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April 4, 2006

The Kings' Tales

Checking in on the BP Scoresheet League

by John R. Mayne

Twelve celebrities in a Scoresheet simulation league.

It's the BP Kings League.

This isn't rotisserie, which is the Blue Collar TV to Scoresheet's Dennis Miller. This is a simulation of baseball, with the winner receiving the title of Greatest Baseball Analyst in the History of Mankind, with the losers fed to sharks for our entertainment.

(This is why there are lawyers. You should really read the fine print.)

And of course, with the ultimate simulation league running, they needed the ultimate predictor to write the article. Here's a quick FAQ on how I was chosen for this honor.

Q: How did you get chosen? Really?
A: Um, I won a 1998 prediction contest that Gary Huckabay ran for the famous Murphy Scoresheet League. Also, I've won a BP-formed league twice in three years, crushing my enemies like the insects they are.
Q: You liar. Not about winning stuff, but wouldn't Scoresheet legend Theron Skyles be better? Or, say, Scoresheeter Dick Craswell, who teaches at the adult education annex at that Bay Area school?
A: Well, entirely coincidentally, Ben Murphy picked me after I publicly picked his team to win.

So there you go. Cynics.

Check out the full rosters here. Check out the draft here.

The good, the bad, the ugly:

King Kaufman, Team 1: When you start with Alex Rodriguez, it's hard to go too far wrong. Hard, but not impossible. This King is on Louis XVI's carriage ride; this always ends badly.

Ben Murphy, Team 2: If you get to pick two in an AL startup of this type, you take Johan Santana, and Ben did. From there, he got plenty of innings, an offense with Chris Shelton, Gary Sheffield, Jorge Posada, and Vernon Wells, and no shortstop who isn't (as of this writing) getting threatened with demotion.

In Scoresheet, if you don't have a shortstop, you can play a third baseman or second baseman out of position with penalties to your pitcher's performance. Ben's looking at Robb Quinlan playing some shortstop for him. This will go a lot like having Robb Quinlan play shortstop would go in real life. It's still a very good team.

Peter King, Team 3: I know Peter King's got a lot of readers. I'm trying to figure out a way to get this prediction published without Monday Morning Quarterback leading off with, "Before he pimped sheep, John R. Mayne was involved in unseemly activities." But I don't think there is one.

Dave Cokin, Team 4:

I like Carl Crawford. I have repeatedly asserted that Carl Crawford is likely to become a big star. He's my second-favorite player, after Greg Maddux.

But if you take Carl Crawford at pick 21 in a one-year Scoresheet league, you're going to be sorry. Dave, a long-time successful roto player, has built a good roto team, but not a good Scoresheet team.

Kevin Goldstein, Team 5:

Kevin used eight of his 35 picks on guys who will start the season in the minor leagues. Prospect hounding in keeper leagues: Good. Prospect hounding in one-year leagues: Mostly bad. Despite grabbing one of the six or seven best players at pick 20 in Joe Mauer, Kevin's in trouble.

Platoon splits count, and Kevin's going to be very vulnerable to left-handed pitching.

Nate Silver, Team 6:

Nate's going to roll over the league in the regular season like justice rolled over Scott Peterson. Nate used the tricky but effective strategy of drafting "good players" at "positions he needed filled." You don't need a medical doctorate to figure that out.

Joe Sheehan, Team 7:

I'm pretty sure Joe's strategy is to get a $250 million free agent budget and sign Roger Clemens. One of the useful features in Scoresheet is the presence of Pitcher AAA and Player AAA, who come in when you run out of pitcher innings or hitter plate appearances. Do not mistake Pitcher AAA for the quad-A pitchers who take the shuttles from Columbus to New York and back again; Pitcher AAA figures to have an ERA approaching 9.

Joe, Pitcher AAA. Pitcher AAA, Joe.

Rany Jazayerli, Team 8:

Rany picked arguably the best shortstop available, Jhonny Peralta, with his first pick. Then with his second pick, he took... arguably the best shortstop available, Derek Jeter.

This is an…interesting strategy. (Rany's always nice to me when I point out perceived column oversights with my usual kindness and subtlety. So, "interesting," rather than "Royals-like.")

Jonah Keri, Team 9: It's hard to win from slot 9 - the top two or three slots are best--but he's built a pretty serious team here.

Like the Expos/Nationals, he carefully… no, wait, totally unlike those former Canadians. He picked up good players. Never mind.

Rob Neyer, Team 10:

Rob avoided a lot of the pitfalls that strike new Scoresheet players; he got enough pitcher innings, enough at bats, and enough talent. It won't be sufficient to beat the Nate/Jonah/Ben trifecta, but he'll be a contender.

Sam Walker, Team 11: After writing and plugging his book (and the excerpt in the Wall Street Journal was excellent) he's in yet another expert's league.

And he's going to get beaten like Ashlee Simpson at a chess tournament.

Jeff Erickson, Team 12:

Jeff took Felix Hernandez very early, which could work out well, or could sinkhole his team. He showed a higher tolerance for injury than most owners (Mike Lowell, Dave Roberts, Carlos Guillen, Mark Kotsay, Jay Gibbons), so he needs to hope for some luck.

Enough blathering! These are the final results (the division set-up isn't final, and I don't know what they'll choose as actual division names):

Bill James Division

Rob Neyer 84-78
Joe Sheehan 79-83
Dave Cokin 75-87
King Kaufman 72-90

Earnshaw Cook Division

Ben Murphy 90-72
Rany Jazayerli 79-83
Kevin Goldstein 78-84
Sam Walker 72-90

Pete Palmer Division

Nate Silver 100-62
Jonah Keri 94-68
Jeff Erickson 78-84
Peter King 73-89

Ben Murphy's team will win the playoffs.

John R. Mayne is a Deputy District Attorney in Stanislaus County, California. He can be reached at jrmayne-at-mindspring.com.

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