The Outcomes interview Scoresheet veteran Nate Stephens about implementing an auction format.
We know that running a Scoresheet team isn’t for everyone. Many baseball fans and even hardcore fantasy players are perfectly content with a traditional fantasy format, where you don’t need to keep track of the Mets’ middle relievers to nearly the same degree. But for some who stumble across this format, with its labyrinthine draft and rich simulation engine, it feels like the perfect fit. Of course, there’s the occasional person, who when faced with the same constraints, may remark, “I wish there was something even more complicated.” Dear reader, these are their stories.
Scoresheet’s private leagues have many variants of play. This week, our Scoresheet podcast team interviewed Nate Stephens. Not only is Nate a longtime Scoresheet owner, a former contributor to Rotoworld and current participant in the Scoresheet Talk and annual Mock Draft forums, and a general mensch, he is also the co-founder of a couple of leagues that use an auction format. The concept was born from a Scoresheet league that used to conduct a live auction, which ended up taking about a day and a half. As fun as that can be, it’s hard to carve out enough time in many players’ schedule to devote to a player-by-player auction that accommodates Scoresheet’s unusually deep rosters. A new system was built and refined over time.
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A look at fast-starting players you might want to cash in soon, plus this week's start/sit advice and more.
Last week, we explored some potential buy-low trade targets for your Scoresheet team. In a shocking twist, this week we examine players we’d consider selling. We break these sell-high candidates into two groups: ones to market to the non-BP crowd and ones you should trade to owners with a BP subscription who foolishly skipped over this article.
For the Traditional Crowd
Please note that we aren’t using the term “traditional” in any sort of derogatory sense. Much of Scoresheet operates based on the principles of batting average and ERA, and some owners are comfortable building their teams around these statistics. While we wouldn’t expect you to be able to fleece any of these types of owners, you might be able to turn a profit by marketing the players below to them.
The Outcomes help you identify players worth acquiring, answer listener emails, and offer start-sit advice for next week.
Now that we’ve progressed past the point in the season where most owners’ initial reluctance to tinker with their teams has melted away, it is time to begin searching for value in the trade market. As we looked for specific players to target, we identified four general themes which may prove profitable, if properly exploited.
A first step in identifying players who are likely to increase in value could be to sort a list of players by BABIP. There’s no need to sell out for the metric, but hitters with an absurdly low BABIP have a good chance to positively regress, just like pitchers with a ridiculously high BABIP, and owners who only focus on traditional statistics may simply chalk these players up as being broken.
The TTO gang chats with a Scoresheet veteran about his strategies.
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:
Small samples can be deceiving, but it's important to make a realistic evaluation of your Scoresheet team in the early going.
We hate to be the ones to break the bad news to you, but you won’t win your Scoresheet league every year. Once you can bring yourself to accept that, the key is to identify the years you won’t win as early as possible so you can get a head start on preparing for next year’s shot at the title. To comprehensively assess your team’s chances, you have to start by looking at the individual players on your team, and then examine your overall team performance, and finally, see how you compare to the other teams in your league.
While small sample size alerts still abound a month into the season, it is still important to determine if your players are over- or under-performing in order to make your decision on throwing in the towel for the year. If you have Miguel Cabrera, for example, it is probably fairly reasonable to assume your team will add some wins to its pace in the coming months. Conversely, if you have Devin Mesoraco, Charlie Blackmon, and Chris Colabello on your team, you probably shouldn’t expect to continue your undefeated season. You still want to put a lot of stock in your preseason beliefs, presumably based on SS/SIM projections, but you can start giving some weight to current season performance. And don’t forget to factor in players coming back from injury in the near future. Basically, you want to assess how accurate you think your win total represents your team’s talent.
Advice on how to approach your league's supplemental draft, plus matchup-based start/sit decisions for the coming week.
In Scoresheet baseball, the first supplemental draft is a time when the dreams of spring training are dashed against the rocks of designated for assignment statuses and hamstring strains. For all but the most active/desperate traders, this is your first chance to reshape your team, if even slightly, to cover up for some of the inevitable strains against your depth chart.
To help prepare you for the upcoming draft, we podcasted what may be the first-ever mock Scoresheet supplemental draft, a feat for which we are duly proud and ashamed. In order to determine who was eligible for the draft, we randomly selected 25 public continuing Scoresheet leagues, both American and National format, and found whether the players were available in that league. Players who were available in 60 percent or more of these index leagues were listed as available.
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.
The Scoresheet podcast transitions to its in-season format, with start-sit advice accompanying general strategy.
As you may have noticed, the regular season has started, so we are going to shift the format of our articles a little bit. Our plan is for these columns to have two parts each week. We’ll start with thoughts on something related to general Scoresheet strategy and end with picks for players we recommend sitting and starting for the next week of Scoresheet games. However, we’re still trying to be flexible and figure out what works, so if next week’s article looks completely different, then the prior few sentences never existed and you can’t prove otherwise.
Benedict Arnold Was a Trader
In the early going, the forefront of your thought process on roster moves should center around trusting the preseason projections and your general feeling on guys coming into the season. Performance so far isn’t enough to justify altering expectations in a way that would change how you treat a player. You are probably already tired of warnings not to read too much into early season small sample sizes, but you shouldn’t ignore them. As shown by the work of DerekCarty and RussellCarleton on these virtual pages, even the statistics that stabilize the most quickly will still need time before we know if the variation from expectations is noise or not.
The Scoresheet gang helps you fill out your lineup card for Opening Day.
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.
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.
In this week's podcast, the gang breaks down some late-round options and welcomes Bret Sayre to discuss his first Scoresheet draft.
Sure, roto enthusiasts have their big-ticket sleepers such as Yordano Ventura or Nolan Arenado, but it’s the Scoresheet player who has the thrill of drafting 20 rounds after those guys are off the board. Last week, the Outcomes participated in the annual BL DwMurphy draft, one of Scoresheet’s flagship leagues. With a soft keeper protection system and rules discouraging protecting minor leaguers, it’s functionally a 24-team one-year league, which means that there are more picks in the draft than there are players in the major leagues. If you’re in a similar situation, who should you look out for at the bottom of the scraped barrel?
A look at the Scoresheet equivalent of WARP, plus a walkthrough of the mindset behind a mid-draft selection.
You can keep your fantasy drafts—the hourly punctuality and mind-bending depth of a Scoresheet draft is the true rite of spring. We know that fantasy players love March for the madness that comes from being in multiple ongoing drafts. Isn’t that what that copyrighted alliterative phrase means?
As either an introduction or as a refresher course, we want to walk you through some of the tools at Baseball Prospectus that will help make your drafting life easier, thanks to the hard work of the technical folks behind the scenes.
Breaking down the bullpen arms for Scoresheet leagues.
BP Fantasy closes out positions with reliever week, the position pretty much everyone considers a necessary evil. If not just plain evil. In this week’s podcast, linked at the end of the article, we spend some time discussing relievers. Not a ton of time, because there’s really not too much to say. We also take some reader questions. And have a pretty interesting discussion on when (if ever) it is OK to lose a trade, which we think will be worth your time to check out. We also spend some time discussing the lower tiers of starting pitching, which is relevant to your Scoresheet bullpen, for reasons we explain below. We’ve also updated our ranking list for all positions.
Here’s how we rank relievers. And read on for reliever strategy, picks, and more.