Thursday, February 19, 2004

MBSBL Update: LIMA Time! 

And no, I don't mean Jose. Most players of Rotisserie baseball are probably familiar with Ron Shandler's LIMA plan for drafting a rotisserie team. LIMA stands for Low Investment Mound Aces. The crux of the theory is: pitching is too hard to predict, so allocate your budget to acquire a lot of hitting and inexpensive pitchers with good skills.

Well, for MBSBL, I attempted to adapt that theory to my own LIMA plan. In this case, it stands for Low Inning Mound Aces. Just as in Shandler's plan, I allocated most of my budget (early draft picks) toward offense, and have built a fairly formidable one. Now, that I am grabbing starting pitchers, I am looking for "bargains", pitchers with low OPS against, low WHIP, high k/9 that have been overlooked because they are not traditional stud pitchers. But they are eligible to be starters in Diamond Mind. So my three starters(BA/OBP/SLG/OPS,WHIP,ERA) are Tony Armas Jr. (225/274/387/661, 1.06, 2.61), Eric Dubose (222/295/352/647, 1.16, 3.82), and now Oscar Villarreal (222/306/310/616, 1.29, 2.57).

Oscar Villarreal? Yes, since my pick of Rheal Cormier in Round 13, the rules have changed. After I questioned whether Fire Bavasi would even get to use Johan Santana and Octavio Dotel as starters, the Commish of MBSBL came out with the following update to the FAQ. Some more digging uncovered that anyone who started a single game could be a starter in MBSBL. So, while Dotel was stuck as a reliever, Santana was allowed to start.

Of course, I discovered all this back on Tuesday, and quickly did some research to see how I could take advantage of this, and that's when my breath caught - Byung Hyun Kim, with his line of 221/288/341/629, 1.12, 3.31 could be a starter! My one fear is that Diamond Mind might not let these reliever-starters go 7,8, or 9 innings, but a look at Kim's game log dispelled this fear as most of his starts were 7+ innings in length (and now that the Sox have Foulke, he looks to be a hidden gem of a starter in Boston, and may be their secret weapon in the battle to destroy the Evil Empire). I also discovered two other pitchers, Villarreal, and Scot Shields (247/297/370/668, 1.19, 2.86). Shields also had some deep starts, but his OPS against and WHIP was not as strong as Kim's.

So I waited. And waited. And waited, for two agonizing days as the painfully slow round 14 finished, and round 15 picked up steam. I really feared Sodo Oh No or San Shin would grab all the goodies before it got back to me, and imagine my delight when they picked up Eddie Guardado, Kevin Gregg (another solid LIMA pick, but his 676 OPS against was nowhere near Kim's), Matt Mantei, and Joe Borowski! I left work yesterday thinking that Kim was mine.

Then, I got home, checked the draft, and my hopes were dashed by Cracking the Safe! Damn! So that left me a decision... did I take Oscar Villarreal and his superior numbers or Scot Shields and his lower WHIP. Oscar Villarreal had just ONE start last year, and he didn't even make it out of the third inning. But that's enough to qualify him as a starter. In the end, I decided to go against the grain and pick up the low inning guy with the lower SLG against, and see what happens, knowing full well that Fire Bavasi would likely take whomever I did not claim (and sure enough, he did), since they needed another starter and were the reason this ruling came to light.

So, here I am with three starting pitchers with a combined 16 starts between them last year. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. On the way back in the 15th round, I debated grabbing the LIMA pick that San Shin had predicted I would take in Cliff Lee, but I think I may need to get some less risky guys to balance my roster, and right now, I have about 9 starters who I rate approximately the same. Meanwhile, relievers were going fast and I decided I needed a righty to pair up with Rheal Cormier as setup men to John Smoltz. Ryan Wagner was the most dominant righty on the board with a stellar 551 OPS against and righties with a meager 448 OPS against looks like a perfect pairing with Cormier.

So, once again, Cracking the Safe steals my player (first it was Mark Redman), and I'm left with a very high risk pitching staff. I think next round I'll just pick up some more hitters. Its a shame we can't draft ballparks to play in, I'd grab Coors in a heartbeat.

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