Just a post to start a discussion on how leagues limit player usage if at all.
Why limit player usage at all? What’s the point?
I guess a couple reasons. One is accuracy in stats. While it is true that if your APBA leagues of the 8-12 team variety and is drafting from the entire MLB pool, your stats will be skewed. Batting averages will be down and ERAs will be high. (that’s not to say that some leagues get around this. Some may use stock teams. Others may artificially keep the draft pool limited. I’d love to hear how).
Another reason is realism. Closely related to accuracy but not quite the same thing. While I would love to bring in Brad Lidge in the second and leave in him to finish the game, it just isn’t realistic.
Finally, limiting player usage is just plain fair for everyone in the league. Managers can’t just draft that nifty rookie with no potential but whatta card! and bat him cleanup 162 games. You get the idea.
The Illowa APBA League handles player usage this way:
Position Players are restricted to the number of games and at-bats
Pitchers are limited to games started, games relieved, and innings pitched
Sounds simple enough but we have a couple complimentary rules that go along with it. Beginning with how we handle secondary defensive positions.
- If player has a position listed first on his card, he is unlimited at that position (up to his actual games).
- If a player played 40 games (inclusive) or more at a position, he is unlimited (again up to his actual games).
- If a player played 10 to 39 games (inclusive) at a position, he may play 40 games at that position.
- If a player played 1 to 9 games (inclusive) at a position, he may play 10 games at that position.
- If a player has a position on his card that he did not play, he may play 1 game at that position.
Maybe it sounds gratuitous but it gives us some leeway when draft time comes and we’re trying to fill our depth chart.
Regarding pitching, we have instituted a rule that helps out managers to stretch out their limits.
“D” pitchers are limited to twice their games and innings. They may also be used in relief.
The D pitchers rule does indeed help us and one would think it lead to skewed stats and D pitchers leading the league in IP and maybe some other categories since they are allowed to pitch so much. This usually is not the case (who wants to pitch a D anyway?) but I must confess that this year, my Thunderchickens’ Scott Olsen is getting his share of innings due to me going with a smaller bullpen than I would like. Ugh!
Overall, our player usage limit system works pretty well. It attempts to deal with the accuracy and fairness issues described above and does so fairly. I admit, it does nothing about the realism issue. There is nothing to prevent me from say, using my A* for the 2nd through 9th inning for every game till his innings ran out. Managers in our league are pretty good about stay pretty true to the game and we don’t see much of that. Let’s face it, it’s not in our team’s best interest.
If we’re good (and most of us are), we calculate our remaining limits for the players on our team after each month. Actually, I just have Excel just calculate it for me. If we happen to go over our limits at the end of the season (hey, it happens to the best of us), there is the chance our draft position will be penalized. So we do our best to keep both eyes on our limits.
If anyone else out there in leagues has other methods of limiting players so that supercard pinchitter doesn’t play every day, I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment!