Wednesday, June 25, 2008

It's Alive!

What's alive? The MONSTER packet that is this week's set of PSR reports, that's what.

There are 30 reports in the file-set, including year-to-date HARL player values. So open up that monster and dig in!

Current HARL Dollar Values have also been posted online along with the regular stuff (rosters, team stats, point standings, HARL player stats, free agent list, waiver wire, etc.). You can find everything at HARL Central (

Speaking of monsters, sometime next week I'm planning on publishing a survey regarding possible HARL rule changes & new additions.

Keeping the game fresh is a major challenge when you're talking about a rotisserie league that's 22 years old. But I think we really need to do something to spur excitement. While I believe everyone is still having fun, my Spidey Sense has detected a palpable degree of apathy amongst the team owners that concerns me. Joey calls it a general malaise. Perhaps folks are just squeezed for free time in this increasingly hectic world that we live in? Life certainly isn't the same as it was 15 or 20 years ago.

Anyway, my goal is to try and inject some new life into HARL, and spur more interaction among the group. Here's a quick rundown on some of the ideas I'll be sharing with you:

Two Halves of the Season = Play a 13-week mini season and count your Points (the top 5 teams win prize money). Then play another 13-week mini season during the 2nd-half of the major league season (the top 5 teams win money).

At the end of 26 weeks, each team adds its Points together from both halves to determine the Final Order of Finish (the top 5 teams win end-of-year prize money).

Mid-Season Reserve Re-Draft = At midseason (All-Star Break), we all get-together to hold a live draft called the Reserve Re-Draft. Prior to this draft, each HARL team is given the chance to protect 4 bench guys (this total includes both Reserve and DL guys). Everyone else from your Reserve/DL that was not protected gets thrown back into the Free Agent Pool.

The Reserve Re-Draft is then held to restock your bench. Teams get $5 to draft 8 free agents in an auction-style draft. This gives us some midseason draft action, which is nice since everyone really enjoys live drafts.

Trade Meetings = Schedule two (2) Trade Meetings during the regular season. The first one is held around May 15, and the second is held around August 15. The purpose of the meetings is to get-together, eat some munchies, talk trade, and hopefully spur some deals.

Franchise Players = On May 1st, teams may designate up to 2 players with MY2 contracts as "Franchise Players". You may only have 3 Franchise Players on your HARL roster (you could have players leftover from the prior year).

The contracts of these Franchise Players changes to MY3 -- so you are getting an extra keeper year out of them. In exchange for the longer contract, you must keep that player for all 3 years of his contract. If you waive him anytime during those 3 years, his Salary gets deducted from your FAD Balance and you lose 1 Farm Pick next season.

Trader Award = I'm still thinking about the specifics here, but the idea is to award a $50 prize at the end of the year to the team owner who made the most trades or best quality trades (with trades rated on 1 to 3 point scale as determined by a simple formula). The gist of this award is to spur trading since it will pay to deal!

Rookies Signed to 3 Year Contracts = This is Rich's idea. Any rookies signed by your club automatically get ML3 contracts.

New Definition of Rookie = To improve the quality of the Farm Draft, the definition of a rookie (Minor Leaguer) is someone who has never exceeded 100 AB or 40 IP during any previous season. In effect, we're doubling the AB and IP from their current values.

Expand the Player Pool with 4 AL Teams = In addition to the National League, players from 4 AL teams are now available to be drafted and used on HARL rosters. The teams would probably be the Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, and 1 other AL club to be decided. I would like to stick with historically good, high-payroll teams, or teams that are close by (eg: it's easy to go see the Orioles play).

While this is certainly a radical idea for HARL, the free agent pool isn't as interesting when it's comprised mostly of scrubs. So beefing up the available players pool would increase the talent level, but HARL still would not become an "all-star league" -- something I strongly dislike.

Two New Stat Categories = Add 2 additional stat categories: Total Bases (TB) for hitters, and Quality Starts (QS) for pitchers.

These categories are readily available for us to use (they're included in the weekly stats data that I generate for the Rhino Stats Service), and I'm currently showing them on the HARL reports as extra statistics.

Total Bases is a worthy offensive stat because it incorporates 2B and 3B which we currently ignore, represents slugging ability well without being another ratio-style stat, and counter-balances OBA (ie: it's good to have a high OBA, but you also need guys that rack up the bases on a cumulative basis). Quality Starts is a solid way to evaluate Starting Pitching and this helps give good starters their just due (relievers are always a bit overrated in fantasy terms).

So there you have it. Some bold new ideas to chew on and seriously consider. I'll followup on these later. For now, if anyone has any comments, suggestions, or questions about any of these things, feel free to shoot me an email or leave you comments on this blog (just click on the Comment link at the end of this post and write whatever is on your mind).

ONE LAST THING.... Since I'm away at the Origins game convention in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, I won't be home to handle the Waiver Wire process. So please send you waiver claims to Joey this Saturday. Thanks!

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