Tips for SS newbies ...

Jack Cornely (a league commissioner) recently posted his top 20 list on the SS-talk forum ... and a few of the list members joined in with replies.

This is a list of tips I've come up with for rookie Scoresheet owners.  This is probably old news for veteran scoresheeters and others will have opposite viewpoints, but these are some things that work for me.  Hopefully you can find some things that will help you win too. Good luck.


1-- Y steal? Y not? Not only speedsters should get a Y in the steal column. If a guy only steals 3 bases for you, those are still 3 more runners in scoring position. The only people who should be getting an N in the steal column are the Cecils of the world and most backup catchers.

Eric Woodman-- HUH? I disagree with this 100 percent. Most players who steal 3 bases are caught several times, too. That's three baserunners turned into outs. Also if you give somebody a Y for stealing, Scoresheet might just drop them in as your leadoff guy (if the regular leadoff man is not available). You could end up a sub .300 OBA guy batting leadoff because of this.

Gary Huckabay -- Uh...I guess I could more strongly disagree with this, but it's hard to imagine how. In order for someone to be worthwhile stealing bases, they need to succeed at at least a 67% success rate in real baseball, and about 72-75% in Scoresheet because of the increased value of the extra out. Only the very best basestealers should be given a Y.

2-- Don't over bunt. Think of real life ball. Unless it's Ordonez, you probably don't have a starter you want to bunt before the 6th or 7th inning. And mashers should probably never bunt at all unless you have a virtual all-star lineup.

Eric Woodman -- I have Ray Sanchez batting 9th and bunting in the 2nd inning. I would
rather have him give up an out by moving someone to second so Edgar, Griffey and Co. can come up and knock in the runner with a single. Not for everyone, but I like it.

3-- Don't over platoon. The platoon advantage CAN help you, but don't automatically sit Olerud or DeShields just because you're facing a lefty. Look at the platoon splits carefully and do the math before deciding. 

I find it very useful to check back throughout the year. When  making out your lineup, it's easy to forget that Bichette actually  hits righties better than lefties or that Edmonds has a HUGE drop-off  against lefties, but Lofton has a small one.

4-- Pinch hit numbers. This depends largely on your bench. If you have Leyritz and Zeile on your bench and Ordonez and Eusebio in your lineup, then there's no reason to give Ordonez or Eusebio a #. Conversely, if you don't have anyone on your bench much better, go ahead and give them a #.

5-- Don't waste roster slots. No reason to list your backup catcher unless you'd use him as a PH. The sim will automatically plug him in there for you when your starting backstop sits.

6-- Defensive replacements. This is an oft-overlooked item. This   will not win you a championship, but having Dave Berg instead of Dave Hollins at 3B late in the game could save you a game or two.

7-- Defensive replacements at Catcher. No such thing. Don't bother.   Ever.

Paul -- The main value of defensive replacements in Scoresheet is not for defense.  The value is in saving ABs of good hitters for more important situations.  Part- time and near full- time players like Eric Davis, and many catchers,  like Javey Lopez and Eddie Taubensee should be subbed for in games that you  have big leads, in order to save their At Bats for an extra start or a pinch  hit in a close game.

Wllmsm @ -- Defensive replacements only come into the game when you have at least a 2 run  lead in the 8th inning or later. Steals are only allowed after the 6th   inning if you are 1 run behind, tied, or ahead. Therefore, a defensive   replacement at catcher will not help you as far as steals go. The only  reason to do it is if the starter makes a bunch of errors.

Personally, I'd only use this option if I was trying to save an at bat or two a week (as was discussed earlier). I have Piazza who is one of the worst  defensive catchers, and I wouldn't think of pulling him for a defensive sub.  You never know when you will lose a late lead and go into extra innings. The  last thing I'd want is to have to bat somebody like Manwaring in the 9th inning in a 2 out 2 on situation because I had yanked Piazza for defense in  the 8th inning.


8-- Pitchers prefer to face. This is probably the most over-used part of Scoresheet. You should only use this column if you have a clear ace AND a clear top rival for a playoff spot. Or if there is a team that absolutely kills lefties and look like the Fish against righties or the opposite.

9-- Hooks. This was the thing I had the hardest time with when I started playing Scoresheet. After much trial and error (and  error..... and error.....) I'm of the opinion that starters should have hooks of 5 to 6 and relievers from 1.5 to 2.5

Eric Woodman -- 5-6 is very high. If you have a strong pen and weak starters, you will regret this strategy.

Gary Huckabay -- Wow. Again, I couldn't disagree with this more. 5 or 6 is a very high hook numbers, and is a very quick way to lose a lot of games if you don't have good starters. Scoresheet allows a team to have a very deep pitching staff, so you should take advantage of this, use low hook numbers, and cherry pick the best outings from all your pitchers, while mitigating the damage of quick hooks by having 7 or more bullpen guys.

Terence -- Gary, this was advice given to those of us who actually protect pitchers :-) And I have to agree, unless you have a Huckabay type pitching staff, between 5-6 is a perfect hook for your 1-3 guy then on your 4th and 5th starter I would go with something like 4.5. Reason being is sometimes even your good starter will give up some early runs and then settle down and pitch deep into the game, so I would rather get 5 or 6 earned run in 7+ innings than 4-5 in 3 or 4 innings.

Wllmsdm @ Why? What's the chance of winning the game (especially in the NL) if you  give up 5 or 6 runs in 7 innings? It isn't very good.

Like Gary said, in Scoresheet we can have much deeper bullpens than in MLB.  Even mediocre relievers have many weeks in which they don't give up a run.  Pull the starter early and then start shuttling in the relievers. If one or  two of them give up a run, you are no worse off than letting the starter  continue to give up runs. By giving quick hooks to your relievers also, chances are you will get to a guy that can give you 3 shutout innings pretty quickly.

I've won quite a few games after my starter getting yanked in the first couple innings after giving up 3 or 4 early runs by having my bullpen shut  the other team down the rest of the game. Of course, you do need to have a  deep and good bullpen to be able to do this. There is also the danger of  using too many pitchers (maximum is 8) and having AAA come in. In most cases  that that happens though, your team has given up so many runs it doesn't  matter.

Eric Woodman -- The point is and was that this was a list of tips for new owners. I think it's clear that this is not a rule to live by. For some situations it absolutely is a good idea. If I had a rotation of Pedro, Clemens, Brown, Maddux and Johnson and a terrible bullpen, I'd give my starters hooks of 10 and get every inning out of them I can. But I have tended to have mediocre pitching, with my focus being put on hitting (which I believe to be far more predictable). Therefore I do not want to give hook numbers above 5 or so. I think the chances of my pitchers giving up 5 runs in the fist inning is too great for me to put up with.

PASiebel @, we've seen some argument about hook numbers here, which is a good   subject for discussion and a place where everyone may be able to learn a bit   of something in the give and take. So I'll throw in my nickel's worth. Assigning hook numbers depends on at least four variables:

1) NL or AL League.
Generally, I tend to use slightly higher hook numbers in the AL,  by anywhere from .5 to 1 for starting pitchers. A few relievers may be given  an extra .5 in their hook numbers.

2) The QUALITY of your starting pitching The better (and more consistent ) your starters, the higher  hook number you can give them. You would want as many of their innings as you  can get, while still limiting them to perhaps a 6.0 (NL) or 6.5 (AL). I
personally don't recall ever giving any of my starters (before this year I've  played 3 SS teams a total of 10 seasons in 5 years) such a high number, but I  know of successful players who have.

3) The DEPTH of your OVERALL pitching staff
Although a long list of short relievers can be very handy in  mixing/matching and getting the most out of a BULLPEN, I firmly believe that  any SS team without 8 starters in a major league rotation to start the season  is in jeopardy of the dread P(AAA) before the All-Star Break. Those extra  starters are good for TWO things: They can cover injuries and missed starts  by your regulars, and they can get some lousy games from your starters to your bullpen while still giving you a chance to win. This is an argument for
LOW hook numbers for your rotation. You can't go lower than 3.0 for a  starter. I would say 3.0-4.0 is a LOW NL hook #, while 3.0-4.5 would be a LOW  AL number. Using such a low number may cost you some innings from a starter  who gives up 3 runs and a couple baserunners in the 3rd inning, while in the  majors he goes on to pitch 7 without allowing any more, but it could also  save you a game if your extra starters are decent.

4) The QUALITY of your short relievers.
If you have a strong and deep bullpen, you'll want to use it.  If you have enough that you can afford to list five quality relievers with an earliest Inning of 6 or later, then you can afford lower hook numbers.

Another consideration: Unless you have a truly outstanding staff, going 7 deep, you will want to list a LOW hook number for your #5 starter. The reason  is that any starts made from out of your regular rotation will get the #5  starter's hook number. (I know this is redundant to most of you; sorry) My #5 starters usually get a 3.0 or 3.5 in the NL and a 3.5 or 4.0 in the AL.

I personally believe in having a balance of LH and RH SHORT RELIEVERS, but  not necessarily starters. Even though SS does not use PITCHER platoon splits,  you will still be affected by the HITTER splits. There are times when it does  make a difference.

If there was one sure-fire system that worked, I'd be happy to hear it, but I  don't think that's the case. I've used both high and low numbers in the past,  depending on the situation my team was in. Although my preference is for LOW  numbers, there are some advantages to be gained - certainly in special cases  - for the opposite tack.

10-- Lefty/Righy in the pen. Don't EVER rank a guy higher or lower because he is left or right handed. This works great in real baseball when you can match up batter to pitcher in every at bat, but it works pretty shittey in Scoresheet. The one thing I would suggest is taking into account whether to give a pitcher an "even" hook like 1.5 or 2, when he'll come out if he's facing an "opposite hander" or 1.75 or 2.25 when he'll come out against anyone. You can do the latter if you have pretty equally talented lefties and righties.

11-- Earliest inning to use. Have some 1's. Unless he's a set-up man, you may as well list 1 as the earliest inning to use. Injuries will quickly turn your middle men into long men and you want to avoid  P(AAA).

12-- Closer/No closer? This one's very debatable. I prefer a   closer, but see only a small difference. List a closer if you want to see someone show up in the leaders in saves for you.

13-- List 3 late men. You should have 3 relievers listed with an inning of 6 or later. Any less, you get some scrub innings in important situations. Any more and you lose innings from your top relievers.

14-- 2nd closer?! No reason to do this unless you have about 10 of   the top 12 relievers in baseball.

Brian -- You can list two closers with an earliest inning of 7 or even 6 if you like. They will only pitch in save situations.

15-- Don't list that last major league pitcher..... unless you have   the roster space. A good way to conserve a roster spot is to keep a  Bill Pulsipher or a Pete Schourek off of your card entirely. If he's needed, the sim will send him in.


16-- Avoid shark-infested waters. If in the first week in the league someone comes offering his 6th starter and backup secondbaseman for Bonds or Griffey, you'd may as well take him off of your e-mail or phone list because you'll never make a fair trade with him. Either that or offer him Stan Javier instead. But the number 1 important thing as a rookie is not to jump at a trade even if you're a little bit hesitant. Making trades is fun and can help build your team, but  it can also rip it apart rather quickly with 1 or 2 bad ones.

Gary Huckabay --And don't be a shark. Yes, you can probably take advantage of a newbie owner, at the risk of ruining the league for yourself, your fellow owners, and Scoresheet.

17-- Plug a hole by plugging someone else's. If you have Jim Edmonds and team 2 has Delino DeShields, you're probably looking for a CF to plug in and he's looking for a 2B. Try swapping a Homer Busch for a Brian Hunter or something of the sort. These are the easiest deals to make and make sense for both sides. And remember number 16 as well.

18-- Jump when you can. If somebody offers you Bonds for Busch and Hunter, don't try to get a draft pick out of it to. Do it! He may come to his senses or sober up.

Brian -- Don't jump too quick if you are on the phone. I was offered Brosius for a pitcher I wasn't going to use, and I jumped too quickly, and he paused and added a player. I tried to finalize it, and he added a third player, one that was worth something, and now I don't have Brosius.

19-- But don't jump in head first. Never become so concerned with getting a particular player or filling a particular hole that you lose sight of what you're giving up. You don't need Doc Gooden bad enough to give up Tim Salmon, even if you do have 5 good outfielders and only 3 or 4 starting pitchers. Settle for Mike Morgan or Dennis Springer
for your 5th outfielder or a reliever instead. The best deals can be the ones you don't make.


20-- Make sure you know ALL the rules. There are a bunch of things   many people don't realize when they start playing Scoresheet, (like that runs scored and RBIs in real life have an effect on how far your  runners advance in Scoresheet, as an example off the top of my head).  All of the rules are in the draft packet and on the web at

21-- Trust your instincts. Make your own rules. I came up with this list by listening to what other people had to say and ignoring 3/4 of it. These are some things that work best for me after 7 years of trying a ton of different things and doing plenty of winning and losing. Some of these things will work. In other cases, the exact  opposite may work for you. The only way to find out is to try a ton  of different approaches. There are an endless number of ways to win  at Scoresheet and hopefully this helped out at least a couple of  people. GOOD LUCK & PLAY BALL!!

Tom Hanrahan on Why you want a boatload of pitchers :

In the keeper league I play in, I have decided, for many reasons, to draft boatloads of pitchers and use low hook numbers . Here is why:

Pitchers have more volatility than hitters. Thus, you can more easily pick up a sleeper who is going to have a good year with later (2nd/3rd stage) pitchers picks than hitters. Likewise, keep the top hitters and hope they play without too many injuries. Pitchers get hurt more often. It pays to have extra pitchers around, not only for your own team, but you can get more in a trade with whoever had 3 of their starters go down last month.

If you're not in a pennant race, what do the contenders need? A good starting pitcher. Good trade bait for future considerations.

If you have lots of pitching, using a low hook (3.5ish) can save you at least 40 runs a year! How? Just look at the distribution of starters' results - even the good ones have an occasional 4 IP 6 ER allowed outing. A hook of 3 used in that outing would give you results of (about) 2 IP 3 ER; and you are still in the game, IF you have relievers to go the other 7 innings. I always have a bunch of bullpen guys get lots of wins for me, because my starter doesn't go 5, but I come back and win the game and give the "W" to the long guy. I've done some simulations that suggest I can lower my team ERA by over a quarter run per game by hooking early as long as I have the bulk to make up for it.