Friday, February 27, 2004

The ugly stats for Mr BJ Ryan when he played for The Kings of VORP

BJ Ryan ERA - 8.31 INN - 17.1 H - 31 R - 18 ER - 16 K - 17 HR - 4

The managerial profile has no "Jesse Orosco" setting that says he absolutely should only be used to face left handed hitters, hence he did face some righties. However look at his 17.1 IP and 31 hits allowed in those innings.

I'm really hoping that going from 7 teams to 10 and diluting the talent pool by 75 players lets the sim engine more accurately reflect the 2003 stats. A few performances in our FSBL league fall too far outside the expected norms for my liking. For example

Mark Mulder 108.1 IP 138 Hits 29 walks 79 k's...that's about 30 more hits than I expected him to have.
Alex Rodriguez .228 BA .289 OBP .440 SLG.....that's way too low for him even if he faced Pedro every game.
Ichiro .238 BA .277 OBP .329 SLG

I blogged about the Tripplett article backed in January. It is a must-read for any serious baseball fan, and in fact it just won the "Primie" for best non-Baseball Primer research project. The other key quote from that article is:

The notion that pitchers don't have as much control over in-play outcomes as they do over defense-independent outcomes is both obvious (in retrospect) and very important.

So we have an idea about what Tripplett thinks. However, the article was written last summer, well after Version 8 of DM had been released. I assume MBSBL is running on V8 since V9 hasn't been released yet. In fact, V9 is overdue, and I'll speculate that maybe it's late so they can program some DIPS-related concepts like BABIP into it. Not to get all misty-eyed, but isn't amazing how much we still don't know about this game? Baseball has been around for 100+ years and nobody seriously studied the issue of BABIP until last summer. That's incredible. What a game.

Jeff, I see your Darin Erstad and raise you Brad Ausmus. Take that!

In regards to how Diamond Mind accounts for DIPS, I really don't know. However, Tom Tippett--the creator of Diamond Mind--wrote his own thoughts on the subject last summer in an article entitled "Can pitchers prevent balls in play?"

"The bottom line, though, is that I am convinced that pitchers do influence in-play outcomes to a significant degree. There's a reason why Charlie Hough and Jamie Moyer and Phil Niekro and Tom Glavine and Bud Black have had successful careers despite mediocre strikeout rates. There's a reason why the top strikeout pitchers have also suppressed in-play hits at a good rate. Using power or control or deception or a knuckleball, pitchers can keep hitters off balance and induce more than their share of routine grounders, popups, and lazy fly balls."

How he incorporates this into the game I can't really say.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

In an effort to top Jeff Sullivan for worst hitter in the league, I snare Darin Erstad as a defensive replacement.

A shame about B.J. Ryan, but hey, maybe he just had a bad (simulated) year. I hear he's coming to spring training in the best shape of his life, that he knows you've gotta play 'em one game at a time, he's just happy to be here, hopes he can help the ball club, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.

The web site is back up...

That's terrible news about BJ Ryan not "simming" well. I had ranked BJ #3 out of all the relievers based on defense-independent pitching stats (DIPS), i.e., K/9, BB/9, and HR/9. BJ's numbers, and their ranking among the top 80 or so pitchers I looked at, were as follows:

11.32 K/9, ranked 4th. Very studly
4.85 BB/9, ranked 73rd. Weak, but typical of several other high-K relievers.
0.18 HR/9, ranked numero uno--1 HR in 50.1 innings

My model weights the HR/9 highly so BJ was ranked near the top. When Jeff picked BJ despite there being several dozen others available with better traditional stats, I thought it was quite astute.

So why should we care? San Shin had asked rhetorically whether DM has its Voros McCracken engine turned on. It's premature to answer, but based on this one example, the engine hasn't been installed, oiled, fueled, or even conceived. This is not good news for the 116'ers since it formed the basis for my pitching draft strategy. The DIPS model was why I selected Miguel Batista as my 4th starter, which left several of you scratching your collective noggins. Batista's 0.61 HR/9 was easily the best in the field at the time.

Another explanation could be Ryan's splits: .497/.745 OPS against L/R, respectively. Maybe the DM manager isn't smart enough to pull him against righties?

Sigh. It's my pick and I can't access the website. Is it down, or is it just me? I can honestly say that I feel bad for me. The 25th round will just have to wait.

Jeff...I just dropped BJ Ryan and his 8+ ERA off my team (the Kings of VORP). Nuf said.....

I figured that grabbing Moises Alou was only fitting on the day the Bartman ball gets blowed up -- blowed up real good, I can hope.

B.J. Ryan and Matt Mantei are stinking it up in your other league? Um, say it ain't so, Metz. Please.

I chickened out at the last minute and decided to go with the hometown boy, Joel Pineiro, over Rockies stud pitcher Shawn Chacon. Thought it would be interesting to see what holds up better, Pineiro's Safeco-deflated 241/308/359/667 line or Chacon's Coors-inflated 243/326/389/715.

With one pick left, I'm probably gonna have to get a sixth reliever, but I may foolishly grab a sixth starter in Chacon and move my best starter in Villarreal to relief. At the last minute, I'll probably go with the safe pick and grab a reliever with an OPS against in the low-600s.

I'm so ready to get this thing underway.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

ahhh platoons....I built a heavily platooned team in the FSBL league I'm playing in. It's a work only league with only 7 teams. I have platoons at 1st, 3rd, DH and Catcher. How is it working out? My left handed lineup is crushing right handed pitchers to the tune of .291 / .369 / .518. My biggest disappointment is Jim Thome who is hitting .204 / .314 / .484. Of his 45 hits he has 14 home runs.

My right handed lineup is woefully anemic with a .238 / .329 / .455 line. Lucky for me I face right handed pitching 70% of the time. I've also gotten pretty horrible performances from my designated matchup relievers (BJ Ryan, urgh, Matt Mantei, argh).

Why am I entering this? Just to warn others that even having great splits in the 2003 season doesn't mean that you'll get the same results in the simulation. We're 80 games into the season and Phil Nevin has a .574 OPS in 91 PA's facing only left handed pitching (a little less than his 1.222 OPS in real life vs. lefties in 2003). I'd be even more concerned if I didn't lead the league by 4 games (that one is for you Mike:-)

I have pitchers with a 2003 real life WHIP of 1.15 getting raked to the tune of of 1.54 WHIP. We have one starter in the league with an ERA under 3 and only 8 with an ERA under 4. We have one guy hitting over .350 (Cory Koskie) and only 10 guys hitting over .300.

So when a question is asked like the last one, the only answer is...We don't know....The sim engine does what it does and there is no predicting it.

I will say that pitchers who threw a lot of innings and struck out a lot of batters in 2003 also are doing it in our sim. Pitchers that walked a lot of guys in 2003 are also doing it in our sim.

Guys who struck out in the real world, strike out in the sim world, Guys that walk, walk, most of the superstars hit like superstars, with a few exceptions (ARod and Manny, unfortunately Mike owns both :-)

I'm quite sure the engine will do very different things in the MBSBL because the talent is more diluted due to the number of teams and we're going to get a unique set of circumstances. Draft with your best instincts and don't get too bummed if your #1 draft choice flames out in this league.

The real fun is going to come about 80 games into the season when the trade talk starts!!!!!


What does DMB do for a pitcher like Affeldt with a starter/reliever ERA split of 4.93/2.56? Does it treat him as more affective as a reliever than a starter?

OK guys - we're almost there! After the 25th round I'll get the manager profile process going. I'm going to create the teams in the DMB engine and have the computer create it's best guess at a profile. I'll then send those on to you and you can give me changes.

Fire Bavasi will have the last pick. I don't have anything to stop the draft so after you make your 25th pick you will get an email - just ignore it.

Stay tuned.

This might be off-topic, but has anyone else noticed how the title of Jeff's blog has the perfect rhythmic cadence for a ballpark chant?

"Fire Buh-Vay-Si! [clap, clap, clap-clap-clap]!"

I will keep this in mind for future blog name-planning.

Wholly unimpressive picks by me this time. Shouse is a guy who disposes of lefties in his sleep (that .501 OPS against looks even better when you consider where he played), and Neifi will be the guy subbing in for Jeter in the later innings. His perfect range with a 60 error rating looks a lot better than DJ's 1 & 112, don't you think?

I probably could have "snagged" Neifi next round, but the novelty of having the worst hitter in our league was just too good to pass up.

I was just reading the Sodo Oh No post about the draft and how little talent there is. I had drawn the opposite conclusion: that someone could use our 10 teams as an argument in favor of contraction. Each team is pretty amazing, and I really think there are jewels left in these last rounds.

I almost took Wilkerson instead of Podsednick thirteen rounds ago--I can't believe a guy with .380 on-base, good power, and close to even splits was available this late. Nice pick-up for the Safe.

My backup pick, Austin Kearns, is firmly in the never-heard-of-him of him category but has an .869 OPS against righties and will round out the bench a bit. It's a bit tough envisioning scenarios for these role players to actually get at-bats since most of my regulars have .800+ OPS from both sides of the plate, but I'm counting on the Diamond Mind manager to get creative.

I went to bed thinking that I had Jolbert Cabrera and Brad Wilkerson both scooped up, via my proxy Mike, but 116 had the same idea. Cabrera can play just about everywhere and will be a valuable pinch-hitter in some situations. Anyway, I am really happy with Brad Wilkerson and Michael Young as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Chris Cappa-Who-Now? Well, I had decided that I'd need six relief pitchers: I'm sort of taking my cue from Sodo Oh No on that, and it stands to reason given that all the pitchers I've taken are short-relief types.

This pick is a bit of a gamble since a) I'm having to speculate on whether Capuano will be allowed to relieve (he started five games, relieved in four) and b) his overall peripherals, while not bad, are nothing to write home about (1.15 WHIP, .686 OPS against). But considering my only other needs are a lefty masher for the bench and a defensive replacement, taking another arm seems to have the largest upside here.

I'm drafting him as a lefty specialist because of his splits. In 31 at-bats, he didn't give up an extra-base hit to lefties last year, yielding a dazzling line of rate stats: .129/.222/.129/.351.

This gives me a second southpaw and a third pitcher that mows down lefties. I'm hoping the Diamond Mind manager settings allow me to be fairly strict about using Capuano only against lefties, since I'm sure he'll make a good LOOGY given these stats.

You know you are having one of those drafts when you watch the last eight players on your "draft board" get selected in the course of ten picks. It started with the speedy Jose Reyes, followed by lefty mashing Keith Osik, followed by Travis Hafner, who crushes righties. This left me Millar, who is no slouch, and gives me depth in right field. Then it just gets painful. The multi-positional Jolbert Cabrera, Brad Wilkerson, Michael Young, and Austin Kearnes all went in order, completely depleting the remaining players on my list.

Michael Young and Brad Wilkerson are great selections, as they field multiple positions, and are effective at the plate.

I think I'll devote my last few picks to defensive replacements. Probably three shortstops, because you can never have enough Jeter backup.

No, I'm not collecting slow, plodding first basemen -- Hafner's got hearty splits against righties (.345/.581./.886) that will make him my pinch bat of choice for certain situations.

By the way, for my next pick: I'm assuming that if a pitcher has relieved once, he can relieve. Mike, if I'm wrong, would you let me know? Huzzah, thanks.

Also, nice snag of Wes Helms, Corey -- 1.000+ OPS against lefties is nice.

Chone Figgins... just couldn't resist the name, or having the last guy on my bench be able to play 4 postions well, and run a bit. I'll probably regret only having Phil Nevin & Matt Stairs at 1B, but my Mientkiedkfadjlfachakzlfdasfioicz pick got took.

There. That last pick o' mine should dispel any myth about a Bordick/Graffanino platoon at short.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I'm back from vacation and very pleased with the picks Mike made in my absence. While I was away skiing for a week Mike totally built our bullpen and managed to grab Bagwell for 1st base putting Giambi at DH where he belongs. Mike also managed to snag 2 starting pitchers with good power numbers. When looking for pitching I look at 3 ratios; WHIP, K/IP and BB/K. Clemens has a pedestrian 1.22 WHIP but a very good 3.28 K/BB and good .90 K/IP, Dreifort is 1.38 WHIP, 2.68 K/BB and .97 K/IP. Both are pretty decent for our #4 and #5 starters.

I'm pleased with bullpen for Sodo. Borowski, Guardado and Mateo will be getting the majority of late inning appearances with Fuentes the situational lefty, Gordon the K specialist and Timlin the inning eating mop up ground ball specialist.

Our latest addition of Teixeira gives us a switch hitting pinch hitter who had a .923 ops vs lefties last year in 173 at bats. I love switch hitters who are dangerous enough hitting from either side to make the other manager think if he really wants to go situational in this at bat.

I'm really impressed with the drafting techniques and strategies I'm witnessing. Lots of thought being put into each pick with some teams thinking very alike (Hi Jeff) and others drafting to a set plan. I've also enjoyed the running commentary in all the blogs.

My picks: With my last two picks, I completed my starting lineup by finalizing two platoons at catcher and first base.

Andres Galarraga didn't have the best OPS against lefties of any first sacker left, but did have a better EqA than, say, Eric Karros, and was a better defensive player. Plus, he can make Edgar feel young (the Cat is two years older) and having both of them enables me to purchase team Geritol in bulk, saving budget dollars. I can also ask him how it feels to have been born the year Maris hit '61.

Since I've got 10 pitchers, it would have taken an excellent value to make me select another in round 21. Ron Mahay was the last reliever I would have considered here, and Onesixteeners snapped him up before I got the chance.

Why take a platoon catcher now as opposed to a bench bat? Two reasons: First, I was going to have to take a second catcher anyway (since I'm going to get a big bat to pinch-hit for Phillips in late-inning situations), and second, adding .050 slugging points to my everday lineup against righties is more likely to score me runs than having a great pinch-hitter. Ramon Hernandez was the last catcher I could find that got me those points.

Hernandez is one of those odd right-handers who hits against righties (.365/.494/.859) much better than lefties (.255/.376/.630), so this gives me the rare righty-righty platoon. Like Phillips, he played in a pitchers' park, so the park effects should favor him in Diamond Mind.

This leaves me looking for righty and a lefty to pinch-hit, and possibly another bullpen arm. I'm taking my cues from Sodo Oh No, who have six relievers -- maybe I need that second lefty. Has Ron Villone been taken yet?

My first lefty was B.J. Ryan, taken three rounds ago. I really wanted Jason Kershner, who What the Hell Happened snatched from my grasp, but I'm satisfied with Ryan. His WHIP is higher, but so are his strikeouts per nine innings, and both players hold lefties to an OPS under .500.

Picks I've loved lately: Mahay, Onesixteeners. Last round, I really liked Troy Percival and Matt Herges as value picks. Will Cunnane was a sweet snag the round prior as well. I had my eye on Carlos Lee, another weird right-hander who can't hit lefties but murders righties. Mariners Weekly got him. What happens if Percival, who is more effective against lefties, faces Lee, who can't hit lefties? Would platoon-minded managers' heads explode?

A question mark: I'm very interested in how pitchers with extreme splits are going to do. Case in point: Chad Bradford, drafted by Mariner Musings. Bradford dims the outlook and narrows the horizons of righties with a .85 WHIP and a .190 batting average against them. Lefties, on the other hand, have good-golly numbers against him: he gives up a 2.27 WHIP to southpaws.

In a league like this, I assumed, there'd be plentiful bench mashers. Hence, I shied away from drafting relievers without respectable splits against one flavor of hitter. The argument, though, works both ways: There are enough relief aces so that, say, Peter's team could bring in Bradford to get me to spend my best lefty pinch hitter, and then laugh as he brings in a lefty killa. Again, we'll have to see how it plays out.

No selection of Juan Pierre would be complete without a reminder that when he went to Wrigley Field, he got the wiggly feel.

You can even click on the video link for a hilarious reminder of such.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Yeah, I wanted Cunnane too. But Chan-Ho Park it will be.

Cracking the Safe has my number... for the third straight time, they have grabbed the player I had #1 on my board by a long shot. This time, its Will Cunnane, easily the top reliever left on the board and who's 550 OPS against crushes most of the relievers picked in the last two rounds by 50 points or so.

So, instead, I go for my RF against lefties and my second favorite Rice University alumni to play for the Mariners - Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuzzzzz. 935 OPS against lefties was not the top outfield hitter out there, but his 5e36 in RF helps firm up the OF D, and his drop off against righties is to the 700's not to the 600's like all of the better hitters still left.

Who needs pitching? Looking forward to trading season...

I haven't checked but I'm bet its the same for relievers. If you had at least one relief appearance you can be a reliever.

I would be up for trying to get through a couple of rounds today, since it is going very slowly still and I think people should have some free time today. It's getting busier for me as the days go on and I would like to get the draft completed.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Am I eligible to start?

If the question is, "To start drinking the bottle of wine I bought to go with dinner," then yes. Yes I am.

What if somebody just threw out a ceremonial first pitch during 2003? Eligible to start?

Since we can use relievers who started at least one game, is it possible to use starters as relievers if they made an appearance in relief?

Now that almost everyone (myself not included) has picked their 5 starters, it seems interesting to note that there are options left (Dreifort was one) who are significantly better against LHB or RHB. The ideal is someone like Pedro who is tough on both but in the 18th Round those don't exist anymore. Since nobody has a blatantly stacked LHB or RHB lineup it will be interesting to see how these pitchers do.

San Shin definitely has the number 1 bullpen right now, and Mariners Weekly the best rotation. Starting lineup is anyones guess, my whole strategy is balance. I might be able to lay claim to best defensive squad, but don't quote me on that.

Frankly, I'm a little shocked Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez lasted this long, so even though he doesn't fill a pressing need for me, I feel like I've got to take him. Now I've got four tough right-handed relievers, though one of them (Spooneybarger) murtalizes lefties.

Palmeiro was the only hitter I was thinking about taking, since he crushes southpaws, and would have made an interesting lefty-lefty first base platoon for me. Mariners Weekly beat me to it.

A lot of nice picks this round. Dreifort is a stud in no-injury leagues, Farnsworth is a nice high-strikeout relief pitcher with balanced splits, Isringhausen mows down right-handers, and DaVanon is DaNicePlatoonPlayer.

Intriguing pick: Kelly Wunsch, who doesn't give up extra-base hits, but doesn't find the plate a lot, either. Was thinking about taking him, since its hard to turn down a lefty that holds hitters to a .139 average and a .205 (!) slugging percentage. Then I saw the .306 on-base percentage against and went all Lou Piniella.

It's a moderate risk, high-reward pick, I think: Nice value at this point in the draft.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Re: Mike Bordick.

Diamond Mind takes into account Veteran Presence, right?

Kiko Calero is a great pick for Trent. I was all set to snag him myself after an all-night debate about whether to pick Kiko or Clement as my fifth starter. Though Kiko only started one game, he did last five innings -- indicating his stamina rating might be higher than other "starters" in the league.

I ultimately concluded that Kiko was slightly better than Matt -- hard to sneeze at 12 K's per nine innings -- but I'm pretty happy with Clement, too.

In fact, many fans don't appreciate (I don't think) how good a year Clement had last year. Pitching in Wrigley Field, he posted a solid 1.23 WHIP, held opposing hitters to a .670 OPS and got a few strikeouts himself. That OPS number is actually lower than Calero's .688, and in a slightly better park for hitters.

So why would I have leaned toward taking Calero? Basically, for three reasons: 1. His WHIP (1.28) and OPS numbers aren't that much worse than Clement's, and his ERA is much better (2.82 to 4.11); 2. His tremendous strikeouts per nine inning advantage (11.97 to 7.6); and 3. the fact that Clement looks like a tool in his ESPN.com photo. He should use the millions he makes to hire a facial hair consultant.

When the Cubs signed Maddux, Clement became arguably the best fifth starter in MLB. Hopefully, he'll be the among the best fifth starters in this league too.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

I'll continue to update my Running Commentary here...

Like Jeff, I thought Spooneybarger would be overlooked a bit longer, and I could snag him next round. James is killing me - first Kim, and then Jordan. Remind me to stack up righties against Cracking the Safe.

With this type of All-Star League, it will be interesting to see if the caveat that great pitching beats great hitting holds true.

After we run the season, and learn how it all works, we'll have to get this group together for a rematch.

If I would have known what I know now in about round, oh, 2, then I would have had a completely different draft strategy. But with that being said, there are still some guys out there who are able to qualify as starting pitchers. Creativity from here on out is key.

The real reason I drafted Jose Valverde: his league-leading 3.000 OPS.

Bonds? You're benched. Valverde, put down that spheroid and pick up a stick.

Sorry for snagging Kim Mariner Optimist. I knew that he was the best starter available by far.

I had to make Brian Jordan my 16th Round pick to spell Garret Anderson and lefties.

Jordan against LHP: .397/.493/.638 that's an OPS of 1.131, which means that Jordan ranks 8th in OPS against lefties in 2003 behind Bonds, Guerrero, Nevin, Pujols, Thomas, and my very own Renteria and Bradley. It also gives me five starter with OPS's of better than 1.000 against LHP.

Kudos to San Shin for snagging Tim Spooneybarger, who has awesome splits.

Tim Spooneybarger is unlucky. No, not just because his name is "Tim Spooneybarger" (Timothy FLOYD Spooneybarger, yet).

No, Tim's unlucky in my estimation because his astonishing peripheral numbers somehow resulted in a quite unseemly earned-run-average. It's like he did everything right -- allowed less than a batter per inning (.90 WHIP), didn't walk anybody, didn't give up extra-base hits (.499 OPS against), had a respectable-if-not-dominating strikeout rate, and somehow managed to take hom an ERA north of four. You ask me, I blame society.

Well, actually, I'd blame the relievers in the 'pen behind him if I could find "inherited runners allowed to score" stats for them. But I'm equal parts busy and lazy today, so I'll just repeat: he held opposing hitters to a less than .500 OPS. Left-handers struggled against him just as badly as right-handers did against Oscar "The Disease" Villarreal, OPS-ing .419.

Speaking of Villarreal, kudos to Corey for outsmarting me and snagging a pitcher I hadn't considered. I looked at Oscar and said "wow, nice right-killing specialist." Didn't even check to see if he'd started a game. Nice find, better than my Kevin Gregg selection, and the Optimist's strategy may have inspired me to make my next pick. We'll see if the guy I've got my eye on is still available. And no, I didn't gain inspiration from the fact that Oscar's last name rhymes with "venereal," but another part of the strategery.

One last point about the 'Spoon. I had my eye on him as of last round -- even had him rated higher than Mantei. I figured, though, that Mantei (as a Proven Closer) migh not last the round, while T. Floyd probably would because of his gnarly ERA. I took Mantei not just for that reason, but also because I was concerned about Spooneybarger's underwhelming strikeout rate (6.87/nine). Having Mantei and Valverde (who strike hitters out at the same rate Gary Barnett says stupid things) made me feel better about having a non-strikeout artist with otherwise outstanding numbers in my bullpen.

Now, for my next "crazy name" pick, I have a feeling Jung Bong will be available in round 17 or so. Ssshhh ...

That's great news, Jeff!

But you still have a freakin awesome rotation, having leveraged that information into grabs of Johan Santana and now Scot Shields. But it definitely means an early play for a pitcher like Prior is not a great decision. In fact, he may not be the best pitcher on your staff.

1. Mark Prior (231/280/352/632)
4. Johan Santana (216/275/367/642)
8. Brandon Webb (212/295/307/601)
15. Matt Morris (252/294/408/702)
16. Scot Shields (247/297/370/667)

But in the same way that Prior in the first may not look so hot, Vlad in the second looks studly knowing that he won't be hurt at all.

It would be fun to do this over later in the season, knowing what we know now (no injuries, pitcher eligibility)...

Oh well, I'll continue to remain optimistic about my chances...

I must say, all these low-inning-good-numbers guys frighten me, since we'll be running the 2003 Season Disk for the season. I just finished a winter season in another sim league using the 2003 Season Disk, and Wilson Alvarez put up a 3.10 ERA in 189 innings. Acevedo put up a 3.16 figure in 133.2 IP. DuBose 3.00 in 138.

Makes my first round Prior selection seem pretty lousy, when guys who'll be more successful are still being taken.

Mike Bordick? I feel better and better about Oscar Villarreal and LIMA Time!

OK, here is the league blog...let's get drafting!

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