The Science of Selection

Each year the owners of the Baseball Aholics take a look at their franchise from the previous season, make some managerial decision and cut 70 percent of their players. It's nothing personal, really. These players have never met their owners and in most cases the owners have never met their players. It's merely a way of starting the league fresh each year so that each owner has the eternal optimism of Spring. But for seven players they remain with their franchise and owner. Owners look through their roster, find the players they would like to hold over from last year and place the all-important "keeper" designation upon them. A new set of players will join the core hold-overs from the last season so there is no traditions, rivalries, or bad "mojo" going on in the clubhouse. In the Baseball Aholics league the beer and friend chicken is cleaned out from the locker room each season and, like Spring itself, a new, fresh, coat of paint is applied to the team make-up.

In Rotisserie baseball (Roto) the scoring is based upon team rank as measured by five statistical categories in hitting and pitching respectively. The more stats a team has accumulated in a particular category the higher the rank in relationship to the league and therefore the more points your team has scored. If you have the highest rank in the category of Runs you score 10 points. If you're second in runs then you get 9 points, and so forth. In building a team the goal is to assemble a club that will dominate in as many (or all) of the categories possible to achieve the highest score. Roto baseball experts have guestimated that you need approximately 80 points (or score an average of third place in each of ten categories) to win the league.

The draft itself is a special event. Teams pick players in inverse order of last years standings. This meant that the Abstracts were picking fourth because of their seventh place finish in 2013. Many times the draft is a reaction to last years season. Owners think, "I was terrible at the saves category this year, so I need to find closers" or "we didn't have a great season stealing bases and probably could have won the league had we not given that category up, so let's find fast players." One way or another the strategy for this year is often a result of the perceived faults of last year.

Owners log-in, and have two minutes to make their selection through 18 rounds of picks. For the Abstracts the goal was to put together a team that was competitive in all ten categories. In seasons past the draft philosophy was to ignore certain categories to get better players and dominate in others. This season the draft-day goal was to assemble a team that was competitive in all ten categories. The thinking behind this was to select a team that could, as the season wore on, adjust to any weaknesses . Simply put, the goal was to draft the best, most complete team possible.

Of course, player position matters as well. If you could have a team full of 1B or OF players you'd probably stock up as best as you could. But you have to field the positions as much as the player. This means that the depth of quality players at 3B makes that position a priority for drafting early on, unless all the quality players are taken. Then you simply wait until the later rounds and pick up a serviceable hot-corner receiver and hope to make a deal somewhere during the season.

For the Abstracts, the science of selection was not about skill, wise preparation, or even intelligent knowledge. This season the team was collected by mere gut instinct and seat-of-the-pants research done in the moment. As a player's name came up on the pre-ranked "cheat-sheet" I would search form them in the draft system to find out more about how they were projected to play. In an attempt to be stealthy you don't want to tip your hand to your rival owners about who are planning on drafting. So when you type the player name in the chat box instead of the search box, everyone knows you're looking at Chris Carter.

He didn't make the roster.

Opening Day Roster

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Weekly Box Score

Since two regular season games were played in Australia on Friday and Saturday of last week the stats between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers were retroactively applied to owners. In other words, the season has begun.

Batters Pitchers
Stat R HR RBI SB AVE K W SV ERA WHIP
Line 1 0 2 0 .3000 0 0 0 INF INF
Points 6.5 5 8.5 5 9 3.5 4.5 5 3.5 3.5