WhatIfSports User Interview: Dedelman From WhatIfSports.com image

User Interview: Dedelman

Q&A with noted Hardball Dynasty user Dedelman

We recently contacted Hardball Dynasty standout Dedelman to discuss the draft, free agency, high-stamina relievers, Dave McNally, the thrill of victory and vintage Robin Williams.

WIS

Who is Dedelman?

Dedelman

I'm a 47 year-old with a wife and kids I actually enjoy spending a lot of time with, and an academic career in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA.

WIS

How did you learn about whatifsports.com?

Dedelman

Introduced by HD superstar andrewfrance, who is a friend in real life.

WIS

Which games of ours have you played?

Dedelman

HBD and HD. HBD is my first love.

WIS

Besides simulation sports websites, what are some of your other interests and hobbies?

Dedelman

Um, I'd still have to say the wife and kids. Other than that, Sports fandom, with a heavy component of fantasy sports of one type or another, IS my hobby.

WIS

Why do you think it is that sports are so big in our culture?

Dedelman

Winning and losing are a huge part of how we build our identity. Sports reduces that to its most easy to digest form, a scoreboard. It's not always easy to tell whether you are wining and losing in life - but it's easy to see that the Orioles lost again by looking at the scoreboard. I think most of us watch, play, or pantomime (on sites like WiS) sports so that we may experience "The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat."

WIS

Which five people, past or present sit at your dream roundtable discussion?

Dedelman

I don't think the format is very educational, but it can be entertaining. So I'll take funny people: coked-out 1977-vintage Richard Pryor, coked-out Mork and Mindy era Robin Williams, coked-out 1963-vintage Lenny Bruce, and coked-out "Twelfth Night"-vintage William Shakespeare.

*EDITOR'S NOTE: That's only four. Should we include a coked-out Dedelman, perhaps?

WIS

Who are your favorite players of all-time?

Dedelman

Most of the stars of the Orioles of the early 1970s, especially Frank Robinson and Dave McNally. That's the team I cut my teeth on as a fan, and they played the game in a way that I grew up assuming it should be played. Tippy Martinez, for no rational reason. Matt Wieters has a chance to get there soon.

WIS

Did you play baseball (or other sports) growing up?

Dedelman

I had bad childhood asthma, in the era before inhalers. By the time inhalers hit the market when I was 10 I had lost too many developmental years. I played as much pick-up baseball, basketball, and tennis as I could, but I'm just not coordinated enough to play anything interscholastically, unless you count bridge as a sport.

WIS

What is the top sports related thing you want to do in life that you have not yet done?

Dedelman

My teams (the Philadelphia teams, except for the Orioles) have had a tendency to, on the rare occasion that they win it all, do so in a dominating fashion. I've never had that one shining moment where my team won it all at the buzzer. I want to be in the ballpark when the Orioles hit a walk-off homer to win the World Series. I was at PNC Park at a 14 inning game last year and I was chatting with an old usher, and he had been at Forbes Field when Mazeroski hit that homer. It was a bigger event for him than the birth of his kids. I want that.

WIS

What would you consider your greatest WIS moment?

Dedelman

The first season that I had only players I had recruited in HD, I won my first 32 games into the Elite Eight.

WIS

In Hardball Dynasty, how do allocate your budget?

Dedelman

Your other interviewees all say, "it depends." I think you can sustain a dynasty with a salary budget of $79M +/- 4, training, prospect and college of 20, high school of zero, and the rest wobbling about among coaching, medical, advance, and international. If I had enough time to carefully review ratings every time I went out searching for a player in trade, I would zero out advance.

WIS

How do you approach off-season events with players such as arbitration and free agency?

Dedelman

If a player is worth $7M or so a year, sign him long-term. If not, cut him after the first arb year (or sooner, if he's not even worth $1M). Don't overpay; there's plenty of talent out there.

WIS

What is your general strategy for hiring/re-hiring coaches?

Dedelman

Majors: pay through the nose for a fielding coach, pay reasonable $$ to get decent pitching and hitting, cheap out on the other. Minors: take coaches that drop their demands at the end; try to choose the ones you get by offering them more than the minimum in the very last half-cycle.

WIS

How do you finalize rosters at each level? What role does spring training play in your decision making?

Dedelman

I'm a "ratings over stats" guy. I look at my organization after rollover and determine what level everyone's going to play at. Obviously trades and FA signings can make minor changes to that. At the major league level I am often looking for the back end of my bullpen with FA signings during spring training. Spring training stats have zero to do with roster decisions.

WIS

What is your basic strategy for setting your starting lineups and pitching rotation?

Dedelman

Rotation is my best 5 guys for the job. I watch fatigue closely and will add a spot starter if I need to do so to make sure everyone has a full day at 100% prior to pitching. Bullpen is a bunch of guys with high stamina compared to other relievers; I try not to use conventional low-stamina relievers, instead preferring guys with stamina in the 50s or so at least.

I rest my hitters frequently through the season, doing so by playing matchups. I play as many different lineups as Casey Stengel or Earl Weaver. I play guys with a good eye against pitchers with low stamina or poor control, and power hitters against flyball pitchers or in homerun parks. This is mostly because I enjoy it; I don’t think it helps all that much.

WIS

What do you believe are the most important individual player ratings for performance?

Dedelman

I have very different valuations for pitching ratings than most people, in that I probably value pitch movement (ie, P1, P2, etc) less than anyone who plays HBD seriously. 75% of a pitcher's value lies in control and splits. I value GB/FB more heavily than most players. Stamina counts, too, up to a point; in-game fatigue is underrated.

For hitting I like power, but the game has changed; splits are more important than they once were.

I’m willing to sacrifice some range and glove at 2B for arm accuracy, and some arm in CF for range and glove.

Health is far more important for pitchers than hitters because of the higher frequency of devastating injuries.

WIS

How do you approach in-season player events like the draft, international prospects, waivers and promotions/demotions?

Dedelman

I don't think I do anything very interesting or unusual with these particular events. I want one good international per season. I try to hit the waiver wire daily. I love the draft and use a best-player available strategy.

WIS

Do you think your strategy is conducive to building a multi-season dynasty? Or, do you feel that your team may be great for a couple seasons, but then must rebuild?

Dedelman

It certainly was conducive to building a dynasty when you could re-sign your own free agents ad nauseam. I'm not so sure any more. Re-interview me in 9 months or so on this one.

WIS

Do you have any favorite players from any of your HBD teams?

Dedelman

I have a pitcher from my first team who has been in the majors every day of every season I've had in that league, Stewart Roberts. Another of my players has the same name as my best friend in the world. When those 2 are no longer in my organization, I won't have favorites.

WIS

How much time do you spend on your Hardball Dynasty teams? How much do you think is necessary to be competitive?

Dedelman

I can spend an hour or more a day or much less depending on my workload and family time. You have to spend 5-10 minutes per team to really compete, plus you have to spend an hour a week catching up, plus a lot of time on the 4 FA days and a couple of hours to set your draft list.

WIS

Have any other users sought you out for help? Do you mind helping other users?

Dedelman

Yes, no. We all want 31 other owners that can play pretty decently in our worlds, and I figure I can help with that.

WIS

Who are the users you respect the most?

Dedelman

HD: andrewfrance, of course. wronoj, my conference mate for many seasons, and rusticity, who once won 76 consecutive conference games. These are the true HD elite.

HBD: hwaters397 dominates good leagues and is a gentleman to boot. I've played with 4 sitestaff and the fact that they don't always win tells you they're stand-up guys; they could have cheat codes if they wanted to. In fact, just about everyone in my 2 current worlds are solid guys. There are fewer than 10 owners in all of HBD I don't respect, none of whom are currently in any of my worlds.

WIS

What is your favorite aspect of HBD?

Dedelman

The draft is like your birthday - "hmm, let's see what kinds of presents I got." The dynasty aspect of it, the big picture; I love that part.

WIS

What is your least favorite aspect of Hardball Dynasty? If you could change three things about HBD, what would they be?

Dedelman

Let me start by saying that, as it is, HBD is a GREAT game. That said, I think there's one major fix that would really help, and two minor ones I would enjoy:
1) The development engine has to be redone. The fact that development is so predictable that you can get by with zero advance is a huge flaw. The whole way players develop has to be reconceived. More randomness is needed, and performance should play a much larger role; there should be a feedback between performance and projections.
2) Coach promotion at the time of re-hiring, driven by the owner, would be a huge benefit.
3) Most FAs should lower their demands to major league minimum or minor league early in the regular season.

WIS

If you were in one of our games, which sport would you play? At which position? And, what would you be rated?

Dedelman

I'd have to be one of those high-stamina relievers I so treasure, right? With mediocre pitches but very high control, splits, and GB. And good health.

WIS

Any closing remarks?

Dedelman

A shout-out, if I may, to themehl, johncfremont and nigeltufnel.

WIS

You may.

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