Monday, December 29, 2008


I was looking around the league checking out stats and what-not when I ran into a couple surprising statistics. So maybe a couple little helpful tidbits is warranted, especially after the draft review I gave. The first of which is player positions.

To change a players position or add positions to a player, it is done through the GM's Office - Edit Rosters screen. If you want to check out what position a player is best suited for, click on his position. It will give you a screen that shows his current/projected ratings and a list of the ML standards by position. At the bottom it will give you a drop down where you can select his primary position and check boxes for any secondary positions you would like him to be able to play. You can even click on Show Recs and the system will do it for you. The Show Recs is not always a good idea as it will select positions that are sometimes very marginal at best.

*Note: DO NOT assign an infield position to a player that throws left handed except 1B.

I was checking out defense at certain positions, primarily 3B, but also applies to 2B and CF. I was surprised to see that most 3B can't really play the position. Thus I saw a lot of errors and minus plays. For instance the defensive stats of an adequate 3B is:

Range: 65
Glove: 70
Arm St: 75
Arm ACC: 70

I am not saying the these exact stats will produce no errors or minus plays. But 1 point below in any category and they will happen more often. Where as points above will cause increased defense. My ideal 3B is:

Range: 70+
Glove: 75+
Arm St: 75
Arm ACC: 75

In simple terms, it is a player too strong for COF and too weak for another position. Most generally I use a near SS, like Hideki Huang. He was originally picked up as a SS, but after careful consideration, he is too weak for the position and I needed his skills at the ML level. His skills dictated that I could play him at 3B while he developed into his primary 2B position at the ML level. He also allows me to use him as a floater, resting other players while maintaining defensive continuity.

What else does the right defensive position players help? The pitchers of course, fewer errors, less pitches and more innings and better stats which can equate to wins. More games are lost due to errors than most acknowledge. However, there must be a good mix between defense and offense that it could lead to a trade off. I know, in another world I had the best defense that led to the 6th best pitching staff, but my offense was horrible. Though, I think it was more of an under-performing offense more than anything.

A players hitting and pitching are about as elusive as catching a greased pig. It isn't as easy as defensive stats. To me it sometimes just depends on how the sim is feeling that day. I wonder if there is an attitude readjustment button they push to make things seem unreal every once in a while.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Season 10 Draft, The Last 8

25. Lariel Andrus, C, Cincinnati Reds: Not much in the way of good catching abilities, would make a good DH. But his hitting prowess is what the Reds like.

Defense: D
Physical: B
Hitting: A
Organization: B+ - Loading up once again with 3 good players in the first round and a good defensive SS in the second makes the Reds have probably the best draft so far.

26. Al Turnbow, RF, New York Yankees: RF is a good place. Hits very well and has lead-off speed.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Hitting: B+
Organization: C+ - Grabbing 3 good hitters was a plus but the pitchers to help the pen was a bit of a bust.

27. Daryl Duncan 1B, Chicago Cubs: He was listed as a DH on my board but I saw through that and would have been my choice with the 17th pick. Nothing like a power hitting 1B even though his health is a little questionable.

Defense: B+
Physical: B
Hitting: A+
Organization: D - After the first pick things went down hill for the Cubs trying to fill with HS players that just doesn't make the grade.

28. Doug Malloy, RP, Kansas City Royals: Not many RP had been taken and KC cashed in on that detail.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Pitching: B+
Organization: C- - After picking so late, by the time the next pick came around there just wasn't much left, but KC took the best available and they were not too shabby, but as ML players could be a slim chance for too many.

29. Chris House, SP, Louisville Swingers: It is late in the 1st round and SP is just not the greatest thing available. House may make a House call, but it will probably be in relief as the pitches just aren't there to be real effective as a SP. He may make a good QB if he remains unsigned.

Defense: B
Physical: A
Pitching: C+
Organization: C- - Selecting 7 pitchers hoping to come up with something viable.

30. Cecil Curtis, RF, Monterrey Corn Dogs: Unknown and unsigned.

Organization: D - You know you have had a bad draft when the best player could be the DH/1B drafted in the 4th round.

31. Willie Ellis, SP, Las Vegas Slobs: Like the last few SP taken, good, just not quality.

Defense: B
Physical: C
Pitching: C+
Organization: C- - Knowing quality pitching wouldn't be available, Vegas went after RP and a quality PC catcher. If the catcher signs, will raise the overall.

32. Mel Woods, LF, Cincinnati Reds: With the second pick of the 1st round the reds score again with another power hitting fielder, though may be better at 1B than LF.

Defense: C
Physical: B
Hitting: B+

Note: For those of you who are new, I rate the players by their ability. Their scores may lower due to certain factors or raise also.

Defense: scored to the drafted position ability and the ML standards, if the owner has not changed it. If it has been changed, then it is rated to the first assigned position.

Physical: Abilities are assessed and a player may be dinged on weak durability, health, and makeup. Any of those below 65 will drop the grade and patience also if it is well below 50.

Hitting: A power hitter is basically looked at by having a good eye, power and contact, good splits are a plus. A for average hitter, looks at everything but power, power closer to 50 is a plus.

Pitching: It depends on several factors, but the better all of the factors, the higher I rate them. I do not look at FB/GB or velocity. It is mostly based on durability, stamina, control, splits and pitches.

Season 10 Draft, The Third 8

17. Pedro Roque, SP, Cleveland Indians: The Indians, oohh that's me, scores again in the middle rounds with a good SP.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Pitching: B+
Organization: D - Actually it was a good draft for the Indians if you look at the players. But we failed miserably because I wanted position players. There were 6 players available that I would have been more than happy with one that went in the next 15 picks.

18. Clarence Valentin, SS, Detroit Detroit: A very good pick that may be better shagging balls in CF. Decent hitter but may be a while before he makes a ML roster.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Hitting: B
Organization: B - Overall the organization did well picking some good position players.

19. Del Estrada, RP, Milwaukee Brewers: The Suds Buds may be happy that the best reliever on their board was available. Not overwhelming in his pitching style, but should be an every day pitcher in the pen.

Defense: A
Physical: A+
Pitching: A-
Organization: ? Went after pitching, but came up empty? I can't see most so I am not sure.

20. Lonny Sanchez, SP, Austin Fightin' Armadillos: A good quality SP for this late in the draft already.

Defense: C
Physical: A+
Pitching: B+
Organization: B Great quality overall especially if the 2nd pick signs.

21. Jay Richard, SS, Toronto Blue Jays: A little weak to be a SS and his health could be an issue, would make a great 3B or a weak 2B.

Defense: B
Physical: B+
Hitting: B+
Organization: B Getting 5 good players with 6 picks was an outstanding job.

22. Footsie Corsi, SP, Salem Mayhem: The "Red Herring" of the draft, sorry weo49. To add insult to injury, to the DL he went in his first start. I have come to the conclusion that you shouldn't draft a player with a funny first name in the 1st round.

Defense: B-
Physical: A-
Pitching: C-
Organization: C+ - Maybe one of the other picks will pull you out of the duldrums. If you were nice this year, maybe the number 2 pick will sign.

23. Vernon Leach, SS, Atlanta Pork-N-Beans: A stretch for him to play SS as I had him playing 2B or 3B. Good hitting ability with lead-off speed.

Defense: B
Physical: A-
Hitting: B+
Organization: C+ - Going after pitching picking late in 1st round is hard but had a modicrum of success. Bubba should fit in nicely.

24. Edwin Cooper, 1B, Jacksonville Beach Boys: Unknown

Organization: C - With 6 1st round picks, I would have expected more myself, though the position players were pretty good picks, the pitching wasn't.

Season 10 Draft, The Second 8

9. George Obermueller, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: I wasn't exactly smitten with this guy on my draft board. Does have some great qualities and can play 1B in his spare time. Could be a good starter but I would think he would be much better at long relief duty.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Pitching: B
Organization: C- - Looking for pitching, CF and a defensive PC catcher but came up somewhat empty handed. Having a high payroll hurts the most.

10. Curtis Farrell, 2B, Trenton Ball Hogs: A defensive 2B/CF with power hitting, makes him worthy of a first round pick. Probably the best position player in the draft, now if he would just sign on the dotted line.

Defense: A+
Physical: A+
Hitting: A
Organization: C- - Looking for key position help and pitching other than Farrell came up empty.

11. Maverick Duran, P, Dover Dung Beetles: Unknown

Organization: C+ - Interesting picks to say the least. As a whole, the draft needs was filled with players that could be potentially great. However, how close to their potential remains to be seen.

12. Steve Ruffin, 2B, St. Louis Barracudas: May not be an All-Star 2B or a GG winner, but adequate as his arm is in question along with his range. Hitting abilities are not in question.

Defense: B-
Physical: A-
Hitting: A-
Organization: C- - Was looking heavily to find a 2B and CF for the future and came up empty handed for a CF.

13. Vicente Estrada, San Diego Dirt Bags: Totally unknown, talk about my scouting not doing their job. It says he was drafted as a RF, I can't even confirm that.

Organization: C- - My guess would be San Diego went for the best hitter available then addressed pitching needs. The pitching may be a bit of a let down except they may do well in San Diego.

14. Lynn Newson, SP, Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses: Not real impressed with his SP abilities but could become a good reliever.

Defense: A
Physical: A
Pitching: C
Organization: B - Needing pitching desperately, actually did a good job snaring adequate future pitching. I assume playing it very conservatively all the way around as the good players came with much added baggage somewhere along the line.

15. Howie Drabek, CF, Pittsburgh Pirates: Too bad this guy is left-handed as he would make a great 2B also. Probably the only power hitting CF in the draft and was only available because he wasn't on the Barracudas board or it was a tough choice?

Defense: A-
Physical: A-
Hitting: A
Organization: B+ Having only 4 picks, did a grest job getting a good position player and bull pen help with the 3rd and 4th picks.

16. Terry Bones, SP, Scottsdale Pepperjackets: The need for a safe signable SP was a tough find and this pitcher fit that category. Although not of great quality could be adequate.

Defense: C
Physical: A
Pitching: C
Organization: C- - Looking for quality pitching was tough and Scottsdale epitomizes that problem.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Season 10 Draft, The First 8

1. Ivan Johnson, P, Santa Fe Heat : To be selected Number 1 is an honor. This kid has the tools and is very versatile. How to use him depends on whose point of view you look at. A two pitch starter? A long reliever? A two inning closer? Now to get him signed.

Defense: D
Physical: A+
Pitching: A+
Organization: C - Went very young with the first 5 picks and most I would consider possible ML prospects but mostly in the interesting possible category.

2. Torey Caminiti, SP, Philadelphia Athletics : Possesses some great pitching skills and will be a fine addition to the pitching staff in the future. Now to get him signed.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Pitching: A+
Organization: D - Having 6 picks and not getting good value hurts. IMO the 5th round pick is the best of the bunch.

3. Brendan Hartman, SS, Arizona Splashlogs : Unknown


4. Pepe Crespo, RF, New York Mets : His health could be a cause for concern due to his weak legs. Will probably end up a 1B because he just doesn't have the side to side movement. Has the skills for a contact lead-off hitter.

Defense: D
Physical: C
Hitting: B+
Organization: C- - With 6 picks and looking to bolster the offense and defense but came up pretty empty. The 2nd round pick looks real nice though.

5. Phil Houston, 2B, Vancouver Canadians: The way I see him currently is that he won't play 2B with a pretty poor glove and about the only thing left is COF/1B. Has the skills to be a good lead-off hitter however. Now to get him signed.

Defense: D
Physical: A+
Hitting: B+
Organization: B - The idea was to get the best available position player then address the bull pen which was accomplished for the most part. Hope the 4th round pick can play hockey, he sure can't pitch.

6. Murray Ramsey, 1B, Washington D.C. Senators: Power hitting and defensive 1B. A very good combo if his health doesn't do him in.

Defense: A
Physical: B
Hitting: A+
Organization: C- - Looking for a power 1B and address the pitching was the idea, the 1B part was covered but the pitching just wasn't found.

7. Alex Manzanillo SS, Oklahoma City Kevin Durants: One of the hardest things to lay one hands on is a power defensive SS and here is one. Hopefully his career won't be cut short due to injury.

Defense: A
Physical: B+
Hitting: A
Organization: C+ - Hoping to find two quality key position players then hope for some pitching in the later rounds. For the most part was successful.

8. Bart Ross, C, Huntington Good Will: There are usually two kinds of catchers in the draft, power hitters with no defensive skills or weak hitting wonders with a defensive attitude. Although not a premier PC defensive catcher is highly adequate behind the plate. Overall the best catcher I have ever seen in the draft here.

Defense: B
Physical: B
Hitting: A++
Organization: B - A value seeker taking chances that paid big dividends. Sneaking in to take an excellent overpriced SP in the 2nd round and a possible quality starter in the 3rd helps even if the 4th and 5th round picks don't sign, the rest make up for it very well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Draft Thoughts

This years draft pool was something else entirely. When I first looked at it I was happy to say the least. The past drafts I had been focused on the deep need for pitching, this one I wasn't in that deep need. The first thing on my shopping list was an All-Star power hitting defensive PC catcher. That in itself is the toughest thing to get other than a true number one starting pitcher. Well, the one available was a power hitter, but my scouts actually showed me he was only a DH in disguise. The best DH could actually play 1B, not well but adequate. Now what does one do. The next thing to look at was a SS of course, well, their there are some hitters, but not even close enough to play the position, CF the same way. Next was 2B, yup, the best player on my board and can play CF to boot. Odds of falling to 17th is slim and none. Then there was of course some 1B and COF of questionable defensive abilities available that are power hitters. So this is my top players that were 80 and above and my thoughts on them.

1. Ivan Johnson - Wow, surely the scouts are fibbing, a player like this doesn't exist. I kicked him because of that, if they were telling the truth he would go in the first 5 picks anyway. I was right, number 1.
2. Torey Caminiti - A number two starting pitcher at best but still real good. A top 5 pick anyway. Went number 2.
3. Alex Manzanillo - A power hitting SS. Defensively not a SS, but a real strong 2B or 3B and good hitting skill. Another top 5 pick. Went number 7, maybe not on a lot of upper boards.
4. Curtis Farrell - Best position player on my board in my opinion, so what if he is a little weak against lefties, he is a GG 2B or CF. Went number 10.
5. Steve Ruffin - Decent hitting, can't play 2B well enough, so it would be 1B/LF. To me is is overrated so down the list he goes. Went 12th.
6. George Obermueller - A pitcher, are we sure? Come on scouting. Doesn't really have the pitches for a SP, could this be the "red herring" player? Kicked him out. Drafted 9th.
7. Clarence Valentin - Can hit some and play 2B but not SS as listed. Drafted 18th.
8. Murray Ramsey - What a power hitter! And can play 1B! Too bad he has the health of a grasshopper in winter and got kicked out. Drafted 6.
9. Willie Thompson - Listed as a LF but can only play 1B. A little light on contact maybe for an outstanding power hitter. Drafted 49th. Not sure why he fell so low myself.
10. Phil Houston - Listed as a 2B, not in my books, RF at best. Good non power hitter. Drafted 5th.
11. Daryl Duncan - Hmmmm, Listed as a DH but may be a weak 1B, but what a hitter. Drafted 27th.
12. Jay Richard - Listed as a SS, maybe as a backup, better qualified as weak 3B and even better 2B. Not the greatest hitting ability. Drafted 21st.

Well, I didn't end of with any of those players and probably should have. Why not? Because I started with the best 3 pitchers on my board. Low and behold I got one of them. Funny this draft, I only had five pitchers in my top 25 and got two of them with the first 2 picks. The second one an accident, I forgot to drop him down lower. But then it wouldn't have mattered, would have picked him regardless of how far he got moved down with my 2nd pick.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fire's Power Rankings #1

Just when you thought it was safe to read the blog, here comes something that will leave you scratching your head. These power rankings have nothing to do with the standings but overall team play. Factors that can effect these rankings is the schedule, ball parks, injuries and team speed. Should a team use this to rush out and fix an area? The answer only depends, because fixing one area could break another. The number in the parents is the teams overall score.

1. Tampa Bay Rays (34) - Defense could be hurting the teams chances.
2. Huntington Good Will (38) - Outhitting teams on the road.
3. St. Louis Barracudas (43) - Pitching, not much else happening.
4. Las Vegas Slobs(44) - Pitching and defense goes a long way sometimes.
5. Monterrey Corn Dogs (46) - Pitchers try to fake injuries at home.
6. Kansas City Royals (52) - Pitchers play "Please Mr Custer" at home.
7. New York Yankees (53) - Plays well for the most part but could be better.
8. Detroit Detroit (58) - Gets out hit at home.
9. Austin Fightin' Armadillos (59) - Nothing goes right at home.
10. Salt Lake City Multiple Spouses (63) - Duck and cover at home.
11. Toronto Blue Jays (64) - The team bus left for the airport, the pitchers stayed home.
12. Dover Dung Beetles (70) - Hitting is even, defense is good, not sure what to make of the pitching.
13. San Diego Dirt Bags (76) - Hitting? I can understand at home, but worse on the road.
14. Philadelphia Athletics (77) - Defense or lack of it.
15. Arizona Splashlogs (85) - Goes on vacation and doesn't tell anybody?
16. Washington D.C. Senators (90) - Once we find some pitching we will win.

1. Chicago Cubs (35) - Hitting isn't really that good, but the pitching and defense is.
2. Cincinnati Reds (43) - Defense? and away hitting...
3. Louisville Swingers (45) - Defense and hitting, pitching is 2nd rate and maybe worse.
4. Vancouver Canadians (46) - Something goes astray on the road.
5. Jacksonville Beach Boys (50) - Play better than record indicates.
6. Atlanta Pork-N-Beans (51) - Defense and home field hurts.
7. Houston Astros (52) - Team isn't broke, it's the Juice Box.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates (53) - If we could just hit.
9. Cleveland Indians (56) - Hitting just isn't coming around.
10. New York Mets (62) - Hitting, what is that?
11. Milwaukee Brewers (64) - Everyone else hits at home, why can't we?
12. Trenton Ball Hogs (68) - Start out like a house on fire, then realization sets in that we can't play defense or hit on the road.
13. Salem Mayhem (75) - Forgot to buy gloves, but the corked bats are working. Now if I could just find some pitching above little league.
16. Santa Fe Heat (81) - It is the stadium I tell ya.
15. Scottsdale Pepperjackets (83) - The mist for dry air, that didn't help either.
16. Oklahoma City Kevin Durants (88) - We are learning and getting better and you can take that to the bank.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Combating Minor League Pitching Fatigue Update

I was asked a question as what to do if you can't check your teams three times a day. I put a lot of thought into what I would do to for that situation. First I think I would change the lineup to only 10 players, the bench person would need to be a decent player that could cover about every position in case of injury. Position players then would be held in inactive status and changed out every few games. This would take longer because you would need to change the depth charts every time one makes an adjustment. A six man rotation would be the best course of action because you could increase the TPC and MPC by 10 to 15 pitches so they could go longer. The pitchers would all need to have a stamina of at least 68 so the TPC could be set to 90 and MPC of 105 (recovery rate should be in the mid 20's also). The pen would be about the same but their TPC and MPC should be lowered even further along with their fatigue pull level. I would go with more pitchers and set the TPC and MPC so they only cover 1 inning. This will allow more actual Setup A pitchers in the loop, but would still need about 3 or 4 long reliever types. The call pen should still be a 1 or a 2 in any case.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Combating Minor League Pitching Fatigue

There is probably more than one way to do it. But this is how I do it. For one, I could care less if a minor league team actually wins or losses. It is more how they play the game. I do prefer them to win by the way. I either run 12 or 13 pitchers active depending except rookie where I run 17. I normally have 2 to 3 pitchers or more inactive at each level. Unlike some, if a pitcher fatigue level isn't at 100%, I rest him. If his recovery doesn't restore him to 100% the next day then I deactivate him and activate another that is rested. It doesn't matter if a pitcher stays active the entire season as some would say they must. I haven't seen any progression difference whether they are active or inactive. The entire key is getting them innings pitched. So I shuttle the pen in and out after every game where needed, yeah it may take a couple minutes but it is worth it.

The biggest thing is the starting pitchers. Put their TPC at no more than plus 10 of their stamina, then add 15 for their MPC. The catch at doing this is to set the bull pen call to 1 or 2. I usually use 2. If you have health risk pitchers, do not use 1 on the call pen, use 2 or 3 for them (I use 3). This ensures that the rotation is not overly burdened and I don't have to change it unless I want to use a different pitcher or one gets injured. They also usually pitch around 6 innings per outing or more. If the rotation is not getting overly fatigued then increase the TPC by 5 after awhile and see if fatigue holds acceptable levels on the rotation.

The pen is also tough. You don't want no more than three actual relief pitchers and one should be the closer. Sometimes I don't even run a closer, but if you have one that is to be a closer, it is always real nice to put him there and set it so he only pitches the 9th inning. You can run with two setup types and the rest should be starting pitchers that you really could care less about as starters or middle relievers. The setup guys run their TPC and MPC to equal their stamina without going over. The other starting pitchers..errr..long relievers, set their TPC and MPC to half their stamina plus 5. I don't really make any distinction as to Long Relievers and Setup A in the minors, I call them all Setup A. That way I don't have to look as to what they are. The simmy will bring in the right one when needed it seems. I may run a Mop Up pitcher if I am really mad at one of them for not being able to pitch well. The actual Setup guys I shuttle back and forth from active to inactive when needed.

One thing about a closer is that I rarely take him out of the closers role and rest him unless his fatigue level goes below 50 or recovery is more than 2 days, he is the only exception as they are seldom called on two days in a row.

I rarely have minor league fatigue problems using this formula, but it does take about 5 minutes to make sure things are all set and nobody is fatigued. My fatigue problems usually occur when one gets injured in an early inning and then I have to fight to right the ship for a day or two.

Analyze Analyze Analyze

So your having trouble and your not sure what the problem is. The answer could be a couple clicks away without realizing it. Remember in the previous post I talked about having a notebook with an encyclopedia of information? Well that notebook is available by the way, one just has to analyze what it is telling you. Analyzing the information is the tough part. At the beginning of the season it is useless until about the 25th game, that gives time for players to settle down to most of their norms. Well, it is game 30 and it is time to start using the info and the part of your brain that seldom gets used.

I just came off a very tough 6 game schedule. At Santa Fe and a home series against the Cubs. It is always tough to play against the Heat in their home park, especially when your team is not hitting well. I was surprised that my pitching staff held out in the first two games. The 3rd game I had the wrong starting pitcher, my fault, well, not really, I was out of options, because I had to prepare for the Cubs. The Cubs actually got ambushed at the Jake. It should have been a sweep and a hit by Jackson or Dong would have provided that. But, alas, the game went to extra innings and with no bench the inevitable occurred in the 10th, thankfully.

Now I have 3 games at Scottsdale and 3 games at Pittsburgh. What is the first thing to look at? The ballpark itself of course. Davis park is for hitters, got that covered I hope. Is the defense set for the park? Not really, but it is time to rest a player here and there so I am kind of giving up a little defense at 2B. How about pitching? Well it is set accordingly, whether that turns into wins is another story.

So what do I use to fine tune the pitching staff? Statistics and brain power, ok, so the last part may be a little But the info is there if you just take the time to look for it. Those stat pages are there for a reason, it is time to look those over the day before playing to align your team and just don't look at totals, you need to look at home and away. What batters do I need to be aware of? Angel Maduro, Lou Forest and Quilvio Martin for the most part. And what about your own? Do you need to adjust the lineup to take advantage?

For the opener in pitching he is throwing Yankee Redneck Bobby Ray Fox at me. He is a decent GB pitcher but his stats at home are undesirable and my offense should eat him alive. Notice, I said should, doesn't mean it will happen. I am pitching Hub Strange, also of dubious quality, especially over rated. But why? As his name implies, he is a strange one. He doesn't pitch all that great at home where things are rather neutral, but tends to do well in hitters parks. I tend to think it may have something to do with control, but it is only a guess. This is where a PC catcher comes in handy. What will happen is only a guess.

But who will he pitch the next game? You can get that by looking at the depth charts most generally. Accordingly it will be the young Tomas Valdez, whom I will have more trouble with than Fox in my opinion then Vic Lee. Now it is back to the stats again to determine if I can change the rotation to try and match up better.

More to the point also, time to analyze the minors also. Are you looking for a certain type of hitter? Maybe you need a defensive player? Maybe a pitcher. Time to use those stats and see if one can help your ML team. I have a short bench, actually I have an open slot. Hasn't really caused much of a problem as of yet, well that loss to the Cubs was a direct result. But I am waiting on two players in the minors. I am just not sure which one or if any will actually help. I really don't want to bring Max back to the majors, but may have to in the end. I am kind of waiting for inter-divisional play to make my choice. Or maybe a trade, maybe Max and one of those two young guns for a defensive SS...hmmm

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Catcher/Pitcher Thoughts

Ever wonder how you could simulate pitching in this game? I have wondered this myself as to what formula they use, it is a big secret by the way. I have read the forums and at first I didn't believe the actual pitches were window dressing. But then after thinking about the biometric programming behind throwing one pitch would be ludacris, so it is in all reality window dressing. So I figured I would take a stab at how it would be done and came up with two possibilities.

I thought how it is done in the real world. Ever notice watching TV that every now and then you see a pitcher looking at a binder of notes? What would this book contain? I would think it holds almost an encyclopedia of knowledge. For one, there is probably one for every team home and away that contains more biometric information you can imagine on each batter and their tendencies and personal notes. I am wondering when gloves will have the back band that is actually a computer to tell players this information so they can adjust accordingly. Ballplayers may actually have to have a real IQ one of these days. A lot of times the pitch to be thrown is signaled into the catcher from the bench and this might be more of how it will done in the future. Usefulness of a PDA, egads, baseball and the information age combined. I wonder if advanced scouting may play a role.....

Anyway, after much thinking and drawing my own conclusions to how this is done, doesn't make sense all the time. There are too many factors involved to completely catch them all and this is only a guess. As I said, I came up with two possibilities.

First some things that everyone can find out using the extended function. Just about every plate appearance a batter gets about 3 to 4 pitches on average, but that is a little deceiving in all reality. Pitchers throw the same number of pitches also. I was even amazed that the great Pulido threw an average of 3.71 pitches per batter. Of course that can be a little deceiving also. Using Yamil as an example though tells me that a pitcher throws more pitches later in a game due to tiredness. So it would seem this is tracked also and abilities do deteriorate over the course of a game. It is also possible that this actually lends a hand in the effectiveness come playoff time, something they call dead-arm syndrome these days. And then there is an assumption to be made of course, a pitcher throws a maximum of 5 pitches to any batter per plate appearance. There is one other thing I can't account for accurately is the different type of pitchers in velocity.

Possibility 1: The first is the aggregate way, which I understand was the original concept in the beginning. However, was just the pitches added up or was all the stats combined to one score for a pitcher? My feeling is that it would have been just the non-zero pitches. Then add in the catchers PC ability to come up with a total aggregate score. Notice, I said non-zero, so if a pitcher has non-zero pitches, what would the zeros contain. I would assume, they would repeat the other pitches until all five pitches are populated. They could also be populated with the pitchers best pitches also regardless of where they fall. Then pitches would be thrown until the batter made contact, walked or struck out. Other factors, control, splits, GB/FB, velocity and ball park, wouldn't come into play until the batter determination is made.

Possibility 2: I kind of think this is how it is done currently. Once again, since I assume that a pitcher only throws 5 pitches in the resolution of an AB. The non-zero pitches are populated with either repeating the pitches until they are filled in some manner. Each pitch is then given a modifier based on the PC of the catcher. If 50 PC is ML level then that would be a 0 modifier, the modifier wouldn't really amount to much until it reached 75 (under 50 would be negative but wouldn't really hurt until under 40). But then again, the PC of a catcher may not be involved until after the AB is resolved. Since the PC of a catcher helps a pitcher in both ERA and OAV (OAV is a little more important to me), I think it comes more into play of what happens when contact is made.

The part of a PC catcher is two fold in my books. First, it will not help to have a PC catcher unless his PC is 75 and above. I prefer 80 and above myself. Second, the PC catcher is actually next to useless if his defensive capabilities are not above ML standards. The reason you ask, 99% of good PC catchers come with a big negative, they can't hit. One thing about any ML player is, he must be able to do two out of three things well at any position. A defensive PC catcher will stop base thefts, throw runners out and cover the bunt as well as help the pitchers stats. But if your infield defense is lacking, a defensive PC catcher isn't going to help a pitcher all that much. As alluded to in possibility 2, there will be more ground balls by a GB pitcher, the defense will need to field those and turn the double play. Yes indeed, there are more DP's with a PC catcher if the defense is there. The same applies to a FB pitcher also, actually they can get a few more ground balls thrown in. I am not sure that a PC catcher helps a strike out pitcher as it comes up inconclusive.

Passed balls by the way appears to based on glove more than anything. I thought maybe it could be an extremely weak pitch and/or control that might cause one. But after doing some heavy research, it is the glove rating that causes most of them and could happen at any time to any catcher. Of course they are only reported in the box score at the worst possible times. Ask sjr, he lost 2 games to Louisville that could be a direct result of a weak gloved catcher.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Impact of Pitch Call Rating

To determine if a catchers pitch call rating impacts a teams era.

To be included in the list a team needed to have 2 catchers who caught for at least 300 innings. The catchers had to have a difference in their pitch call rating of 10 or greater. If a team used more than 3 catchers during the season the catchers with the best and worst pitch call rating were used to determine the effect on the teams era. Essentially the middle catcher was ignored. The stats are based on season 9. No teams were left out intentionally I just got tired of doing it.

The first number after the catchers name is the pitch call rating, the second is the number of innings they caught, and the third is the team era.

There appears to be some correlation between a catchers pitch call rating and the teams era. Generally a teams era improved when using a catcher with a higher pitch call rating. Obviously there are numerous variables that were not taken into account.

Of the 15 teams 6 teams experienced significant improvement (.50 improvement or greater) in the teams era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.
Of the 15 teams 5 teams experienced marginal improvement in the teams era (.01 to .49) in the teams era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.
Of the 15 teams 4 teams experienced marginal worsening in the teams era (.01 to .49) in the teams era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.
No teams experienced a significantly worse team era when using a catcher with a better pitch call rating.

Rock Long - 35 - 738 - 5.09
Lawrence Plant - 79 - 692 - 4.92

Wascar Sanchez - 40 - 875 - 5.19
Hector Campbell - 81 - 550 - 4.80

Rigo Mateo - 43 - 373 - 7.44
Boots Cannon - 65 - 897 - 5.85

Tommy Mailman - 79 - 897 - 4.40
Neifi Padilla - 89 - 551 - 3.28

Corn Dogs:
John Broome - 43 - 362 - 4.61
Vin Wilkins - 48 - 317 - 3.80
Ariel Serra - 56 - 775 - 4.70

Bey Lynch - 35 - 637 - 4.39
Hideo Yang - 52 - 353 - 5.89
Quilvio Martin - 91 - 451 - 4.68

John Swann - 55 - 434 - 4.53
Jim Lee - 77 - 374 - 5.36
Wesley Garcia - 96 - 595 - 4.86

Multiple Spouses:
Don Lee - 66 - 990 - 5.40
Stone Denham - 81 - 447 - 5.07

Mayhem :
Rickey Andrews - 32 - 788 - 5.20
Reggie Kreuter - 54 - 652 - 4.38

Ball Hogs:
Kelly Rivers - 43 - 349 - 4.58
R.J. Izquierdo - 69 - 580 - 4.85
Ryan Holtz - 73 - 442 - 3.82

Vicente Unamuno - 59 - 992 - 4.13
Achilles Shannon - 71 - 461 - 3.95

Pork N Beans:
Max Lima - 50 - 1025 - 4.72
Vince Fyhrie - 61 - 418 - 4.38

Joey Wilson - 33 - 476 - 7.13
Vic Grudzielanek - 79 - 944 - 6.29

Braden Myers - 44 - 469 - 5.86
Braden Myers - 58 - 989 - 5.07

Hector Ramirez - 67 - 954 - 4.31
Louis Hume - 86 - 487 - 4.78

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Power Rankings

1. Cincinnati Reds - Last seasons WS champs got better this off season with the acquisition of two veterans from the Deuce Droppers (Fightin Armadillos). They could be in a good battle for the North title though. All 4 teams in that division have the potential to win 90+ games.

2. Las Vegas Slobs - Quite possibly the best team in the AL. The Slobs have 8 division titles, and 1 WS championship in 8 seasons, but is this the season the Royals displace the Slobs atop the AL West. The AL West should be one of the best races to watch this season.

3. Kansas City Royals - Since the acquisition of veterans Ramon Dong, Chad Sanders, and Louis Bunch from the Deuce Droppers (Fightin Armadillos) this offseason the Royals should be better this season than last. Last season they won 101 games.

4. Houston Astros - The Astros are running out of excuses. They quite possibly have the most talent of any team in the league. They have more depth at pitching than any team in the league. Their offense is as good as anyone's in the NL. They did a good job of improving their bullpen with the addition of Danny Hennessey.

5. Louisville Swingers - You have to wonder how the loss of Cam Anderson is going to impact them. They still have one of the best SP in the NL in Paulie Sanders. They also have the leagues highest rated player in Albert Johnson.

6. Chicago Cubs - I think I was wrong about the Cubs predicting them to come in 3rd in their division. They have the talent to win a 3rd WS championship.

7. Monterrey Corn Dogs - Quiet this off season, but then again the CDs already have one of the leagues top teams.

8. Atlanta Pork N Beans - They should have the pitching and offense to win 100 games this season, but their defense is poor and they struggle against RH pitchers.

9. Toronto Blue Jays - Great run through the playoffs last season that saw them fall one game short of a WS title.

10. Salem Mayhem - Is Weo the best owner in the league? Season after season the Mayhem win 90+ games and make the playoffs with a lot less talent than many teams. 91 wins each of the last two seasons.