Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter Logo

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - baseball hitter

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter SOM Game Box

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Pitcher in Logo

Vol. IV, Issue #8 - December 2016
** SOM Baseball & MLB World News **
      ( a new periodic column for 2016 where we share special news
linked to the SOM Baseball Game and MLB .... stay tuned!! )

Notes from the Wolfman
- For the final month of 2016, we have a few very interesting pieces of news to share on our page we call "Strat-o-matic Baseball & MLB World News".  As normal, in the month of December, the game company begins to start to share some special announcements linked to the new baseball products that will be sent out next February.  Next, I receive each week, in an email form what is called "Stat of the Week" from Baseball Info Solutions (this is the company run by John Dewan who is a devoted strat player and helps the game company decide the baseball fielding ratings. In addition, his company gives SOM the MLB stats they need to make the new baseball cards) which contains interesting views of various Baseball Stats. I am sharing the last two emails (reports) I received that you should find quite interesting. Next up, we have the announcement of all the new videos just added to the USBN Youtube Channel before the year ends. And finally, a former contributing writer to our newsletter has created his own version of elementary baseball cards of key negro teams and a combination Chicago Cubs team, which he is offering to any member who might wish to take a look.

(Note - if you are on Strat-o-matic's mailing list you probably have received some of the new game company announcements already but just in case you have been super busy during this holiday season and not had time to check in or you became a member of our newsletter recently, we are including these announcements with our newsletter on this page ..... )  

FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Did you get your early Fielding Ratings Spreadsheet from the Game Company?  What about the new "Infield Shift Rule", do you know what that is? And what about the new seasons that will be released in 2017?

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Logo for 55th Anniversary of Strat-o-matic Baseball

The 2016 Baseball Fielding Ratings Report

As always, especially those of us who are in keeper leagues, we want to know which positional players will be ranked a "1" at their respective positions.  I had thought that the fielding ratings we saw at the end of the year in Baseball Daily would be the ratings given to the players but this was not always true.

Examples - all season Javier Baez of the Cubs was a 2B-2, SS/3B-3 in Baseball Daily but in the final ratings Baez will receive is 2B-1, SS/3B-2 ...  Dexter Fowler the whole season in Baseball Daily he was a CF-2 but he will be a CF-3 in the next card set. And finally, Ender Inciarte was a CF-2, LF/RF-1, his card rating will be LF/CF-1 ... of course with the OF non-position fielding rule he will be able to also play RF-1 too if you wish.

Anyway here is the direct link from the game company to get your copy of the spreadsheet with the fielding ratings for every positional player who gets a printed card or just a computer image in next year's card set, just head over to:

(get this document in a microsoft excel spreadsheet or pdf format)

List of Players in the 2017 set by Position
Who will Receive a "1" Fielding Rating (Adv.)

C -   Roberto Perez (CLEV); Salvador Perez (KC); Buster Posey (SF);

1B -
Chris Davis (BALT); Mitch Moreland (TEX); Adrian Gonzalez (LAD);
2B -
Dustin Pedroia (BOS); Robinson Cano (SEAT); Ryan Goins (TOR); Javier Baez (CHC);
D.J. LeMahieu (COL);

3B -
Kyle Seager (SEAT); Adrian Beltre (TEX); Nolan Arenado (COL); Matt Duffy (SF);
       Anthony Rendon (WA);
SS -
Jose Iglesias (DET); Alcides Escobar (KC); Addison Russell (CHC); Zack Cosart (CIN);
Adeiny Hechavarria (MIA); Freddie Galvis (PHI); Brandon Crawford (SF);

LF -
Jake Marisnick (HOU); Jarod Dyson (KC); Alex Gordon (KC); Brett Gardner (NYY);
Ender Inciarte (ATL); Christian Yelich (MIA); Starling Marte (PIT);

CF -
Jackie Bradley Jr. (BOS); Jake Marisnick (HOU); Lorenzo Cain (KC); Jarod Dyson (KC);
Mike Trout (LAA); Kevin Kiermaier (TB); Kevin Pillar (TOR); Ender Inciarte (ATL);
Billy Hamilton (CIN);

RF -
Mookie Betts (BOS); Adam Eaton (CHW); Jake Marisnick (HOU); Lorenzo Cain (KC);
       Jarod Dyson (KC);  Jayson Heyward (CHC); Peter Bourjos (PHI);

Two New Card Sets (besides 2016) being released in 2017

According to Glenn Guzzo, via his announcement on the Strat-o-matic website, SOM will be releasing the 1949 MLB season and another set they are calling the Baseball Heros set II, of which both sets will appear in a card format and as a computer season.  If you are not familiar with the Baseball Heroes I set, this second release will be the same as the first set with 117 players being included in the set which include some of the best players to ever play, including some future hall of famers, placed into four strong teams and each players card is based on their seven best seasons. It will include great players from 1916 to 2016. To read the full announcement, you can view this on the strat-o-matic website at:


The New "Infield Shift" Rule

in 2016, we continued to see many major league teams utilize shifting the position of their infielders to give them a better chance to get out strong pull power hitters by ground outs.  Therefore, as always, the game company has tried to make the game we love as realistic as possible, and thus in the 2017 version of the game, they will be incorporating a new rule that will allow the defensive manager to do an "Infield Shift" on certain hitters depending on the number of outs in the game and their power. I will admit, it will take some time to fully understand how this new rule works, and what are the advantages and disadvantages to use it.  The full description of what is involved with the new rule can be found at:



FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Don't tell anyone else but our reporter behind the scenes tells us a new special and revolutionary Draft Guide will be out in early January to help you evaluate the over 250+ new major league players (some call rookies) who will be getting their first strat card in the 2017 set - get a heads up on your opponents - learn how to prepare to get this guide as discussed below ....

I have it on good authority, a new guide for first time carded players in SOM Baseball for the 2017 set will be out soon. How do I know this, well, don't let anyone else know about it but I have seen this guide in the early stages of its development (it will come as an excel spreadsheet) plus I will be assisting with its final format.  It is a continuation and an enhancement upon the guide that Strat-o-gists has put out in the past (their rookie guide) ... it involves quite a few members of the USBN staff with the support of the President of Strat-o-gists ... this is just an early announcement but be looking for a special bulletin I'll be sending out soon, next month with the full details how to get your copy, what the guide will include and a review that I will be doing about it.

Our members (you) will be the first people in the Strat community to hear about this new guide, this is one of the benefits of being our member (DO YOU LIKE IT?).  It will be easy to use, fully explained with various sorted views on these players already done for you but  -- shhh - you didn't hear this from me, but do check your emails in early January with one from the Wolfman ...


FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Here are the last two news reports issued by Baseball Info Solutions that include some of Bill James projections for MLB players in 2017 (HR and AVERAGE leaders). Plus, who are the best bunters in baseball.


2017 Bill James Handbook Projections

November 7, 2016

Published in the Bill James Handbook on November 1st of every year, Bill James and Baseball Info Solutions create player projections for the following Major League Baseball season. Let’s look at the projected 2017 leaderboards for home runs and batting average.

For 2017, the projected leaders in home runs are as follows:

Player Projected Home Runs
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs 42
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles 39
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins 39
Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners 38
Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays 38
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins 38
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies 36
Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics 36
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers 36
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels 36
Mark Trumbo, Baltimore Orioles 36

Kris Bryant is projected to hit the most home runs (42) during the 2017 season, topping his 2016 total (39) by three. Chris Davis and Giancarlo Stanton are expected to finish tied for second in home runs with 39 in 2017. Davis's placement is no surprise, as he finished first in home runs for all of Major League Baseball for two of the previous four seasons. Stanton is expected to bounce back with 39 home runs after two sub-30 home run, injury-shortened seasons in 2015 and 2016.

Mark Trumbo led baseball with 47 home runs in 2016, and he is projected to tie for seventh in home runs for the 2017 season with 36. Four of the top 10 2016 finishers fall short of the projection leaderboard: Brian Dozier (30 projected HR), Chris Carter and Todd Frazier (both with 33 projected), and Robinson Cano (28 projected).

The projected leaders in batting average for 2017 are as follows:

Player Projected Batting Average
Jose Altuve, Houston Astros .319
Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox .317
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers .316
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels .313
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs .310
T.J. Rivera, New York Mets .309
Raimel Tapia, Colorado Rockies .309
DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies .308
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox .307
Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates .307
Hyun Soo Kim, Baltimore Orioles .307
Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers .307

MVP candidates Kris Bryant and Mike Trout are the only two players to appear on the leaderboard for both home runs and batting average. It is no surprise that Jose Altuve is on top of the batting average leaderboard. He has finished in the top 10 for the past three seasons, finishing first in the American League in 2016 and first in all of Major League Baseball in 2014.

The 2016 batting champion, DJ LeMahieu, is eighth overall in the 2017 projections. Last season's silver medalist in batting average, Daniel Murphy, falls short of the projected top 10 with a .302 average, 45 points lower than his 2016 batting average of .347. Five of the players in the top 10 for 2016 batting average appear on our projections leaderboard.

For more information on how we do projections, and some insight into the new projection system we are developing, there is an actuarial webinar that I presented called "Thinking Outside the Strike Zone: Predictive Analytics and Baseball" that can be found at the link below. There is a charge for the webinar.




December 1, 2016

The Flat Bat Award is given annually to the best bunter of the year. To determine the winner, we look at run value—run expectancy gained or lost—for both successful and unsuccessful sacrifice and bunt-for-hit attempts for each player. Last season's co-champions Delino DeShields and Dee Gordon both had limited playing time in 2016, which opened the door to several potential first-time winners.

Here are the top 10 players in bunt run value in 2016:

Player Sac Bunts Failed Sac Bunts Bunt Hits Failed Bunt Hits Run Value
Cesar Hernandez 5 2 15 6 5.39
Adam Eaton 7 1 10 3 4.04
Carlos Gomez 3 0 9 4 3.29
Shawn O'Malley 1 0 9 4 3.18
Denard Span 6 0 6 0 2.96
Rougned Odor 0 0 9 5 2.92
Gerardo Parra 1 0 6 0 2.69
Michael Bourn 8 0 7 4 2.69
Marwin Gonzalez 6 0 9 8 2.63
Ezequiel Carrera 7 1 8 6 2.54

The winner of the Flat Bat Award for 2016 is Cesar Hernandez of the Philadelphia Phillies. Let's walk through his run value calculation to give you a better idea of how this number is calculated.

First is the calculation for the bunt-for-hit attempts component. Over the last three seasons, a successful bunt hit increased a team's run expectancy by 0.439 runs and a failed bunt-for-hit attempt cost teams an average of 0.206 runs. Hernandez had 15 successful and 6 failed bunt-for-hit attempts. Thus, his run value for this component is (15 * 0.439) - (6 * 0.206) = 5.349.

The sacrifice component of the run value for bunts is more complicated. Over the last three seasons, even a successful sacrifice bunt attempt cost teams an average of 0.171 runs. However, it does not make sense to penalize players for successfully sacrificing themselves as they did exactly what their managers asked them to do. Instead, we measure a player's effectiveness with sacrifice attempts with a plus/minus approach.

Since 2013, players have been successful on their sacrifice attempts 68 percent of the time. The difference in run expectancy between a successful sacrifice attempt (-0.171 runs) and an unsuccessful attempt (-0.343 runs) is 0.172 runs. Therefore, to compare each player's ability to successful sacrifice himself to an average bunter, we add (1 - 0.68) * 0.172 = 0.055 runs every time he successfully sacrifices himself and subtract 0.68 * 0.172 = 0.117 each time he fails. This way, players who succeed more than the average will create positive run expectancy and players who succeed less will create negative run expectancy. Hernandez had five successful sacrifice bunt attempts and two failed attempts giving him (5 * 0.055) - (2 * 0.117) = 0.041.

When we combine the run value for bunt-for-hit attempts (5.349) and sacrifice bunt attempts (0.041), we get the 5.39 that tops the above leaderboard. We can see that most of Hernandez's run value comes from his bunt-for-hit attempts. In 2016, he led the league in overall number of attempts (21) and was successful 71 percent of the time.


The Bill James Handbook 2017
(Note: if you put in the code SOMB for your order of this book, you get our 10% member discount)

The prize of our winter hibernation.
—Peter Gammons

The most essential
annual published
for the baseball fan.

—Rob Neyer

Bill James and the team at Baseball Info Solutions are dedicated to producing the best stats, and the best analysis of those stats, so that is why baseball fans and professionals alike study The Bill James Handbook as soon as it comes out each year—the first-to-markett, most comprehensive, and most fun baseball annual for 28 consecutive years. Here is the 2017 edition, complete with:

  • New! Hits Gained and Lost to the Shift
  • Exclusive! The Annual Fielding Bible Awards
  • Updated! Leader Boards, Defensive Shifts, Pitch Velocity, Managers, Park Indices
  • New! Long Fly Out & Home Run Breakdowns
  • Complete! Career Data for Every 2016 Major Leaguer (and a few bonus players)
  • Unique! Win Shares, Career Targets, Hall of Fame Monitor, Instant Replay Analysis
  • First! Hitter & Pitcher Projections for 2017

Paperback, $29.95

Copyright © 2016 by John Dewan.
Permission to reprint or broadcast this information is granted only if used in conjunction with the following citation: "Used with permission from John Dewan's Stat of the Week®,


FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Just in time - our new special videos are out just before 2016 is over to provide some enjoyable Viewing over the New Year Holidays for our members -- check it out now!!

New Videos by Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter (USBN) Staff

A Series of 4 new Videos discussing various aspects of Strat-o-matic Baseball,
offered by non-other than Marc Wass, a USBN staff member and the writer
of Commissioner's Corner and Strat Wise, a New Years' gift for our members


(The Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter (USBN) discusses in this video whether Strat-o-matic baseball leagues should decide to use the bunting for a basehit feature in max rules.)

(USBN takes a look at the Statistical accuracy feature on the computer game, and it's effect on a
Strat-o-matic league.)

(A Way to make your own card predictions for upcoming season. USBN takes a look at making your own predictions on the new card set coming (based on the 2016 MLB season) utilizing the Strat-o-matic daily data produced by the Baseball Daily aspect of the game introduced this year.)

Strat-o-matic Opening Day 2017 Thoughts: Wass talks about the coverage we will do once again with Strat-o-matic's Opening Day in February, when Strat gamers can visit the game company in NY and be the first to pick up their order of new cards and teams as well as meet the staff and the game creator Mr. Richman. Also if you are planning to be at opening day and be interview on video we would love to do so. You can contact us about such an interview by emailing us at info@ultimatestratbaseball.com. On our video channel of course are the videos from prior years during past Opening Days. So if you plan to come, this is your chance to share your magical strat-based stories with our viewers of this video channel.)

New Videos by Strat On-line Video Friends


Strat-o-matic Game, the 1953 Dodgers vs. the 1927 Yankees
(using the elementary cards)

Our friend Baseball Demos makes great baseball game videos which include some very interesting games.
If you want a nice easy evening of Strat-o-matic, kick off your shoes and watch this one between the
1953 Dodgers and the 1927 Yankees. His channel has great Strat-o-matic game simulations.

To subscribe to Baseball Demos go to:



Vintage Strat-o-matic Baseball Cards
(with Chris from Strat-o-matic Delaware)

A repost from Strat-o-matic Delaware. We love this video. We wanted to repost it for our subscribers to see
as it deals with vintage Strat-o-matic cards and where you can get them? There are shots of the 1979 Pirates for example. Don't we all love this vintage stuff?

To view other videos at Strat-o-matic Delaware go to:



FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: How would you like to receive (for free) the six greatest Negro league teams and as well as a team of Chicago Cubs with players from the early 1900's?

We received an email from one of our former contributors to the newsletter who decided to create some SOM cards (elementary version) for what he considers the six greatest Negro League Teams ever and took the Cub players from 1906 and made a card for each player with their best season.  This contributor went to a website called seamheads.com where he discovered the most complete Negro League stats he had ever found - even fielding stats (of course, we can only guess at the accuracy).  Using this website he made the cards for the Negro League Teams.

However, because the stats were limited due to the Negro League's longest season being about 70 games, how he compiled the stats that were available, is that sometimes he combined two or three consecutive years stats and adjusted the numbers to a 150 game season, or simply doubling the numbers for a given single year. For errors he did what strat-o-matic did when making their hall of fame cards (infielder errors before 1930 were divided by 3 and outfielder errors divided by 2. e.g.:) thus Honus Wagner averaged 60 errors per year, but is an e20 on his Hall of Fame card. Ruth averaged 14 errors per year but he is rated an e7. The batting and pitching cards are based on the different league averages for the year(s) in question.

The cards themselves are designed to be printed on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, cut in the middle at 5 1/2 inches and width cut to 3 1/4 inches.  The cards are provided within a PDF file format.  The six Negro League teams our contributor created include:

Almendares Alacranes (combined stats from 1913-1915)
Pittsburgh Crawfords (combined stats from 1933-1935)
Homestead Grays (1943)
Hilldale Daisies (combined stats from 1923-1925)
Kansas City Monarchs (combined stats 1923-1924)
Saint Louis Stars (1928)

-- So, if you are interested to see these teams - send to an email to:
wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com  and put in the subject: "I Want the Old Time Teams"

I will wait to see how many people decide to accept this gift from our contributor and after a few days I will email everyone back the link to download the 7 teams (including the Cubs) as a zip file.  Its easier to send a bunch of people one email than separate ones - as we continue to do our best to share special goodies with our members.

Note: -- if you have a new story you think our readers might enjoy linked to Strat-o-matic please feel free to email us your story by contacting Wolfman at: wolfman@ultimatestatbaseball.com



Support the Cause

If you are enjoying the content and information our newsletter shares with you, why not support us with your helpful donation for our minor expenses and time?

Contained inside this exciting issue of Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter:
(to view the various interviews, articles, columns and special sections click on the links {underlined} and
this will take you to the appropriate webpage)


  INTERVIEW with SEAN PLOUFFE, HITTING A BASEBALL, Sean is a pro hitting consultant who works with various minor league and major league players to help them with their swing to be able to be more efficient in hitting a baseball.  In this interview we discussed how Sean was able to become this hitting consultant.  Perhaps Sean can help some of our members hit a baseball better in your physical baseball leagues?

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - How to Setup Your Draft League Team, as we all wait for the new 2017 cards (based upon the 2016 MLB Season) to come out, to our members who are in a Keeper's Draft League, during our off-season we always ponder how to make our teams better.  This article is probably more for GMs wanting to win their first championship, as the Wolfman let's you in on his strategies for building his Skokie Wolfmen in the CBA .... if you are in the CBA don't read this article please ...

  EARLY SOM BASEBALL CARDS with TOM NAHIGIAN, Wolfman's old Strat Friend, Tom Nahigian, known as the "Collector" in Guzzo's book, returns to us as we share images of some of the early SOM baseball cards made for the 1960 season, before Strat-o-matic created the advanced cards that we all know today.  This is one of our favorite periodic columns by our members, also check the links on this page to view the previous release of the early card image from 1960 and 1961.

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, turns his attention to talk to members of various face-to-face
Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered through the league registry service offered on the Strat-o-matric website. Each commission speaks about the history of their league and their experiences. To read these interviews, click on the links below:

INTERVIEW with ARNIE POLLINGER, Commissioner of SOMBILLA (Face-to-Face)
INTERVIEW with BLAIR CONRAD, Commissioner of Halifax Strato (Face-to-Face)

  ARTICLE with Chuck Tinkler, Chuck is one of our most popular contributors and is back with a new article for his column, "The Chuck Stop", as he shares with us part one of what he calls "Old Guys Rule". This article deals with the value of a 1st round draft and more - Chuck always entertains our readers with his insightful and colorful stories and experiences - check his new article out now!

  RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the principle to work together and help promote each other.

  BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history.  We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.


Contact Us for Questions or Submissions

Wolfman Shapiro
co-Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

email: wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com
: www.facebook.com/wolfman.shapiro
twitter: @StratBaseball4U

To Sign Up and Become a Member of this Newsletter
(this provides direct emails when our bulletins
and next issues come out)