable sub-$400K scrubs.  Interestingly, there is another Indians team in the league, and we only agree on ONE player; 1966 Rocky Colavito.  It will be cool to find out which build works best.
Offense: .274/.352/.457   Pitching: 1370 innings, 3.13 ERA, .245 OAV, 1.19 WHIP
$80M – One step forward, two steps back - I don’t play open leagues at all, so I’m not up on the current cookie list. So, once again, I started with the pitching staff, searching for pitchers that had consecutive seasons that were usable at $80M. To make things even harder, I looked for starting pitchers with usable seasons that were right next to catastrophic sub-$500K mop-up seasons (hint: there aren’t many), thinking I could swap them from season-to-season. Not surprisingly, this was harder to find since a crappy mop-up season is usually followed by a bus ride home.  Hitters seem much more consistent; I even found a few with consecutive sub-$600K seasons. Now that Team-prime is set, next season (if necessary) I can go two or three directions and still have a team around $79.5 (which will probably be moot)
Offense: .291/.368/.425  Pitching: 1383 innings, 2.74 ERA, .226 OAV, 1.10 WHIP
$90M – They might be Giants 1963 - Like everyone else, I started out twisting really ****** teams, trying to find one that had the balance of usable and twistable seasons.  That proved fruitless since most of these teams had ****** records because, well,  they had ****** players.  So I changed tactics… Specifically, I looked for teams that had ONE uncharacteristically bad or mediocre season in the midst of a successful streak.  That didn’t work either...  So, I started to look for teams with a large number of HOF-ers, reasoning that most of them would have good years that coincided, and I could use the twists to cherry-pick one or two stand-out seasons.  It ended up that the 1963 Giants (oddly enough, my favorite team and my birth year) fit the bill.  Only six available twists, but usable seasons from Marichal, McCovey, Cepeda, and Mays along with a twisted Perry gave a good foundation; one that will have to sustain the team with the crummy middle infield and shaky non-HOF talent.
Offense: .284/.346/.472   Pitching: 1529 innings, 2.49 ERA, .218 OAV, 1.09 WHIP
$100M – Atl-Col-StL-Phi-Tor in 1997 - Once again, I started with the rotation.  I always try to have a solid starting staff to handle 60-70% of the innings with closers/setup taking 20-30% and mop-ups taking 10% at most.  Here I was looking for at least three good-to-great SP seasons to anchor the rotation with a willingness to accept mediocre #4/5 starters.  1997 had great years from Pedro, Maddux (as always), and Clemens. Unfortunately, Pedro was saddled with some pretty crappy support players and I really didn’t like any combination of four of his teammates. I ended up taking Atlanta (Maddux plus Denny Neagle’s best season), Toronto (Clemens on a last-place team), Philly (Schilling on a last-place team), St. Louis (a whole bunch of hitting on an uncharacteristically bad team), and Colorado (a whole bunch of hitting on a .500 team).  Check out the offense. I think this team will play a lot of 8-7 games.
Offense: .301/.385/.553   Pitching; 1524 innings, 2.70 ERA, .220 OAV, 1.09 WHIP
$110M – Hi-ho Silver… and AWAYYYY! - Add me to the list of never-used-Silver managers.  I probably overthought this theme a little.  I figured since everyone will build anti-Silver lineups (LH heavy), I would counter with a 2A/2B pure lefty rotation, so, half the time, I’ll be throwing a lefty at (theoretically) predominantly left-handed hitters. John Tudor and Mike Cuellar will get around 40 starts each, and I filled the bullpen with a shitload of 25-30 inning closer-types. With low Ks from the pitchers, I filled my team with good range/high power types and threw them into Riverfront. I have NFI if this team will do well or suck balls.  Meanwhile, it seems all of the top-rated guys all have special Silver King strategies developed over the years, but I’ll just struggle along, making it up as I go. I’m pretty sure I’m short on innings for this theme, but we’ll see how it works out.
Offense: .290/.405/.545   Pitching: 1493 innings, 1.81 ERA, .200 OAV, 0.92 WHIP
$120M – FourPlay Hornsby-Foxx-Johnson-Nathan - It appears that I’m very common in my thought process.  Hornsby was picked over Wagner/Lajoie primarily because he has so many scrub seasons to fill the roster.  Foxx made a nice fit with Hornsby because of his occasional forays into the outfield and behind the plate.  The other option for me was Bresnahan, but I wanted more thump.  For starting pitching, again, I probably overthought. Since there isn’t a DH in this league, I didn’t want to “give up” the 400-500 ABs the starting pitchers normally take, so I gravitated towards Walter Johnson, who combines great pitching stats with productive ABs.  I figure he’ll get close to 60-80 more hits in a given year than most pitchers (especially Pedro, who sucks at the plate).  That’ll keep some innings going (especially if teams play guys out of position), and should win a few extra games.  For relief pitching, I went with Joe Nathan, who has several comparable seasons that fit well at this cap and fit with Johnson’s innings.  Mariano’s seasons are a little too up-and-down for my tastes.  The large number of innings is because I went a little thin on innings for the high caps last year, and paid the price.
Offense: .336/.415/.551   Pitching: 1585 innings, 1.95 ERA, .205 OAV, 0.97 WHIP
8/7/2012 3:37 PM
Ok a word of warning: everyone reading this should use this as a primer for how not to build your rosters. That being said:

70 mil
Definitely wanted to be in a pitchers park to help out my staff which by virtue of the low cap would probably not have a ton of IP. That in and of itself narrowed the field. Tried out the Mariners, Dodgers and Padres but couldn't balance the pitching with the O at this cap. For s**ts and giggles I tried out an Orioles team but got scared off by the SP. All of the decent ones cost way too much and left squat for O. Ended up going with Oakland which provided good value for the money. Decent 5 man rotation. Solid bullpen with Eck, Blue, Bailey and Ontiveros. The O is going to be one that will have to manufacture runs. I've got speed to burn with Rickey, Lansford, Billy North and Mitchell Page. I kinda punted D so my hopes will rely on the legs of my burners. Hoping for 82 wins.

80 mil
I took the well travelled path of bookending my offensive players. One good season backed up up with another similar one. The usual suspects prevail. Raines, Singleton, Ozzie etc. I took the high/low approach to pitching. Most of my pitchers have either a high IP season followed by a low one or vice versa. Ergo JR Richard, Tom Seaver, Tiny Bonham etc. I put them in Dodger stadium to help out the staff as I went fairly low IP. Team should be decent. Perhaps a WC pretender.

90 mil
This team was a no brainer for me. I wanted a team that way over performed its RL record. The 2000 Yankees fit the bill. I was able to twist a good staff with Gooden, Clemens and Cone all represented by stellar years. The bullpen is in good hands with Nelson, Stanton, Mendoza and God as closer. How this team will do is going to be predicated on the bats. Defense is more than adequate but my sticks have to show up. This is a high risk/high reward team. I could be a 90 win division winner or finish last.

100 mil 1924 Pitt, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Chicago WS
The bane of my existence these past few seasons of WISC, has been the fatigue of my pitchers so in every league above 80 mil, I have padded the staff with <300k stiffs that basically are out there early in the season to save the real guys from getting exhausted by week 3. If I win any of these games, it's a bonus. I have solid pitching with Dazzy Vance, Johnny Morrison, Emil Yde and the big bucks addition from Cleveland, Sherry Smith. Bull pen is excellent but shallow. Bill Doak, Babe Adams and Rube Ehrhardt are going to have to be managed carefully to make it through the season with 2 arms and 2 legs intact. Where this team is going to have to step up to the plate is on O. Frankly, this team should rake. With Hornsby, Hooper, Pie Traynor, Jack Fournier and Joe Sewell, I'd better score runs or it's going to be a long season. Defense, defense.? We don't need no stinking defense. Hope so cause this is the all Iron Glove team. Gonna have to outscore my opponents.

110 mil Silver King league
Ever have a dream where you see a train wreck about to happen and you can't do anything to stop it? Here it is. No clue how to work this. I know he can't pitch every day so I put the 1911 Pete Alexander with him as a #2 SP. not deep enough of a bullpen to help and an offense that is heavy on OBP guys who run. I have little hope for this squad. 100 losses minimum.

120 mil Rose, Alexander, Eckersley and Campaneris clone team.
I tried Pedro/ Foxx teams but wasn't sure I had enough IP to make to the end and thought that Ole Pete with his back to back to back 400 IP seasons of 1915-1917 would solve that problem. Add in Eck for closing and mop up and there's a staff. Uh oh. Need an offense. Decided to play in Municpal stadium to try and lessen the impact of all of the expected Ruth teams. Pete Rose (scumbag that he is) is the multiposition King. Add in a cannon armed Bert Campaneris at short and catcher (forgot he played catcher didn't you?) and we have the ultimate singles team. As long as Pete hits close to RL, we'll be ok. If not, expect lots of 3-1 losses.

Anything above dead last is an improvement over last year so my expectations in this shark tank are minimal. Remember, how much did this advice cost you? Nothing. Caveat Emptor!
8/7/2012 7:44 PM
I have no idea how to build any of the first 5 teams, but I am extremely surprised there's not a ton of 3-man teams for the $120MM cap. Especially those that grabbed one of the cheap catchers like Redmond. My reaction is that there's no way that can be worth the $5MM you lose. I'd be interested to see winning percentages by number of clones, which I'm sure schwarze will have at some point.
8/16/2012 5:15 PM
I have a 3-man team AND I grabbed a cheap catcher.  He saved me easily over $5 million worth of the next-cheapest Pedro and Wagner seasons.  Not to mention the cost of not having a true defensive catcher in this game can be astronomical.  All of a sudden all the teams (like mine) that feature Honus Wagner can turn his steal settings from 0 or 1 to 5.  Who cares that he got caught 40% of the time when the catcher's contribution is basically 0%?  I imagine against team's with a guy OOP at catcher I can steal about 5-8 bases/game, plus figure on at least close to 2 passed balls a game.  Close to 10 free bases.  I'm pretty sure that's costing you a lot more than $5 million worth of value.
8/16/2012 8:05 PM
My 4-player team of Hornsby, Raines, Redmond and Pedro is currently at 23-10 although they're on the lucky side (.697 actual vs .640 expected).  What's really amazing though is the team 2 games behind me (21-12)... a 5-player team consisting of Maddux, Mays, Biggio, Pfeister, Charlton.... that's 3 pitchers!  And that team has been unlucky (.636 actual vs .737 expected).
8/16/2012 10:54 PM

yes I've seen some very strange combos in the 120mil league that have been successful....stlll early but I'm a bit surprised.

8/16/2012 11:07 PM
I wish I would have gone with a 4-5 man team rather than force the 3 man team.  I think the 5M was easily worth the chance
8/16/2012 11:56 PM
I don't think $5m was enough of a penalty for adding an extra player. Let's face it, alot of $$$ are wasted on the bench, so by adding players you can actually streamline your team better. I was joking in my post earlier in this thread, but I did seriously consider taking a high number of players (like 8-12) and just cloning my scrubs to streamline my $$$. I wouldn't be surprised if someone were to successfully do that here.

So, I don't know that a player like Redmond was the best choice, per se, but Redmond is a player who provides value in a key role and provides value by allowing you to better streamline the $$$ you're spending.
8/17/2012 12:56 AM
I wanted a 3-man team but couldnt fill all 25 rosters spots without a 4th. not even close.
8/17/2012 2:04 AM
Posted by dahsdebater on 8/16/2012 8:05:00 PM (view original):
I have a 3-man team AND I grabbed a cheap catcher.  He saved me easily over $5 million worth of the next-cheapest Pedro and Wagner seasons.  Not to mention the cost of not having a true defensive catcher in this game can be astronomical.  All of a sudden all the teams (like mine) that feature Honus Wagner can turn his steal settings from 0 or 1 to 5.  Who cares that he got caught 40% of the time when the catcher's contribution is basically 0%?  I imagine against team's with a guy OOP at catcher I can steal about 5-8 bases/game, plus figure on at least close to 2 passed balls a game.  Close to 10 free bases.  I'm pretty sure that's costing you a lot more than $5 million worth of value.
Interesting. I'm actually playing 43 Boudreau there (D/A/B) so just 6 E and 5 PB so far, and 35% CS%. Early on my team was doing well but while I still lead the league in offense, my pitching is starting to hurt me. I went with Ruths as my starters and Eck for the bullpen. Maybe a 4th player would have allowed me to get some better pitching? Not sure. But the catcher is not killing me.
8/20/2012 6:51 PM
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, 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.
9/28/2012 2:57 PM
Posted by schwarze on 9/28/2012 3:57:00 PM (view original):

Team Name: Really Fast Dodgers
Salary Cap:
$70 Million
Ballpark: Dodger Stadium

I started building the $70M roster before all the other rosters and had decided from the onset that I was going to load up on speedy Cardinal switch-hitters. I came up with a team that included Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith, Lou Brock, Reggie Smith, Ted Simmons, Greg Jefferies, Ken Oberkfell and Jose Oquendo. I then spent weeks working on the rosters for the other themes and forgot about this team. When I completed all the teams and started creating the leagues, I took another look at this team and didn't like it anymore. I really only had three speed guys (Coleman, O.Smith, Brock) and the pitching wasn't very good.

I decided to try a different franchise. I knew I wanted speed, so I started with Maury Wills (104 SBs) and the Dodgers. I was able to add Juan Pierre, Otis Nixon, Tom Goodwin and Davey Lopes. I even got Bill Buckner's 35 SBs into the mix. That's six starting batters with a total of 376 SBs at 84% efficiency. Piazza is the only good bat in the lineup and the infield defense is weak, but the pitching is much better than my Cardinals team. Drysdale, Hooton, Reuss and Welch (935 IPs) make up a decent starting rotation while Leary, K.Brown, Worrell and Eveland (336 IPs) represent the bullpen. I have 110 mopup innings if needed.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 5359 pa, .283 avg, .346 obp, .377 slug, 376 SBs at 83.7%, $35.0 million
Pitching: 1272 ip, 2.69 era, .237 oav, 1.13 whip, 0.53 hr/9, $33.7 million


Post-mortem comments:

Although there were six Cardinals teams among the top 12 overall teams, I was very happy with my Dodgers selection, as they are sitting with the 4th best overall record (97-64).  My speed strategy worked exactly how I expected.  Although the team ranked 17th in OPS, they finished 2nd in runs scored, thanks to 469 SBs (81%).  Maury Wills was a beast, finishing with a .320 average and stealing 145 bases (only 19 CS).  Oddly enough, he finished 4th in the league in SBs.   My one big hitter, Mike Piazza, did allow up 400+ SBs himself, but his bat was a sorely needed, as he finished with a line of .319, .380, .481 with 145 RBIs.

The pitching was led by Cy Young winner Don Drysdale (24-8 with a league leading 2.44 ERA).   Bob Welch (17-11, 2.95, Jerry Reuss 15-10, 2.90 and Burt Hooton 17-12, 4.09) rounded out a starting staff that went 73-41.  Todd Worrell led the league with 39 saves (44 attempts).  The team finished 3rd in ERA.  As a team, we weren't overly lucky or unlucky as we went 29-25 in 1-run games and the expected winning% is .604 compared to .602 actual.
9/28/2012 4:16 PM (edited)
Posted by schwarze on 9/28/2012 4:17:00 PM (view original):
Team Name: To Catch a Thief
Salary Cap: $80 Million
Petco Park

You kind of have to assume that you will make round 2 when you build this team so you are essentially building two rosters simultaneously. To make it easy on myself, I looked for players who had back-to-back seasons that were very similar, both statistically and salary-wise. Then, it was only a matter of figuring out which of the two seasons would be round 1 and which would be round 2. For the most part, I kept the teams balanced, salary-wise (each time I added a player, I added the cheaper version to the team that had a higher salary at that point). I really didn't decide which team would be round 2 until both rosters were completely built.

Again, at this salary cap, I went for mostly high-percentage speed guys, sometimes sacrificing on base percentage for stolen bases. I didn't want a lot of walk guys clogging up the bases. My lineup is as follows… Wynegar (A+ arm), Sisler, Womack, Maisel, Vizquel, Raines, Coleman, L.Smith. That's 381 SBs at 85%. Unfortunately, the hitting is worse than my $70M team. The pitching is very strong, with Greg Maddux, Kevin Brown, Doc White and Dave Stieb as the starters with Hoyt Wilhelm, Tug McGraw and Jay Howell leading the bullpen. With my offense and pitching and the fact we're playing in Petco, I expect a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 games.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 5392 pa, .279 avg, .349 obp, .375 slug, 381 SBs at 85.0%, $35.5 million
Pitching: 1291 ip, 2.24 era, .222 oav, 1.04 whip, 0.35 hr/9, $42.6 million

Post-mortem comments:

There are only 16 teams in this theme overall with a better record than this team's 92-69, but unfortunately, we may not make the playoffs due to an unlucky division alignment.  As I suspected in my pre-season comments, this team is offensively-challenged.  They finished the season last in OPS, and despite the 524 SBs (84%), they could only move up to 17th in runs scored.  Vince Coleman ended up with a .290 OBP but stole 148 bases (24 CS).  Tim Raines was a stud, finishing at .363, .430, .494 with 124 SBs (23 CS).  Sisler led the team in RBIs with 116 while batting .319.  Fritz Maisel led the team with 7 HRs. 

The pitching was good, but not as good as I expected.  I probably should have rosted Addie Joss like everybody else.  We only finished 4th in ERA despite playing our home games in Petco.  Kevin Brown (21-11, 2.53) was the only non-deadball pitcher to finish in the top 14 in ERA (7 of those were Addie Joss).   Something I hadn't noticed before... my mopup guys pitched only 60 innings (only 2 starts), but somehow ended up with a 3-10 record.  How the hell are they pitching in games where they could possibly get a loss? 

I can't complain about bad luck as this team is 26-24 in 1-run games and their expected winning% .562 is lower than their actual winning% (.571).  I need to win my last game, hope mildnhazy loses, and then beat him in a 1-game playoff.  Unlikely.  The 6-10 record over the last 16 games was the downfall of this team.

9/28/2012 4:39 PM (edited)
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