The Case for the Minimum Win Requirement

by 11:02 AM 0 comments
Recently some long term owners have violated our league's established Minimum Win Requirement (MWR) which has sparked some discussions about why we would allow dedicated owners to leave Plumpy.  Rather than take up an incredible number of World Chat posts, I decided to write a blog post about the history of our league's Minimum Win Requirement and why I consider it a vital piece to the health of our league.

Some history...

In Season 24, there was no Minimum Win Requirement.  Teams were allowed to lose or win as much as they wanted.  The then Memphis Problems were poised to win their 3rd of 4 championships over a 6 season span, a period of dominance where the rest of the league constantly felt like they were fighting for second place.  Simultaneously, the then Syracuse Magma were in the midst of an historically bad season, one in which the Magma won only 43 games.

Then along came Julio Rijo on the International market.  When his career is all said and done, it is entirely possible that Julio Rijo will go down as the greatest pitcher in Plumpy history.  In Season 24 when he appeared, 15 owners had budgeted at least $20 million in prospect payroll.  Everyone who saw him wanted Rijo, but the problem was, one team had filled his ML squad with sub-AAAA scrubs for the league minimum and was paying less than $18 million dollars in player salaries.

Julio Rijo signed with the Syracuse Magma for a record $42 million in prospect money, a record that holds to this day.  When taking budget transfers into account, Zyrion spent a total of $64 million dollars to get Rijo.  On his signing day, the World Chat lit up with protests about how unfair it was that the Magma were doing everything in their power to lose, and were rewarded with arguably the greatest pitcher in league history.  The precedent that was being set was scary: if you wanted to get the best IFA, you had to systematically destroy your team for a 3-6 seasons in order to do so.

Now this is not meant to in any way demonize Zyrion.  He broke no league rules that we had in place at the time.  He is an incredibly savvy and dedicated owner, who was far from the only guy tanking at the time.  He just did it the most effectively.  He also got the #1 draft pick the next season which turned into Cy Young award winner Frank Leonard.  Once he started competing again, his low player payroll allowed him to continue to splurge on IFAs, as he signed superstuds Lariel Cubillan, Pedro Martin, and Pablo Macias over the next several seasons, helping to create the Magma that we know and fear today.  (Editor's note: Zyrion has also made some brilliant trades and ballsy free agent signings that have turned his franchise into an empire.  As I said, the guy is a savvy.)

The aforementioned Memphis Problems had utilized a similar albeit less blatant tanking strategy when creating its powerhouse.  With no MWR, the Problems accrued 7 consecutive seasons worth of top 10 picks, while simultaneously leading the league in IFA spending.  This created an absolute juggernaut of a franchise that won 4 World Series in 6 seasons, boasting the league's best record year after year.

Between Memphis's dominance and Syracuse's IFA spending, the overwhelming consensus in Season 24 was that something needed to be done in order to bring parity and competitive balance back to the league.  Several ideas were proposed at the time, and a league vote was held to determine which MWR would best fit our league.  The consensus was that all owners had to win 55 games in one season, 120 games over two seasons, 185 games over three seasons, and 260 games over four seasons.  This allowed owners room to undergo a rebuilding project, while also protecting the league from teams intentionally having a bottom 10 record for 4 years or more, and from filling out their ML roster with AAAA quality players.  The hope was that as time went on, parity would return to the league and the game would become more fun again.

And it's worked.

It's taken a long time, but the league is more competitive and balanced now than it's been in a long time.  7 teams are poised to make the play-offs this season that did not last season.  That's incredible.  In the three years before the MWR was put into place, we lost 7, 6, and 10 owners each season at the rollover.  Over the past 5 seasons with the MWR firmly in place, we've lost 3, 2, 3, 1 and 5 owners each season.  There are many factors that I believe keep owners interested in returning to the league, but knowing you have a shot to turn your team around and make it a play-off contender without losing 100 games for multiple seasons in a row is massively important.

Ultimately, we're all here because we love baseball and we love fantasy sports.  This is fun and for many of us, it's one of the main hobbies of our day to day lives.  It really sucks having to lose people who want to be here, but we have to draw the line somewhere.  The 55-120-185-260 MWR is the fairest way we've been able to come up with.  Bad luck happens, and that's why we have a vote.

I am firmly in favor of allowing owners who violate the MWR and are removed from the league to return at the helm of another franchise, and I am open to discussing that idea further on the World Chat.

Thank you all for being a part of this league.  It is a pleasure being commissioner of Plumpy.  Good luck to everyone in the post-season.

Zachary Eustis


Commissioner of the fakest fake baseball league on the planet: Plumpy Rules!!!!111