How to build a Baseball Dynasty
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox were the teams of the 00’s
The Atlanta Braves were the team of the 90’s.
The St. Louis Cardinals were the team of the 80’s.
The New York Yankees were the team of the late 70’s
The Cincinnati Reds were the team of the mid 70’s
The Oakland A’s were the team of the early 70’s.
The St. Louis Cardinals were the team of the late 60’s
The New York Yankees were the team of the early 60’s
The New York Yankees were the team of the 50’s
Through out baseball history there have been gaps between the have and have-nots. Didn’t the Red Sox SELL Babe Ruth to the rich Yankees? For DYNASTY League Baseball and Fantasy teams the salary cap provides a level playing field. Here are a few history lessons from Baseball’s real life counter parts and how they built their dynasties.
Rule #1: Overall top to bottom talent is more important than a star player or two. A single baseball player does not make that much difference to any team.
Larry Bird transformed a bad team and sent new banners to the rafters for the Boston Celtics. Lew Alcindor came to the Milwaukee Bucks and brought the fastest ever championship to an expansion team. Michael Jordan three peated, left to play baseball and what happened? The Bulls completely unraveled. Jordan came back and three peated again. It might be argued that any of these players might be worth as much as 30 wins in a season.
Think of any baseball player who has had that impact?
How many wins did MVP Robin Yount give the Brewers in 1982? 6.6 wins. How about the best defensive shortstop in baseball in 1982, Ozzie Smith? Four wins. Well, he must have saved 100 runs with his defense though? Thirty Four runs saved by the best defensive shortstop of All-Time in 1982.
Whitey Herzog reshuffled the Cards so to speak in a series of trades by trading away Garry Templeton, Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons and it’s top prospect David Green. In return he received Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Dave LaPoint. What Herzog created, was a much more balanced team. Despite giving away a considerable amount of talent, the team top to bottom was more talented.
Well we all know how important it is to have that big closer in the bullpen. Wrong again. Bruce Sutter left the Cardinals for Ted Turner’s coffers in 1984. In 1984 the Cards had won 84 games, but many perceived the loss of Sutter would result in the Cards winning only 68 or 70 wins in 1985. Instead, Herzog used a “bullpen by committee” to register 101 wins on what is arguably the best Cardinals team of All-Time.
Rule #2 Evaluate players keeping in mind the most important situations in baseball
DYNASTY League baseball includes the most important situational statistics that lead to runs scored beyond what would normally be expected. These ratings can boost a player’s performance beyond his normal “card or file” numbers.
Clutch hitting (clutch rating)
Pitching out of a Jam (jam rating)
Not walking the leadoff man (off rating)
Not giving up HR with runners on base (on rating)
If your players have these ratings, keep in mind that these all important situational statistics can turn a pitcher with a average or poor hits per 9 inning (greater than 9.0), walks per 9 innings (greater than 3.0) or HR per 9 innings (greater than 1.0) into an effective pitcher if used properly.One of my favorite examples of a pitcher who benefits by being able to pitch in situations is the 1982 Cy Young winner – Pete Vuckovich.
Vuckovich had an 18-6 W-L record, but gave up 9.4 H/9 and 4.1 BB/9. That’s 13.5 baserunners per 9 IP and yet Vuckovich still had a very good ERA of 3.34. How did he do that? Well, if you check the 1982 DYNASTY Vuckovich card or file you’ll see he has both a jam and on Situation rating. With runners in scoring position and 2 outs, Vuckovich would pitch differently working the corners and not giving into the hitters and making them hit his pitch. With runners on base you just were not going to get a FAT pitch to hit so the HR’s he gave up usually were with no one on or one runner on.
Rule #3: The most efficient offenses win more games.
Tony LaRussa and Walt Jockety should take notes on how Herzog built the team of the 80’s. The Cardinals of 1980 were a team of high average hitters. They were capable of large outbursts of offense where they would score 10-12 runs, but would score two runs the next game and three the next. The offense was inconsistent and resulted in losing records. In fact, they scored more runs in 1980 than when the Cards won the Championship in 1982. Herzog reshuffled the Cards so to speak and created a much more consistent offense capable of generating more one-run innings that would win more close ball games. An offense that generates four runs every game (4,4,4,4) will win many more games than an offense that scores the majority of its runs in one game (13,1,1,1)
It’s ironic that the LaRussa-Jocketty front office has created a very atypical Cardinals team that resembles an Earl Weaver team built around power and the big inning. So does this mean that the one-run offense is preferred over the big inning offense? Not necessarily. Gene Mauch won 93 games with the 1982 California Angels while leading the league in one run innings. Remember that it takes more runs per game to win with a big inning offense than a one-run offense. The best offenses are those that can play equally effectively at both the one run innings and big innings.
The ultimate proponent of the three run inning, Earl Weaver would rarely use a one-run strategy such, as a bunt or hit and run. Baltimore lead the league in 1982 with 62 three-run innings. Milwaukee’s Brew Crew finished second with 53. Mauch’s California Angels had 283 one-run innings while Baltimore had 218.
Herzog, while known for using basestealers Lonnie Smith, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith for his one-run strategies, fully understood the importance of a player like George Hendrick or Jack Clark to create the big inning as well. The Cardinals were capable of generating one run when they needed it in close games, but also had the big inning threat to break open a game.
Harvey’s Wallbangers of 1982 were second in the AL in one-run innings. While almost every player in the lineup was capable of the long ball, the offense was also capable of generating one-run. In one of the most classic of speed vs. power, one-run inning vs. big inning World Series matchups, it was Herzog’s offense that triumphed.
The Big Red Machine had power with Bench, Foster and Perez, but it also had speed and great baserunning with Morgan, Concepcion and Rose. Sparky Anderson’s team had an almost perfect balance of power and speed that gave it the capability to play for the big inning, but also the one-run inning when needed.
Rule #4 The best indicator of overall offensive value is OBP plus SLG.
I hear about people who count the hit and walk numbers on each DYNASTY League Baseball card. Save yourself the time. All you need to look at is to add up the OBP and SLG of the player (OPS) to evaluate the player’s overall offensive value. Each DYNASTY League Baseball hitter’s card can’t be looked at on it’s own. It needs it’s other half — a pitcher’s card representing the league average. The DYNASTY League Baseball system needs to be thought of as if each batter vs. pitcher matchup is one card from 0-999.
Rule #5 Understand what it takes to win at home and on the road.
Too often I hear how you need to build your team to fit your ballpark without an equal understanding of what it takes to win on the road.
DYNASTY League Baseball makes over 200 ballpark adjustments so that the player will perform just as he did in the ballpark he played in. If DYNASTY League Baseball didn’t adjust for ballpark effects, the player’s statistics would be above or below the actual numbers and the simulation’s accuracy would be compromised.
Below: Home runs will fly out of Great American Ball park in DYNASTY League Baseball Online
Rule #6 Understand the value of scarcity.
Why is gold valuable? It’s scare. Why is pitching valuable in the 90’s? It’s scarce. In 1997, Roger Clemens is worth his weight in gold. In 1968, Carl Yastrzemski is worth his weight in gold as the only .300 hitter in the AL.
All of the DYNASTY League Baseball player cards and files are normalized for the league average. What this means is that Clemens performance, or DYNASTY League Baseball card or file, would be better in 1997 than if he had pitched in 1967 and had the same stats. So if you are looking at statistically similar players from different years keep in mind the league average for that year.
If you look at cf Paul Blair from the DYNASTY League Baseball 1969 season set, his A+ range is rare. Only the very best players of All-Time receive an A+ range rating. Some years no one receives an A+ rating at a particular position. This full spectrum of range ratings is unique to DYNASTY Baseball. Blair’s rare A+ range rating makes him particularly valuable in a key defensive position.
Rule #7 Don’t create a platoon weakness. Exploit your opponents platoon weakness.
I heard many instances of Cardinal players saying that having Herzog as manager was worth several wins a season. How many wins is the best manager worth? A random batting order compared to a lineup is known to generate a difference of only about 5% in terms of runs scored. In game strategies can make a critical difference in close games or in keeping games close and giving your team the opportunity to win. It’s possible that an outstanding manager can win 5-10 more ball games than a poor one.
Jim Leyland typically runs his lineups left, right, left and he feels the acquisition of LH hitter Darrell Daulton late in the 1997 season as a key to Florida’s Championship season. Daulton gave Florida another LH bat that would be effective vs. RH pitching. Leyland’s batting order logic minimized the effectiveness of a pitching move against his team beyond the first batter pitched to.
Earl Weaver had a three-headed platoon in left field of Gary Roenicke, John Lowenstein and Benny Ayala. This flexibility gave him firepower to counter moves in the late innings.
Manager Mike Hargrove and GM John Hart are astute baseball people, but I believe Cleveland lost the World Series in 1997 because it lacked LH reliever bullpen depth. Paul Assenmacher was the only lefty out of the bullpen. In order for your bullpen to match-up vs. batters in the late innings, you need to have at least two and probably three LH pitchers who are effective at getting out LH hitters. You should have at least one lefty whose sole purpose it to pitch to and get our one LH hitter late in the game.
You can manage one of the existing historical Dynasty teams in the new Greatest Team leagues coming to DYNASTY League Baseball Online this month.
This spring current season draft leagues will launch at DYNASTY League Baseball Online with a new integrated live draft room and profile based computer manager.