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The Secret Formula: Theory in Action: Update - CHAMPS!

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:53 am
by J-Pav
Link to team:

Even though I'm not doing The Secret Formula annual post any more, largely because there are only so many creative ways to keep saying the same things over and over, I'm posting my Theory in Action team here to provide a forum and something of a newbie primer. My season starts on Monday, so this is real time, not a "well chosen sample" from my completed leagues.

Here is how I submitted my autodraft card. The players I missed are in red.

1. Josh Hamilton
2. Brandon Moss
3. Prince Fielder

4. Ben Zobrist
5. Chase Headley
6. Adam Laroche
7. Travis Snider (WTF!)
8. Asdrubal Cabrera
9. Neil Walker
10. Everth Cabrera

11. Yasmani Grandal
12. Wade Miley
13. Sean Marshall
14. Eric O'Flaherty
15. Evan Scribner
16. Nate Jones
17. Randy Choate
18. Andrew Miller
19. Joe Kelly
20. Elliot Johnson
21. Chris Snyder
22. Joe Saunders
23. Rafael Furcal
24. Kyle Drabek
25. Jon Lester

This draft earned me the number one waiver pick. Yikes.

Here was my waiver card:

1. Gio Gonzalez
2. Josh Willingham
3. Chase Utley
4. Ian Kinsler
5. Brandon Morrow
6. DeWayne Wise
7. Franklin Gutierrez
8. Eric Young Jr.
9. Travis Wood
10. Wade Leblanc
11. Casey Fien

Once the waiver period had passed, it was time to set up The Secret Formula salary structure. Column one is the results from 17 of my $80 mil DH leagues using best pythag records. Column two is the results from the 11 Championship teams in Event One of The Player's Championship. Column three is my team here, rounded out from the FA pool. My original autodraft picks are in green, the waiver and FA picks are in black.

SP $6.60 $6.29 $6.75 Gio Gonzalez
SP $4.69 $4.53 $5.13 Brandon Morrow
SP $3.99 $3.53 $3.69 Wade Miley
SP $2.45 $2.33 $2.64 Travis Wood
SP $1.43 $1.47 $1.49 Wade Leblanc
SP $0.98 $0.58 $0.58 Joe Kelly

RP $4.62 $3.86 $4.50 Scott Atchison
RP $2.28 $2.14 $1.21 Sean Marshall
RP $1.19 $1.34 $1.00 Nate Jones
RP $0.88 $0.97 $1.00 Evan Scribner
RP $0.70 $0.73 $0.59 Andrew Miller
RP $0.50 $0.71 XX

BA $9.20 $9.59 $10.07 Chase Headley
BA $7.52 $8.04 $7.37 Ben Zobrist
BA $6.75 $6.91 $6.91 Adam Laroche
BA $5.49 $5.78 $5.62 Yasmani Grandal
BA $4.30 $5.00 $4.18 Josh Willingham
BA $3.86 $3.79 $4.11 Chase Utley
BA $3.29 $2.95 $3.74 Michael Saunders
BA $2.79 $2.44 $3.09 Asdrubal Cabrera
BA $1.99 $1.99 $1.83 Franklin Gutierrez
BA $1.54 $1.63 $1.62 Omar Infante
BA $1.29 $1.29 $1.57 Colby Rasmus
BA $1.00 $1.02 $0.64 Chris Snyder
BA $0.78 $0.73 $0.54 Elliot Johnson
BA $0.63 $0.63 XX

It's not a perfect match, but I think one could argue it keeps pretty close to the spirit of the thing. I did opt for the less conventional 11 pitchers/13 hitters instead of the more traditional 10 pitchers/14 hitters. I provided the two columns (from my own leagues and the tour teams) simply to demonstrate how much good teams have in common when it comes to salary structure and middle defense. Back in the day we just referred to this as "veteran best practices", but there is something tangible about the evidence, wouldn't you say?

Some short observations: the general breakdown is $20 mil for SPs, $10 mil for RPs and $50 mil for batters. The use of star SPs versus non-star SPs tends toward the non-star guys, but I don't think it's a significant distinction. Watching this player set unfold with regard to pitching was somewhat odd this year. After five or so leagues, it seemed the best pitchers were ordered inversely according to salary. That is, spending money on top pitching appeared to be a GIGANTIC waste of money. However, as more leagues rolled in, the law of averages evened things out. In the end, starting pitching largely follows the cost of the pitcher's salary: i.e., you get what you pay for (more or less).

Some more Secret Formula fundamentals: 2s at 2B (Utley/Infante platoon), SS (Cabrera) and CF (Rasmus/Gutierrez platoon). Out of the 28 observed teams (84 total middle fielders) I think there were only 3-4 instances when a 1 or 2 was not used, as per the usual.

I chose Progressive Field, as this represents the most obvious ballpark advantage. Three other managers did the same, not unusual for this card set. But like the card sets of the recent past, there does not appear to be a tendency toward any one type of park, as the 28 observed teams cover the entire range of pitchers to hitters parks, from Petco to Coors. Lots of unique stadiums.

Anyway, there it is. I hesitated to post any of this, but every now and then someone asks about autodraft strategy and ordering the waiver card and what not, so if anyone wants to chat about that stuff, here is a place where we can do it.
Or if you want to discuss salary structure and the benefit of not forfeiting salary cap to dropped players, I'll be happy to throw in my $0.02.

GL all -

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:09 am
by pvillager
Were I in your division I'd certainly be adding LH starters to my roster, specifically to pitch 'em in the 4 Progressives.

Although Willingham isn't the greatest fit in your park, at least he gives you one RHB. :shock: I suspect, more by way of intuition than math, that Willingham is the best bang-for-buck DH in this year's set.

I like your set-up, which mirrors my own tendency to go with serviceable pitching, good if unspectacular defense all around, and an offense that can produce from anywhere in the lineup. Not that this appeared to be your strategy based upon the autodraft submission. :lol:

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:22 am
by gbrookes
J-Pav, this is awesome! Thanks for posting this!

There's lots to think about in what you're posting. More than I can absorb immediately, but I'll be re-reading this. I'd like it if you did updates. Thanks!


Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:30 am
by J-Pav
As something of an aside, if you search through a lot of the successful Progressive teams, you very often find more RHP on the staff than lefties. This goes to the Moneyball thing ("I don't care about lefty vs lefty!").

For my team here, I went with Gio because he was the only guy in that $6.50 range available for waivers (I had the first pick). I wanted Miley on my team because I'm playing a hunch: HAL for some reason just seems to love this guy. Wood and Leblanc were the best two price fits in the 4-5 spots. This is what the FA pool gave me this time around, but I would not hesitate to take RHPs if the right ones were available.

Yes, Willingham was just to balance off all the lefties. There's no reason to be too rigid just because he doesn't appear to "fit the park". He hits plenty in all kinds of parks, but most importantly he hits with power.

A couple more intangibles: the big bunch of negative holds is something of a fluke, I usually don't care too much about pitcher hold ratings.

Also, my defense is abnormally strong for one of my teams. I love using lots of 4s and the occasional 5 (though never up the middle) because those guys usually hit a ton.

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 8:28 pm
by l.strether
Really cool post, J-pav,

As to missing Snider at 7, I've taken him at 6th and missed out on him....people really love that card.

I was also curious about your drafting Moss at second and Fielder at third. Have you gotten them before at those draft slots?

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:47 pm
by J-Pav
I have. I felt pretty sure I'd get at least four of my top six. Putting Moss at #2 was probably a waste. I should have put Snider there and just put Moss at #25 (hoping for the steal if he went undrafted, which he sometimes does)!

If someone wants Snider and spends top six to get him, more power to that guy. My goal, knowing I was going with Progressive and at least one or two other guys probably would too, was to flood my top six with big bats and drop three of them depending on how the rest of the picks came through and what the FA pool looked like. The draft just dropped three of them for me and made things easy.

I almost always defer my pitching to waivers and after, unless I'm experimenting. Recently I've been fooling around with big strikeout pitchers. If that's the case, I just defer the offense to later picks, waivers and the FA pool and get the pitchers I want right up front.

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:39 am
by visick
"Moss at #25 (hoping for the steal if he went undrafted, which he sometimes does)!"

I've never been in a league where he went undrafted. IDK of anybody grabbing him in the 25 spot. Moss is pure $.

Thanks for the post JPav. :mrgreen:


Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:36 am
by J-Pav
I was just in a league recently where he went undrafted (in the autodraft). The funny thing is, the more vets you have in your league, IMO the more likely you are to get the guys you want. The vets conclude right away "Against this competition I can't get this guy at spot X, so I'll adjust now" and they seek out other options they see as more doable for their autodrafts. Newer players want who they want and just blast away with their top picks.

I have to admit, I find it pretty comical, this whole weird obsession with Moss. It's a great card, but by no means does having him on your team guarantee anything. I laugh out loud when I read the posts crying about not being able to draft him. I was kind of hoping to get him at number two just for grins. Getting him at the #25 spot would've been even funnier. Not getting him at all means zippy.

In this draft I missed #1, #2, #3, #7, #9, #10, #17 and #22. It couldn't have bothered me less.

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:52 am
by J-Pav
I didn't get Moss, but I did get Drabek. I dropped him because he doesn't fit The Secret Formula recipe.

Can anyone top this??

Re: The Secret Formula: Theory in Action

PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:17 pm
by J-Pav
The question I want to ask the community is this: I missed six of my top ten picks in the autodraft. Was this an unfortunate autodraft poorly constructed, or did the wily veteran use guile and creativity to game the autodraft to get exactly what he wanted?