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April 12, 2014

BP Announcements

HACKING MASS Competition 2014

by Rob McQuown

UPDATE: We've upgraded the scoring logic of HACKING MASS to better fit the times, and changed the deadline to give you more time (April 14). The new ESPN calculation is below.

HACKING MASS, our competition to pick the least dangerous hitters and least effective pitchers in the majors, returns for the 2014 season! You can field your team and put yourself in the running for $100, a lifetime Baseball Prospectus Premium subscription, or one of nine one-year BP Premium subscriptions by clicking here. Registration is open to anyone with a Baseball Prospectus account, including Basic accounts, which are free to create. You'll have a full week to enter (the deadline is April 14, 2014, at midnight PST), but it's easy to change players, so feel free to go all in on Darwin Barney on the entry form today, then switch to Ryan Goins Monday morning. But once the deadline arrives, partial teams will be dropped and new entries and changes will no longer be allowed.

You can access HACKING MASS rules and results from previous seasons here, but we'll also paste the instructions below. Have fun, and may the worst teams win.

Win $100 and a lifetime Premium Subscription or one of nine One-Year Premium Subscriptions in the 2014 HACKING MASS Competition!

HACKING MASS is a contest to try and predict the worst/most offensive players in the upcoming season. HACKING MASS stands for Huckabay's Annual Call to Keep Immobility Next to Godliness: Maximus Aggregatus Stiffisimus Sensire.

  1. Rosters will freeze Friday, April 11, 2014, at midnight Pacific. Please be sure you've made your final positional adjustments by that time.
  2. positional eligibility is determined by the player's projected position according to the Baseball Prospectus Depth Charts as of April 4, 2014. A player qualifies at the position at which he is projected to have the most playing time. Designated hitters and pinch hitters qualify as first basemen. Positional eligibility will not be updated as the year progresses.
  3. once rosters have frozen, all incomplete teams will be dumped from the system. In other words, you must have a player selected in each position to compete in 2014.
  4. to assist us in the bookkeeping, all entrants must have accounts at BP. (If you have a Premium, Super-Premium, or Monthly account, use that one; if you don't, you can buy a Premium Super-Premium, or Monthly account, or create a BP Basic account. It's free, it's easy, and we won't send you a bunch of garbage via email or sell your address to anyone.)
  5. The overall winner of HACKING MASS 2014 will be awarded $100 and a lifetime Premium Baseball Prospectus subscription.* In addition, the remaining top 10 teams (ranked no. 2 through no. 10) will receive a year's subscription to BP Premium.
  6. Sorry, no more pictures of Bud Selig will be awarded.

Your 10 players will be:

  • one each at catcher and each infield position (5 players)
  • one at each outfield position (3 players)
  • two pitchers (2 players)

Simply pick the players who you think will be the stiffest at each position. A team's aggregate stiffness is measured by summing the ESPN (Exuded Stiff Points, Net) of all of the players on your team. We've updated the scoring logic since the last HACKING MASS competition to better fit the times, so for hitters, ESPN is 0.714, minus his OBP, minus his SLG, and multiplied by plate appearancesi.e., (.714-OPS)*PA. For pitchers, the formula is the pitcher's ERA, minus 3.86, times his innings pitched, divided by three, or (ERA-3.86)*IP/3. This results in similar Stiffness scores for the firmest hitters and pitchers. Where do these values (.714 OPS and 3.86 ERA) come from? They're league-average values from the previous season.

In each case, it isn't enough for a player to simply suck; somehow the Stiffest of the Stiff must find a way to remain in the lineup or rotation. Possession of incriminating photos of managers and GMs, telekinesis of ink onto lineup cards, large contracts that need justification, and ties to the underworld can all be important attributes of your players besides their lack of hitting and pitching talent.

Create or edit your team today!

* One entry per person.

Rob McQuown is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Rob's other articles. You can contact Rob by clicking here

Related Content:  Hacking Mass

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Premium Article Raising Aces: Starting... (04/11)
<< Previous Column
BP Announcements: Impo... (04/12)
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BP Announcements: Sabe... (04/16)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Auc... (04/14)

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