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Thread: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

  1. #1
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    Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Earlier tonight FRS wrote me asking me to do a Noll-Scully check on his roster. In other words, he asked me to run it for a few years and try to determine when the game loses competitiveness. I wrote him back with my results and he thought they'd be worth posting.

    So...using FRS's latest roster uploaded yesterday. HE published 20 seasons worth of stats:

    High Record: NY Mets (90)
    Low Record: San Francisco (68)
    N/S: 0.93

    * The Noll-Scully ratio. This is abnormally low since 20 seasons tends to wipe out most hot/cold streaks and other aberrations. A good number for modern ball is about 1.60

    Average Division GA: 2.8

    * The average number of games a division was won by.

    Teams with 114W/100W/60-W/48-W: 0/0/0/0

    * 114 wins is a .700 winning percentage. There are only 25 or so of those in baseball history since 1901. 48 wins is a .300 or less percentage and similarly rare. While more common, 100 wins and 100 (actually 102) losses can be a good indicator that a team is either really dominant, or REALLY bad. In modern ball there's usually 0 in a season, though 1 or 2 either way isn't that horrible.
    *******

    Now my 10 year run:

    Y1 (08)
    HI: PHI (102)
    LO: SF (65)
    NS: 1.44
    GA: 6.5
    W: 0/1/0/0
    WS: Phillies d. Yankees

    Still excellent. The Phillies' 102 wins is just a statistical anomaly.

    Y2
    HI: BOS (101)
    LO: KC, WAS (59)
    NS: 1.74
    GA: 7.3
    W: 0/1/2/0
    WS: Diamondbacks d. Red Sox

    N/S raises in year 2, but not yet a real issue. 3 teams with 100+ wins or losses is starting to push it though.

    Y3
    HI: ATL (115)
    LO: KC (56)
    NS: 1.92
    GA: 8.0
    W: 1/0/1/0
    WS: Athletics d. Braves

    The N/S continues to rise. We're at the point where it's becoming a little noticeable, though 1.92 is still tolerable. Atlanta's 115-47 season is pretty high though.

    Y4
    HI: DET (108)
    LO: KC (38)
    NS: 2.47
    GA: 8.8
    W: 0/3/2/1
    WS: Yankees d. Padres

    ...and WHAM. Though the N/S will drift back downwards, here the problems really start. I am guessing Y4 is important because a lot of contracts are up for renewal (which the small market teams aren't), and a lot of arbitration cases from players who came up in Y1 are now being resolved.

    In this 10 yr run, KC will never truly recover, though they'll stop being worst soon.

    The other small market teams like MIL and FLA start feeling the pinch. FLA drops from 70 wins to 54 and never again clear 67. MIL will have one bright spot (74W in Y9), but otherwise never clears the 60s. PIT is actually fairly stable, but TB never gets above 71 again, and usually has trouble breaking 65.

    As for big teams, the BoSox only drop below 90 once more (Y10). The Yanks cleared 100 wins this year and never drop below 92. The Dodgers win 77 in Y4, but after that only drop below 90 once more.

    Y5
    HI: STL (110)
    LO: KC (49)
    NS: 2.12
    GA: 9.5
    W: 0/2/3/0
    WS: Cardinals d. Athletics

    N/S drops a bit, proving Y4 was a bit of an aberration. It will try to stabilize at this level. 5 teams now break 100 wins/losses - better than Y4, but far too high and it won't get much better.

    Y6
    HI: DET (103)
    LO: MIL (57)
    NS: 2.09
    GA: 8.2
    W: 0/2/2/0
    WS: Yankees d. Mets

    The Yanks will rule the AL for the next five years. The NL is still resolving itself.

    Y7
    HI: OAK (106)
    LO: CIN, MIL (59)
    NS: 2.14
    GA: 12.3
    W: 0/4/2/0
    WS: Yankees d. Braves

    Okay, the average team winning their division by 12 games is worrisome, but not as bad as...

    Y8
    HI: ATL (116)
    LO: FLA (43)
    NS: 2.65
    GA: 8.2
    W: 1/5/2/1
    WS: Yankees d. Cardinals

    In Y8 we see another major spike, and this time the league won't recover. Also we have 9 teams with 100+ W or L, two making the history books with a .700+ or .300- winning percentage. It could be this spiking continues in 4 year intervals.

    Y9
    HI: LAD (111)
    LO: FLA (50)
    NS: 2.60
    GA: 9.5
    W: 0/3/4/0
    WS: Dodgers d. Yankees

    The Dodgers secure the NL at this point.

    Y10
    HI: NYY, LAD (110)
    LO: TB (54)
    NS: 2.61
    GA: 6.0
    W: 0/5/4/0
    WS: Dodgers d. Yankees
    *******

    BBM v11.06, All settings default, FRS roster as of Y1.
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  2. #2
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    You can't be surprised. Just about everything in BM is stacked in favor of high-revenue teams. The fact that they can buy the best player development, scouting and health gives them a huge advantage.

    They also stockpile high-priced free agents in the minors, sign undrafted but talented prospects (because the draft is too short and the low-revenue teams can't afford to sign kids to major league contracts), etc etc.

    In BM-world, the rich are merciless in exploiting their monetary advantage.

  3. #3
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    3RunHomer's post got me thinking about scouting.

    There are three areas on which a team can spend money: minor leagues, scouting, and medicine.

    There have been a hundred arguments about medical spending.

    Throwing money at minor leagues and expecting improvement makes sense -- you're buying better facilities, hiring better coaches, paying off better bonus money. You should expect an immediate return.

    However, it's never made sense to me that you could just throw money into scouting and expect to get perfect information if you spend enough money.

    First, most scouts are under contract to other teams. The good ones have contracts signed for a particular length of time -- you can't really "get good scouting" until those contracts expire. Either that, or you have to hire scouts that you think are good and pray their picks pay off.

    Second, for scouting outside of the US, scouting isn't so much a function of money as it is of time -- forming the right relationships with people so that you can get the best information.

    What's the best way to handle the scouting problem? I don't know. Maybe the best way is to treat it like medicine, allowing some sort of randomness to affect the results.

    --Pet

  4. #4
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    I like the idea someone had previously about having it a % of your revenue.

    a 50 million revenue team putting 5 million (10%) in their spending woudl produce better than a 250 million revenue team putting 20 million (8%) in their spending.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by petrel View Post
    Throwing money at minor leagues and expecting improvement makes sense -- you're buying better facilities, hiring better coaches, paying off better bonus money. You should expect an immediate return.
    I think one thing needs to be mentioned here: you can expect better improvement up to the player's potential with the above expenditures. You should NOT, by default, see potentials rise, more players meet potential, etc as much as you do today by owning the #1 farm rating.

    Also, being #30 in farm spending, you STILL should have some prospects that really make it and do well. Is there a team out there today that doesn't have at least one home-grown player in their starting 9? Just because the Marlins draft A-Rod and have #30 in farm and medical spending, doesn't mean A-Rod should end up a 78/78 22 year old with injuries every month or so.

    Otherwise, I like everything you said.

    Quote Originally Posted by gleklufdshlaw View Post
    Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers...

  6. #6
    Imgran Guest

    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by 3RunHomer View Post
    You can't be surprised. Just about everything in BM is stacked in favor of high-revenue teams. The fact that they can buy the best player development, scouting and health gives them a huge advantage.

    They also stockpile high-priced free agents in the minors, sign undrafted but talented prospects (because the draft is too short and the low-revenue teams can't afford to sign kids to major league contracts), etc etc.

    In BM-world, the rich are merciless in exploiting their monetary advantage.
    Add in 3 facets that can ameliorate the advantage of big market teams in real baseball that are notable by their absence in Mogul.

    -- Rule 5 draft to pick off valuable players if big market teams stockpile too many

    -- Draft pick compensation for losing free agents, which would be difficult to implement but does help teams that can't keep their players.

    -- Institutionalized revenue sharing. I know you can play around in commish mode but that involves a much more in-depth look into Commish mode and the state of the league than a lot of people would want to mess with -- especially when it wouldn't be that hard to make it so that all you had to do is check a box or fil out a small dialogue script.

    Add to that the fact that the computer more or less seems to neglect their ballparks and any kind of improvement to your ballpark is prohibitively expensive for a small market team (which means that as stadiums decay, already cash-strapped teams will see their revenue decline) and you have a point of no return that the bottom third of MLB can't get past without human management or a deus ex machina from the Commish.

  7. #7
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Alloutwar
    Is there a team out there today that doesn't have at least one home-grown player in their starting 9?
    I decide to check up on this...and you're absolutely right!

    I went to Baseball-reference.com and looked at the current starting lineups to check if any team didn't have a home-grown player as a starter. I stopped looking the first time I found such a player. Here is the total list of home-grown starters -- they might not be the only such starters; they were just the first ones I found.

    Orioles: Brian Roberts
    Blue Jays: Aaron Hill
    Red Sox: Kevin Youkilis
    Yankees: Robinson Cano
    Rays: Shawn Riggans

    Royals: Alex Gordon
    White Sox: Joe Crede
    Indians: Jhonny Peralta
    Twins: Joe Mauer
    Tigers: Brandon Inge

    Angels: Mike Napoli
    Athletics: Kurt Suzuki
    Mariners: Kenji Johjima
    Rangers: Ian Kinsler

    Marlins: Josh Willingham
    Phillies: Carlos Ruiz
    Mets: David Wright
    Braves: Brian McCann
    Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman

    Cardinals: Yadier Molina
    Brewers: Prince Fielder
    cubs: Geovany Soto
    Reds: Adam Dunn
    Pirates: Ryan Doumit
    Astros: J. R. Towles

    Diamondbacks: Chris Synder
    Padres: Khalil Greene
    Rockies: Todd Helton
    Dodgers: Russell Martin
    Giants: Brian Bocock (*)

    (*) -- his first year as a major leaguer

    We really need to rethink how spending money on scouting works in Baseball Mogul.

    --Pet

  8. #8
    Imgran Guest

    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Rays: Shawn Riggans
    THAT was the first home-grown Ray you found on the same team as Shields, Upton, Sonnanstine, Crawford and Baldelli?

  9. #9
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Thinking about it some more, I think there's another way to look at CatKnight's interesting post:

    After 3 seasons of a dynasty, the human-owned team is going to face very tough competition from the Yankees and Dodgers. This could be seen as a good thing if you consider the game "too easy."

    The AI is basically doing for the Yankees and Dodgers what the human-team is usually able to do ... pile up an all-star team of talent.

    PS - Does this same 4th year thing happen with BM09's default rosters? If not, why not?

  10. #10
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    I'm going to move this to the suggestions forum. It fits better there, and it won't get lost.
    You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that! -J. von Neumann

  11. #11
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Quote Originally Posted by Imgran View Post
    THAT was the first home-grown Ray you found on the same team as Shields, Upton, Sonnanstine, Crawford and Baldelli?
    See here. Catcher is listed first and Riggans has the most catcher playing time for the Devil Rays, so he was listed first, thus he was the first "found."

  12. #12
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Yah - maybe my talent/farm system issue is seperate entirely. Don't want to clog up the thread.

    Thank's for looking those up, Pet - I guess my point is that even on 'bad' teams that don't spend much money overall (marlins, A's, Royals, Pirates, Reds, etc) they still have good talent, and even some superstars break through, regardless of expenditure. The Yankees' farm system wasn't bad the last 10-15 years because of a lack of spending...so maybe there's a different (better) way of figuring out what effects farm, rather than a purely monetary driver.

    Quote Originally Posted by gleklufdshlaw View Post
    Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers...

  13. #13
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    Although I very much agree with the ideas put forth for changes to the Expenses system, I wouldn't focus on that in regards to competativeness. I'm telling yall, doing so is a red herring. While an argument can certainly be made about how much Expenses should or shouldn't affect player development, comparatively their impact is very small with the real drivers: playing time and actual talent (mostly Potential).
    You insist that there is something a machine cannot do. If you will tell me precisely what it is that a machine cannot do, then I can always make a machine which will do just that! -J. von Neumann

  14. #14
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    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    First....this has nothing to do with roster. It's a question of the sim engine over time, not the 'players' behind it. The only thing that changes over time is if you start in a year where teams like the Yanks are REALLY bad, it'll take them longer to take over - or another team like the Red Sox will.

    3Run makes an interesting point (having one or two uber AI teams stockpiling is a good thing). Does one want effectively a 3 or 4 team league though? I dunno.

    I think ohms is right here. Expenses are a component of what's going on, and personally I'd like to see scales similar to the medical one affecting how much spending changes your farm system and scouting. However, it's not the main issue.

    The main reason 'big' teams dominate 'small' ones is budgetary. The AI relies on its payroll budget to make decisions. Therefore, a small market team will be far less likely to resign home grown talent or go to free agency and find more. They'll release them and make do. They could have the best farm system in the Majors....but if they release their home growns after 3 years (arbitration) then it doesn't do much good.

    The big market teams on the other hand resign their people. Then invest heavily in free agency stockpiling their minors with all the small teams' home growns. This gives them more depth regardless of whether they have better medical, and overall better quality of players.

    The only way I've ever found to stabilize BM from this particular standpoint was overt and direct manipulation of team budgets. Note that doesn't mean revenue sharing, at least as we do it today (cash transfers) as the small teams could care less how much cash it has. The AI just uses its budget.

    Here's what I do. I realize this decision isn't for everyone (or perhaps anyone), but it works and might give you a clue which direction the answer lies.

    First, I started with equalized cities. This alone is NOT enough, as the successful teams will build up fan loyalty, giving them bigger budgets, which over time lets them dominate. It just takes longer and might be the Rays instead of the Yankees.

    After every season I reset the fan loyalty (considering it some sort of revenue scale instead of really having anything to do with fans). Average teams (77-85 wins) get reset to B-. Teams that do better end up in C or D range, Worse teams B and A range depending on performance.

    This lets weak teams spend more to try and catch up, while strong teams need to think about cutting back. On the N/S scale the league stabilizes at about 1.90-2.00.

    I suppose you could rebuild an 'unbalanced' scenario by setting the Yankees' loyalty at say A-, while the Rays etc. gets a C-. This gives the Yankees a decided advantage, but perhaps not an overwhelming one. It's also easier to justify as this could represent true revenue sharing.

    (The Yanks and Rays are just examples, for the record.)
    Retired Dynasties I'm Proud of
    To Rule in Kansas City Part I and Part II (Kansas City Royals 1969-73, Hall of Fame)
    Cardinal Sins (St. Louis Cardinals 1976-78) and it's sequel:
    Diverting Destiny (Montreal Expos 1994)
    Script for my Requiem (New Orleans Blues (fictional) 1954)

  15. #15
    Imgran Guest

    Re: Competitive Balance: The Y4 issue

    I wonder whether it'd be possible to throw in some kind of compensation factor. An ideal possibility would be that big markets had a penalty to gaining Fan Loyalty and a huge boost to losing it, while small markets gained Loyalty quickly and lost it more slowly.

    This would even have the advantage of being realistic, as fans of the big market teams expect to contend every year and have little patience with poor performances while fans of small market teams are more willing to wait a year or two for a decent year.

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