An open letter to my fellow BP Kings Scoresheet league members:
Hi, I'm the new guy—well, one of the new guys. Many of you are quite aware of that fact, having offered some, ahem, creative trade proposals over the last few weeks. Rather than take offense, I'll assume we just have philosophical differences. (That's certainly the case for fellow noob Paul Swydan.) To help open the lines of communication, here's some friendly advice for offering me trades.
To begin, you can stop offering me…
- Relief pitchers: Usually I deny that relief pitchers exist. But because of Scoresheet's deep rosters, I'll admit they do have a use. That doesn't mean I have to value them, however. 4.00 ERA relievers are more abundant than tribbles and 2.50 ERA relievers tend to be overrated. I'll stick to drafting my bullpen in the later rounds, thanks.
- Starting pitchers with a projected ERA above 4.00: Given that our league is 80% the size of MLB and we have the roster space to hoard relievers, replacement-level ERA is probably no worse than 4.75. That means a mediocre innings eater no longer has much value. Give me studs, even with lower innings pitched totals.
- Pitching prospects: Say hello to TINSTAAPP—not just the "pitchers are fragile" part, but also the unheralded "pitchers don't improve continuously like hitters and instead take huge leaps without warning" part. I know a strong rotation is important, but I believe it's a better use of resources to acquire established, underrated pitchers via trade or draft. (If I ran a major league team, I'd stock up on two-star pitching prospects, but there isn't the roster space for that in Scoresheet.)
- Non-elite hitting prospects who aren't close to MLB: Why would I want to hold on to someone for multiple years who has a good chance of busting and probably won't be a star anyway? Wishcasting is emotionally fulfilling, but breaks down when applied to reality.
- Players you aren't going to keep: Chances are I'm not going to want to keep them either. And I'm not going to give you Nelson Cruz in return.
However, I'm quite happy to listen to offers involving…
- Elite hitting prospects: As it's been shown over and over again, you can count on these guys becoming productive major leaguers nearly as much as you can count on productive major leaguers maintaining their production. It's true that everyone else loves elite hitting prospects, too, but I definitely don't mind throwing my hat into this ring.
- Hitting prospects with a 2012 or earlier ETA: Keeping a prospect is next to free, so if I'm guaranteed at least moderate production, that has value. For example, Brent Morel—he won't be a stud, but should be decent for at least 2011. Who doesn't like free stuff?
- Aging stars: It seems like everyone else is scared of Alex Rodriguez types. Sure, he'll be unkeepable in a couple years, but until then he's a 4+ win player. Planning on winning later is nice, but I want to win now and later. How is rostering a young player who won't produce for the first two years out of the next five any different from rostering an old player who won't produce for the last two years out of the next five? If you're looking more than five years down the road for a hitter, you're crazy. And I won't look past the next three for a pitcher.
- Studs: Yeah, ok, this one's not a shocker. Elite talent wins championships, and it's even more valuable in leagues with a higher replacement level than MLB. With the ability to keep only ten veterans per year, league-average players are thrown back into the pool. Players worth keeping are those with major skills.
Thanks to everyone for the opportunity to compete in your league. I'm looking forward to the competition. And watching you waste picks on pitching prospects.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now
1. There are limited keepers. So once a prospect makes it to the majors, he has to be really good in order to be worth a roster spot. League-average players have value within a season, but not long-term, since they aren't keepable. Not only do prospects have to make it to MLB, they have to make it beyond league-average. That rarely happens.
2. Salaries don't matter. In real baseball, young guys, even if they're worth only 1-2 wins, have a lot of value because they're free. But in Scoresheet, there's no salary difference between Brent Morel and Vernon Wells.
One note though - in Scoresheet middle relievers and set up men are *far* more valuable than they are in regular Rotisserie. Major league teams have a very difficult time winning without a very good/deep bullpen, and those relievers are just as valuable to their Scoresheet team as they are to their major league team. After all, most starting pitchers now pitch 6 innings a game at most, and someone has to get form the starter to the closer. I do agree that you can wait awhile to start drafting middle relievers, but for most drafts I think you need to stock up on them in rounds 18-25, as after that most of the good ones are long gone.
If you want to trade, make an offer. I won't do it for you.
Here is another article I wrote over five years ago on a study regarding 13 years of trades in my league: http://scoresheetwiz.tripod.com/id66.html. The trading rules of thumb uncovered hold up very well.
- John Carter
Unfortunately, I can't find the somewhat old article I read recently here by Wil Carroll that put the success rate of a certain type of shoulder operation at 3%. The one success he cited was a pitcher I couldn't even remember, so I would hardly call that a success that applies to Brandon Webb or Eric Bedard. Hence, I cannot confirm that the type of operation discussed was precisely the same as Webb's and Bedard's, but I recall the article mentioning that shoulder operations tend to be very tricky. Hence, it was probably discussing them in general, in which case it would apply to Bedard and Webb.
If you're comment's at a -10 and you can't figure out why, go ahead and ask (says me). If it's one comment at -1 or -2, don't sweat it. If it's a bunch of comments at -1 or -2, look for patterns.
I like the rating system (I think rating systems are mild to moderate troll deterrents). I've certainly had comments I considered to add to the equation get negative reviews. C'est la mort.
Everyone here has known for a long time to avoid pitchers who've had major shoulder operations. When you have to put on a Captain Obvious uniform to post a comment, you're wasting your time and mine. That's why I hit the "-"
The veteran pitcher is still good, but just like in "real life baseball," balancing the present and future is important.
However, the questioner in that particular case obviously didn't seem aware of the rareness of such shoulder surgery recoveries, since he was considering drafting those pitchers in round 18. While my answer was obvious to you, it seemed likely helpful to touchstone033, and some other readers. Should we ignore such questions unless we have some inside knowledge about how that player is doing? I've certainly read many Chat responses here that were much more obvious than my response. I'm not against raising that standard, but we all have different standards.
Are others passing completely on Webb? Waiting for a supplemental round, if he does recover? Seems to me for a team that's not in contention this year, a late-round flier isn't a bad risk.