Monday, June 3, 2013

AL North Questions and Answers

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .271 12th Fielding % .977 29th ERA 4.70 23rd
Home Runs 273 2nd Double Plays 386 11th Strike Outs 1079 19th
Runs 880 5th + Plays 31 31st OAV .271 22nd
Steals 51 32nd - Plays 57 30th Saves 47 11th

You won the World Series in Season 3 here but then the last two seasons you've gone 80-82. What led to winning it all and then under .500 the next season?

Pitching and injuries. Solid rotation broke down with injuries and bullpen has been brutal. Probably should have held onto the two SP's i dealt a few seasons back but I needed a bat.

You've currently got two world series titles to your name, both team with similiar records (97-65 and 96-66). What was similiar with these teams and what was different? Which world series was more enjoying?

My first WS was far more rewarding. I came back from 3-0 to win games 4-7.

You are one of the more active traders in this world compared to the other teams I've looked at so far. Is trading one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game for you? What allows you to make more trades than usually here in NCAA II?

I enjoy working a good deal but I have found that it is becoming more difficult to trade for prospects. Everyone wants them.

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .275 8th Fielding % .984 15th ERA 4.39 15th
Home Runs 251 6th Double Plays 411 4th Strike Outs 1007 29th
Runs 851 7th + Plays 69 11th OAV .261 13th
Steals 130 16th - Plays 37 17th Saves 49 8th

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .278 4th Fielding % .986 7th ERA 3.97 5th
Home Runs 211 11th Double Plays 444 1st Strike Outs 1040 26th
Runs 864 6th + Plays 96 2nd OAV .245 2nd
Steals 129 17th - Plays 20 3rd Saves 55 3rd

Season 4 you finished with 80 wins, last season in Season 5 you managed 106 wins. What led to such a big increase in your win total?
Well a couple of factors played into our much improved season 5. Last year I realized we had become complacent as a front office and thought we could continue to win the division with the talent we had which cost us in season 4. All of the other great GM's in the AL East made changes to their rosters and we didn't change much which was a mistake. So last year we made a decision to sign some Type A ball players and once again become the leaders of the AL East. We greatly improved our offense as well which took some pressure of our pitching staff. I think signing Bryan Buchanan to be our signal caller behind the plate was the biggest Free Agent get in the whole league. He is a great game caller and made our whole pitching staff better as the season went on, not to mention his tremendous skill set at the plate as well. We also called up our first draft pick ever in Jimmie Butler. With the addition of those two in our lineup, opposing pitchers could no longer pitch around a single hitter. Each person can be very dangerous at the plate. We had three players hit over 30 Home Runs and almost had three guys with over 100 RBIs. Anytime you have that much production at the plate, you are bound to win more games.

You've made the playoffs 4 out of the 5 seasons in this world, what do you contribute your success to?
A significant amount of luck! When you start in a new world you have no idea what kind of hand your going to be dealt. I was very lucky to have some decent players in the system like Maroth and Nix which have become huge reasons for our success. We were also lucky to land the #12 spot in the draft which we used to get Butler who I hope will both retire and enter the HOF as a Knight.

Two things that I do think help was thinking about the long term success of the team as well as making sure that I made the moves needed in the first season to win right away as well. I spent alot of money in that first season on coaching because I knew these guys where going to need to grow and develop, even those who were already on the ML roster and older I thought would gain a little bump from good coaching. I also knew that I needed to trade away some of my prospects and quality players to fill holes in the roster that I was given. That is why you saw me trade for the likes Watterson and Fitzgerald. I needed those higher quality bats in the lineup and figured that would be where most of my offense would come from. I also over spent in FA on a top pitcher like Tatis so I had that one work horse for the first couple of seasons until I could bring Nix and others up to help him.

Currently you have 3 active teams, all in hop's worlds. What's the draw for you in playing in these worlds instead of others?

Couple of reason come to mind. First, Hop is first class all the way!! He treats all coaches with respect and holds each one of us to the same standards whether we have been involved in one of his worlds for 2 seasons or 12 seasons. Hop is very organized and runs these worlds like a machine as we start almost immediately every time which is great. He will take time to answer your questions and help you improve as a coach. Because of this, all three of these worlds are very competitive and he makes sure he finds great coaches to talk to on the boards and make deals with instead of just finding a warm body to run a team like some other commishs do in HBD.

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .279 4th Fielding % .982 23rd ERA 4.48 18th
Home Runs 199 15th Double Plays 302 32nd Strike Outs 1117 8th
Runs 816 13th + Plays 56 17th OAV .267 17th
Steals 131 15th - Plays 48 26th Saves 44 14th

Sunday, June 2, 2013

AL West Questions and Answers

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .279 3rd Fielding % .976 30th ERA 4.71 24th
Home Runs 195 17th Double Plays 398 6th Strike Outs 1109 10th
Runs 902 2nd + Plays 39 29th OAV .273 25th
Steals 160 8th - Plays 46 25th Saves 33 31st

You've played 29 seasons with no postseason appearance, falling 3 games away last season from the wildcard spot. You've finished 2nd in the divison 4 out of 5 seasons. What will it take this season to get that 1st playoff appearance?

Learning the game has been a struggle for me. My life outside of HBD has gotten in the way more than I can tell you. I think if I added a couple of good SPs and a little bullpen help I may make it over the hump. Losing Stan Pearce hurt me offensively. But he never gave me a chance to re-sign him. Hopefully I can get a good pick for him.
Pedro Trevino, S2 #16th draft pick looks like he could be ready, will you be calling him up to help in the bullpen this season or continue his development in the minors?

Pedro worries me a little. Blew 8 saves last year at AA. Want to bring him up, but not sure he's mentally ready for the bigs. But since I'm hurting in the pen anyway, I'm pretty sure he will make his debut sometime this season.
You just signed SP Sammy Vazquez to a 5 year deal this season, how happy are you to have him locked up in a very nice contract for the next 5 seasons?

Sammy signing was huge!!! It may be for $8.5, but that guy is an innings eater. 251 last year with 8 complete games.

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .272 11th Fielding % .986 7th ERA 4.60 21st
Home Runs 179 24th Double Plays 389 10th Strike Outs 1075 21st
Runs 767 19th + Plays 54 19th OAV .272 23rd
Steals 62 29th - Plays 21 4th Saves 38 24th

You've won 2 division titles in season 1 and 3, what will it take to get Oakland their 3rd division title?

1. Oakland won it's division in seasons 1 and 2, but has dropped off since then. We were not a particularly young team when the league opened, and I knew that we'd either need to get really lucky in FA or make a major push to rebuild after those two seasons.

Given that starting pitching was SO VERY sparse when the league opened, I made the decision to draft as wisely as possible while lowering scouting budgets, and to trade away older players in the hopes of filling holes and upgrading my minor league ranks -- especially insofar as young starting pitching was concerned, since I strongly believe that pitching is the key. I tried to get a number of good pitchers lined up to take over in the coming seasons. This season will be tough for us as our young pitching staff is still only in it's mid-to-late 20's, overall, but we expect to be very good next season and beyond.

Currently you have 3 active teams, looks like you're the original owner for 2 of them and took over a season or 2 from the beginning in the other. What's the attraction to you on new teams?

2. I am a pretty busy guy in "real life", so 3 active HBD teams seems to be my limit. Of note, I am commissioner (no surprise by the title) in Stickball League, so that league takes even more time than my other two. I am one of those guys who sticks around for the long haul. I'm not interested in hopping around to multiple leagues and I only chose this league because I had so much respect for the ownership group lining up to be in NCAA II. I really appreciate the fantastic job our commissioner is doing here, I know what a commitment it can be.

Last season you had a payroll of $114M and finished 3rd in the division, this season you have a payroll budget of $120M? Do you usually operate with a large payroll for most of your teams and why didn't last see work out better with that type of budget?

3. In regards to the very high Payroll Budget I've been sporting lately, I think this season should mark the beginning of our turnaround. I mentioned above having a couple of good drafts, and now, it seems really important to add some solid mid-career guys to fill holes on the team. Last season marked the signing of some pretty good free agents, including one of the better veteran SP's available on the board, Salvador Freeman, but with such an otherwise young pitching staff, our overall record wasn't very good.

I expect to do some pretty serious damage to the FA market again this preseason as well, and to perhaps make a monster trade early in the season. While our pitching is still somewhat young, I plan to field a mostly veteran offense.

Another reason for the high payroll was that I was afforded the ability to sign Skip Cosart, a young innings-eater, to a long term contract that will only cost me $2.6M per season through Season 10. He isn't a premium talent, but the fact that he's average or slightly above average and should easily chew up a couple of hundred innings per season with such a light salary is huge. I've already got my best pitcher, 26-year-old Domingo Melendez signed to a long term contract, and I will need to come up with a contract similar to Cosart's next season for 27-year-old Hector Cruz as well.

If you look through my Major League team and my AAA team, you'll notice a pattern among my newly acquired SP's. I have a bunch of young, high Stamina guys. This is because my goal with Oakland is to eventually only carry 11 pitchers so I can have a deep bench. A lot depends on the development of those young pitchers, so you'll notice that the one piece of my Budget that I did NOT skimp on is Training.

8 trades last season alone, another 8 trades in S3; it seems like when you trade you're pretty active. What allowed you to make all those trades in seperate seasons?

Also 8 trades but 0 in ADV scouting, how comfortable are you trading without seeing projections and what's the advantages/disadvantages for 0 ADV for you?

4. Regarding the last two questions, having a 0 in Adv Scouting is new to me, although I've seen it used successfully by other owners. As for making trades with funky scouts, I'm trying to make educated guesses on minor leaguers by projecting ratings based largely on Makeup and Health in conjunction with pertinent Current Ratings. It's kind of a crap shoot, but I think if you've been around this game long enough, you more or less know who's going to be good and who isn't.

Also, as I stated above, I mostly drafted pitching and traded for "can't miss" young pitchers, so most of my tinkering (i.e. trading and FA signing) these days is for post 27-year-old position players. Advance Scouting is less of a factor when concentrating of veterans, of course. I could tell you who I intend to sign this season in Free Agency, but then I'd have to kill you (0;

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .277 6th Fielding % .986 7th ERA 4.07 10th
Home Runs 260 5th Double Plays 360 18th Strike Outs 1049 24th
Runs 927 1st + Plays 75 8th OAV .258 11th
Steals 168 6th - Plays 30 14th Saves 55 3rd

First off, congrats on the world series win last season and also it being your first in your career. How'd that feel to finally capture your first title?

Feels great to have the monkey off my back that’s for sure, nice feeling after all the work in all the leagues finally put together a winning team. Feels even better to do it in a strong league where fair play and lots of movement occur. I went a little bit off my original plan and went all in which typically doesn’t work well for me. This was my first World Series and honestly was just happy to get by Trenton who id put my money on winning it this year with a few upgrades in the field could be an even deadlier team.

What made this team any different from the other teams that you've had in the past?

Honestly, I sure don’t know I’ve had better hitting teams with the same level of pitching and never got out of the first round. I’ve had teams with great pitching and the same results. Not having many injuries helped where some other teams were decimated by them all year. Overall the big factor for winning was the complete lineup form on base guys to power hitting and somehow pitching was steady even though my pitching staff is far from great.

You've had some success in NCAA II, winning 3 out of 5 division titles, what do you contribute that too?
I think that my original plan when the league opened allowed me the success going forward. The first year I traded away the majority of my ML talent for youth. That youth translated in picking up so top prospects which in turn were later moved for some top end players. Having a low salary budget allowed me to attack the IFA market which landed key pieces to future trades such as Ortiz, De Larosa, and Gonzalez. The original plan was to hang onto all these pieces but when you have a chance to get guys like DePaula, Clayton, and Park I was willing to sell the farm to go for it I was just lucky enough to have it mesh well.
Oakland is a scary team and should fight me every step of the way. They are a team that makes lots of moves and once it all falls in order I will have a tough task of stopping them.
Salem has been a young team for the last few years and are about to have the top pitching staff in the division and if they add a hitter or two there’s no reason they wont be in the hunt to win the division this year and many more going forward.
Seattle like Salem has some great youth coming up though the ranks as the Ducks are declining Salem and Seattle could be the two battling for the top two spots and will be interesting to see how both teams youth come along.

This is the 4th straight season the #2 seed from the AL has won the world series, what's the deal with you #2 AL seeds?
I would never want to say that all of us #2 seeds are lucky but I sure know I was. I had Trenton pegged to win it all with that two headed monster at the top of the rotation. Some timely hitting allowed me to advance and thank the sim gods for allowing me to get by. Bobby Clayton be snubbed in the MVP voting put a fire under not only his by his team mates as well.

Last season you finished 7th in batting avg, 5th in Home Runs, and 1st in RBI's. How'd you get all those runs in?
Honestly, didn’t know I was that high in all three of the ranking I knew id be top in RBI but the other two not so much. Interesting that nobody has a super high batting ave as for the season as a whole not one player hit over 300 and nobody had a amazing OBP. But when people do it on base there is a lot of movement out there as 5 people had over 20 steals. Lots of timely hitting allowed for the offense to thieve. Would be interesting to see how many pitches my batters faced because we seem to get the others teams Sp’s to throw a ton of pitching causing teams to go to the pen more often. Having two MVP candidates as well as power hitting 3B Park in the middle of the order makes it a tough task to get though the heart of the order with out being roughed up a little bit.

Last season you made a blockbuster trade with Durham in which you received Hideo Park and Bobby Clayton. How big of a factor were they to winning the WS, what were your thoughts before the trade and now after?

The first thing about this trade that people should know it took like a week to get worked out and finalized. It was honestly, very nerve racking to think to trade so many top end youth players. When we first started discussing I was in fear of losing DePaula out to free agency so I was trying to fill the #3 hole in my lineup that would be left if Sandy move on. Making this move put me into a sell the farm fill the roster and go for it. Going for it never ever worked for me in the past but just had to do it. This trade being mad is what in the end won me the World Series, no way would I have gotten to that spot without Clayton and Park. Not to be lost in this series where two of the other players involved SP Kevin Glauber who was a toss in for me to take the salary off his hands wins 18 games with a .351 ERA. Never in a million years did I think he would play to that level. Tanyon Morgan steps in throws 150 innings and allows a great duo with Deion Burgess who regressed since the year before.
Durham picks up so solid youth prospects to put with the team hes already built and should be very tough to play in a season or two. I just hope that this trade allows him to become a top flight team and is always a pleasure to work with whether its trade talk or just shooting the shiz.

You're pretty active in trading, is that your favorite aspect of the game?

Yes and No LOL. When you’re a league run by Hop its clear on a couple of things all the owners are experienced and competitive. This allows trades to be pretty even where when you look at them you don’t scratch your head and wonder whats going on. In all leagues you have players who always want to trade, one example with us is Oakland who regardless of being in my division we have made many moves together. Difference between our league and others that im in the players who always want to trade never actually work to make a fair deal done. Have a guy who basically will only trade say his ace pitcher for your minor league ace who is basically the same player but younger and cheaper. In these same leagues new owner raping occurs every season to the point of wanting to drop the league. But here in NCAA II there is a lot of wheeling and dealing where the communication on both sides make it a very fun thing to do in this league. Here its also not a difficult thing to trade non superstars like O’Neil and Carter when your team is in need of that position. Its not pulling teeth in this league and even better that most people talk quite often amongst each other. Although, for this season may not have quite the moving as I have in the past as really only looking to upgrade LF, 2B, SP (yes I have no shame in plugging that).
Go Ducks and good luck to everyone this year.

Offense Defense Pitching
Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank Category Stat Rank
Avg. .235 32nd Fielding % .978 28th ERA 4.60 21st
Home Runs 167 29th Double Plays 360 18th Strike Outs 986 30th
Runs 661 30th + Plays 46 27th OAV .270 20th
Steals 242 1st - Plays 40 23rd Saves 39 23rd