Thread: Stage Four

It doesn’t exist. But we keep hoping.

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Everyone having the same information doesn't make every owner equal, but it closes one avenue of attempting to win. The time when you could take advantage of information no one else and making a lopsided trade or picking up a good player no one else knows about is past. There are still other avenues in terms of auction and in-season strategy and how good or bad your opponents are at that, of course.

The "boring" strategy worked well for me in my home league until people started emulating it and those boring players got pushed up to par or close enough that the profit was no longer there. in expert leagues, it's even worse. 

The boring teams thing works better in 4x4 than in 5x5. In a 4x4 league, I'd consider buying a bunch of cheap Padres and hope to get lucky. In 5x5, I can't do that because I'd probably destroy both runs and RBI.

Mike Gianella MikeG
Feb 26 '17

Not only is buying boring players one ploy to mitigate against Stage Three Hell, but boring teams as well.  In California, the Dodgers, Angels, and Giants often carry a premium that I will not pay.  The same holds true for perennial popular teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, & Cubs.  Ceteris Paribus—I prefer Twins, Brewers, Blue Jays, or even Indians, Tigers, Orioles, Nationals, Marlins, Rays and Cardinals.

Even if they are not a bargain you rarely end up overpaying.  Maybe its wishful thinking but I am with WShapiro that it is worth it to save at the margins as we play in Stage Three Hell—it may be a placebo but at least we feel we are getting somewhere.

Tom Barnes Turtles
Feb 26 '17

One strategy that sorta of works at the margins is buying (yawn) boring players. It's why I got Beltre ($23) and Melky Cabrera ($12) at good prices in the American Dreams League last year. It's a strategy that I fell into after chasing over-hyped young players like Danny Salazar to $20 in 2014 and discovering that I had bought him a year too early. No one comes out of the draft going up to strangers on the street and proudly announcing, "I got Mike Napoli at $9." But pick-ups like that can save you a bit at the margins -- and that's where we are all playing in Stage Three Hell. 

Walter Shapiro WShapiro
Feb 26 '17

Execution ...and a lot of luck

Tom Zeke
Feb 26 '17

I simply can't come close to agreeing to the concept that even in leagues where everyone knows the same info every team is competitive.  There are three reasons that will never be the case. First, even with equal information, no two people will ever view that info equally. Second, the strategies divised are so various that the extensive combinations can certainly lead to awful teams even if teams pay par. Lastly, as has been pointed out, the best strategy in the world is meaningless without execution. Just like any game, the results will ultimately depend upon execution.

joel schreier jschri
Feb 26 '17

Seen every stage at different times in over 30 consecutive seasons in my Home Roto auction League. By the way (shameless plu), we need one replacement owner. The Quality of owners is more important than the Quantity, so our 10 team League with double size active rosters equals a typical 20 team league. For more details see here

James Morgan jem1776
Feb 25 '17

A similar event to what Eugene describes occurred in our league.  Then, everyone got wise to it at the same time, and the first round went back to Stage One, except everyone was convinced it was the time to buy, which created a weird Stage One-esque endgame.   The following year, people remembered the previous year....often bidding strategy opportunities disappear as quickly as you found them, if you're playing a league with savvy owners and low turnover.

Last year, an odd thing occurred---most owners are averse to DH only guys, and at draft's end some owners had filled DH with bargains (in my case, Kinsler at $18) such that those who could price enforce already had DHs, and guys walked away with V-Mart and Gattis for $2 and $1 respectively.  That was weird.  It won't happen this year, that's for sure, but it might mean DHs will be cheap, because they'll get called out early and, again, owners won't want to block the slot.  Too bad that will just leave Morales and Pedro Alvarez.

Mike Landau ML-
Feb 25 '17

One fellow masochist in my league noticed about a decade ago that bidding for the first round of announcements is frequently a little more reserved than thereafter.  Sometimes people are afraid of spending all of their inflation dollars immediately.  For that reason, he posited, announce a player you want and plan to get him, and buy at least one other player in the first round.  After the ice is broken, people start spending more freely.  He also believed that the advice was to announce a player you don't want who will suck money out of the room.  If you have an ace, announce an ace so others spend. With all the I don't want him announcements, it limited the market.

Also, the other owners are considering options in the first round.  They say, I'll be happy with Trout or Betts or Altuve or Miggy or Machado or Donaldson as long as I get one of them.  They might let Cano or Abreu or JD Martinez slip by early because they are waiting for one of their big guys to build around.  They might also let a few of the big guys go, figuring they will get whoever is left.  But, when the last two of the big guys come up in the second round of announcements, there is still some scarcity and there are more teams who are chasing them, partially because they see their options closing, and partially because they are more comfortable spending because the ice is broken.  It may only be $1-2 under inflation value for the early buys and $1-2 over inflation value for the later buys, but that $2-4 swing can be important.

The same can be true of the teams who want to buy an ace.  The first one announced may have a slightly softer market.

I employed this successfully getting Altuve in the first round in 2013 and 2014 (I kept him in 15)*.  By last year, he was the second most expensive player, so I wasn't able to get him and I didn't even get a chance to announce him.  He came up very early and the guy who announced him looked at me when he did so.  He went $1 over my inflation price and still earned a profit.  He will be kept for $41 in 2017 by the team who bought him last year.

*My initial post mistakenly identified the years of buying Altuve in the auction and protecting him.

Eugene Freedman EugeneFreed
Feb 25 '17

It might be a good idea to move the discussion of Stage Three bidding strategies, which is going on now under Byron Buxton, over to this page.

What is Stage Three? you ask.

I try to answer that under Buxton.

It's also known as Stage Three Hell. The bidding strategies try to get out of it.

Alex Patton Alex
Feb 25 '17

There is no Stage Four. There isn't. But try telling that to anyone who attends one of the First Pitch Forums year after year.

... All sessions hosted by Ron Shandler, members of the team and other special industry guests (see website for details). Join us as we go "Beyond the Wisdom of the Crowd".

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Friday, March 3: WASHINGTON DC/VIRGINIA, Gannett HQ (McLean, VA), 7-10pm
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Sunday, March 5: BOSTON, Marriott Courtyard Natick, 12-3pm

Registration: $39 in advance / $49 after Thursday night before the event weekend or at the door.

We'll see you this spring at the First Pitch Forum! Reserve your spot today!

Maybe they'll link me back. You never know.

Alex Patton Alex
Feb 22 '17