The Scoresheet veteran offers tips on running a league successfully and talks about the preseason mock draft, the tournament of champions, and more.
This week, we were fortunate enough to get a chance to talk with Brian Dewberry-Jones. If you’ve played Scoresheet for any significant amount of time, you’ve most likely run across Brian, either as a leaguemate, a commissioner, or as the guy who runs the preseason mock draft and end-of-season tournament. And he’s also the person who decides how the orphan teams draft their teams. Brian obviously has years of Scoresheet experience in a whole host of capacities, so we learned a ton. He was also kind enough to write up a few good rules of thumb for running a league, which we are happy to share:
Six Keys to Being a Good Commissioner
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When an uneven swap goes down, rolling with your gut reaction may not be the best way to go.
We’ve all been there. You open up your email or check your league’s transactions and find a newly reported trade. Only, wait. That can’t be right. Mike Trout for a Pu Pu platter of scrubs? Polanco for an 18th-rounder? And it isn’t Placido Polanco? Yu Darvish for some tortillas and a roll of paper towels?
Reactions typically follow the five stages of grief:
The Outcomes reveal their top 20 AL and NL prospects from the recent MLB draft.
When playing Scoresheet, the Round 40 draft is the closest thing to the excitement of the June MLB draft. Instead of a series of high Midwestern malapropisms from Bud Selig and rambling asides from Tommy Lasorda, the Scoresheet draft mixes the new draftees into your existing pref list. For owners in standard and many custom leagues, Round 40 is the best chance to land a top-tier minor league talent without giving up present value in trades.
So who do you take with your high pick? We’ve prepared a preference list for both AL and NL Scoresheet leagues. We’re certainly not draft experts, and our knowledge comes from exactly where you’d expect it to have come from, so if you’re looking for deeper analysis, check out other articles on Baseball Prospectus, including Nick J. Faleris’s draft coverage and Bret Sayre’s fantasy coverage in particular. Our goal is to provide you with one example of a draft pref list that takes guidance from these sources and mixes in additional Scoresheet-specific insight. Listen to our podcast for more detail on each of these players, and submit your questions now for our Baseball Prospectus chat next week, where we hope to discuss the upcoming supplemental draft and much more.
The MLB draft begins tonight, but the Outcomes are focused on current pros with a good chance to reach the majors.
Drafting a player taken in the recent amateur draft yields a special sort of rush. All promise and potential, your pick could theoretically turn out to be the next Mike Trout and lead your Scoresheet team to championship after championship. Of course, that almost definitely isn’t going to happen. And while dreams of championships to come may be dandy, there’s a pennant race this season to consider. So below are some players who might be available in your league to consider taking instead of a second or third draftee.
Players who can count on getting a Choomongous at Globe Life Park in Arlington:
Keeping tabs on the hottest pickups in Scoresheet, plus answers to listener questions and a recap of the May Supplemental Draft.
In Scoresheet, it’s often best to keep abreast of what your competition is doing—and not just in your own league. The Scoresheet universe is filled with thousands of players, each bringing their own knowledge to the game. We’ve built a way to (unofficially) harness that knowledge in order to more accurately determine player availability in existing leagues. Using this tool, we can tell you that Doug Fister is the player on more Scoresheet teams than anyone else, which is fun trivia. By having it active over time, we’ve developed a better understanding of owner strategy.
The lists below are one breakdown of that understanding. We’ve used our tool to find out which players were added in the most leagues. Doing so gets you names such as Eduardo Escobar and Brandon League, who were the players picked up in the most AL and NL leagues, respectively. Since they are now owned in the majority of leagues, however, this may not be immediately actionable info. However, once you limit the list to players still available in more than half of the leagues, we can better see which players are currently “trending,” and who may still be available in your format. You can use this column to learn the wisdom of the crowds, or to trade away these players and bet against the masses.
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.
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.