ALTERNATIVE: Scoresheet lineup card -- playoff strategies

Scoresheet plays a full 162-game schedule with the regular season statistics, and then conducts playoffs after the season is complete. The way Scoresheet derives the statistics for the playoffs is to assign a heavier weight for the final four weeks of the season. Specifically, final four weeks are weighted at 40% while this period only represents approximately 16.7% of the actual regular season games. The first five months represents the other 60%.

To keep owners honest, Scoresheet requires the playoff lineup cards be set before these final four weeks are played. Owners can just let Scoresheet use their regular season lineup for the Week 24 games, or Scoresheet provides an option to set a playoff specific lineup. The lineup will be frozen as soon as the first games are played in Week 24. Conveniently, this always falls on Labor Day thanks to the MLB game schedule.

NOTE: The 2018 MLB schedule has 27 weeks, so this happens prior to the Week 24 games this year.  In the past, there were 26 weeks of games, so this would happen prior to the Week 23 games. 

Playoff statistic projection methods

Because of this policy, owners are forced to predict who they think will be best in their lineup without having all of the statistics.  The purpose of this piece is to provide some methods to help in this process.  The focus of this section is on the methods for calculating the statistics to use for the lineup analysis.  Please refer to the “Scoresheet lineup card—batting order/platoons” and “Scoresheet lineup card-pitching strategies” articles for strategies on actually setting up the lineups.

Current Stats
This is the simplest method because it merely requires the owner to look up their player’s current statistics.  For BaseballHQ.com subscribers, the MACK Team Tracker and Analyst tool is a great way to track your team all season and would be the easiest place to start for the analysis required to set the lineup. The pro of this method is its simplicity; while the con is that same simplicity.  The likelihood that all players will just maintain what they’ve done over the next four weeks is extremely slim.

Current Stats plus Projections
This method is more involved and will require some spreadsheet work, but it should provide more meaningful statistics to work with than simply expecting the players to continue to play exactly as they did in the first five months. BHQ provides rest of season (ROS) projections and there are several projection systems publicly available like Steamer or Zips as well. The simplest way to explain how to make the calculation is to take the ROS projection, multiply it by 10, divide by 3, and then add the current stats. You’re mainly concerned with the slash statistics (BA, OBA, Slg) for batters and ratios (ERA, WHIP, H/9) for pitchers, so no further adjustment should be necessary. The calculated statistics utilize a projection system and account for the Scoresheet weighting effect. A warning about using projection systems: They tend to be conservative, bordering on pessimistic. Do not be shocked if your numbers do not look very good, especially for relief pitchers.  Remember that it’s all relative among the players on your roster.

Current Stats plus Last 30 Days
The calculation will work exactly like the previous section, but the ROS projection will be what the players did the previous 30 days. The idea here is to identify hot and cold players thinking they will continue maybe not that the current pace but will maintain the general direction. The validity of the results is debatable since the “last 30 days” is an extremely small sample and the player maintaining these stats for the next four weeks is no more likely than the player maintaining what they did for the season so far. But, once the spreadsheet is set up for the current stats plus projections method, this method is easy to calculate and gives you additional data to use for your analysis.

Other strategy points

While the general strategy principles for creating the lineups are the same for the regular season and the playoffs, there are some unique situations to take into consideration.

Beware of all players with smaller sample sizes after these first five months. If they play regularly in these last four weeks, their overall calculated stats will be highly affected by the recent performance. This can absolutely work in the owner’s favor, but especially for relief pitchers, one rough outing can completely scuttle the season. When all things look relatively even, go with the players who have a more stable base of “banked” stats.

The Scoresheet provided batting platoons will always provide meaningful statistics for analysis, but common sense still needs to be a part of the process.  The best example is star LHB. The calculations may tell you that a platoon RHB may have a projected edge tempting the owner to play the RHB against LHP on the lineup card. If the overall skill level of the LHB his better, stick with him for the playoffs. The last thing an owner wants to see is their star player on the bench when they face a team with multiple LHP in their rotation.

There is still approximately a week left until the lineups are due, so for continuing leagues, patrol the league for opportunities to add to depth. While the team may only use 4 or 5 relievers even in a 7 game series, the importance of bullpen depth can never be overstated. For position players, it is a good idea to look for starters that another team will not protect. Playoff playing time is completely dependent upon playing time over the last four weeks. If a regular position player is lost to injury early in the period, a major league reserve will unlikely cover the position.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.