26 April 2008

5 Questions with eagle61


eagle61 is well-known in WIS circles for being one of the most respected progressive owners around. He has run over 200 baseball teams, has provided extensive career stats for many of the leagues he's in, and has offered incredibly stable leadership as the commish of the WADY league. In Capra, eagle's Dover Galaxy represented the National League in the first World Series, and are still working on making a repeat appearance.

1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?
Well, the 61 comes from my birth year (yeah, I’m an old fart!). And the Eagle come from the fact that I am an Eagle Scout and the eagle is my favorite bird or prey.

2) Offer a paragraph bio of yourself, possibly including things like work, family life, geography, other hobbies, quirky traits, bad habits, etc.
If you couldn’t guess already I am 46 years old (47 in May), married for almost 23 years. I have a 17 year old son who shares my interest in football and baseball, but can’t get him interested in WIS. I guess that is good because I couldn’t afford paying for two addictions! I live in Northern Virginia, 25 miles outside the DC Beltway. Other than producing progressive league stats for 4-5 leagues (hobby and bad habit!), I like going to the shooting range (Glock .45ACP) and I have taken up road bicycling for fitness. I also volunteer for our local Little League as an Equipment Manager. We have 84+ teams this year that all need catcher’s gear, bats, balls and uniforms. As for work, I am a management analyst for a government consulting firm and guess what… I get to play with numbers and spreadsheets there too!

3) A sports-themed bio paragraph. Favorite team? Players? Did you play as a kid? Now? What and when? Best sports moment? Most heartbreaking moment? etc.
In football it used to be Dallas until the Carolina Panthers came into the league. In college football it is Clemson. In baseball I love the Atlanta Braves. I have followed them since 1980. I used to spend a lot of time over at an ex-girlfriend's house and her parents were always watching the Braves on WTBS. I don’t like many of the other mainstream sports, but I do like many of the odd sports like rugby, Aussie rules football, Tour de France, America’s Cup, etc. Hell, I’ve even been known to watch lumberjack competitions on TV!Never played baseball as a kid as I grew up in a military town and my father was not military. So team sports were almost non-existent off post. I was an avid bowler in my youth and played a lot of golf. (best score in bowling = 279, best score in golf = 80) Both of those sports were carried over into my adult life, but I really haven’t had time for either the last several years. Best sports moment… 95 Braves World Series Championship and 1980-81 Clemson Tigers National Championship in football. Most heartbreaking was Atlanta’s loss in the WS to Minnesota (yes, the Twinkie 1b picked up Gant of off 1b and the umps called him out! Grrrrr. But I’m not bitter or anything!)

4) What about your franchise is most exciting going into Season 8? What is your team's biggest challenge? Anything else about your squad?
The Galaxy and exciting do not belong in the same sentence! But, I guess the 1 thing I will be looking for is improvement out of the 5 former 1st round picks that are currently playing for the big league club. This team has done nothing since losing the World Series in Season 1 and losing the other 3 division mates in the off season. Hey, that’s been the problem, my guys haven’t figured out what cities they are supposed to be traveling to! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! The biggest challenge is to actually finish another season over .500 (last time was season 1).

5)What piece of strategy or advice can you offer about HBD? Yes, I'm asking for one of your secrets, but many of us will be sharing as well.
Hmmm… well if any of you want to know how to build a losing team, just watch what I do. Seriously, I look for good, high L-R splits for both hitters and batters. At least 3 “+” pitches for SP. The rest, umm, I’m clueless. HBD is just not my game, but it has become a challenge so I’m not going anywhere just yet!

International Scouting: What You Get for the Money, Part 2

Here's the 2nd round of our four-team survey designed to come up with some tangible numbers regarding what your Int'l Scouting budget really buys you. The first number listed specifies the number of scouted players in that category for round 2, from approximately game 7 to game 50. The second number (in parentheses) lists the total number of scouted players since the beginning of Spring Training.

Minnesota North Stars: 20M budget
total players scouted: 31 (47)
players asking less than 1M: 23 (31)
players asking from 1M-3M: 4 (10)
players asking more than 3M: 4 (6)

Anaheim Anteaters: 16M budget
total players scouted: 24 (39)
players asking less than 1M: 19 (26)
players asking from 1M-3M: 3 (8)
players asking more than 3M: 2 (5)

Little Rock Travelers: 11M budget
total players scouted: 18 (26)
players asking less than 1M: 15 (20)
players asking from 1M-3M: 2 (4)
players asking more than 3M: 1 (2)

Scranton Breakers: 7M budget
total players scouted: 17 (24)
players asking less than 1M: 13 (16)
players asking from 1M-3M: 1 (3)
players asking more than 3M: 3 (5)

Initial Thoughts: The numbers seem to be working almost like you'd logically expect them to be working. Though there are a couple curious items of note: Why has Scranton seen 5 players asking for over 3M, while Little Rock has only seen 2? Also, the 4M budget difference between those same two teams has resulted, thus far, in only two more players showing up for Little Rock. Hmm . . . we'll compare these two teams again at the 100-game mark.

22 April 2008

Draft Preview

Capra will hold its S8 Amateur Draft with the 4/24 am cycle. This year's draft order does not feature very many picks that exchanged hands through free agency. In all, only four Type A Free Agent signings and four Type B Free Agent signing resulted in moved picks.

The franchises that look to benefit include the Montgomery Constitutions who, after losing both an A and B free agent, have picks at numbers 20, 25, 35, and 37. Also, the Atlanta Stonewallers now have picks # 27, 28, and 36. Other teams with multiple early picks are the Buffalo Hunters(8, 33, 49, 51) and the St. Louis Archers(24, 34, 52, 65). Of course, none of those picks will bring anyone close to the studs that the Pawtucket Patriots and Cleveland Brewdogs will land at numbers 1 and 2.

Furthermore, the above mentioned teams have prepared for their draft by allocating healthy scouting $ to find hidden gems. Montgomery has spent $30M on amateur scouting, Atlanta $28M, Buffalo $24M, St. Louis $24M, Pawtucket $38M, and Cleveland $32M.

On the flipside, the Scranton Breakers gave up their first round slot by signing Vasco Carrasco and now don't pick until #61. The Boston Brigadiers lost their first round selection when they inked slugger Clyde Unroe and now do not get to draft until #69.

Only four teams have spent less than $20M total in amateur scouting. Scranton, influenced by their weak set of picks, budgeted only $16M. The Las Vegas Longballers have spent $18M on looking at youngbloods. The Colorado Bombers have spent only $12M total and all of that on college ball; clearly they don't like teenage ballers in the Rockies. And finally, the San Juan Express, with picks at #30 and 71, have spent only $6M total(4-college, 2-high school) on scouting the draft pool.

11 April 2008

International Scouting: What You Get for the Money, Part 1 of 4

In an attempt to begin to make sense of the often frustrating relationshop between the International Scouting budget and the actual players your scouts bring to you as prospects, we will survey 4 owners with varying budgets this season to see who gets what for their money.

mnnorthstars is spending $20M on int'l scouting this season and will be our high-end budget rep. The other owners who will share what they see are myself(16M), sjstapleton(11M), and crickett13(7M).

It wouldn't be very accurate to report on these players based upon their overall projected ratings, since this always fluctuates based upon multiple scouting budgets(advance and international), so we will instead look at two very basic elements: total number of players seen and the player's initial asking bonus. The ladder is not a great determinant of actual projected value, but will at least give us a quality approximation of the players scouted.

The numbers listed below were reported at approximately the 7-8 game point of the season, which also includes all of the international players scouted during Spring Training. The four of us will attempt to update these numbers at the following approximate intervals as well: game 50, game 100, and game 150.


Listed as follows: Team, (int'l budget), total # of players seen, # of players asking for a bonus of greather than 3M, #of players asking between 1M and 3M, # players asking less than 1M.

Minnesota(20M) total=16, asking more than 3M=2, 1-3M=6, less than 1M=8

Anaheim(16M) total=15, asking more than 3M=3, 1-3M=5, less than 1M=7

Little Rock(11M) total=10 asking more than 3M=1, 1-3M=4, less than 1M=5

Scranton(7M) total=7 asking more than 3M=2, 1-3M=2, less than 1M=3

Initial Findings: Of players asking for less than 3M, there is perfect correlation to money devoted to international scouting; the more you spend the more of these players you see.

For players asking more than 3M, those who may be not only eventual big leaguers, but maybe even stars at the big league level, there is some inconsistency. The 7M budget has seen two of these guys, same as the 20M budget, and 1 more than the 11M budget. The 16M budget has seen the most of these guys at 3 thus far.

5 Questions with JEClapton123

JEClapton123 joined Capra for season 5 when he took over the Atlanta franchise and has proceeded to both win the NL East every season since and improve the Stonewallers' winning percentage every season, including a big .625 start to S8 thus far. Clapton's other WIS experience is limited to one other HBD team, the Columbus Straightjackets, which is still a rebuilding project.

1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?
JE is an abbreviation of my first name, Jon Eric. It's a double first name and JE rolls off the tongue a little better than saying all that. Clapton is a nickname I got in college because my roommate thought it would be funny to do the whole "before and after" routine from Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy with one of his favorite guitarists, Eric Clapton. The name stuck and I use it to this day. I heard about WIS from Chazzz and I originally used the site for the sim matchups. He and I are good RL friends, so he talked me into joining him in HBD when it was created. He was very persistent, despite the fact I turned him down a couple seasons before I joined. I'm glad I did join now though! I LOVE it!

2) Offer a paragraph bio of yourself, possibly including things like work, family life, geography, other hobbies, quirky traits, bad habits, etc.
I work in the chem lab of a small company here in the Midwest. I'm a big Twins fan and other than baseball, I'm really nuts about football. I love watching movies and anyone who knows me knows that I'm interested heavily in MMA.

3) A sports-themed bio paragraph. Favorite team? Players? Did you play as a kid? Now? What and when? Best sports moment? Most heartbreaking moment? etc.
I'd have to say I'm a Twins fan through and through. Morneau is my favorite Twin now that Johan has been traded. :( Other than that, I'd say my favorite baseball players are Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, and Chase Utley.My favorite moment is the 1991 World Series with Kirby Puckett's HR and his AMAZING catch in CF. That call by Jack Buck will live with me forever.My most heartbreaking moment is a tie between the Bartman incident and when Johan was traded. I felt bad for Cubs fans after that incident because they've waited for so long to get their title. The Johan trade was inevitable, but it still hurt to lose my favorite pitcher from my favorite team.

4) What about your franchise is most exciting going into Season 8? What is your team's biggest challenge? Anything else about your squad?
I'm excited that I posted my first ever season over .500 ball. I'm looking forward to getting better and building up my minor leagues so I can compete with the juggernauts of Capra. I hope to approach the 100 win mark this season and finally achieve a playoff series victory, which has escaped me to date.

5)What piece of strategy or advice can you offer about HBD?
Don't invest as much $ in coaches as you think you should. It's more worthwhile to spend your money on scouting of prospects and especially those international players. They can come through for you like you wouldn't believe.

04 April 2008

5 Questions with sparrow31

sparrow31 joined Capra for S5. He turned the Tacoma Rainers into the Salem Silver Shockers. And while the Silver Shockers have yet to taste success at the big league level, they have won a Rookie title under sparrow31 while stockpiling excellent young talent. sparrow is clearly working towards the kind of franchise success that he has fostered with some of his other HBD teams here and here.

1) What is the story of your username and how did you get hooked up with Whatifsports?
Sparrow31 is pretty simple, really. During my first collegiate baseball practice a senior asked me my name. When I told him is was Rory, he said, like (former NBA point guard) Rory Sparrow? From that day on I was Sparrow with that group of friends; as for 31, it was, of course, my baseball number.

2) Offer a paragraph bio of yourself, possibly including things like work, family life, geography, other hobbies, quirky traits, bad habits, etc.
I'm a 27-year old Branch Manager with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in NH, but I grew up in Maine. I live with my girlfriend and spend most of my non-working hours with laptop in hand managing my HBD addiction, or playing Xbox. I also do quite a bit of reading, a little writing, and love creating blog posts. I was an English major in college and was an award winning sports editor at a weekly newspaper in Maine before moving to NH to make a livable wage. I spend most of my summers golfing and traveling to minor league baseball games, as you'll read about in the next answer.

3) A sports-themed bio paragraph. Favorite team? Players? Did you play as a kid? Now? What and when? Best sports moment? Most heartbreaking moment? etc.
I'm a diehard Braves fan and Dale Murphy will always be my favorite player. I pitched on two baseball state championship runner-up teams in high school and played four years at Colby-Sawyer College in NH. My best sports moment is easily watching one of my very best friends, Mike MacDonald, throw a complete-game shutout in 2006 when he was pitching for NH in the AA Eastern League. My most heartbreaking sports moment is a tie betwen watching Jack Morris beat the Braves in game seven of the 1991 World Series, in my opinion the greatest baseball game of all-time; and being the losing pitcher in the state championship game my junior year of high school.

4) What about your franchise is most exciting going into Season 8? What is your team's biggest challenge? Anything else about your squad?
I'm really excited about some of the young guys I have in High A. I've stockpiled my last two draft classes there and have a loaded team heading into this season. I think Kennie Hughes, Willie Bacsik and B.J. Omlansky will be the face of my franchise for years to come. As for the Major League incarnation, they need to remain slightly better than horrible while I wait for my talent to develop. This is the first reclamation project I've ever taken on, so I'm happy with my progress. When I signed up for season four I had something like 10 players at each level and had to sign a bunch of 35-year old free agents just to field a team in the bigs.

5)What piece of strategy or advice can you offer about HBD? Yes, I'm asking for one of your secrets, but many of us will be sharing as well.
I always try to build my teams around three or four guys with a ton of speed and great batting eye/contact ratings, and set my aggressivness to 5 for basestealing and running. I put a lot of stock in speed, eye and contact when looking at hitters because I like to play in neutral or pitcher friendly parks. I also value pitch ratings and control over L/R splits for pitchers, and try to combine that with non-hitting catchers with high pitch call and defense. Like Crickett, my record indicates that I am not good at this game and my strategy is most likely completely flawed.