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I mulled over sitting out baseball season this year due to the grind, but I’ve decided to participate yet, provided I find the right partner to manage my teams for me. To that end I put out the following Twitter poll:
I got a lot of divergent responses — some thinking it should be 20 or 25 percent, and many saying 50 or more. I could average it and say 51.5 percent voted for less than 50 and 48.5 voted for 50, but of course there were no options for 60 or 75! So the poll wasn’t perfect, but enough people said 50, and the main thing is to get someone who is reliable and diligent. So 50 percent it is. I draft, you do all the moves (both free agents and lineups Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and we split the winnings, if there are any, 50/50.
Whoever is interested should have prior experience in the NFBC format. When I started, I was a good player, but it took me a full season before I understood how to use my reserve spots properly, and my teams the first year were terrible. (I held too many top prospects and injured players for too long and got behind in at-bats.)
Besides experience, the key qualifications, as I mentioned, are reliability and diligence — no missed lineup deadlines, no half-assed free-agent weeks. You don’t have to be a genius, just know what you’re doing and take it seriously. I don’t expect anyone to get perfect results. I do expect a good effort.
As for my involvement, it would probably vary. I might weigh in with some players I really like, or disappear for a month. I want someone who has the confidence to make moves without consulting me — if we need to have a meeting every week to go over FAAB, it defeats the purpose of having a partner. But if we’re in the overall hunt down the stretch, I’d probably want to have some input at least. But the main point of this arrangement is so I don’t have to think about it if I don’t want to, so usually I won’t want to be consulted or involved.
Other thoughts: To have a chance to compete in the overall, you have to do well in every category. That means if we’re down a closer, you have to get saves. You can’t just be mediocre in saves and hope to be strong elsewhere. It also means you can’t roster Joey Gallo, except in very unusual circumstances.
You need to have a lot of innings and at-bats to compete. You need to max out at-bats during the weekend lineup periods which means seeing the schedule and the platoon splits.
You need innings for strikeouts, but you have to be strong in ERA and WHIP which are nearly impossible to fix over the last two months. In fact, AVG, ERA and WHIP must be 80th percentile by the end of July. You can make up ground in the seven counting categories as out-of-contention teams and those that suffer injuries quit. But the averaging categories don’t change when people’s attention shifts to football, so you have to lock those down.
There’s a balance between being aggressive on innings, Ks and wins and not getting burned in ERA and WHIP. It’s a hard line to walk on streamers and two-start starters. If you never get burned, you’re being too conservative. If you get burned too often, you’re drawing dead in ERA and WHIP. It’s not easy, but you must understand the trade-offs.
Ideally if you have a 3B in your corner slot, you want a 1B on your bench. If you have a SS in your MI, you want a second baseman on your bench. There are times you have to ignore this, but it ensures no matter which corner or middle gets hurt, you have a full lineup.
I want someone who understands probability, but also is willing to buck a trend based on his own observations. Someone who knows the rules well enough to break them.
. . .
I already have some interest from a few people, but I wanted to lay it out more clearly, so anyone who might want to do this knows about the opportunity, but also the responsibility. It’ll entail some work. Of course, I might draft a terrible team too, and then you’re drawing dead from Day 1 and doing it for no reason. In fact, I think I’ll wait until *after* I draft to pick someone — that way whoever is interested is going in eyes open.
It would be hilarious if I drafted a team people hated so much I wound up with no takers and had to manage it myself. Even more hilarious if it cashed in the overall.