Monday, December 5, 2011

How Much Do Parks Matter?

I'm sure someone has undertaken this research far more in-depth somewhere, but I wanted to figure out the averages for my team (the Portland Timbers, who play in a heavily pitcher-friendly park) throughout Feller history. That way, I could adequately figure out my expectations on a year-to-year basis. To do this, I used OPS for hitting and WHIP for pitching. Here's what I figured out:

In the 17 season history of Feller, Portland has won around 53% of their games.

The average OPS over that time is .737, with the highest being .799 in Season 14, and the lowest being .642 in Season 8.

The average WHIP over that time is 1.32, with the lowest being 1.22 in Seasons 13 and 15, and the highest being 1.46 in Season 9. (This season's WHIP is a historically low 1.18, but that's been offset by poor hitting.)

Ideally, I'd like to compare these stats with a team with a similar overall record that plays in a hitters park and has the same number of seasons for accurate sample sizing. Also, they would preferably play in the National League. The closest example, I think, is Montreal, but they're overall winning percentage is higher (closer to 57%, I believe), and Portland is more of a pitcher's park than Montreal is a hitter's park.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hall of Fame Candidates Season 19

I agree with the previous suggestion about the glut of nominees.  If too many players are nominated "just for fun", it really clutters up the list, and deserving candidates can get lost.
With that being said, here are a few thoughts on they guys that will be getting my vote.
Don Kell- While he was never great at the premium defensive positions of SS and CF (terrible plus/minus play ratio), his offensive totals are too impressive to ignore.
A note about closers/relievers.  I think their value tends to be overrated, thanks in large part to the save stat, so I think we should be careful about voting them into the Hall of Fame.  Also consider that there are about 6 All-Star closers per season per league, so the All-Star appearances (based on a half season of work ~ 40 innings) might be misleading.  I think we need to look ahead to
Philip Wright- Okay, 4 Fireman Awards is impressive.  I also like the fact that he pitched over 1300 innings in his career.  Take a look at some of the other big name closers.  Most of them are under 900 innings pitched for their career.
Bud Rodgers- A big save total, with an impressive 3.27 career ERA while posting a .294 OBP against.  He has two World Series rings to his credit with a postseason WHIP of 1.08 and 18 of 22 in save opportunities.
Hiram Huang-  He ranks third for LF in runs created.  He won 3 Silver Sluggers and 3 Gold Gloves.  Career SLG of .470.  He was successful 81% of the time he attempted to steal a base.
Hensley Lawson- He ranks fourth for LF in runs created.  He won 5 Silver Sluggers and 1 Gold Glove.  Career SLG of .519.  He was successful 70% of the time he attempted to steal a base.

Season 19 Hall of Fame Primer

Before I run down a list of the potential Hall of Famers here, I'd like to send out a plea to nominating owners: it takes quite a bit to get in. Short of a grocery list worth of awards, my suggestion is not to nominate. There are too many worthy nominees this season, and when owners nominate everyone and their mom, it clutters up the voting. I have absolutely been guilty of this in the past.

Previously, only one player has snuck in any single season, but I think that absolutely changes this time around. The following is a list of the top HOF candidates, ranked in order of how I'd vote for them. Obviously, everyone will have their own opinions on what's worth voting on, but I'd say most of these guys deserve to be in on some level.

1. Don Kell (SS, 2B) - 5x AS, 3x WSR, 4x SS, 1 GG, 527 HRs, .897 OPS. To me, it's about his career numbers here. 527 HRs is a LOT for a SS.

2. Bud Rodgers (Closer) - 7x AS, 2x WSR, 1 Fireman, 492 saves (3rd all-time), 3.27 ERA, 1.20 WHIP.

3. Hensley Lawson (LF, 2B) - 7x AS, 5x SS, 1 GG, .913 OPS. A couple seasons ago, I said we should have an automatic cutoff for All-Star appearances. I'm not sure I agree with that now. Still, 7 appearances is impressive, especially as many were at LF, and a .913 OPS is solid.

4. Jim Durbin (Closer) - 9x AS, 454 saves (5th all-time), 4.14 ERA, 1.28 WHIP. I'm biased here, but the 9 all-star appearances work for me. Plus, most of those saves came during Portland's rebuilding years.

5. Philip Wright (Closer) - 6x AS, 4x Fireman, 384 saves, 3.53 ERA, 1.28 WHIP. Four Fireman of the Year awards is pretty impressive.

6. Miguel Samuel (Closer) - 5x AS, 1 Fireman, 270 saves, 3.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP. Statistically, he's the most impressive here, just doesn't have the awards or longevity to back it up. Seasons 3-5, he was spectacular.

7. Hiram Huang (LF) - 6x AS, 3x WSR, 3x SS, 3x GG, .865 OPS, 617 SB.

8. Chad Beckett (LF, 2B) - 3x AS, 2x WSR, 3x SS, 485 HRs, .900 OPS.

9. Pepper Bailey (C) - 3x AS, 1 WSR, 1 HR Derby, 361 HRs, .964 OPS. It's the OPS that's impressive here, the highest of all retired players. Factor in Bailey's position, and it's even more impressive. Unfortunately, he wasn't great defensively.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The 14-Year Plan: Thoughts on Portland's Rebuilding/Competitive Eras

Feller is my first and only HBD world. I started at Season 1 having no idea what I was doing. I assumed a rating of 50 meant an average ML player. I was competitive fairly quickly, finishing with Feller's best record in Season 2 before falling in the NLCS, then hitting the wild card a couple more times over the first five seasons.

By Season 6, it became clear to me I needed to put a long-term plan together. My teams were okay, but I was only mildly competitive, didn't really understand how budgeting and coaching worked, and I knew I couldn't compete with Feller's top teams.

I started rebuilding without a clear plan in place. I upped my college/HS scouting budgets, let go of Type A and B free agents, and had a couple of good drafts to build a base of prospects. After a few seasons, I realized I had a pretty decent core, and I moved them up through the minors season-by-season.

I knew my top prospects wouldn't be cheap forever, so I decided on a 7-season window where I knew I would be competing hard for a World Series. As players like Dan Minor, Erubiel Prieto and Footsie Sanders were reaching the ML level, I was adding FAs like John Tanaka (for a maximum $20m/year that I'd say was worth it), and Jeremy Judd (for around $13m/year, which might've been worth it if he wasn't derailed by a long-term injury). Then I traded younger prospects who weren't going to reach the majors at the right time (like Pascual Vincente, Kazuhiro Gong, Placido Johnson) for veterans, even if it meant having the veteran only for part of one season.

Plenty of teams in Feller (Cleveland, Columbus, Washington DC and, to some extent, Montreal) have managed to maintain very high talent levels for a long period of time. I don't pretend to know how they do it, though I would say they all seem to smartly utilize international free agency.

On the other hand, for the last few seasons I've had as much ML talent as any team in Feller. After that, it's a dice roll. I think I've been lucky to be in the World Series four out of the past five years; very, very luck to have won once, and very, very, VERY lucky to win twice. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to gloat for a moment.

I'm now entering the 6th season of that 7-season window, and I'm finally facing the consequences of the buying I've done the last few seasons. I'll have to start selling and putting Type A guys in free agency, even with low scouting budgets.

My point in writing this: unless you feel confident playing the game the way job, gidoni and mattfurjan do, I highly recommend thinking in focused rebuilding/competitive terms. And it's not like the rebuilding years sucked. I kept players I really liked, focused on defense, and only dipped into the 60-win range twice. My favorite part of each season was the amateur draft. I'm even kind of looking forward to rebuilding again.

Going forward, I doubt I'll try and build another super-team, and try and work on a mix of strong prospects while also competing for the NL West in the MLs. It's taken me 17 seasons to get to where I feel somewhat comfortable with HBD, but it's been a blast every step of the way. I hope our incoming owners have a similar experience.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

120 or fewer wins in back to back seasons

After a little bit of research, there have been 20 times in Feller history that a team has failed to win at least 120 combined games in consecutive seasons with the same owner.
Here's the list:
Washington S1 + S2. This owner has gone on to participate in all 18 seasons of Feller.
St. Louis S1 + S2. This owner played in the first 8 seasons of the world.
Burlington S3 + S4. Those were that owner’s only two seasons.
Dover S4 + S5. This owner has now played 15 seasons.
Rochester S4 + S5. This owner played 13 seasons before leaving.
Pawtucket S5 + S6, S6 + S7, S7 + S8, S8 + S9. This owner invested 8 seasons in that franchise and has since come back for 4 more with another team.
Seattle S7 + S8. This owner left after participating in the first 8 seasons.
Charlotte S8 + S9, S9 + S10. This owner now has 12 seasons in the world.
Texas S10 + S11, S11 + S12. This owner left after playing for 10 seasons.
Anaheim S12 + S13, S13 + S14, S14 + S15, S15 + S16. This owner stuck around for 7 seasons.
Houston S15 + S16. This owner played for 5 seasons with an original franchise, then came back for 9 more before leaving after S16.
San Francisco S16 + S17. This owner has been in the world since its beginning.
Are other owners so disgusted by these 20 occurrences (1+ per season) that they are leaving the world out of frustration? We need an average of just over 6 new owners per season. This 80% retention rate feels like a pretty respectable number when one looks at the franchise center and sees the number of openings in all of the worlds that are available right now.
Or are these franchises so destroyed that they cycle through owners at an alarming rate? Other than Burlington in S3 and S4, every owner that hasn’t met 120 wins in two seasons has invested at least 5 seasons worth of time and money into this world.
Maybe a minimum win rule would have altered the history for 1 or 2 of the franchises mentioned above, but I'm skeptical that it would have made Feller a more fulfilling experience for all of us.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Congratulations to Mike Newfield on becoming the first player in Feller's history to reach 3000 hits. Newfield is one of the all-time greats in this world. In addition to his 3000 hits, he has over 400 home runs. He has an incredible lifetime average over .320. He is a 7 time All-Star, 6 time Silver Slugger, AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year. He also has a .350 batting average for his postseason career in 58 games - that's not a fluke. Newfield was born to hit, and he has done it as well, and as often, as anyone in this world.
And he might have the best hair in the world.
Mike Newfield
San Francisco
Age: 37B/T: L/L
Born: Barco, NC
Position(s): LF/1B/RF
View Hardball Dynasty Profile

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

More Hall of Fame

As before, these are one idiot's opinions...
Magglio Cela
Awards: 1 Silver Slugger, 5 All-Star appearances
Cela didn't have enough time to rack up huge career totals, but he did a lot in his career. His 1101 RC are the 7th most among 2B in Feller's history. Beyond that, his 8.09 RC/27 is the highest for 2B with at least 2310 PA. For more traditional numbers, his .324 career batting average currently ranks 6th all time among all batters, and his .403 OBP is 12th all time. That's some great offensive production for anyone, let alone a 2B. As for Cela's defense, well, check out those offensive numbers. Unfortunately his 155 errors at 2B are the most by anyone at that position, and his 15/57 +/- plays aren't very good. He did play the 3rd most innings at 2B, and his .978 Fld % isn't too far off the average for 2B (.981).
Cela may have missed out on a couple of productive years at the beginnning of his career, but in my opinion, his career reaches Hall of Fame level.

Jimmie Mateo
Awards: 4 All-Star appearances, 1 Championship
Mateo's 168 wins currently rank 19th in Feller history. His 3.79 career ERA is 30th among starting pitchers (at least 810 IP and 100 starts). His 188 quality starts out of 368 games started (51.1%) is 92nd among starters. Uh-oh, this is headed in a bad direction for Jimmie. Moving on, Jimmie's 1.27 WHIP is 31st among starters. Most of the rest of his numbers (e.g. strikeouts. K/BB, OAV, etc.) rank around 15 to 30 for starters, but I don't really want to go through anymore, I already feel bad for Mateo.
When I chose Mateo, I thought he would be automatic for the Hall of Fame. After looking at the numbers, I think I have to say that he doesn't belong.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hall of Fame Discussion

This is meant to offer a few opinions on some of the higher profile candidates for the Hall of Fame. I recognize that there is a lot of room for discussion. These are just my opinions. One guy that will get my vote, one guy that won't get my vote. I might continue on to other candidates before the season begins.
Endy Ramsey
Awards: 2 time MVP, 11 Silver Sluggers, 9 All-Star appearances, 1 Gold Glove, 1 World Series Ring. No one has won more Silver Sluggers. His 9 All-Star appearances are bested by only 4 players, each of whom has 10. One of eight players that has multiple MVP awards. His closet is overflowing with awards. It takes a little while to scroll through his player card.

His 590 homers rank 6th, 1557 RBIs rank 8th (save your "isn't it 'RBI'" for English class), 1658 RC rank 4th, and 15091.2 Innings in LF rank 1st are all impressive. And Ramsey wasn't just a compiler of numbers, his 9.19 RC/27 is 8th in Feller history. He should be in the Hall of Fame.

Troy Brown

Awards: 1 Silver Slugger (DH) - end of the list (red flag for Troy)
Unfortunately for Brown, catcher has been a very deep position in Feller's first 12 seasons.

Brown caught 8129 innings for his career (22nd). The other 30% of his career was mostly spent as a DH. His 1068 RC currently rank 7th among players who spent at least 50% of their career behind the plate (50th among all batters). 7.56 RC/27 places 6th among the catchers.
As a catcher, it's troubling that Brown never made an All-Star game, and never won a Silver Slugger. I would place Brown just outside of the top 5 catchers in Feller's history. Brown was a very good player, not quite a HOFer for me.

Players Approaching "00" Milestones

700 Home Runs
This former MVP (Season 6) has 693 home runs. He is a free agent entering Season 16. His power is currently 75. If a team signs him to a contract for this season, it would seem that 7 homers is automatic.

600 Home Runs

Millwood currently has 563 home runs. Like Becker, he is also a free agent entering Season 16. At age he still brings 90 power. He hit 31 homers last season. Over the next two seasons, he's likely to get at least 37 homers to join the 600 club.

500 Home Runs
Chad Beckett with 485 homers
Rabbit Lilly with 474 homers
Dingo Banks with 471 homers
Frank Barrett with 470 homers

At 36, Beckett has 63 power. If he gets enough PAs, Beckett should join the 500 club this season.

How far past 500 will Lilly be at the end of this season? And when will he be looking at the 600 club?

Banks had a major injury last season. He is currently a free agent. 500 might be tough for Dingo (make your own "baby" joke).

Barrett hit 30 homers last season. At 37, his skills seem to be eroding. 500 - it better be this season.