Sunday, January 31, 2016

Season 13 draft retrospective

Intro:  This is part one of my attempt to put up some draft retrospectives so we can see how good/bad some season's drafts were and who consistently nails or misses their picks.  The plan is to do three or four of these each season: for 20, 15, 10, and possibly 5 seasons prior. The first three will be based mostly on stats/accolades and, if this project goes on long enough, we can see how winners/losers have changed over time.  I will be giving a synopsis for the top five overall picks, followed by the top picks of round one, top comp picks, and top picks from the rest of the draft.  Following our top picks we will have first round flops, then a section for any pick that merits discussion but doesn't fit into the categories above.  The final sections will be best overall team drafts and a few discussion points.  I am considering value and draft position when picking winners and flops.  Your top five picks are all probably “winners”, but they all should be, so I'm not going to list them in the winners section unless they are truly exceptional.  If there is anything you want more/less of, let me know.  And if anyone is interested in doing the 5 seasons ago draft retrospective, please let me know.  That would be largely projection based and I don't have a predictive formula or easy way to move all the player data into a spreadsheet so it will likely be too tedious for me to attempt.

Top 5 picks:
Del Redondo P Los Angeles Dodgers: Awards: 5x AS.  1X WS champ.  Summary:  Still playing at 38, probably has as good of a HOF resume than season 21 inductee Bartolo Escobar, despite somehow not having any Cy Young winning seasons. Career (as of end of season 32) 207-135, 3083.2 IP 2475K 3.05 ERA.  3X 20 game winner.  11X 200+ Innings pitched seasons.  10X sub 3.00 ERA seasons.  1X 200K season.  In short, this is the resume that you want your top overall pick to have.

Nate Hood LF San Diego Padres:  Awards: 1X MVP.  4X Silver Slugger (2 @ 2B, 2 @ LF).  1X Gold Glove (LF).  6X AS.  1X WS champ.  Summary:  Power bat who could draw walks and play serviceable 2B or GG caliber LF early in his career, Hood is another success for a top five pick.  If he had the defensive chops to stick at 2B instead of shifting over to LF, I could see a case for arguing Hood as the best player out of this draft.  Stats: 2358 GP.  2261 Hits.  514 HR.  .885 OPS.  1X 50 HR season,
7x .900+ OPS seasons, 1X 1.000+ OPS season.

Artie Linebrink
SS Pittsburgh Pirates:  Awards:  3X Gold Glove (SS).  6X AS.  5X WS champ.  Summary:  Obviously, you can't knock an important cog in multiple championship squads too much, but you generally want more from a #3 pick.  Defense wasn't Ozzie Smith levels of dominant and while he hit decently for a SS, he only had a few seasons with the bat overall that would be classified as above average relative to the league. Career: 1864 games .693 OPS.

Mikey York RF Nashville Sounds:  Awards 1x AS.  Summary:  Unexciting, but consistently produced at league average or better.  Unfortunately, as someone who primarily suited up at RF, York's bat wasn't the standout bat that you would like to find in the top five.  Career: 1674 games  1645 hits  264 HR  280 SB .784 OPS

Grover Thames P Florida Marlins: Awards 1X AS.  Summary:  Workhorse pitcher who twice had seasons of over 270 IP, Thames probably rates higher for me than the previous two picks.  He was rarely, if ever, a top five SP in his league, but he was durable, had a better than league average ERA, and in fifteen seasons his lowest innings pitched total was 184.  Career: 203-174 3507.2 IP 2413 K 3.72 ERA.  1X 20 win season  13X 200+ IP seasons

First round wins:
Del Redondo P #1 overall Los Angeles Dodgers:  See above write-up.

Richie Lloyd P #18 overall Colorado Rockies:  If he had the stam/dur to pitch more innings or got stretched out as a starter more often, he would have ranked top three in this class with Redondo and Hood.  Career-wise he posted a 3.24 ERA over 1596.2 innings.  The eye opener here are his season 27-29 performances.  These were his only three seasons as a full-time SP and he pitched between 163 ad 181.2 innings posting ERAs under three each season.  Fans to wonder what could have been if he had been allowed to start.  When compared to some of the flops from the next section it really makes his draft-day fall a head scratcher.

Sammy Quevedo CF #19 overall Arizona Diamondbacks: Quevedo spent seven years as a solid defensive CF before his range tailed off his final four years leading to a total of 32 “minus” plays, compared to seven total his first seven seasons.  On his career, he played 1478 games totaling 1426 hits, 291 HR 195 SB and .781 OPS. Compare his stats to top five pick Mikey York and consider his seven seasons of acceptable CF defense and you can see why I think he was one of the best picks in the first round.

Jim Fasano C #20 overall St Louis Cardinals:  Fasano was a prototypical big power C who could handle catching duties well enough.  Eight seasons of 30+ HR, 424 career HR and a .780 career OPS is great value at #20.  Factor in an MVP, four Silver Sluggers, and 4 AS appearances and you have a solid steal.

Sandy Quinn 1B #24 overall Washington Nationals:  Quinn had a long career ending up with 2520 hits, 562 HR and an .877 OPS over 2259 games.  He gave up a few too many negative plays, but when you have six 40+ HR seasons and another seven 30+ seasons, you can get away with missing a play or two.  Quinn never made an All-Star team and only won one Silver Slugger, but his value was undeniable and was probably the second best pure hitter in the draft.

Comp rd Winners:
Connie Adams CF/2B Comp #38 overall Chicago Cubs:  Adams spent parts of twelve seasons in the bigs.  His bat was sub-par, checking in with a .641 OPS over 1640 games, but he won a Gold Glove at both 2B and CF.  Overall, his longevity and above average fielding up the middle made him a solid value.

Footsie Richard 3B/2B/OF Comp #48 Los Angeles Dodgers:  Richard was a pretty good defensive 3B his first two seasons, combining for 30 + plays over that time, but he moved all around the field.  Based on innings his primary position was 2B and he won two Gold Gloves in the outfield.  He was solid at the plate, usually good for 20-30 HR though he couldn't take a walk if you gave him traffic signals and a crossing guard.  In 1306 games he had an OPS of .724 and factoring in park effects of cavernous Dodger Stadium and you end up with another great pickup for the Dodgers.

Round 2-25 winners:
Yeico Aramboles P RD 7 #241 overall Cleveland Indians:  Playing in parts of eight seasons, Aramboles put up a couple of clunkers but also put up multiple seasons where he was better than league average.  A career 4.34 ERA over 307 innings isn't stellar, but it is solid and a huge value in round seven.

Ira Matzek C RD 10 #330 overall Pittsburgh Pirates:  Matzek played parts of eight seasons, putting up an OPS of .732 in 864 games and taking home one Gold Glove and one Silver Slugger.  Absolute steal for round 10.

Derrek Redding C RD 15 #495 overall Boston Red Sox:  Redding was a defensive catcher, but a career OPS of .673 over 874 games is better than a lot of guys drafted ahead of him. A 34.8% career caught stealing % puts him just 6 runners per 100 outside of being top five all-time.

First round flops:
Cristian Wellemeyer P #10 overall Cleveland Indians:  I almost left Wellemeyer off this list due to pitching over parts of six seasons and a solid season 20 showing resulting in a 3.71 ERA over 162.2 innings.  Overall though, Wellemeyer had a 5.01 career ERA over 586 innings, which considering his best season accounted for over 25% of his total innings means that most of his six big league seasons were pretty sub-par  One good season sandwiched by several seasons of unrealized promise are fine for a guy picked in the 30s, but not what you want to see in the top 10.

Wesley Brown P #11 overall NY Yankees:  Brown pitched 108 innings over parts of three seasons resulting racking up a 5-9 record with 18 saves and a 4.67 ERA.

Reid Finnessey
P #14 overall Anaheim Angels:  Finnessey spend 2.5 seasons as a starter and small parts of three more seasons as a we're-all-gonna-die emergency option.  Like Wellemeyer, this wouldn't be a total flop in the 30s, but this high up you should be getting more.

Alex Marrero P #17 overall Texas Rangers:  Even giving leniency for a slightly hitter friendly park, when half of your seasons probably resulted in negative value then it is safe to say you are not meeting expectations.  5.10 ERA over 1140 career innings, he spent his last two seasons collecting $11 million while riding around in a minor league bus.

Trent Goodwin OF/2B/3B #23 overall Minnesota Twins:  Goodwin spent six seasons in the bigs, of which only one was solidly above average at the plate.  Combine this with a defensive profile that didn't quite suit any up the middle positions and you have a guy who didn't provide much positive value.  Interesting tidbit:  Like Marrero Goodwin spent two seasons collecting over $10 million to play in the minors.  The contracts were signed one season apart by the same team: the Texas Rangers.

Paul Wall P #29 Detroit Tigers:  I don't know how a guy with a career ERA of 6.50 winds up playing parts of ten ML seasons and collects over $16 million to do it, but Wall managed just that.  Maybe it was the career 8.38 minor league ERA that sold everyone?

Billy Griffin P #34 overall Milwaukee Brewers:  Griffin was the last of the true first round picks and as such he will be our last season 13 flop.  Griffin spent parts of two seasons in the Bigs compiling a 5.40 ERA over 41.2 innings before retiring at 29.

Intriguing picks:
Ronald Giles CF #13 Kansas City Royals:  Giles is an interesting case in wasted talent.  He made four All-star teams, won one Gold Glove in CF and was a two time Silver Slugging CF; he accomplished all of this despite playing just six full seasons.  Overall, he played in 1,016 games posting an OPS of .745.  I have been purposefully ignoring ratings for the bulk of this project, but looking at his range, he probably could have had another 5-6 productive seasons up the middle. Given the chance, Giles probably would have put up numbers that would place his performance somewhere around Linebrink's within the context of this draft class.

Best Draft:
Los Angeles Dodgers:  They win this one handily.  In addition to being winners in round 1 and the comp round, 2nd round pick Cap Sullivan just missed making the cut for later round winners.  Sullivan compiled a 4.10 ERA over 296.1 innings.  Had he spent more time in the Bigs or produced at a slightly higher level he would have cracked the list.  It should be noted that third round pick Cory Magee spent parts of seven seasons in the majors as a defensive specialist, but his bat was bad enough that he likely produced negative value.

Honorable Mention:
Arizona Diamondbacks:  Really the Dodgers were the only true winners in this draft. San Diego and Washington also were considered here, but the Diamondbacks get the spot because Quevedo was just that good.  Based on performance and position, I can see an argument for having Quevedo as high as the third best player out of this draft.  In addition to him. The Dbacks got value in the third with Glenallen Nicholson.  While Nicholson only played 320 games over parts of six seasons (and never in a Diamondbacks uniform), his production ended up being above league average and that made him a valuable fourth outfielder for several seasons.

Discussion points:
1)  Del Redondo vs. Bartolo Escobar:  Escobar has the awards, record, walk rate and slightly less pitcher friendly parks.  Redondo has HR rate, k rate and arguably had more seasons as a dominant #1.  You can have one of them in their prime, based purely on stats and not ratings; who do you take?

2)  Ronald Giles:  In six seasons as a full time CF he went to four All-star games, won a Gold Glove, and two Silver Sluggers. Based on his ratings, he could have had at least five more seasons in CF without being a huge liability.  If given those seasons as a full time CF, what does his career look like and where does he end up in this draft class?

3)  Richie Lloyd:  Lloyd spent three seasons as a full-time SP, his age 32-34 seasons.  He could only go about 5 innings a start, but it added an extra fifty or so innings per season.  If Lloyd were a rookie on your team right now, how would you use him going forward?  Is he a starter for you, maybe a closer or set up, or do you tailor your bullpen to him in an attempt to get him to vulture 20+ relief wins a season while maximizing innings?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Major League DL Transactions

Recently in the World Chat of another world I play in (Kinsella), there was a discussion about whether or not injuries have become more frequent since the last updates were made to the game.  This prompted me to do some research which I thought I would share here as well.  Injuries are not saved anywhere, but DL history is.  So I pulled the historical numbers for world Kinsella and our world Major Leagues.  The two worlds actually make for a very good comparison because both Kinsella and Major Leagues are very close to the same age as they are both currently in season 33.

I captured the data using a Perl script which first used the Player Statistics page to get a list of all player ids from world history.  I then used a second Perl script to look at the Player Profile page for each player and capture their DL History.  I believe the data to be accurate, but don't shoot me if there are any errors in the data collection.

Now obviously, DL transactions do not include all injuries since an owner is not required to place an injured player on the DL and there is nothing stopping an owner from placing a player who would be out for 1 day with a hangnail on the 60 day DL.  But it is the best data we have.

We will first look at 15 day DL transactions.  In both worlds these were at their highest in the first 6 or 7 seasons and then settled into to a pretty consistent but also fairly wide range with transaction totals typically falling between 25 and 55.  There is a little uptick for the past 3 seasons in Kinsella, but it is not out of line with previous seasons a little farther back and Major Leagues hasn't seen the same spike.  I really don't see a trend of increasing injuries here.

When we look at 60 day DL transactions the numbers are even more consistent, but we do see a spike in Kinsella with transactions in seasons 29 through 32 being higher than the previous 10 seasons were.  Major Leagues saw a similar but not quite as drastic increase until season 32 when the number dropped to 20 which was the lowest since season 25.  I think it is possible there could be evidence of an increase in major injuries here, but I don't think we can say anything conclusively.  It could just be random bad luck.

Here are the actual numbers from each of the two worlds for those who would like to see them.

And just for fun, I ran the numbers to see ML DL transactions by team throughout the history of Major Leagues world.  The Twins have far and away the most 15 day and 60 day DL transactions, while the Padres appear to be hiding the secret to immortality from us.  Only one 60 day DL transaction in 32 seasons?!?  That can't be correct can it?  

welcome new owner cwaldenj

cwaldenj - San Diego Padres
#1 - who is cwaldenj in real life? 

I am Chris and best described as a teacher and traveler. I couldn't do enough of the later during my ten years in the USA, so I took my professional skills international. My fiancee and I currently live/work in Jeju, South Korea, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and described as the Hawaii of Asia.

 #2 - Best or worst moment in your HBD history? 

My first fortunate chance to win a WS was unexpected and memorable. The key players on that team are still among my favorites.

#3 - You're on a road trip with 3 people - real or fictional, alive or historical - who's in the car with you?

guess it depends on where we are driving and for how long. One person would be my grandfather. I would likely invite my mother along so the three of us could catch up. I think Jackie Robinson would be a fascinating third to discuss baseball and politics.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Welcome new owner billhowell75

billhowell75 - Oakland Athletics

#1 - who is billhowell75 in real life? 

I am a 57 year old financial adviser in Ohio with two kids in college. I love baseball, collect toy trains and enjoy skiing for as long as my knees last. ( This sounds like a profile on a dating website).

#2 - Best or worst moment in your HBD history? 

In one of the inaugural seasons (Long Haul R Us, I think) I blindly went all in on an international prospect. He was so good I immediately promoted him to the ML squad and had him rostered for 15 years. I believe he is still the best pitcher in that world's history. 

#3 - You're on a road trip with 3 people - real or fictional, alive or historical - who's in the car with you?

Thomas Jefferson, Jonathan Edwards and Winston Churchill. In order, the most influential American, the most brilliant American and the most influential person of the last century. The first and third couldn't pay their debts so Edwards is going to have to buy the gas. Hopefully he is getting a royalty on that building that bears his name on the Yale campus. We will drive to Vail where we can enjoy cigars and the view from the top of the world. Liga Privada No.9 Toros, to be specific with a good flask of Blanton's Small Batch bourbon.

Minimum Win Rule Change Proposal

At the end of season 32, I polled the owners who had been a part of this world more than 3 seasons to get input on changing the minimum win rule (MWR).  We are going to disband the appeals committee to remove the appearance of any favoritism or inconsistency and go with a strict, enforced rule.  The results of owner input revealed the following:

#1  Most everyone was in favor of changing the rule to be a number of wins across 2 seasons so that if someone has bad luck or real life issues that cause a really bad season, they have the opportunity to redeem themselves the next season.

#2  Some were in favor of the idea of changing the punishment from banishment to a penalty such as loss of 1st round draft pick or budget penalties and I was intrigued by this as well.  However, most preferred to stick with banishment and some who are in other worlds that have other penalties warned me of how difficult those penalties are to enforce and how it has caused turmoil in some worlds.  So I believe we should stick with banishment as the penalty.

#3  The number of wins that should be required over 2 seasons varied quite a bit.  Some suggested 100 or 125 wins, but most everyone wanted either 110 or 120.  So I did some research to see how this different MWR values would have affected previous seasons starting with season 18 which is when Houston started their infamous collapse that prompted the original MWR.

Hou -    92 wins, seasons 19/20
Cin -   103 wins, seasons 31/32
Cin -   107 wins, seasons 30/31
Hou -  108 wins, seasons 18/19

Phi -    108 wins, seasons 25/26  (owners first 2 seasons, payroll: 80-85 mil)
Atl -    109 wins, seasons 25/26  (2 different owners, 3 owners in 3 years)
LAD - 109 wins, seasons 31/32  (2 different owners)
Hou -  116 wins, seasons 20/21  (2 different owners)
Atl -    119 wins, seasons 26/27  (first 2 seasons in world after 2 owners in 2 years)

Bal -    120 wins, seasons 30/31  (spent approx 60 million on payroll)
LAD - 121 wins, seasons 30/31  (spent 75-85 million on payroll)

NYY - 124 wins, seasons 31/32  (2 different owners, 51 wins in season 31 in dalailama12's only season)

I think the lowest 4 totals were tanking and what the rule is intended for.  The 5 in the middle were weak owners (maybe due to inexperience) or team transition where an outgoing owner may have lost interest.  The next 2, I'm not really comfortable with labeling as tanking and the last one was an owner with some history of extremely low win totals and he was here for only one season.

Based on this, I think the MWR should be set at either 110 or 115 wins over 2 seasons by the same owner.  What I'm not sure of is should there be some sort of exemption for new owners who may be inheriting a really bad situation?  If not, we would have kicked trimhunter99 out of the world after season 26.  While he continued to struggle to field a good team, I don't think his remaining seasons showed any behavior that would be described as tanking.

So feel free to discuss this in World Chat or to send me any feedback via Trade Chat that you don't want out in public.  Also send me your vote via Trade Chat on whether you prefer 110, 115 or even 120 wins over 2 seasons for the new rule.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Welcome to new owners wrecks and cyben 5150

WRECKS - Cincinnati Reds
#1 - who is wrecks in real life?

I work in the legal department of a tech company in Boston. 

#2 - Best or worst moment in your HBD history?

My best moments in HBD are when a long multi-year rebuild finally pays off by making the playoffs. HBD bad moments – have lost 2 WS game 7’s.

#3 - You're on a road trip with 3 people - real or fictional, alive or historical - who's in the car with you?

I’m a big history buff, so I would probably go with Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, and for some baseball talk, Ted Williams.

Cyben5150 - Florida Marlins
#1 - who is cyben5150 in real life? 

I live just outside of Boston with my...I guess she is my fiance as of this past Friday.  I work a mundane job by day, play music and shoot concert video by night. She also just finished up an animation program and we are now working on several small animations and have a webcomic in the works.

#2 - Best or worst moment in your HBD history? 

Best moment in HBD was when I took over a trashed team midseason in Hobbs. The two seasons before my first offseason with this team resulted in a combined record of 99-225. My first full season I was a 90 win wild card team. My second season I won my division with 92 wins and won the world series. This upset one fellow owner so greatly that he briefly changed his team name to the Abominations. The reason this is my proudest moment though is I didn't turn this team around with pricey free agents, I managed to cobble together some waiver wire guys and rule 5 guys (and admittedly, a stud 2B prospect and some solid SP prospects as holdover talent.) and cut payroll from $94 million when I took over to $51 million when I won the championship

#3 - You're on a road trip with 3 people - real or fictional, alive or historical - who's in the car with you?

 In no particular order, I would take theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and Warren Buffett. I'd have a trip full of fascinating conversation topics and I could come home with a stock portfolio to die for.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Welcome to new owner majnun

#1 - Who is majnun in real life?
Matt Geiger, a software engineer for a not-for-profit

(ed note:  not this Matt Geiger..????)

#2 - Best or worst moment in your HBD history?
Lost my 23 year old ace to TJ right before my playoffs. Lost in in NLCS, still think I'd have won with him healthy  

#3 - You're on a road trip with 3 people - real or fictional, alive or historical - who's in the car with you? 
Joss Whedon, Amy Poehler, Amy Sedaris

Saturday, January 16, 2016

vlpratt62: rising star in the poker world

(see par 4)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Royals, Red Sox, Mets Advance

Kansas City, Boston, and the New York Mets have advanced to the 2nd Round with Game 5 victories.

The Royals took a 6-4 lead to the bottom of the 7th in their deciding game against Detroit.  In their half of the inning, they put together 4 singles and a double to plate 3 and take the lead for good.  2B Carlos Suarez had the big 2-run double and starter Tony Ramirez went 6 innings for the win.

Seattle and Boston were tied at 1 in the 8th in their Game 5.  A walk, a double and 3 singles later, the Sox had a 4-1 lead and went on to win 4-2.  3B Al Flynn had 4 hits (including his 3rd HR of the series) and Jamie Mori got the one-third inning win in relief.

In yet another close one, the Mets and Padres were tied going to the 9th in San Diego.  Rookie 1B Ricardo Pena provided the fireworks with a grand-slam game-winner off Colvin Hume as the Mets prevailed 5-1.  Cy Young hopeful Ruben Ozuna went 5 and 2/3 and Ramon Wanatabe got the win with 2 and 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.

The Division Round start on the Monday PM cycle with the Mets at the Astros, Montreal visiting Washington D.C., the White Sox hosting Kansas City and Boston traveling to Anaheim.

Montreal Breaks Through

The Montreal Expos are the first team to win out of the play-in round.  They rode some hot pitching and 7 RBI apiece from Miguel Arias and Orlando Figueroa to a 3-games-to-1 win over Colorado Springs.

This breaks a long playoff wins drought for the Expos.  They last won a playoff series back in Season 14, when they advanced all the way to the WS but lost 4-3 to Minnesota.

Recent teams have offered promise, winning the NL North each of the last 3 seasons.  But they lost their play-in series to the Giants last year and the Division Series to the Rockies in Season 30.

Montreal moves on to the Division round against the Nationals.  Colorado has now gone out early 2 years in a row after its close encounter in the WS in Season 30.

Congrats to both teams and a special shout out to EasyE and his Expos for their playoff win breakthrough.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Owner interview: overeasy, New York Mets

WIS: Who is overeasy?
overeasy: I am a 40 year old, married father of three young boys, age 9, 7, and 5. We live in Spokane, WA where I work as an electrical engineer for a small consulting firm.
WIS: How did you find out about
overeasy: I remember clicking on a banner ad way back. No idea what site I was on at the time.
WIS: Which of our games have you played? Which do you prefer?
overeasy: My first few years were spent doing nothing but free exhibitions of the sim games. Looking at my user profile, it says I did baseball 19 times, basketball 13 times, and football 11 times. None of these games piqued my interest enough to spend money on them. It wasn't until Hoops Dynasty came along that I was willing to pay to play. After having a pretty successful run in the Wooden world of HD, another successful HD coach invited me to join a new world of Hardball Dynasty. Once I started HBD, I knew that it was absolutely the only game I needed.
WIS: What are some of your interests and hobbies?
overeasy: Most days it pretty much feels like all I do is work at home to help keep our household going, work at work to make the money, and sleep. When I do try to make time for something else, I like to play tournament style Texas Hold 'Em poker.
WIS: Which five people, past or present, sit at your dream roundtable discussion?
overeasy: I'm not a big fan of group conversations so my dream roundtable would involve a poker game. But I am assuming the overall gist of this question is to name my five most fascinating people of all time. I'll pass on that. If I could talk to anyone past or present, I would love another chance to talk to my Dad's father. He passed away from a heart attack the summer after I finished high school so the last day I saw him was my graduation day. He was a great guy with lots of good stories. He talked about spending the Korean War playing baseball against major leaguers who encouraged him to try to try to have a baseball career. Since he already had a wife and kids, he got a real job instead. He also talked about playing against the Harlem Globetrotters when they traveled around playing against local teams. I would love for him to get to meet my wife and kids.
WIS: Did you play any sports growing up?
overeasy: I played baseball and basketball growing up. In baseball, my best skill was fielding ground balls as a second baseman. I think my problem at the plate was all mental as I overthought everything. My best ever hitting game was one where our regular SS was missing and they moved me there. I was so freaked out playing SS that I proceeded to make 3 errors in the field while going 4 for 4 at the plate. My baseball playing days ended with Colt league in 9th or 10th grade.
Playing basketball, I had a decent outside shot and did my best to hustle and play as fundamentally sound as I could. My lack of height and speed ended my basketball career with the high school freshman team.
Needing something to do athletically, I picked up tennis as a sophomore and earned a varsity letter as a junior and senior. One interesting fact of this is that my doubles partner my senior year was Adam Carson, the drummer for the band A.F.I. (If you haven't heard of them, ask a teenager. They actually appeared on Saturday Night Live and won an MTV VMA.)

WIS: Who are your favorite all-time players?
overeasy: Baseball: Dale Murphy as he was the best player for my team during some very lean years. It is a shame that he is not in the Hall of Fame. So what if his career practically dropped off a cliff in his early thirties, anyone who is ever in the conversation as best player in the game for about a decade deserves to be in. If he had tragically died in an accident in the late 80s, he would have been voted in. So why do his horrid years cancel out the greatness of his first decade?
Football: Growing up in the 80s in Northern CA, it was impossible to not be a fan of Joe Montana. It was also pretty cool sharing my birthday with him as he is exactly 18 years my senior.
Basketball: It was all about Lakers-Celtics and so being on the west coast, the Lakers were the team. Magic was the most incredible team player.
WIS: Do you have any sports-related items on your bucket list that you have not yet done?
overeasy: I have no aspirations for any physical events beyond playing with my kids, but if poker is considered a sport I would someday like to play at the World Series in Vegas. I would love to visit the Field of Dreams in Iowa and the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
WIS: What is your favorite WIS moment?
overeasy: While I have definitely enjoyed my success in HBD, I would have to say that my favorite moment was in HD when I coached my alma mater, Pacific, to the championship game of the tournament. Unfortunately we fell short in the final game, but having my deepest ever tournament run while coaching my school was very satisfying.
WIS: You are the commissioner of the Kinsella world. What steps has your world taken to prevent tanking? Have you found that some measures work better than others?
overeasy: One of the founding principles of the world at its inception was to have competitive teams at every level of the organization. It was never strictly defined until a couple of years ago when multiple ML teams had some embarrassingly bad seasons and a couple of GMs severely neglected their minor leagues. At that point I felt it was time to have some rules with actual penalties. I have to thankmongoose_22 for his rules in the very good Satchel Paige world. I completely borrowed his rule for ML win minimums where the penalty would be to lose the team's first round pick in the following season. The other rule we have, which I believe is unique in HBD, is that for every minor league team that finishes the season with a win percentage below .250, the team must forfeit $4M of budget in the following season. I think both of these rules have done their job to make everyone pay attention to every level of their franchise.
WIS: Are there any other rules your worlds have in place or that you have considered implementing?
overeasy: My other two worlds have the standard ML min win rules that expel GMs who fail to meet the threshold. I feel much better about keeping GMs around if they want to stay and taking away the primary incentive for tanking.
WIS: The Little Rock Mockingbirds in the Satchel Paige world are back-to-back World Series champs and have been to the Fall Classic four of the last five seasons. Is it too soon to call the Mockingbirds a dynasty? Is there a three-peat in the team's future?
overeasy: I think the term dynasty is reserved for teams with at least three titles and unfortunately, we came up short in Game 7 of both those first two series. I sincerely hope there is a 3-peat in the future because this season I've got 3 starting pitchers (and 2/3 of my playoff rotation) who are 38 years old. So their major decline is imminent and they are likely suiting up for their final season as Mockingbirds. At the same time, my minors are bare and there doesn't appear to be any comparable replacements on the free agent horizon. So after this season, I see us dropping from serious title contender to just playoff contender, meaning it would take a lot more luck to keep the run going.
WIS: Your New York Mets squad in the Major Leagues is in the midst of a rebuild. What has that process entailed? How long before the Mets are playoff contenders again?
overeasy: The process has entailed trying to at least put together a decent defense and assembling teams with economical free agent parts since my minors were pretty much wiped out when our long streak of playoff teams came to an end. The rebuild will take at least a couple more seasons, but we have got a great start to the rebuild already. Last season we were able to land a superstar IFA SP. This season in the draft we added a guy whose 20M projections look like what I imagine as a pre-roids Barry Bonds (ironically his last name is Bonilla) and a very good lefty SP.WIS: You've been a part of the Kinsella world since its onset. Does that create any added attachment to your New York Yankees team compared to your other teams?
overeasy: It's not specifically the team I am attached to, but rather the world. It is my baby. I pushed the button to create it and personally screened every GM that has ever played there. The result has been a very competitive, high-retention world. Taking off my commish hat and putting on my GM hat, it has also been a source of frustration as it is the only one of my four current worlds where I have not been able to get a second title. All but one of my 7 career 110+ win teams have been in this world and I just haven't been able to replicate the playoff success of my 94 win WS winner from way back in Season 5.
WIS: During a 10-year span, the Atlanta Braves of the American Pastime world won 10 division titles and four World Series crowns. In the 10 years since that stretch, the Braves haven't won a single division title. Can the Braves return to their former glory?
overeasy: The years of mediocrity have been the result of my stubbornness to admit that our run was over and begin rebuilding when it was time combined with the fact that the world is full of a lot of good GMs. We did finally break through last season by being in the division race going into the last few games and ended up with a wild card. This season we return mostly the same team only with the addition of a superstar hitter who we were able to acquire due to the fact that his previous team mistakenly arbed him three times and wanted more value than Type A compensation. So my hope is that this season will be the first in a new string of division titles.
WIS: What is your strategy for allocating your budget?
overeasy: This is one of the most important aspects of the game. The most successful GMs of this game are those who understand both player ratings and money management.
To start out, I would recommend to everyone to put 20M in training and just forget about it. With 20M training, you get the least amount of injuries, maximize player development, and decrease player decline. You can get most position players to still be useful into their mid-30s and pitchers maintain their peak effectiveness until they are 38.
Almost forgot about it...advanced scouting. The players with no discernable development pattern are probably the least traded players anyways as people fall in love with the potential of their young prospects. Almost every experienced player drops it to zero and never looks back. The average in my worlds is 4,5,6, and 6.
International scouting: I typically set it for 16M so it gives a pretty good pool of players you see with pretty decent projections. I'm in the IFA market whether or not I am rebuilding or competing. If I am rebuilding I am trying to bring in as much talent as fast as possible and if I am competing, it is the only chance I have of a top tier talent.
Draft scouting: If I am starting to rebuild, I look at the world's budget screen and whichever area has the lowest average, I select that one and raise it up to 16M. It is a massive waste of money to do HS and college and if you split between the two with lower amounts, the projections aren't going to be good enough to make solid decisions. When my team is competing and I am getting draft picks at the end of the first round, I punt the draft and drop the budget to 0/0. I only sign enough guys to keep my minor leagues functional and focus on high level IFAs for real talent.
Coaching: My budget hinges on one guy, the Fielding Instructor (FI). If the FI is willing to re-sign then my budget is 6M. If not, then my budget is 9M or 10M, depending on how expensive the top guys usually go for in the world, as the extra 3 or 4M all goes to landing the FI. For every other coaching position, there is a wide enough pool to easily land a cheap alternative. There is also a fact not widely known that with no competing offers, coaches will sign for 50% of their asking price. I typically sign my ML bench, pitching, and batting coaches for 50% in the final cycle of coach hiring.
My most outside the box budget choice is that for over a year now, all my teams have been running with 0 in medical. My 20M in training has helped me avoid any serious injuries to this point and since the average medical spending in my worlds is around 14M, it has been a huge financial benefit.
WIS: What do you believe are the most important individual player ratings for performance?
overeasy: This question is just too complicated for a short answer, so I will pass. I've already written the longest user interview ever.
WIS: Do you have any favorite players from any of your HBD teams?
overeasy: In American Pastime, Brian Baek was a Hall of Fame catcher who was the primary offensive force behind my run of 5 straight WS with 4 titles. I believe he is the world's all-time postseason leader in home runs and RBIs by a decent margin.
In Kinsella, my favorite player is Brandon Sutton. The guy was huge for our first run of success. It drives me a bit crazy that his two teammates of that era were able to get elected to the Hall and he is still waiting. He was the guy who kept being league MVP runner-up year after year and was the best of the three. Part of it was my own fault, since most of those seasons we clinched the division and bye very early and I just benched him to make sure he was healthy for the playoffs, being scared of an injury to my most important offensive player. So I probably shorted him at least 150 games for his career, costing him the opportunity for 3000 hits and 500 home runs. At the same time, I also played him at DH to save on fatigue even though he was fine at 1B, so he is getting anti-DH bias for his Hall bid.
In Major Leagues, it was SP Byron Watson. The guy was not flashy, he was never a serious Cy candidate. He simply pitched about 230 innings every season, had an ERA just under or just over 3, and won around 15 games. His ability to do it for almost 20 seasons, all for me, got him elected to the Hall. He was also the best SP during the postseason for both of my 2 WS title runs.
In Satchel, they are current players: southpaw SP Pedro Castillo and slugging RF J.P. Romano. They were both expensive IFAs I landed in back-to-back seasons who arrived ML ready. They have been the cornerstones of my current run of success. Thanks to a legendary SP who is also in the NL, Castillo is going to continually be a Cy bridesmaid while Romano is a fearsome masher who won his first four appearances in the Home Run Derby, finally finishing in 2nd last season.
WIS: How much time do you spend on your Hardball Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?
overeasy: I probably spend about an hour a day on my four teams during the season. Pre-season activities are a bit more time consuming. How far as how much to be competitive, it depends on where your team is at. If you are trying to put together a winner, you can spend hours trying to find the right players and working out the deals to land them. If you don't have hours you can dedicate during the critical times, especially preseason or preparing draft boards, then it is tough to compete at the highest level.
WIS: If you were to give one piece of advice to a new user, what would it be?
overeasy: Be patient and ask for help. There were trades I made even a year into playing this game where I wish I could go back and stop myself.
WIS: What is your favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty?
overeasy: Basically, almost everything. As a kid who used to use his baseball cards to create fictional seasons, even tracking the statistics of the players, HBD is a dream come true. Back then, I many times ignored the real life capability of the players and gave them their attributes based on how they looked in their baseball card picture. Dave Stewart was actually a multiple Cy Young winner in my imaginary world when he looked like a bad ass on his Rangers baseball card ('85 Fleer) and Glenn Bragg was a monster slugger.
WIS: Least favorite?
overeasy: The Rule 5 Draft. Basically, the only thing you get from this is people who have a few days where RL gets in the way get pissed off when they lose some of their best prospects who were going to get called up after Game 20. Otherwise the best you can hope to acquire here are defensive specialists whose performance could be replicated by players available near the end of free agency for less than 1M per season. If it were up to me, I would chuck this day in the schedule and use the extra day to make the divisional playoff round best of 7.
WIS: What is one feature you want to see implemented in a future update?
overeasy: First of all, I would like to see actual future updates. I am hoping that the message given during the recent server migration was for real and that new updates are actually going to be scheduled. My fear is that it was simply a move to consolidate server resources and save money on data center expenses.
With the game being exactly the same for so long, I will stick to wishing for some more cosmetic elements as those of us who have been here a long time can remember what even seemingly minor game mechanic changes can do to results. I would start with fixing the Hall of Fame. First of all, show the players' primary position for most of their career, not what they played as an old man. Since the worlds I play in all get pretty decent voting participation, we could use some more votes per person. With only 5, we keep getting split votes among more than 5 worthy candidates and have a hard time electing the players who aren't the automatic legendary types.
WIS: Who are the users you respect and/or enjoy the most?
overeasy: Bribar - He no longer plays but he was the first person who offered me any help with the game as he was in my first ever world. He was also the commish of American Pastime when I joined. I send him an e-mail when we have openings in Kinsella just to see if he will come back.
hopkinsheel - He was also in my first ever world under a different username and was one of the first people who I would converse with about the game in trade chats. I played a few seasons in one of his worlds, NCAA, until I had to drop the team due to a lack of time to properly perform the needed rebuild that was coming.
train - Possibly the best player of this game. His success in American Pastime has been incredible. He made the playoffs for the first 19 seasons, missed for 4 seasons and picked right back up. His 6 WS titles are also tops.
Long time members of World Kinsella: dherz_263Sockless_Joejclarkbakerjdrake27jnewfry,sweetnss355akgsportsdrichterbux_expressblanch13crabman26suginamikutedwmoore,Rigbystarrdillontt - A great group of guys that have helped make running the world a very enjoyable experience.
blanch13 - Need an extra call out for this guy. For a stretch of time in Major Leagues, we had the top two teams in the world. Unfortunately we were both in the same division and he kept getting the best of me every season in the playoffs on his way to four straight WS titles. If it wasn't for him, I'm pretty sure I'd have a minimum of 2 more rings.
jclarkbaker - Another extra call out required for the Kinsella Boston Red Sox GM since Season 1. As the Yankee GM, we have had fun over the years verbally abusing each other on the world chat and talking privately in trade chat.
crabman_26 - He was a member of all three of my longest tenured worlds (recently quit Major Leagues) and is still my division rival in Kinsella and American Pastime. I have enjoyed competing against him and have had many trade chat discussions.
WIS: If you were in one of our games, what sport would you play, at what position, and what would you be rated?
overeasy: In my younger days, I would have been a mediocre range and arm, high glove 2nd baseman with a bat made for the tryout camp.