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Old 04-19-2005, 04:54 PM   #1
Skadan
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Basic Baseball Tactics FAQ?

Hi all,

I'm probably a bit of a rareity here (or maybe not.) I'm a big text based sports sim fan... but I'm not a big sports fan, if that makes any sense at all. F'rinstance with baseball, I go to games now and again, and I understand what's going on, but the finer points of management strategy are completely foreign to me. Could anyone direct me to a post or FAQ or strategy guide somewhere (maybe not even computer game related) that explains when it's smart to hit and run, or bring the corners in, or play the outfield in and things like that? A lot of it is common sense, sure, but some of it isn't intuitive.

I've combed through these forums and read the great FAQ's here, and ironically I think I understand Free Agency and the "Designated but not Assigned" status better than I understand when I should bunt

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-19-2005, 06:47 PM   #2
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The best managerial strategy and tactics guide I have ever seen is Earl Weaver's WEAVER ON STRATEGY, which you can get used on Amazon for peanuts.

A new book that, while not great, is better than you'd expect it to be about such things is Jerry Remy's updated version of WATCHING BASEBALL.
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Old 04-19-2005, 07:08 PM   #3
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I don't know of a place I could direct you too but I could offer what I know from 18 years or playing/watching baseball.

OFFENSE
  • 2-1 is a good count to hit and run on. Pitcher is behind in the count and likely to throw a fastball for a strike.
  • 1-1 is a good count to steal on. Pitcher may try to get ahead with breaking ball or change up out of the strike zone.
  • General baseball philosophy says you don't steal with two outs and you never make the third out at third base.
  • With a runner on first and less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate, sac. bunt the runner to 2nd. If your following hitter is weak also then this may not be the best play. Its a judgement call.
PITCHING/DEFENSE
  • Normally, you would intentionally walk a batter with first base open and less than two out late in a game that is close to set up a double play.
  • Pitch around or walk a batter that is on fire that game or that traditionally lights you up, especially with runners on and first base open.
  • A pitchout is a good call on 0-1 and sometimes 1-1 (if your pitchers throws strikes and the hitter isn't great) with a fast runner/base stealer on.
  • Pickoff throws are essential in keeping runners close to 1. prevent them from stealing, 2. increase the likelyhood of a double play on a ground ball and 3. lessen the chance the runner will move from first to third on a single or score on a double.
  • Play the corners in when in a bunting situation (i.e. weak hitter at the plate, late in the game with a runner on first).
  • Play the infield in when the bases are loaded late in the game with less than two outs when the runner at third could tie the game or give them the lead. (You could play for the double play with one out if you feel you can get a ground ball and neither the runner at first or the hitter have great speed).
  • Play the outfield and infield in when there is a runner on third with less than two outs and the runner at third would win the game.
TEAM STRATEGY
  • Right-handed batters traditionally hit lefties better and lefties hit righties better. Use left-hahnded pinch hitters vs. righties and vice vera.
  • Most managers will bring in a lefty reliever late in the game to face a tough lefty or a string of left-handed batters.
  • Try not to string too many righty or lefty hitters together in the lineup. This could create mismatches late in the game where an opposing manager could bring in a tough righty or lefty picher to face that string of opposite hitting players leaving you with having to pinch hit or take a chance against the numbers.
LINEUP
1. High OBP with (usually) good speed/running. This is your table setter.
2. Good OBP/contact hitter. He should be able to get on base, hit and run or move the runner over on a ground out or sac. bunt.
3. Usually your best hitter. AVG, OBP and SLG all come into play here.
4. Usually your best power hitter (if other than #3 hitter). He's here to drive in runs.
5. Next best hitter.
6. Next best hitter.
7. Could be next best hitter or a speed guy. Some managers like speed here so he can get on, steal or be sacrificed over by the next two hitters and be in scoring position for the top of the order.
8. Worst hitting starter (if no DH). Not bad to have speed and contact here too.
9. Worst hitting starter (if DH).

ROSTER MANAGEMENT[I]
  • Its always good to have at least one lefty in your rotation so you can match him up with lefty heavy lineups.
  • Try to have at least one but usually two lefties in your bullpen for matchup reasons.
  • Try to have at least two lefties on your bench (unless you have a lefty heavy lineup) for matchup reasons.
These are basic rules for most successful baseball teams. Some managers have differing views or play more unorthodox styles(i.e. Oakland A's) but this should give you a good start.

Last edited by majesty95; 04-19-2005 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 04-19-2005, 07:36 PM   #4
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Thanks Malleus. I recognize the name from the old Earl Weaver baseball games. I could use a book outside the topics I usually read, I'll check it out.

And thanks a bunch, majesty, that's pretty much everything I was looking for. That covers just about all the things I can do as a field manager in OOTP6 so that's very helpful. Thanks for the insight. A couple of questions on that: It seems there's nothing special I need to do in OOTP in double play situations when I don't expect a bunt (one man on, ok to strong hitter at the plate, less than 2 outs.) Is it assumed that the infield positions themselves automatically to handle the double play? Also, under what circumstances should I guard the lines?
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Old 04-19-2005, 07:48 PM   #5
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I'm new to OOTP and have mostly just simmed so far, so I'll let the experienced members answer the DP question.

As far as guarding the lines, I rarely do that as a coach (real or games) but the general theory is that you would guard the lines with a runner on first or second in a close game to prevent a double down the line that would score the runner. You could do this against a good doubles hitter ('94 Knoblauch) but you increase the chance of a base hit between the 1B and 2B or the 3B and SS though.
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Old 04-21-2005, 01:52 AM   #6
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majesty95, I appreciate your helpfulness, and in fact all your tips are valid baseball strategy in real life. However, because of the way OOTP operates, some of your advice is irrelevant.

You said: 2-1 is a good count to hit and run on. Pitcher is behind in the count and likely to throw a fastball for a strike.
But: In OOTP, you have to decide what to do before the first pitch is thrown. The only time you get to change your strategy is if the batter hits a foul ball that puts him at two strikes (and then your options may be limited beyond what you would like).

You said: 1-1 is a good count to steal on. Pitcher may try to get ahead with breaking ball or change up out of the strike zone.
But: See above. Once youíve selected a strategy with a 0-0 count and hit a key (or just hit 1 for hit away), you donít get a chance to change strategy until the batter has two strikes.

You said: A pitchout is a good call on 0-1 and sometimes 1-1 (if your pitchers throws strikes and the hitter isn't great) with a fast runner/base stealer on.
But: You canít call for a pitchout in OOTP.

You said: Pickoff throws are essential in keeping runners close to 1. prevent them from stealing, 2. increase the likelyhood of a double play on a ground ball and 3. lessen the chance the runner will move from first to third on a single or score on a double.
But: You canít call for a pickoff throw in OOTP. You can hold the runner (at any base or combination of bases), but you have no control over whether a pickoff will be attempted.
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Old 04-21-2005, 02:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M's rule
You said: A pitchout is a good call on 0-1 and sometimes 1-1 (if your pitchers throws strikes and the hitter isn't great) with a fast runner/base stealer on.
But: You canít call for a pitchout in OOTP.
You can call for a pitchout. With a runner on base...option 6 would be the pitchout. However, you can't really wait to pitchout to specific count since the game isn't pitch-by-pitch.
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Old 04-21-2005, 02:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyCow98
You can call for a pitchout. With a runner on base...option 6 would be the pitchout. However, you can't really wait to pitchout to specific count since the game isn't pitch-by-pitch.
Version 7 should open all of this up to us.
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Old 04-21-2005, 03:06 AM   #9
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Just a few things to add on the batting order. There have been a lot of studies on this, with some saying different batting orders have almost no effect on an offense, and some saying it would be better to just list your batters by descending OPS. I think this is one of those areas where you can be pretty creative and still be successful, as long as you have some decent players. It's not an area of strategy that will really cover up poor personel, though.
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Old 04-21-2005, 03:45 AM   #10
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Roster management, again preference, but it helps to have a bench consisting of at least:

A backup catcher. This is essential, catchers can't play as many games as position players due to the strenuous nature of the position.

A backup for all four infield positions. It's easier to get a guy who can play second and short (middle infielder) and a guy who can play first and third (corner infielder), but some guys can handle any of it.

An outfielder who can handle all three outfield positions.

A corner outfielder, generally it's easy to get a relatively cheap corner outfielder who can hit to be your main pinch-hitter.
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Old 04-21-2005, 03:54 AM   #11
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Thanks majesty! There's some really good info in there. I have to admit, despite being a baseball fan since as far back as I can remember I've never really gotten a great handle on a lot of the when to do this or thats. I'd love to see some others closely go over what you've written and say whether they agree or not and why. Like batting lineups or OBP over BA or reliever usage, there's probably a lot that is conventional wisdom, but perhaps there are some newer opinions on them that are becoming more accepted. I'd love to see a list of this stuff compiled in say 3 columns with headings like: When, Conventional Wisdom Says, Newer Thinking Says.
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Old 04-21-2005, 08:47 AM   #12
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Weaver's Laws

1. No one's going to give a damn in July if you lost a game in March.
2. If you don't make any promises to your players, you won't have to break them.
3. The easiest way around the bases is with one swing of the bat.
4. Your most precious possessions on offense are your 27 outs.
5. If you play for one run, that's all you'll get.
6. Don't play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame.
7. It's easier to find four good starters than five.
8. The best place for a rookie is long relief.
9. The key step for an infielder is the first one -- left or right -- but before the ball is hit.
10. The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won't hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game.

Weaver also said that the sacrifice bunt has its place, but that place was at the bottom of a closet.
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malleus Dei
Weaver's Laws

1. No one's going to give a damn in July if you lost a game in March. -If you go out and win 90 straight games, nobody will care if you lose all your games in September
2. If you don't make any promises to your players, you won't have to break them. Promises are made to be broken.
3. The easiest way around the bases is with one swing of the bat. Or you could walk four times, which would be less effort and you still have 3 players on base.
4. Your most precious possessions on offense are your 27 outs.That is why getting on base is so important.
5. If you play for one run, that's all you'll get.Woot!!!
6. Don't play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame.So only in the bottom of the 9th or bottom of an extra inning with a tied score
7. It's easier to find four good starters than five.It is easier to find 3 good starters than four.
8. The best place for a rookie is long relief.Unless he is a position player then you don't want him pitching. Or you could keep him in the minors until he is ready to make a contribution.
9. The key step for an infielder is the first one -- left or right -- but before the ball is hit.Unless they go right before the ball is hit and the ball goes left.
10. The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won't hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game.Why do we have to argue!!!

Weaver also said that the sacrifice bunt has its place, but that place was at the bottom of a closet.
Flawed to an extent, but some decent ones.
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Old 04-21-2005, 04:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skadan
when it's smart to hit and run
Probably never.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majesty95
With a runner on first and less than two outs and a weak hitter at the plate, sac. bunt the runner to 2nd. If your following hitter is weak also then this may not be the best play. Its a judgement call.
Actually, a sacrifice bunt with 1 out and a runner on first is almost always a terrible move. Even most pitchers shouldn't do this often. Managers really need to examine run/win expectancy charts.

Last edited by JDOldSchool; 04-21-2005 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 04-21-2005, 09:53 PM   #15
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Very interesting reads, Majesty95 and Malleus Dei.

Thanks for sharing them with us.
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:20 AM   #16
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Awesome post Malleus!
Weaver was groundbreaking. Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2005, 10:57 AM   #17
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It's funny how much of Weaver's philosophy seems to be borne out by study. I particularly like the like about the 27 outs being the most precious possessions.
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctorg
It's funny how much of Weaver's philosophy seems to be borne out by study. I particularly like the like about the 27 outs being the most precious possessions.
Weaver was one of the best. Pitching, defense, and the 3-run Home Run.
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Old 04-22-2005, 01:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Actually, a sacrifice bunt with 1 out and a runner on first is almost always a terrible move. Even most pitchers shouldn't do this often. Managers really need to examine run/win expectancy charts.
There was a great series of articles by James Click at Baseball Prospectus that dealt with this, last year. I think he was a bit more nuanced, but pitchers (and pokey reese) can always sac bunt in normal circumstances, but no one else. I maybe a little off.

There was also one base/out state (I think man on 2d, 0 outs?) where sac bunting also made sense.

Anyway, just some nuances. I let my sub lapse, so I can't get it anymore.
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Old 04-22-2005, 08:35 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seth70liz76
Weaver was one of the best. Pitching, defense, and the 3-run Home Run.
What can you say about Earl Weaver? The tenth best record in MLB history, a .583 winning percentage, a 1,480-1,060 win-loss mark, five 100+-victory seasons, four pennants, and a world championship. From 1968 until he retired in 1982, he managed the Orioles to a first or second place finish in thirteen out of fifteen seasons.

Weaver was an innovator. He invented/perfected complex platooning - he would platoon by flyball/groundball, by one-on-one matchup, by fastball/curveball pitchers, by offense/defense, by park factors, by grass/turf, by night/day; he would platoon three guys in one position according to the situations the team faced...and it would work. He essentially invented the use of complex situational charts and the use of situational statistsics in baseball.

Weaver somehow understood sabremetrics - something that wouldn't be developed until after he retired - intuitively. When Billy Beane was still in grade school, Weaver was busily acquiring players with high OBP's. Weaver understood about the value of outs, and, by minimizing sacrifices and stolen base attempts he produced a series of teams that got the maximum run value for each out. He also understood the value of power; the ideal Weaver player was a high-OBP, high-SLG, high-OPS guy. His other two areas of emphasis were pitching and defense. His teams scored runs, sometimes on his trademark three-run homer, and didn't give as many up.

I can attest that Weaver's managing methodology works well in OOTP (which is not to say that it's the best way or the only way to manage, just that it really does work).

If you play your games out, I strongly suggest you go buy a copy of WEAVER ON STRATEGY, which you can get for a whopping dollar and change on Amazon at the moment. It's full of baseball wisdom and good advice.
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