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Monday, May 30, 2011

Few and Far Between

As we're now in the midst of the free agency period, plenty of teams are looking fill some holes in the quickest way possible in a world with no agency. Personally, with 3 pitchers and 6 position players I'm comfortable with on my current team, I was looking to fill 5-6 major holes on my ML team. But much of that help is going to have to come internally or via the waiver wire, because the free agent pool is veeeeerrrry bare. If you're looking for defense, it can be found, but don't expect them to be able to hit. If you're looking for power, it can be found, but don't expect them to hit for average. If you're looking for solid pitching, don't expect any stamina, because you're likely going to have to settle for relievers.

I did a little digging, and based on some of my players and others I picked out at random, many of the better players were initially signed to 3 year contracts. Toby Hutchinson, "The Gift", is one example of this. So I expect season 4 to be more like a typical free agent pool most are used to in HBD. BUT, what I've also found, is that because of the lack of teams trading to become lopsided to take them to one extreme or the other (win now or win later), players that I wouldn't have normally played in the ML are finding a legitimate spot.

So don't feel too discouraged if you went into free agency hoping to solve all your problems, only to be left out in the cold with no answers for many of your spots. Find your best option, plug 'em in, and hope for the best. Just remember that there are no excuses for failing to meet 55 wins. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NTC Private World Rules - Amendment #1

I recently added in the first amendment to our world rules. It is as follows...

Amendment #1 - The commissioner has the right to fill any teams that remain vacant, that is, without an owner, after rollover. If you have not renewed your team for the following season before rollover, you forfeit the right to your team.

This was already implied by the way HBD handles renewals, but I wanted to make it clear so everyone is aware of where I stand. So I will no longer reserve your team for you until you get paid, or until credits from another world go through, or until your buddy pays you back for the case of beer you spotted him last week. You've got 3 months to find $25 to pay for the following season, and 3 days after credits are issued to use those credits towards the following season. If you can't find the time, energy, and money to renew by then, you agree that you are allowing your team to be filled by someone else.

Now, if I don't have anyone lined up and you send me something saying you missed the deadline and you want back in, that's fine. The team's all yours. But don't get upset if I found someone else to take your team.

I'm not mad at any individual or situation, but it seems silly to hold up everyone else for days because you decided to wait until a week after we rolled to find money for next season.



Season 1 Re-cap

We weren't sure what to expect with the first ever HBD world where trading is prohibited, but we dove in, head first, ready to explore the uncharted waters. I've already given my thoughts about what I learned about an HBD world with no trading, but here's a look at the season in review.

Free agency played a pivotal role in determining who would rise to the top, and who would sift to the bottom. One example of that is Magglio Nunez, who took home a big payday, raking in over $80MM over 5 years. But as one of the premier lefties in the league, and little else to choose from, he was in the right situation at the right time.

Free agency wasn't the only place player acquisition took place. In a questionable move, the Clodhoppers waived Cy Young award winner, Toby Hutchinson, in an effort to save a little payroll. Eventual World Series winner, iain, found great relief from his draft pick slot (32nd), as this gifted him the first position in waiver claims. With this, he snagged Hutchinson and rode him all season. The real question is whether or not Hutchinson will resign with the Siege, as he's going into his walk year.

Once the season got started, most of us were accustomed to searching out trading partners to try to improve our team, either for this season or for seasons to come. But not so in this world. The gems had to be sought out in International Free Agency and the draft. Like no other world I've been in before, we saw 4 IFAs go for more than $20MM. Jesus Feliz, Al Gonzales, and Lorenzo Uribe, all from the Dominican Republic, and Mendy Higashioka from Hyogo, Japan. As young 18 year olds, they're leaning on their veteran mentors and coaches to stay grounded and continue to improve to achieve their hopeful outcome of future superstars in the Majors.

But International Free Agency was not the only place to find the future franchise players. The Amateur draft sent Manual Lima to Las Vegas with the top pick. Enrique Batista provided good value at pick number 13, who should be available for the Show in the next couple seasons.

As we got down to the end of the season, the NL produced a great race for the second wild card spot. Tacoma long since locked up the first wild card, but there was a 4 horse race down to the last couple games, involving Toledo, Burlington, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Toledo fought them off in end, winning a playoff spot with 82 wins. In the AL, the evil empire, the New York Yankees, cruised to the #1 seed being the only team to eclipse the 100 win mark with 102 wins. The wild card spots were earned by Pawtucket, with 99 wins, and Montgomery, who also surpassed 90 wins, making it to 91.

New Yorks terrorizing of the AL would quickly come to an end, as they were taken down in game 5 of a 5 game series by Albuquerque after they had already dismissed the Pawtucket Fire Cats a round before. On the other side of the AL, the Seattle Penguins cruised through the Biscuits likes a hot knife on Sunday morning, and silenced the Nashville Sound with their 6 straight playoff wins. They kept that momentum up through the ALCS, steamrolling Albuquerque in 5 games to secure their spot in the World Series.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the favorites in each round were prevailing without exception. That is, of course, until #1, Salem Eruption, and #2, Syracuse Siege, met in the NLCS. Salem, fresh off a 3-0 sweep of Charlotte, was high on confidence. But the execution failed to come through as they fell in 5 games, 4-1, and had to join the New York Yankees as a #1 seed watching the World Series from home.

Seattle, 10-1 in the playoffs, met their match against Toby Hutchinson, aka "The Gift", and the Syracuse Siege. Seattle's offense, which had been formidable in the playoffs, cooled to a chilling end as the Siege took control and never looked back. In a swift 5 game series, Syracuse brought home the World Series trophy, and the pride that comes along with it. It may be cold all winter in Syracuse, New York, but they'll have the company of victory to keep them warm.

So with mistakes behind us and promise ahead, we look forward to another great season in the NTC.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Things Learned

After a season of playing through the experiment that was a world devoid of trading, I reflected on how things went, and what effect the rules seemed to have. Here are some things I noticed...

1) This world is definitely not for "marshmallow now" people.
You know, marshmallow now? The experiment where they give kids the choice to eat 1 marshmallow now, or they can wait and eat 2 marshmallows later? If you can take satisfaction in knowing that you're building a team for the future, while hopefully improving your ML squad through free agency, this may be the world for you. If you antsy and just have to make a move via trades, you're going to get bored or frustrated. Gotta be a "marshmallow later" person.

2) Free agency is HUGE.
Free agency has become a much larger part of the game. Knowing you won't be able to trade for a piece you're going after in free agency, do you stay in the bidding war until the end on the prized free agent, or do you bow out and take the next player down the list so you don't miss out altogether? It also makes those guys who may have been marginal players before appear valuable as 24th and 25th guys on the ML roster.

3) Waiving high-contract players...not so smart now, but what about next season...
As we saw with Hutchinson, waiving high contract players didn't work out so well in season 1. But as we move forward, what about players that got bid up in free agency in previous seasons? Will it make sense to waive him before free agency to use that money on 2 or 3 other players?

4) World chat is pretty slow
With no players to offer up and no one-sided trades to argue about, the world chat is relatively slow compared to other worlds. This may not be a bad thing...just something noticed.

5) IFA and draft simply can't be ignored
I may not have done anything different for the draft, but I definitely felt added pressure to make sure I got the right guys in the draft. I also found myself drafting a little more for 'need' and not solely on the 'best player available' since I know I won't be able to move excess for need.

6) After all the dust settles...
I still LOVE the idea!

I hope you've enjoyed this regular season, and I look forward to seeing how the playoffs pan out, as well as future seasons to come.