Now that we’ve set up our weird little thought experiment, let’s take a moment to (1) consider what, if anything, it actually tells us, and (2) as is SOP here at the GRBG, seize the opportunity to praise or mock people based on limited samples of questionable data.
Lesson the First: You Can’t Fight Genetics
Some years you get the bear; some years the bear gets you. The data impart this lesson in two ways.
First, a substantial portion of league success is down to getting good seasons out of the guys you draft. The bizarro league accurately reflects the group of teams who will finish in the 2-4 slots, and pegged three other teams to within one place of their reality rankings. Never mind that those six teams have completed something like 250 transactions between them; their destinies were pretty well set from day one.
Second, the huge PECOTA misses are mostly reflected in both the bizarro and reality standings, meaning that the power of player variance (or owner clairvoyance) usually trumps in-season maneuvering. For example, IEP’s precipitous crash is reflected in both the bizarro and reality standings; it’s tough to see what he could have done to pull out of the nosedive even if he had bothered to pay attention this year. And in the other direction, AA ends up in the same place (2d) in both leagues despite completing numerous major trades in the live league. All that sound and fury amounted to basically nothing compared to being right about Carl Crawford back in March.
Lesson the Second: Unless, That Is, You Live in D.C.
The Torkies, Funiculi, and Loose Bowels all did their best to fight their genes. Of course, while the Torkies and FF decided to overcome their limitations and beat their bizarro doppelgangers by 4 and 6 places, respectively, the TLB decided to devolve all the way to the bottom. According to reliable reports, the commish spent much of yesterday beating a femur against a large stone obelisk; we can but trust that positive results will follow shortly.
So with those bits of wisdom carved into digital stone, let’s move on to the awards.
The “Suck it, Nate Silver” Award
Goes to AA for just crushing his PECOTA projection, which appeared to assume that he had drafted a team of conceptual performance artists rather than ballplayers. Also the winner of the “Best Draft” award, and likely reason why half of the league will switch to Ron Shandler next season.
The Tim Geithner “Why Do I Bother?” Award
Goes to wormcheese mousebird. After trading away half of his opening day roster (and a couple of chunks of mine to boot), he ended up all of one place away from where PECOTA and the bizarro world predicted he would. Let’s see, the owner engaged in frenzied activity in support of frequently criticized grand plans, yet maintained a permanent belief that the fundamentals were strong and the team would soon turn the corner. Can’t understand how a guy like that ended up at the Fed.
The King Lear Memorial “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!” Trophy
Goes to IEP. Fate’s a bitch.
The Barack Obama Presidential Citation for Overcoming Adversity
Goes to Flaccid Funiculi; beating your fate by 6 spots is a nice achievement. It shows that anyone can achieve in this league, even those who, like FF, were born in Kenya.
The Chase Utley MVP Award
Can’t really go anywhere but to Le Dupont Torkies. The 6 spot gap between PECOTA and bizarro world? The cynical could write that off as luck. Taking that “lucky” roster another 4 spots to the top? Well, that’s pretty good.