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May 2, 2014

TTO Scoresheet Podcast

An Interview with John R. Mayne

by Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss


The Scoresheet community is filled with incredibly insightful, intelligent, and passionate people who are more than happy to offer advice—so long as you aren’t in their league. We strongly recommend picking the brains of people who know what they are doing and trying to ignore the guidance of those who do not. (We will leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which of those we are.) Any opportunity to improve or refine your strategy, even if subtly, should be explored.

This week, we were pleased to have the chance to speak with Scoresheet veteran John R. Mayne about all things team related. John has been playing Scoresheet for more than a decade, and is one of the literally wisest counsels in the Scoresheet community. He can be found in AL NorCal, where he is the commissioner, competitor, and oft-champion, as well as in the annual Mock Draft, a rite of winter that is a tremendous fount of wisdom for early player evaluation. We had a wide-ranging discussion, from where to set a hook to the value of the prospect, to how to build a championship team that can still be competitive in the future. Listen to the full conversation in the podcast, but here’s a trimmed-down version:

TTO: What do you want to see in a prospect?

JRM: First, I like hitters over pitchers; the fantasy graveyard is littered with young pitchers who failed badly. Secondly, I like athleticism and performance and age differential relative to league. Thirdly, if a guy has only one real skill, I want it to be power. To quote Joey Gallo fans, "Power erupts; absolute power erupts absolutely."

TTO: How closely do you monitor early results for prospects?

JRM: Very, very closely. If you can get in before BP or Baseball America touts a high-performing prospect, you can be ahead of the curve and grab the next big thing. Or the April mirage. But the ratio of hits to mirages need not be high.

TTO: Does that really make sense? I mean, we know April isn't of overwhelming value for major leaguers, and minor league stats are more subject to vagaries of schedule, right?

JRM: Sure. But you don't have a strong weight of information behind younger players, and the probability of a Great Leap Forward (GLF) is much higher for prospects. Betting on those will end sometimes in failure, and sometimes in Wil Myers. People can take the GLF at the age of 19. Very few take the GLF at 35. Aaron Harang is still mostly Aaron Harang, but Mookie Betts might really be special. So, yeah, April's not everything—don't cut Brad Miller quite yet—but April matters. [TTO notes: This was written before Aaron Harang was speared by the Marlins.]

TTO: Switching gears, you trade more of your picks every year than anyone we've ever seen. Why?

JRM: Simple economics. In a standard league, a marginal protect is worth almost nothing to a non-contender, but he might be worth a 15 to a contender. There's a massive middle to exploit for both sides, and I am all for exploiting it. It strikes me as borderline irrational to not have these sorts of trades in bulk in a standard format.

TTO: How do you manage to avoid catastrophic losing seasons after a runup? That seems untenable. Is it just that your league-mates run out of crayons to fill out their lineup card?

JRM: It's mostly the crayons thing. I tell them, "Crayons are not for eating!" but it doesn't always take. Of course, giving up most of my picks makes for inevitable costs in the off-season - trading off good things for protects and picks becomes sadly necessary. But it's also necessary to play hard for a championship in a league where others are doing the same thing - they're going to have a Bullpen of Doom, patch every hole, and acquire two guys in their mid-30s having brilliant seasons. You can't beat that without engaging in the dangerous pastime of "trying."

TTO: We question whether we really made the "crayons" crack. It seems like you are editing our questions for the sole purpose of insulting people, whereas in the Podcast, only a half-dozen or so of your statements seemed intended to disparage. Of course, we've read your stuff, so we're dismayed but not entirely surprised. Oh, and the peach crayons are the tastiest.

JRM: Mr. Mayne is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.

He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.

TTO: Yeah. I think we can end our written interview on that. Thanks!

Start

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Related Content:  Podcast,  Scoresheet,  Fantasy,  John R. Mayne

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<< Previous Article
Daily League Strategy:... (05/02)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (04/25)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (05/09)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (05/02)

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