Roster Structure

Each pair of teams must cut down to 17 batters using WAR as a general guide, with players needing 120 AB or more.  In general, this meant the best guys on both teams were kept at each position, with one ‘wild card’ off the bench, but there were times when regulars were cut.  For instance, Ames cut Mark Belanger (472 ABs in ’68) because he added nothing to the team over Gene Alley and Davey Johnson (nominally one of the team’s 2B, along with Bill Mazeroski, but as a 3e17 at short plenty good as a backup).  

Roster decisions also had a subjective component: as much as I liked the memory of Belanger, cutting him would allow me to keep Fred Patek on the Little Cyclones in a utility role (and ‘The Flea’ would be my favorite player after Clemente’s death).  A similar cut was made in the outfield, where Paul Blair (421ABs) was dropped in favor of Manny Mota’s more useful bat.

Pitchers had to be cut to 13, again using WAR as a general guide, with players needing 40 IP or more.  There were two fixed rules imposed:

 1. Six of the top 8 pitchers by IP must be kept, and two must be cut.

 2. Three with a Closer Rating of ‘3+’ must be kept (if possible).

The “must cut 2 of the top 8” rule was implemented to give relievers more of a shot to make the team.  As for Ames, it led to the release of Al McBean (3.58 in 198 IP) and Dave Leonhard (3.13 in 126 IP).  A hard choice was made to keep Pete Richert (-0.2 WAR) over Wally Bunker (1.4 WAR).  Ultimately I decided the team needed a lefty in the pen.

After some experimentation, I decided to generate computer managers and then set relief usage to Aggressive and SB% to 60.  Rotations were determined by WAR, with the 6th starter set to a relief setting of Sometimes.  All pure starters not in the first five rotation slots were given a relief rating of 1/2 their Starter POW rating (rounded down).

The last thing I did was lightly edit the player settings.  For pitchers, I checked the ‘Max of 1-2 IP in relief’ box if Relief POW is 1-3, and checked the ‘2-3’ box if it was 4-5.  Pitchers with 100+ IP had this limit moved up a level, and those with 200+ IP had it moved up two levels (so never a relief limit).  

I also set pitchers to “avoid” their weak side if Balance > IP x 6%, rounding normally (this sounds complicated, but was pretty easy to eyeball).  For hitters, I did the “avoid” thing if Balance > AB x 2%.  This method was adopted to make regulars a lot less prone to being yanked than guys with 200 ABs or 50 IPs.

As far as play is concerned, my plan is to modify the starting lineups for each team and then quick-play the first six innings.  Then I will watch Hal run the last innings but refrain from managing things with one exception: at my option I will swap in one defensive sub when a team is ahead.  My main concern in lineup selection will be to rest players (and starting pitchers) over 96% usage, but I have also noticed Hal makes some nutty lineup choices and will try to use a team’s best players.

Note all stadiums were set to be completely neutral (9‘s across the board for ballpark singles and homers).  The league was built from the AL 1968 model, and we are using that 162-game schedule.  There is only a single division, so no World Series is needed at the end!

Here is a link to the Strat-O-Matic league file prior to start of play: 1968IB-1-7-2019.lzp 

© John Kisner 2019