SLB Open Forum: 2011 Schedules

Now that the divisions have been officially announced, the newest point of contention for the 2011 season is scheduling.

In an effort to make things as balanced as possible, I’ve set it up so that everyone plays the six teams in their division twice apiece. The other remaining ten games are split among the seven teams in the other division.

Obviously, this leaves a disparity in the number of games each team will have against non-division squads. Each team currently plays three non-division clubs twice and the other four non-division teams once apiece.

The move to fourteen teams no longer allows us to play an even number of games against every team, there’s nothing we can do about that. There does, however, seem to be some rumblings about which teams people have to play twice.

The non-division half of everyone’s schedule is currently randomized. I could make some changes, but in doing so, we’re effectively stacking the deck—on purpose—against certain teams if we try to balance out the perceived inequities of an unbalanced schedule.

There is no perfect way to set this schedule up.

The only two real options are as follows:

1) Leave the schedule as it is, wherein the interdivisional teams play each other twice and the non-divisional portion is randomized.

2) Randomize the entire schedule, thus not-ensuring an even number of games against interdivisional clubs, but ensuring a completely random and unbiased scheduling result.

I’m only offering this up because it seems some people suspect that I may have stacked the schedule in my favor. I’m not going to lie, that’s a bit of a kick in the balls given my fairly solid record as a fair commissioner over the years, but I understand why people might think what they think, so I’m leaving it up to y’all.

Here is the current Regular Season Matchup Matrix.

This chart shows the number of times each team faces off against the other in the regular season.

If you think that the schedule is wholly unbalanced in one (or many) team’s favor(s), let me know. I can make some adjustments, but ensuring that a perceived “bad team” gets two matchups against all of the perceived “good teams” from a different division is really only stacking the deck against them and that seems equally unfair.

Personally, I’m down with the randomized non-division portion of the schedule. One might say it is because I have a seemingly favorable non-divisional slate of games.

Well for a quick recap, I went 4-9-1 against the entire Pacific Division in the regular season last year.

That includes getting swept in the regular season series by Morgan (one of the teams I’m slated to play twice) and splitting the season series with John and Adam (the other two teams I’m slated to matchup with twice).

So if anyone thinks I’d be fattening up my win totals, recent history proves otherwise.

If you want to take a peek at your tentative schedules, you can do so by going to the league home on Yahoo! and clicking the schedule link.

If someone can give me a legitimate grievance that warrants changing the schedule—and not just nitpicking about the perceived strength of your schedule—I’ll consider making the change to a completely randomized schedule

Speak now or (hopefully) forever hold your peace.

SLB Division Alignment Unveiled

The Salmon League has been growing by leaps and bounds for years. This has been especially true in the past two seasons as the league has expanded from ten teams in 2009, to twelve teams in 2010 and now, in 2011, the league will add two expansion teams bringing the total to an all-time high of fourteen teams.

As such, the votes cast during the winter amendments decreed that the league will split into two divisions for the 2011 season and beyond.

The two divisions figure to be fiercely competitive from top to bottom, well, maybe more like top to almost bottom.

The alignment decisions involved a number of factors including: recent history, power rankings as determined by the Commissioner’s Office, the franchise power rankings as voted on by the twelve standing team owners and a bit of input from fellow owners throughout the offseason in an attempt to determine the most balanced splits.

As such, it with great pride that I announce the two divisions—named for the two primary species of Salmon—the Atlantic and Pacific Divisions.

Let the inevitable debate begin…

State of the Salmon League Address

In 2010, the Salmon League broke new ground.

We saw a rookie manager who had the last pick in the draft—and a largely panned draft—go on to win the League Championship.

We saw the most competitive season in the history of the Salmon League.

We saw, arguably, the worst regular season performance in the history of fantasy baseball.

We saw two expansion teams added to the league and three brand-new managers.

We saw a reigning league champion sell his team only to watch it get dismantled piece by piece.

We saw the Genies in a Bottle struggle in the regular season for the first time in nearly seven years.

We saw the money grubbers firmly entrench their place as one of the top teams in the league.

We saw a return to grace for the once-beleaguered franchise, The Dominators.

It was a big year for the Salmon League in many ways, 2011 figures to be even bigger with the addition of two more teams to the league and another bump in the league dues making this year the biggest potential pot in league history.

Joining the league in 2011 will be Levi Elgersma and Zac Gleason. Adding to the drama is the return of a league legend, Travis Morfitt who will be serving as the proxy drafter for Gleason’s team on March 26th.

The level of expertise on the part of either owner is somewhat of a mystery. It is well-known that both managers have plenty of fantasy football experience, but Gleason is reportedly a fantasy baseball rookie and Levi is a wildcard. His baseball knowledge and steel-trap-like brain could make him an immediate force in the league.

This year figures to be ever more exciting as we switch to a two-division format—divisions to be announced later this week—rather than the one division format of the past. In reality, this isn’t a big change as the top six teams will still make the playoffs. In the end, the move is more symbolic of the league’s growing size.

We’ll also be using a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) in 2011. This will replace the old waiver-priority system. The FAAB system ONLY applies to players on waivers, not free agents. Free agent additions will remain the same as they have been in the past.

So there you have it folks, we’ve got two new teams, $120 added to the league prizes, two divisions to create rivalries and excitement and new, less antiquated system for adding players on waivers.

If 2010 was a big year, 2011 has all the potential to be a blockbuster year.

Ridiculously Early Pre-Season Power Rankings

These power rankings are not based on the voting done to determine the SLB divisions. Rather these are my personal pre-season power rankings based on factors such as: draft priority, Steven’s keeper rankings, recent history, my gut feeling and an overall team quality rating.

I’ve given everyone a reverse ranking of 12-1 based on each of these factors, 12-being the highest and 1-being the lowest. For example: Craiggers lands a 12 for draft priority and John lands a 1, respectively.

Obviously these are completely subjective and have absolutely no real merit whatsoever given that they’re based entirely on speculation. We’ll have a better idea of legit pre-season power rankings after the draft.

For now, this figures to help fill your appetite for new material here at the SLBlog.

Rating #1 – Draft Priority

When the Salmon League switched from a traditional reverse-standings draft setup to the draft priority setup in 2008 it did two things. First, it kept teams in the consolation round active and gave them an incentive to actually win and not tank games. Second, it changed the dynamic of our drafts forever.

Rather than being automatically harangued into the first pick, the dude with top priority can choose any slot in the draft he wants. Given that no team in the playoff-era of SLB has ever won the championship with the first overall pick that certainly seems like a distinct advantage for whoever carries the top priority.

In fact, since SLB switched to the playoff format in 2005 the league champions have drafted in the following spots: 2005 – 7th, 2006 – 8th, 2007 – 7th, 2008 – 5th, 2009 – 8th and 2010 – 12th. It clearly bodes well to draft in the middle-to-back half of the league.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at who grades out the best in terms of draft priority.

Craiggers takes an early lead after assembling a solid crew to help him win out in the consolation playoffs. He also has arguably the best set of potential keepers in the history of his club. In the early going, Craiggers appears to be a favorite.

Rating #2 – Steven’s Keeper Rankings

We all remember Steven’s keeper rankings from a month or so ago. This was one of the first real “talking points” of the spring for the league and I figured they made a worthwhile addition to the grading system for my ridiculous early pre-season power rankings.

The long and short of it is this: Steven used ESPN’s Top 250 rankings and took the top two position players and top pitcher from each team and averaged out their rankings to determine the weighted value of each team’s likely keepers.

Rating #3 – Gut Feeling

This is one of the two most subjective rating metrics in my power rankings, my gut feeling. I’ve got no real rationale behind why I chose who I chose or where I chose ‘em. It was just my gut feeling. Nothing more, nothing less.

Rating # 4 – Recent History

This rating is based on how each team has stacked up in the playoff era. Obviously, all of the newer managers (ie: Adam, Collin, Grant, Morgan) are going to suffer here simply from a lack of long-term data.

All-in-all, I think it values out about right. It was a tough call between me and Mike at the top, I’ve had more regular season pennants than, well, anyone ever…but I haven’t won a championship and Mike is only three years removed from hoisting the coveted Golden Salmon.

Rating #5 – Team Quality

This one figures to raise a few arguments as well being that it’s a ranking system that is completely subjective, uses arbitrary value markers and could be changed exponentially based on which set of rankings you use and when you use them. Needless to say, it’s endlessly flawed, but this entire ranking system is rating teams a month before anyone even announces keeper picks, so the entire thing is flawed and largely a waste of my time anyway.

Okay, so in a nutshell, here are the results…

Awesome, right?! Maybe not?!

Okay, let me try and explain how I got to those rankings.

I looked at four basic criteria to determine a team’s total “quality.”

I went through the Top 100 players on the Top 500 list I’ve been using and gave every team one point for every player they had in the Top 100.

I then went through the Top 25, with the points increasing to 3pts/player, then the Top 10 with the points increasing to 5pts/player and finally I went through and gave each team a 7pts/player bonus for each player on their roster who was ranked as the top player at their position.

As I said before, it’s completely flawed and has the point system has no real merit, but it’s how I ranked it, so suck it.

Here’s the breakdown:

…and there you have it.

We’ve ranked each team over six different categories, but who came out on top and is undoubtedly destined to win the league based on my ranking system?

We’ve got Craiggers taking the cake in regard to draft priority.

Jay sets the pace in the keeper category with the most overall value.

My gut says Mike has something up his sleeve this season and that’s never a good sign.

Recent history also trends Mike’s way, something that doesn’t bode well for any of us.

Finally, the team quality ranking says I’ve got the best fake squad that non-existent money can buy. Granted, this is largely thanks to the ridiculously high rankings of my three potential offensive keepers (Hanley/Wright/CarGo) and not legit view of how my team will be assembled after I have to let one of Wright/Gonzalez walk when keeper decisions are due.

So there we go, we’ve got a lot of Mike, a heavy dose of me and a little Jay and Craiggers splashed in for good measure, but who is tops ‘em all?!

Let’s take a look:

Well, there you have it folks. Given the scientific reliability of this entire rating system you’ve got unflappable proof that Mike is going to march to the Promised Land once again and at season’s end he’ll be making room on his mantle for a coveted third Golden Salmon.

That doesn’t make me want to puke at all.

Results: Salmon League Amendments 2011

Here are the results of the 2011 SLB Amendment voting. Thank you to everyone for voting and responding so quickly to all of my messages.

Without any further ado, here are the results of this year’s amendment voting.

Proposed Amendment I: Free Agent Bidding

This Amendment was “technically” approved last year, but due to some Yahoo! glitch, it never went into effect. The long and short of this amendment is that waiver priority would no longer be deciding by the rolling list. Each team would be given a $1000 free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) to acquire players on waivers.

During the period in which a player is on waivers, a blind binding would be open to all teams looking to acquire said player. A team could bid as much as $1000 or as little as $1 on any waiver claim.

In the event of a tie, the team with the highest rolling waiving priority would get the claim.

What this Means: Starting this season, we’ll all be given $1000 worth of FAAB to spend on players. This is only pertinent for players on waivers. Free agents will still operate under the normal system of first-come, first-served. This only applies to players on waivers.

Proposed Amendment II: League Dues

In the voting two years ago, we chose to raise league dues from $20 to $25 and put a freeze on any potential bump in league dues for two seasons. That was prior to the 2009 season. The freeze is officially over and I have heard some rumblings about bumping up the league dues.

As always, it would be an incremental raise of $5, making the buy-in $30/team. As an added bonus, you can choose whether or not to freeze the dues for another two years.

What this Means: League dues will be $30 in 2011 with the potential to go up again in 2012 if an amendment to raise fees is submitted. Obviously prize money will increase as a result with the some payouts as before: Best overall record: Half their money back ($15). 3rd in playoffs: Gets their money back ($30). 2nd in playoffs: Gets double their money back ($60). 1st in the playoffs: Gets the rest of the pot ($315).

Proposed Amendment III: Divisions

We’ve had talks about splitting the league into divisions for a couple of years now. We’ve got twelve teams (with the potential for future expansion) and it would certainly be plausible to move to a divisional format to increase interest.

Unfortunately, barring a change in Yahoo! rules between now and when registration opens, it appears as though the age old issue of playoff seeding still remains. Here are the current Yahoo! rules for playoff seeding:

• Division winners advance and are assigned top seeds – The winners of each division will advance to the playoffs as the top seeds and the overall top division winner will be the #1 seed. All other playoff teams will be determined by overall standings regardless of division results.

• Division winners advance but are seeded according to overall standings – The winners of each division will advance to the playoffs and all other playoff teams will be determined by overall standings. Playoff seeds will be determined by overall standings regardless of division results.

• All teams seeded according to overall standings – All playoff seeds will be determined by overall standings regardless of division results.

Those are currently the only three options. It’d be nice to have it set up so that the top three teams (or whatever) from each division advance, but this would still send the top six—and most deserving—teams into the postseason.

If this is approved, the obvious next step would be to agree on how to split the divisions. This discussion would likely take place at the draft or in the weeks preceding it.

What this Means: The league will be split up into two, seven-team divisions. I will be deciding the divisions in advance based on my own ranking system coupled with the power ranking voting all of you have participated in. There will undoubtedly be some issues, but my goal is to make the divisions as balanced as possible.

Proposed Amendment IV: Disabled List Carry-Over

This amendment was already given short-term approval for the 2011 season via executive decision by the commissioner. This vote will pertain to 2012 and beyond.

At the end of every season, we’ve had a long-standing rule that any player listed on a team’s DL on the last day of the season was ineligible to be carried over as a potential keeper for next year’s roster. Yahoo! is, however, a little janky when it comes to adds and drops in the final two days of the season.

Some players made moves to get guys off of their DL slots, but Yahoo! didn’t seem to accept the moves. It is also unfortunate that this forces teams still in close games to drop and move players who may be beneficial to winning in the final week.

As such, I’ve allowed the teams that did have guys left on the DL (each team only had one and most aren’t keeper-worthy anyway) to carry them over and that’s why they remained listed on the Final Rosters posted last week.

The rule has been in effect to keep teams from hoarding DL players at potential keepers, but given the odd nature of Yahoo’s setup in the final days of the season, it seems like it’d be best if we just allowed each team one guy on the DL to be carried over. If they have more than one DL player, they’ll be forced to pick which one carries over immediately and that’ll be the one they can carry over as a potential keeper and the others become free agents.

What this Means: Each team will be allowed to carry one player over from the previous season, despite that player being listed on a team’s DL. In the past, players listed on the DL at the end of the season were automatically ineligible as keepers. Due to Yahoo! we’ve been forced to alter the rule. Only one player will be allowed to carry over and the decision must be made to the commissioner on the last day of the season.

Proposed Amendment V: Expansion

Coming off the heels of a very successful expansion in 2010, there has been some talk of adding two new teams to the league. The proposed managerial candidates are Levi Elgersma and Doug Christiansen (ie: the mastermind behind Jay’s annual success) Travis Morfitt whomever the hell we can find.

I assume it’d be awful short-sighted to expand this season with such short notice, so the new teams (with managers to be finalized next off-season) would be approved to join the league in 2012 and beyond.

What this Means: Beginning in 2012, the Salmon League will expand to add two additional teams to the league.

Immediate Amendment for Expansion in 2011 — Superseding Proposed Amendment V

Here’s the situation. We have gone back and forth time and time again on expansion this winter. It barely passed as an amendment in the initial voting and some peeps have told me they easily could have voted either way on the issue. We’d originally decided that if Travis was “out” we’d hold off, but Steven has checked with Zac Gleason of Rippers fame and he’s apparently every kind of stoked to join the league. So there we have it, we’ve got two teams ready and willing to join in Zac and Levi (who combined have the first names of some creepy boy-band). Do we want to expand to 14 teams this year.

What this Means: The Salmon League will expand to 14-teams for the 2011 season and beyond. Zachary Gleason and Levi “Stone Washed” Elgersma will be the two newest members of the league.