We recently caught up with the GM of the defending world champion Salt Lake City Shakers, plague, to get his thoughts on how he will defend his crown, his opinion on the great "splits vs. pitches vs. control" debate and some Miami Dolphins talk. Here's what plague had to say:
You currently run eight HBD teams. I can barely keep up with four. So what am I missing here? How do you do it?
You're not missing anything. The more teams you run the more shortcuts you take. It's just a question of can you win taking shortcuts. If you can't then you need to cut teams until you can give them enough attention to win.
Which of the 8 teams is your favorite and why?
Los Angeles Crushers in Bryant world. It was my first team. I think most people's favorite team is the first team they created.
You’re the defending world champion of The Bigs. How did you take this franchise from one that lost 114 games in the inaugural season to world champions in season 8?
I can't take credit for that 118 loss season, and I don't want credit for that horrible season. I took the team over about 115 games into season one. The one thing I did have going for me when I took them over was I had prospect money left, and who pops up but Vic James, so I got a stud Intl player my first season. I got the benefit of the previous coach drafting Che Bong, and I was given a team with the 2nd pick in the draft. From that point on I worked the draft, traded veterans for youth, and grabbed a few good Intl players.
What adjustments if any have you made going into this season and what will you need to do to defend your title?
My offense is probably the best in the league, my starting staff is equal to last season, but my bullpen is questionable and if I want to repeat my bullpen will have to perform like it did last season or I will have to look to make some moves.
If you could draft one current player from any franchise in The Bigs and add them to your ML team at no cost, who would it be and why?
That would be easy. Javier Henriquez. I am already loaded offensively, but come playoff time with all the days off, a stud starting pitcher becomes more valuable. He can pitch every 3rd game in the playoffs compared to every 4th or 5th game during the season. I love having 1 dominant pitcher come playoff time and my current team does not have that.
When it comes to what makes a good pitcher in HBD, different GM’s will give you different answers. So, for you, which of the following ratings is most important in determining a successful HBD pitcher: splits, control, or pitches?
I think you need all 3, I don't care how good your splits are you will not win with a 10 control, same goes with splits, if your control is 100 you wont win with 10 in splits. If I could pick any of the 3 with 100 and the others with 50 I would take 100 splits with 50 control and 50 pitch, however because of the 50 pitch I dont think he would be a great pitcher..
So you’re a football fan from California. Don’t tell me you’re a Raiders fan…
Dolphins fan. I have liked them since I was about 6 years old. Cowboys were playing the Dolphins in the Super Bowl, I did not know football but my dad and his friend were rooting for the Dolphins, so I rooted for the Dolphins and I have been a fan ever since.
Dolphins fan!? That's what I'm talking about! I knew there was something I liked about you, as I am also a Miami fan. What positions do you think they need to improve going into next season and how do you feel about Chad Henne as the savior?
I watched every Dolphin game last season. Chad Henne has the physical tools to be a NFL quarterback. He is the best QB since Jay Fiedler. His problem is he throws the ball too hard, but so did John Elway when he first started. Chad Henne overthrows everyone on deep passes, he will need to learn to take a little off his passes when he goes long. He will also need to learn to not throw the ball through a wall on short passes. Short he needs to learn touch, that is going to take a season or 2.
The Dolphins need a lot. They need 4 new LBS, a NT, and a free safety on defense. On offense they need a WR and a TE. I like Brian Hartline as a up and coming receiver, he has the potential to be a #2 WR. Devone Bess is a good receiver but you are hurting when he is your best. Ted Ginn JR cant run a route and he is never open because of that, and when he is open he drops a lot of balls. He started to hang onto the balls last season near the end, but he still never got open. Dolphins also need a pass catching TE.
The draft will most likely go something like this.
First pick will either be a Outside LB or NT. Dan Williams, Ricky Sapp, or Serigo Kindle. The Dolphins will almost surely take one of the borderline 1st round pick LB with their 2nd round pick if one should drop to the 2nd round. I would not expect to see the Dolphins pick a receiver until the 3rd round or later, they will most likely build their defense first, the exception would be is if Dez Bryant somehow falls to the 2nd round or maybe if Tate falls to the 2nd round. The Dolphins will probably fill their TE need in free agency. Most likely targets for free agency will be Antrel Rolle, who I think the Dolphins will probably make a big push for. Karlos Dansby, the Dolphins had maybe the worst ILB crew in the NFL last season and will probably look to shore that up through free agency and not the draft. The other guy they might sign would be Tully Banta Cain. I don't think the Dolphins sign any of the restricted free agents, they would lose their first round pick if they did that.
If you could change one thing about HBD, what would it be and why?
I think scoring is too high. I would look to make changes to bring scoring to a more realistic level. We see way too many double digit scoring games.