Scoresheet Rookie: What’s This Hook Thing

Thursdays in this time slot, we’ll have some of FanGraphs’ finest talk about ScoreSheet baseball, which some consider the “realest” fantasy baseball out there. There’s defense, lineups, simulations… it’s complicated like real baseball.

This faithful correspondent is a rookie at the format. So I may be asking you, from time to time, what y’all think about this or that. This week, I’m setting my first lineups. And I’m looking at this hook thing.

First, the results of my draft, in AL-Skeeter, the 12-team AL-only keeper led by the ineffable King Kaufman. Let’s represent them in the general lineup order, without going through and breaking them out by handedness like you do in the real game. Lefties have the asterisk.

SAVE SARRIS

CF Brett Gardner* (R6, P12)
SS Yunel Escobar (R4, P12)
1B Albert Pujols (R1, P1)
C Mike Napoli (R3 P1)
2B Kelly Johnson* (R7 P1)
LF Nolan Reimold (R11 P1)
DH Shelley Duncan (R25 P1)
3B Brent Morel (R10 P1)
RF Alejandro DeAza (R12 P12)

BN Cliff Pennington# (R17 P1)
BN Tyler Flowers (R16 P12)
BN Colin Cowgill (R30 P12)
BN Alex Liddi (R32 P12)
BN Carl Crawford* (R8, P12)

Farm: Jake Marisnick (R24 P12), Nick Castellanos (R23 P1), Mike Olt (R27 P1), Matt Antonelli (R 29 P1), Nick Franklin (R35 P1)

SP1 Matt Moore* (R2 P12)
SP2 Ubaldo Jimenez (R5 P1)
SP3 Derek Holland* (R9 P1)
SP4 Brian Matusz* (R13 P1)
SP5 Derek Lowe (R20 P1)
SP6 Jerome Williams (R 28 P12)
SP7 Charlie Furbush* (R21 P1)

RP LH1 Matt Thornton* (R14 P12)
RP LH2 Franklin Morales* (R34 P12)
RP LH3 Rafael Perez* (R31 P1)
RP RH1 Addison Reed (R15 P1)
RP RH2 Kyle Farnsworth (R19 P1)
RP RH3 Tom Wilhelmsen (R33 P1)
RP CL Greg Holland (R18 P12)

Farm: Jacob Turner (R22 P12), Drew Smyly* (R26 P12)

At the risk of dislocating my arm in patting myself on the back, I think this is a dang fine team. The lineup looks fine to me, with the nice bonus of having Carl Crawford waiting in the wings. It’s a little built on speed (which is bad), but my speed guys all have good on-base percentage for the most part (which is good). And they also boast strong defense for their positions.

The rotation is not great, I’ll admit it. I’m rooting pretty hardcore for one of the Detroit youngsters to take that number five spot sooner rather than later. I like those Hawaiian shell necklaces as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to see Jerome Williams make a ton of starts for my team.

And that brings us to the hook. Scoresheet has this thing called the hook, which is the number of combined runs and baserunners (who count as half a run) that leads to taking the starter out of the game. With a strong bullpen like I’ve got, it might make sense to have a lower hook. Problem is, I have no idea what a low hook is.

I have Moore with a 4.75 hook, Ubaldo with a 4.5, Holland with a 4.25, and Matusz and Lowe with even fours. Then in come my bully guys, with hooks all below two for the most part. Have I gone too far?




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

13 Responses to “Scoresheet Rookie: What’s This Hook Thing”

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  1. Jay29 says:

    It seems to me (having never played scoresheet) that that “hook” idea could act pretty funky in certain situations. Imagine you’re up 10-3 in the 5th inning and Ubaldo loads the bases with 2 outs, and he’s at only 70 pitches. Does he really need to come out?

    Now if he walks the first six batters in the game without recording an out? He should probably get hooked. Or if he gives up a 2-0 lead with a 5-run 7th inning.

    Just seems like there needs to be some kind of situational adjustment involved with the “hook.”

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  2. Enkidu says:

    I’ve have had scoresheet teams for years and I think people stress over the hook numbers for starters a bit too much. In the above question, technically Jimenez would stay in that 10 – 3 game because with the bases loaded his hook would be 4.5 and the simulation will not pull him until after he exceeds 4.5 (if all 3 runs were earned).

    In the six walk scenario, I’d guess Acta would pull him by then and he’d also then be pulled from your scoresheet game reagrdless of the hook.

    If you’ve got good starts, it’ll show up regardless of the hook. Go 3 and 1/3 with 6 ERs, well there is no hook low enough to help you.

    Bullpen…a different story…

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    • Jay29 says:

      The way Eno wrote it made it seem that the hook only had to be met, not surpassed, to trigger relief.

      Oh true, I forgot that scoresheet league results don’t stray very far from real world results, so a scoresheet pitcher won’t pitch through a terrible start much longer than a real pitcher would.

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  3. Enkidu says:

    I’ve had scoresheet teams for years and I think people stress over the hook numbers for starters a bit too much. In the above question, technically Jimenez would stay in that 10 – 3 game because with the bases loaded his hook would be 4.5 and the simulation will not pull him until after he exceeds 4.5 (if all 3 runs were earned).

    In the six walk scenario, I’d guess Acta would pull him by then and he’d also then be pulled from your scoresheet game reagrdless of the hook.

    If you’ve got good starts, it’ll show up regardless of the hook. Go 3 and 1/3 with 6 ERs, well there is no hook low enough to help you.

    Bullpen…a different story…

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  4. Enkidu says:

    Save Sarris – great team name

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  5. Legend of Joe Lis says:

    I would try to add an inning eater type SP or two and keep hooks no higher than 4.0 I like the bullpen but with SR’s not permitted before the 4th inning the long relievers innings can be critical this year. Also, I’d try to get a backup SS in the supp. draft if any are left. I would guess this could be a 80-85 win team which for a rookie isn’t too shabby. I like the flexibilty Scoresheet provides in building your teams–there are many different routes available to get where you want to go.

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  6. John R. Mayne says:

    Foreshadowing: I’ll run long. It’s nice to see Everywhere Eno getting into Scoresheet, which is awesome.

    Items of general interest:

    1. It’s Scoresheet, not ScoreSheet. And it is awesome.

    2. Is this intended as a one-year or long-term league? I’m assuming it’s a dynasty given Castellanos’ getting picked relatively early. Are you using standard Scoresheet protect rules?

    3. People who don’t like your team are comparing it to teams in ordinary Scoresheet AL’s, which is a mistake, because: 1. Scoresheet AL’s are 10-team, not 12-team; and 2. Crossover inflation causes the talent level in mature AL’s to be significantly higher than they are at the startup phase.

    4. Check out the Yahoo Scoresheet-Talk group. There are a number of very sound analysts and some people whose work you’ve doubtless read elsewhere.

    Team-specific strategy notes:

    A. You’ve drafted a fair number of rookies, so you’re missing some parts, most notably some lefty-bashers to platoon with your lefty hitters. As teams fall off the pace, I’d go get me some of those. Lefty-bashers usually come pretty cheap.

    B. My goal every year is to get a bullpen good enough to take my starters’ hook number down to the minimum, three, but I am fringy in that regard. I’d set Moore, Ubaldo, and Holland to 4.5 and the others to 4.0. I’d set all relievers at 1.5, earliest inning for closer at 8.

    C. Start Wilhelmsen over Lowe. Trust me on this.

    D. Set Flowers as a late inning defensive replacement for Napoli; this is solely to preserve Napoli’s PA’s.

    Finally, enjoy Scoresheet. It’s a great game.

    The best part is when you crush your leaguemates’ souls under the boot of your intellectual superiority; it’s less good when bad luck and leaguemates’ fealty to Satan interfere and your leaguemates get little slivers of doomed hope. Get ‘em. Enjoy.

    –JRM

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  7. Ed Nelson says:

    There was a HUGE change in Scoresheet rules over the offseason which altered how starters and relievers are put into games. Starting this year relievers are not permitted to enter the game until the 4th inning, meaning that if your starter hits the hook in inning 3 your long reliever will be a starter. I suggest, if the starter is a quality starter, that you set your hook to at least 5 to avoid burning through your starters inning, unless you are carrying more than 7 starters on your 30 man roster.

    Also, and this is personal preference, I would avoid adding the .5 to your hooks. The Scoresheet simulation has a very strong statistical modifier for ERA balancing. When a pitcher leaves men on base and a reliever comes in, the ERA balancing for those men on base turns off, and whether a hit scores those players will be entirely up to the peripheral stats of the reliever pitching without the aid of the simulation trying to balance the current pitchers ERA to those players already on base. This makes it much more likely that stranded batters will score. I also set reliever hooks to 2, because rarely in real life are relievers allowed to give up 2 or more runs, even if they put a bunch of guys on base.

    So for example a starter with a week’s ERA of 3, with 9 innings pitched, pitches 7 innings and gives up 3 runs, but you set the hook to 3 so he is yanked, but with the bases loaded. The simulation would make that batter very unlikely to get a hit if the starter is still pitching. He could, but it will be hard. However, if a reliever with a ERA of 0 come in the runners on base are not attributed to him, and although he is unlikely to give up any runs of his own he may allow a bases clearing triple which will inflate the Scoresheet ERA of the starter.

    Sorry about the length.

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  8. Eminor3rd says:

    What’s the difference btween Scoresheet and sim software leagues like Baseball Mogul and OOTP?

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  9. touchstone033 says:

    Yeah, I was going to say the same thing, a decent team, but maybe an 80- to 85-win team…but then it’s a 12-team league, which changes things.

    The roster feels a little imbalanced towards pitchers…platooning position players works really well in SS, especially with the 30-man roster and the sim’s use of taxi squad players in a pinch.

    Also, you don’t have to have as high a SB percentage in SS as you do in MLB to make the attempt worthwhile. There was a topic about this a few weeks ago in the Yahoo group. I think in some cases as low as a 50% success rate will actually add runs for your teams. Which is another way of saying speed is good, and, I think, undervalued in SS.

    I never set my hooks higher than 4.5, never lower than 4.0. Works for me. Anything less, and you risk pulling pitchers who get off to a bad start, but cruise the rest of the game…still, you have a good and deep bullpen, so you might try a 3.75 hook for your worst starters.

    When I have a good bullpen like yours, I’ll still keep the starters at 4.0 or 4.5, but I’ll drop the hooks of my relievers to 1.0 or so. You could even have a LOOGY by setting the hook to 0.25…

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  10. Rob says:

    I have been playing Scoresheet (NL only) for 21 years.. I agree with most of what Touchstone has outlined.. However, I HAVE used starters with a hook of 3.5 or even 3.25. The reason is that during the season and the inevitable injuries, the starter you’re left with may be awful.. In addition, I like to use the Sac Bunt feature with weaker hitters..like earliest inn would be the 4th..Last bit of advice.. I tend to use defensive replacements a lot, with poor fielders AND weaker hitters.. just to prevent runs late in games… Have Fun!

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