What are the most common mistakes that Scoresheet GMs make? Which are the best trading strategies? With every AL Robinson (Canada) trade recorded in their nearly 12 year history, I figured I had some worthwhile data which could help answer those questions.
I categorized every kind of trade that ended up heavily lopsided. The categories represented the type of deal (quantity for quality) (play-off push) or the type player misjudged (young middle infielder, slow slugger, strikeout pitcher, etc.) and whether that misjudged player was overrated or underrated.
I`m not sure even 12 years of trades is conclusive. Most categories had just a few hits. Sometimes those hits were dominated by the same player getting misjudged. The Slugger-Comeback-from-Injury-Abyss category had three entries hot-potatoed all in the same winter: Mark McGwire, Mark McGwire, and Mark McGwire.
Overall the over-valuations outpaced the under-valuations 9 to 7. Frankly, considering the nature of expectations vs. reality, I`m a little surprised that ratio wasn`t even higher. In fact, because of a couple players who were traded around a lot just before they had an unexpected surge in ability, the actual ratio is probably closer to 2 to 1.
The type of traded player who scored the most surprises was the high Strikeout Pitcher. The young ones appear to have a greater chance of developing and the old ones have a greater chance of lasting and lasting. The category of older pitchers who weren`t hard throwing strikeout guys was one of the worse categories. They tended to break down and disappear.
Pitching prospects were a poor bet, too, as were pitchers who just hadn`t established themselves long enough in the majors. Hitting prospects on the other hand did well, if they were the all-around super stud variety.
Middle infielders were a very bad bet - especially the older ones. I guess they get worn out. I would also declare the slow sluggers in their prime a danger for overrating. However, there have been a number of late bloomers in this category, but most of them are Jason Giambi. Steroids?
That`s about all I can tell you about the types of players. A separate study of mine showed that there are two very good types of trades: getting good young players for the right veterans that pennant chasers seek is a worthwhile ploy to build your team. Also, in the Scoresheet Robinson League, it has clearly paid off to trade quantity for quality.
Young players getting traded for win-now players often works out well for the team getting the better long term players. It is often hard to prove whether getting those seemingly necessary role players helped a winning team stay on top, but many teams in contention making these trades fail to win anyway. Sometimes it can backfire. At the trading deadline in 1995 one first place Scoresheet manager geared up for the play-offs by trading two of their best players (Alex Fernandez and Kenny Loften) who were having off years to a struggling team which was enjoying a career comeback from Mark Gubicza and a career year from Chad Curtis. They even got a couple of useful extras in the deal. Big mistake. Fernandez and Loften got red hot. Gubicza and Curtis slumped. The team still won their division, but was wiped out badly in the play-offs.
Last thought (for now): Many of the worse trades were outrageous desperate acts. Believe me, most of us in the league collectively shriek when these occur. Yet, some managers (even some professional GMs) blame their stars instead of their lack of supporting talent for their teams` failure. This guy isn`t making the difference for us - so lets try somebody else is their logic. We`ve got 13 spots we can fill with as much talent as we can to carry on from year to year. When building your team focus on those 13 spots. Find 13 players who will likely be one of the best in the league now or in the near future and keep him until you are convinced they are not going to get that good. If you are not sure about one, get more possibilities at his position, but hang on to him as long as you can until you no longer have room for him or find someone you are pretty sure will be better. You could even try for 16, then sell three of them for picks, but you don`t generally get fair value in that scenario. This all sounds simple and obvious, but sometimes we get strange ideas. Maybe that`s more fun than winning.