Roster Doctor visits a crazy league

Brent writes about a a head-to-head league:

“The categories are: (offense) runs, singles, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, walks, total bases, batting average, net stolen bases, (pitching) appearances, wins, losses, complete games, walks allowed, strikeouts, ERA, WHIP, quality starts, net saves.

There have been 30 trades made in the league to date. I was planning on shooting for very strong pitching, then trying to be competitive in runs, singles, triples, walks, batting average, and net stolen bases; winning 10-9 every week would be my goal. My trades include sending Jered Weaver for Pablo Sandoval and Rajai Davis (on May 15th), Ryan Howard for Joey Votto (May 23), Adrian Beltre and Gio Gonzalez for Ubaldo Jimenez and Jordan Walden (June 19) and Michael Pineda for Josh Johnson (June 19). I feel my offense is not constructed quite how I’d like.

Thanks
Brent

C- J.P. Arencibia
1B- Joey Votto
2B- Gordon Beckham
3B- Pablo Sandoval
SS- Elvis Andrus
IF- Alex Gordon
LF- Rajai Davis
CF- Michael Bourn
RF- Domonic Brown
OF- Colby Rasmus
UTIL- Jason Bourgeois
Bench- Brett Lawrie

SP- Tim Lincecum
SP- Clayton Kershaw
RP- Joel Hanrahan
RP- Jordan Walden
P- Mike Adams
P- Tyler Clippard
P- Daniel Bard
Bench- Ubaldo Jimenez
Bench- Zack Greinke
Bench- Bud Norris
Bench- Ricky Nolasco
Bench- Carlos Villanueva
DL- Josh Johnson
DL- Johan Santana

Brent:

Your league’s scoring system is crazy. In a typical 5×5 league, the home run is the only larded stat—the only stat the automatically counts for other stats even as it counts for its own stat.

Your league has tons of larded stats. Every hit counts for itself and in total bases (given their rarity, I’m guessing a triple is more valuable than a home run in your league). Complete games, quality starts and wins all have significant overlap.

A team could start a bunch of speedsters on offense and then a bunch of injured pitchers, produce nearly nothing for the week and still win seven categories (triples, net stolen bases, loses, walks allowed, ERA, WHIP, and net saves). So I see the temptation to go for a somewhat extreme strategy. Ultimately, I think you’ve missed a bit though.

The triples category is a teaser. Triples are so rare that it is tempting to think that you can lock away the category by ensuring that you get maybe just three per week. And indeed that’s probably the case. But you are giving up a lot to do it. Likewise for appearances.

Power hitters can be competitive with speedsters in the runs category, particularly when compared to an empty speedster like Davis. You’re handing your opponent home runs, RBI and probably total bases each week for only a near-guaranteed win in triples and net stolen bases (though lately some of your speedsters haven’t been playing much, so even there…).

The strategy of playing three great middle relievers is more interesting. You help yourself in appearances, ERA, WHIP and maybe strikeouts and walks allowed and very maybe losses. But you hurt yourself in wins, net saves (since these pitchers are more likely to ”blow a save” than get one), complete games, and quality starts.

Starting Grienke over, say, Clippard (or Walden, since he’s blowing plenty of saves these days as well) should improve almost all of your counting stats without necessarily harming your ERA or WHIP. I would also look to start Jimenez when match-ups are favorable.

Lastly, given your strategy, some of your trades “make sense.” You were going for speed and batting average and you also felt you had enough starting pitching since you were using middle relievers so widely. From a strategy-neutral perspective, most of these trades are disasters, though. Only getting Votto for Howard could be viewed as a really good trade for you.

I’m not trying to throw stones needlessly here, but this illustrates just how valuable it can be to other teams to find an owner who’s trying to play an extreme strategy and is willing to trade to do it.

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Comments

  1. Brad Johnson said...

    “Starting Grienke over, say, Clippard (or Walden, since he’s blowing plenty of saves these days as well) should improve almost all of your counting stats without necessarily harming your ERA or WHIP. I would also look to start Jimenez when match-ups are favorable.”

    This is only the case if it’s a weekly league. I get the feeling it is not.

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