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 #1 - January 2016

** Interview with Matt Eddy **

(Matt is not only works for Baseball America which provides great information about
young prospect players but he is also helps with the website and blog of his Strat League)

Comments from the Wolfman: 
I want to personally thank our contribute Chuck Tinkler for suggesting I contact Matt Eddy.  When I first was dialoguing with Matt to discuss how we would proceed to begin to share his unique insights about Strat, I noticed a person with his name posting about Prospects at a website I check in all the time, Major League Baseball Trade Rumors (www.mlbtraderumors.com). So this is how I found out that Matt was also a main writer and editor for Baseball America, for which Matt shares with us their amazing website at the end of this interview. So I am very happy that Matt consented to do this interview for us. So here we go, meet Matt Eddy, another dedicated member of our Strat Family ...)

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, Matt Eddy editor Baseball America, webmaster MMDA Strat-o-matic Baseball League
Here Comes Matt Eddy

Today we introduce our members to another Strat Player who not only holds a key role in his league known as the MMDA (Masters Memorial Draft Baseball Association) Baseball League but also is a writer for Baseball America, a media outlet that covers all levels of amateur and professional baseball, with an emphasis on prospects, college baseball, international amateurs and the draft. 

Matt, welcome to the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsleter ...

So let's begin, which part of the world do you live in right now and is this where you grew up?

Matt: I grew up central New York state and moved to North Carolina in 2000 when I took a job at Baseball America.

Wolfman:  When you were younger - did you actually play baseball and if so what was your best position?


Matt:  I played at various Little League stops up until I failed to make the JV team as a high school sophomore. I could run and throw but not hit or really field the ball. I should have been a pitcher, but I mostly toiled in the outfield—but even there, poor vision inhibited my ability to read flyballs off the bat.

Wolfman:  What about which MLB team did you root for when you were younger and are you still a fan of this team.  Are there any ball players you really followed or were your favorites? Who are your favorites now?

Matt:  The first team I followed was the 1988 Mets. I remember staying up late to watch their NLCS games against the Dodgers when I was in fifth grade. Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden were my initial favorites, but then I shifted allegiances to Ken Griffey Jr. in the early 1990s. Then the 1994 strike hit and quelled my interest in baseball for a while. I returned to full-fledged fandom in 1998 when the Mets acquired Mike Piazza, and I enjoyed the 1999 and 2000 teams. But then disappointing finishes in 2007 and 2008 and the Madoff business that precipitated six straight losing seasons from 2009 to 2014 really dampened my enthusiasm for the franchise. And then: an unforeseen breakthrough in 2015.

Wolfman:  Ok lets talk about Strat then, so how did you hear about SOM Baseball?  When did you first begin to play the game?

Matt:  James Bailey, my friend and colleague at Baseball America, took a chance on me as a rookie manager in 2002. He still functions as league commissioner to this day. I had only read about SOM via Bill James, Joe Sheehan and others up that point.

Wolfman:  What is your history participating in leagues (face-to-face or computer based)? Have you ever played in any tournaments?

Matt:  I just completed my 14th season in the MMDA. We distribute computer managers each month. Each manager is responsible for completing all his home games. Face-to-face and netplay are allowed but not required. I have sampled other Strat leagues—and even one Diamond Mind league—but those flings never lasted long. I have never played the SOM board game or in a tournament.

Wolfman:  When did you become a Member of MMDA?  Can you tell us a bit about its history?

Matt:  I joined the MMDA in 2002 and we count among our ranks a number of accomplished managers who have been with us for the long haul, including James Bailey, Steve Frediani, John Lamanna, Ray Ross, John Tresca and Steven Tresca.

Wolfman:  What is the current status of the league? I read on the league website you have 20 teams with 4 divisions of five teams. Is this a computer based league and are you using the most recent cards each year with protecting players and a draft?

Matt:  Managers are allowed to play face to face or via Netplay, but the vast majority of game files are generated in human vs. computer-managed opponents. (Most playoff games, however, are played live.) We use the most recently issued SOM game, e.g. our 2015 season was based on 2014 statistics. We cut down to 35 players-plus-picks on Jan. 1 every year and may select only carded players in our entry draft in early February.

Wolfman:  How is the MMDA unique or different from other leagues? What are some of the rules the league follows - any special rules perhaps beyond what Strat offers?

Matt:  We use clutch hitting, custom ballpark effects, player injuries and the closer rule in terms of SOM features that may not be standard in all leagues. 

Wolfman:  What do you like about the MMDA? Who are some of the other people involved in the league - what is the range of ages - being around since 1978 is quite a long time for a league.I understand John Lamanna is a member, what is he like?

Matt:  My favorite aspect of the MMDA's playing rules is the hands-off nature of those rules. We don't have minimum playing-time thresholds that must be met in order to keep players. We are allowed a cushion for overusage. We can make trades unfettered. We don't play with a salary structure. All these factors make the atmosphere relaxed and enjoyable for managers.

We have league members from all over the U.S. (and now one in Canada). For example, I have played postseason games against managers in Boston, Los Angeles, Rochester and Spokane.

I played my first-ever World Series against John Lamanna in 2012, and he completely schooled me. It was your typical, run-of-the-mill No. 7 versus No. 8 seed World Series.

Wolfman:  What type of team do you like to create in your league? Have you had success? Have you found any league championships?  When and if you won the league, what were the keys to your success - what type of team works best for you?

Matt:  I lost the 2012 World Series to Lamanna and then bowed out in the semifinals in 2013, but I have taken home the league title in both 2014 and 2015. I tend to not have access to the young, blue-chip power hitters, so I build around strikeout pitchers and a churning, on-base-oriented lineup.

Wolfman:  What are your team building philosophies?

Matt:  Power isn't everything, especially in the playoffs, where the top pitching staffs are calibrated to minimize power and escape jams via strikeouts. Two: A keep-the-line-moving offensive approach doesn't always produce runs, but it often makes your opponent sweat. Third: You can't control the game state your top batters face when they come to the plate, but you *do* have total control of the pitcher you deploy in batter/pitcher matchups and the fielders you play, especially at the "touch" positions like shortstop, second base and catcher.

Wolfman:  Can you discuss your responsibilities to your league (in charge of the blog and web archivist?) - why did you accept these jobs?

Matt:  I am the co-web master along with Commissioner James, and I also maintain the MMDA Blog and have built archives for our league records and playoff history. I was interested to find out which teams had scored the most runs or performed the best in the playoffs, so I put in the research time and found the answers.

Wolfman:  If our members want to read the MMDA Blog or visit the MMDA website, how would they do this?

Matt:  Our site isn't pretty, but it's packed with information http://mmdaonline.com/.  The blog is updated with analytical items every so often http://mmdablog.blogspot.com/. For example, I have developed ballpark factors for our league's teams and recently ranked our managerial constituency for the past decade based on various team accomplishments.

Have you had any special experiences (certain games that stand out in your mind that you played or series you played) being a manager in MMDA that were amazing or very unusual games, or something you are proud of. Maybe some key trade you made ...  or any other special experiences link to Strat

Matt:  Winning my first World Series in 2014 will always be a fond memory, particularly because I defeated the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams to reach the summit. I also had to win Games Six and Seven on the road to take the title. Led by Yu Darvish and Stephen Strasburg, my pitching staff dealt 18 scoreless innings to get the job done!

My most memorable playoff series probably would have to be the semifinal series I played in 2015. My opponent outscored me by one run over the course of our six games, but I squeaked out three one-run wins (and won a fourth by two runs) to narrowly escape with victory. But that's not even the most notable aspect of the series! We engaged in 19 *extra* innings on top of our 54 regulation frames. My team walked off with a 15-inning win in Game Six. (I was lucky to win that series.)

I don't know about one specific trade, but I do know that a series of maneuvers I made in 2006 transformed me from rebuilding doormat (.332 win percentage my first four yeras) to a frequent contender. I have recorded 10 straight winning season (.575 percentage) with eight playoff appearances since then. But back to those trades . . . I added Brandon Webb, C.C. Sabathia and Jose Contreras to my rotation late in the 2006 season and squeaked into the playoffs with 83 wins. Naturally, I lost in the first round.

Wolfman:  Matt can you share with our members what are your duties linked with your job at Baseball America?

Matt:  I have covered prospects and the minor leagues for the past 10 seasons at Baseball America. I am a primary editor on the Prospect Handbook and the Super Register. I write Minor League Transactions each week. Following me on Twitter is the best way to learn what I'm up to.

Wolfman:  Matt, I see since at Baseball America you work with the young prospect players coming up to the Majors, then what are you thoughts and views about new MLB prospects?

Matt:  In my personal opinion, I think prospects are valuable in the context of MLB for different reasons than they are valuable to Strat teams.

(1) League size. What works in 30-team MLB is much different than what works in the typical mixed Strat league, which typically is 18-24 teams. Therefore, I believe riskier, lower-probability prospects are unsound investments for teams trying to win now. Prioritize the card value, I say.

(2) Player compensation. A young player who produces zero WAR in MLB can still be valuable to his team if he makes the minimum salary, and if he is young enough to improve his production in future seasons. But most Strat leagues do not feature payroll restrictions, and in that context, a player who does not contribute in some way to winning can only be harmful.

Wolfman:  Matt, what other background can you share about Baseball America?

Matt:  Baseball America founder Allan Simpson invented mainstream prospect ranking in the early 1980s. Sandy Alderson acknowledges as much in his biography published in 2015. He would take note of Baseball America's prospect rankings and reference them when making trades for the Athletics in the 1980s.

Baseball American has published a Prospect Handbook every year since 2001. We rank 30 prospects for all 30 organizations. So if you buy the book, you get 900 scouting reports.

Simpson also invented draft coverage back in the day and helped legitimize coverage of high school and college ball.

Finally, going back to what prospects your members might consider to obtain for their draft teams, I recently wrote this piece for the MMDA blog that counts down the top 10 prospects who appeared in MLB in 2015 but did not receive a card from Strat. You can view this material at:


Note, Max Kepler, Gary Sanchez and Jorge Lopez are my top three but your members can read the rest of my recommendation by going to the link above.

Matt, I want to thank you for visiting with us here at the newsletter and sharing your insights.  If they would like to now more about Baseball America or contact you, what is the best way for them to do this?


To find our more about Baseball America go to our website at: http://www.baseballamerica.com/

and to contact me, the best place is through my Twitter page at https://twitter.com/MattEddyBA

Thanks again Matt.

(NOTES from the Wolfman: In my email correspondences with Matt, he discussed some future articles he might write for our member.  One article he definitely plans to send in is his suggestions how to prepare you roster when your team qualifies for the playoffs in your league. And the second one he discussed, I will quote from his email:

In the future I might consider writing about prospect *types* to target in Strat drafts. That would be more timeless than writing about young players who will be available only once when draft-eligible.

So we thank Matt for participating in our newsletter and we look forward to his next contribution.)


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)


  ARTICLE by MARC PELLETIER, another well known and successful strat baseball gamer in the on-line version of the baseball game shares with us his system to evaluate positional players for the 20XX leagues on the newly renamed Baseball 365.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his column sharing various perspectives on the new and exciting new service SOM has announced called Baseball Daily (fully described in the SOM Baseball World News Page). Also speaks about the draft feature within the windows computer game version and about the USBN Youtube video channel.

  INTERVIEW with PETE NELSON, our good friend and supporter, the advisor to the Council for the Strat Tournament Players Club returns and discuss his 4th champion at their supreme tournament known as the "Worlds" held in Pittsburgh the middle of January.

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" puts out a call to commissioners of various Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered on the internet and shares the stories and experiences from another baseball league (one he was investigating to possibly join). This is a continuation of a new section of our newsletter that will continue for the rest of this year, so if you would like to share about your baseball league in our newsletter, send Wolfman a private email.

INTERVIEW with ROB STRICKER, BIGS, P-V (Two Leagues, one is Netplay, one is Computer)


  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO , editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares with the complete details of all the new announcement Strat-o-matic made in January about the new products and services they are releasing ranging from the new Baseball Ratings Book (printed or digital) to the renaming and updating of the on-line game now called Baseball 365 to the new service called Baseball Daily to play the 2016 MLB Season to the new features in the 2016 version of the Windows Computer Game.

  ARTICLE by CHRIS McMURRY, What if you would like to change the ballpark images shown on
the three panels of the main screen of the windows game -- well Chris gives you the exact procedure
how to do it.

  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
Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

twitter: @StratBaseball4U

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