Prefer to Face Teams
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If Scoresheet Baseball is missing anything, it is missing the effects of catcher’s defense (and rookie centerfielders). If it has anything, I wish it did not, it is the “Prefer to Face Teams” column. It takes a fair amount of work to make best use of, and it really doesn’t get used in real life anywhere near the extent that Scoresheet uses it.


One use of “Prefer to Face Teams” is stacking the deck against your rivals. Each week we are compelled to pick the team that will give us the most trouble towards reaching the play-offs and set our top pitchers to face that team. Of course, this is outrageously unfair to the better teams. Real life teams cannot make such radical adjustments to their rotation every week. Never mind. The hard work about this is checking your schedule each week and making that adjustment.


Some managers get satisfaction from using their “Prefer to Face Team” column to sick their aces on the managers they don’t like.


The other major use of PtFT is making sure your left-handed starters are used against the teams which favour right-handed pitchers the most. The difficult part of that is doing an adequate job of analysis at the start of the season – then staying on top of significant line-up changes in order to keep the right pitchers going against the right teams. Eyeballing which team’s biggest bats are left-handed does not adequately do the trick. First, the actual platoon splits may be quite surprising. Second, the platoon advantages are additive not multiplitive, so a .100 O+S advantage on a middle infielder will have the same effect as a .100 O+S disadvantage on your top hitting outfielder. Hence, you really need to print out your rosters and check every potential regular and platoon partner one by one. You can skip over the bench players who will be rarely used. (I cut and pasted the rosters on a horizontal Word document with small margins. It fits that way.) Write down the actual platoon advantage to one side or the other. I use the vs. lefty data. For platoon players or players I’m not sure who is the starter, I average their platoon ad/dis-advantages. Then, I add up the 9 scores and use that as a guide as to which team should see my left-handers the most.


If you don’t want to take the trouble to do this, comparing the other teams’ results against left-handers vs. right-handers is helpful. However, it isn’t as accurate. Some teams might have faced tougher lefties or tougher righties – especially early in the season.


Finally, be cautious about using PTF with your weakest pitchers. It  could give them a start over a better starter.

John Carter