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Choosing Teams

After experimenting for a while, I decided that 30-game seasons involving 12 teams was the most manageable for me.

What I wanted to do was make sure I was playing games with teams and players that would hold my interest.  Another key factor is that I'm a bit of a baseball history fan, so I'm much more interested in playing games with a Pittsburgh Pirates team that had a .450 winning percentage than a Florida Marlins team that had a .600 winning percentage.  So there's a little bit of favoritism going on with the oldest franchises.

All that being said, here's how I pick my 6 American League and 6 National League representatives for each season.  Within each league, I do the following:

  1. The team that won the pennant is automatically included.
  2. The team with the highest winning percentage is automatically included.  If that team was already included above, then we are skipping this step.
  3. The team that had the Cy Young Winner is included.  If the Cy Young was awarded for the entire MLB that season and voting records are available, then pick the team that had the highest-voted pitcher for that league.  If there was no Cy Young voting, choose the team that had the pitcher who received the highest MVP votes for that league.  If that's not available either, fall back to using the team that had the pitcher with the highest WAR total in that league.  Note again that it's possible this team is already included in the steps above.
  4. The team that had the MVP is included.  I take similar steps to item 3 above.  Also note that if the MVP was awarded to a Pitcher, I will also be checking voting records to make sure I am going based on the top position  player in MVP voting.
  5. For however many remaining spots are available (which should be anywhere between 2 and 5 open spots at this point), I look at the records of the teams from the charter franchises (AL: Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, New York, Oakland; NL: Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Louis).  I take the teams with the best winning percentages.  If there is a tie, I go by best run differential.

So, for example, when choosing my 2010 American League teams, I first took Texas as the pennant winner.  2nd, I took Tampa Bay, who had the best winning percentage in the AL.  The Cy Young winner (Felix Hernandez) was on Seattle, so they became my 3rd team.  The MVP (Josh Hamilton) played for Texas, so they were already included.  That left me with 3 teams left to choose.  Sorting by winning percentage of the charter franchises, I ended up taking New York (.586), Minnesota (.580), and Boston (.549).