The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Put Me In, Coach — BBH2045 Free Agent Scouting Report

The Free agents include 23 naturals, 23 Robots, and 14 Cyborgs. So there are slightly more cyborgs than you’d expect (given that starting teams are all 6/6/3, except for NYs 5/7/3).

Format is $ cost/revenue, hits, skill, speed (average if not shown), PH (if applicable).

Looking at Free Agents shows tradeoffs everywhere. More expansive players tend to be better, but if you bag two cheaper players that will often work out well. You improve two players and reduce variability. I’m lconsidering price in ratings, but since you can’t save money extra price may not matter. If you have $7 then a great $4 may be inferior to a ‘good’ $7, since you can’t double up.

I haven’t been particularly scientific about this. I just looked at each card and tossed it into a rather large pile. I suspect I’m wrong fairly often.

The ‘Boys (and Girls)

Franchise Players:

Barry Sosa — $9/1, HR+HR Sosa is the “Anti Glove” guy. If your opponent (like me) draft gloves (ignoring double-plays, pickoffs and cyborg pitchers) then Sosa clears the bases. Sosa single-handedly makes walk better.  He doesn’t PH, but in most cases you are threatening enough runs that you’d always want him.

Derek Balanger — $5/4, none, Double Play, PH. Balanger rocks as a first purchase. For game 2 double play is a better pickoff, and the money will get you a great team. You might literally be able to get an extra player (or much better one) each time hie plays. Later on you PH the guy, and hope he’s not a guy you PH to. Obviously not a great purchase towards the trade deadline.  He’s the ultimate ‘fun clubhouse’ guy that gets you a great team.

Frankie Foxx — $4/2, Double, Glove, Slow, PH. Assuming you are picking this guy up as part of a two-person deal, Foxx is great. Revenue. Glove, a double, pinch-hittable. In a two player deal you often don’t have much choice, so if I was taking him + a random 4/5 player, I’d always take Frankie Foxx first, and hope for a better 4/5 to flip up.  Obviously if you have $7 there are better players available… but at $9 often he’s my first buy (if I’m guaranteed another).

The goods:

Boog Banks — $5/2, Double, Glove, PH. A nice cheap two-way player. The extra $1 is often enough to preclude a two way deal, which is why he’s not like Frankie Foxx. But if you can afford him he’s better (since he isn’t slow).

Dave Trout — $5/3, Triple, PH. Yes, you are getting mainly revenue, but a triple also works and is big enough to eat a glove.

Moose Giambi — $7/2, HR, Glove, PH. A big hit, a glove. Decent revenue. PH.

Mark Lopes — $5/3, S+S. A few hits and money. OK. Yes, this will not get gloved like Trout, but I like Trout’s PH a fair bit.

Troy Jeter — $7/3, S+S, Glove. Two hits and a glove. He fits into most rotations in the 2-4 spot (#1 spot at home, sometimes). Good revenue makes this a nice pickup, unless revenue doesn’t matter anymore.

Joe Mays — $5/1, Double, Clutch, PH. A decent hit plus clutch and you PH if you need defense.

Mickey Maris — $7/0, S+HR, Glove. Home runs have a certain quality all their own, and the extra hit is nice. But bad revenue and no PH. Maris is a great final pickup and a terrible early one, so he averages to good (because you can always wait).

Ty Terry — $8/2, HR, Clutch, PH. A great hit, and clutch, but expensive. Still on a team with lots of singles the clutch will score a runner or two, and then threaten at least two more runs.

Bucky Tulo — $6/1, Triple, Glove, Fast, PH. Glove plus a big enough hit to be a threat. Fast is somewhat useless here.

Hank Hornsby — $8/3, Single, Leadoff, Fast, PH. — OK, Leadoff + a single is fine, and good revenue. If you have $8 you probably aren’t getting two people unless there’s a lucky draft (and not all the $4 are great), so this is a reasonable early draft, because you are setting yourself up for revenue. I’d still tend to prefer Hit + Glove people, but I’ll admit this guy is OK, although he blares Nick Hornsby songs in the dugout.

Ichiro Matsui — $6/1, S+S, Glove, Fast. A fast Regular bot who cancels a hit? Not kicking that off my team.

Babe Bench — $5/1, S+D, Glove, Slow. An extra base over Ichiro, but slow instead of fast somewhat cancels. A bit easier to get a 2nd player with the Babe.

Ozzie Foxx — $5/2, Single, Double Play, PH. I like a single double play, and being PH means if it doesn’t work you can chuck it for something better.

Brooks Nettles — $6/1, S+S, Clutch. I like clutch. It’s a conditional unblockable hit and scores a run. Good enough to make this guy playable, although If you already have a lot of clutch he’s a pass.

Nellie McGhee — $5/2, Single, Glove, Fast, PH. Almost a pure defensive card, but a single is better than nothing.  Meh plus.

Peewee Rizzuto — $4/1, S, Glove, Fast, PH. Not the Poor Man’s Frankie Foxx, since he costs the same, but an unlucky man’s Foxx. Fast is not worth trading revenue and an extra base hit.

The Mehs:

Bucky Cano — $7/2, S+S, Double Play. As noted, one double play is often good, and two singles get some runs. But you can’t PH this guy so you are spending $7 for two average singles (and a pickoff) most of the time. Not bad, but you are likely not getting Cano’s full potential most games. Compare with Ozzie Foxx, where you give up a hit but have the ability to PH him out (and maybe pick up a second player if you got good revenue).

Maury Aparicio — $5/1, S, Double Play, Fast, PH. Another double play guy, but only a single and poor revenue. At least he’s PH.

Willie McGwier — $8/2, S+D, Glove, Fast. Two hits and fast. But $8 and no PH.

Contracts to avoid:

Josh Lynn — $5/2, none, Leadoff, Fast, PH. I amended my prior post; I don’t hate leadoff, but most Leadoff hitters had literally nothing else going for them. Leadoff + Single would be a vaguely superior RegularBot. Here you have a fast single that can’t be cancelled by glove. But how many people would waste that on a single as the first play? Answer: Only someone who has 6 defensive cards.

Cy Pie — $8/2, Single, Leadoff, PH. Yes, he’s single +Leadoff, but he’s $8. Most other $7s or 6s are better, and unless they were a horrible fit two $4s would be better.

The ‘Borgs of Summer

Fun facts — In the base set there are 2 spitballers,  2 Fastballers and 4 curveballers and 2 Knuckleballers.

Franchise Players:

Juan Spahn — $8/2, D+S, Curveball. Curveball is the best pitching skill and two hits as well. He has a high price, but a decent swing.

Max Verlander — $11/2, T+D, Curveball, Fast. The best pitcher in the game, but expensive. Worth pitching a game (even a playoff game) to get, IMO. The argument for one player (instead of two good ones) is that you can only play 6 people a game, and it’s tougher to predict what your opponent is going to do if there’s more variability. The downside is that more variability means risking more bad hands. Knowing that Verlander is in your opponents deck (or hand) makes things tough. Do you play your best robot first as a bluff? The downside to drafting Verlander is that once you’ve played him, things are easier for the other manager (“The threat is mightier than the execution.” — Nimzovitch). I’m still processing the “One great player vs two good one” debate.

The Goods:

Hoyt Niekr — $5/2, S, Knuckle ball, PH. Useful in the right situation and PH otherwise. Depends on what your opponents are drafting but in the right situation much better than a glove. after a few more games I’m gaining in appreciation for the knuckeballers. They murder regularbots, are just as good as glove against S+D guys, and do a number on the three hit bots.

Hideo Tanaka — $8/0. S+S+S, Curveball. Hideous Revenue aside, Tanaka’s a game changer: He usually removes two hits (or a big one) and adds three for you. He’s a literal half-human monster who sets up a big inning and murders a robot.

Daisuke Darvish — $7/1, S+D, Curveball.  Have I mentioned that curveball is good? And two hits!

Blue Moon O’Doul / Satchel Seaver — $6/3, S, Fastball, PH. Fastball isn’t bad, the revenue is good.

Nolan Gooden — $5/2, D, Walk, PH. A walk is fine, particularly if you have some monster batters opposite. Walk is also a great card for a visitor save, you give up at most 1 run per hit, and only if the bases are loaded.

The Mehs:

Catfish Carlton — $9/1, S+S+D, Spitball. An interesting choice. Your basic team plays roughly 1 cyborg per game, but half of them don’t hit. An advanced team may average that (slightly more), but free agent cyborgs hit. Even if you dn’t face ‘borgs, Catfish does pretty well putting them on base. Hitting cyborgs tend to not face spitballers, since cyborgs are rarest. I’d prefer to get another $9 player (or  $5+4) if available, but if your opponents have loaded up on cyborgs he’d be a great choice. (Also, if you’ve loaded up a cyborgs, he’s a good defensive draft).

Yu Nomo — $8/3, Tr, Knuckleball, PH. Having a triple and PH makes this a reasonable pickup, but at this price point I’d be looking for two players if possible. If not, then he moves up a category.

Dizzy Drysdale — $5/2, D, Spitball, PH. Spitball isn’t great, but there are some hard hitting cyborgs out there.

CC Clemens — $7/2, T, Fastball, PH. CC compares somewhat less favorably to the glove+triple people. Yes, fastball can cancel multiple hits, but cyborg also triggers quick eye. Given the price point of the Glove+Hitters, she’s a fine pickup but similar to many others.

Sandy Gibson — $7/1, HR, PH, Fastball. Similar to CC.

Contracts to Avoid:

There are no cyborgs I’d put on this list. Cancelling all hits (or kuckleballing or walking) is too good.

The Blurns-hitting Machines

Franchise Players:

See Ya — $7/0, HR+HR, Slow. The reason you draft curveballers (and walks).

The Goods:

TurtleBot / Turtlebot LG — $4/2, S+S. You know, these unassuming bots have a lot going for them. S+S with average speed puts a RISP and is better than a double versus a glove. Fine leadoff hitters. After a series or two you’d love to see a curveballer wasted on the turtle instead of practically any other bot. The crowds love him. A great pickup as part of a two (or even 3) player deal. Fear the turtles.

Bat 44 — $5/2, S+D, Stolen Base, Slow.A bit more expensive than the turtles, an extra base, but slower and give stolen base. One of those bots that doesn’t seek glory, just goes out there every day and gives it 110 percent (withing a floating point margin of epsilon).

Bat 100L / Bat100R — $6/3, HR, PH — A good hit and good revenue.

Bat 90 (two copies) — $4/1, HR, Quick Eye-Single, PH. Often picked up as part of a deal.

Big Mo — $5/0, S+S, Quick Eye-HR, Slow — OK, a Quick Eye Home run ruin a glove heavy team. Put two runners on, hit a robot to lure out the curveballer, whammy. I undervalued him early on. No revenue hurts, admittedly, but for $5 this guy will win games. There’s a game of chicken when he’s out, someone will blink and get him.

Kong 35 — $6/1, HR, Clutch, Slow, PH. I can’t put an HR bot as Meh, can I? I kind of want to, though. Against a team that is going Hit+Glove, feel free to drop him lower.

Model SK / Model TT — $6/2, D+S, Quick Eye (single). Solid bot with 3 hits (against cyborgs)

The Mehs:

Boomer 3 — $7/0, S+S, Leadoff, Fast. I’m anti-leadoff, and this guy isn’t even PH. But for $7 you can’t get two people, so he’s borderlne good.

5 Tool Model — $10/1, S+S+S, Clutch, Fast. OK, not only is he vulnerable to the curveball, a knuckler will eat him alive. To balance that you get clutch and fast, but the revenue is also poor. I think I’d prefer two players, which should be fairly frequent at this price point.

Sonic Bat — $5/2, S, Quick Eye-Triple, PH. The counter to a cyborg heavy team. Situationally useful.

Wiffle — $4/0, S+S+S, Slow. Good early hitter to score some runners and if the bases are loaded then Wiffle is almost as good as a HR hitting ‘bot (either you’ll draw a curveballer or a glove in both cases).

Z Bat — $5/0, D+HR, Slow. Less hits than Wiffle, but more total bases. Actually slightly worse if you are expecting a glove (since S+S will score an average runner on 1st). But against no Defense this will score two runs + any base runners, whereas wiffle will just score the bases.

Model T — $6/0, S+D+D, Slow. Like Z-Bat, this will score 2+ bases against no Defense and is more resilient against a glove. All three of these models suffer from revenue, but 5 bases of offense and multiple runners is not to be sneezed at.

Sprint 36 / Speedo 42– $6/1, S+D, Stolen Base, Fast. OK, against a Double Play crazy team fast is good (and stolen base may let you score one of those average guys before the fielder hits), but these are weak hitting robots. I consider these a step down from Wiffle/Z Bat/Model T, but you do gain speed and a smidge of money, at the cost of an extra hitter or bases.

Speedbot — $6/1, S+T, Fast. Ditto.

Mini Motor CX / Mini Motor FX — $4/0, S+S, Stolen Base, Fast. Meh. Useful as part of a combo purchase

Contracts to Avoid:

Unless my opponent were loaded for robot bear, I’d always consider a bot. But if you see lots of curveballers early you may consider going au natural.

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Written by taogaming

April 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Posted in Strategy

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One Response

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  1. I disagree on a goodly number of these rankings. I’d drop pretty much all of the home run hitting players by one ranking, and raise all the 3 hitters by one.

    I figure I only need one home run to clear the bases at the end of the game. The rest of the time I’d rather have more hits. Obviously with defense it’s slightly more complicated than that, but it’s not so complicated that I would give up large numbers of potential runs to get fewer big hits.

    I also care less about PH on most free agents. Particularly for the expensive players, if that player can’t get it done what am I hoping for in my deck that will? There’s some situations where the home team will want to end with a PH to access the on deck if they need to, but generally I prefer to keep a defensive starter PH card for that and get the free agent into play.

    Mark Delano

    April 26, 2015 at 7:45 pm


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