Posted by silentpadna on 3/22/2011 11:23:00 AM (view original):
This is a very interesting thread. Too bad I didn't have time for forums while my family and I moved across the country. Anyway, as Mike's division rival in this league, I prefer to give the 30K foot view.
My team won the WS in Season 4 and the LCS in Season 5. I decided that since that team was aging, I would go into full rebuild mode starting in Season 7. So I plucked speed and defense from the Rule 5 draft over the next couple of seasons and played almost every position on the field with guys ratings greater than the the recs.
Long story short is that while I rebuilt, the speed and defense carried me, and all of the pitchers I acquired "mysteriously" overperformed from their career norms. Except for Etherton, who pitches great for Mike, but totally sucked for me (ain't randomness grand?). I increased my win total to 100 during the "rebuild" season and have continued to contend.
If you were to look at defense +/- totals and ratios over the past several seasons, you'll see without running a correlation that the top teams will generally cluster around the top of either the total plus plays, ratios, or both.
I don't need a detailed to study to be able to intuitively see the relationship. If I had a guy like Snow on my team in Mantle (I can't get Jonas to trade him to me), I would probably DH him. If I was in the NL, I'd probably trade him, much as I would hate to, to an AL team. (BTW Jonas, you are welcome to take my advice and trade him to me - I'm in the AL).
I think defense is very hard to quantify and the effects aren't really seen on an individual basis. This is only a hunch, but I don't think you see linear improvement by adding one or two excellent defenders. I think you see it in total context. One thing I regularly do is select my lineup based on my starting pitcher and because I value rest (kind of to the extreme), I shuffle guys around the field throughout the season. When a flyball pitcher pitches, I stack the outfield with better range, sometimes at the expense of the infield, but rarely since most of my players are excellent defensively. When a groundball pitcher pitches, the infield is solid.
I have pitchers that if you look at their ratings are good, but there are many better pitchers. I don't have a real bona fide ace, like most of the other contenders. I do have very solid to very good pitchers, but not to the same level as most of the Cy contenders, at least according to ratings. But every season, the staff, as a whole outperforms their counterparts who a lot of times have better ratings. Home park is a factor, but they're good every season.
About 5 months ago, when I first read this post, one of my teams had been held together too long after a decade of dominating its division. My elderly former stars had suffered through a 59 win season and there was little hope for improvement with a near empty farm system after a decade of trading prospects to try to win now. When I read the post, the next season had already started so I didn't have a great deal of flexibility, but since I always make a point of having a good fielding SS and CF, I was in ok shape. After starting the season at 5-20, I reorganized my lineup to focus on defense and grabbed a couple of good D players unsigned in FA. I now had a weak hitting lineup in which every player was capable of winning a GG. My team instantly started performing. We ended up with 83 wins, which in a league with a couple 100+ winners and a lot of 70-80 win teams was good enough for the 2nd wild card.
This season I made a few upgrades and my team is currently 85-61 (94 win pace), 4th best in the league, and headed for the #1 wild card. The entire team is built of 5 homegrown players and 20 players who were FA signings who I signed for ~1/2 of their original asking price or less. The team gets blown out on occasion and just doesn't have the bats to blow out anyone, which makes the expected win % low, but they win alot of close low-scoring games. I have some old pitchers having "career years" and am a source of frustration to many opponents of how my team wins games when they look so horrid if you scan the roster. So now I have the payroll flexibility to reload with the IFA market and am still able to compete.