We have a few things to discuss and confirm in order to start playing our fantasy baseball league at the end of the month.
First, please plan on finalizing your franchise name and submitting a logo no later than Monday, April 16. I would like to write up a post for GeekDad featuring our new league and the team logos, to run on April 18. I want to run these as a gallery, which means I would also like to have a 1-2 paragraph backstory on why you chose the name/logo you did. A Monday due date will leave you plenty of opportunity to work with your younger partners on drawing and scanning/digitizing a logo.
Second, I am about to confirm sponsorship by a host for our league (one I wouldn't mind switching my main league to at some point). We'll give them a plug on all GeekDad articles about our activities in exchange for a cost-free season this summer. The site has a number of fine-tuned controls to configure our league the way we want. The target date for that is also Monday, April 16.
Finally, we need to have a discussion about the rules. Since our host site is quite versatile, and I am optimistically viewing this as a keeper league, this may be more nuanced than I originally planned. I'm creating a new page to house the rules, but please comment here about them (both pro and con). With almost three decades of running fantasy leagues under my belt, I'm quite confident in these suggestions, but I want to give our community a chance to provide input and suggest adjustments.
A couple of discussion points:
1) DRAFT: A baseball draft can be intimidating due to the size of the rosters, as well as the inexperience of some of our owners (particularly the younger partners). I think the easiest way to expedite this and lower the bar at the same time is to trust a ranking list (i.e. ESPN 500) and use that list to distribute hitters and pitchers into pre-assembled rosters. We would still draft, but it would be only two rounds and you would each have the choice to draft hitters or pitchers first. It would be serpentine, so the team with the first pick may get the "best" hitters but would have last choice of pitchers (or vice versa).
This will also likely encourage trading this season, as we will be inheriting players we don't want (e.g., Mets) and seeking favorite players we do like (e.g., King Felix). That activity will help establish a culture of trading and trade value that will be helpful in future seasons.
2) STARTING LINEUP: In my main league, we have 9 hitters, mimicking a normal lineup. This was nice since it allowed us to use more players, but it turned out to be detrimental to trading, as there was a bigger dropoff between a starter and a backup player. I am suggesting a balanced hitter-pitcher 12-player starting lineup to help us stay active with dealing, better guard against injury, and offset the issues that come with a large 20-team league.
Here is Team Henry (I think to be called the Owensboro Sluggers since we are near the Lousiville Slugger factory) input:
1) Draft proposal makes sense - especially since we are starting from scratch with 20 teams.
2) 12 player starting lineup is fine
3) Scoring system suggestions:
4) Roster suggestion - what if we drop the developmental players for the first year to allow (and encourage) our kids to focus on the main roster. My fear is that this is enough for our kids to learn (and enjoy). The developmental roster could be added down the road once the basics are understood and mastered.
5) Tie breaker suggestion - for the same reasons as 4) above, is there a simpler tie breaker option for the kids? How about using the fielding percentage here for the tie breaker? If not, Pitching WHIP would be another option.
5) Question - how will the schedule be arranged with 15 week regular season and 4 opponents in your division? Will you play division opponents once or twice? How will we fill the remainder of the schedule?
My son and I are both looking forward to the season!
RE: Developmental Roster
Valid points. Originally, I wasn't planning to include this, but there are a number of ownership teams located in proximity to minor league and college teams. A developmental squad allows the fantasy league experience to overlap more directly with real life by encouraging kids (and parents) to find some favorite young players to root for. Five spots may be overkill for that purpose, but even a developmental squad of 1 would help encourage some advance scouting and personal investment in watching players develop.
I'd love to hear more from you and other owners about this.
Interesting. What I like about it most is that it removes the need to designate or track a separate set of players (the PH/ST) to break a tie. We just assign other kinds of stats to each of the extra innings and use the same players. It will probably still be a manual process, but I'll ask the host about this option.
Most games end resolved in regulation, btw. In a 20-team, 18-game season, we typically need to go to the PH no more than a half dozen times, and very rarely even need the ST. Picking another 5 extra innings categories should be more than enough to make sure we don't have ties, but it's a cheap exercise to extend it out to 9 or more just to be sure.
My preference is to have twice-a-year meetings with division rivals (8 games total), one with conference rivals (5 more), and a couple interconference games (e.g., if you finish second in your division, you play the other second-place finishers). I've got some templates for a schedule to that effect, but I have to check with the host to see if their system already manages that.
I'm biased toward the simple, traditional stats because (a) they are more likely to appear on the backs of trading cards, and (b) when I started playing, all of the calculation was by hand -- even batting average an era were time consuming. It was much easier and more straightforward to count things you can see.
That said, this is a GEEK fantasy baseball league, and we shouldn't be afraid of a little extra math to track our players progress. There may be limitations on the host with some of these (K - BB, for instance), but I can check on any changes we make.
Some thoughts on those specific suggestions:
I've started pecking away at distributing the ESPN 500 into 20 squads of hitters and another 20 of pitchers. I think this is going to work out overall. There is one hitting squad with three quality MM (only two could start, one as a DH), but there will be a number of strong pitching staffs to offset that club. With several more rounds to go (I'm only through the top 100), things will even out.
I am skipping over anyone listed as OUT FOR SEASON (e.g., Ryan Madson), but otherwise not evaluating the quality of the rankings.
Once the rosters are done, I'll post them for review and scouting.
And a couple hours later ... Here are the hitting and pitching squads (see attached), as distributed from the ESPN 500 list.
Kevin, How do you want us to get you our logos and paragraphs about our teams?
You can post them to the Assignment #1 thread.
I'll send out a reminder Sunday morning to those who haven't posted yet. It would be great if we could get all of the logs, names and a brief backstory about those choices for a Wednesday GeekDad post.
It would be great to hear the opinions of some of the other owners. Here are some responses to Kevin's post in response to some of the suggestions I made:
Looking forward to the start of the season. Those logos and team names are great.
One last thought...