April 11, 2014
TTO Scoresheet Podcast
Three Heads Are (Usually) Better Than One
Before getting into this week’s article, a quick note about this week’s podcast: We experienced some technical difficulties with the audio, and the second half of the podcast sounds choppy. We believe it is still listenable, however. Apologies, and we are working to fix the problem. Well, the one of us who has any idea whatsoever about how to fix it.
We’re tackling two strategy concepts this week, along identifying some players to start and sit. First, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of working together as a three-headed monsters. And then we talk about some broad goals for the supplemental drafts.
We frequently are asked what it is like running a Scoresheet team as a group, and this week saw another listener write in with the same question. As background, after running teams individually for a couple of years, the three of us have been acting as co-owners together for the last several years.
On the positive side of the ledger, running Scoresheet teams as a group means we always have the opportunity to collaborate on decisions—we each come to decisions with different perspectives and being able to discuss draft picks, trades, lineup cards and other roster moves makes us all more comfortable that we make the best decision possible. We’re also busy, and having three people to balance the time required to run a Scoresheet team means we can comfortably run multiple teams as a group. An additional benefit is the gains from our comparative advantages. We each have different strengths, and similar to, say, a scramble tournament in golf, we can rely more on the best person for each situation. The best prospect guy has more input on drafting and trading minor leaguers, the most effective negotiator handles traders, and so on.
There are some downsides as well, and the biggest is probably that we are slower to act than teams run by only one person. We respond to trade inquiries from other owners more slowly, and even though we designated roles for each of the three of us, we still try to discuss everything and we’re not always available to do so quickly. It is possible to limit this delay by discussing as much as possible ahead of time and by occasionally granting the authority to make trades for some of the smaller trades. But if we get a surprise trade proposal involving Miguel Cabrera, we want to make sure all of us get a say. We know we’ve missed out on a few trades because our response time just wasn’t quick enough.
Still, even with the drawbacks around prompt responses, we’re happier running teams as a group, and we’d encourage all of you to consider doing the same with your friends. And “friends” is a key word there. One reason we enjoy running teams as a group is because we enjoying talking baseball and especially talking fantasy baseball with each other. If you can’t work with someone or don’t like talking with them, you probably shouldn’t run a team together
Switching gears a bit, one major difference between Scoresheet and most other fantasy baseball is the concept of supplemental drafts. Scoresheet doesn’t do a waiver wire or FAAB or any other daily/weekly system of acquiring new players (setting aside a very small number of leagues with their own rules). Instead, the monthly two-round drafts are the only way to add new players to a team, other than trading. This system, no doubt, originated from Scoresheet’s origins as a play by mail game. As impossible as it may seem, there was a world before the Internet. And in that scary, dark place, the logistics of the instantaneous add/drop system we take for granted were pretty much impossible.
A consequence of the supplemental drafts is that you have to plan at least a month ahead. If you have an injury-prone starter on your team, you can’t just stash him on the DL and pick up a replacement. You need to have someone on your bench who can fill in. One of the reasons we stress backups upon backups and rostering tons of SPs is that there’s no easy and quick way to find a replacement for an injured or demoted player, which is vital since employing Player AAA is a fairly significant downgrade from virtually any major league player.
The supplemental draft system, therefore, rewards a deep knowledge of major league rosters. In some sense, the same thought process holds true for the supplemental drafts as it does for the preseason draft. Which available players are playing now, who will be playing in a few weeks, and who is most likely to gain playing time in the event of injury or demotion? The difference is that for the preseason draft, the answers to most of these questions are stars, top prospects, and scrubs, where in the supplementals, the answers to these questions are usually guys who aspire to be scrubs. Often we are talking second- and third-tier prospects, retreads, and players of that ilk. Swinging for the fences in a supplemental is difficult. Instead, usually, the goal is identify players who will get playing time now or in the near future where you need it, or where your opponents may need it so you can profit in trade.
This Week’s Podcast: Wallace and deGromit