28
May

Rod’s Replay Insider: Tracking pitching winning and losing streaks

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A while back, the Pitching Performance Chart was introduced to illustrate how you can track individual pitching performances over the course of a season replay.

One of the hidden benefits of the Pitching Performance Chart is its ability to showcase winning and losing streaks. One glance at the W-L column and you can see, at a glance, how a pitcher is doing.

I list a win in bold face black and a loss in red, just like an accountant would list credits and debits. It visually paints a picture of an ongoing winning or losing streak and adds considerably to the enjoyment of a replay.

Above is an example from a replay from 1912. It tracks each game-by-game performance for Cleveland Naps lefty Vean Gregg.

You can see, at a glance, that after losing Cleveland’s opener to the White Sox on April 11, Gregg reeled off seven wins in a row, followed by four straight losses.  The chart also documents all the other stats for Gregg, but for purposes of simply identifying a winning or losing streak, this chart visually projects what is going one with the individual pitcher.

Next: The mystery of tracking hitting streaks

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9
February

Rod’s Replay Insider: Tracking pinch hitting

imageI’ve always wondered why MLB doesn’t focus more attention on the result of pinch hitters. These guys get paid big money to deliver in important situations, always the end of games, but they don’t get much ink or recognition.

I track pinch hitting results in my replays, simply out of curiosity. The results are always surprising. In every replay I have conducted, an obscure player emerges who consistently delivers in the clutch.

The tracking chart for tracking pinch hitters is very basic. All you have to do is make a copy for each team, pencil in the names of the hitters and pencil in each at bat, hit, etc. A little extra room is provided to accommodate those players who will be most likely to be called upon as pinch hitters.

Here is a link for a formatted pinch hitting chart that you can reproduce and incorporate into your next replay. It includes extra space to accommodate those batters who will likely be called upon to pinch hit most often.

Next: Tracking pitching winning and losing streaks

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26
January

Rod’s Replay Insider: More on the fielding range chart

RC-fielding-chart

Here’s quick primer on what you will find in the Fielding Range Chart.

 

1) Numerical breaks that quickly define Fielding One, Two, and Three

Each position is listed, accompanied by the numbers that define Fielding Two.

For example, for catchers and 2b rated 5, anything between 14-21 is Fielding Two. Dice rolls between 11-13 are Fielding One. Dice rolls from 22-66 are Fielding Three.

Another example: for outfielders rated 2, or team totals and infield totals rated Fielding Two, a dice roll between 31-46 is Fielding Two. Dice rolls between 11-26 are Fielding One. Dice rolls between 51-66 are Fielding Three.

 

2) Catcher wild throws

The chart shows each catching grade, accompanied, in superscript (the little number next to the dice roll), the single die roll that defines a potential wild throw, and the necessary single die roll that would result in a wild throw.

For example, suppose you have a C-8. If an opponent steals a base, you would roll two dice. If the result was 22, 53, or 61, you potentially have a wild throw. If you rolled a 22 and then rolled a 3, you would have a wild throw. You would then you would consult APBA’s Wild Throws to Second with Runners on First Only to get the result of the wild throw.

 

3) A bases empty RP listing of dice rolls that result in a ball, strike, or foul ball

This only works with the bases empty.

With the bases empty, 14 numbers result in either a ball, strike, or foul ball all the way across the RP results board. They are listed under Bases Empty, saving you the time required to consult the RP board. To clarify, this does not apply with men on base, only with nobody on.

The shorthand version of the Fielding Chart does not totally eliminate the Fielding Chart but once you use it for a while, it’s a great time saver.  Click here for a pdf version of the Fielding Chart.

 

Next: Tracking pinch hitting

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7
January

Rod’s Replay Insider: A fielding range chart

When I first started playing the APBA Master Game (baseball), I quickly found I was wearing out the board that contained the various fielding ranges. It was shopworn after three months and steadily went downhill after that.

In addition, I found I was practically going blind trying to find where Fielding One, Two and Three started and ended. I color-coded the board, but it was still hard to read.

After the new booklet form came out, the problem still remained. Only the numbers were smaller.

 

RC fielding chart

 

My solution? A chart that simply identifies only the Fielding Two numbers, by position, as well as some other easy-to-use fielding solutions.  Here it is in pdf format.

The Fielding Range Chart identifies only those numbers that are in the Fielding Two range. Anything better is Fielding One. Anything worse is Fielding Three.

Take 1b-4, for example. If you roll anything between 52-62, it’s Fielding Two. Anything between 11-51 is Fielding One. Anything from 63-66 is Fielding Three.

But, all you have to deal with is the range of Fielding Two. It’s a simplified version of the complicated APBA Fielding Chart.

It requires a few games to get use to the Fielding Range Chart, but once you get the hang of it, games really move along and you don’t find yourself using a ruler to figure out where the various fielding breaks occur on the hard-to-read APBA chart.

Next: More on the Fielding Range Chart

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23
December

Rod’s Replay Insider: Keeping track of fielder performances

Yasiel_PuigWhen was the last time any baseball fan you know got excited about statistics tracking the number of putouts and assists generated by an individual player or team? Unless you are a minority of one, the answer is “Never.”

Fielding performance is highly subjective and hard to quantify. Even today, with SABRmetrics and highly advanced measuring tools, accurately measuring fielding skills remains arcane.

Nevertheless, there are a few fielding performances that are interesting to follow during a replay. Whether or not you choose to keep them, of course, is totally optional.

For each replay I have done, I have kept three basic fielding stats:

  • Individual errors for each player, recorded by position
  • Passed balls for catchers
  • Outfield assists for outfielders

Errors compilation usually confirms the fielding grades assigned by APBA. Once in a while there are exceptions but, by and large, the best fielders make the fewest errors and the poor fielders make the most errors.

The greatest number of outfield assists is usually totaled by right fielders or players with low-rated arms. That’s because right fielders often have high-rated arms and the ability to throw runners out and because lower-rated fields usually have poor arms and runners take more chances trying to run on them. This often results in lower-rated outfielders generating more assists simply because they have more chances to throw runners out.

What does not show up in the stats is how many times a strong-armed outfielder (e.g. modern day Yasiel Puig or, from a couple of decades ago, Dave Parker, or old-timer Harry Hooper) put the brakes on a runner thinking about going from first to third or scoring from second base. The high-rated arms of players like these don’t show up in the stats, but their effectiveness cannot be denied.

Next: A fielding performance chart

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18
November

Rod’s Replay Insider: Inside the pitching performance chart

The pitching performance chart tracks individual pitching performances.

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First of all, let’s get past what, at first glance, looks like extra work. A replay, after all, has a lot of administrative demands, but maintaining a pitching performance chart is an administrative chore that gives back a multitude of feedback.

Recording pitching performances on the chart takes about 30-60 seconds to fill out the information for an individual appearance. However, it’s time well spent when you weigh the benefits of what this information reveals.

Take a closer look at the chart to get better acquainted with what you have to fill out. A sample chart, tracking Chicago White Sox ace Ed Walsh’s replay performance in a 1911 replay, is attached, by way of illustration. Walsh provides a good example because he both started and relieved in 1911, which means that both types of appearances have to be noted.

The chart tracks two different categories of information.

The first category is information about when the pitching performance occurred. This includes the appearance number (first appearance, second appearance, etc.) and the type of appearance (start or relief). Also noted is the date of the appearance (date on your replay or game number, your preference) and the opposing team.

The second category is what happened during the appearance. This includes all the basic information including a win or a loss, the score, whether or not it was a complete game (if a start) and the usual line score information one would find a box score. Home runs are not shown simply because I ran out of room when I put this chart together. I record home runs given up under “Notes,” which also notes anything else of interest.

That’s a lot of information. But, as your replay unfolds, it’s information that will, at a glance add to your understanding and enjoyment of what is happening in your replay.

Next: The benefits of using a pitching performance chart

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5
November

Rod’s Replay Insider: How to keep track of pitcher usage

Pitching stats, particularly the number of starts, is a key statistic in keeping track of what is going on in your replay.

Starts, unlike total appearances (starts and/or relief appearances, provide you a means of ensuring that your pitching stats are correct and accurate.

Simply stated, a team’s won-lost record and the number of pitching starts for a team must be equal. For example, if the 1986 Atlanta Braves record is 47-23, then the number of pitching starts must equal the total number of games played or, in this instance, 70 games.

So, beyond simply putting down the number associated with a pitcher’s performance?

The most efficient and practical means I have found to track pitching stats is to record pitching performance on a game-by-game basis. This requires a little more time to record, but as your replay unfolds, it provides a means of finding out who started when and also provides you a window into individual pitching performances.

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Key indicators are S for start and R for relief appearances.

I also put a small number alongside each start number, which helps to track how many games an individual pitcher has started. I indicated relief appearances in a different color to distinguish the relief appearances from starts. This is as important in modern-day replays, when relief specialists only appear in relief, but it’s an important stat to track in replays that precede the onset of relief specialists.

Next: Inside the pitching performance chart

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20
October

Rod’s Replay Insider: Regulating pitcher usage during a replay

253px-Timothy_KeefeGenerally speaking baseball has evolved through three different periods on pitcher usage, centering around starting pitchers.

Prior to 1900, starting pitchers usually pitched with one or two games rest, e.g. Hoss Radbourn, Pud Galvin, Tim Keefe and other 19th century greats.

From around 1900 to the early ‘60s, starters worked mostly with three games rest.

Starting around the early ‘60s, the onset of relievers began and has since evolved to the extensive use of relievers that are categorized into long, middle, set-up and closer categories.

Detailed information on starts, games appeared, etc. are easily available on baseball-reference.com and the myriad of baseball encyclopedias that have been published.

I generally adhere to limiting starting pitchers to their actual number of starts (varying possibly by a start or two to make up for starters who were not issued cards) and the same for relievers.

You may have to use your imagination for teams that precede baseball in the 21st century. That’s because starters sometimes relieved. As a general rule, I try and limit the games appeared, starts, and relief appearances to their actual number in real life (or, if not a full-season replay, a pro-rated number of appearances).

Next: How to keep track of pitcher usage

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2
October

Rod’s Replay Insider: A sample player usage guideline

187pxHeinie_WagnerMost replayers adhere to maintaining realistic use of how players were used at particular positions during a replay.

How you use your players is solely up to you, but some of the realism of the game is lost if you overuse players at a position to the exemption of other players. In the illustration below, for example, Larry Gardner (3b-5, 2b-7) was used extensively at 2b and 3b by the 1911 Boston Red Sox, probably owing to an injury to regular 2b Heinie Wagner (2b-6) or some other circumstance. One could conceivably ignore the split position and play Gardner only at 3b or, to reflect the reality of that season, divide his playing time between 2b and 3b.

The table below provides an example of one way to create a reference to help with monitoring or visualizing how player are used in a replay. It provides a quick-glance reference source and answers the question “How did the manager of that team use his particular players?”

Boston Red Sox 1911

Name C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF OF
Bill Carrigan 62 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Clyde Engle 0 65 13 51 0 3 7 0 10
Larry Gardner 0 0 62 72 0 0 0 0 0
Olaf Henriksen 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 20 25
Harry Hooper HOF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 130 130
Red Kleinow 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Duffy Lewis 0 0 0 0 0 125 0 0 125
Jack Lewis 0 0 18 0 0 0 0 0 0
Bunny Madden 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Les Nunamaker 59 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Billy Purtell 0 0 3 15 3 0 1 0 1
Joe Riggert 0 0 0 0 0 21 11 6 39
Tris Speaker HOF 0 0 0 0 0 0 138 0 138
Heinie Wagner 0 0 40 0 32 0 0 0 0
Rip Williams 38 57 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Les Wilson 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 3
Steve Yerkes 0 0 14 11 116 0 0 0 0
Name C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF OF
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/2/2016.

 

Next:  Regulating pitcher usage during a replay

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19
September

Rod’s Replay Insider: Researching player usage

imageThe information on APBA baseball cards and the APBA’s yellow lineup sheet only gives you a limited amount of information.

Fortunately, with the explosion of SABRmetrics, there is more information now available than anyone can digest. For replayers, the info available is great for helping to create guidelines for player usage.

The two most helpful information resources I have found are:

The website Baseball-Reference.com. Baseball-Reference.com lists the stats for every team, by season. For example, if you go to the 1917 Chicago White Sox, scroll down past Team Batting and Team Pitching to Team Fielding. Voila! Every player is listed by positions played and how many games they played at that position. It’s a great resource tool.

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Another great resource is The Sports Encyclopedia Baseball 2007, David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen and Michael L. Neft, published by St. Martin’s Griffin, New York. As far as I can ascertain, 2007 is the last year it was published, when it was overtaken by what is now available on the Web. The book is still available on Amazon.

If you want a hard copy or quick reference for basic data, The Sports Encyclopedia Baseball 2007 is a terrific resource, listing each player and the number games at which they appeared at each position.

Next: A sample player usage guideline

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