Saturday, December 30, 2006

Early Season Pitching Weirdness

After looking some more at the team statistics to date, the pitching stats are really weird. The Adams and Zotti Leagues have virtually identical ERAs of 4.08 and 4.06 respectively. But Adams hitters are posting a .303 BABIP vs. the Adams League's .276 mark. Consequently, the Adams League ERA is 0.35 runs above its fielding independent ERA (4.08 to 3.73) while the Zotti League's mark is almost a half-run lower (4.06 to 4.50). I don't know what to make of that, other than that it may be an early season anomaly. There was a similar pattern last year, but not nearly as divergent.

In any case, the teams with the lowest ERA compared to FIP are South Bay (3.40 vs. 4.23) and Walla Walla (4.47 vs. 5,21) while the team with the biggest differentials the other way are Denver (4.50 vs. 4.03), Brooklyn (3.54 vs. 3.10), and Seattle (3.39 vs. 2.98).

I may be the only one fascinated by this, but it just seems so odd.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Greatest Pitching Performance in SDMB History

I humbly submit that Christopher Hester turned in the greatest pitching performance in the history of SDMB OOTP baseball this simulation. Against Denver's admittedly struggling offense (10th in runs scored), Hester was overpowering. He threw a no hitter, walked only one, and struck out SEVENTEEN.

Let me repeat that. Seventeen strikeouts, one walk, no hits, complete game shutout. His game score of 103 is the first pitching game over 100 in SDMB history.

And I was beginning to worry if he would meet his potential. Silly, silly me.

Back-to-Back Two-Hitters!

Admittedly, it's not a no-hitter (like Seattle's Christopher Hartsell through this past sim), but two Brooklyn pitchers threw back to back two-hit shutouts. Bill Siple threw one against Denver on May 14, followed by one by Eric Setliff on the 15th. Over the two days, Denver hitters went 4-for-57, for a batting average of .070.


Monday, December 25, 2006

Sim 4: Who uploaded:

South Bay
River Cities

... that's all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Class of 2004 - Five Years Later: Where Are They Now?

We did this last year for the Class of 2003, so it's time for another one. Let's see where the first round draft picks from 2004 are today and how they've panned out.

1st pick: SP Sabas Delvalle, Walla Walla
Where is he now: Pitching for Brooklyn

The right-handed starter began his career with Walla Walla in 2004 as the number one pick in the draft. He split the season between A and AA, winning 13 and losing 6, while striking out 202 batters. He likewise had a great season in 2005, going 13-4 in AA and striking out 262 batters in 147 innings. Before the 2006 season, Brooklyn acquired the hurler. He spent most of the year in Kensington (Brooklyn's AAA team) where he was 7-9, with a 5.50 ERA. Nonetheless, he earned a spot in the Brooklyn rotation to start the 2007 season. In his rookie season, he went 12-4, with a 2.66 ERA while fanning 200 batters. In 2008, his record fell to 10-10, although he did strike out 219 batters. He has started the 2009 season with a record of 4-1 and an ERA of 2.78.

2nd pick: RF Brian Frison, Saskatoon
Where is he now: Playing rightfield and batting cleanup for Saskatoon

Frison split the 2004 season between A and AA, where he hit nine home runs and hit about .275. In 2005, he hit 15 home runs for AAA; certainly a nice showing of power, but no indication of things to come. He finally got to The Show in 2006, where in half a season, he hit .271 with six homers. Then something happened. All of a sudden, Frison learned how to power the ball over the fence. In 2007, he wollopped 32 diners, while hitting .275. He followed that season up with a 37-homer season in 2008, where he earned his first All-Star berth and led the league with 126 RBI. He's added another four homers so far to his totals in 2009.

3rd pick: SS Henry Johnson, Seattle
Where is he now? Kent Kings (AA)

Henry Johnson could always run and hit for power, but it seems that he could never hit for average. In five minor league seasons, he has yet to post a .200 batting average, although he has stolen 83 bases in those five years. In addition, despite having such a low average, he has managed to 101 home runs; including hitting 43 in 2007 when he hit only .192. So far, Johnson has yet to get out of AA.

4th pick: SP Vito Renshaw, Brooklyn
Where is he now: Kensington (AAA)

Renshaw was a pick that just never developed the way he was expected to. He started 2004 in Brighton Beach (A), but never really developed and had a breakout year where his skills improved. He finally earned a promotion to Flatbush (AA) in 2008. In a last-ditch attempt to get his abilities moving, he was assigned to start the 2009 season in Kensington, where, so far, he is 1-5 with an ERA of 9.64. This may be the end of the road for the 28-year old Renshaw.

5th pick: SP David Grogan, Virginia
Where is he now: Not playing

Grogan was assigned in 2004 to Virginia's A team, where he posted a 3-4 record with an ERA of 5.31. In 2005, he was assigned to the Dayton Fliers (AAA) where, in 21 starts, he had a Terry-Feltonesque record of 0-15, with an ERA of 11.05. In 2006, he finally earned a AAA win, by posting a record of 1-5 with a 10.62 ERA. 2006 saw Grogan spend time at all three minor league levels, combing for a 2-7 record to finish his career.

6th pick: MR Fletcher Mahurin, Stockholm
Where is he now: Pitching for Dayton (AAA River Cities)

Fletcher Mahurin was assigned to Stockholm's A-ball team in 2004, and remained at that level until early in the 2007 season, by which time he had been traded to River Cities as part of a package for Zachary Whipkey. His promotion to AA in 2007 worked out well as Mahurin posted a 3.16 ERA there. However, his promotion to AAA at season's end didn't work out as well, as Fletcher posted a 6.30 ERA in fourteen games. A return to AA in 2008 proved bad for Fletcher, as he went 0-3, with an ERA of 18.69 in twelve games. However, a promotion to AAA set him right again.

7th pick: SP Danny Mattera, Houston
Where is he now: Not playing

Danny Mattera began the 2004 season with the MiniDillos (A) compiling a 7-7 record with a 5.42 ERA in 18 starts. In 2005, his record dropped to 9-11, with an ERA improvement to 4.44. However, his K/BB ration of 217/33 was certainly a good sign for the future and, at the end of the season, he was listed as Houston's #2 prospect. In 2006, he split the year between A (4-9, 4.92, 19 starts) and AA (1-3, 5.81, 5 starts). In 2007, Houston released the 24-year old starter, ending his career.

8th pick: 3B Alfonso Adrover, California
Where is he now: Missing in action

Adrover was the 1st round pick for California in 2004. Apparently, at some point, he fell victim to the "missing player" problem that we were having years ago and was never reported. He never played a professional game.

9th pick: CF: Kevin Rubio, New York
Where is he now: Playing CF for Jersey City (AAA-New York)

Rubio is a highly-rated prosepct, even today, in the New York system. His first two years in A-ball looked good. He hit about .285 with 29 home runs and 20 stolen bases over those two years. 2006 saw him promoted to AA, where he hit .314 with 14 homers (aside from the nine he hit in A ball that year). A good 2007 season in AA earned him a promotion to AAA, where, in 2008, he hit .313 with 26 dingers and 107 RBI. This year he's hitting .309 so far and could soon be patrolling the outfield in Manhattan fairly shortly.

10th pick: SS Patrick Riddick, Hickory
Where is he now: Still in Edgemont (A-ball)

Patrick Riddick's best season hitting was his first one, in 2004, when he hit .304. Since then, he only topped .265 only once. He did see some time in AA in 2005 and 2006, but has since been relegated to A-ball.

11th pick: SP David Sharma, Butte
Where is he now: Ft. Collins (AA Denver)

David Sharma spent 2004 in A ball, where he posted a 9-8 record. He split 2005 between A and AA, but a poor showing had him sent back to A ball, where he remained until 2008. In 2008, after compiling a 6-12 record with a 5.62ERA, he was sent back to AA, where in four starts, he won one, lost three, but had a respectable 3.81 ERA. He's been assigned to AA Ft. Collins in 2009, but has yet to play a game.

12th pick: P William Maxson, Austin
Where is he now: Tacoma (AAA-Seattle)

William Maxson has steadily climbed up the minor league ranks, first reaching AA in 2006 and reaching it to stay in 2008. 2008 also saw him traded to Seattle and promoted to AAA, where he posted a stellar 1.86 ERA in 16 games. In 2009, he has one win and a 5.40 ERA.

Early Season Oddity

I love looking at the various stats and comparing them to the past. Here are some notes that jumped out at me about the first part of the season:

- The Adams League ERA of 4.32 would be the third highest in history and is 0.31 runs above last year. The Zotti League ERA of 4.07 almost exactly matches last year's 4.09.

- The Zotti League has outhomered Adams 260-195. That follows last year's home run discrepancy of 926-824.

- The Adams BABIP of .310 would be the highest in history. The Zotti mark of .276 would be tied for second lowest. The difference last year was .298 vs. .282

- The Adams batting average of .267 would tie the highest mark of all time. There have only been three league years with lower marks than the current .250 sported by the Zotti League.

- Hitting is much better this year in both leagues. OPS has risen from .699 in the Adams League to .725 and from .708 in the Zotti League to .722.

- South Bay's fielding percentage of .975 would be the worst in history.

- Seattle has turned 15 double plays, which project out to be the fewest in history by a wide, wide margin.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sim 3: Who uploaded?

South Bay
New York
River Cities

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

(the bolder vertical line marks the split between sims)

An open letter to the Zotti league

Good-bye, guys.

It was fun having you chase me for the first few weeks, but I think I'll run away with the league for now.

P.S. Hey Nate, how "vaunted" is my pitching staff now?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sim 2: Who uploaded?

South Bay
River Cities
Walla Walla
New York

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Nate/Zev part II: Extending the minor league draft

During our discussion I pitched to Zev this thought:

1. Our FA list is thin. Always has been. Short of creating more FA, which Zev mentioned and I'm uncomfortable with, I proposed a longer-term solution of extending the minor league draft from 7 rounds to 15.

2. My reasoning here is thus: The curve for talent available in the draft is sharp early and shallower later. Something like this:


But the game calculates talent availability on a curve that considers both number of drafting teams AND number of rounds. So a draft with more rounds looks a bit like:


Yes, there's a few more quality draftable players but the real money in the concept is that there will be more average to fair prospects available for draft.

3. Having more minor league draftable talent available will have the downstream effect of increasing the available talent pool over the next 10 seasons as those players develop and then become minor league or major league free agents. Therefore we see a greater number of free agents who become worth bidding upon in the future.

4. As a secondary benefit the game assigns each year a probability (small but there) that a prospect will, in Markus's words, 'suddenly have the light come on' and their game will improve. This happens more frequently with 2 and 3 star prospects than with 1 star prospects. So with some more of those out there we'll see a greater percentage of 'happy surprises' in the low minors. And I admit to a fondness for such.

Thoughts? Discussions?

I'm off to play Civ IV and listen to Cornership while the kids are still asleep. "Lessons Learned from Rocky I to Rocky III"

Friday, December 08, 2006

OOTP 2007 Update

OK, you all should know by now that I think 2006 sucks infected donkey balls. No surprises there. I think that the engine and stats stuff looks sweet but the user interface could have used about 200 more hours of testing and focus group work to make it properly marketable.

I am comforted by the fact that a decent percentage of posters on the SI boards agree with me. And it looks like Marcus is learning. Here's a post of his concerning next years game OOTP2007:

"I am in the midst of coding OOTP 2007, and the game is making major strides. I can honestly say that this will be the game I personally always wanted to play, it is so much fun that I sometimes have to drag myself away from my league to continue programming. That wasn't really the case while coding 2006, as I simply had no time to really play & enjoy the game myself.

We will not reveal a full list of new features anytime soon, we'll save this for early next year. All I can say right now is that most missing OOTP 6.5 features are back (player popularity, trade block, stars, team focus, weather, bullpen warmup, projected stats, adjustable stats % of AI evaluation etc.) and improved. Of course, we also focus on the existing features in order to improve and fine-tune them. On top of that we'll add more very useful and fancy stuff, and we'll have plenty of time to properly test them too. Beta testing will already start this year! And if all goes well one of these features will be a real blast. And I mean BLAST."

I admit I'd like to jump forward. But certainly not to 2006

Return of the Charts!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Player Assignments

There were a number of teams that needed roster adjustments. In one case, the owner had 26 players on his starting roster. In others, players needed assigning.

Instead of delaying the sim, I resolved each case as I thought best. In the case of the team with too many players, I assigned the player who would have the least impact (based on the assigned roles) to AAA. For assignments, I assigned the players to AAA or the major league roster depending on roster space and the player involved. If a player could not be assigned and the owner wasn't available via IM, I released the player.


Sim 1: Who Uploaded?

New York
River Cities
South Bay

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How to make OOTP work for you: Discussion and comment

Zev and I had a long, drawn out discussion covering many topics today. Others will pop up later. But the topic for today is methods for making your team work for you and not against you. We boiled it down to a few guidelines. I'd be eager to hear the impressions, critiques and different methods from others.

#1. Approach free agents cautiously. Don't sign someone who won't help you win within the next three seasons. Be extremely cautious with any free agent over 30 and wildly cautious with free agents over 35.

#2. Draft picks are valuable. They're your most likely source of cheap talent. Remember, for the first several years a draft pick reaching the majors will contribute almost nothing to your salary.

#3. Use your promotional dates to build your fan interest. A win on a promotional date gives your fan interest, and subsequently your attendance and merchandising revenue, a bump. Fan interest in also spurred by a winning season, a competitive race, and some other factors. But the one you can control is promotional dates. Schedule them, where you can, against weaker teams you expect to beat. You only have 25 promotional dates per year so don't waste them.

#4. If on the bubble about a players long term success deal him. The old saying 'Dealing a player a year early is better than a year late' is as true in OOTP as it is in MLB. Dealing early will get you more talent in return. Similarly, getting rid of a player with one more good year left is better than signing that player for three years and seeing him tank for years 2 and 3.

#5. They're just employees (or bits of software if you prefer). Don't get attached to a player emotionally. When it's time to send a player on his way, whether because of age or because of an up and comer, do it. You'll get value for him and won't be stuck with a non-contributor down the road.

#6. Pay attention to your minor leagues. Make sure your minor league managers can teach the game as best the can. This will make sure your prospects develop to the greatest advantage. Also, make sure to promote your talent as possible. Players respond to greater challenges. They do you no good hitting .350 in AA for several years.

Anyone else have any rules?

And more posts to come from the Zev/Nate discussion later. Including thoughts on drafting, expansion, and more!

SDMB History / Team Stolen Bases

While waiting for the start of the season, here's a quick SDMB History post with some random facts about stolen bases in SDMB history, limited to the 2003-08 seasons as always. I'll also apologize in advance for the lack of information on caught stealing or success rate. The game doesn't track that data by team and it would be very, very difficult to reconstruct the data from player records due to players shifting teams midseason because of trades and the like.

1. There have been 7,205 stolen bases over the six seasons, in 6,156 games. That's 0.58 steals per team per game.

2. There's no real difference between the steal rate of the two leagues, as the Adams League has 3,613 steals and the Zotti League 3,592.

3. Franchise totals:

1,193 SAS (1.05 per game)
828 DEN (1.02)
778 DAN (0.68)
768 COV (0.95)
647 RIV (0.57)
642 SB (0.56)
513 HOU (0.45)
450 WAL (0.39)
382 SEA (0.33)
356 BRK (0.31)
341 HIK (0.42)
307 NY (0.38)

4. The correlation between stolen bases and winning is essentially zero (actually -0.019). The correlation with scoring runs is also basically zero at 0.020.

5. Saskatoon apparently keeps wanting to set the bar higher every year. In 2005, Saskatoon set the record with 183 steals. In 2006, they became the first team to break the 200 steal barrier, swiping 209. In 2007, they broke their own record again, with 250. In 2008, they bettered the mark yet again, with 262 thefts. I guess we know what team goal number one is in the frozen tundra this season.

6. Denver apparently is committed to ending Saskatoon's rule. They've grabbed 209 and 208 bases in the last two years and this offseason added Chet Edwards, who's got 62 and 52 the last two years.

7. On the other hand, you have the truly remarkable 2008 Hickory team. They set what may be an unbreakable mark last year with five stolen bases. Five. All season. In fact, they were so committed to not running that they traded away someone who had one of their five steals. In so doing, Hickory wiped the previous record of 18 by the 2005 New York squad out of the record books. (Note: I repeatedly checked the 2008 Hickory stolen base total because it seemed so impossible. It seems to be true.) (Additional note: Hickory had 95 steals in 2007, so I don't know what the heck was going on there.)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Welcome To Another Exciting Season!

Spring Training is over and a new season dawns. The 2009 OOTP season is here.

Please have your rosters up to date for Opening Day on Thursday.


SDMB History / Greatest Pitching Staffs

After a long delay, the SDMB History project returns with a look at the greatest pitching teams of all time. I only have data from 2003-08 (none for 2002). That said, let's get to the best, ranked by the admittedly imperfect ERA+ statistic (ERA compared to league ERA).

1. Seattle 2008. Last year, Seattle posted a 3.04 ERA that was 32% better than its league. Seattle's ERA may have been lower than justified, as they gave up 74 unearned runs, an unusually high 13% of the total. Seattle's RAA+ (runs allowed average compared to the league) was only 29% better, so if you want to move this staff below the next one to the number two slot in the rankings, I won't gripe too much. However, this team has the lowest staff FIP (a fielding independent approximation of ERA) by far at 2.81. The team gave up 83 home runs (second fewest in history by one homer), walked 379 (fewest in history), and struck out 1,318 hitters (second most in history). Albert Garcia, dealt to South Bay this offseason, paced the staff with a 2.13 ERA over 219 2/3 innings. Tim Vallejo won 13 games, saved four, and struck out 115 hitters in 119 1/3 innings to lead the bullpen, which featured three different closers.

2. River Cities 2007. This is the other clear cut contender for the top pitching staff ever. They posted a record low 2.94 ERA, the only ERA in team history lower than 3.00. However, as run scoring was down in the 2007 ZL, it was only 29% better than the league average. The team's RAA was 30% better than the league and it boasted the second-best FIP, at 3.02. The team was considerably helped by its defense, as its 46 unearned runs were the fourth fewest in history, behind 2006 Seattle with 40, 2007 Hickory with 41, and 2005 Brooklyn with 43. It also gave up a record-low 82 home runs and had the fourth most strikeouts in history, with 1,277. The team also had the lowest opponents' batting average ever, at .223. Sherman Wheeler led the team with a 2.17 ERA, a drop of more than three runs from the previous year as he suddenly and unexpectedly blossomed.

3. Stockholm 2005. Stockholm had a 3.34 ERA that was 25% better than league average. This is also the best pitching staff to win a title. It benefited greatly from the durability of the top two pitchers, as Stephen Jurgens and Casey Plunk had ERAs of 2.80 and 3.06, respectively, while both pitching more than 250 innings. Frank Caroll and Karl Hatch both had more than 10 wins and 10 saves each coming out of the pen.

4. Seattle 2005. Seattle's hurlers had a combined 3.29 ERA, 22% better than league average. This team won 112 games but lost in the Cecil Cup to the aforementioned Stockholm squad. The top four starters (Albert Garcia, Hobert Hagerty, Joe Daye, and Scott Mayhew) all had ERAs under 3.00 while winning a combined 70 games.

5-8. Four teams, River Cities 2008, Stockholm 2004, Florida 2006, and Brooklyn 2008 are all tied for fifth on the list with ERAs 19% better than their league average. Notably, three of these four teams won titles, with the sole exception being last year's Brooklyn squad. The Brooklyn team struck out a record 1,395 hitters though, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.

The best franchise mark is clearly South Bay, which has a 3.52 ERA that is 16% better than the Zotti League average. Three of the South Bay title teams are listed above. The other South Bay title team (Florida, 2007) is 24th on the list with a ERA 11% better than league average.

P.S. The other title team, the 2003 Houston squad, had a 4.10 ERA that was 11% better than league average.

P.P.S. The overall ERA for 2003-2008 is 4.09. The Zotti League's ERA is lower at 4.03 while the Adams League ERA is 4.15. Last year's Adams League, paced by the Seattle and Brooklyn squads as well as Mr. Nelligan, had the lowest ERA ever at 3.75. The highest league ERA ever was the 2003 Adams at 4.54.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Spring Training - This Weekend

We're finally ready for Spring Training. The Rule V draft is done. I'll be running spring training over the weekend, probably on Saturday night.

Please make sure to send in your spring training plans and/or roster adjustments for the 2009 season.

Any questions? Feel free to ask.

I'll also be emailing this post to everyone, just in case some owners don't check out the blog too often.


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