A Reasoned Response – Comments to the McCann-Smith Platform

So here we are.. In February  with no certain home to play on, 9 owners, uncertain scoring categories, scandals, suspensions, manager firings, global climate crisis.. ETC. We do, however, have a new commish group who are tasked with putting forth a new path for the league. Its been rocky(ish), but I feel like we do need to set some dialogue. I’m taking it upon myself to begin the conversation between the remaining owners and the commish(s) to help fine tune the details this week, so we may hit the ground running as the season gets closer. Please everyone try to digest the platform the commissioners (can we get a nickname for this duo?) put out there, and maybe take some of my responses and comments as a starting point for you to figure on what you feel is the best way forward. We set a deadline of TOMORROW (2/11/20) for comments, but maybe we need to push to the end of the week if we get enough discussion going. So here goes:

 

  • Switching To Fantrax: The platform switch has been long overdue. Fantrax is the industry standard when it comes to serious fantasy leagues. There’s no matching their player pool and dynasty customization options. There is a cost associated with it; both in actual money (after our initial free year, it’ll come down to about 8 bucks an owner per season), and in the slight annoyance of learning something new. But all in all they’ve fixed up the app and it looks good – it basically has everything we’re used to with ESPN; so it should be a fairly painless switch.  Most importantly – it eliminates the need to self police the minors system if we adopt the other changes we are suggesting below.

The Lobman Response:

In my opinion, switching to Fantrax ABSOLUTELY suits this league. ESPN has done us no favors throughout the years, especially when we’ve pushed past all of that site’s capabilities. We are a very forward thinking (at times) league, and in my research the only site available that could conceivably track what we manually operate would be Fantrax. To me, I FULLY SUPPORT this move.

 

  • Elimination of High Minors/Rights Minor Leaguers: (NOTE – This does not mean you lose your high minors guys and rights guys! Keep reading!) Basically we keep the 10 minors slots we’re all used to, but they are all designated for players without a major league appearance (“low minors”) – This fits in perfectly with the Fantrax switch because Fantrax can automatically police that sort of system perfectly. It would be much like when you have a player on the IL and he comes back. Essentially when a player makes an appearance in the big leagues, the system would prevent you from making any other moves until you fix your roster and either bump the minors guy up to your majors bench or drop him. So what happens to the rights guys? Well Fantrax basically has everyone – so you can now just pop them into your minors slots if you care to keep them. OK, what about your high minors guys?

The Lobman Response:

In my opinion, we need to debate this further. Not in the toxic shitbag style we typically debate things, but the only way I see this is eliminating high minors spots eliminates a value of a handful of players in our league. There was a reason we looked to create this minor league player tiers, because it added an extra type of strategy to our league. Players who would ordinarily have 0.0% value to any league had a TON of value to us as a whole. Maybe we don’t care now, or maybe even Fantrax can’t give us what we want (according to the discussion last night). I quite liked the idea of picking up a rookie to fit a set of criteria in our roster structure. IF we had to choose between the low/high minors tier system, I’d almost say scrap the low minors, and just allow all minor leaguers to be usable up to 130/50. Just my opinion.

(PLEASE NOTE: this will have to be discussed even further, because of limitations/abilities of Fantrax. The Commissioners will have to explain in greater detail ON THIS BLOG to articulate what exactly we’re looking at here in terms of options. Not on GroupMe).

 

  • Roster Expansion: Five bench spots will be added to our rosters. All owners are welcome to use these slots for any high minors players they wish to keep, or to just add regular major leaguers in the draft.

 The Lobman Response:

For me, 5 spots is just too much. If the league is all about this number, I could probably get myself to accept this to an extent, but (like what Doch said last night), I could see this getting really screwy. I’m not gonna say there’s major holes to be exploited here, but essentially we’re taking away another guardrail and we have no idea what will happen. Maybe I’m overly cautious, but like with a change to a different site, man there are a lot of unknowns. I’d say splitting the difference (in the spirit of the MLB) and adding 3 spots might be a decent compromise.

 

  • Roster Expansion Draft: There will be a draft. Owners may select any player in Fantrax’s system that they need to fill out their new roster size including the five extra major league spots and the ten minor league (formerly called “low minors”) spots. Your draft ends when your roster is full and compliant.

The Lobman Response:

I think this kind of falls in line with #3. I mean, lets just say that a 3 round draft to add spots (if need be) would be something we’ve done in the past with rights players. I think more discussion on the whole topic needs to be had before we decide on a draft of sorts.

 

  • Elimination of Complete Games: This doesn’t give us much joy, because we think the “boutique stats” are part of what makes this league so fun – but if one considers the current situation in MLB honestly, pitchers are being handled differently and complete games are going the way of the Dodo Bird. I realize we have been operating in an environment wherein walks were not considered for quite some time now, but the time for WHIP has arrived. It’s an incredibly common stat that is considered in nearly every player ranking system for fantasy baseball. While we realize this will be advantageous for some sorts of pitchers and disadvantageous for others – we believe all owners in this league have the skill and knowledge to be able to adjust swimmingly. Speaking of owners…

The Lobman Response:

This is something I wanted to discuss most of all. Here are my feelings.. The CG is a very imperfect stat category in today’s fantasy baseball. Obviously, its infrequent and not indicative of a great pitcher more times than now. Here’s the thing though: I think the chat gets a little extra buzz when a pitcher (especially some random) gets through 7 2/3 and under 90 pitches. It’s a category that you can’t plan for, which runs (KIND OF) in line with triples albeit less frequent. There’s a symmetry with what we have now in our scoring structure. It’s generally why we originally set it up as we did. Six counting stats and one percentage stat on each side. I’m not here advocating for keeping this because it helps me the most (Because it obviously doesn’t), but I just don’t see a better option that is an OBVIOUS upgrade over what we have. We’re not here to make wholesale category changes for the sake of making changes. The idea is to improve the league, not just tweak what isn’t exactly a problem. If we want to have a discussion of modernizing our category (and adding WHIP which I fucking hate), I would be agreeable to killing K’s and adding K/9 to a BB/9 which is more preferable than WHIP to me. That might make more sense in the end, but again its not a change I really don’t think needs to be made.

 

  • New Owner: Just between your two commissioners, there are three prospective new owners: Devon McCann (Shane’s Brother), Guy Pollioni, and Jim Cartnick (Both friends of Brian). All three have previous experience playing with us in fantasy leagues and would make fine additions to the backyard. If there are no other names put forward and no other objections, the commissioners will give the above people the chance to look over Odom’s roster and the rest of the league and decide if they wish to join the Backyard. They will be asked in the order we have listed them. If Devon Takes it, we are good, if he opts not to, we move on to Guy, if he opts out, we go to Jim. If all three refuse to take over the dumpster fire, we call Figs. Just kidding.

The Lobman Response:

I have 0 opinion on who gets into the league. I trust you guys to vet these potential owners enough to let them know how awful we all are. The only thing I’ll say is this: The MUST understand the team they’re getting themselves into. Odom was fucking crazy, but he was masterful with his strategy. There are pieces to work with here, but the new owner really has to understand that there’s a very good change he gets stomped for almost 2 seasons while he shapes his team. To me, go nuts guys… Get your man.

 I would say maybe a way to incentivize an owner taking a team is to allow them to have a 3-5 player first picks at the FA list once the rosters are fully and correctly populated. This will at least let the new owner put his initial first stamp on his team.

 

  • Cash Prize: This is another one that we approach tentatively because this league will ALWAYS be all about pride and talking shit at the end of the day; but frankly, with the amount of time most of us put into this league, kicking in the price of a beer and a sandwich would not be unreasonable. Getting that trophy along with some cash money would be a lovely way to cap off a hard won victory. We’d suggest 20 bucks an owner. For our free-Fantrax 2020, that pot of $200 would go completely to the champion, but in 2021 and beyond, the previous year’s champion would not have to pay anything the following year, and the 180 bucks collected from the other 9 owners would be divided as follows: $80 to cover league costs and $100 to the champion. Hopefully we all have Venmo by this point; it would make these fees really easy to collect and the winner’s prize easy to pay out.

The Lobman Response:

Sure. 20 bucks per owner won’t kill anyone. I think we either need a new trophy for the changeover, or we need to get the trophy and add the nameplates that were DEFINITELY not ordered and put on the past few years. The free Fantrax year will allow us to spend 200 bucks on this, or I guess whatever we’ll just give 100 bucks to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, then 80 for next year’s league. I don’t know. I do completely agree with Greg that I don’t want this to turn into a money league. I also don’t mind tossing 20 bucks to help contribute to improving the league.

 

We humbly put forth the above plans for your consideration. We don’t have to put a GODDAMN thing to a vote, but perhaps we will in some cases when we get a better sense of how the league feels. Bottom line: We’re really excited about our potential move to the massive player pool of Fantrax, the expansion of rosters, and drafting some new guys. The league has the potential to run very smoothly this year without the hassle of counting high minors ABs and IPs and checking when rights players are added.  No self-policing also means no more draconian penalties. Adopt our changes and let Fantrax do the work for you. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting before we know it. Let’s rock and roll.

The Lobman Response:

I know the commish(s) are going to do what they feel would be best for the league. I also know that everyone has a different interpretation of what’s an improvement over previous years. Now that we have the commish thing settled, I think the order of operation needs to be:

 Fantrax or ESPN (I THINK we chose Fantrax officially?)

  • Rule changes (a THOROUGH addendum process with POSSIBLE amendments and negotiation)
  • New Owner
  • Draft (If applicable)

I wouldn’t combine or deviate from this order, because one thing needs to happen before the next occurs. I’m sure I have more to add to this, but I wanted to address all of this specifically before we go to the next steps.

 

 

-Lobman

 

A Reasoned Response – Comments to the McCann-Smith Platform

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