This is great by the way! Really helpful to see how some of these veteran owners think!
As I told my blushing bride
Ballpark: Atlanta Fulton County
I've not played below $80m before though I've come close to trying out both a $60 and a $40 league. I didn't really know where to start, so I read the last few WISC team building strategies for the $70m league and it seems like the guys who know what they're doing use alot of platoons and power hitters. So, with that, I knew I had to draft pitchers that restricted HR's and a team that had lots of cheap HR hitters. My initial search found 7 pitchers that fit my parameters and two of them were Braves so I took the '97 Maddux and '99 Millwood to start with and then filled in a pitching staff around them. Two of my relievers give up more HR's than I'd like, but they all normalize the right direction. Unfortunately, the Braves didn't have much in the way of platoon options, but they did have LOTS of cheap power. I have four 30+ HR guys and only one player didn't hit double-digit HR's. I've also got Furcal and Gant who can steal a few bases, but overall, speed isn't a factor. Since the team doesn't give up many HR's and we hit a ton I went ahead and took AFC as my home stadium, a move I may regret, but winning at home has been my one strength in my short WIS career. I don't know how to build low cap teams, so I'll throw out a guesstimate of 83 wins and 220 HRs.
When it came to low caps
I was in the dark
So, I chose hitters who
Could hit it out of the park!
Three great starting pitchers,
But not much else
So I hope my stadium
Will be of some help!
Trying to be strategic
My plans got marooned
Turns out the Braves through history
were rarely platooned!
With skill and grace I tried
To climb the standings tower
However, I was forced to rely
On winning through sheer power.
Team Name: Please Have Enough IP!
Salary Cap: $80m
Ballpark: Cleveland Stadium
Oh My Goodness! Was this ridiculous or what? Now, of course, I don't expect to make it past round one. But, if I do, my round two team should do well, especially if a number of owners do as it seems from the themes thread and just don't pay much attention to their round two options. I tried very hard to make to identical teams with players who have back-to-back seasons of very similar nature. As I also planned to keep it as balance as possible targeting a $40/$40m split between hitting and pitching, unlike my normal team building method of selecting my pitchers first, I started with my lineup and before I knew it I'd gone over budget by about $2.5M. I decided to give it a go anyhow and started on my pitching. Which quickly ended the strategy of similar seasons as pitchers were much harder to find in this manner. I ended up trying to grab a couple of stalwarts in Brown & Joss that I knew I could be a little flexible with by starting with their '08 & '07 seasons, respectively. I only found four other pitchers that had multiple useable seasons for this theme that met my criteria for a 3rd starter and one of them was Smoltz. Which meant either using his 2005-2006 or getting creative with his 2004-2005. So I started looking for another pitcher that had a decent starter year with around 200-250 IP and who also had a relatively low IP/salary year (sub $3m). After I kind of luckily stumbled onto Milacki's '89 (by clicking on his player card to see what other options I had if I were to use his '88 season), I decided to give him a go even though he isn't quite as good of a 3rd starter as I normally like to use, but he's not horrible. The bullpen started out with me trying to find guys who had $200k seasons in one year and a decent ~$1m season in the other. Before I realized it wouldn't matter that I was staying under the cap, I couldn't enter a team with 6 mop ups just because. I had to make both teams work. So I cut my SS, who was my 2nd highest priced hitter behind Ruth (Pee Wee Reese), and searched for the lowest salaried SS season with decent defense and 550 PA and found Benji Gil whose second season is a $200k season. Which meant I needed another cheap SS with a low salary season for season two. Leo Cardenas fit perfectly as his 2nd season fills in just enough PA to cover Gil's shortcomings and his primary season has over 630 PA. This also freed up almost $3m in salary to upgrade my bullpens. In the end my bullpens are still my weakness with two mop ups each, but both teams feature a full 13-man pitching staff with ~1,300 IP and nearly identical slash lines (ERA/OAV/WHIP/HR9) of
2.21/.228/1.07/0.35, respectively (stacked for easy comparison). Likewise, the offenses are fairly similar with ~5400 PA (AVG/OBP/SLG/HR/SB-CS) at:
.295/.375/.442/123/161-77). Neither of these teams are the best by any means, but they'll be good enough to keep me competitive (i.e., this team isn't going to cost me the tournament), which hopefully – if my other teams are as solid as I'd like to believe they are – will give me a decent shot at round 2.
In deciding to go forward
For each player season I kept
For my plan to be successful
In this game
I needed both of these teams
Much the same
Save some time & money by
A pitcher whose value far
exceeds his cost
My player's seasons are
quite the same
Making this team & moniker
Team Name: The Last .400 Hitter (1941 Red Sox)
Salary Cap: $90m
Ballpark: Fenway Park
This was probably the league I put the least effort into. I made a list of teams and ranges of years that I knew they had great ballplayers and hoped to find a team that would give me enough twists to use these greats. I had the 1902-1910 Cubs, I had the 1993-1998 Indians, the 1991-2000 Braves, 1986-1992 Pirates, 2001 Mariners, 1996 Marlins, 1919 Senators, 1914-1919 Red Sox, 1937-1942 Red Sox, 2002-2008 Indians, 1986-1992 Cubs, and 2001-2007 Diamondbacks. I started with the 1914 Red Sox thinking I could get to use Ruth and Speaker, plus Dutch Leonard, but I wasn't sold on the team. I then tried the 1938 Red Sox thinking Foxx, Williams, and Grove... and after a couple of tweaks here and there I ended up in 1941 and think this team will be tough to beat. In the end I didn't even look at the other teams on my list. I've gone back and forth between a more balanced lineup with better seasons from Doerr and Spence and a still good, but not ridiculous season from Foxx, vs useable seasons from the first two and a monster season from Foxx, giving me a ridiculous 1-2 punch of Foxx and Williams. In the end I went with the big 1-2, though I'm still not 100% sold on that being the right decision. The pitching is good enough, but the offense is out of this world. If I were to harbor a guess I'd say this team could win anywhere from 80-90 games, and will certainly clean up at home.
With guys like Teddy ball game
and Jimmie foxx
There's no better foundation for
Should a more balanced team be
or should I go for broke with
A loaded lineup
With two MVPs
A couple of pitchers who
Throw the cheese
While all of Boston hopes
the other six hitters can
get on base
Team Name: 1985: Braves, Cubs, Cards, Mets, Rangers (404-404, .500)
Salary Cap: $100m
Ballpark: Wrigley Field
Where do I even start with this one? I initially looked at 2011 as I thought I could make something great out of the Rangers, Dodgers, A's, Blue Jays, & either the Mariners or Twins. However, I just couldn't put together a team that was a $100m team. They were great teams, but for an $80m league. So then I thought, what if I took the Tigers and added Verlander & Cabrerra? But that meant taking Houston, and again, I couldn't make it work. Then, I was all over the place. I started using my list from the $90m teams to try to come up with something and I again started with the 1914 Red Sox, but couldn't fit the teams I wanted under .500, then I looked at 1904 and 1919, but couldn't find enough bullpen arms to make it work. A few more attempts at various seasons of struggling to get my teams under .500. Then I gave up and started working on my $120m team. I decided on using Rickey Henderson as one of my clones for that team, so I thought maybe I'd try to build a team around Rickey's '85 here, which would also give me Guidry, then the Dodgers where I'd get Hershiser, Valenzuela, & Guererro. After a little tinkering here, and a little tinkering there, I ended up with 1985, but with no Rickey, no Hershiser, et al as I didn't end up using either the Dodgers or the Yankees. I was just about to enter that team, when I decided to double-check all my numbers and after all the salary requirements checked out, I thought I should probably double-check the .500 requirement as well. Quick math suggested that 162 games * 5 = 810, add up the wins, 404, which should mean 406 losses. Except three of these teams played 161 games, so I was at .501. So I decided to swap out Milwaukee and Chicago for Boston and Texas, but they were also at .501 if you didn't count Boston's tie game and only their W-L, so after clarifying and needing to do something else, I stuck with '85 as I'd just put too much work into this team by this point and took Atlanta and Texas. Following one of the formats above, my team is as follows:
Chicago ($16.08): Atlanta ($11.64): New York ($26.67): Texas ($15.81): St. Louis ($29.05):
Dennis Eckersley Dale Murphy Dwight Gooden Greg Harris John Tudor
Reggie Patterson Ken Oberkfell Sid Fernandez Charlie Hough Willie McGee
Ryne Sandberg Paul Runge Gary Carter Jose Guzman Ozzie Smith
Davey Lopes Larry Owen Darryl Strawberry Matt Williams Jack Clark
Gary Woods Gene Garber Calvin Schiraldi Toby Harrah Cesar Cedeno
After all the work I put into this team and the overall quality of this team I feel I got lucky and stumbled onto a season/teams that would be very hard to top only to be on the wrong side of rounding, twice. This team was much better when it was the 404-403 Brewers, Cubs, Cards, Mets, and Pirates, or the 404-403-1 team with the Red Sox, than it is as the 404-404 Braves, Cubs, Cards, Mets, and Rangers. At least the core of the team is barely changed, though the bullpen is a little weaker, as is the defense. This team was unbeatable and now it is a question mark. Still got power, speed, and defense up the middle, but who knows. I wish I had a little more time to work on this one. I feel like I was just missing something or so close to getting a great team.
I built a team of destiny;
sure to win
Maybe even propel me into
the top 10!
But then I noticed
I made an error
404, 403, & 1
Quick! Try this, try that, ask here,
to no avail
After all that work and satisfaction,
1985, you are
though instead of joy you're the
Team Name: Clark Kent Extended First
Salary Cap: $110m
Ballpark: Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
I actually did more research for this league than most of them. First off, I've never used a 700 IP pitcher. I've never even used a 400 IP pitcher. I came across some threads in the forums discussing King and how to use him and saw a recent league where results had been posted in a chart for how various 700 IP pitchers were used and how that worked. I don't know if I'll be able to repeat the results but I'm going to try to copy micki and use King in relief. I actually reached out to micki and got some tips on how to use King in this way for the first half of the season and then I'm going to move him into a starter role for the second half of the season. If it all works as planned I should get about 100 games out of King and about 600 IP. So, not quite maxing him out, but not wasting alot of his innings by just using him in relief. The rest of the staff is made of starters who threw less than 150 IP that I can use as starters for the first half and as relievers for the second half and that will be great spot starters or playoff pitchers.
Offensively, I tried to think about what King's weakness is since I'll be facing him about half the time. All I could come up with is that he doesn't strike anyone out, which led me to notice that he doesn't walk anyone either. He pitches to contact. So I decided I wanted a lineup of hitters that put the ball in play. Guys that don't strike out and guys that don't walk, but who still have good AVG and OBP. As I started to look for these hitters it also dawned on me that King being a deadball pitcher will also negatively affect his defense and that I could exacerbate this by taking deadball hitters as well, affecting two of three parts of the defense normalization algorithm, while also further exploiting King's weakness for contact: more balls in play + more errors, equals my best shot at beating King. So, my offense is entirely made up of pre-1960 hitters with a contact rate better than 92% who hit better than .310/.400 and who have good defense. The only exception to this is my catcher, 1974 Manny Sanguillen, who still has a good contact rate, but hits .287/.313 as I wanted him more for his arm than anything else as after reading through the themes thread it seemed like a number of owners were just throwing their $110m teams together, which meant there would probably be alot of guys grabbing Tim Raines, Rickey, or Willie McGee.
Assuming I can manage King's appearances/innings like micki, I think this could easily be my best team.
good as Gold,
I've been told
He'll throw one game
And then another
You can rely on him
Like a brother
Pitched for a team later known
Relying on defense and
He has few, if any, weakness,
feel free to vent
But you might as well refer to him
as Clark Kent
Team Name: Torre, Rickey, Maddux, and Mariano
Salary Cap: $120m
Ballpark: Yankee Stadium II
Another league that was harder for me than it probably should have been. I figured a number of owners would be using Foxx, Boudreau, or Kelly at catcher, which would mean an opportunity for SB. Which meant taking Rickey as one of my clones. I then wanted to shut down the power game of those taking Ruth, Foxx, etc... so I wanted to grab Walter Johnson as my pitcher. Then I tried to fill in around those two. Initially I had a 3 player team with Bob O'Farrell manning the dish and 1B, with Rickey everywhere else. However, even with all the best seasons of both players I was only spending $120m. So, if I'm only spending $120m anyway, I might as well improve my defense up the middle by taking a decent 2B/3B/SS instead of using an OF out of position there. Except, I couldn't find any that had three seasons of around $6m that fit my team's overall strategies well. So, I looked around for a different catcher, but none had enough low salary seasons to fill out the number of hitter spots taking Johnson at pitcher required. After several days of searching for any other options, I gave up on this whole idea (save Rickey) and started over by scrapping my pitching altogether and building my offense first. I liked the Torre/Rickey offense and it came in right at $60m. I again tried to find a single deadball pitcher that could get me to $125m, but to get there I was just taking excess IP and not really helping my team. So, I took Maddux knowing he had a $200k season and at least one low IP partial season I could use in relief. After taking the only six Madduxes I could muster and still having a decent amount of cash left I just went to the best relief pitcher in history and, wow, what a team! I've not played this cap before, but I'm inclined to think this team would compete in a standard $120m league. We don't give up HR's, we don't give up hits, we don't walk anybody; and yet, we do hit HR's, we steal bases, we take walks, and get hits. The hardest decision was then picking one of the 12 eligible stadiums, especially since all of them were more extreme hitter (Wrigley, AFC, Yankee III, Skydome) or pitcher parks (Dodger, Oak Col, Edison, Yankee II, Shea, Turner, County, Busch). I'd switched parks three times and finally settled on Yankee II.
Rickey, Rickey, Rickey,
No, Rickey, all the players should be
Bob O'Farrell fills it out, now just
Walter Johsnon's a beast! No one's
I have no idea what to expect realistically. Outside of a progressive league that folded after two seasons, I've only played open leagues. I was looking for a theme league to branch out a bit when I saw this and thought it sounded fun. I normally play one team at a time so I can tinker and stay on top of things easily, and only ever had more than one when I was in the progressive (then I had two), so six is a big deal for me. In any case, win or lose, I've already had fun drafting these teams and I'll be thrilled if I finish anywhere in the top 60. (And though I enjoyed this, writing this up took way too much of my time and I think my wife is mad at me.)