Team Building Strategies Topic

This thread will be used to discuss your thought processes on how you built your rosters.  It's always fun to read different people's styles.
8/2/2012 9:25 PM

Team Name: Really Fast Dodgers
Salary Cap: $70 Million
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

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

Team Name: Pedro's Rookie Year ('92 LA)
Salary Cap: $90 Million
Dodger Stadium

I spent many hours researching for this theme and tried dozens of teams.  I was real close to going with a '64 Dodgers team (8 twists) with Koufax & Drysdale along with a twisted Bill Singer but I couldn't stomach the offense (led by Frank Howard and Wally Moon).  I was also close to taking the '77 Reds (6 twists) since their offense needed almost no twists and I could use the full season of '77 Seaver (along with a twisted Mike Caldwell and Mario Soto), but I figured Bench and Foster would underachieve in HRs.  I also strongly considered the 1917 Braves (9 twists) with Ed Walsh & Ed Reulbach solid twist candidates, but the hitting and defense was pretty weak.  I also looked at really bad teams with stud pitchers like '72 Phillies (Carlton), '04 Diamondbacks (R.Johnson), '09 Royals (Greinke), '10 Mariners (F.Hernandez, C.Lee), but there were just too many holes to fill. 

Then I started looking at stud pitchers in their first few or last few years to see if they played on bad teams that could contain a lot of twists.  That's how I found the 1992 Dodgers (12 twists).  These Dodgers lost 99 games, but had great twist candidates… Pedro Martinez, Orel Hershiser, Bob Ojeda, John Candelaria, Jay Howell, Mike Piazza (also his rookie year), Eric Davis, Eric Young, Kal Daniels, Jose Offerman, Eric Karros and Stan Javier.  I could still use the 92 seasons for Tom Candiotti (204 IPs, 1.18 whip), Kevin Gross (205 IP, 1.27 whip), Pedro Astacio (82 IP, 1.22 whip) and Brett Butler (676 PA, .413 obp).  I didn't even use Daryl Strawberry, Juan Samuel, Mike Scioscia, Tom Goodwin, Ramon Martinez or Roger McDowell.  You will notice this team also contains lots of speed.  The biggest negative is defense at shortstop.  I could've kept the '92 Offerman (D/D at short), but instead will be using '98 Offerman (better hitter) who is a C/C at 2B with no rating at SS.  How much worse than a D/D can he be?  I could also leave Offerman at 2B and move Eric Young (B-/B+ at second) to short.  I don't have a lot of experience playing guys out of position, so we'll have to see which works out better.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 5337 pa, .299 avg, .384 obp, .452 slug, 271 SBs at 80.9%, $42.9 million
Pitching: 1384 ip, 2.53 era, .222 oav, 1.09 whip, 0.37 hr/9, $45.6 million

Team Name: 1920 NYY-StL-Cin-Pit-PhA
Salary Cap: $100 Million
Polo Grounds

This was another theme I spent many hours over many weeks researching different combinations.  I was looking for teams with bad W-L records that had lots of usable players (especially pitchers).  I built teams for 2009, 1967, 1910 and 1924.  I was torn on whether or not to go dead-ball era (better pitching) or the modern era (more flexibility, better defense).  I ended up not going modern era because I knew the big HR hitters wouldn't reproduce their numbers.  I ended up focusing on the Ruth era.  I wanted to get a good season of Ruth who wouldn't underachieve.  I immediately settled on 1920 when I discovered the 1920 Pirates (a near .500 team) contained 3 of the top 7 SP's of that year (Babe Adams, Wilbur Cooper, Elmer Ponder). Along with the Yankees (95-59) and Pirates (79-75), I added the Cincinnati Reds (82-71) for SP Dolf Luque, OF Edd Roush and 3B Heinie Groh and the St. Louis Cardinals (75-79) for 2B Rogers Hornsby and 1B Jack Fournier.  This put me 47 games over .500 so I had to include the 48-106 Philadelphia Athletics.  Fortunately, they had a couple of short-inning starting pitchers and a part-time outfielder that barely got me over the $10 million minimum salary.  I have no idea how this team will do, but Ruth should be fun to watch, especially playing against some modern pitchers who give up HRs.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 5675 pa, .321 avg, .397 obp, .475 slug, $57.4
Pitching: 1421 ip, 2.47 era, .248 oav, 1.10 whip, 0.17 hr/9, $39.4 million

League Name: Silver & the Switch Hitters
Salary Cap: $110 Million
SBC Park

I've only used Silver King twice and he's disappointed both times.  And of course, I can never use his full complement of innings.  He has 703 IPs, which means, in theory, you should be able to get around 770 innings, but that's over 85 complete 9-inning games… which is just not feasible given the sim's fatigue system.  In reality, expect to get about 600-650 innings.  Remember that this league uses the DH, so the in-game pitch count will be higher than in non-DH leagues which means he may get fatigued faster.  This means you need to draft another 800 or so innings - or around 1500 total.  At least, that's my thought process… I could be wrong.

Anyway, I decided to go with '96 K.Brown and '97 G.Maddux as my other two starting pitchers… And I added six relievers who have high IP/G numbers and low whips (Pineiro, Dean, Ruffing, Latman, Adams, Cooney)..  So I did go pitching heavy, spending almost $60 million for 1500 innings of 0.92 whip. 

So, what kind of offense can beat Silver King?  Forget about HRs.  Since King's walk rate is low, I went with hitters with good batting averages, mixed in lots of speed and made sure my defensive ratings were good since King will increase their error frequencies.  I also wanted to get lots of switch hitters in the lineup.  Here are the hitters (T.Simmons, Anson, R.Alomar, Boggs, Vizquel, Raines, M.Carey, V.Coleman and Heilmann-dh).  Alomar, Vizquel and Boggs are all A- or better fielding.  Anson is an A+++ range at 1B.  I'm playing in SBC Park to keep the runs scored to a minimum.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 6055 pa, .323 avg, .399 obp, .451 slug, 336 SBs at 83.8%, $49.5
Pitching: 1510 ip, 1.78 era, .207 oav, 0.92 whip, 0.20 hr/9, $59.0 million

Team Name: Raines, Redmond, Hornsby & Pedro
Salary Cap: $120 Million
Pro Player Stadium

I really wanted to use Greg Maddox and tried to force him in, even though he doesn't have a lot of low-IP (or cheap) seasons.  I had a decent team built with Maddox that I'm sure would do well, but I didn't want the headache of having to micro-manage a team with six 230+ inning seasons.  I also looked at the other stud pitchers including W.Johnson, Mathewson, Joss, M.Brown, B.Adams, P.Martinez, R.Johnson and Koufax.  I decided to go with Pedro since he's probably right there with Maddox in terms of top-level seasons.  I think that Babe Adams will be a popular selection, since he has some nice medium and low inning options and he saves $5-$10M over Maddox/Pedro. I also tried Smoltz since he's got some real nice pure reliever seasons, but his SP-quality isn't high enough for a 120M theme, although you could put together a nice $70M+ offense if you used Smoltz.

I really tried to get a roster built using only 3 players (2 hitters, 1 pitcher), with Pete Rose playing 6 positions (1b, 2b, 3b, ofx3) and Lou Boudreau filling in at SS and C, but there wasn't enough cheap seasons for the bench… so I knew I was going to have to use three hitters so my salary would be $120 million.  Since my offense was going to be below average salary-wise, I wanted high-average guys with a little bit of speed mixed in.  I figure I would play in a pitchers park and let Pedro shut down the opposition while I would win low-scoring games.  Raines was the obvious choice in the OF with his 300+ AVG and 70+ SB seasons.  Then I found Hornsby.  He has usable 1B, 2B, 3B and SS seasons at the right salaries with decent fielding.  Plus, Pedro's strikeouts should somewhat  limit the errors that Hornsby would make given an ordinary pitcher.  Mike Redmond has a ton of cheap partial seasons, so he was an easy choice at catcher.  I know Jimmie Foxx will be a popular selection in this theme, but I just think his HR numbers will be way lower than actual at this cap level (and I hate paying for a stat that I know will underperform).  I actually had a team almost built using Boudreau, Ruth and Smoltz, but ran out of cheap seasons and couldn't make it work without lowering the starting quality and wasting salary on the bench guys.

Team Stats (excluding scrubs)
Hitting: 5750 pa, .332 avg, .405 obp, .480 slug, 230 SBs at 87.9%, $58.1
Pitching: 1440 ip, 2.23 era, .198 oav, 0.93 whip, 0.58 hr/9, 11.0 k/9, 1.9 bb/9,  $60.4 million

8/2/2012 9:33 PM
$70m Modern Franchise - Los Angeles Dodgers ($70)

As a big fan of low caps ($40m is my favorite cap), the $70m theme is usually my favorite in the WISC. I also usually find it relatively easy compared to the other themes and this is usually one of my better WISC teams. Right off the bat I knew I wanted to use LA, ATL, or OAK as each of them offer a large number of "value" hitters and have several solid pitching options. At the $70m cap I really like to have a four man rotation with two pitchers between $7-9m, a pitcher between $6-7, and then the fourth starter between $4-6m. I thought about the Braves because I know they have the pitching and a couple of values like Lemke, Nixon, & Boyer, but I really couldn't pass up the chance to run Brown and Koufax out as my #1 & #2 pitchers, plus the offense has power (Pedro Guerrero, Ron Cey, Casey Blake) and speed (Lopes, Offerman, Gilliam, & Guerrero) and relatively good defense for the level of offense at this cap. I would be surprised if this team didn't make the playoffs. It was the last team I built and took the least time to build, but it is by far my favorite. In fact, I think this team could probably beat both my $80m & $90m teams.

1,285 IP with .233/1.11/2.80 slash
4,930 PA with .266/.345/.402 slash

$80m Progressive/Regressive - Water & Metal ($80m)

I really didn't have a strategy for this team. I started out trying to draft players at each position that had similar years back to back so that I would basically be just rolling out the same team twice, but after sticking with that for the first 4 players I picked I just started grabbing some of my favorites and figuring I'd figure out a way to make it work should I get lucky enough to advance to round 2. In the end I have a fun team with a little power (Ruth & HoJo), a little speed (Rickey & Raines), and some fun names in my pitching staff (Joss, Milacki, Bernhard). Ultimately the real fun is that from the round one team to the round two team I have Ruth going from a hitter to a pitcher and Charlie Hickman going from pitcher to hitter. I have Milacki going from starter to his studly 25 IP version and Smoltz from starter to closer... My round two team is definitely the better of the two, but I don't know if my round one team is good enough to get me there. So, why not switch them up? The round two team is short on IP, and though I'm very confident I can manage it to a winning season, I'd rather play it safe in round one. I would be surprised if this team made the playoffs, but .500 seems very possible.

1,338 IP with .244/1.17/2.96 slash
4,947 PA with .299/.405/.446 slash

$90m Limited Twist - 1996 Florida Marlins ($90m)

I knew exactly what I wanted to do here the moment I saw the theme. I took the '96 Marlins, my first choice three years ago when schwarze did the $90m Free agent theme based on W%. I gave more detailed strategy descriptions then, but in a nutshell, at that time I was looking for a team that underperformed their pythags and would net me 4 FA while already giving me two solid starting pitchers. This time I wanted that same outcome, but with 7-8 twists. The fish are the team. I toyed around a little with my final twist unsure of whether having the 2000 Charles Johnson or 2000 Luis Castillo would be more valuable. In the end I went with Johnson and have a 3 player platoon at 2B with Castillo, Veras, & Abbott. This team does it all: they hit for average (.299, but only two starters are below .300), take BBs, hit for power (187 HRs), steal bases (120+ at 75% rate), and they have solid starters in Brown, Leiter, Livan, and Burkett, plus great bullpen help from Nen, Mantei, Helling, Hammond. I feel this team will be right on the edges of the playoffs and if luck goes our way a 90+ game winner.

1,490 IP with .226/1.18/2.94 slash
5,252 PA with .293/.366/.477 slash

$100m 5x5 - 1902 CHC, CLE, DET, NYG, PIT ($100m)

Another one I knew right away where I was going. In the past few WISCs, 1902 teams have dominated the $90m leagues, so I instantly knew I wanted to use 1902. Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Cleveland were my three must use teams. However, Pittsburgh won 103 games at a .741 clip and the other two were both right at .500, so I needed some dregs with talent. I had to make use of two of three bottom teams (Baltimore, NYG, and Detroit), and after just a quick glance it was evident Baltimore was out of the question. We have a solid pitching staff with Jesse Tannehill, Bill Bernhard, Jack Taylor, Ed Siever, and Joe McGinnity all at their best, and we have some solid bullpen options in Alex Hardy and Frank Morrissey. I did have a little scare – which I'm sure many of you saw in the themes thread – when it looked like I was going to have to start all over but I got lucky in that both parts of my catching platoon were traded mid-season and all I had to do was reverse who was my 400+ PA catcher and who was my 200 PA catcher to fit the minimum $$$ threshold.

My five from each team (salary in parentheses):
Chicago ($21.75):    Cleveland ($24.08):        Detroit ($14.91):    New York Giants ($10.69):    Pittsburgh ($28.03):

Jack Taylor                Bill Bernhard                     Ed Siever               Joe McGinnity                          Jesse Tannehill
Alex Hardy                 Charlie Hickman              Kid Elberfeld         Roger Bresnahan                    Honus Wagner
Frank Morrissey        Nap Lajoie                        Sport McAllister     John McGraw                           Ginger Beaumont
Frank Chance           Ossee Schreckengost     Pete LePine          Roy Clark                                  Jimmy Burke
Sammy Strang          Jack Lundbom                  Erve Beck              Heinie Wagner                         Harvey Cushman

As you can tell, the three teams I targeted from the beginning were where I got the bulk of my team from and provide some of the biggest names. I really like this team, but as deadball teams are so outside what I normally do I have no idea what to expect.

1,494 IP with a .233/1.05/2.12 slash
6,534 PA with a .304/.365/.401 slash

$110m Silver King - César Cuauhtémoc González Barrón ($110m)

This is a league straight up my alley, few people have as much experience managing Silver King or any of the 700 IP pitchers than me. However, I felt the best route for this theme wasn't to try to maximize Kings value at all, but to just use him as the main part of a 2-man rotation. I've got an OL team testing an old rotation set up I used years ago that led to my best team ever (142-20 and a playoff sweep) and that team is currently in first. So, I modified it slightly to account for the higher cap and paired King with Joss in a two man rotation with a solid bullpen to cover Joss's IP shortage (he'll rarely pitch more than 4 innings). I expect my bullpen to pick up 25+ wins – as when I did it with my winning team above, my mopup (who was my only pitcher set to available before the 6th inning) went 23-6 with a 3.33 WHIP and 15.88 ERA. I've accounted for that settings oversight this time and hope the modifications and the strategy still work. As for my hitters, I just drafted some of my favorites and then grabbed an A+ arm catcher.

Then a scary thing happened. My brother called me and we started talking about our teams and he said he had no idea what direction to go with this theme and I asked why not. Told him to think about what he knows about the theme (i.e., that there will be alot of Silver King) and to think about Kings strengths and weaknesses. Told him to draft a team that exploits Kings weaknesses while not falling prey to his strengths. Then realized I paid no attention to any of that. So, after realizing I should probably have some high contact hitters I looked at my roster and discovered that with the exception of HoJo at SS, I pretty much had a team of high contact hitters. I do probably have too many HRs to go up against King, and probably should have some more deadball hitters to take advantage of the defense factor, but I didn't feel like making any changes. Even though I probably shouldv'e because I also forgot about the DH, and since last years experiment of running a bunch of $300k scrubs in a 7-man platoon at DH was a bust, I decided I needed a real DH this time and just downgraded the '19 Ruth to the '33 and picked up '07 Bonds as my DH with Jose Oquendo filling in the missing PA. So, yeah, I probably should've redrafted, and this is why I lose these things.... This team will be very lucky to reach .500.

That's what I had written and everything when I asked my fiånce to take a look and see what she thought about it all (I'm trying to get her hooked on WIS) and she said she thought it was all great, except for this. She wanted to know why, if I knew I didn't do as well as I could, I didn't fix it. So, I did. I dropped Bonds, HoJo, and Oquendo and drafted a real team of all left handed, high contact, deadball hitters, with high batting AVG. I also tried to generally take better fielding hitters as well. I like this team much better now, and I really like the team name.

1,485 IP with .197/0.89/1.75 slash
6,141 PA with a .306/.391/.437 slash

~$120m Variable Clone - Rogers Smoltz Foxx for 3 (~$120m)

I just drafted the perfect, cookie-filled, $80m team using cheap clones to fill out my bench and mop up...

...just kidding! Though, that thought did cross my mind. I really tried hard to do a 2-man team with Ruth and Dick Hall, Ruth and Joss, Ruth and etc... I just didn't like them. I'm still not sold on Smoltz being my only pitcher and feel I may be a tad short on IP given the quality of Smoltz's innings in general, but I really like the Hornsby & Foxx lineup. I don't know that $5m was enough of a penalty for taking on less clones, but maybe... Especially at this cap, I think Foxx and Ruth will be everywhere. That said, After my Ruth + a pitcher didn't work I knew I wanted a real catcher, but I wanted someone with flexibility, that meant Foxx. I tried Ruth & Foxx, but that's just too much money. Instead of Ruth, I looked for a stud 2B/SS and basically did a coin toss between Hornsby & Lajoie. The offense is certainly killer, though I still worry about my pitching. My only consolation is that everyone else is in the same boat.

1,469 IP with .231/1.11/3.06
5,601 PA with .352/.443/.635 slash

Overall Take:

Overall, I drafted much more IP than I normally do in the WISC. I also took more time to build my teams, though I was still one of the first to get all of my teams entered, though I did redraft one after I put more effort into it and didn't just gut draft. This could easily be my best showing in a few years.
8/2/2012 11:22 PM (edited)
$70M – Modern Franchise (Orioles)
I immediately went with San Diego and Seattle, to utilize their parks and maximize IP and AB, but I just was not comfortable at all. Solid teams for the cap, but they didn’t sit well with me. I eventually decided to try the O’s, just for fun because they’re my favourite team. I really wasn’t expecting much, but they ended up being the team I liked.
I have a well-rounded offense with Bumbry and Alomar providing some speed at the top of the order, 5 starters hitting .280 or better, and close to 200 HR. I also have a strong bench, which was a must for me in this league.
I went with an unconventional, low walk staff in Garland, Davis, Erickson and Mussina. They’ll give up their share of HR, but that shouldn’t be as big of a deal in this low cap. I also had to find room for the immortal ’88 Milacki.
Went with Memorial Stadium to help the staff and maximize some IP.
$80M – Progressive/Regressive
I only took one crack at this and didn’t look back because I knew this would tie me up in knots. I went through and built what I feel is a solid $80M team by searching for guys at each position who had two comparable seasons, in terms of production and salary in their careers. There are a couple exceptions, but thankfully they cancelled each other out and both teams look decent. I’m sure I’ll be a bit shocked when I see some other teams, but for now, I’m pleased.
Managed to get some good cookie cutter type guys like Joss, Maddux, Willie Wilson and Raines, with a few other solid pieces mixed in, like Bonds, Palmeiro, Roseboro, Ozzie and Mo.
Like I said, I’m not sure how to feel about this team, because there isn’t really a strategy to follow. Just going to be a question of who put the best “puzzle” together. The only strategy element I used was taking Robison Field and stacking up on S and L hitters.
$90M – Limited Twist ('08 Dodgers)
My first instinct was to go with a team that was terrible but had a few good players, but I quickly realized that even 14 twists was not enough for some of those teams. I eventually decided to do some research and find a middle of the order team that was unlucky relative to their performance (ie: pythag was higher than actual wins). This would give me more twists, with an already effective team.
I found the ’08 Dodgers surprisingly fast and 7 twists was more than enough. I was originally going to twist Manny, but realized the twist was needed elsewhere. Manny will offer an amazing PH option and I can start him in support of Maddux or Kershaw to ensure more victories.
I ended up twisting Maddux (’95), Kershaw (’11), Saito (’07), Garciaparra (’00), Blake (’07), DeWitt (’11), Kemp (’09). The last two were heavily influenced by the cap. ’09 Kemp is solid and better than ’08, but I really wanted that ’11 version. DeWitt finished it off by helping me get under the cap.
Lowe and Billingsley round out the starting staff, with Broxton in the ‘pen, and Martin, Pierre, Loney and Ethier in the lineup.
I’m nervous about Lowe and Billingsley, but Dodger Stadium should help them out. As long as Maddux and Kershaw can each win 20, I should be in good shape.
$100M – 5x5 (2010 Royals, Yankees, Mariners, Cardinals, Red Sox)
My goal for this one was to find a season with two 100 loss teams that offered one or two usable players. I then took scrubs from these teams. This is the team I was late getting in – I was going to do some last minute tinkering but eventually just tossed it in. It’s a solid overall team, but I don’t feel great about it. I spent way more than I wanted to on my bench, which may help since there’s no DH, but I would have liked a better distribution.
The year I ended up with was 2010. Greinke and Soria made the squad from the lowly Royals, and Cliff Lee, Ichiro and King Felix lend their support from the crappy Mariners. 5 players from my two worst teams really gave me some flexibility. My lineup is stacked with Red Sox, Yankees and Cardinals, including Gardner, Cano, Pujols, Holliday, Martinez and Jeter. Sabathia and Wainwright round out the staff, and Bard, Rivera and Farnsworth add to a solid bullpen.
My bench is expensive, but good – they’ll spell guys well and can offer good PH/PR options, with Pedroia, Lowrie, Dyson, Getz and Jay.
I went with Safeco to make my pitching staff as effective as possible, and I think I have enough offense to overcome it. I feel good about this team, but also feel like I could have done much, much better.
$110M – Silver King
I took to the forums for this one and did my research on other approaches and how best to utilize Silver King. Although opinions conflict, I found some good insights.
My priorities were a strong second starter, a good bullpen and defense, then getting as much offense as I could after all those were taken care of. I went with ’13 Mathewson as my #2, with Elton Chamberlain in the ‘pen. I looked for SP with low innings totals and no HRs allowed to fill out my pen – Carmen Hill, Harry Coveleski, and Ed Acosta. ’06 Cla Meredith closes.
My defense is solid and my lineup features well over 300 SBs. No starter has an OBP below .377 and Yaz and Bando provide middle of the order pop. My team is based on walks, singles and HR, so I went with Camden Yards. My pitchers can counter the 1/1 in HRs, but the decreased 2B and 3B should hurt other teams far more than they hurt me.
I’ve never used Silver King, so I don’t know how confident to feel, but for now at least, I feel really good about this team.
$120M – Clone League (Foxx, Young, Raines, Pedro)
This one took a while. I settled on Pedro instantly – didn’t even try another pitcher. Pedro had enough starting seasons, some good shorter “relief” seasons, and mop-up. Everything that was needed, and very effective.
I knew I wanted Rickey or Raines – I opted for Raines because of his switch hitting and more consistent defense. I then went with Foxx to play C and 1B. I racked my brain forever trying to find a player who had solid seasons at 2B, SS, 3B. I didn’t want to settle and just find a guy to fill space to get more cap space. Thankfully, I found Michael Young. Not as good a range as I like to use, but he filled the holes solidly enough. I’m confident with this team, but that usually doesn’t work out well for me.
I went with Shea Stadium to assist Pedro a bit.
8/3/2012 12:19 AM (edited)
$70M - San Diego Padres. I wanted a pitchers ballpark because I need the stamina advantage at lower caps. so I only searched teams in the best pitchers parks. I estimated what $/IP would work best in this theme and looked for those pitchers. San Diego seemed to have the best quality in that range. then I did the same for $/PA and wasn't finding much difference between the choices, one team had poor infield glove and the rest were all about the same. San Diego it is. 
     I have my usual mix-and-match strategy that I normally use at low caps. Randy Jones is the only pitcher with over 150 innings, Bip Roberts the only hitter with 600 PA. part timers just look more cost effective at this level. and I can gain some matchup advantage on those days when I have time to tinker with the lineup.
$80M - Progressive Regressive. for several years I've been thinking this would be a good theme. Now that it's here I don't like it. Each season is not a separate entity and that creates a new kind of imbalance. and it was cumbersome building both rosters side by side. I saved this one until last and didn't put in enough time and effort to fine tune the rosters.
     I'm saving the better squad for the 2nd round because it counts more. I suspect a lot of people will favor the 1st round. I put enough strength on the first team to be competitive but I don't expect to have a winning record. counting on the other 5 teams to get me into the 2nd round.
     Pithcers are mostly from the deadball era with Joss, Pfiester, Doc White, Ed Summers, and Joe Benz. SP were easy to find in pairs while RP were tricky so I got creative and did things like using Rasmussen as a closer one season and mopup the next. nice OF of Raines Gwynn and Clemente. Boggs and Lajoie infield tho I had to use some of their cheaper seasons. runnning out of money so I'm using Cintron at SS and the fearsome catcher duo of Bengie Molina and John Wathan. lots of bench players to fill in for low stamina hitters.
$90M - 1967 Orioles, 9 twists. this theme was the most time consuming. I looked for good teams that had an off year and teams that had good pitching. couldnt find enough shortcuts so I searched a lot of teams. narrowed it down to 4 or 5 rosters that I liked and could have selected any of them. 2008 Dodgers are a good twist team but the cap was too low to make the most of this team. The pitching staff I drafted was unbalanced, could've been a good playoff team but in this tournament I find it's better to draft for the regular season. 1914 White Sox had the best rotation but the rest of the team had too many flaws. 1902 Blues were an interesting out-of-the-box choice. tempting, but it looked too weird. this is not the place to get experimental. 1908 Red Sox got some attention.
     1967 Orioles gave me the best fielding and the fewest weaknesses. can't get excited about this boring choice and the 60's are a notorious underperforming decade. went with them anyway because every other choice had more flaws. The O's were a good team having a bad year. I twisted out a 3-man rotation and most of the key hitters. McNally and Palmer are the Aces with Wally Bunker helping. '67 team had a decent bullpen. Frank Brooks and Boog lead the offense, Aparicio at SS, Davey Johnson in his steroid year, '67 was Paul Blair's best year, and unknown Dave May completes the outfield. biggest problem is weak hitting cathcers.
$100M -  1911 Naps Tigers Pirates RedSox Braves. I ruled out most seasons because the pitching wasnt good enough. then most of the remaining season were excluded because they didn't work with the theme restrictions. unlike the previous theme I was able to zero in on just a few seasons. at first I wanted 1919 because of the awesome rotation. when I built a team the rest of it was too mediocre so I kept looking. 1911 SP weren't as good but they were adequate and just about every other position was better, including an outfield collectively hitting 400. This was a very close call. 1911 has pitchers who can hit and that was the deciding vote.
     Boston Braves had a .290 record allowing me to select 4 winning teams. Cleveland provides Joe Jackson, Nap Lajoie, Vean Gregg, Ted Easterly, along with Cy Young in an unlikely mopup role. Pittsburgh donates Babe Adams, Honus Wagner, Claude Hendrix, a bench player and an RP. Detroit gives me 5 hitters Ty Cobb, Sam Crawford, Del Gainer, and 2 bench players. Red Sox give me 5 pitchers led by Joe Wood, then filling in with Ray Collins and 3 bullpen pitchers. Braves don't have much but they have what I need, 2 mid-level infielders at positions that were hard to fill, 2 bench catchers where I needed PA, and another 40 innings of relief.
$110M Silver King. the easiest team to draft. I just selected the same players I always use. except King. drafted some additional innings because it's hard to get full value from Silver.
$120M clones. Mordecai Brown, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, Todd Pratt. I tried to not select Ruth. tried several guys and every time the Babe looked like better value. even though I can't afford his best seasons.
     I wanted one pitcher with enough high quality innings, and with very low HR/9 because I expected to face a lot of Babe Ruth teams. looks like I was wrong about that one. Mordecai Brown and Christy Mathewson were the top choices. Christy cost $1.6M less for about the same quality while Mordecai gives up half as many HR. which is more important? I drafted the rest of my team to see how much I would miss the extra cap room, then decided I could afford Brown. now I can play in a +HR ballpark.
     Several candidates for an infielder. I chose Hornsby because he also has several cheap seasons. I'm having trouble filling all 25 roster spots and need the extra seasons. too bad we can't use less than 25 roster spots. at Catcher I looked for a career backup, somebody who could fill a lot of roster spots for cheap and still have some half decent stats. Todd Pratt was the answer here.
8/3/2012 12:35 AM
I won't be able to give a lot of detail, because I don't remember all the details ha - but:

70M Chicago Cubbies- Wrigley Field

I went with my favorite team, the cubbies.   I focused on HR.  My hope is that with deadball pitchers out, I may get a few more shots in.  79 Kingman, 87 Sandberg, and  84 Matthews lead my offense; while 92 Maddux anchors a staff of 73 Reuschel, 11 Garza, and 98 Wood.  

I don't have a lot of expectations - Next year I am going to wait closer to the deadline before I put my teams in to give me more time for tweaking.  

80M Philly Cheesesteaks - Veterans Stadium

In this one, I just picked players that had good back to back seasons.  I spent more on pitching than I probably should have, but I am hoping that at this cap, Walter Johnson, Greg Maddux, and Jack Taylor can get it done.  

90M Draft Dodgers - (58 Dodgers) - Memorial Coliseum

I like this team a lot - though I don't know if it will be any good.  My offense has great seasons from Duke Snider, Pee Wee, Gil Hodges, and Frank Howard; and my pitching has a dominate threesome of Koufax, Drysdale, and Newcombe - my only and biggest weakness is my bullpen.  

100M - 1992-PIT/CHI/SEA/PHI/KC - Veterans Stadium

I toyed with a bunch of seasons - had a 1916 with Walter Johnson, Eddie Collins, Joe Jackson and more - but in the end I fell in love with this team - my offense is sold 1-8 with a very nice 1-4 in the rotation and a good bullpen.  

110M - Silver is better than Gold - Humphreys Metrodome

I wanted King to pitch as often as possible, so I drafted 6 other starting pitchers - all with 112-136 IP (Pedro, Chamberlin, Handiboe, Hildebrand, and Ramsey).  They will be my starters 1-5 on 40-50 MPC, and King will be in the pen along with Fred Toney.  I expect King to come into more games, and be more effective this route.  I guess we'll see though.   Offensively, I focused on OBP and AVG.  I wanted AVG because I know defenses will make more errors behind King, and I also focused on deadball hitters and hitters with low K/9 ratios....just put the ball in play boys!!

120M- Nap you Eck'en Foxx - Oakland Coliseum 

This was a rather easy team to put together for me, how good it will do is another story.  
I knew right away Foxx would be my guy - I thought about playing him out of position at 2B/SS - but instead found Nap Lajoie (you may have heard of I made out with his Great-Great-Great Niece...oh yeahhhhh...pss they pronounce their name Lashwa...not Lahoy!  weird I know).  I gave Lajoi the middle infield as well a spot in CF.  Hopefully my defense won't kill me.  Finding a pitcher was a little harder.  When I thought, "who has some great RP years", Eckersley was first in my mind.  He also had some not HORRIBLE SP years, though his HR/9 could kill me...I just hope more people think like schwarze and pass on guys like Foxx ;-)  My plan is to have my starters get me to the 5th, and then have my excellent bullpen shut it down.   When I tested this team against my brothers I dominated, so I hope its a good sign.

8/3/2012 1:55 AM
This is great by the way! Really helpful to see how some of these veteran owners think!

As I told my blushing bride
As she lay right by my side
"Baby, you inspire me
to write... great poetry!"

Team Name: Atlanta Power Company
Salary Cap: $70m
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
or back
For each player season I kept
careful track

For my plan to be successful
In this game
I needed both of these teams
Much the same

Save some time & money by 
drafting Joss
A pitcher whose value far 
exceeds his cost

My player's seasons are 
quite the same
Making this team & moniker 
super lame

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
Building blocks.

Should a more balanced team be
My approach
or should I go for broke with 
No reproach?

A loaded lineup 
With two MVPs
A couple of pitchers who 
Throw the cheese

While all of Boston hopes 
and prays
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
mine still
though instead of joy you're the 
bitter pill
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. 
Silver King, 
good as Gold, 
like Superman, 
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 
as Perfect
Relying on defense and 
working quick

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 
the same

Bob O'Farrell fills it out, now just 
A pitcher
Walter Johsnon's a beast! No one's 

Wait, no, that doesn't work, with these 
I m wasting way too much of my 

Joe Torre can play several 
Now add Maddux...and... Maddux,
Five aces!

I've got tons of money still
to spend
No RP better than Mo, Let's grab
Six of him!


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.) 
8/3/2012 2:14 AM (edited)
This is all very, very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Here are mine, prefaced with the following comment - I've mostly played progressive leagues here and rarely opens or themes so this was a real fun exercise, but now that I've read these comments will amount to a costly learning experience I'm sure.

$70 million - the seattle seventy

It has infuriated me no end that the management in Seattle always fails to build their team around their dominant pitching park. I hope to have done so featuring a squad with a low average but high OBP. And a staff that includes all the great pitchers in Mariner history.

$80 million - bump city

Playing out of Oakland, this team features some of my favorite players of the 70's and 80's, whom I knew off the top had many consecutive decent years to chose from. This was a much easier exercise than I was expecting, and both teams wound up being near matches in all categories and, most importantly, payroll.

$90 million - 1985 thirteen twisted pirates

I immediately went to low winning percentage teams looking for the diamonds in the rough. And there are plenty here. And no Barry Bonds. My boycott is still swinging on that f*cker. I'm most happy with the pitching staff, deep with IP and adequate pen. Also, this version of the Pirates included 3 hurlers that were noted batsmen - Rhoden, Candelaria and Robinson - a nice competitive advantage with a price I hope isn't too high.

$100 million - 1980 hou, stl, chic, oak, lad

From the start, I knew I was not going to have the time to research the hundreds of options so short cutted by selecting a year I was most familiar with. We will be playing in the astrodome and small balling you to death with enough power platoon depth to still be dangerous on the road. Despite the limited research here, I think this might represent my best chance at success in this tourney.

$110 million - king's queens

I generally refuse to draft players I never saw play so this is my first go with the King. The strategy is unorthodox, but what the hell. King is playing in yard friendly Bennett Park backed by hitters with the highest home run rate I could assemble and relieved by a handful of pitchers who never game one up. This should be spectacular either way.

$120 million - foxx, harrah, hendu and pedro

Pedro was a no brainer though I did tinker momentarily with Ruth on the mound. Next up was an infielder who can play decent d and get on base a lot. That's the versatile Toby Harrah. With that done, there was big $$ to spend and Jimmie Foxx gets most of them playing outfield, first and catcher. The final piece of puzzle was Dave Henderson with defense, decent power and a few 200k seasons. We are playing in Fenway, which has reduced my expectations dramatically. Like Grady Little, I'll never pull Pedro.

8/3/2012 3:13 AM
70 Mil - Pittsburgh Pirates  Balance.  Lead off hitter with a lot of sb (Womack).  Some Power in (Wilson, Ramierez.  Average in (Alou, Merced, Madlock)  Plenty of AB (Near 700 in Groat and Kendall).  5 man starting rotation.  Last year I went with high platoon in the low cap league.  that league and going with the Baltimore Orioles cost me a shot at the second round.  This year I am going to try and avoid the fatigue factor with a 5 man rotation. 

80 Mil - Tried to get similiar back to back years.  Again went ith balance.  Difference between this team and the 70 mil team is better defense, Lineup being Coleman LF, Carey (CF), Sisler (1b), Singleton RF, Ventura 3b, Simmons C, Critz 2b, Reese SS.  I haven't used Carey, Ventura, Critz, and Reese before. Went for pitching of Joss, D.Martinez, Haliday, and Stieb with Eckersley and McGraw anchoring the pen.  

90 mil - Looked for great teams with off years to get the maximum twist value.  Narrowed the choice to the 1925 NY yankees and 1918 White Sox.  Better pitching on the sox.  I twisted 7 of my regulars and 2 of my starters.  I also got lucky that there wwere enough under 300 players that year to stay under the cap.  Two good starters, decent pen and two superstar players in Jackson and Collins.  Zero on my bench.  Ciccotte has been a winner for me.  Range on defense is very good in the infield.

100 mil - Huge gamble here.  I went with 1937.  Medwick and Mize have been golden for me.  I am teaming them with Dimmagio and Dickey's years.  But what abut pitching. 1937 teams have had historically bad pitching for me. i went with three yankees but my key to whether I win will be the Boston Bees.  Good interior defense and good pitching.  I brought in the lowly Philadelphia As and Cincinatti Reds who had servicable players. I tried going with other pitching years but just didn't feel comfortable.

110 mil - Never used King before.  I tried to optimize his value by giving him a stud infield defense (Chavez, Fernandez, Clarke, and Murray) and centerfielde (B Williams)r.  I added Ruth and A Simmons at the corner outfield for run production.  I put him in the Oakland Colliseum.  My starting rotation is King, Joss, King and Hudson. Decent bullpen.  Used T Simmons at catcher with A arm.

120 mil -  The most fun I had playing a team in Wisc was a recent high octane non-home rum speed team in a high octane park of Kaufman stadium.  I had quality pitchers but accepted the fact I would give up a bunch of runs.  I tried to replicate that here.  Cobb and Hornsby should give me that.  I spent 70 mil on the offense.  I wanted Kaufman stadium to limit home runs so I went with Porter at catcher.  Pitching is not my focus here but Smoltz's K ratio should be adequate.  here's hoping there are a lot of Ruth's and Foxx;s for there power to be mitigated in Kaufman.  Also I hope there are a lot of King;s and Boudreau's behind the plate.  I didn't see where playing a weak armed catcher would help in this league. I am going run, run, run, hit and run, run some more and slap the ball around the park.  And hope there are a lot of teams that went with power and weak armed catchers.

I am terrible at predicting.  What I need to avoidis  the one disastorous team.  I haven't been able to do that yet in past tournaments and thus finish in the 39 - 60 range.  If nothing else I have a couple of teams that should light up  the scoreboard.. 
8/3/2012 4:48 AM
70M - Single Franchise

There are decent value players in basically every franchise, so it's mostly a matter of picking a park and style you like. I would have taken the Mariners, but it was tough to satisfy the year soup requirement with the short history. So it's the A's: non-distorting defence-friendly park, with hitters who walk and hit doubles a lot. A couple of nice secondary position bargains too: Tenace at C, and Giambi at 3B. Possibly a little short on IP, but the park will help with that. Also a little homer prone pitchers, but the cap will help with that. I know everyone loves speed at this cap, and I have a decent catcher because of that, but I've never found it worthwhile. I'll take a .369 OBP and play for the big inning.

Hitters (PA/AVG/OBP/SLG): 5707/.263/.369/.421
Pitchers (IP/HR/OAV/WHIP): 1264/127/.229/1.10
80M - Progressive/Regressive

I couldn't figure this out. On the one hand, thinking about round two is a jinx. On the other hand, it counts double. I mostly went with the second reasoning. It turned out there were more of the players I like who had good value seasons in consecutive years, so I didn't make much use of the great year followed by 200K season model that I started looking for. I assume everyone is going for deadball pitchers here, so I stayed away from HR with predictable effects on team SLG.

Park: Safeco
Hitters (PA/AVG/OBP/SLG): 5745/.281/.389/.409
Pitchers (IP/HR/OAV/WHIP): 1407/41/.234/1.02

90M - Twist: 1991 Houston Astros

I basically looked for a starting pitcher who had not terrible C and SS help. The deadballers weren't promising, though possibly should have worked harder on a late era Mathewson team. Maddux was more promising, but the best option was 2008 Dodgers, and I can't figure out Dodger Stadium. The breakthrough was seeing that Mike Scott played for the 1991 Astros. I had only been looking on WIS, and his 12 IP aren't enough to show up. But that team was loaded with future stars, and was awful. So I get lots of twists. The downside is I didn't end up with the C/SS I wanted, and I basically don't have a bullpen. But Lofton/Biggio/Bagwell/Gonzalez/Caminiti/Finley is a pretty strong first 6, and Scott/Schilling is a good enough top of the rotation, that we should win a few. And I have lots of speed, which doesn't hurt in the AstroDome. Possibly some wasted HR, but I think some of them get converted to 2B (and 3B) not outs, so it's not a dead loss.

Hitters (PA/AVG/OBP/SLG): 5589/.296/.384/.488
Pitchers (IP/HR/OAV/WHIP): 1400/119/.220/1.13

100M - 5*5: 2011 LAA, Det, Hou, Col, SFG

I've been having excellent luck with 2011 teams so far, especially at caps like this. There is just so much good pitching to choose from. I originally had LAD and Bos in the mix, to get Kershaw, Kemp and Ellsbury. But adding LAA got a much better fielding team, and Angel Stadium fits this team well I think. Plus Haren and Weaver aren't bad consolation prizes for missing Kershaw. The big one here was seeing that Hunter Pence gets almost all the $10M you need to spend on the disaster team to get under .500. He's a little overpriced I think, but worth it for this cap. I found it very hard to put deadball teams together for this, so I wasn't so worried about losing all my HR to deadballers. We'll see if I'm wrong about that.

Hitters (PA/AVG/OBP/SLG): 5776/.209/.373/.502
Pitchers (IP/HR/OAV/WHIP): 1451/111/.217/1.04

110M - Silver King

It's all about unearned runs. I think most Kings will give up over 100 unearned runs over the season. It didn't quite seem worth going all out with A+++ fielders, the way it might be if every pitcher was from the 1880s. But being good up the middle was important, and that's what I've done: A/A+ at 2B, A/A at SS. I thought about sneaking in a high HR pitcher to back up King, thinking that maybe everyone would leave off high HR hitters that King would destroy. But that kind of bank-shot reasoning usually backfires.

My ideal teams have 60% of the budget on hitting, and carry 13 pitchers. You might have thought that both would be impossible in a Silver King league. But in fact I managed the second - there are some great bargains among 30IP pitchers, and King means you've got the roster space to carry them. So I basically don't have a second starter. I'll be rotating the 120IP-ish seasons of Toney, Sallee, Nehf and Steele through the #2 slot.

Park: Polo Grounds (V) - I decided to try out a doubles team in a doubles park, though I haven't been very successful with that kind of strategy in the past
Hitters (PA/AVG/OBP/SLG): 6011/.328/.433/.454
Pitchers (IP/HR/OAV/WHIP): 1452/30/.208/0.88

120M - Clones

Team: Foxx/Wagner/Raines/Maddux/Rivera

There were two big factors here. One is that defence normally wins clone leagues. The other is that it is really hard to not waste money in this cap. I got around the second problem by using a reliever. It takes $5M off the cap, but I was wasting a lot of money otherwise, and now I have Mo on the team. And I got around the first by having a dedicated C (admittedly a secondary position Foxx) and SS. Raines isn't nearly as good a hitter as I like in the OF at this cap, but I was running out of money, and he'll run a ton against teams that don't have a decent catcher. One thing to figure out: how much can Wagner run against out-of-position catchers. His CS% is so high, that I would usually never run him, but against first basemen as catchers, it might be worth the risk, especially at Petco where running matters.

Park: Petco
Hitters (PA/AVG/OBP/SLG): 5944/.324/.416/.522
Pitchers (IP/HR/OAV/WHIP): 1462/79/.223/0.97

8/3/2012 10:02 AM
70M - Single Franchise
Playing the low caps means sacrificing and redefining your own standards of quality.  I am using the Yankees.  I figured with so many good seasons, there would be more player options available.  I have had good luck with the 61' Maris so I started there.  I am playing three platoons to minimize wasted payroll.  I will even be a little light on PA's in other places.  Normally I don't like to play people less than 100%.  I will be in this league.  I have a four man rotation of Tommy John, Doyle Alexander, Ed Figueroa and Mike Mussina.  I think there may be, just maybe, opportunity for offense in this low cap league

Yankee Stadium (II) (HR LF/RF:0/0 1B:0 2B:-1 3B:-1)
Hitters: 5216 PA .296/.397/.477 170 HR
Pitchers: 1386 IP, .66 HR/9, .252 OAV, 1.21 WHIP

80M - Progressive/Regressive

I started with the notion there were two players I wanted to work into the roster, the 61' Maris and the 23' Cy Williams.  Both are playing in the first season.  I suspect most people front loaded the quality in the first season, so I am using the 60' Maris and the 24' Cy Williams in season two, should I be fortunate enough to advance.  80m, it has been quite a while since I played an open league so I don't know much about the latest cookie fads.  I have been reading a lot about Addie Joss so I went with him (08/07) and a similar pitcher, Cy Young (07/08) to front a three man rotation.  The three starters won't be getting an equal amount of starts.  I definitely sacrificed quality in the 3rd slot, Danny MacFayden (38/37).  I looked for a bull pen with a hr9+ of at least 130.  I am playing in a park with the slight HR advantage for Maris and Williams, knowing my starters will keep the opponents HR to a minimum.

Cinergy Field (HR LF/RF:1/1 1B:-2 2B:2 3B:0)
Hitters: 5438 PA, .282/369/472 197 HR (uh oh, my 70m offense is better)
Pitchers: 1383 IP, .28 HR/9, .227 oav 1.05 whip

90M - Twist:

One of the harder themes.  I looked at many options, terrible teams like the 72 Phillies and the 68 Yankees which just didn't come close to working out.  I figured I had start with a pretty good team as there would just be too many holes with a terrible club.  I spent a lot of time trying to work out a Seattle team.  There is one season with, I think, four pitchers in the bullpen with a sub 1.00 whip.  Then I started thinking about the dynasty franchises as they were winding down, like the 76 A's and settled with the 77' Reds.  I am a sucker for the big home run seasons, that never work out.  I was the moth to the George Foster flame.  I can't stand playing with Pete Rose, but I held my nose and he will be hitting lead off.  There are some nice SP twists, Mike Caldwell, Mario Soto and Gary Nolan along with the 77' Seaver.  Normally my pitching is focused on the bullpen.  This team has 1059 in SP innings, much heavier than I am used to, so the quantity of quality in my pen is far less than normal.  I am NOT comfortable with that.  I very nearly went with the 1902 Pirates, maybe I should have.

Riverfront Stadium (HR LF/RF:1/1 1B:-2 2B:2 3B:0)
Hitters:  5522 PA, 290/364/460 165 HR (uh oh again, my 70m has a better lineup)
Pitchers: 1418 IP (too many, but just the way it worked out) .60 HR/9, .229 oav 1.10 whip


100M - 5*5:
This was for me, by far, the hardest team to put together.  I focused on my pitching staff, with full attention to the bullpen, and figured my hitting could be taken care of by a bunch of Colorado Rockies.  I went with the 1996 Braves, Twins, Phillies, Marlins and Rockies.  A four man rotation of Kevin Brown (his best year), Curt Schilling, Smoltz (his best year) and Maddux.  All four have good to very good HR/9+.  I went with a homerun team playing at Fulton County.   If I can't win, I will enjoy watching the hitting stats accumulate. I have no faith in this team.

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium (HR LF/RF:3/3 1B:2 2B:0 3B:-2)
Hitting:  5782 PA, 306/369/512 226 HR
Pitching 1427 IP, .54 HR/9, 1.08 whip, .227 oav

110M - Silver King

I don't know if I have ever built a Silver King team and since it went pretty quickly I'll assume it was a mistake.  My first goal was to maximize King's innings.  I figured a two man rotation would be the best bet.  I assume fatigue will eventually allow some back to back starts.  If not, I have a real problem.  The other starter is the 08' Addie Joss, the good, .81 whip season.  To finish his games I have a bullpen of low ip, sp's.  As for the offense, since most of the SP innings would be from righties, I  built a nine man lineup of lefties.  It is a triples team.  The one guy with 30 home runs, Jim Bottomley, also has 21 triples.  I am hoping to play some speed based teams.  Catcher Tim McCarver has an A+ arm and hit 12 triples.

Municipal Stadium (HR LF/RF:-4/-4 1B:1 2B:3 3B:3)
Hitters 314/377/487, 182 triples
Pitchers 1518 IP, .07 Hr/9, .94 whip, .210 oav (stats skewed by mop ups)

120M - Clones

I started with some preconceived notions.

a)  Must use deadball starter - I settled on Cy Young.  Three seasons totaling 1031 IP and 7 total hrs allowed, .92 whip

b)  Only a modern closer would have enough quality seasons to fill out the roster.  It really came down to Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman.  Tough to find a guy with 7 or 8 seasons that passed my litmus test.   I went with Hoffman, he fit better within the budget than Rivera.

c)  I must have a catcher.  I once won my division playing Cecil Fielder at catcher.  Sure he hit and sure I won.  I think I was lucky.  Since my 4th player, Honus Wagner, is playing the other seven positions, I needed a catcher who could hit the long ball.  I took the big Piazza season and his C- arm.   I figured in the high caps, speed teams would be not as likely.

As mentioned Honus Wagner is playing the other seven positions and he is my DH.  Wagner has very good to good enough fielding seasons at every position, except catcher.

Pro Player Stadium (HR LF/RF:-2/-2 1B:0 2B:-1 3B:2)
Hitters 336/399/507,only 106 home runs but I do have 137 triples
Pitchers 1617 IP, .25 hr/9, .95 whip, .217 oav
8/3/2012 8:07 PM (edited)
70M -  My first thought was that HRs could actually be an effective strategy in this league so I built a Yankee team with lots of power and decent starting pitching (albeit poor defence) playing at Yankee III. There could be fatigue issues playing in this park though.  My second thought was Vince Coleman is the best value player at low caps (as he proved in last year's tournament). I put together a "Whiteyball" team with Vince hitting leadoff and was pleased with it (not much power though).  My other thought was to put together a Blue Jays team since that's the team I root for. I really liked this team with a rotation of Halladay, Key, Stieb and Doyle Alexander and featuring Rickey Henderson, Alomar, Upshaw, Bell, Fernandez and Kelly Gruber playing CF (secondary position one year - not bad). I also tried the Mets, Astros, Padres, and Expos/Nats but didn't like the rosters as much.  It was a toss up, but I eventually chose the Cardinals because they had a deeper pitching staff with more IP.

80M - The best value at this cap is batting ave., speed and deadball pitchers in my experience.  Tried to fit a rotation of Joss-Taylor- Bernhard, but it wouldn't work without sacrificing the hitting. Ended up with a compromise rotation of Joss-Summers-Bernhard and old reliables Raines, Mcgee, Singleton, Boggs, Castillo and Larkin  leading the offence. Chose Sundberg as the C to offset the expected speed of other teams. The hardest part of building this team was finding useful relievers & scrubs with back to back seasons. I could have used a couple decent pinch hitters but you can't have everything at this cap.  Saved the better team for round 2, if we get there.

90M - Spent hours and hours going through baseball reference looking for the right team to twist.  Best ones I came up with were the 2000 Yankees (twisting Clemens, Gooden, Cone and Pettite), the 64 Dodgers (which I see lots of other people considered), and (gasp) the 66 Astros.  You can put together an awfully good "on base pct" team of Astros featuring Morgan, Wynn, Staub, Gentile, and Bob Watson. The pitching ain't too shabby either with Cuellar, Dierker, Turk Farrell, Latman, Robin Roberts, Don Wilson and/or Giusti. And then I stumbled upon the '29 Cardinals featuring a little fellow by the name of Pete Alexander. They must have kept him around as team bartender. His golden 400 IP season was too much twist to resist after a realized that you can build a decent team around him of high ave., doubles hitters.  Hope the rest of the pitching staff holds up.

100M - Spent a fair bit of time going through Bill James Win Shares book (the year by year section) looking for decent combos of 5 x 5.  The year 1919 gave me the opportunity to use Walter Johnson, Cicotte and Lefty Williams in the rotation and a lot of high ave. hitters like Veach, Cobb, Joe Jackson and Hornsby. Babe Ruth supplies the power. The bullpen is suspect.

110M - My initial thought was that I'll never get more than 600 IP out of King, so I better draft at least 1525 IP.  My second thought was pick a high ave. team with speed since the pitching in this league will likely feature low whip, deadball types. Played around with a few combos but ultimately went with the high ave. & better defence. My #2 starter is the Pete Alexander/Nehf combo.

120M - I've never played in clone league before, but I suspect that playing guys out of position is a bad idea.  I eventually realized that Hornsby is a better IF candidate than Wagner because he has more scrub seasons. I went with Speaker in the OF over Raines and Ruth because I like his high ave+ and defence. It was toss up between Brown and Walsh for SP but I went with Walsh.  Really wanted Rivera as my reliever but it wouldn't work salary wise, so I went with the more affordable Hoffman. That left catcher....I eventually chose Piazza (even though he always underperforms for me) due to his .362 ave, power and not terrible defence.
8/3/2012 1:09 PM
$70m (Les Expos des Montreal)

I'll say this flat out: I don't think there's a lot of marginal value to be found in this theme. Most of the teams I played around with ended up looking awful similar, and the way the rules stacked I couldn't really find a great cohesive team gimmick. In the end, the Expos/Nats had the best concentration of my favorite cookies playable at this cap (75 Carter, 81 Raines, 88 Pascual Perez) in a major pitcher's park (RFK). The rest of the team filled in fine, so I went with them over the sentimental Mets choice.

$80m (Addietude Adjustment IV: A New Joss)

Open League cookie time! Worked in a lot of Open League favorites that have back to back usable OL seasons - Joss, Babe Adams, Summers on the pitching staff, Raines, Ruth, Bonds, Boggs, Weiss, Bishop on the hitting side. I filled them in with two guys I don't use a ton in Joe Cunningham and Bob O'Farrell that I've used on occasion before who have back to back OL quality seasons. Defense is going to blow, but what can you do? The first round team is more or less a successor to a line of OL cookie teams I've played around with, and I've designated it in the Addietude Adjustment tradition.

So after I built the two teams, I had the same decision as everyone else: which one do I enter on which side? I wrestled with this for a few weeks, and then ultimately entered the slightly better Addie 08/Adams 20 team in Round 1 and saved Addie 07/Adams 19 for Round 2. I've gotta get to Round 2 to worry about the bonus points, and I do think the Addie 07 team is still a playoff caliber OL team...if I finish near the leaders in Round 1 again, I made the wrong call, but that sort of success is not a guarantee.

$90m (A Few Good 1993 Mets)

This team was my first and last thought here - a team that I've used consistently in similar themes - and I could never beat the build. This era of Mets team was nicknamed "The Worst Team Money Could Buy," and for good reason. Just a few years after looking to start a dynasty in the late-1980s, the Mets completely collapsed in a haze of bad trades, bad contracts, and bad injuries, winning only 72 games in 1992 and falling to 59 wins in 1993. Here's the key thing about those 1993 Mets, though: they were a stunning 14 games under their pythag, and they actually had some big names at the beginning or end of their career.

So with the 1993 Mets you start off with two players of actual real value at this cap that don't need to be twisted: a good Bobby Bonilla that can slot in at either COF or 3B, and a 120 IP half season Sid Fernandez that can slot in as a starter or reliever. And then you get an incredible 13 twists - and there's a lot of twisting potential with these names. On the offensive side, I twisted into a line up of 2000 Jeff Kent at 2B, 1989 HoJo at SS, 1990 Eddie Murray at 1B, 1996 Todd Hundley at C, 1999 Jeromy Burnitz in center, Bonilla in right, 1987 Vince Coleman in left, and 1999 Tony Fernandez at 3B. There really isn't a horribly weak spot to be found...Hundley's arm could be a problem if I run into a lot of speed I suppose, and Coleman is just a cheap speed cookie, but all-in-all, no sinkholes, and with liberal use of the 300k exception I didn't need to carry any crappy bench Mets I won't use.

And the pitching is, I think, even better for this theme. The rotation is anchored by three seasons that should own at this cap level: 1985 Doc Gooden, 1989 Bret Saberhagen, and 1976 Frank Tanana, with a nice 1995 Pete Schourek swinging between spot starts and bullpen work. Along with Schourek come three other strong relievers that will form the core of the bul: the non-twisted 93 Sid and twists from 1988 John Franco and 1991 Jeff Innis. The bottom of the staff is filled out by competent if unspectacular Setup/Long B type real Mets Bobby Jones, Mike Maddux, and Paul Gibson.

There were teams that came close - the 1991 Astros that brianjw is using were the second best I could do, but I really think this 1993 Mets team has a lot of potential.

$100m (1985 Cards/Mets/Rangers/Red Sox/Pirates)

This theme drove me batty, and I have no idea whether I built a good team, a bad team, or something in between. I probably looked at every year at some point - and ruled out every year.

My criteria was simple: I wanted at least 500 innings of ace quality pitching from at least two starters, and I didn't want any sinkholes. And that was almost impossible to do, because few years even have that quality of pitching, and it was usually wrapped in teams that couldn't build a full squad or needed to add such terrible teams along for the ride that you were bogged down by the non-functional.

I had originally dismissed 1985 because the ace pitching was wrapped up in the Cardinals and the Mets, two teams that were so good that it would be hard to balance them out with usable bad combos. But in late desperation, I came back to them, and found two things: first, that the teammates of Tudor and Gooden could largely fill out a decent lineup by themselves, and second, that there were two completely awful teams around to balance them out that had strong complementary seasons.

So starting from the top, along with Tudor comes one of the ultimate SLB cookies, 1985 Willie McGee, a fine season from Jack Clark, and an A/A+ Ozzie Smith with a functional bat. Complemented by non-Gooden Mets Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Darryl Strawberry, that filled in six lineup spots and those two key rotation points. That's a strong start.

One of the worst 1985 teams, the Rangers, actually had three really nice pieces attached: 252 innings of solid knuckleballing out of Charlie Hough, OBP machine Toby Harrah to play second, and a strong 114 IP bullpen arm in Greg Harris. And another of the worst 1985 teams, the Pirates, added another 196 innings of borderline ace quality from the perennially underrated Rick Reuschel, solid relief from Al Holland and Cecilio Guante, and a nifty Lee Mazzilli for the bench.

That left one lineup spot at third base and a lot of cheap seasons needed from a team that was around average. And thank god for Boston futility, because Wade Boggs was just the man for this assignment. Thus ended the process of the most painful team I've ever built. There aren't any star hitters outside of Boggs, and the bullpen isn't great, but given as all of the other teams I considered were total garbage somewhere or another, I hope I'll do okay.

$110m (In the Court of the Silver King)

I can't recall if I've ever done a Silver King team, but I have used other high innings starters and had discussions with other players over how to use these sorts of pitchers. I expect King to start around 81 games and to pitch a CG in most of them, and hopefully he's good for 700 good innings or so that way. I stacked the pitching behind him, with 08 Joss as the regular second starter and Dutch Leonard around to fill the gaps, and a bullpen with a lot of the usual cookies (Toney, Milacki, Dean, 24 Adams). Used a ton of cookies on offense (Raines, HoJo, Olerud, Bishop, Carter, Boggs, Dilone, etc.) -  focusing on the usual deadball beater strategies of fielding, on base skills, and doubles, and shoved the entire thing in Target Field just in case someone out there is carrying dinger guys for some crazy reason. We'll see if the mundane is the best strategy here.

Clones (Triple Raines, Foxx, and Pedro)

Apparently I'm a lot more willing to play guys out of position than y'all, and a lot more willing to use starters in relief.

Having played some clone themes and experimented a fair bit with OOP guys in general, Double X was the clearest pick here, apparently for vastly different reasons as everyone else. I'm going to be playing his B/A+ 1B season at SS and am fairly comfortable that he'll be playable there, and of course Foxx takes up the C/1B/3B spots with himself. Needing to fill 2B and three OF spots, there was never another choice but one of my favorites in both real life and WIS. Tim Raines brings a barely passable modern D+/D- 1983 season at 2B (which I'm using over his vastly more expensive but better defensive 1984 season), three excellent outfield seasons that you've all seen a million times, and his usual brand of elite on base and speed that will crush anyone who is messing around with a bad or out of position catcher. Foxx and Raines both had a number of bench seasons to fill out the roster, and there's no waste here at all.

That left pitching. I never seriously considered using more than one pitcher, because at least three elite guys could fill the innings on their own: Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, and Ed Walsh, all of whom I expect to be popular picks. I eliminated Walsh pretty quickly since the deadball fielding effect and lack of strikeouts would hurt my shaky middle infield defense. Pedro just fit better than Maddux - six excellent to amazing full starting seasons that fit for the rotation and pen mixture, that phenomenal 118 IP 2001 for the pen, and a few more seasons varying between okay and cheap junk to fill it all out. And he strikes out more dudes, not an insignificant consideration. Only a little waste for Petey with a $1.6m season that won't do much but mop up, certainly not enough to bring in a Mariano Rivera type and take the $5m cap hit in my opinion.
8/3/2012 2:35 PM
Reading through these threads is what makes the WISC worthwhile for me. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone did. 

70mil - Cardinals of the Kremlin

For me, there are 2 basic approaches to this theme... either you go with Whiteyball and run a Cards team without much power, or you go with Yankeeball in Yankee Stadium III and try to mash. I built a Cards team I really liked, and a Yankee team I really liked. In the end I had to decide which team would play better on the road, and I figured the Cards had a better shot of winning in Yankee III since at least they can hit singles and steal. So I've got an outfield of Coleman, McGee and Brock, and a really strong defensive infield of Glaus, Templeton, Womack and Keith Hernandez. I've got '05 Molina behind the plate to shut down the running game when it's needed. I went with poor fielding ratings for most of my hitters since there wouldn't be any deadball guys to create errors. 

I went with a 5-man rotation, all guys who do a good job keeping the ball in the park, and then put them in Busch II to keep the HRs down even further. I don't have a lot of innings in my bullpen, so I might have to use Ron Reed as more of a swingman. Since I have good range in my infield, I went with a very low BB/9 staff even though the OAVs were pretty high. I'm a little scared to be competing in a modern league with only 60 HRs, but I'm hoping Glaus will get so excited when he sees a Yankee III or a Kingdome that he can still finish with 20+ bombs. I do have 5 guys who can run, and they all have good SB% to run on anyone. 

80mil - The opposite of progressive

This might be my favorite theme that we've had in all the WISCs. I expected that a few people would go "all in" with their round 1 team and basically just make a team that would win 90+ in an OL, and round 2 be damned. So far it doesn't seem like too many people did that, but I'm curious how many cookies people used even if it meant their "other" season was weaker. I really have very few cookies on my team. If you give me an OL-type environment, I'm going to do 1 of 2 things - either deadball pitchers and a bunch of bashers, or modern pitchers with pre-deadball hitters. I went with the latter approach, sticking guys like Stovey, Buck Ewing and George Davis behind a mostly modern staff in Target Field. This team has basically zero power - I have Cy Williams around just in case, and Roger Connor isn't hopeless. But they'll put a lot of pressure on the defense, and they'll probably be facing a lot of deadball pitchers. 

I think my approach was a little different than most - I have a few guys who could play the same role in both seasons, but a lot of guys change roles. Matt Cain and Josh Johnson each spend 1 year closing and 1 year in the rotation. Roy Patterson and CJ Wilson trade off rotation spots for setup gigs. Mike Morse goes from a platoon spot to a bench, and Cy Williams goes from a platoon guy to a starter. I do have some stalwarts - Stovey, George Davis, Ozzie Smith, Brian Roberts as starters, and Don Slaught,  Derrek Lee and Mike Brown all spending 2 seasons as a platoon hitter. John MacDonald and Hank Majeski each serve 2 seasons as a bench player. 

Both teams have a 5-man rotation, with season 1 going Johnson, Magrane, Phil Douglas, Wilson and Chien-Ming Wang. Salomon Torres, Dale Matthewson and Woodie Fryman each offer 2 similar years in the 'pen. I'm pretty sure I built a team like this in last year's WISC and they won about 83 games, so even though I really like them, I might be wrong.

90mil - 24 Cards Twisted

I went through a bunch of teams here, as most people did. OneZero runs a twist league where we use the worst teams in history... and the first 2 World Series matchups were the 72 Phillies/91 Indians and the 82 Twins/1911 Braves. Of course that league is 80mil and unlimited twists, so it's not exactly the same. From those teams only the Braves were really interesting (Cy Young, Jeff Pfeffer, Lefty Tyler, Bill Sweeney at 2B, Mike Donlin in CF) and they were one of the finalists. The really good teams without twists (39 NYY, 01 SEA, 27 NYY) were over 90mil and didn't work. Surprisingly, the 85 Cards weren't expensive enough. The '92 Dodgers are a favorite of mine in twist-and-add leagues, but they have a black hole at SS. The 2011 Phillies had combined seasons from Oswalt and Pence, but still needed more than 2 twists to be competitive. The '44 Reds have a good pitching staff without any twists, but no hitters worth twisting.

Finally I looked at the '24 Cards as part of a general search for Hornsby teams. They've got Douthit in CF, some nice supporting hitters around Hornsby and a not terrible pitching staff. They were another finalist. I looked at the '86 Pirates (Barry's first year) but they were another team with no solution at SS. I really liked them otherwise and almost went with UL Washington at SS, but decided against it. It came down to the '11 Braves, the '24 Cards and the '86 Pirates. I wasn't convinced the Braves could hit enough, or at least I felt better about the Cards pitching than I did about the Braves hitting. I may regret not picking that Braves team.

At any rate, I've got Douthit, Les Bell, and Hafey/Bottomley/Ray Blades surrounding a 411/503/692 season from Hornsby. Jeff Pfeffer and Jesse Haines are my 1-2 starters, I've got a Doak/Sherdel tandem for the 3rd slot and 6 mostly usable RPs. In Sportsmans park, they'll hit, but I'm not sure they can pitch.

100mil - 1992 PIT/CHC/MON/BOS/PHI

What I learned from both the 90mil theme and this one is: wow it is hard to find a competent shortstop.

Interesting that someone else picked '92 but used different teams. My criteria was like everyone else's - a couple of bad teams that could contribute some players and allow for some .500+ teams to provide the bulk of the talent. I started my searches by looking for 3 or 4-man rotations that would offer up a good core. The first year I looked at was '72, with 700+ innings of Carlton and Perry coming from bad teams. I liked the '72 guys a lot but the bullpen was really suspect. 

Then I looked at 2009, with Cliff Lee coming from the awful Ms and Oswalt coming from the awful Astros, but the rest of the team was a little underwhelming. I really liked 1919, with Walter Johnson, Ciccotte and Babe Adams forming a nice rotation, but other than Ruth they didn't have any power at all and the bullpen wasn't good. I may regret not picking the 1919s.

After that I looked at the team I did ultimately pick - 1992. Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux played for sub-.500 teams and allowed me to take the Pirates, with great Bonds and VAn Slyke seasons. Their bullpen was solid and Dennis Martinez rounded out the rotation. 

I tried the 1910 season, with Nap Lajoie '10 being the hitter equivalent of '72 Carlton in terms of talent versus his team. Sherry Magee and Honus Wagner surrounded Lajoie, and Ed Walsh and Walter Johnson anchored the staff. 

My final choice was 1996, with Biggio and Bagwell coming from the Astros, Bonds on a bad Giants team, Maddux/Smoltz from the Braves, Kevin Brown from the Marlins and the mediocre Mets providing Gilkey and Hundley. This team had a great bench but a suspect bullpen. They also had a lot of power. Here are the weighted slash lines (AVG#/OBP#/SLG#) for each of my finalists:

1910: 320/395/450
1919: 312/388/465
1992: 300/386/494
1996: 303/403/511

The '92s were the most balanced team so I picked them, mostly because I was worried the '96s would get killed against deadball teams. Neither team really had a park that suited them; I ended up sticking the 92s in Olympic Stadium. Lenny Dykstra will be a 4th OF since Bonds/AVS/Walker are all short on PAs, Grace has A+++ range at 1B, and Ryne Sandberg hits cleanup. 

110mil - a Silver of Hope

I just finished playing in a league where everyone used a 700-IP pitcher, so I should be prepared for this, right? Most people agreed with me about how to beat the King - high average lefty hitters, don't worry about the walks. In just4me's league, the grizzlyone had King and just let him start every other game, getting 84 starts, 67 complete games, 121 pitches a game. Well, 121 pitches/game might not be quite enough for a CG in this league but I decided that I would also let King start every other game. 

In that league, I had good success with triples hitters and awesome defense. So I've got Snuffy Stirnweiss, Sam Crawford and Robin Yount with A+++ range in the infield, George Brett and Curtis Granderson at 3B/CF with regular A+ range, and Chief Wilson and Willie McGee rounding out the OF corners with A- range. Brandon Inge and Shawn Wooten, a pair of cookies with good arms, work the dish and keep other teams from getting any ideas on the bases. All these speedy triples guys will be playing in Kaufman Stadium.

Since everyone would be loading up on low-HR, low-walk, high-AVG lefties on offense, I paired King with Johan Santana and Dutch Leonard as Starter 2A/2B. They will be fine at home, but could struggle in some road parks. Then I have ten short inning relievers in the 'pen. I might regret not having a Long A, or only drafting 1450 IP, but I'm hoping my defense eats up a lot of innings. 

125mil - Rajah, King, Pedro

I'm worried about this one. I assumed nobody would draft speedy hitters so I've got a mediocre King Kelly behind the plate.

The first 2 picks were easy for me - Hornsby has a ton of flexibility in the field, and he has a bunch of cheap seasons. Pedro has the ability to give you 10 or 11 pitchers at a reasonable price with no wasted innings. 

Ruth always seems like the obvious choice, but he doesn't really have enough IP as a pitcher to man the whole rotation, so pairing him with Rivera is asking an awful lot of Mo. So you really need to pair him with Smoltz or Eck, neither of whom is really ideal for both roles this cap. And even then, you need 2 hitters, so you're still at 4 players despite Babe's flexibility. Boudreau is another one who seems obvious, but his complete lack of cheap seasons makes him very inflexible. Foxx is great at 1B/3B/C, but who can really play CF/2B/SS for you? Maybe I worry about CF more than most people, but I hate having a C-range guy (or worse) out there. Those - plays are so costly out there.

So who do you pair with Hornsby and Pedro? I looked at  using Hornby '18 (with D/B- fielding) in CF, with Todd Pratt, Don Slaught, Mike Redmond, and then tried King Kelly. Kelly has a D/B+ season in the OF that can be used in CF, and he also has some cheap throwaway years like Hornsby does. So I settled on him. The biggest problem with Hornsby/Kelly/Pedro is the park... Pedro is a little HR prone, but I didn't want to totally waste Rajah's power, and none of the 3 had a big -HR park anyway. So I settled on Olympic Stadium, which will hurt all the Ruths out there more than it hurts Hornsby. Plus, I expect almost all the pitching in this league to be right-handed, which means all of my hitters are always at a disadvantage. 

I also looked long and hard at Ed Delahanty (D/C at SS, D/A+ at 2B, D/B at 3B) but decided I couldn't live with all the errors. I might regret that; Big Ed could really, really hit, and was an excellent outfielder. Paired with Slaught/Pratt and Pedro he worked well. 
8/3/2012 3:34 PM (edited)
I want a refund. I play progressive leagues exclusively now primarily because of my disdain for cookies. Here is what I did with these themes -- go ahead and use this as a blueprint of what not to do:

Team Name: Dr. Sexy's Cleveland Indians
Salary Cap: $70 Million
Cleveland Stadium

So, I worked out a formula for how many plate appearances I wanted for each slot in the lineup and how much money I wanted to spend based on the lower cap. Then I started looking for players with a high OBP+ on the cheap and found 1980 Mike Hargrove really high on the list. The I began looking for a high AVG+ and SLG+ ballers on the cheap to add to the group and found 2006 Victor Martinez and 1966 Rocky Colavito as strong candidates. I checked a few other teams that could potentially work for this theme, but once I looked at pitching, I knew that this was the squad I wanted to try. Once again, looking for cheap innings with high ERA+ I came across 1991 Tom Candiotti and 1995 Cliff Lee. However, upon further review, I found that I wanted 1995 Dennis Martinez on the staff, so I found a Cliff Lee with slightly lower ERA+ but less innings, and switched to the '09 version. This is my sabermetrics team, hopefully, they perform without being cookies ;-)

Team Name: Dr. Sexy's Hilltop Kings
Salary Cap: $80 Million
Ballpark: Hilltop

So, considering owners had no opportunity to adjust from the first season to the second, I decide to try and find an extreme ballpark that would punish other owners for visiting. Hilltop does not allow home runs from left handed batters (-3) but does allow singles hitters to flourish from either side of the plate. Therefore, it made sense to me to find a right-handed power studs to pair with a lefty with a quality batting average and go heavy defense at all other positions. 2004 Albert Pujols($8M+) and 1944 Stan Musial ($8M+) were just what I was looking for to place in Hilltop, and I decided to use switch-hitting Max Carey in the leadoff spot despite his $7M salary. My defensive specialists across the infield include Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, and Jose Lind. The other idea I wanted to try was to use high-groundball pitchers to take advantage of my defensive infielders as much as possible. So, I began searching for the best GB/FO ratios of all time and found some elite seasons at bargain prices. Westbrook, Webb, Derek Lowe, King Felix, and Tim Hudson will start for me, and the bullpen is pretty deep with Fingers, DeLeon, and Garber with over 100 innings each and salaries in the $3.5M range. Hopefully, simmy will appreciate my groundball pitchers and help me keep other teams from leaving the yard.

Team Name: Dr. Sexy's '88 Orioles
Salary Cap: $90 Million
Memorial Stadium

As soon as I read this theme, I immediately began scanning the worst teams of all time, because I determined right away that twisting as many players as possible would be the key to success. That really bad Orioles team with some pitching prospects who did not get enough innings to qualify for the sim seemed like the way to go. I ended up being able to twist Curt Schilling to get his 2002 season, along with McGregor, Harnisch, and Boddicker. Fred Lynn for his 1979 season, and Brady Anderson for his 1996 season are the cornerstones of the offense. This will likely be my least successful team because the defense is poor considering the salary cap, but I was able to build a solid pitching staff with a deep bully.

Team Name: 2011 DET LAD COL SEA TOR
Salary Cap: $100 Million
Ballpark: Safeco Field

I really like this theme and team I built. I'll be surprised if they do not at least reach .500. Last season, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp won awards playing for a crappy team, so I decided to build around them. Other really good players on bad teams that I wanted to include were Jose Bautista (who has a very nice 3B rating despite being listed as an OF), and Troy Tulowitzki. I added Verlander and Miggy Cabrera and then began to look for bargain position players who could field their position and arms with solid numbers to round out the staff. Alex Avila had a great year both offensively and defensively, and I am excited to see how these seasons match up with other standard performers. Safeco made sense to try and help my pitching staff reduce the number of baserunners. I expect to have little trouble scoring runs with this group despite expecting to run into Maddux, Gooden, etc.

Team Name: Dr. Sexy's Balls Deep
Salary Cap: $110 Million
Southside Park III

This theme was not fun. Don't like to use players like Silver King. So, I decided to make him my long reliever and put together a four-man rotation with some of the greatest strikeout ratio pitching seasons ever under 200 innings and put them on big time pitch counts. I also wanted 2 rhp and 2 lhp for balance. I chose 2002 Pedro, 1981 Guidry, 1977 Seaver, and 1919 Schupp. Then, I added that Randy Johnson season from the Astros so that I could have a closer who could give multiple innings with high strikeout numbers. The strikeouts are necessary because I didn't want to invest in defense at the corners -- only in the middle. My catcher, 2B, SS, and CF are all excellent fielders allowing me to spend money on dingers. Southside is (-3) vs. singles, so I began looking for bats with high HR/9 ratios. Roger Maris, Dave Kingman, Carlos Pena, and Harmon Killebrew each fit quite nicely into my payroll, and I would expect to win a few low scoring battles by going yard more often than anybody else.

Team Name: Dr. Sexy's Big Unit +4
Salary Cap: $120 Million

I am okay with trying a clones theme, but unlike some other teams, I decided that I would try and win games with defense. I expected everyone to try and use Babe Ruth whenever possible, so I countered with the Astrodome. I also decided to use many seasons of Randy Johnson to pick up strikeouts should others go with singles hitters. A-Rod and Lajoie constitute my infield, Sandy Alomar Jr. is behind the plate, and I put Amos Otis in the OF. Hopefully, Lajoie can get on, A-Rod can drive him in, and if anybody puts the ball in play off of Randy, Otis can run it down. Otis and Lajoie should also be able to steal bases off of what I anticipate will be below average catchers. We'll see.

Thanks for considering my refund. If I can get half of these teams above .500, I will feel pretty good about it.
Just happy to be here,

8/3/2012 5:08 PM (edited)
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