Draft Strategies Topic

This is the thread where each of us shares our thought process when building our teams.  I'll start us off. 

Keep in mind that, in order to get all the league started, I had to build my teams really early, so even though I came up with the themes, I didn't spend two months tinkering with various options.  Once I was "satisified" with my roster, I usually stuck with it.  I'm sure I could've found better options, if I had spent more time looking.

70M - Same Players Different Season
Coleman/Wills to Ruth/Hornsby
Ballpark: Astrodome
Batting Stats: 5496 PA, .292 avg, .365 obp, .381 slug, 335 SBs (at 85%), $36.0 million
Pitching Stats: 1283 IP, 2.84 era, .248 oav, 1.15 whip, 0.31 hr/9, $32.5 million
(stats do not include scrub hitters or mopup pitchers)

I wanted speedy guys in the 70M leg and the typical stud hitters (Ruth, Hornsby, K.Kelly, etc.) in the 120M leg.  So I had to find the right studs (with cheap seasons to use in the 70M leg) and the right speed guys (with cheap seasons to use in the 120M leg).  There are only two hitters starting in both legs (Raines and Boggs).  I also went heavy on switch hitters in the 70M leg. 
My 70M starters:  Wynegar, Boggs (1b), Ritchie, Caminiti, Wills, Coleman, Raines, G.Case. 
My 120M starters:  K.Kelly, R.Connor, Hornsby, Boggs, Pesky, Ruth, Goslin, Raines.

For pitching, I wanted to lock down my 120M stud SPs first, so I looked for guys who had a decent second season that I could use in the 70M leg (I couldn't afford any more 200K guys).  P.Alexander, E.Reulbach and G.Maddux had reasonably cheap usable seasons that I felt comfortable with in a 70M cap.  For my 120M relievers, I looked at all those dead-ball low-IP starting pitchers and found a bunch who had useable 70M seasons... Guys like M.Maddox (starter in 70M), C.Falkenberg, J.Quinn, H.Wiltse and D.Dean.  I also have low-cap favorite Chien-Ming Wang as a SP.  E.Chamberlain is my only cheap pticher in the 70M leg.

I am playing in the Astrodome because I don't have a lot of power, in either leg.  No reason to give my opponents better shots at HRs.  I really like this team in the 70M leg.  With Ruth, Hornsby, Goslin, and K.Kelly on the bench, I have lots of pinch hitting options.    I should lead the league in SBs.

80M - AVG / ERA
Two-89 and Two-20

Ballpark: Petco Park
Batting Stats: 5297 PA, .289 avg, .384 obp, .409 slug, 267 SBs (at 83%), $38.6 million
Pitching Stats: 1305 P, 2.20 era, .224 oav, 1.04 whip, 0.24 hr/9, $40.3 million
(stats do not include scrubs unless they will be platooning)

Again, in this reatively low cap league, I wanted speed and .289 was a great place to find SBs.  I got V.Coleman (109), R.Henderson (53), M.Carey (52), Durham (26) & Lansford (27).  Add a couple of .400 obp guys (T.Rigney, Cullenbine), and we should be able to manufacture a few runs.  I half-heartedly tried a couple other AVGs but ended up spending way too much salary and scrapped it pretty quickly.

For ERA, I first tried 2.17 (M.Brown, Plank, Chesbro) and almost stuck with it, but felt I could do better at SP.  I found that 2.20 had a lot more and better SP options.  '97 Maddux and '02 Bernhard were locks.  I tried to get Davenport but he was too expensive.  I looked at Sutton and Seaver but they put me over the salary cap too  I finally settled on Vic Willis ($11.9 M) and his 485 innings of 1.15 whip.  He will be my worst pitcher and probably finish something like 32-38, but he's an innings eater and allows me to skimp on innings.  My two stud SPs could each win 20+ games.  And I drafted seven sub-$2M relievers (most of them in the 1.00 to 1.10 whip range).

I don't feel that strongly about this team.  I hope they make the playoffs, but it wouldn't surprise me if they end up with 80 to 84 wins and miss the playoffs.

90M - Same Players Different Season
Boston Baseball Club 1905-1929
Ballpark: Huntington Ave Baseball Grounds
Batting Stats: 5308 PA, .306 avg, .403 obp, .441 slug, $45.9 million
Pitching Stats: 1289 IP, 1.78 era, .206 oav, 0.94 whip, 0.07 hr/9, $42.2 million
(stats do not include scrub hitters or mopup pitchers)

I knew I wanted an era that mixed the deadball pitchers with the stud hitters from the 1920's.  I looked at the Indians and Giants before I settled on the Red Sox.  They all had good pitching, but it really came down to wanting 1919 Babe Ruth.  He normalizes very well and I figured he would be my only power hitter.  1913 Tris Speaker is my only other stud hitter (.363, .441, .533, A+ range).  The rest of the offense is made up of decent on base guys (W.Shang .377 obp, J.Harris .406, L.Gardner .373, B.Myer .379,  T.Rigney .395, H.Hooper .411).  I need Ruth to have a huge season.

The hardest part about this team was not taking Joe Wood's stud season.  I just couldn't fit it in without shorting myself somewhere else.  So my pitching looks like this... '05 Cy Young (0.87 whip), '14 D.Leonard (0.89), '15 J.Wood (1.04), '10 F.Smith (1.05), '07 C.Morgan (0.97), '08, E.Steele (0.83), '09 L.Pape (0.99), '23 L.Howe (1.00) and '16 Pennock (1.16).  I'm a little light on innings, so my mopup guys will have to throw away a few games to keep the good pitchers fresh.

I was the only person to take the Red Sox of this era, so maybe the Indians and Giants were better choices.  I probably also should have looked at the Cubs.  Not feeling too good about my selection.

100M - Dual .500 Team Twist
07 Giants and 10 Naps
Ballpark: Polo Grounds
Batting Stats: 5326 PA, .333 avg, .402 obp, .471 slug, $50.2 million
Pitching Stats: 1413 IP, 1.69 era, .211 oav, 0.90 whip, 0.07 hr/9, $48.5 million
(stats do not include scrub hitters or mopup pitchers)

This was one of the very first teams I worked on.  I started out with the 2008 Dodgers with Maddux, Lowe, Kershaw, Manny, Nomar, Kemp and "settled on" the 2005 Giants as their companion team with J.Schmidt, B.Bonds and E.Alfonzo and was basically done.  After completing all my other teams, I came back to this and decided I didn't want a modern team.  I don't do well with Bonds and all those HRs will get neutered with dead ball pitchers.  So I went the other direction and tried to find an under .500 team with a stud deadball pitcher.  1910 Cleveland was the obvious selection.  Continuing the deadball theme brought me Mathewson and the 1907 Giants.  Once I built the roster, I was happy with it and didn't look anywhere else.  Here is the team:  Bresnahan (.411 obp) / N.Clarke (.404), McGann (.391), Lajoie (.379, A+ range), B.Bradley (.375, A range), Peckingpaugh (.390, A+ range), Flick (.441), J.Jackson (.422) and Seymour (.378) / Strang (.423).  

A pitching rotation of '05 Young (0.87 whip), Joss (0.81) and Mathewson (0.83) gives me 970 studly innings.  The bullpen has two decent guys (Falkenberg 0.90 and Wiltse 0.94) but mostly inning fillers.

110M - Everybody Plays
Administrative Nightmare
Ballpark: Pac Bell Park
Batting Stats: 6099 PA, .330 avg, .423 obp, .477 slug, $58.0 million
Pitching Stats: 1441 IP, 1.77 era, .210 oav, 0.93 whip, 0.19 hr/9, $51.9 million

There are always one or two easy-to-build themes in round one.  This qualifies as that.  I did not go with a platoon strategy.  Instead, I drafted mostly guys with 500-599 plate appearances.  I have 13 hitters and 12 pitchers.  As usual, I didn't draft a lot of power (only guy over 20+ HRs = '08 Chipper).  Lots of average and/or speed (Raines, Reyes, Gwynn, S.Musial, Molitor, Henderson, etc.).

For my pitching staff, I went with a 4-man rotation (Alexander, K.Brown, Bernhard, D.White) and eight relief pitchers who's salary is between $2M and $2.2M.  A somewhat boring and unimaginitive team.  And it will be a pain in the butt to manage it during the season.

120M - Soduko
08, 15, 23, 67, 94, Hike
Ballpark: Robison Field
Batting Stats: 5613 PA, .336 avg, .421 obp, .540 slug, $62.1 million
Pitching Stats: 1461 IP, 1.37 era, .194 oav, 0.85 whip, 0.11 hr/9, $57.1 million
(stats do not include scrub hitters or mopup pitchers)

I really only looked at a a couple of combinations.  I had a really hard time deciding between 08-15-23-67-94 and 05-19-23-46-87.  I really loved the offense of the latter (Bresnahan, Musial, E.Collins, Boggs, Pesky, K.Williams, Heilmann, Ruth) but the pitching wasn't nrealy as good (Mathewson, Young, Adams) as I only spent $54M on pitching.  I decided to stick with my initial selection which includes the following: Hargrave, Bottomley, E.Collins, Boggs, H.Wagner, K.Williams, Yaz, C.Williams.  The pitching is what should carry this team... Joss, Alexander, Maddux, plus a strong bullpen.  The team whip is 0.85 over 1461 innings (compared to 0.93 with my other choice). 
8/3/2013 11:17 AM (edited)
  $70m This was the hardest of the 6  themes for me. Trying to draft two different teams simultaneously and deciding which round to favor. There's a few fulltimers who fit both teams and a lot of players I chose for one team and they have a part time or scrub role on the other team.
     First up SPs for $120M (Addie Joss, Pete Alexander, Greg Maddux) the usual higher cap SPs who had a suitable lowcap season. Their $70M seasons had fewer innings so next I chose a couple lowcap SP who also had a good low IP year for part 2  (Jack Taylor, George McQuillan). Then added some mid-range pitchers who also had a cheap season (Art Nehf, Randy Johnson, Doyle Alexander). Figured how many innings I still needed on both teams and looked for a match (Cy Falkenberg).
     Hitting started with a few who were playable at both caps (Wade Boggs, John Olerud, Gary Carter, Eddie Collins). $120M starters (Joe Jackson, Tony Gwynn, Alex Rodriguez).  $70M starters who are also scrubs (Mark Mclemore, Dale Mitchell). Dick Wakefield is a part timer on both squads. Instead of having a bunch of scrubs I chose several good OF with  70-120 PA and along with Wakefield they'll play the 3rd OF spot by committee. $70m needed PA so I took Ramon Martinez to  back up all 3 infield positions. .
      Not happy with season 1 team I saved the best for season 2 because it's more important.
$80M 1.82 .320
     I decided to spend a lot on pitching. Hitting choices for each BA were too limited and the higher averages had even fewer choices. I think this theme will play out worse than $80M level and hoping my hitters can grind it out enough for the stellar pitching to win.
     I remember a similar theme and 2.24 with Ed Summers was a good choice. So that was the first number I tried. Then I poked around and found a number I liked better. 1.82 has Cicotte CyYoung and Coveleski, a good rotation with a lot of  innings. And there are enough good RPs to choose from. Since there are no scrubs with ERA so low the 300k exemption was a lifesaver, I have 3 exempted pitchers.
     There may be several good choices for Batting Average but I didn't have the patience to try all of them. Once I found a number I was satisfied with I stopped looking. .320 has a Bip Roberts cookie though I rarely use him. Actually I found this number because I use Dmitri Young at low caps and did a search on his BA. There are enough other usable players at .320 if you don't mind shuffling a bunch of part timers in and out. For some reason the part timers are priced better than fulltimers, only problem is they all have downgraded range. Not a whole lot of variety to choose from, making it hard to play a strategy. I just took the best players at the best prices and formed an eclectic team. Not much power not many walks couldn't afford that when I'm already paying for hits.
$90M Cubs 1904-1928
     Deadball team or modern team? Deadball teams have better and more affordable pitching no doubt about it. Modern teams have better glove and more flexibility in filling roster spots. I decided the pitching advantage was big enough to compensate for the other problems.
     Cubs and White Sox both have premier pitching at the right price. My top 2 choices. I briefly looked at the popular Giants and thought they were too pricey for this cap. I wanted a WhiteSox team (Walsh Cicotte DocWhite) but they came in a little over budget. It's impossible to make minor changes in this theme. To save a few bucks I'd need to make extensive changes and there just weren't enough cheap scrubs in the right years to make it work. So I went with my second choice, the Cubs. Pitching consists of 5 big SPs Mordecai Reulbach Pfiester Petey and Hippo. not much else in the bullpen but who needs much more than that? I'll be rotating starters thru the pen. 25 years is a big enough spread to find hitters at each position, though I do have some Outfielders I'm not familiar with. A couple weak hitting positions, but then I needed some cheapies to make the cap.
$100M 1909 Cubs & 1998 Marlins.
     Again I wanted a deadball pitching team. First I tried pairing 1914 WhiteSox with a modern Yankee team of has beens. An excellent choice if the cap were $110M. At 100M I'd need to make several compromises. Next I tried a deadball Cubs team. I've had good results in other themes with the 5-headed monster of Mordecai Pfiester Reulbach Overall Lundgren giving 1300+ quality innings. It takes some active managing to make it work. Cubs have some hitters too with Sheckard Zimmerman Evers and Chance. I needed to find a second team with a terrible record and some big hitters at the positions I needed. Enter the 1998 Marlins. 54 games below .500 with Piazza and Sheffield, Renteria helps at a weak SS spot, and several part time outfield seasons to fill my roster.
     This team has balance and depth. Should do well in the regular season, no advantage in the playoffs.
     $110M. Easiest of the 6 themes. My pitchers are the usual suspects. Walsh and Joss are the Aces followed by a group of lower IP pitchers splitting time between the bullpen and spot starts, Nehf Toney Steele and Shore. Closing out with Niggeling Latman and Norhtrop. Robitaille filling in the innings.
      I'm no stranger to part time hitters, quite familiar with Wakefield Shumpert Browning Cullenbine . '19 Cravath is always a good choice in a DH league splitting time with McGraw. $110M came real fast so I saved money with Gary Carter and Mark McLemore, they won't hit much but they fill tough spots for a good price. Trying a part time Matt Williams and a not quite fulltime Cano with Larkin backing everybody up. Clemente and Caruthers in the Outfield. Filling out the roster with Youngblood and Segui, ho hum. Choosing when to use each hitter is a big part of the strategy here.
$120M 1908-1915-1996-1925-1973
     Once again my first priority was deadball pitching. 1908 with Joss Mordecai and Steele seemed like a no brainer. added 2 worthless scrubs to stay under $30M. I liked 1919 next but decided I needed the 90s for hitting since 80s and 2000s were gone. I settled on 1915 with Pete Alexander, Ty Cobb, and 3 low IP pitchers. For hitting I looked to 1996 with Caminiti and ARod filling key slots, Frank Thomas at a good price, Seitzer PHing, and reluctantly choosing Piazza at a problematic position. I maxed out on the first 3 years and just needed two $15M years for filler. And that's the first time 1924 Babe Ruth has been called filler. He's joined by a couple small time pitchers a backup and a mop. Last choice was a close call between '73 and '37, I chose 1973 for the lower cost. Carew Cedeno and 3 bit players. This team will be easy to manage, I won't need to make frequent moves like I will in the other themes here.
8/2/2013 5:14 PM
70 Million Team - All Tomorrow's Parties

Like the similar theme last year, the big decision was whether to prioritise the first round or the second round. This year it was a bit easier decision I think. The second round has double points. And the difference between optimal and substitute players at 120 million is so much better than the difference at 70 million. Really, there are a huge number of players who have at least one useful season at 70 million, while most players have no useful seasons at 120 million.

So I basically drew up my 120 million open league dream team, and tried to do what I could to get a 70 million team to work with alternate seasons. There were a couple of places where I had to compromise on the 70 million team, and it's probably 3-5 wins short of what I would have done were I going for it in round 1. But if I'd done that, the 120 million team would have been 10-20 wins short of what's best, and that's not worth the trade off.

Hitter Stats: 5601 PA, .274/.390/.378.
Pitcher Stats: 1343 IP, 1.08 WHIP, 39 HR

80 Million Team - Avg .294 / ERA 2.16

Like at 70 million, lots of players work well at 80 million. So my first reaction was to see if it could get a cookie or two and build around them. And you can do not badly with a .287 deal built around HoJo. But eventually it seemed that .294 had a better mix of players, and I ended up feeling happy at every position.

Originally I wanted to go with 2.06 ERA, but I couldn't quite fill out the bullpen satisfactorily. So I went to 2.16. Here the problem was filling in the star players. I eventually left off the two best starters at 2.16 ERA, because they couldn't squeeze under the salary cap. If I easily make the playoffs, then lose in the first round because I don't have any ace pitching, I'll know I made the wrong decision.

As it is, I'm a little tight on PAs. This shouldn't be terrible - I can live with my hitters being at 95-98 most of the season, but we'll see if it gets worse than that.

Hitting Stats: 5414 PA, .293/.377/.412 (Not .294 because of scrubs)
Pitching Stats: 1348 IP, 1.00 WHIP, 37 HR

90 Million - Giants 1902-1926

Originally I used the first 25 years of the Cubs. I was feeling a little pleased with myself for tracking through all their different team names, and there are some great players in that mix. But there are also some years with no good players, and no 200K players to fill out the roster. So I had a lot of dead money at the back end of the roster.

The early century Giants, as always, were a safe fallback. There are still a couple of bits of dead money on the roster. But I'm solid at every hitting position, and between Mathewson, Toney and Nehf should be a really tough out if I make the playoffs. The rate numbers below still get dragged down a bit by some high PA and IP scrubs, but 241 real life 2B in a park that's +3 for 2B should be fun.

Hitter Totals: 5899 PA, .295/.382/.395
Pitcher Totals: 1412 IP, WHIP 1.01, 24 HR

100 Million - 1907 Giants and 1988 Cardinals

I figured out pretty quickly that I wanted some combination of Giants and Cardinals. The early Giants teams give you a couple of star pitchers, and usable hitters over most of the diamond. The big exception is in the middle infield, where they are weak. But the Cardinals are strong there.

The first thing I tried was 1902 Giants (who finished 40 games under .500 with a useful combination of 1890s stars and some of the players who would build the next great Giants team) with the awesome 1985 Cardinals team. But surprisingly, it didn't have enough bullpen options. Moving to 07 Giants/88 Cardinals gave me a bullpen back, at the cost of having to scramble to fill left field. I lost McGraw for 3B too, but he was pricey for this cap. But I gained a bunch more useful scrubs, even if most of them will use 1/3 of their PAs. I think that was a good trade, though if I'm last in my league for LF OPS I'll know I got it wrong.

Last year in the similar league (twist with a priority on mega-loss teams) I used the 91 Astros and got burned by their lack of a pen. Mixing them with a great team with a couple of starters, a bullpen and a couple of good value bats could be good too, but I couldn't get it to work.

Hitters: 5884 PA (about 500 scrubs), .303/.387/.411
Pitchers: 1516 IP (about 100 scrubs), WHIP 0.95, 42 HR

110 M - Give Life Back to Baseball

This should be exciting. I started with some obvious thoughts for these PA limit leagues. Platoon everywhere. Assume everyone else will do the same. So use left-handed starters quickly replaced by right-handed long As to get platoon advantage when you can, and to mess up teams that don't draft enough PA for right hand side of platoon. The problem was, this is a DH league. Platoon everywhere means 18 hitters. And there aren't that many good value at 110M left handed starters.

I could have backed up on my plan and tried to use 5 people to cover LF, 1B, DH, or used 3 to cover SS/2B. Or used an overpriced left-handed starter, like Koufax. But instead I decided to go for it. Here's the plan. Leonard, Schupp and Nehf, with 507 IP between them, are the rotation. 08 Joss/Mathewson will alternate days as the superman Long A. Then Toney to close out games, with 08 Steele to mop up where needed. And that's only 7 pitchers, so I can pick my favourite platoon pairs everywhere on the list. If this plan works, I win 110 games, and a bunch of playoff games. Or I get burned by over-use fatigue, hit fatigue death spiral, win 70 games and miss 2nd round on this team alone. I've put them in Safeco to try to prevent that happening, but I'm a long way from safety, especially in a high cap DH league. Should be an adventure.

Hitters: 6209 PA, .310/.425/.439
Pitchers: 1497 IP, 0.83 WHIP, 15 HR.

120 M - Instant Crush

I went 1906, 1915, 1923, 1987, 1994.

Plan A was to use 1908 and figure everything else out. But that took out the 1980s, and that's where the good shortstops are. And it meant I had to use one mid-century year (1930s-1970s) somewhere. But which one? 1975 has a couple of good players, but 1915 is better. And after that it gets dire. 1973, as rbow923 used, is probably the best of a very bad lot. So I changed tacks, as Dan Brown once said.

1906 and 1915 have plenty of good pitching, as does 1994, so I could live without 1908. I thought 1987 would provide my entire up-the-middle defence, SS, 2B and CF. But 23 Eddie Collins was too good to pass up. The $30 million/year cap bit pretty hard after taking 1915 Alexander and Cobb, but I found 3 useful bullpen arms still, including my closer.

The main thing I'm not sure about is 1987 Ozzie. (I'm using him in the 100M league too, and a similar problem arises.) He's great value at under $7M for stellar D and a nearly .400 OBP. But he's not a top of lineup hitter at this cap, but with 706 PA/162, you need to put him there to get use out of him. I decided if the real life Red Sox can win with Shane Victorino batting 2, lineup order doesn't really matter, and I can have Ozzie near the top. But I'm worried he will leave a lot of RBI chances on the table.

Still, how bad can life be with an OF of Cobb, Speaker, Raines, and a rotation of Alexander, Brown, Maddux?

Hitters: 5715 PA, .331/.430/.463
Pitchers: 1492 IP, WHIP 0.90, 31 HR.
8/3/2013 12:03 AM
70M - This team should score runs... and give them up.  I'm hoping to ride some suspect starters beyond their real-life IP because the bullpen is bullsh*t and the defense is weak (on paper, as they say).  But I've got Raines, Boggs, Mantle and Ruth to entertain the crowd.

80M - After stumbling around with some searches I thought about using Vince Coleman's .289 and build around that.  That seemed to yield some interesting talent so I went with it.  I then divided my pitching dollars by IP and out came 2.06.

90M - I built numerous teams for this one.  An early one was a 1901-1925 Red Sox team that I actually entered early on but it had no 3B and some pitching holes that I couldn't tolerate.  By that time I had deleted a solid 1903-1927 Pirate team that I wished I had to review.  But apparently I landed on the favorite, 1902-1926 Cleveland.  Like any team it has some issues (odd IP assortment will take some managing) but there must be a lot of value here or it wouldn't have been the go to team... right?

100M - Looking at it now this team is my least favorite.  I should have done more research.  The teams I chose (1910 Red Sox, 1918 White Sox) would be great if I had more money to spend.  So, I'm worried that my pitching, hitting and defense are sub-par.  Otherwise...  the top of the lineup is great (Collins, Speaker and Jackson).  Maybe the others will surprise me.

110M - This theme forced me to do what I hate to do; build a team that will need a lot of in-season management.  Pitching should work OK.  I have a cookie-filled bullpen to offset a starting rotation that is less than I would normally used at this cap.  The offense is a guess.  I let the fun factor overcome my normal analytical excess.  For instance, I'm counting on a lot of RBI out of... 1940 Debs Garms?  Everyone plays so everyone needs to produce.  On paper I like my chances for this one.

120M - Early on I settled on 1908 (pitching) and 1923 (hitting).  I tried a number of combinations to fill in the rest.  Of course the theme is smartly designed to make every year important and that made it difficult.  I finally settled on 1919 for Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth, but also for some decent LH relief innings from Art Nehf.   Then 1964 to help fill out the bullpen and give me a solid catcher (Joe Torre, A+ arm). That left '57 or '75 and holes a 2B and SS.  1975 best fit the bill mainly due to a guy that chronically underperforms for me, Joe Morgan.  If he produces well this team should run like a well-oiled (Big Red) machine.
8/3/2013 1:52 PM

70M - Same Players Different Season
Slashing Tires
Ballpark: Busch Stadium
Batting Stats: 5115 PA, .323 avg, .375 obp, .465 slug, 155 SBs
Pitching Stats: 1293 IP, 2.99 era, .245 oav, 1.11 whip

I have not faired well in my previous two WIS championships so I tried to concentrate on building a strong 70M team and would worry about the 120M team if I made it that far. That being said I knew I wanted the guys that typically kill at 80M (Dilone, Bip Roberts, Boggs) to be my table setters. The middle of the lineup is filled with guys that I have observed to be pretty consistent run producers in Gwynn, Buck Freeman, and Segui.

Pitching staffs are usually my problem because I tend to place too much emphasis on WHIP. I knew I wanted Joss not only for the 70M league but obviously if I advanced. Then I added Guidry and Lohse who I have seen do really well. The bullpen I went with 3 guys I have had success with who are fairly cheap (Hamilton, Hoerner, Hiller) and then filled the bullpen with potential for 120M (Mathewson, CY Young, Eckersley)

The Bench is comprised of guys who will play at 120M (Ruth, C. Klein, Hornsby, Alomar) but offer very little in the way of help for 70M.

80M - Avg/Era
.320 and 2.20
Ballpark: Busch Stadium
Batting Stats: 5153 PA, .318 avg, .388 obp, .513 slug, 165 SBs
Pitching Stats: 1379 IP, 2.65 era, .233 oav, 1.10 whip

This theme I spent the most time on because I was never really satisfied with the team I had built. The .320 guys just seemed to be the most consistent top to bottom of the avg I tried. Not a whole lot of strategy involved other than I was able to build a decent offense at a good price. I really liked the top of the order potential in Roberts/Bartlett/Raines/Braun who all can steal bags. Then came a trio of sluggers who should play okay at this cap (Higginson, Cabrera, Helton) and finally a decent defensive catcher in Flaherty who can still offer some offensive punch.

The pitching staff took probably a month to nail down before I settled on 2.20 because there were so many options and ways to go. I knew Maddux would be a key part and at the last minute I cut Bernhard for Seaver which may be a mistake. Chris Short and Dummy Taylor rounded out the staff. The bullpen again is a weakness, but I tried to go with the strongest 9th inning option possible (Richert and Pierce) and then a bunch of low OAV guys to be specialists mixed in with some high inning guys to eat innings.

90M – Silver Anniversay Franchise
60-84 Reds
Ballpark: Riverfront Stadium
Batting Stats: 5561 PA, .307 avg, .380 obp, .505 slug, 166 SBs
Pitching Stats: 1328 IP, 2.83 era, .231 oav, 1.13 whip

I really spent as little time as possible on this theme saving it for last and it shows with the discrepancy in how I spent my money which was heavily offensive. All the names of the big red machine are there with Rose, Morgan, Foster, Bench, Perez, Griffey, Frank, and Concepcion mostly in their career years. I'm quite enamored with the offense and expect to be near the top in most offensive categories side from SB.

The pitching staff well that is a different story. I need the rotation (Soto, Seaver, Queen, Nolan) to overachieve and the bullpen to be just stout enough to get the game to Henry in the 9th. Probably my worst team of the lot

100M – Dual .500 team twist
3 Naps & 90 Pads
Ballpark: Jack Murphy Stadium
Batting Stats: 5456 PA, .338 avg, .392 obp, .492 slug, 186 SBs
Pitching Stats: 1413 IP, 2.03 era, .218 oav, 0.99 whip

This was the first team I built and I kind of left it after building it. I knew I wanted to use the 90 pads because they have so many great offensive options and I have had success with them in the past. Then I asked myself if there was a Joss Indians squad that would synch up in order to meet the .500 criteria and low and behold there was 1903.

Offensively I kind of mixed the speed and gap power of the 90 pads with the high average guys of the Naps, staying away from homeruns. (Alomar, Lajoie, Flick, Gwynn, Lynn, Bradley)

Pitching I have Joss, Bernhard and Earl Moore. Hammaker will make an occasional start. The bullpen was comprised of guys I have had success with (Schiraldi, Rasmussen, Lefferts) before ending with Lilliquist.

110M – Everybody Plays
Family Stoned
Ballpark: Ebbets Field
Batting Stats: 5710 PA, .335 avg, .413 obp, .546 slug, 253 SBs
Pitching Stats: 1303 IP, 1.50 era, .193 oav, 0.83 whip

Themes like this usually kill me because I can't be as involved as you need to be so I tried to pick a starting 9 that had around 599 PA so I could make minimal moves and thus not subject my team to starting players at 80< stamina because I'm busy. I favored speed guys (Dilone, Henderson, Raines, Morgan) along with guys who slugged the holy hell out of the ball (Aaron, Walker, Joyce). I assume I'm not alone in having a bench that is loaded so I suspect a lot of games will change hands late.

I'm sure nearly everyone has a loaded rotation and this team is no different. Joss and Mordecai figure to get the majority work and the bullpen is full of familiar names (Northrop, Latman, Meredith, Steele).

110M – Soduku
Addie's Murderes Row
Ballpark: Yankee Stadium
Batting Stats: 5724 PA, .331 avg, .416 obp, .578 slug, 114 SBs
Pitching Stats: 1474 IP, 1.83 era, .204 oav, 0.93 whip

I went straight for 08 and Joss/Brown/Steele to head the rotation. I then thought it would be kind of fun to have Ruth/Gehrig of the 27 Yanks on the squad which meant I had spent around $42 million on 4 players. I needed a couple of seasons to have multiple players in order to fill out the roster and found 96 (Knoblauch, Burks, Piazza, Rivera) and 53 (Rosen, Furillo, Carrasquel). That left me with a 1 and 4 and needing some innings I went with 14 and Dutch Leonard/Ernie Shore.

8/3/2013 2:23 PM
70M - Un-Career Years
Hate open leagues like this since I don't know all the cookies, and so usually end up getting killed. At least this one had some strategy. I basically looked for 3 types of players: (1) cheap full-time season and expensive full-time season to start in both leagues; (2) cheap scrub season and expensive full-time season; and (3) cheap scrub season and great playable cheap season (i.e. Glenallen Hill, Manny Ramirez, relievers). This team will suck, but hopefully can get into the 70s in wins so as to not kill me.

80M - .251 AVG + 3.00 ERA
Figured a lot of people would go high average, so I went with a low average that had a ton of options. I think I'm the lowest average by a large margin. Went with walks and speed, plus a park (Safeco) and pitching staff to suppress hits. I wish there was no $300K exception for this league to bail out the teams that wanted to go with high averages/low ERAs.

90M - 51-75 Dem Bums
Clearly went with the wrong strategy as everyone else decided to go with 1902-26 or something similar. Oh well. I decided early on to start with a Koufax/Snider pairing. Plenty of pitching in this era for the Dodgers: went with a Koufax/Sutton/Drysdale rotation. Lineup with Snider, Jackie, Wynn, Campanella and Cey has plenty of production. No idea if we'll just get mowed down by the early 1900s teams. Probably will.

100M - The Launching Pad (91 HOU + 96 ATL)
Actually proud of my team name as Atlanta provides the stadium (AFC) and Houston provides the power hitters and the city known for space missions. Anyway, nobody else cares. Started by looking for a team with a bad record but a lot of options and the 91 Astros are a great option. They went 65-97 but provided me with my 1B (Bagwell), 2B (Biggio), 3B (Caminiti), CF (Lofton), and LF (Luis Gonzalez). Plus they had Mike Scott (took his great 86 season) and Curt Schilling (took one of his lesser seasons). Just needed a counterpart with pitching, C, and SS. Checked the Braves and 96 looked perfect. Javy Lopez and Jeff Blauser satisfied the hitting holes, plus Ryan Klesko and David Justice filled in the remaining OF PAs. And the pitching is beautiful. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz (closer), plus cheaper RP options like McMichael, Wohlers, and Borowski. Again, I'm sure I'll get killed by these stupid deadball teams.

110M - Sicks Shooters
Gonna try to hit bombs. Catcher is a York/Schulte platoon. The IF is A-Rod, Horner, and Joe Gordon with Bellhorn backing up all 3 spots. The power positions (OF, 1B, DH) is 7 players for 5 spots: Ruth, McGwire, Cravath, Aaron, Bonds, Deer, Kingman. With super-sub Shane Spencer's 10 HR in 63 ABs. Unfortunately, looking back, I'm probably short on PAs...yeah, that's gonna be a problem. Went with the best pitchers that didn't give up a HR (hey, deadballers!). While my other teams will lose to deadballers, this team will probably lose to non-deadballers (and fatigue). Whatever.

120M - Sudoku Stars of 08-12-46-53-97
Hey! Look, I also started with 1908. Of course, mine was by accident, but hey, what's the difference. Was gonna go with multiple pitchers, but you know what? It's hard to find a better SS than Honus Wagner 08. So I took him and Joss, then wanted Walter Johnson, so I went with 1912 over 1913. That also gave me a stud Tris Speaker season. Alright, now I needed a C, so hey there 1997 Piazza...and Pedro! And Larry Walker's unadjusted Coors stats look pretty nice as well. Now I had some pretty crappy numbers left and should have started over, but I didn't. 1946 gave me some stud OFs like Musial and Williams and a cheap OBP 2B in Eddie Stanky. But then I decided on 1953 over 1935 and so wanted Williams' huge 117 PAs from that season. 53 also gave me Carl Furrillo and Eddie Mathews to take over 3B. I pieced together a bullpen and enough scrubs to fit in all the various ceilings and floors. Just hope to not get killed by fatigue.

I doubt this group of teams gets me to my second Round 2 appearance. Three relatively open themes means cookie teams will take it. I did like the 90/100/120M themes, so hopefully those teams perform well.
8/3/2013 4:05 PM
$70M - HoF Bench

Ballpark - Target Field
Batting Stats - 5288 PA's .298/.368/.419 435 SB @ 76%
Pitching Stats - 1324 IP's 1.11 Whip 15 HR's
(Both with scrubs)

I ended up really trying to take a risk and stretch my IP's in all the caps levels.  Hopefully this will pay off and not bomb me out of the 2nd round.  I built this team with $70M round in mind.  Lots of switch hitters and speed.  The common cookies of Coleman, Raines, Bip, HoJo, Dilone, Figgins...  This team should do well, but I am already regretting this because I forgot about the change that makes the 2nd round worth double points.  A smarter choice would have been to build for the 2nd round.  

Prediction : 92 Wins

$80M - .287+2.20 = 85?

Ballpark - Target Field
Batting Stats - 5481 PA's .281/.366/.436 161 SB @ 75%
Pitching Stats - 1405P's 1.03 Whip 30 HR's
(Both with scrubs)

I always thought my strength of the tourney was at the $80M cap.  Last year I was able to get the top record at $80M, but this year I think the theme really limited what you can do.   I think because of that you will see a lot of parity in teams.  i don't feel like there was one average or era that was much better than other options.  Once again I took a risk on going low on innings to hopefully gain an advantage.  Another trend of my teams is going with Target Field when possible.  

Prediction : 85 Wins

$90M - Another 1902-1926 Indians

Ballpark - League Park II
Batting Stats - 5381 PA's .318/.385/.433
Pitching Stats - 1373 IP's 0.96 Whip 14 HR's
(Both with scrubs)

I think this was one of the themes were your choice of a franchise could really make a difference.  I know you can be successful with modern teams, but deadball pitching is so efficient at this point that I think you are at a disadvantage if you don't pick it.  My 1st team that I built was with the 1901-1925 Red Sox.  Lots of good hitters with Ruth and Speaker & Co along with great pitchers of Young, Leonard, Wood and lots others.  I was happy with my team that I built, but went ahead and built another team with the very popular 1902-1926 Indians.  They were very popular for a reason.  You can never go wrong with 1908 Joss.  Lots of great hitting and pitching.  The slight push that put this team over the edge was the availability of cheaper scrubs.  Very solid and balanced team that I am happy with.

Prediction : 90 Wins

$100M - 1907 Americans and 1999 Indians
Ballpark - Huntington Grounds
Batting Stats - 5560 PA's .326/.402/.522
Pitching Stats - 1392 IP's 0.97 Whip 30 HR's
(Both with scrubs)

I think this was one of the most frustrating themes in the 1st round.  I knew right away that I wanted to use the 1907 Americans.  I am always surprised that more people don't use this team in twist themes.  Their pitching is great with Cy Young, Jesse Tannehill, Cy Morgan and Elmer Steele.  That  is almost your entire pitching staff with 1000 IP's.  They also have usable hitters in Jimmy Collins, Buck Freeman, Tris Speaker and Deacon McGuire.  I really, really want to use one of the late 1920's A's team to finish up my hitters.  The 1927 A's would have been a dream matchup with Cochrane, Foxx, Collins, Cobb and Simmons finishing up my lineup.  But the two teams ended up being 150-153.  I was so frustrated that I didn't look at the team again for a week.  When I went back to look for a 2nd team, I tried looking for a modern team that had a 2B and SS with a bullpen as well.  The 1999 Indians fit very well with Alomar and Vizquel along with a surprisingly decent bullpen.  Manny and Thome filled in my last two hitters.  I wasn't thrilled with them , but they won't be terrible either.  In the end I was happy with my mixture of deadball pitchers and hitters with a modern MI and bullpen.  

Prediction : 92 Wins

$110M - Two Million Dollar Scrubs

Ballpark - Jefferson Street Ground
Batting Stats - 6260 PA's .339/.417/.504
Pitching Stats - 1421 IP's 0.86 Whip 10 HR's
(Both with scrubs)

Really not to much to say on this team.  Having part time players never was a problem with my teams.  A big bullpen is something I try to use if possible as well.  I think I had some similar thoughts as some other owners.  What advantages could you gain out of this theme?  Like Brianjw mentioned earlier, using a tandem pitching staff with a L/R or R/L split can get you an advantage.  So how do you build an offense to counter this?  Draft all switch hitters.  I am not sure if this was the best decision, but I don't think it will hurt my team so much either.  

Prediction : 87 Wins

last team to come
8/3/2013 9:18 PM
$70M – Round 1 Shrinkage
I didn’t really have a strategy with this theme. Just tried to think of guys I’d want/need to fill out a $120M roster and looked among those options for players with decent cheap seasons somewhere along the line.
Good lineup featuring Bonds, Ruth, Henderson, Raines, Foxx, Bench, Cronin and Lajoie, but short on ABs, so I took Braves Field to help them go further.
Solid pitching staff with Joss, Maddux, Plank and Guidry. Just in case, I took a lot of relievers who started in real life, like Randy Johnson, Carmen Hill and Milacki. Eck and Mo round out the end of the ‘pen.
$80M - .290 + 3.20 = SUCCESS!
I didn’t spend a ton of time on this one because I knew it would drive me crazy. I found my 3.20 staff early, though I did explore other options. As soon as I came across .290 for BA, I was hooked. Invested a lot ($8M) in Joe Morgan to spark the offense – no one else making $5M. Looked for slugging and walks and ended up with Powell, Ruth, Nick Johnson and Manny.
Pitching staff is high on walks but low on OAV. I banked on guys taking .300+ hitters with low walks, so hopefully my strategy pays off. Ryan, Seaver, Schmidt and Mussina make up the rotation. The ‘pen isn’t inspiring, but should produce – Rigney, Tejada, Burnett and Lamabe.
Again Braves field to hurt singles teams and help my pitchers.
$90M – Straight A’s from ‘70’-94
I knew right away I wanted a team based on pitching and defense, with a pitcher’s park. Started with Seattle and San Diego, and toyed a bit with the Mets, but wound up with Oakland. The A’s seem to be my franchise theme fallback. Always steady – good defense and pitching, with decently priced HRs and walks.
Lineup includes the Hendersons, the Bash Brothers, Phillips, Bando, Steinbach and Campaneris. Very good pitching staff of Hunter, Blue, Norris and Holtzman with Fingers, Ontiveros and Eck in the ‘pen. This is the team I have the most confidence in.
$100 – ’10 Little Indians with ’08 Blue Jays
Honestly, I hate this team – which could be a good sign in this tournament. I found a few intriguing options but none I really loved. I wanted a mix of modern and deadball era players to try to counter all potential approaches from other owners.
My lineup should mash, featuring Shoeless Joe, Big Hurt, Bautista and Lajoie. I also went for strong defense.
My season will hinge on Young, who is going to be pitching every second game. Joss, Halladay and Mitchell are my other SP options to fill in the gaps. Strong bullpen with Falkenburg, Downs, Carlson, League and Ryan.
Had to choose from League Park and SkyDome, which is not good for my pitchers. I went with SkyDome to limit singles. Not sure how I feel about this team at all. I can see 100 wins or 100 losses.
$110M – Everybody Plays – With Each Other
I decided just to have fun with this theme. My lineup is good, but not near enough ABs, so I went with Dodger Stadium. I’ve got all the typical OBP/power guys in Rickey, Morgan, Ruth, Bonds and Frank Thomas, plus guys I’ve never used, like Posey and McCovey.
My pitching staff is going to take a lot of management. Only Maddux, Pedro and Santana have 200+ innings. I have partials from CC, Lee and Johnson, as well as Carmen Hill and Johnny Rigney in the ‘pen. I invested heavily in my bullpen to hold any and all leads – Kimbrel, Adams, Wagner and Rivera should slam all doors.
$120M - Murderers Row By Numbers
Struggled a bit with this one (as schwarze can attest to, with my repeated corrections required).
I like the team I put together but I find leagues at this cap are a crapshoot. I have over 300 homers and a hell of a lot of walks . I went for defense in CF, SS, 2B and C (with an A arm). Lineup consists of Raines, Hornsby, ARod, Helton, Ruth, Bonds and DeCinces (tanked this position a bit). 3rd team I have Ruth and Bonds on – hopefully they don’t let me down.
In the rotation, I went for high K’s and a L/R mix. I took Maddux, Johnson, Koufax and Gooden. I haven’t had much success with Koufax in the past but hoping he pulls it off for me here. Again, I went for a dominant bullpen with Pedro, Wagner, Shantz and Karsay.
As seems to be an underlying theme for me, I was low on ABs so went for Braves field to help spread things out a bit.
8/5/2013 10:47 AM
70 Mil
 I took my 70 million dollar team that recently finished with a wild card and the World Series Championship and substituted the bench players with mostly usable players that I could use in the next round.  On that team I went with a 5 man starting rotation that I kept in tact for this round.  I added better relief including relief arms of Addie Joss and Vida Blue so my starting rotation for the next round would be Joss, Feller, and Blue.  I also added cheap years of Ruth, Eddie Mathews, and Joe Medwick to slot into the next round.  I substituted in Stan Musial for one of my regulars to improve my offense for this round and next.

80 mil .295 / 2.17
Like everyone else probably did, I went with a high average and then decreasing by one until I found one that gave me enough average, power, speed, defense, and enough at bats to make it work.  Did the same thing with the pitching and settled on 2.17.  On the offensive side I have had success in other leagues with many of the players (jones, Giambi, Singleton, and Holiday).  Little more apprehensive with the pitchers since I am using a couple of the starters for the first time..  I have J.J. Putz as my closer.  Felt good until I used him in another league with a so so performance.

90 mil Oakland A's 1980 - 2004
I had looked at the Cubs, Giants, and Pirates from the early 20th century but I did not want to take the super years for fear of eating up to much of the salary cap.  In the 12 teams in my league I have the only modern day team.  I will either have the best record in the league or the worst.  In Juice's Bottom Up tournament my Athletic team pitched extremely well but couldn't hit a lick which cost me a playoff berth.

 I went from 1980 on to keep Norris and McCatty who dominated that league and drop Blue and Hunter to make sure I got better hitting from the 90's. I added Hudson and Mulder.  I am hoping the late 20th century defense and bullpen make a difference in this predominantly dead ball league.

100 mil 1895 Orioles / 1992 Mets
I wanted to use an Orioles team from the 1890's which have always been a great offensive team for me.  When I was able to find a corresponding Met's team with Gooden, Tanana, and Saberhagen I thought wow I can't pass this up.  I may have hurt myself as I may not not have enough of a usable bullpen beyond Franco as my closer.  I went with Shea to help in that area.  Not sure if this is a complementary team or a team of two non-matching parts.  We shall see.

110 mil Everybody Parties
At this cap everyone has a good team. It will be managing that will make the difference.  My outfield  consists of Tim Raines, Mickey Mantle, Billy Hamilton, and Ted Williams.  My infield consists of Traynor, Bancroft, Frisch, and Aaron.  My backups are solid.  I have done well in Smoke Em leagues where you must obtain certain number of at bats and innings pitched per player.  Just like this league.  What I learned from that experience I must stay on top of the league every day.  No matter what happens early on keep with it and somewhere down the line the W's will come.

120 mil 08,24,56,71, and 93.
Started out needing "08" to balance out with a majority of owners for Joss and whomever.  In my case Brown.  I also wanted an outfield containing both Ruth and Mantle.  Since the 24 Frisch is about the best defensive second baseman in the deck (at least performing for me) I decided to pick up the Ruth year along with Frisch's infield partner from the Giants of Travis Jackson.  One of Mantle's best year's was 56 and also picked up Berra.  The 71 Torre and Aaron players have produced for me at every level and also gave me the right handed hitting I needed for those teams sneaking in left handers.  I believe any year in the 80's 90's, or 2000's provide decent relievers.  My Suduko numbers left me with 93 where I wanted to take 5 relievers.  I was then missing a third and\or fourth starter, a third outfielder, and absolutely zero speed at the top of the order. 

I looked at first adding 71 Brock but his defense was terrible.  I then saw the 93 Lofton fit the bill. I subtracted one reliever and added Lofton.  I then needed another starter.  I chose 71 Blue.  He was left handed and I had success with him at a lower cap.  Hopefully a Joss\Brown\Blue starting core will be adequate with solid middle infield defense and the defense of Mantle and Lofton in the outfield.  

I have finished in the 30's a couple of times in this tournament because I have screwed up one team miserably.  I have had multiple teams in the playoffs each year but can not overcome the disaster of one or two teams.  This time I went with things that worked for me in other leagues.  If I can avoid the one team folly, I am hoping for a second round appearance. We shall see. An average of 85 wins plus two playoff teams should nab the 24th playoff spot.  

It is a good thing that I did my teams early because I had a severe eye infection in the month of July which prevented me from tweaking my teams at all.  I am hoping the hands off approach and my first inclinations actually are the way to go. 


8/5/2013 11:21 AM
This thread is by far the best thing about the WISC. I hope everyone chimes in when they can.

70m: We'll do better next time
Park: Enron Field
Hitters: 271/349/424 147hr 121sb/36cs
Pitchers: 1362ip 1.13whip 25hr

I probably didn't spend enough time on this team. I started with pitchers who I knew I would want on the 120mil team and who also had a usable season at 70m. That got me some starters and also some relievers. For lower caps I like to run a 5 or 6 man rotation just to get as few 200k guys as possible. So my 120mil rotation is Joss/Cy/Walter (can't beat that), and my 70mil rotation is McQuillan, Maddox, Babe Adams, Cy Young and Niggeling, with Joss and Walter coming out of the 'pen. With that core in place I added Bill Henry and Trevor Hoffman who can pitch well in both leagues, Cy Morgan to give me more innings at 120, and Hal Woodeshick for both.

On offense, I wanted some speed and switch hitting since that's how low caps seem to work. I couldn't find a good shortstop, Ozzie never really dominates a 120mil like you'd like, but I settled on Jose Reyes. My OF/1B is Ruth, Mantle, Beltran, and Willie McGee, with Mantle playing 1B at 70m in his later years. Ruth25 platoons with Davey Lopes at 70m, and Chipper, Robbie Alomar and Yadier Molina round out the cheap team. Neither Robbie or Yadi can hit at all at 70m but Yadi's arm is a necessity for this cap, and I hope he hits OK at 120m if I make it there. I wanted to use a cheap Teixeira season for another switch hitter but couldn't make it work. Same with Carlos Beltran, who I would have loved to find a way to squeeze in.

I'm definitely short on PAs for this team so I'll be playing hitters in the mid-90s. But I didn't want to be short on IPs.

As for the park, Enron is +2 for RH HR, +1 for LH HR and +2 for triples. I needed the triples, my pitchers can handle the HRs, but I just wish it wasn't backwards since my hitters will be hitting lefty most of the time. I'm hoping that there will be at least a few non deadball pitchers here. We don't have a ton of raw steals but everyone has a good percentage.

80m: Hitting .289 and Pitching 2.10
Park: AT&T Park
Hitters: 288/370/425 106hr 293sb/74cs
Pitchers: 1353ip, 1.11whip, 19hr

To get started with this one I picked the pitchers and hitters I liked for this cap, and then checked if there were any other useful players at that number. Hitting .289 gives me Vince Coleman, and also Max Carey and Rickey Henderson for the outfield. Then you can add Jimmy Rollins, Ray Durham and a solid Mel Ott season at 3B to form a pretty nice core. 1B wasn't great (platooning Fullmer and Rickey Jordan) and Milt May was the only A+ arm catcher, but I got a couple of D- fielding catchers that should be interesting backups (Coggin and Gowdy). So within parameters I tried to stick to switch hitters and steals. And I figured that everyone would have deadball pitchers so I went with AT&T and a bunch of non-HR hitting guys. Like most others, I also looked at .312 (Shawn Wooten, also comes with a nice Knoblauch season), .298 (Raines and Mumphrey, but the rest of the .298 guys were sluggers) and .274 (Rickey, Cy Williams and Frank Howard for a Yankee-3 type team). I liked my .321 team (McGraw, Beltre, starting with Milton Bradley) but they cost too much.

For pitching I tried to go with 1.91 (my man Ed Siever, plus Willie Mitchell and Jake Wiemer) but in the end they cost too much. 2.10 starts with Al Maul, and also a great Spud Chandler season and 2 deadballers to round out the rotation (Leever and Liefield). The 2.10 crew was the only one that I could find that had a really good bullpen - Vida closing, Kimbrel, Todd Jones, Lefty Tyler and more. I liked 2.06 a lot but couldn't get the 'pen right.

90m: Card Counters (1906-30)
Park: Sportsmans III
Hitting: 321/382/468, 84hr, 307 2b, 105sb/132cs
Pitching: 1406ip, 1.05whip, 11hr

I knew all along this would be a deadball team, so I looked at shortstop first, and the Cards, Sens, Phillies, Cubs, Giants and Pirates were the ones I liked best. Of those teams, really only the Cubs, Giants and Cards also had a usable 2B.  The Cubs were the obvious team and they were the frontrunners for a long time. The Reulbach/Pfiester/Lundgren/Overall rotation was strong, Hack and Hartnett provided the pop and they actually had a really good bullpen.

Then I thought about a non-deadball team and came really close with the 84-08 Mets, Gooden/Ojeda/Leiter/Sid/Pedro in the rotation. Then I had to cut Doc to keep Beltran, but I still really liked the team with Wright/Reyes/Alfonzo in the infield. I probably should have gone with them.

I tried a deadball Yankees team but I couldn't find a good combo of Ruth/Gehrig that allowed me to fill my infield and stay under the cap. So I finally went back to the deadball Cards and found a pretty good, really low-K rotation (Karger, Bugs Raymond, Jack Taylor) , a surprisingly stout bullpen and of course a great offense anchored by Frisch, Austin McHenry, Hornsby and Les Bell. They definitely lacked the star rotation power that the Cubs had but I decided to roll with the offense over the starters.

100m: 2005 Tigers/1910 Pirates
Park: Comerica
Hitting: 314/369/497, 267 2b, 135 3b, 132hr, 189sb/109cs
Pitching: 1477.2ip, 1.00whip, 33hr

I tried a lot of teams for this one. I figured that the basic construct would be deadball rotation + modern hitters/bullpen. I started with the 2009-2012 Yankees so I could have their park, but never really found a match I liked. The best I could find was the '07 Americans. I liked that team a lot but it was too expensive to get the good versions of the hitters I liked. So finally I had to abandon the Yankees in search of another HR hitting park with a team that could provide most of an offense and a good bullpen. I couldn't find any Wrigley/Kingdome/Tiger Stadium teams, and I was a little leery of AFC. I came closest with the '17 Red Sox with a modern Cubs team (2002/2006, with Maddux) but the hitters just weren't good enough. Stupid bad Cubs.

Finally I figured that if everyone else was going to have deadball pitchers, maybe I shouldn't bother with HR hitters. So I paired up my 2 favorite outfielders (Chief Wilson and Granderson) with a great Pirates pitching staff. The '05 Tigers are a really good twist team, with Pudge Rodriguez and a ton of relievers, plus Polanco and Dmitri Young. I was happy to use Honus at SS but had to compromise a bit with Tommy Leach at 3B. At least he had 26 triples. These guys may not have enough offense but I'm hoping defense, pitching and triples will carry the day.

110mil: Twenty-Five One Percenters
Park: Tiger Stadium
Hitting: 327/436/522 323 2b, 191hr, 223sb/112cs
Pitching: 1517ip, 0.94whip, 14hr

Expecting that most people would platoon, I wanted to draft a rotation of all L/R tandems and a lot of switch hitters on offense. The switch hitters proved to be a little tricky to fit in, but I still got Chipper, Mantle and Milton Bradley. I drafted 4 outfielders (Mantle/Bradley, Billy Hamilton, Mike Griffin) and Bradley will fill in at all 3 spots, with the other guys set to 99% auto-rest. The rest are just a straight L/R platoon, with Joe Harris filling both 1B/DH and Terry Shumpert filling both 2B/3B.

On the pitching staff, I've got Fred Anderson/Ferdie Schupp, Harry Krause/ernie Shore, Jack Pfiester/George Mcquillan for my 3 tandems, and 5 relievers in the bullpen. These guys don't run a lot, and Hamilton/Griffin aren't great fits for Tiger Stadium. They also don't have a ton of power, but they do have some, and they walk a lot, so it was the best park I could find.

120m: I Soduku, Do You?
Park: Robison
Hitting: 325/422/529, 169hr, 339 2b, 207sb/123cs
Pitching: 1554ip, 0.92whip, 31hr

I figured this would be a really interesting league. Teams could really stack their pitching staff with deadballers, but the soduku aspect and the cap of 30mil per year might make it a little tough. So I've got some power hitters. I started with 1995 Maddux, even though I wasn't sure there was anyone else in '95 worth having. I ultimately used Bonds and Norm Charlton and Troy Percival when I ran out of good bullpen options. Then I wanted to make sure I got a shortstop and some deadballers so I went with.... 1906, not 1908, because I was looking for a 4-man rotation and liked White and Pfiester.  Then I added 1914 to get Dutch Leonard and Tris Speaker, and rounded things out with '87 (Boggs, Tim Raines) and '32 (Lazzeri, Cochrane, Gehrig). Even though they offered up good hitters, the 87/95 combo didn't give me a ton of great relievers, but I pieced things together with Tim Burke and Dave Smith, along with Fritz Coumbe from 1914.

This team actually has a solid bench (Joe Medwick, Domingo Ramos, Mike Mowrey) so I hope I don't wish I spent that money on starters.
8/5/2013 1:42 PM

70M – There is No Tomorrow

Hitters: .274/.381/.415 112hrs  99sb/100cs
Pitchers: 1305ip  2.57era  1.07whip  45hrs_allowed

My first step to building this team: Set up a 120M team and build it in a parallel to this team. I didn’t do that last year with a similar theme and I regretted it later. This time, I have my 120M team ready to go if, heaven forbid, I advance to round 2. Second step: Start with Hughie Jennings and Rogers Hornsby. They both have lots of great years for 120M, and they both have 200Kish years for the 70M. So that got the MI out of the way. Next step: Add Gene Tenace! I knew I would need a kick-*** C to halt those damn speedster teams. Gene Tenace also happens to have a great part-time year for the 120M. Step 4: Use John Kruk. I really like him for the 70M level, and he has some excellent seasons that work for the 120M level too. After that, it was a matter of looking through the feasible 70M players and finding a corresponding scrub, or awesome year for the 120M team. The players are in 3 categories: 1). Valid 70M player, 120M scrub (Brad Wilkerson is a prime example), 2). Valid 120M, 70M scrub (Mel Ott is another example, besides Hornsby and Jennings), or 3). Valid in both (Carl Yazstremski works very nicely in both, for example, not to mention most of my pitching).

Why didn’t a build a speedster team like many others? Because… er… well, I don’t know. They do seem to consistently score a few runs a game, rather than score runs in bunches and then don’t score at all in other games. But, I’ve done fine with my non-speedster teams at this level. From what I can tell, my OBP is one of the highest that I’ve seen for this theme.
Expectations: 87 wins, squeak into the playoffs.

80M – .301AVG/1.91ERA

Hitters: .301/.396/.467 137hrs  106sb/78cs
Pitchers: 1400ip  2.03era  1.06whip  65hrs_allowed

I started first with the pitching. I set my filters on my pitcher search to acceptable levels, and then slowly walked from a ridiculous ERA to be higher and higher. 1.91 was the first option I found that allowed me to get enough affordable pitching with, again, all other pitching values being acceptable levels. I continued going up and up to higher ERAs, and didn’t like anything else, or it was several million more expensive, or whatever. So, 1.91 was my first choice.

For the hitting, again, I set my filters on my hitter search to acceptable levels and slowly walked from a low BA to past .300. The .301 hitters were the first ones to be affordable at all positions, although it required two part-time players to fill 3B (nothing wrong with that though…). Again, nothing else after .301 worked for me; it wasn’t really even close. So, that was that. I had saved this team for last thinking it would be the hardest to build, but it turns out it was pretty simple.

I have Wilbur Wood and Ed Siever as my two main starters. Wilbur gives up a bunch of homers (that was one reason he was affordable), but Ed gives up zero homers, so hopefully together, it will even out!

I don’t love the team though. Expectations are again, 87 wins, squeak into the playoffs.

90M – 1910-34NYGiants

Hitters: .315/.395/.463 98hrs  218sb/177cs
Pitchers: 1427ip  2.08era  0.99whip  35hrs_allowed

Well, first I tried to build a speedster team which was the 1981-2005 Cards. In fact, I see someone in my league actually built that exact team (although inexplicably they didn’t use Vince Coleman!). The team wasn’t bad, and certainly had lots of speed and good sb% and all that, but the pitching was just not good enough. John Tudor can only carry you so far after all. But, I did complete the team, and then set out to beat it.

I love the NYGiants for this sort of theme because they have the great 1916-1919 run of Schupp, Anderson, Toney, and Nehf. Of course, Schupp was too expensive for this level, but Sallee is a very nice backup plan. I also very much like the ’33 Hubbell and felt if I could link up the ’09 Mathewson to the ’33 Hubbell, with Toney and Nehf and such in between, it would be awesome! Well sure, it would have been do-able with more money, but with 90M, it just didn’t work. I gave up on ’09 Mathewson after much gnashing of teeth, and then brought in the ’15 Tesreau instead. The Giants, in my opinion, have a far better collection of overall hitting than do other teams in this era, including those ’02-’26 Indians. Snodgrass in ’10 is great, George Burns has many solid seasons to choose from, as does Ross Youngs. Travis Jackson is an A+ range SS making up for Larry Doyle’s not-so-good defense (hopefully), but Doyle normalizes exceptionally well. Mel Ott in ’34 is the final piece of the puzzle. So, NYGiants in, speedy STLCards out!

I thought I would be in trouble after noting that a gazillion of you picked the ’02-’26 Indians, but I don’t think they are going to hit enough, and after Joss and Bernhard, the pitching is not that impressive. I was also lucky to have been placed in a division with 3 modern teams. My opinion is that the deadball era pitching is going to lay waste to those modern teams. At least, I certainly hope so within my division ;-).

Expectation: 89 wins – enough to win the division.

100M – 1910 Indians/2000 Red Sox

Hitters: .332/.401/.510 115hrs  128sb/126cs
Pitchers: 1437ip  1.97era  0.91whip  49hrs_allowed

Must… have… Addie Joss! That was my first thought for this theme, and so I scoured the Indians teams he was on. 1910 was clearly the best choice since it had Joss, Cy Young, and Cy Falkenberg. That’s a great start. But they also had Shoeless Joe (OF 1), Elmer Flick (OF 2), Nap Lajoie (2B), Bill Bradley (3B), and Ted Easterley (4/5 of a catcher), all of whom normalize extremely well. In fact, I will just go ahead and say that if you didn’t pick the 1910 Indians as one of your two teams, you are already behind! (Obviously… we’ll see if that proclamation is correct in a couple months ;-) ).

For the 2nd team, I wanted a modern team that had lots of good relievers to spread out the innings over multiple pitchers. The 2000 Red Sox have Pedro and Lowe of course, but they also have Rheal Cormier, Steve Ontiveros, and Rod Beck, who all had great reliever years. I couldn’t afford Pedro’s best years, but I got his excellent 2001 half-season. The other cool thing about the Red Sox is that they have *a lot* of players to choose from so the mixing and matching provided lots of options to fill things in. I decided to go with Carl Everett as my 3rd OF, Scott Hatteberg to fill in the last 1/5 of the catching, and Nomar and John Valentin to split the SS duties (Valentin is actually a huge doubles machine the year I picked for him). First base however is where things get really wild. I’m going to have a 4-man group of Rico Brogna, Mike Stanley, Gary Gaetti, and Morgan Burkhart play 1B! Having four 1B should mean lots of pinch-hitting options late in games, etc.
I like this team a lot, although it is going to be a bear to manage! Expectations: 93 wins/playoffs.

110M – Everybody Hurts

Hitters: .323/.433/.500 133hrs  178sb/146cs
Pitchers: 1425ip  1.40era  0.82whip  28hrs_allowed

I believe I’m really good at these part-timey teams. Anyway, the first order of business was to build the best kick-*** pitching staff possible. I didn’t worry about platoon stuff; I just wanted the best damn pitchers at this level possible: Joss, Maddux, Toney, Schupp, Nehf, Hearn, Northrop, with Adams as my closer. Basically, no messing around. Latman for example… not good enough! I wanted the best of the best (although Tiny Bonham is my sort-of-mopup guy, even though he is pretty good too!).
As for the hitters, I wanted my middle infield to be mostly full-time, and then backed up by one guy. I also wanted to spend more resources on middle infield. I think 1B and OF and DH had lots and lots and lots of good options in which I could find great bargains. Not so much for those infielders though. So, Honus Wagner, George Grantham, and Denny Lyons are my mostly-fulltime starters at 2B, SS, and 3B, with Jeff Keppinger backing them all up (although I do have other options at 3B too, albeit rather poor ones defensively). Catcher is a simple platoon of Chief Meyers and Jack Lapp. Sheffield and Walker will also platoon in RF.

Then the fun begins! I have 7 players who can all play various combinations of OF, 1B, and DH. I will shuttle them in and out as needed. It is going to be a nightmare! I will have to be on this team after every single game and shuttle someone from point A to point B constantly, but that, I believe, will be the best way to succeed in this league.

I have high hopes for this team: 95 wins/playoffs hopefully?

120M – 08-14-23-67-95

Hitters: .342/.431/.535 151hrs  191sb/142cs
Pitchers: 1497ip  1.43era  0.85whip  25hrs_allowed

Proclamation #2: If you did not pick ’08 as one of your years, you are already behind! Again, we’ll obviously see how correct that proclamation is in a couple months. Anyway, for me, ’08 was an absolutely obvious and necessary choice. Joss, Brown, and Elmer Steele constitute half the pitching, and it is fantastic! Two other scrubs round out ’08. I really wanted to use the ’95 Maddux, so that was next for me. Norm Charlton is also available, so he is my setup man. Actually, the final decision came between using ’94 and ’15, or ’95 and ’14. I see that Schwarze took the other choice. I decided the ’14 Leonard and ’95 Maddux and other considerations trumped the ’15 Alexander. Anyway, ’95 also provided Edgar Martinez’s best season. He will play 1B. 1914 provided Leonard, Benny Kauff, my SS (my worst hitter), and 1/3 of my 3B. 1923 had lots of hitting options. From it, I chose Collins to play 2B, Tris Speaker to play OF (I had to choose between several excellent OFs from that season), and Bubbles Hargrave and Hank Gowdy to play C. That left 1967 which provided two more relievers (Don McMahon and Cisco Carlos, my closer) as well as an absolute stud (per normalization) Yazstremski as my 3rd OF.

So that leaves… 3B. Again, it is going to be an adventure. From ’95 I have 3 players to play 3B, all of them very good, to go with the 3B from 1914. Again… lots of pinch hitting options though! But it will be a nightmare to manage yet again. But what the heck, I’m already micromanaging my 110M team, so why not another (and the 100M too, with its four 1B!).

I think this team should do very well. Again, hoping for 95 wins/playoffs.

You might have noticed that I am predicting playoffs for all six teams. Wow bardin, what an arrogant bastard you are! Probably true but… hopefully I’m an arrogant bastard who is correct! Good luck all…



8/5/2013 7:37 PM (edited)
"Actually, the final decision came between using ’94 and ’15, or ’95 and ’14. I see that Schwarze took the other choice."

When I first started building my roster, I actually started with 14 and 95.  I switched to '15 and '94 because I liked the reliever options I got with the 1915 pitchers. (Falkenberg, Walsh, Dumont).  IMO, '15 Alexander and '94 Maddux vs '08 Brown and '95 Maddux is nearly a wash (I wanted the extra innings too), plus dropping Brown allowed me to add '08 H.Wagner. 

When I first came up with this theme idea, it was originally going to play at a lower cap.  I wonder how that would have changed the distribution of years had this theme been at 80M or 90M.
8/5/2013 5:48 PM
I'm just glad we aren't in the same league!
8/5/2013 6:24 PM
70 Mil--Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Did this one last so by this point I was totally winging it.  Somehow (sleep deprivation), I got the grand idea of building a high doubles team at Polo Grounds V (not sure why I thought this was a good idea).  This strategy did get me a mid-range A-Rod who can start in 120 (even though I won't make Round 2) plus a nice Jimmy Foxx catcher season.  Added a cheap Musial and low cap star Dmitri Young to go with Georges Kell and Burns.  Piazza, Medwick and Hornsby lie in wait for Round 2.  I love Tiny Bonham (Have him in the Sodoku league) so my rotation features him, cheap Pedro and Maddux and ... Watty Clark?  Low IP Joss in the pen.  Mopup Toney and Northrop in case I move on.

80 Mil--.287/2.82

I love me some '89 HoJo so .287 was one of the first BAs I tried.  Lots of good OBP guys to take (Campy, Nicholson, Lu Blue, Rosen) so I got the hitters out of the way pretty quickly.  Played with 2.20 and a few others but couldn't make it work so settled on 2.82 to get '05 Pedro.  Rest of rotation is serviceable with Hooton, Shields and 93 Swift.  Putz and Dawley round out the 'pen.

90 Mil--76-2000 Cards

Drafted like this was a 70 mil league--with the focus on speed and defense.  Saw a couple other owners go this route but most of my league went deadball, leading me to believe that I am headed the wrong way here.  339 RL SBs will hopefully help and some good pop in the middle of the order with Edmonds and Tatis.  85 Tudor, 89 DeLeon and 92 Tewks head up a solid rotation but the 'pen is only marginal.  We'll see how that plays out.

100 Mil--66 Astros/97 M's

Went through a zillion combos here (including the 28 A's/93 Mets, 91 Astros/96 Braves and the 10 Naps and anyone).  I really wanted to get a Maddux/Pedro/Unit team but finally ended up with one that only had Unit.  I have favored modern teams in these WISC Twists--winning the WS with a Paul Quantrill team last year but judging by our hitting through 6 games, that might have been the wrong move (sense a theme here?).  Still, the 97 M's have been a good twist for me before--with Lowe, Unit and El Presidente in the rotation (plus Don Wilson from the 'Stros) and a strong bullpen with Charlton, Latman and Robin Roberts.  HR-heavy lineup at the Kingdome with Junior, Wynn, Edgar, Gentile, A-Rod, Morgan, Wilkins and Jay Buhner.  Looks good on paper but could easily be wiped out by deadballers.

110 Mil--Platoon

Like the name says, I found lefty hitters with 500 PAs and righties with 250 PAs and platooned them.  Spent 60 mil on hitting (336/459/504 including scrubs) so we should score some runs but we skimped a bit on pitching which could cost us.  Pedro, Dutch Leonard, Tiny Bonham (again) and Braxton in the rotation but a bullpen that is inferior to many others in my league.  We'll need to score some runs to win here.

120 Mil--1908/16/37/42/95

I never play high cap leagues but my 120 mil teams have done quite well the last two seasons so that gave me some confidence.  1908 and 95 were no brainers b/c I wanted Joss and Maddux and I quickly added 42 for my boy Tiny Bonham (plus he brings a nice Ted Williams and Joe Gordon along with him).  Platooning my #4 starters between Schupp and Benz,, added Elmer Steele and Charlton to the 'pen.  08 Honus is as good as they get plus 37 Dickey, Greenberg and Joe D and 95 Thome at 3b to squeeze under the cap.  Cautiously optimistic about this one.

8/6/2013 10:45 PM
My only strategy was to not draft any Addie Joss ...
8/8/2013 7:10 PM
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