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Old 04-20-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
Jaxxvain
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How do you win an online league?

Just wanted to start a thread to solicit free advice on forming a winning franchise in an online league.

After all, this forum's tagline is "OOTP Managers' Lounge Want to win in an online league? Come on in and get all the tips and tricks of the vets for next to nothing!"

Let's hear some strategies, like keep your bullpen cost under $6mil, how to tackle a draft, keep an expiring FA or deal him for youth?, how to develop players in the minors, etc.

Let me know your secrets

Last edited by Jaxxvain; 04-20-2009 at 02:42 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-20-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
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My secret - seven real life years of playing OOTP at least once a week and dominating the trade market in my OBL. I've also participated in OOTP online leagues for most of those seven years as well.

I actually trade away most of my prospects that I get in the draft and more often than not, the ones I trade away flame out. I'm probably 50/50 on the ones that I keep when it comes to developing them. It is a gut feel more than anything with prospects for me.

My team is built around strong pitching and excellent defense. A man that can flash leather and hit is a bonus, but most of my guys do that. I start trading with small deals and always try to get a little more added on: Oh, how about you toss in that third round pick? That backup catcher in Triple-A might be decent, but probably not. Can I have him? Etc., etc., etc. Do that enough and you have four or five free extra draft picks in one year, then sell those off for a higher pick or two. Get a strong group of young guys together, decide which might help you, trade off the others.

Most of my success lies in building an incredibly deep organization through minor trades and throwing tons of draft picks against the wall. Then I need to guess which will stick and trade off the rest. Then I keep trading. And trade more. After a little while, my team is full of good players. When they get older, I trade them and depth for younger guys. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Edit - Here is an example from my recent offseason in the OBL.

I notice my LF position was awfully weak this year (-2.2 VORP from Case). That one fact completely changes the look of my franchise for the next decade. I trade a first round draftee and a second round draftee, neither of whom I think will develop. This gets me a 26 year old starting pitcher who will be solid but not spectacular and who I control for six more seasons. I also get a young, mediocre catcher who is at best my third backup but provides depth and future trade bait.

Because I went out and got a good starter, I now have five when I only run a four man rotation. I trade off a stud starter who is better, older, more expensive and a free agent in one more year. I also trade an outfielder who only cost me a third round pick a few years back. That gets me a good hitting LFer under contract for longer than the stud pitcher I shipped off. I look around for more trades still trying to get younger as the LFer I acquired is about the same age as the stud pitcher I dealt.

I think I can work a deal with another team that needs pitching, so I ship off the just acquired LFer, my starting first baseman who is 26 years old but I don't think will develop further and a decent young first base prospect who may not develop. This gets me a 26 year old SP who is pretty good and another SP who is merely depth for me, maybe a 4th or 5th starter for another club. My deal with the team that needs pitching falls through, so I yet again have five good starting pitchers and need one more hitter and got weaker at first base. Whoops.

The season starts, I got a little desperate this weekend and sent out some more questions. I've just today traded arguably the best SP in the OBL, who is 32 and expensive, along with my backup corner infielder and a future backup corner infielder. That deal lands me a 21 year old 1B/3B who should give me a VORP half as strong as the pitcher he cost me. But... he gets me younger at first base, better, and I didn't need the SP anymore anyways.

Essentially I just traded two stud starting pitchers, some prospects I didn't like and one or two decent backup players and got myself a really good first baseman and two younger SPs who are pretty good on their own and should improve with my defense behind them. All because my LFer had a down year. I got from 3/4ths of my rotation being 30 or older to 3/4ths being under 30, as well as getting five years younger at first base and lower my budget by 15%. And I still haven't replaced that LFer.

Last edited by Kelric; 04-20-2009 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:23 PM   #3
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I have found that in the past (been playing in OOTP online leagues regularly since OOTP 3) the key to my winning championships always started by winning the division or the wild card (if applicable) first.









OK that was my "tribute to Madden" statement of the obvious...

But seriously... I think the best chance is a matter of timing. Specifically, timing a number of phenom, quality prospects (at least 8 or 9) to be ready for the call to the majors within a 1 year timespan (from september callup to the following september call up). That way if 5 or 6 of them actually pan out to better than average major league players... you have 3 or 4 years of relatively low cost, high value players at various positions; keeping your payroll low enough to keep any holes filled with FA all-stars talent.

Often this means trading for players to set up the "mature to MLB" date relatively close.
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Old 04-20-2009, 04:51 PM   #4
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One of the main keys is that you have to give it time. I find that I can usually start winning, in an online league, within about four seasons or so. But that means sticking to a plan and staying persistant for four seasons.

Leagues without financials can be tougher. Sometimes a handful of established teams have a lock on the talent. Time is the great equalizer there, too. After seven or eight seasons, the complexion of the league changes.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:21 PM   #5
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Well, I am in about my 7th season with my only online league and, well, I can't actually answer that question because I have not won yet!! I did make the World Series once, but lost out to the Cubs owned by the Commish (hmmmmmm).

But next year, it is mine! I signed Lefty Grove!

I do think it does help to have a losing season so you can get that #1 draft. I so far have gotten Hal Trosky, Lefty Grove and Mel Ott that way.

Also, DON'T let the computer make your picks for you in the draft or you get a guy that played only 2 seasons sometimes!

Another theory I am working on now is to help the commish promote a new book he wrote, I will let you know how that turns out. Not the book, but my season.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comedian2004 View Post
Also, DON'T let the computer make your picks for you in the draft or you get a guy that played only 2 seasons sometimes!
In some historical leagues, that doesn't matter. If the guy played for two good years or fifteen good years, his ratings are probably going to be the same.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comedian2004 View Post
Well, I am in about my 7th season with my only online league and, well, I can't actually answer that question because I have not won yet!! I did make the World Series once, but lost out to the Cubs owned by the Commish (hmmmmmm).

But next year, it is mine! I signed Lefty Grove!

I do think it does help to have a losing season so you can get that #1 draft. I so far have gotten Hal Trosky, Lefty Grove and Mel Ott that way.

Also, DON'T let the computer make your picks for you in the draft or you get a guy that played only 2 seasons sometimes!

Another theory I am working on now is to help the commish promote a new book he wrote, I will let you know how that turns out. Not the book, but my season.
I was the beloved Commissioner for the six seasons that I won nothing. Now, after consecutive World Series titles, the clawless Tigers hate my guts and think I'm cheating.

As my book PR guy, I might just have to run extra sims to get the Tigers to the top -- maybe turn the electric off a couple of times and start again. I'm still not sure that will help the Tigers.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:00 PM   #8
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Old 04-30-2009, 09:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satchel View Post
One of the main keys is that you have to give it time. I find that I can usually start winning, in an online league, within about four seasons or so. But that means sticking to a plan and staying persistant for four seasons.
Yeah, I think it's definitely a "five-year plan" scenario, especially if you're already inheriting a crappy team (see my online league in my sig).

As already stated, the #1 rule? Defense. Defense. Defense. I learned the very hard way that if you don't have defense, you WILL fail. Badly.

I'm also a fan of the acquiring as many draft picks as possible. At one point in our current draft, I had SIX 3rd round picks. I tried (but failed) to parlay them into a 1st round pick. So I had seven picks in the first three rounds this year. I like to "throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks", or to put it simply, I'd rather almost have 4 good prospects that are one bump from stardom to one "stud" prospect that can only go down. Maybe that's just me.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:47 AM   #10
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I thought I would chime in because I have been successful for many years without ever buying into the defense wins championships philosophy.

I just won my 7th WS and 19 division title in a row in the ATHL. It has financials and has been in existence since early 2001 (real and in game date).

This is how I have continued to win for many years in a row flipping roster after roster.

1) Trades- If I am going for prospects, I generally trade for AAA prospects only. Trade draft picks for AAA prospects of equal or similar star value (#1 overall pick for a 5 star 23 year old AAA prospect). I only make major trades and don't waste my time with minor deals.

2) Team Makeup- I have consistently one with a two ace rotation, a superior setup man and closer, and a dominant speed and power offense.
The two aces and dominant backend bullpen will get probably close to 85% of your postseason innings, so the back of your rotation is only helpful during the regular season. The dominant offense in combination with a good bullpen wins lots of close and late games during the season as your offense will pummel lesser relievers. I have often tried to secure a solid defensive SS, a good throwing catcher and a good ranged CF but I have had several 100 win seasons without them. For the other positions, like LF, 1B, RF, and 2B I ignore their defensive ratings.

This year I won with the 3rd best pitching staff (best bullpen), the 2nd best offense (1st in SB, 2nd in HR), and the second to worst defense. I have followed this approach through every version of OOTP and it has worked.

3) Contracts- Put your money on starting roster, and don't run with platoons unless you have to because of significant weaknesses. This will focus your money on a select group of top performers and you can fill your roster out with waiver players or late round draft picks developed in your organization.

4) Player aging management- For rookies and prospects, I dump them in the lineup and force them to sink or swim even if at first they struggle. If they eventually fail, I can dispose of them or lessen their role whereas, if they succeed then I have a top player for cheap for several years. If I gradually introduce them, they tend to slowly develop and my time with a good bargain for a players is used up. For older players it depends on your league. Some leagues are so prospect oriented that 36 year old players are worthless. If that is the case then you can load up on them for cheap to fill gaps. If it is the opposite then, I recommend trading 32-35 year olds for younger players.
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