Today I'm introducing a new feature of the blog: the contest of the week. Each week, I'll announce a contest to readers. Each week, the winner of the contest gets three Shadow-points, second place gets two Shadow-points, and third place gets one Shadow-point. Every two months, the person with the most Shadow-points in the period gets their name put on a Hall of Fame widget to the right of the blog (I'll create it once it's needed), a wallet-busting $2 prize, and the opportunity, if they want, to write a guest article for the blog.
So, on to the first contest:
What's Your Lineup?
I wrote Basim, a python script that simulates baseball games based on the stats of the people in the lineups. The details of how it works are in the link above; you can also see Basim simulating games live on the right of the blog. I've recently been looking into evaluating players with it, but this contest has to do with the original use of Basim: evaluating batting orders.
So, the first contest is to construct the best batting order from the 2002 San Francisco Giants roster. To enter the contest, submit a lineup from their players; I'll run Basim on all submissions, and the three highest average runs per game are the winners.
1) The players you can draw from are listed here.
2) You can only use players who had at least 100 plate appearances with the Giants that year.
3) Your lineup must be defensively valid. That is to say you must have a first baseman, second baseman, etc. Shortstops and second basemen are considered interchangeable, and all outfielders and first basemen are also interchangeable. Third basemen and catchers can play first base, but not vice versa. The position that a person can play, up to interchangeability, is the one listed here. (Technical note: Dunston can play 2B, SS, OF, and 1B, in case you want to play him for some reason).
4) Your pitcher (in your lineup) must be Jason Schmidt.
5) I will run 1,000,000 simulations on each submitted lineup to find its average runs scored per game. The highest value will win and get three Shadow-points; second will get two, and third will get one.
So, for example, a submission might look like:
1. Benito Santiago (C)
2. J. T. Snow (LF)
3. Jeff Kent (SS)
4. Kenny Lofton (1B)
5. Barry Bonds (CF)
6. Jason Schmidt (P)
7. David Bell (3B)
8. Ramon Martinez (2B)
9. Marvin Bernard (RF)
Some (quite obvious) things to think about: where do you put Bonds? What do you think of stolen bases? What do you want in a leadoff hitter? Where do you put the pitcher?
Submissions are due by Monday, August 6th; I'll announce winners the next day. To submit a lineup, either email it to me (sambf at mit dot edu), or post it as a comment on this post. (Make sure to include your name.)