roster selection strategies Topic

these write-ups have become a ritual of WiSC. I'd better write mine before I forget what I was thinking.

$60M. 2005 San Diego Padres.
     I looked for a team that was uniformly mediocre. Bad enough to fit the cap and somewhat balanced because a mix of stars and duds wouldn't work well here. Everybody 'in the zone' for a $60M cap. Fatigue is a major issue at this cap so I wanted a pitchers ballpark. It didn't take long to find the 2005 Padres. I only looked at a few other teams for comparison, mostly recent teams because they have bigger rosters to choose from. This draft is so much work I didn't bother with an exhaustive search. After entering, schwarze started a joke where everybody pretended to have the 1983 Expos. That was funny until I noticed, "Hey, that's a better selection than mine!" I should've paid more attention to the 80s teams.
     Padre hitters are mostly suitable for this cap. I had to twist Brian Giles to a cheaper version. Pitchers were more scattered, I twisted 3 SPs to get the balance I wanted. A couple of my bullpen pitchers are terrible but I suspect I'm not the only one with that problem. no room for sub 300k players, I needed every roster spot to fill up this team. I've got the worst pitching numbers in the league but not by much and I have the most stamina for both pitchers and hitters. I like my chances with healthy ballplayers.
$80M 1909.
     At first I was glad we had a deadball year since they do better. but it soon became clear that there weren't enough players for 4 teams. We passed over some of the good players because they cost too much at this cap, then late in the draft we were all drafting losers. I spotted the problem early and drafted my pitchers faster than the others. This gave me first choice at every price level. Christy Mathewson was the obvious first pick in the draft, Cy Morgan and Harry Krause were priced nicely, Cliff Curtis closing, then Joe Wood and Barney Pelty before pitching got ugly. There was a run on 30ip relievers before the midpoint of the draft, that was funny.
     I grabbed 2 hitters early, Crawford and Baker, because of scarcity at the top and a weak 3b field. I could delay the other 6 hitting spots until later in the draft, either because everyone else already chose or because there were several equivalent choices and didn't much care which one I got. I got Mike Mitchell late, probably because everybody else was over budget, then Johnny Bates even later as nobody was drafting Outfielders probably for the same reasons as me. Catching was crazy, everybody took a tandem of 2 or more part timers. My 3rd OF spot is being played by a committee of 6 guys, that was the best of what was left and it allowed me to fill 25 rosters spots without waste. I waited until the final 3 rounds to claim my middle infield of Tinker Dahlen and Unglaub.
     This draft was fun. I enjoyed the long range planning involved. and it was nice being in a foursome that kept the draft moving at a brisk pace.
$90M 30s & 60s
     My least favorite theme. I drafted some pitching first, Grove Hubbell Cuellar Stratton and Dean. Then I filled in with hitters, soon realizing how bad the 60s really are. Then I tweaked the roster, and every time I changed something I had trouble with the 1-per-year rule. another cumbersome theme. Only when finished did I realize this was a DH league. Oh No! Instead of starting over I just took my two best hitters and downgraded them in the same year, creating enough money to add 400 PA to a scrub. Now my hitting stinks since I'd already spent over half on pitching. Couldn't find a tolerable way to cut pitching.
$100m Blacklist
     One of the easier themes. The blacklist was only a minor inconvenience, other than that it was business as usual. normal drafting strategies. I looked over the second list and the most usefult name on it was Claude Hendryx. He's joined by Russ Ford and Jack Taylor in a 3-man rotation with long relievers who can spot start as needed. Closing out with the trio of Rasmussen Maddox and Leever.
     My best hitter is catcher Cap Anson, it's an overpriced position so I might as well use a fake catcher. Ted Williams was available and I chose one of his affordable seasons. A lot of my hitters are half-timers and not-quite fulltimers, there are some good options here and not a popular strategy so not on the blacklist. In fact my lineup looks a lot like my Platoon team from round 1. New players include Zobrist at 2b and Garms/Kell at 3b.
$110m Giants
     Several people wanted to trade down their draft slot and I gladly traded up to #6. From here I got Christy Mathewson. Giants have always done well in franchise leagues and I figured 2 owners selecting Giants was better than a single owner selecting an average franchise. Dougpalm also took Giants and quickly drafted his pitching staff. I took the opposite approach. There were enough good SPs for 2 teams and after the first round none of them stood out for me. I was content to let him take the pitchers he wanted while I grabbed the hitters I wanted.
     Willie Mays was a great start to the outfield, Mel Ott at OF or 3B to be determined later, Jeff Kent at a thin 2b position. Bill Terry edged out Willie McCovey at 1B because of deadball pitching though I was tempted to take both and play McCovey in RF. I probably should've claimed Toney or Schupp but they've underperformed for me in the past so I waited too long and had to settle for Nehf and Beck. Buster Posey was still available at C, Travis Jackson an economical SS, Ellis Burks OF, Ramon Ramirez as half a closer.
     Can't put it off forever, SPs Jason Schmidt and Matt Cain. Next is the time in the draft when I get  backups, pinch hitters and low IP pitchers. Eventually filled in with Pablo Sandoval the best I coud afford at 3B and Jeff Tesreau as the last SP. I like my hitting and the first 1000 innings of my pitching. A good playoff team if I make it that far.
$120M. drafted in round 1. I emphasized round 2 so no excuse for not doing well.
12/1/2013 11:47 AM (edited)
Well, I was late to the party since I only got invited when someone else bailed at the last minute. But luckily I had been working on my teams before I got eliminated from round 2, so it wasn't hopeless.

60m - the 88 Cardinals

This was a rough theme, as others have mentioned, just because you were mostly twisting players DOWN. I tried to find a team that would have pitchers that were basically deadballers in the 20s but they were all too expensive. I looked at a couple of Tilly Walker/Cy Williams teams but they weren't even close. So I caved. Speed, speed, speed. That's what everyone likes in 60m leagues. Who am I to disagree? I was looking for a pitchers park with some guys who could run. And of course an A+ arm since everyone else was doing the same.

I looked at the 90 Cards (too expensive), the 2010 A's (a personal fave, but WAY too expensive), the 93 Mets (no shortstop), the 90 Mets (too expensive), the 11 Mariners (take a guess), the 2011 Padres, the 05 Tigers (a little too expensive), the 80 Padres and finally went back to the 88 Cards. I thought the pitching would be too expensive but I made it work.

The 11 Padres and the 80 Padres both fit under the cap, but I didn't like them quite as much as the Cards. The 11 Padres were WAY short on PAs to the point I was worried they wouldn't survive.  I wish I had found a power team that would work. I wish I had more confidence to go with <1291 innings. I just have to hope these guys don't kill me.

80mil (1992 - Kruk's Dodger Dogs)

By the time I got roped into the WISC this draft was basically waiting for me. I kicked things off with a favorite cookie (Leyritz the DH with the A arm) to stay near the top of the draft order for the first few rounds. There were a TON of basestealers in 92 with great percentages, so I knew I'd have some of those, I just had to find what was scarce. I took Kevin Appier in round 2 to have an ace, then grabbed Robbie Alomar and an A+ catcher in Steinbach. The scarcest position was shortstop; I didn't really want any of them so I took the best one in Barry Larkin. Then another lower-K SP in Glavine, and the standout among the 100+ RPs in Cal Eldred (the only one with more than 2 IP/G). The guy everyone wanted (Kruk) starts at 1B, with a platoon of 2 of my favorites in CF (Deion and Dykstra). I waited on 3B since there were a bunch of similar guys. After everyone else rounded out their rotation I decided to wait on that too, so 4 of my last 6 picks were big money guys (Fleming and Morgan at SP, Justice RF and Hollins 3B).

I tried to draft lower K pitchers when I could since they're a little cheaper, and didn't worry much about fielding since all my SPs were '92 and there are only 4 deadball teams. I have a good bench, the only concern is a little bit of IP shortage. I couldn't figure out what park to put these guys in but they have good averages and not many 2B/3B so I went with Dodger Stadium.

90mil - The Great Depressing

I waited on this team until last because I figured it would be easy. I grabbed the low K starters where I could (Horlen, Whitey, Swift, Leonard) and a few basestealers since I figured there wouldn't be a big focus on stopping them in this league. There weren't many great HR preventing SPs so I grabbed some power too. Bobby Bonds, Brock, Campaneris and Gee Walker can run, and Bonds, Dick Allen, Ripper Collins and Trosky can mash. Of course I have Frankie Frisch who I love and Earl Battey in case any other teams want to run. My bullpen is basically pieced together from whatever years I had left over. I have a few too many PAs at the top of the order and not enough in the bottom,  but otherwise it's a balanced team pretty much guaranteed to win 78-82 games.

I wanted to run a 5-man rotation but with only 20 "real" players and a DH, that left me with only 6 RPs and no real bench, so I stuck with a heavy bullpen instead. I wanted to build a doubles team around Earl Webb but I basically ran out of time and couldn't find any guys I really liked anyway.

100m - Everyone loves James Spader

I started by looking at the hitters that were left after the first blacklist was installed, and trying to see what a team would look like based on those guys. I ended up with a 6-man rotation (Matt Harvey, Rags, Stratton, McQuillan, Sadie McMahon and Doc watson) and a 6-man bullpen that included 3 80+ inning guys. I'll end up rotating some of the starters through the bullpen as needed. It took me a little while to realize the blacklist was only guys over 4mil so I could basically have any reliever I wanted. Too easy!!!

Looking at the stadiums that were available I liked Sportsmans the most, so I built a doubles team around Matt Carpenter and Yadi Molina's 2013 seasons but eventually Carpenter was too expensive and I replaced him with Brian Roberts. The top of the order is some old timers in Browning and Henry Larkin, and Earl Webb who didn't make the 90mil team. Joey Votto/Frank McCormick platoon at 1B, Stephen Drew and Aramis on the left side of the infield and Mickey Owen platooning with Yadi.  I don't even know if I ended up using my 1 guy from the 2nd list. I don't think I did.

110mil - True Yankees

Another one where I jumped right into the fire. I had the 5th pick and Ruth was still there so he was an obvious choice. I never expected there to be 2 other Yankee teams AND 2 other Red Sox teams when the time came to make my 2nd round pick. My head said I should go with the Red Sox but their pitching was not deep. Of course, with Chesbro and Ford gone, neither was the Yankee pitching, but I managed to cobble together a nice rotation of Chandler/Gomez/Shawkey (only about 850 IP) and then a very deep bullpen with Arroyo and Russo both around 120ip. Jeter was the logical 2nd round pick with Chesbro off the board, since all the other Yankee shortstops stink. Then I got Spud and a rare great RP in Gossage. That made it likely I was building an AVG team even though there's really no Yankee stadium for that. I almost went with Shea but, well, I've been there and it sucks, so I went with Yankee II instead.

I waited forever on 2B and got the guy I really wanted (Lazz) thanks to someone taking Willie Randolph (!). I got Rolfe early since with Boggs gone there weren't any other 3Bs I wanted. I never drafted a 1B and am playing an unrated Paul O'Neill there. Murcer and Earle Combs are in the OF with Ruth and a no-name platoon of Aaron Robinson and Butch Wynegar mans the plate. I actually wanted Hassey and Wynegar but someone else actually took Hassey. Really the only guy I got snaked on after round 3 or so.

120m - Payroll by Enron

My 70mil team wasn't great. Hopefully these guys will be better.  They have Ruth and Joss, so they'd better not stink.

12/2/2013 12:44 PM
60M - 1986 St. Louis Coleman's
 hate low cap themes.  Why did I make this one so damn tough?  I basically tried to find a team with lots of high-percentage SBs as I assumed (incorrectly) that most people wouldn't splurge on an A+ catcher's arm.  After looking at a couple of teams, I ended up with my first choice - 1986 Cardinals.  The only other team I have serious consideraton was the 76 A's (which I see somebody took). 

I really cut corners on PAs and IPs.  But it sounds like others did as well.  I only have 1260 innings, but only 1116 good innings.  I will surely need to use those garbage innings to save my good pitchers.  I have only 5068 PA, so every 200K batter will need to be fully used.  I hope this team just hangs around .500 so they don't kill my chnaces. 

Like everybody else, I had to twist down players to save salary (and/or to increase PA/IP).  Goodbye '86 Ozzie ($5.6M), '86 McGee ($4.7M, 543 PA) and '86 Cox ($5.8M, 222 IP).  Hello '90 Ozzie ($3.2M), '88 McGee ($4.3M, 600 PA) and '85 Cox ($5.6M, 240 IP).   With one twist left and two part time players (J.Clark & Van Slyke), I decided to upgrade J.Clark to full time and piece together OF backups to keep Van Slyke fresh.

Hitting Stats: 5068 PA, .248, .325, .343, 256 SBs (82%), above average fielding, $32.5M
Pitching Stats:  1260 IP, 3.33 ERA, .255 OAV, 1.27 WHIP, 0.81 HR/9, $27.5M
Pitching w/o 300K:  1116 IP, 2.99 ERA, .244 OAV, 1.20 WHIP, 0.78 HR/9, $26.4M

To be continued
12/2/2013 1:20 PM (edited)

60 Million: Kid Rock’s 1980 Expos

Well, to start with… I had no idea what to do. I wanted speed, but I also felt I couldn’t ignore power. I also figured (apparently, wrongly) that many teams would focus on speed so I wanted a good-armed catcher. After stumbling around, I came across the 1976 A’s, who had good enough pitching, Gene Tenace at catcher, and some speedy guys (Phil Garner and Don Baylor (!)). I liked the team well enough but just could not get it to work at the cap. Billy North had seasons that were either too expensive (and definitely not worth it anyway), or too lame. Eventually I gave up and searched further.

For some reason, Warren Cromartie stuck in my head as someone who might work for this cap. He’s decent, but not too good (perfect for this cap!). Eventually, I stumbled across the 1980 Expos and liked them a lot. For one thing, they have speed with Ron Leflore (didn’t even know he played for the Expos!) and Rodney Scott, not to mention Tim Raines. They also have some power… not a ton, but some. They seemed to be reasonably well-covered everywhere… and they had Gary Carter at catcher who fit the bill as a good-armed cheap catcher in his rookie year. Tony Scott was listed as a 2B but he actually had better defense at SS, and Chris Speier was just not working for me. So Scott will play SS and a twisted season of Tony Bernazard will play 2B, who can also run. The pitching staff was about perfect (for this cap) just as is, but I augmented it with 4 mopup guys to get over 1300 innings. I just don’t think under 1300 will cut it (at least I hope not). I’m sure I’m wrong about that though. Anyway, I’m actually pretty pleased with this team. It has a good balance of everything, and no glaring weakness in the lineup or pitching staff except maybe Rodney Scott, who is a pretty awful hitter… but at least he steals bases. I’m crossing my fingers…

80 Million: A Very Merry Soo Choo Holliday

I had the first pick, and it seemed to me that the year we were drafting (2009) had pretty good depth at all positions. There were certainly four catchers, 1b, 2b, 3b, and ss that I was fine with. I didn’t think there were 12 outfielders who I would be fine with though… and I also didn’t feel there was enough depth in SP. So, my goal was to first secure some starters, and then grab who I felt were the best OFs for this cap. It seemed clear to me that the best SP for 2009 was Chris Carpenter, so that’s who I picked first, then I picked a 100 inning version of Jarrod Washburn, who was one of the top pitchers that year, followed by another top pitcher that year, Javier Vazquez. At that point, I felt I was decently covered with SP so it was time next to focus on OF. However, for some reason I kept looking at Adam Dunn and his 38 homers and lots of ABs for a very cheap price… and I really wanted him, so I picked him 4th, then I picked who I felt were the two best OFs for this cap and year, Matt Holliday and Shin Soo Choo. After that, I focused solely on pitching and completely built up my pitching staff before returning to the hitters, again, who I felt were adequately covered, and I was fine with the other positions.

I did decide to platoon at catcher and have a good-armed catcher platooning with an ok-armed-but-better-hitter catcher. So, Ryan Hannigan and Carlos Ruiz will share duties behind the plate. I also decided to have part-time players at 2B and 3B. I figure if, heaven forbid I make the playoffs, my better 2B and 3B (Felipe Lopez and Aramis Ramirez) will get me through the 1st round at least!

My team has more power than any others in my league, my pitchers don’t give up too many homers (and that especially isn’t as much of a concern when my team faces the 1909 teams), so I put my team in a favorable homerun park. I’m cautiously optimistic about this team…

90 Million: FDR + JFK

I generally focused on getting good pitchers from the 30s and good hitters from the 60s, to get the benefit of normalization from both sides, as it were. Carl Hubbell is one of my favorites, and Lefty Grove is usually good too. Coupled with Monty Stratton… well, those are my starters. I also have the ’32 Eppa Rixey as a long-reliever. Again, I think these guys will do well due to normalization. Most of my bullpen is from the 60s, including closer Cisco Carlos (or is it Carlos Cisco? … I always get that confused). The hitters mostly hail from the 60s including Dick Allen, Rico Carty (my mostly-fulltime catcher), Willie McCovey, Richie Ashburn, and part-time players of Ron Fairly and others. My middle infield is Max Bishop at 2B and Luke Appling at SS. I focused a lot on OBP and not as much on power, since I think power will be limited (as it usually is in most leagues)… and especially on making sure that the hitters and pitchers normalized well. This team, like several of my others, has a bunch of part-time players, which I’m usually pretty good at managing (my part-time player team from round 1 was my best team). So again… cautiously optimistic.

100 Million: Huh? These Guys Are Different…

I considered using Silver King here, but wisely (I believe) decided against it. Russ Ford appears to be the best available pitcher. I built my staff around him, using Jake Northrop to close and Nick Maddox to set up. Matt Harvey, Jim Hearn, Kris Medlen, and others round out the staff. Not much here… I tried to limit the homers allowed significantly from the modern pitchers.

As with my other teams, many of my hitters are part-timers, especially at 1B with Jake Virtue and Carl Taylor. Again, I went with OBP and good normalization and eschewed pure power, since I think it will be neutralized. Many of my OFs are part-timers too, and my catching is a pure platoon of Mike Grady and Bill Delancey (a platoon I liked so much in my 110 mil Cardinal team that I added them here too!). After looking at the other teams, I’m cautiously pessimistic…

110 Million: Saint Looey Slappies

I had the 16th pick. No one wanted to trade down to 16, obviously, so I was stuck with it. What I *should* have done was taken a Giants pitcher (one of the ones dougpalm chose), but I absolutely could not take the risk that there would be 3 Giants teams. That would have been disastrous, I felt, so I hedged my bets and took Rogers Hornsby and crossed my fingers that no one else would take the Giants. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen, when it came back to me in the 2nd round, I had my choice of either sharing the Cards, the Braves, or the Cubs. I felt the Cards had just barely enough pitching to support two teams… but most definitely had tons and tons of hitting, so I went with them and chose John Tudor as my ace. I felt the same situation existed in this draft as did in my 80 million draft in that there was plenty of C, 1B, 2B, SS, and 3B available (well… maybe not SS after Ozzie Smith was gone, but enough…). I felt I therefore absolutely had to focus on pitching. I think if crystalao had picked Mort Cooper as his 2nd or 3rd pick, I’d be in big trouble, but he picked Ozzie (probably a wise choice) and Pujols (also an obviously good choice). That allowed me to take Jim Hearn (take THAT Giants teams!!!), who was one of the few pitchers for the Cards who had a WHIP under 1.00 and pitched over a 100 innings, and so I felt I needed him and also figured the Giants teams would take him soon if I didn’t… and then Mort Cooper. I expected therefore, not to get Stan Musial. To my surprise… for my next picks, he was available, so I took Musial and Jesse Burkett, both of whom I felt were the best OFs available for the Cards.

Oh… I decided early on that this would be a high average, medium-power team with lots of doubles and triples. Musial fits that strategy very well, and what’s also great about Musial is that there are so many good seasons available, so it’s really easy to mix and match and figure out a season that works (that’s true with Hornsby as well). Burkett has only one good season in the 1900s, but he was exactly what I was looking for.

After the two OFs, I focused completely on my pitching staff and picked who I felt was the best pitchers I could get. Crystalao got a few that I wanted, but I think the staff will be ok. After that, I decided on having part-time players in my last OF spot, and at catcher. My 1B, Jim Bottomley is perfect for my slap-hitting strategy. I believe this strategy will work out. I am again… cautiously optimistic…

120 Million: Same ‘Ol, Same ‘Ol… Except Better

Well, my team looks similar to most every other team out there. I have Alexander, Joss, Maddux… you know… the usual. I don’t think my team will be particularly bad, but I don’t think they will dominate. I expect them to win about 83 games, miss the playoffs, and hopefully, won’t cause me to lose the championship or something. I’m hoping my awesome year of Rogers Hornsby will overcome any shortcomings this team has.

12/2/2013 1:50 PM (edited)
60M: 1976 A's - I looked at a lot of teams and strategies but kept coming back to one of the first teams I found, 1976 A's.  They offered good balance and lots of SBs.  I would have liked a better catcher arm (used Tenace as is, C arm) and I would have loved to squeeze McCovey into the lineup but, operating at 60M is triage.  Of all the teams I explored, the most intriguing was the 1922 A's.  I loved their hitting; '22 Tilly Walker (would have loved to see how many HRs he would hit), '24 Joe Hauser, '22 Chick Calloway, '25 Bing Miller and A+ armed Cy Perkins.  But the pitching, it just looked soooo bad on paper and ultimately scared me off.

80M: 1981 Kid Rock - I have no idea what year would have been best but I wasn't thrilled with 1981.  However, I was very fortunate to have the first pick... The Rock, Tim Raines.  I would later add The Kid, Gary Carter hence the name.  Anyway, after what I thought was the obvious first pick I went on a SP run thinking this was an area of weakness that I wanted to avoid.  I then targeted what I felt were bargains in terms of HP/$ (hitting production per dollar).  This meant disregarding fielding and adopting some platoon-type setups but I'm really happy to have Mad Dog Bill Madlock, and my Rusty Staub / Johnny Bench hybrid.  I then managed to keep my defense strong up the middle (C, 2B, SS and CF have arm/range of A+, A-, A+, A+).  That left the bullpen which is certainly my weakest link and biggest concern.  At least I landed Big Jim Bibby for long relief which got me to my target IP for the overall staff.

90M: Sick Boys - With the 30s/60s restrictions and DH I figured this would be a hitting league.  My plan was to try to minimize opponent HRs while hitting more than my share.  I knew I wanted Cy Blanton and someone better as my ace.  Who's better than '68 Bob Gibson?  Nobody in these seasons so that was my man.  Unfortunately, there went a big percentage of salary.  So, to fit into the cap I had to accept weaker defense and fewer plate appearances.  I was not excited about the bullpen choices either.  So I put some money into HRs and put the team into Sicks.  This is not a strategy I like but hope to take what the denfense (that being schwarze's deviant theme) gives me.

more to come....
12/10/2013 4:11 PM (edited)
roster selection strategies Topic

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