Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Draft Time Slots Finalized

This link takes you to the day by day draft timeslots. Most days each team has 3 picks, though on a few off days you may have 2 or 4.

There are two tabs on the excel sheet. Hopefully self explanatory, but if not:
  • Tab 1 - Chronological order the the picks each day.
  • Tab 2 - Team View of picks each day. Very handy for a cheat sheet to see what time you pick each day, instead of having to scroll through a list of 63 daily picks.
Also - don't forget to sign up at the forum if your new, or make sure your user id and password work if you a veteran. This is where the drafts takes place - players, team names, team stadiums and some trash talk of course.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Rube Was Stretched Out in the bottom of the Boat ... With an Empty Bottle of Whiskey"

A light hitting outfielder, Davey Jones played in 15 seasons between 1901 and 1918 mostly for the Detroit Tigers. In this clip he speaks about the great pitchers of his era and reminisces a classic Rube Waddell story that perhaps portrays more about the era then Rube himself.

The second clip is short one on Babe Ruth, told by Hans Lobert. The money quote, "He pulled a knife and was going to widdle a couple of us with it".

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Retraction: Early Draft Picks Post

Late last week I basically praised the genius of Brad for his LIMA plan that resulted in back to back World Championships. While he still may be a genius, both he and Steve C of the DC Chips were to quick to point out that Lima de Equipo didn't in fact win ATB X and it was Chippendale's Chips to bring home the title two seasons ago.

How did Steve pull off a World Title in the first year of his existence? Picking second overall certainly helped, and the Chips enjoyed a stellar season out of Barry Bonds - .330 / .490 / .615, 47 HR, 157 R(!), and 125 RBI.

After that it was defense all the way to round out the Top-5 picks for his team. 1909 Eddie Collins was drafted 2nd, followed by 1925 Oscar Charleston, 1910 Pop Lloyd, and 1997 Larry Walker. Each of them ranked among the best defensive players at their positions, and each recorded an Ex defensive rating.

Only Walker excelled with the stick though, batting .291 / .361 / .498 with 32 HR, 116 R, and 124 RBI while Collins and Lloyd barely recorded OPS scores over .700. Charleston did knock in and score over 100, but his .338 OBP and 21 HR's were atypical for a Top 5 draft pick. Still, the focus on defense was a success and more than a few teams the following season attempted to follow suit. Overall, DC enjoyed Ex fielders at C, 1B, 2B, SS, CF, and RF with a Vg defender in LF. His third base platoon was genius too - an Ex defending Ron Santo vs lefties and perhaps the greatest ever ATB season out of Howard Johnson - .510 SLG, 35 HR, 123 RBI.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Early Draft Picks for Past Winners

I regret to no end my decision to purge the Diamond Mind databases after each season. This unfortunate practice continued into ATB VIII or so, and as a result, I have little data on what happened in each of the early seasons.

Since then, however, I have saved not just the seasonal stat lines but every box score. For this post I wanted to investigate the first 3 to 4 draft picks of the last three World Series winners and see if there is any common theme.

Justin's Rockaway Sleep Deprived Insomniacs drafted last overall this year, picking 16th, 17th, 48th, and 49th.

For his first two selections he went defense coupled with stellar OBP/AVG type hitters - 1935 Arky Vaughan and 1910 Ty Cobb. In a disappointing campaign Vaughan batted .260 / .349 / .393 though he did drive in 95 RBI out of the 5th/6th slot in the lineup. Cobb was a stellar lead-of hitter scoring 130 thanks to a .407 OBP and 90 stolen bases.

The next two pics were incredibly, a closer, and a starter that ended up with an ERA approaching 6.00. Eric Gagne lived up to his always lofty expectations saving 41 games with a 2.50 ERA, but Harry Brecheen disappointed and was ultimately benched as a starter.

While not the main topic of the thread, this is an underwhelming opening 4 moves and it's surprising Justin managed to win 94 games, 3rd best in the league. How did he do it?

This was the first season 1800s players were introduced, and the Insomniacs were the first to nab King Kelly. Now a perennial 1st or 2nd rounder, the unknown quantity dropped to the 7th round and paid huge dividends - .337 / .421 / .387 out of the catcher position. Elsewhere, Justin had great seasons from Dan Brouthers (8th round), Monty Stratton (17th round), and Guy Hecker (20th round).

The following season, Brad's Lima de Equipo squad won it all thanks in large part to the first overall pick in the draft. Of course, as has been true in all but 1 season if my memory serves, he selected Babe Ruth. His 1920 season is famous and lived up to all expectations in ATB, putting up historically great numbers - .349 / .481 / .724, 61 HR, 136 R, 151 RBI.

He followed this up with a 40th overall selection of a slap hitting very good defensive center fielder, Billy Hamilton. Hamilton had absolutely no power (19 extra base hits total) but did have a .362 OBP, 99 SB, and scored 115 times.

To complete his outfield with three consecutive picks, Lima went to Hugh Duffy. An off and on ATB player, Duffy was on this season batting .316 / .358 / .443 with 33 2B, 91 R, and 96 RBI; he was also an Ex defender.

In the 4th Brad went to 1991 Cal Ripken, in perhaps a stretch pick, but he was better then average.

Most incredibly, true to the team name (Lima Plan in English) Brad didn't select a starting pitcher until the 11th round. There he chose Tim Lincecum who was horrid (6.07 ERA in only 17 starts) and followed up with Mark Prior in the 14th (5.18 ERA), Cliff Melton in the 22nd, and Dolf Luque in the 23rd.

Only an active owner could have pulled out a win with this squad, and in the Series Brad had to piece together starts from a reliever (Rob Murphy) and a wash-up with just 1 regular season start (Andy Pettitte).

The past two seasons we saw how drafting early hitters while picking up some late pitching depth was the key to each world series championship. In ATB XI last year, Brad emerged victorious again, this time with Bellevue Freakin Franchise drafting 16th of 24 teams.

Infielder Nap Lajoie was selected in the 1st round an performed well - Vg defense with a batting line of .312 / .351 / .472, 95 R, 88 RBI batting 2nd and 3rd. Next up was Oscar Charleston (Ex defense plus .323 / .365 / .456 with 15 HR, 97 R, 90 RBI), Hughie Jennings (Ex shortstop, .365 OBP, 85 SB) and DH Sam Thompson. Thompson too was well above average with 57 extra base hits and 105 Runs Created.

Again, Brad chose the Lima plan first drafting relievers (9th and 10th rounds) then starters very late - Toad Ramsey in the 11th, Cliff Melton in the 16th, Johnny Podres in the 18th, and Billy Pierce in the 21st.

I am hesitant to draw conclusions with just three years of data on hand, but it's difficult not to respect the evidence on hand. In three seasons, with owners drafting 1st, last, and almost smack in the middle, all three times they
  • drafted batting first
  • Ensured at least some of these batters were Vg or better defenders
  • either punted starters or got nothing out of their early round selections of starters anyway
It will be interesting to see if Brad continues with the Lima plan this year and if other owners follow suit and ignore starting pitchers outside of the big 2 - Pedro Martinez and Greg Maddux. It seems to work.

Baseball Reference Change to ERA+

I know so many of us use ERA+ at that any change to the site impacts ATB. Here's a blog post by Sean Forman as to the new way it's calculated.

Bottom line - order of rank stays the same, but those 200 ERA+s are now 150's.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"He was gone 4 days and we lost 4 ball games"

My all time favorite baseball book is "Glory of their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It" by Lawrence Ritter. Compiled in the early to mid 1960s, Ritter resolved to save as much of the early 20th century baseball stories as possible, and to do so, tape-interviewed 20-odd ball players about their playing days. He edited their stories for certain, but left text basically intact giving readers the ability to truly relive the past alongside the player telling the story.

If you're not familiar with the text, "Glory of Their Times" isn't just one of my favorites, but is listed at or near the top of every "Greatest Baseball Books" list.

60 years after it's initial publication, the book was released on Audio. As great as that sounds, the truth is even better. It's not the text read by an actor, rather, the original recordings released in digital-audio format.

I took the liberty of sampling and splicing some of the best portions of each interview and will post them about once per week throughout the pre-season and hopefully most of regular season.

Stories range from the nostalgic (nothing like a good ol' Walter Johnson tale), hilarious (Victory Faust), to the crude (nobody did like Ty Cobb). We'll even get to hear about a pennant lost due to wives that couldn't get along.

First up is a story about Charlie Victor Faust told by Fred Snodgrass. Faust's career consisted of just 2 innings hurled in 1911, but "Victory" Faust was responsible for a trifecta of NY Giant Pennants from '11-'13.

The second and smaller sample is Sam Crawford on Walter Johnson's prowess - "he didn't need any curve!"

Snodgrass on Faust

Crawford on Johnson

Monday, March 22, 2010

Draft Order Determined

With Mike Smitko bearing witness, the following draft order was determined by the Random Number generator in excel.

1) Justin Petronzi
2) Shotgun Spratling
3) Joe Terrry
4) Jason Bernardon
5) Mike Smitko
6) Jay Hatem
7) Brian Barnes
8) Ivar Anderson
9) Allen
10) Matt Brody
11) jeff Burns
12) Steve Chippendale
13) Kevin Crowley
14) Mike Thanasaides
15) Richard Madachik
16) Leanne Sarubbi
17) Johnny Kondovski
18) TJ Olszewski
19) Brad Peterson
20) Lou Poulas

Final Owner List and Divisional Alignment

The ATB XII owner list is finalized, and our 12th season will see us with two divisions of 10 teams each. The top 4 teams in each division will make the playoffs, giving us the highest percentage of playoff bound teams in many a year.

As always, ATB is a friend of the Excel Random Number Generator formula, for which the following alignment has been finalized:

Interestingly enough, of the top 8 owners with the most wins in ATB history, 6 reside in the same division this year. This leaves Justin Petronzi alone atop Greenhorn division, with over 700 more wins more then Jeff Burns, who is second in the division at 300 all time. Justin shouldn't get to cocky though, division wide, the Greenhorn's have a better all time wining percentage then the Mossbacks.

Four owners with 800+ wins highlight the 'on paper' look of the Mossback Division. 204 win owner Jason Bernardon may be the team to beat however, he owns the highest all time winning percentage in ATB history.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Latest Owner List - 3/21

19 of us...

Brad Peterson
Brian Barnes
Ivar Anderson
Jason Bernardon
Jay Hatem
jeff Burns
Joe Terrry
Justin Petronzi
Kevin Crowley
Leanne Sarubbi
Lou Poulas
Matt Brody
Mike Smitko
Mike Thanasaides
Richard Madachik
Shotgun Spratling
Steve Chippendale
TJ Olszewski

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pre-Draft Website Fully Updated

Draft Day Page (with helpful links)

Quick Start Guide

Eligible Seasons Posted

Now both batters and pitchers are online here and here, or accessible via the ATB home page.

2009 Pitching Season Potential

The Best Pitching Seasons of 2009

SP - Chris Carpenter, 17-4, 2.22 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 38 BB, 144 K
SP - Zach Greinke, 16-8, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 51 BB, 242 K
SP - Tin Lincecum, 15-7, 2.48 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 68 BB, 261 K

RP - Andrew Bailey, 6-3, 1.84 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 24 BB, 91 K
RP - Trevor Hoffman, 3-2, 1.83 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 14 BB, 48 K
RP - Mariano Rivera, 3-3, 1.76 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 12 BB, 72 K

2009 Batting Season Potential Part II

I made an erroneous post last night on the best 2009 batting lines. Here is the newest versions of the best players by position in 2009 - according to Poulas ATB math anyway.

  • Joe Mauer, c - .365 / .445 / .587, 28 HR, 96 RBI
  • Albert Pujols, 1b - .327 / .443 / .658, 47 HR, 135 RBI
  • Ben Zobrist, 2b - .297 / .405 / .543, 27 HR, 91 RBI
  • Hanley Ramirez, ss - .342 / .410 / .543, 24 HR, 106 RBI
  • Pablo Sandoval, 3b - .330 / .387 / .556, 25 HR, 90 RBI
  • Ryan Braun, LF - .320 / .386 / .551, 32 HR, 114 RBI
  • Matt Kemp, CF - .297 / .352 / .490, 26 HR, 101 RBI
  • Justin Upton, RF - .300 / .366 / .532, 26 HR, 86 RBI*
* Zobrist is best RF as well, but has positional eligibility at 2b and left him there.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ATB XII Draft Day Set

April 19th!

I will be updating the site in the next few weeks and will post all the pertinent information as it becomes available.