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March 28, 2014

TTO Scoresheet Podcast

Episode 11: Filling Out Your Lineup Card

by Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

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While participants in other types of fantasy baseball may cool their heels after the pre-season draft, Scoresheet players have one final task at hand before Opening Day: filling out the lineup card. Some find the lineup card a chore, but spending a few extra minutes on it is a must to wring every last win out of a Scoresheet team. The general key to filling out a lineup card is to think like a manager from the 1980s. A smart manager somewhat ahead of his or her time, sure. But trying to force the latest in sabermetric thinking onto the card will often just result in leaving wins on the table. Keep that in mind as we go through the main features of the lineup card.

Batting Order
Perhaps the most important advice we can give is to platoon everywhere. With some foresight in the draft, these platoons may be obvious. But check every single player’s splits, because surprisingly often, it will make sense to bench a star or semi-star half the time. Our lineups vs. RHP generally look completely different than our lineups vs. LHP.

As for the order itself, we generally slot one of our best hitters in the no. 2 slot, one of our best hitters who leans toward power at cleanup, one of our best hitters who leans toward on-base ability at leadoff, and then fill out the rest of our lineup in descending order of overall ability.

Position
No need to be cute here, as Scoresheet automatically moves players around. Only list players at the positions for which they are eligible.

Steal
Pretty much as expected. Anyone who steals with a success rate of 75 percent can get the green light.

Bunt
It will be painful to have anything other than the dash signifying “never bunt,” we know. But light-hitting middle-infield types should probably have this turned on. As far as we can tell, there’s no clear correlation between actual real life ability to bunt and how a player bunts in the sim.

Pinch-Hitting
This one can be a little confusing. Be sure to include players in the starting lineup here, usually with the lowest numbers (remember that 1 is the best). Think about which player would be ideal to have up in the bottom of the ninth with the game on the line. That player should get a “1.” Following our lineup advice above, that’s probably the hitter in the no. 2 slot. When a player doesn’t have enough games in the bank to start or is benched against a particular-handed starter, he may be available to come in off the bench when a reliever enters the game.

Defensive Substitutions
We generally don’t mess around with these too much. But it is probably a good idea to list players rated at or near the top of their position, defensively.

Farm
Scoresheet will check down on the farm if all at bats on the regular roster are depleted. Therefore, backup catchers should almost always be placed on the farm, freeing up a roster spot for an additional bullpen arm or hitter for a platoon. The only exception may be cases where the backup catcher is one of the top pinch-hitters on the team.

Starting Rotation
No special tricks here.

Prefer to Face Teams
True gentlemen leave these fields blank. Those of less savory character keep two strategies in mind. If certain opponents have weak lineups against lefties or righties, then pitchers of that handedness should be set up against them. Alternatively, strong opponents vying for a playoff spot might merit the best of the rotation, while leaguemates playing for next year might warrant the #5 starter.

Inning
Generally speaking, we set most of our pitchers at “1” because we are fine with our pitchers coming into games pretty much whenever. For pitchers who come into the manager’s office complaining about needing a set role, or (as is probably more likely) ensuring the best relievers end up in the most high-leverage innings, we may set the guy who traditionally would be the setup pitcher with something like a “7,” because with an inning of 6 or later, Scoresheet will ensure the pitcher doesn’t come into a mop up situation.

Vs.R / vs. L
Use these columns to make sure pitchers with significant splits only face the appropriate hitters.

Closer
Real-life closers get a little bit of a bump here. Seasoned Scoresheet vets may have different strategies here, but the smart play is to think about how the sim was developed, and put in this slot the guy who most feels like a traditional closer.

Hook
We received more questions about hook than anything else. And we’d love to be able to share some magic formula or strategy on how to handle it, but unfortunately they just don’t exist. Hook is frustrating as all get out, but give Scoresheet some credit, it does a pretty good job of replicating the dilemma real managers face during the season. The goal is to minimize the damage from a pitcher’s bad appearance while avoiding the dreaded AAA Pitcher. A good rule of thumb is that just like most everything else on the card, Hook should mirror how manager’s tend to handle pitchers in real life. #1 or #2 starters may have a little bit longer leash (say, 4.5) than no. 4-5 starters (more like 4.0). Short relievers generally shouldn’t be allowed to stay in for more than a run or a couple of baserunners and so should be given a hook of around 1. Also, remember how we recommended drafting loads of SPs? Make sure to put at least one of them in the pen as a swingman with a hook similar to a starting pitcher so he can soak up innings for a starter who was pulled early. And if you do have a glut of SPs, don’t be afraid to treat one of them like a short reliever, if he’d be one of your best relievers.

Have any other strategies for the lineup card? We’d love to hear them!

This Week’s Podcast
This week we talk about a few players winning spots in Spring Training, go into some detail on why to use Team Tracker and the best ways to do so, and our focus is on the details of the lineup card.

To follow the TTO Podcast, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, or follow @TTOScoresheet for more.

Download Here (1:32:58)
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Related Content:  Podcast,  Scoresheet,  Fantasy,  Lineups

22 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

dantroy

Hi guys,

In the Vs. R/ Vs. L comment, you mention pitcher splits, but as I understand it, it's really the batters that have splits, not the pitchers.

Very good tips otherwise. I think i've tended toward slightly higher hooks (say 5.0 for elite SPs and 2.0 for good SRs), but I have had little idea whether or not those choices were the right ones.

Thanks!

Mar 28, 2014 07:09 AM
rating: 2
 
leites

I also thought it was only the batters that had splits in scoresheet.

Mar 28, 2014 08:06 AM
rating: 1
 
TTO Jared

I believe you all are correct, that's the result of some poor late-night editing on my part.

Mar 28, 2014 08:21 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

There are some very good Scoresheet players out there who use a very high number for relievers in hopes that it ensures the pitcher getting rocked keeps pitching until he runs out of innings and won't ruin another game. I am not one of those - I pretty much agree with these guys. If I have a full pen and don't have to stretch every inning out of my guys, I use 1.5 for my set-up men and top middle relievers. If it is that low, you can still win the game. Sure, they might come back in another game, but they might do that anyway, even if your hook is high. There could be a chance that they'll come back and be great because you hooked them early after they gave up a run, and ERA matching will now be very nice to them. There's also the possibility that you won't even need him again.

Mar 29, 2014 21:33 PM
rating: 0
 
leites

For Hook, my strategy has been to use the max setting(9.75). As far as I can tell, Scoresheet is not like Strat-o-Matic where pitchers get "broken". Given the fairly weak relationship between runs allowed in a given real life week and a given scoresheet week (a pitcher could throw a perfect game in scoresheet but still give up a dozen runs in Scoresheet), and the desire not to burn scarce RP appearances in a game where I am probably losing anyway (because my pitcher just gave up a pile of runs), I'd prefer to get the max number of innings from each pitcher appearance. Or is there a flaw to this approach?

Mar 28, 2014 08:14 AM
rating: 1
 
leites

- I meant "(a pitcher could throw a perfect game in real life but still give up a dozen runs in Scoresheet)"

Mar 28, 2014 08:15 AM
rating: 0
 
Clemente

If your offense is decent, why give up the chance to come back? While comebacks are pretty rare after the 7th, earlier in the game they are not unusual. This is particularly true early in the season when some teams will have underdrafted pitchers, or not set up their relief corps well.

Mar 28, 2014 14:56 PM
rating: 0
 
noblerotter

Hi guys. Keep the Scoresheet articles coming. Roto is soooooo 80's.

My comment for Hooks:
If you have drafted well, you will have a fair number of quality guys you can stick in the bullpen. This includes your backup starters and relievers. I try to have around 6 - 8 guys in the bullpen so I can put really low hook #'s on them. That way, when one guy blows up one week, he can't hurt you too much. However, the downside is that if he's high on your priority list (vs. RHP, vs. LHP), he's not gonna use up his innings and may appear again in a later game. It all depends on how confident you are with your relievers. Your studs will normally never reach a hook if they're doing as well as you thought when you drafted them early on. And I always set my earliest inning for my closer at 8. Two years ago, I had Rodney as my AL closer and Nathan since then. Won the league both times.

By the way, I have found that platooning seems to fudge the correlation between real life stats and Scoresheet stats. I dunno, it feels like not maxing out AB's somehow gives the program an excuse to reduce a player's effectiveness. I would advocate for dropping a guy down in the order if he's weaker against one side rather than putting him on the bench. If he's a starter, keep him a starter.

Mar 28, 2014 09:50 AM
rating: 1
 
Clemente

I think you are seeing the effect of a hitter having fewer ABs due to platooning versus his real life ABs. The Scoresheet program just provides percentage chances---across the same number of ABs, chance and real will approach each other. With fewer ABs, more chance for divergent Scoresheet results, both up and down (and when they are up, you don't think "Scoresheet did me a favor there", you think "I am a brilliant manager").

So, I am in favor of platooning when you can, unless there is too big a gap between the players or a starter's splits are not big.

Mar 28, 2014 15:01 PM
rating: 0
 
Clemente

Also, Scoresheet "luck balancing" will take that underperforming week versus chance and give that player a boost for the next week.

Mar 28, 2014 15:03 PM
rating: 0
 
TyWebb33

Agree - love every single SS article!
Was fortunate enough to win my league last year and I certainly think my bullpen strategy played a part - coupled with the fact those guys had pretty good years/playoff weeks.
5 starters in the rotation, 3 starters in the pen, 6 other SR in the pen, 1 closer. I tend to keep hook numbers relatively low which seemed to limit damage when it occurred.

Platooning - Jared was nice enough to address this already...but I'm leaning toward sitting Choo against LH pitching in favor Rajai Davis - we'll see.

Mar 28, 2014 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
Clemente

And I will add---yes, Scoresheet articles and ratings and services all very appreciated. I dropped roto leagues long ago for Scoresheet, and never regretted it.

If you do not have one, go look at Scoresheet's Web site and pick one up cheap to experience it. Just look through the teams. You can often find orphaned teams with a favorite star player to build around.

Mar 28, 2014 15:16 PM
rating: 3
 
Marcero

I'm team 1 in this 12 team BL league.
http://www.scoresheet.com/FOR_WWW/BL_Oconee.htm

I'm wondering if 11 pitchers are too few to list on my card in week 1?

My problem is I have mediocre pitching and want to utilize my 19 hitters.

Until my pitchers separate themselves during the season, I'm thinking I'll list 5 starters, 5 Short relievers and 1 closer. If I need someone to pitch before the 4th inning, the sim should use the pitcher with the most innings pitched during the week from my farm.

Thanks

Mar 29, 2014 05:18 AM
rating: 0
 
Marcero

Here is what it would look like...

Starters-hook
Dickey-5
Samardzija-5
Kazmir-5
Salazar-5
Smyly-4

Short relievers-hook
Farquhar-4
Tazawa-4
Loup-4
Soria-4
Parnell-4

Closer-hook
Papelbon-4

Farm-
Wheeler
Straily
Santiago
Richards
Ramirez
Hutchison
Roark
Mejia
Stroman

Mar 29, 2014 05:40 AM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

No, it will use the pitcher with the most innings year-to-date. Otherwise you could cheat the system getting the pitcher with usually the best outing. Scoresheet has been around a long time. They don't have such an obvious loop-hole.

Mar 29, 2014 21:01 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

Of course, this would work the first week if you don't have any good relievers eligible as starters - and still would be a bit of an advantageous trick to get the best possible pitcher most often in that case. In fact, there used to be more relievers eligible as starters. The better of these were generally much better than the 6th and 7th starters, you would otherwise use. Now, at least in the American League, you are generally stuck with your reserve starters for those first three innings. So, putting them on your farm is probably a sneakily good idea - especially if you don't have a lefty and a righty to take advantage of a platooning line-up from the more advantageous side.

Mar 29, 2014 21:13 PM
rating: 0
 
JRockne

Going into my first season of Scoresheet.

Could not do it without BP, TTO and these comments.

Thanks

Joe

Mar 29, 2014 16:24 PM
rating: 1
 
John Carter

I wrote this awhile ago. It should all hold up, though: http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id48.html

Mar 29, 2014 16:24 PM
rating: 0
 
Marcero

I found that very helpful. Thanks
However; since short relievers are now only available starting with the fourth inning, what changes would you make to your general bullpen reliever 3, 4, & 5 if you don't have a professional reliever that is listed on the scoresheet starters list?

Mar 31, 2014 18:41 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

It makes it more important to have 8 actual starters. That's the way I'm playing it. I drafted 9 starters on both of my teams with 1 on each team expected to come off the D.L. (Harrison) or get called up soon (Duffy?) and each with Drew Pomeranz, who I am optimistically expecting to get called up about mid season.

Depending on how many prospects you have, you might not have room for a 6th and 7th short reliever. That's OK. There will be plenty more coming along during the supplementals - if you actually need them. But, I wouldn't go with fewer than five including your closer.

Apr 01, 2014 20:21 PM
rating: 0
 
John Carter

er, six. You probably need six short relievers. Only a very strong rotation can get away with just five relievers.

Apr 01, 2014 20:26 PM
rating: 0
 
cornell22

In a ten team NL only league unless you punted on pithing, you will have a hard time platooning with reserves. Ordinarily there will be to big a gap in OPS between between your starters and reserves.

Plus I don't want to miss out on a 1000+ OPS week because I platooned the guy with some banjo hitter.

Also, you will have a hard time getting on the leader board in hitting categories if your players aren't playing full time. I know only team wins count, but it's gratifying to see your guys amongst the leaders.

Mar 31, 2014 19:32 PM
rating: 0
 
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