2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

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The Last Druid

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2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostFri Dec 14, 2018 2:35 pm

Notice that the phrase trash talking did not appear as the topic subject.

Just want to begin share a few thoughts on the semifinal leagues currently in progress (note the great restraint shown by my not calling them lottery leagues). I was browsing through the semi-finals league 2, where Outta Leftfield is currently leading. I was really struck by the prevalence of small ball teams as well as the seeming ascendance of what some folks are now calling Cristano pitching staffs, in reference to his 4 dominant starters from the 2017 finals. I have seen many similar teams proliferating in leagues outside the BS tour, over the past year. I also have tried a couple myself. Here is one currently in progress, the finals start tomorrow night: https://365.strat-o-matic.com/league/438213. This is actually a pretty high class league, a lot of very good managers in this league, two of whom are currently near the leaders in BS Semifinal 2 league referenced above. My +195 is very similar to what Cristano obtained in last years finals as is the W-L record, although I did not use a small ball park as he did.

As a strategy the Four Aces approach has it's limits. To be maximally effective there needs to be a dh and also not a lot of high offense ballparks which can send even the very best pitchers to an early shower. This year, is looking like a no dh league is quite possible, so we may not get to see this approach tested again in the 2019 Finals. Since the last tour ended, I spent the first few months using only bomber teams, mostly Fulton, testing my theory about such teams being a viable antidote to the Four Aces strategy as there was certainly no shortage of such teams after Cristano's championship win.

Without going into my conclusions regarding the efficacy of my anti- Aces strategy, I can state that the 4 aces strategy is a very solid approach but it certainly is no holy grail of SOM team composition. It is a very good strategy when the conditions are right and gives one a strong shot at making the playoffs. What I haven't seen much of is teams winning 105+ games with this approach.

I also predict that the 2019 semifinals of the BS Finals will include last year's semifinalists with the possible substitution of djmacb for one of us. As I see it these are the best managers in the current event and I look forward to matching wits with them. Then again, one never knows who will win it in a given year. There have been quite a few of the previous winners who were not elite managers but still managed to win. Clearly for many, that is an incentive to participate in the Tour.
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jet40

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSat Dec 15, 2018 12:21 am

Cristano might have popularized the '4 Aces' strategy but it has been used long before the 2017 BarnStormers.
My strategy in the Finals is to initially only worry about my own team. Yes, I might make adjustments once the divisions are formed but I am not going to build a team on the premise manager 'X' might do this and might be in my division. Admittedly my expectations aren't high considering the high level of managers I will be facing.
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hallerose

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSat Dec 15, 2018 10:02 am

I'm happy to see that I'm already in the playoffs ;) . I largely have my approach to hitters/offense ready, with my target lists at every position. Pitching approach will probably depend on cap and/or DH. I'm also working on several slight edges that I hope to be able to exploit. If there was a lot of 4 Aces teams I have my strategy ready, but I'm not sure it makes sense to structure your team to beat only 1 or 2 teams. I'm going to try to win: home and way, vs. R & L lefty starters, vs. R & L lineups, in small ball & bomber parks, vs. small ball & bomber teams, vs. 4 Aces & super-relievers, etc.
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The Last Druid

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSat Dec 15, 2018 11:01 am

I fully agree that the Four Aces strategy, to my knowledge, has been around for as long as I've been playing on this site, but it has been much more prevalent the past 9 months.

As far as structuring teams to just beat 1 or 2 teams, I agree that doesn't make much sense. That said though, once the divisions are determined (both Cristano and I have voiced concern about the divisions being determined post diamond dope draft, but since none of the other managers spoke up last year, that situation will no doubt continue) I attempt to identify the probable playoff teams and make sure that I minimize any vulnerability I see against those teams (as well as those in my division) while simultaneously looking to exploit their vulnerability against my team. I believe that team composition must, at the level of the BS finals, be context dependent as every possible edge could be the difference between a ring and not even getting to choose a new ATG card.

Here is an example of what I mean. This team starts the playoffs tonight. https://365.strat-o-matic.com/team/1498992
https://365.strat-o-matic.com/league/438227.

After the autodraft, I found myself in the difficult position of being one of only two small ball parks in the league. There was a Dunn but all the rest of the parks were home run derby affairs and my division was particularly troubling with a Fenway 67, Polo 41 and Shea 71. My experience has been that being the odd small ball team in a bomber league is generally an uphill struggle to even make the playoffs. You can easily have a huge plus at home but surviving on the road is problematic indeed. In the past I was loathe to spend money on ballpark homeruns for my small ball teams. I am also risk averse by nature and don't like injury prone players, but the park composition in this league warranted me stepping outside my comfort zone just to be competitive.

I originally had a four man staff, but saw that the ideal small ball five day starters were all available, so I grabbed them all during waivers. Kazmir and Sutton were critical, Kazmir for the four lefty parks and home games and Sutton was worth 8 starts against Minute Maid and Fenway 46, the other guys pretty much got rolled out whenever their turn in the rotation arose. I also had House for my pen, with a fairly weak group of backups.

I was able to have my pick of many of my favorite small ball players, one of the upsides to being the odd park out as there was little competition for these guys. But having a nearly ideal small ball team was not likely to get me too far in this league, so I grabbed McCovey ('69) and decided to roll the dice with Aaron '71 to increase my competitiveness on the road. This was the first time I have used that Aaron card, the two points of injuries, did not appeal to me.

Anyway to make this long story short, my results certainly exceeded my expectations. Aaron and McCovey were worth every penny and then some and Aaron was injured at the expected rate ( he was injured for 23 games and appeared in the exact number of games for my team as he did for the '71 Braves (139).

Just an aside. Matt (tmfw30) was in my division in Polo. I managed to go 21-3 against him, the team I was most concerned about in this league.

House won both the Cy Young and MVP awards.
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cristano1

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSat Dec 15, 2018 5:59 pm

The 4 aces only works under optimal conditions, which are:
1) 100M: Absolutely necessary. 4 aces with an 80m cap leaves no money for hitters.
2) DH: I don't see how this isn't absolutely necessary too. With no DH, each ace pitches 30 less IP. And you have to spend a few million on RP and a few million on pinch hitters. Then the aces cant pitch enough innings to justify their cost.
3) SMALL BALL: I would say fairly necessary. Other than Koufax the lefty aces suck, and the righty aces are much less valuable in a Lefty Park. On top of that, in any park other than Small, the aces keep getting rocked and don't eat enough innings to justify their cost.

Last year was the perfect storm since everyone went small ball. Instead of getting 330 IP I got 360 IP per ace, which is worth 4 more wins. I really partied when the 100 DH league setting was locked in. The trend had been everyone going small ball. Everyone using 2m SP. Everyone using super relievers. I was delighted when like 8 teams were small ball. I was very unhappy to face lab in the finals. I had 4 righty aces and Lab had a really good lefty team and he should have won on paper (not counting the fact that he pretty much did win game 7 outright). But the biggest shocker about last year's finals were righty batters were significantly more valuable than lefty batters. That isn't very common. Most of the time it is dead even, stance really doesn't matter one way or another. But not last year. Meusel and Moore made my roster. Absurd.

I am not sure 4 aces will be tested in this year's finals. Will anyone be gutsy enough to go for it? Hoping a few managers go for it. For me personally, I've done some testing and can't make it work. Aces can't be used at 80m and they can't be used No DH. And since the vote looks like 80m AND No DH, goodbye Ace concept.

My working assumption is I will face 6 small ball, 3 lefty, 1 righty, and 1 big boppers team. Under those conditions, the best 4 Aces team that I can build (with each Ace costing 10-11m) averages 5 wins less than a team comprised of a bunch of 2-4m starters and fairly big relievers. My next test will be 4 Medium Aces (maybe 7-9m per Ace). Even with the setting "never let HAL remove" the best I can get out of 11m dollar aces is 315IP per season. Pretty much renders them worthless.

I am still holding out hope for 100m DH winning the final vote this year, but it doesn't look likely.

Also, I am flattered over the Cristano 4 Aces naming convention, but my brother Spicki17 and Bruce F were making those teams 10 years ago. They just didn't work as well back then because there weren't enough small ball teams back then. For the past 3 years I've made a small ball team for the Barn Finals because no one built small ball. Three years ago I was fighting with myself for Speaker and Cobb in the 15th round. Those were the days. Pretty much the same two years ago. But last year's finals was the year of the small ball. I am certain small ball will stick around for this year's finals before fading next year.
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The Last Druid

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSat Dec 15, 2018 6:08 pm

Agree to a point with Cristano about the four aces and 80M. No dh destroys their cost effectiveness at 80M or 100M. But one could use a 4 mini-aces strategy at 80M no dh as Cristano says, just spend 20% less on each mini "ace".
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labratory

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSun Dec 16, 2018 11:59 am

4 aces is probably the most common strategy used for successful teams (given the cap and DH limitations already noted) and the community is catching on. Adding to the popularity is the fact that 4 aces is easy to manage and anyone can run it.

4 aces has been around for a long time, so we can't say Cristano invented it. But he gets tremendous credit for running it so successfully over the past several years. This is mainly a testament to his team building skills instead of just the pitching strategy.

If you are planning to spend $45 million on pitching in a $100 Mil DH league, is there a different strategy that gives better results? Probably not.
Are there other strategies that can equal the performance of 4 aces? Probably yes, but they are harder to employ.
Are there other strategies that are worse? Definitely.
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cristano1

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSun Dec 16, 2018 12:41 pm

Shown below are the 10 best teams from this year's barnstormers tour for the 80m No DH Event:

1) +207 runs / 106 wins: 4 stars ranging from 3m to 5m / medium relievers / Smallball Park
2) +205 runs / 96 wins: 4 stars ranging from 3m to 7m / small relievers / Righty Park
3) +200 runs / 101 wins: 5 non stars ranging from 1m to 5m / super reliever / Smallball Park
4) +192 runs / 104 wins: 5 non stars ranging from 2m to 5m / super reliever / Smallball Park
5) +176 runs / 100 wins: 5 non stars ranging from 1m to 9m / small relievers / Smallball Park
6) +170 runs / 97 wins: 4 stars ranging from 4m to 10m / medium relievers / SmallRighty Park
7) +158 runs / 90 wins: 4 stars ranging from 5m to 7m / medium relievers / Smallball Park
8) +153 runs / 98 wins: 5 non stars ranging from 1m to 7m / medium relievers / SmallRighty Park
9) +149 runs / 94 wins: 5 non stars ranging from 1m to 9m / super relievers / Smallball Park
10) +143 runs / 97 wins: 5 non stars ranging from 1m to 5m / medium relievers / Smallball Park

All 10 teams were some variant of small ball. Either righty small ball or straight away small ball. My best guess is that Petro picked the 12th position so he could draft Pineiro and Duren with the 12th and 13th picks in this draft. In the list above, Petro's team is #4 (sorted by run differential) but #2 in actual wins. All of Petro's batters are expendable, but he desperately needs to nail his starting rotation. His finals will all come down to which small SP slip to him at pick 12.

It is reasonably possible to think Petro can land Henry and Kazmir with picks 48/49 as most of the other managers in this year's draft aren't in love with those 2 starters. If I were Vegas I would say 25% odds Duren slips to Petro at 12, and 0% odds that Pineiro is around for pick 12. In the last 80m barnstormers finals, Luckyman picked Pineiro 2nd overall if my memory serves correct. Of course, that was an absurd draft where Gates Brown, Kal Daniels, and Wally Berger were all first round picks.
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The Last Druid

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSun Dec 16, 2018 2:26 pm

You've thought farther ahead than I have Cristano about my plans. I see that I'm still in your head though. :shock: Certainly, I am considering two of my favorite pitchers for the 12 and 13th picks but I'm not at all sure that the other managers will allow that. They probably shouldn't, but who knows. I do feel confident that there will be no dream small ball five or six man staffs, in the finals. Pineiro is the best of the lot, and I would probably take him with the 12th pick, given the chance, but the efficacy of the rest is largely a function of the opponent's parks, although Duren can be good anywhere. Anyway, that is not why I chose that draft position. I just prefer two picks in a row, for a variety of reasons. ;)

One thing I will predict. Hallerose won't pick Pineiro. Why should he when he can get Kerry Wood much, much later in the draft?
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hallerose

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Re: 2018 BS Finals "Discussion" Thread

PostSun Dec 16, 2018 2:46 pm

IMHO most pitchers are much more fungible than the "right" hitters, especially at certain positions. I have 40+ acceptable starting pitchers on my various lists (4 day, 5 day, aces, match-up, etc.). I've consistently won 90+ games with starting pitchers that most of you wouldn't touch. There are a few of the favorites that I will snatch up if they slip a lot.
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