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Tales from the Time Machine - The Theo Years

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#1 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 22 October 2011 - 08:34 AM

From my final post in the "Tales from the GM Time Machine" thread:

So, that concludes the simulation of my 1974-2002 Time Machine Red Sox via Baseball Mogul.

I will probably do a combined narrative/simulation from 2003-2010 in the near future, but at this point, I'm not inclined to do it via Mogul. The draft issues, early appearance issues, and player progression (accelerated peak and declines) are just more than I'm willing to deal with. I'm tired of the damn culling, but I'm not willing to deal with 19 year olds who haven't been drafted yet winning MVPs. It's fine when just playing around with Mogul for fun, but when trying to actually simulate something in the historical context, it's a real deal breaker.

I currently have OOTP 12 on preorder, and plan to see what that has to offer. At the very least, I know that OOTP lets you set things so that players appear based on their MLB debuts, not an arbitrary age. I believe there is also a secondary option for the correct draft years, so either one would get me around the worst of Mogul's difficulties. I'm sure that OOTP has some of its own issues, but I won't know which one suits me needs better for this little thought exercise until I've tried them both.

In the meantime, I'll probably play around with a multi-season sim, which will bear so little resemblance to anything close to reality that it won't be worth posting. I mostly want to see if I can make the contracts work, because things got a bit hairy in the late 70s/early 80s without stars like Fisk and Lynn departing.

If anyone with Baseball Mogul 2011 is interested in playing around with what I've done here, PM me and I can send you the savegame files. I saved each season before Opening Day (except 1974, I didn't change anything), after the last game of the World Series, and after simulating until Opening Day of the following season to generate the Encyclopedia.

If I find myself with a bunch of spare time on my hands, I might take the player stats from my encyclopedia exports and see how each player's career numbers change as a result, but that's just a thought at the moment. Having to go year-to-year to get around some of Mogul's issues means that I don't have a single, handy way to look at the stats page. It will depend on how stir crazy I get before Opening Day, or when OOTP 12 is released.

Whenever I pick up 2003, that will be in a new thread.

I was just waiting for Theo's departure to be official to post this. As promised, I'm planning to do 2003-2011 as a simultaneous narrative/simulation in Out Of The Park Baseball 12. OOTP solves my problems from Baseball Mogul, specifically:

- Draft/Early Appearance Issues: I can set OOTP to just have players appear on a reserve roster when their historical MLB debuts happened, and call them up as per my previous thread plans and/or to deal with injuries.

- Player Progression Issues: OOTP can be set to re-calculate player values based on single-year, or multi-year historical statistics. This can also be done based on either real, or neutralized stats. This helps prevent players from gaining/losing ability way too early in their careers, which was a constant issue with Baseball Mogul

These two resolutions basically mean that I can run a multi-year sim, instead of constantly starting a single season and having to fix everything every time. There were just two minor problems that come from using OOTP12

1) It came out really late, as in June. I had hoped to play with this in Feb-Mar so that I could have simulated back through 1974-2002 during the regular season, and then kicked off 2003 right after the 2011 regular season ended. The late release, combined with some real life events, significantly pushed back my timetable.

2) The game has a ton of moving parts, so it took me longer than I had counted on to get familiar with the game to the point that I felt comfortable kicking off my sim. As a result, I spent June-September playing a modern-day MLB league to get my feet under me with OOTP, and only began the 1974-2002 simulation just under a month ago.

As a result, I have only simulated 1974-1985 so far, leaving me 1986-2002 left to accomplish. I am doing a full re-sim due to the fact that opposing teams can now actually react and repair the damage that I have done to their teams by drafting some of their historical stars, so it is a much more "fair" way to simulate the way things might have actually played out. I am not posting as I go, because I've already posted one version of this history based on one set of assumptions, and I don't feel like repeating that while contradicting myself. I will pick up the 2003 universe with the combination of my GM Time Machine thread moves, and the OOTP results of how the rest of the MLB universe reacts to that.

As a side note, the finances were not a problem at all. OOTP players seem quite willing to take long-term, discounted, static deals. Tony Gwynn accepting a 10-year, 425k per year (no ascending salaries, just 425k per year, straight up) deal from 1985-1994 seems slightly less than realistic, but hey, I'm not really complaining. Mogul and OOTP are pretty similar in that regard, it's relatively simple to lock up valuable players to below-market contracts.

Once I get through 2002, I plan to post any particularly interesting/amusing noteworthy items from the OOTP sim, along with a high-level summary of how it differed from the Mogul results. Unfortunately, I don't have a specific timeframe for how long that will take. I am trying to do one season per calendar day, but that usually ends up stretching into two days per season (1 day transactions/roster prep, 1 day simming). With 1986-2002 representing 17 seasons, that puts me around Thanksgiving for actual new material. Sorry for the delay, but I wanted to get this out there so anybody who might be interested wouldn't think that this Subforum was going to sit idle forever.

#2 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 12 November 2011 - 12:00 PM

Ok, so I got through 2002 slightly faster than I had expected. Since I got more detailed in the narrative posts as I went along, it got much easier to just use those posts to construct the rosters in the 90s-2002 instead of having to comb through b-ref in the 70s and early 80s.

Thus, it's time for Notes on the OOTP 1974-2002 Sim Results

1974 - 2002 Simulation Notes - Team Notes

First, the team history from 1974-2002.

Posted Image

To explain the formatting, it starts with Actual W-L and WPCT, Finish position and GB, then Pyth REC and the difference between Pyth and Act. You then see AVG, ERA, and BABIP. The two columns with Xs are for postseason appearances and World Series wins. The last 3 rows are attendance, payroll, and end-of-season balance (AKA profit/loss).

The first, most obvious high-level difference is the number of Titles won. In my original narrative, the Red Sox end with 18 World Series titles. In the Mogul simulation, the Red Sox get all the way up to #24. In OOTP, the Red Sox "only" have 16 titles by the time the 2002 season ends.

As you can see, the 1980s were something of a disappointment relative to my expectations. I basically ran the 1990s Atlanta Braves, in terms of divisional dominance vs Titles. In more positive news, the Sox win the AL East all but 4 times over 29 seasons. As was the case with Mogul, OOTP loved the 1974 Red Sox and hated the 1975 version relative to the historical baseline. The 1993 squad set a new all-time MLB record for Wins, but still came short of the winning percentage record set by the Cubs in 1906 (.763).

There was one truly thrilling, 1967-style pennant race in 1976. Going into the last 3 games of the season, the Red Sox, Orioles, and Tigers were all tied for 1st in the AL East. Even better, the Red Sox and Orioles played a 3-game series in Baltimore to end the season. The teams split the first two games, while Detroit knocked themselves out of contention by losing their first 2 games against Cleveland. The Red Sox beat the Orioles on the last game of the season to win the AL East. The Sox were then dispatched by the Royals in the ALCS.

Individual Player Notes

There were several players who either over or under-performed relative to their historical baselines.

The disappointing performances tended to be concentrated in the OF, where all of Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Yaz, and Andre Dawson all came up short of my expectations.

Yaz only beat his historical baseline once, in 1977, and usually performed below league average every other season. He never comes close to either the 3000 hit or 400 HR plateaus. Dwight Evans was a huge disappointment, only outperforming himself in 1975, 1977, and 1983, and being extremely below baseline in most of the 1980s. He is also rated as a poor defender (albeit with a good arm) by OOTP in RF, so he was a drag on the pitching staff as well. He was so bad that his performances led to much more playing time for backup players like Rick Miller and Phil Plantier. Jim Rice, aside from winning the RoY in 1974 (more on that later), only made 2 All-Star teams. 1974 and 1981 are the only years in which he beats his historical baseline, and he was outright below-average multiple times in the 1970s. He never even hits 300 career HRs. Andre Dawson was not as much of a disappointment as the others, but he did fail to do the heavy-lifting that was expected of him in the 1980s. Instead, he was excellent ahead of schedule in the late 70s, setting expectations that he did not match early on. He basically flip-flopped his career offensive performance.

Other disappointments of a mild variety include Jeff Bagwell, who is rated so horribly as a defensive 1B that both Jason Giambi and David Ortiz were superior defensive options. He was also good offensively, but not quite Jeff Bagwell good. Historically, from 1991-2002, Bagwell his 380 HRs and put up an OPS of 965, good for an OPS+ of 155. In the OOTP sim, those numbers change to 318 HRs, a 905 OPS, OPS+ of 138. That's certainly not bad, but when combined with his apparent inability to play a competent 1B, that's not the player that I thought I was getting. He also missed 3/4 of the 1999 season due to injury, but that still doesn't account for the HR discrepancy.

Bagwell makes for a handy transition to the good news, starting with Jim Edmonds. Edmonds almost perfectly matches his career OPS/OPS+, but does so without any below-average or injury-plagued years. On top of it, in his first full campaign, 1994, he is capable of playing 1B when Jeff Bagwell is lost to injury, a major factor in the team's ability to win their 4th consecutive World Series. Matching his historical raw OPS as a LHH in Fenway is quite impressive as well.

Another positive note is the traditional stats for one Pedro Martinez. See the picture below.

Posted Image

First of all, one of the league evolution issues is that the Dodgers never trade him away to the Expos. They also place him on the roster earlier in the 1992 season, leading to Pedro being a free agent, not a player on the last year of his contract, in the 1997-1998 offseason. I win the bidding war for his services.

With the Red Sox, this is a good news-bad news tale. The bad news is that Pedro never quite matches his historical awesomeness in terms of ERA+. The good news is that he gets the traditional stat love that he deserves with a great team playing behind him (complete with great defense), and that, partly due to the injury settings that I chose to play with, he never pitches fewer than 239 IP in his first 5 seasons in Boston. Pedro wins the Cy Young Award consecutively from 1998-2001. I have not yet completed the 2002 offseason, but I think he's the clear favorite there as well.

Also, his overall postseason performance with both LA and BOS is better than his historical baseline. Historically, Pedro went 6-4 with an ERA of 3.46 in his 14 career postseason starts (16 games total), with only 4 of those games coming before 2003. In this scenario, by the end of the 2002 season, Pedro is 19-8 with a 2.98 ERA in 35 postseason starts. He also has two rings with the Red Sox, from 1998 and 1999.

Tony Gwynn outdoes his career totals of 3141 hits and a career .338 AVG (847 OPS/132 OPS+) with career marks of 3857 hits, a .343 AVG and OPS of 861, still at 132 OPS+. He ties Ted Williams' career mark with a .344 AVG in a Red Sox uniform, and holds the all-time Red Sox hits record with 3150, the only Red Sox player to cross 3000 hits all while in Boston.

There's one season that simply must be mentioned - 1998. In May of 1998, in his first season in a Red Sox uniform, with an excellent defense finally playing behind him (Damon-Edmonds-Jordan in the OF, plus Rolen at 3B), Pedro Martinez pitches his first career no-hitter. I actually don't have the box score saved because the Almanac feature in OOTP is rather flaky for me, but a great historical injustice was remedied in this fantasy scenario.

There is also a postseason series of note. The Red Sox made it to the 1998 World Series, against Pedro's former team, the LA Dodgers. The Sox quite quickly dominated the Dodgers and took a 3-0 series lead. The Dodgers then won Game 4 in LA. They also won Game 5 in LA. They then won Game 6 in Boston, forcing a Game 7. In Game 7, the Dodgers led by 1 run in the bottom of the 9th inning. David Ortiz, having won the 1B job from a struggling Jason Giambi ealier in the season, hits a 2-run, walkoff HR in the bottom of the 9th inning to win Game 7 of the 1998 World Series. Big Papi came to town early. That was a fun game log to read.

That's all I can think of in terms of Sox notes from the sim that simply had to be shared, a few notes on the overall evolution of MLB in this sim will be in the following post.

EDIT - To explain team table

Edited by JMDurron, 12 November 2011 - 01:45 PM.

#3 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 12 November 2011 - 01:43 PM

1974 - 2002 Simulation - League Notes

The first thing to share is the pennant and World Series winners from the duration of the sim.

Posted Image

On the AL side, the first thing that jumps out at you is two teams doing unexpectedly well, and one team...not doing so well.

In the case of the Oakland A's, they appear to have taken advantage of something that I noticed within the simulation - OOTP does not tend to have players ask for outrageous (or realistically outrageous, anyway) contracts, and also does not have teams wildly ramp up or ramp down spending. This means that teams that were historically dismantled, such as the mid-to-late 70s A's are able to keep (Vida Blue) or even add some players (Ron Cey) instead of being completely broken up and traded/sold to the highest bidder. This also helps to increase fan interest, which helps attendance, which helps keep the budget relatively stable, and so on. I'm not familiar enough with the historical A's of this time period to really go into detail of how this went down, I think it's just a matter of a middle-of-the-road payroll team maintaining payroll instead of ever having to rebuild. They also happened to be good in years where the Red Sox failed to dominate, lasting until the expected influx of studs in the late-80s occured.

The other surprisingly good team is the turn of the century Seattle Mariners. Instead of being merely good in 1997, then from 2000-2003, they have actually managed to sustain a pretty solid run from 1996-2002 (so far), complete with a growing payroll. The OOTP 1997 Mariners were only actually 1 game better than the historical team, winning 91 games instead of 90. But, how did they march through the postseason? Historically, they lacked the pitching. Here is where the chain of reactions and league-adjustments to my moves come sharply into focus. One difference that was simply OOTP-simulation randomness is the presence of Ellis Burks, who instead of being drafted by the Rockies and retained for several seasons in the 1993 expansion draft, was drafted by the Marlins, only kept for one season, and eventually signed by the Mariners. Another difference is a key second-degree consequence of one of my actions. I traded Curt Schilling to the Chicago Cubs as a part of my original narrative, and as it turns out, the Cubs let him go when he used up his arb years. He is now the Ace of the Seattle Mariners from 1994 - 2002. Keep in mind that players appear on their historical teams in the original MLB debut season, so Ichiro showed up on a team led by turn-of-the-century Curt Schilling.

Oh yeah, and the Mariners extend Alex Rodriguez instead of letting him hit free agency. Griffey leaves after 1995 to go to the Angels instead of being traded to the Reds after 1999. Also, I learned that Mike Hampton originally broke into MLB with the Mariners, and this time the Mariners don't trade him away. So, instead of Randy Johnson and no depth in the rotation in 1997, the Mariners have Schilling-Hampton at the top, with Edgar Martinez and Alex Rodriguez still in place, plus some help from useful guys like Burks and Juan Cruz. Toss in the scheduled arrivals of Freddy Garcia and Ichiro, and you get a sustained run of success that leads to 3 championships in 6 years. Seattle stands with the #1 payroll after the 2002 season, with success breeding funding, which breeds FA signngs like Mo Vaughn and MANNY, which breeds more winning. Some of this aggressiveness was forced upon them by a divisional rival, because...

The California Angels try to drop a massive bomb on the rest of baseball. After 1994, they sign Roberto Alomar as a FA. He joins a lineup containing Tim Salmon when he was good, and Garret Anderson. After 1995, the Angels decide that is not good enough, and sign the most mind-numbingly awesome combination of free agent OFers that could ever be conceived. Instead of being the franchise savior in San Francisco, after a 4-year stint in Milwaukee, Barry Bonds signs with the California Angels. Thanks to superstar players not demanding appropriately outrageous salaries in OOTP, they are also able to sign Ken Griffey Jr. That's 2/3 of the All-Century OF playing for the same team, from 1996-2001, and they win zero titles, because the Mariners had pitching and the Angels did not. Bonds/Griffey vs A-Rod/Manny would be roughly a wash offensively, and Seattle's pitching edge was too large.

It's a good thing that the AL West features two high-spending juggernauts going at each other, because the AL East completely fails to live up to that billing. This brings us to the team that completely failed to perform as they reasonably should have been expected to in this simulation.

I'm going to break here into a new post.

Edited by JMDurron, 12 November 2011 - 01:51 PM.

#4 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 12 November 2011 - 03:32 PM

1974 - 2002 Simulation Notes - What Happened To The Yankees

Posted Image

To explain the formatting, it starts with Actual W-L and WPCT, Finish position and GB, then Pyth REC and the difference between Pyth and Act. You then see AVG, ERA, and BABIP. The two columns with Xs are for postseason appearances and World Series wins. The last 3 rows are attendance, payroll, and end-of-season balance (AKA profit/loss).

The Yankees win the AL East once from 1974-2002, and it's in 1975. That's amusing. The Yankees make the playoffs twice in 29 seasons, winning zero titles, that is also amusing. At the end of the 2002 season, the Yankees team payroll is...24.7 million dollars. That's not amusing, that's freakishly unreasonable. Their projected budget for payroll in 2003 is 27.2 million, placing them 29th in MLB. My Red Sox are 25th, BTW, thanks to the constant churn of young players and long-term, cheap, flat-rate contracts.

I understand that I set off a chain reaction of things with my moves, but I'm having trouble understanding how turning the Yankees into the Kansas City Royals was one of them. This requires some examination of the historical context when I started the sim, in 1974.

Historically, the Yankees missed the playoffs every year from 1965 - 1975, and you can imagine that the fanbase was not exactly fired up. George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973, so 1974 would be the first season of his tenure. The Yankees historically won 89 and 83 games in 1974-75, before going on an impressive run from 1976-1981. In the sim, in 1974 and 1975, the Yankees won 83 and 87 games, so we're not too far off track here. What went wrong?

First, due to the previously mentioned Oakland A's lack of any payroll problems, Catfish Hunter never arrives in New York. But, Hunter wasn't dominant in the late 70s, so that's not the underlying problem. Perhaps the key lies in 1976, when the Yankees finished 2nd to the Red Sox with 85 wins instead of winning the AL East with 97 wins as they did historically. It seems like this is where things started to fall apart.

For the sake of comparison, here is the real 1976 Yankees.

The 1976 Yankees were 2nd in runs scored, and 1st in runs allowed, so clearly we're looking at issues on both sides of the ball. Just looking through the historical transactions, one difference immediately appears. Bobby Bonds never leaves the Giants for the Yankees after 1974, so there is no trade of Bonds to the Angels for the Yankees 1976 #1 Starter (Ed Figueroa), and excellent starting CF (Mickey Rivers). They also kept Doc Medich instead of trading him for their starting 2B (Willie Randolph) and #2 starter (Dock Ellis). Medich and Ron Guidry (full-timer instead of part-timer) were both excellent, but that's 2/9 of the lineup and 1 piece of the rotational depth gone. The 1976 Yankees bullpen was ridiculously excellent, and this runs into an OOTP quirk that I have noticed. The quirk is that top relievers do not get nearly enough innings, and there are far too many long/complete games pitched by even mediocre starters. For a team like that 1976 Yankees squad, going from 103.2 IP from Sparky Lyle to a mere 41.1 IP, with those extra innings going to mediocre starters, is absolutely a killer. So, it looks like a combination of non-moves (simulation randomness, trades not made seem like fair game in a historical replay), and a simulation quirk (OOTP under-utilizes dominant RPs until the 1990s, I had the same problem with Lee Smith back in the 80s in this sim) sunk the 1976 Yankees.

It gets worse once you move on, thanks to one other move. Since OOTP tends to not have top FA stars demand their appropriately outsized wages, Free Agent bidding is a tad more competitive than it should be, in terms of middle-tier teams getting top-flight FAs (Barry Bonds in Milwaukee, as an example). This smacks the Yankees right in the face, as Reggie Jackson signs with the Baltimore Orioles. This was quite the "Haha! That's awesome...wait a minute, that's not good for me either!" moment when I noticed that during the offseason, but the Orioles didn't smack me around like I expected as a result. So, take away Figeroa, Rivers, Randolph, Hunter, and Jackson from the late-70s Yankees, plus reduce the IP for Lyle, and you can see how that dynasty never happened. The fanbase interest level never really recovered as a result, and the Yankees slumped onward without ever generating the kind of revenues you would expect from that market. I think their budget levels are still insanely low, but I can imagine such a lack of success hurting them financially. Ultimately, Jackson going to Baltimore instead of New York seems ridiculous, and that's the single biggest questionable transaction. Goose Gossage also signs with the Expos instead of the Yankees in 1978. Ultimately, OOTP's simulation of the historical FA market is an absolute killer to the Yankees' business model, and is probably the single biggest issue with regards to the realism of the game's historical simulation engine.

This lack of early success creates ripples into the 1990s/early 21st century teams as well. Let's look at the cornerstones of the late-90s Yankees, and what happens to them in this sim. Andy Pettitte is mine. Derek Jeter is mediocre from 1995-1997, then his excellent self from 1998-2000. But, with no success driving fan interest, the Yankees lose him to the Cubs in Free Agency after the 2000 season. Mariano Rivera, on the other hand, is his awesome self from 1995-2000. He signs with the Giants as a FA after the 2000 season. Bernie Williams is traded to the Rangers after the 1992 season, before he ever really becomes Bernie Williams. Jorge Posada is his excellent self from 1995-2000, then signs with the Reds as a FA after the 2000 season. The Reds! COME ON!

So, basically, OOTP's unfair fairness (everybody got that?) that is applied to the FA market helped to kill the 1970s Yankees, and the fact that the 1970s Yankees never happened means that the fan interest never rose to the point that the Yankees could afford their 1990s and early 2000s rosters. What this effectively means is that, although I plan to do a narrative and simulation as I go, I am basically going to have to operate in two separate universes as I do so. It is simply not credible to be talking about a world in where the Yankees are completely irrelevant from 1965-2002 and beyond, down to the point of having a payroll that is roughly equivalent to Manny Ramirez's 2003 salary.

Therefore, my narrative, while using some data from the simulation, will be based on the historical baseline. My simulation will continue within the OOTP universe that I have, because it's still interesting to see how the chain reaction plays out, plus the OOTP MLB has done a fairly solid job of adapting...aside from the Yankees. A dominant Mariners franchise is an interesting twist to watch play out.

Up next, OOTP simulation notes, settings, quirks I've noticed, and what not. Also, a description of what I will use from OOTP to influence my narrative decisions, and why.

#5 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 12 November 2011 - 09:24 PM

OOTP Simulation Notes

I am doing this using Out Of The Park Baseball 2012, and I know a few folks reading this might also play the game, so I'm going to share the Settings I used to set up this MLB Historical League.


All Settings are default unless otherwise specified

Global Setup

Disabled Coaching and Scouting Systems

Injuries Enabled - Frequency "Very Low"
Delayed Injury Diagnosis - Never
Player Actual, Player Potential, and Other Player Ratings Scales - 1 to 100
Overall/Potential Rating - Values 20 to 80

League Setup -> Rules

Disabled 10/5 Rule
Disabled Amateur Draft

League Setup -> Historical

Use Real Historical Transactions - NO

Automatically Expand League - YES
-- Hold Expansion Draft, 25 Protected Players Per Team
Base Roles/Positions on - REAL LIFE STATS
Automatically Adjust League Strategy - YES
Import Adjusted Financial Settings After Each Year - YES
Retire Players According to History - YES
Players Miss Seasons According to History - NO

Automatically Import Historical Rookies - YES

Recalc Player Ratings Based On Real Stats After Each Year - YES
Ratings Recalculation Base - 3 Years
Base Ratings on - NEUTRALIZED STATS (in hindsight, I might use real stats in the future)
Base Potential Ratings on - REMAINING YEARS OF CAREER
Base Rookie Fielding Ratings On - 3-Year Period
Base Pitcher Stamina On - 3-Year Period

Automatically Adjust League Totals Modifiers... - YES

Quirks of OOTP

As I've already covered, OOTP is a little too easy on small-to-medium market teams when it comes to player contract demands. Alex Rodriguez should not be making 7.5 million in 2002, followed by a contract extension of exactly 8.5 million per year for 5 years. Manny Ramirez should not be making 6.7 million in 2002. And so on.

OOTP is also a bit odd about market sizes. Anaheim is not an "Average" market. The New York Market should not be "Rather Big" for the New York Mets, and "Below Average" for the Yankees. Most of OOTP's issues are to be found in its financial model, IMO, and that has clearly spilled over into the sim.

It is far more affordable to offer players long-term deals just prior to Arb Year 1, as opposed to at any other time. Therefore, when I hit Arb Year 1, I plan to target the end of 6 years of team control with the extensions, barring special circumstances that are spelled out in the narrative, when I plan to keep players for longer periods of time (Jim Edmonds, for example).

The historical settings, with the 3-year averages (to smooth out career/crap years to happen somewhat randomly, but still being "baked in" to the player's overall capability) for player ratings, makes for a great number of star rookies who are rated very highly right away, if they became awesome in their 2nd or 3rd seasons. This means that, when they first appear in each team's reserve roster (substitute for minor leagues with no amateur draft), they are often promoted in Spring Training or in April, not in Aug/Sep as many were in their first seasons. This means that most star players are hitting free agency a year ahead of their historical timings, just because the OOTP team managers are correctly assessing that those players are superior options, and therefore should play for the entire season. That's how Pedro was a FA after 1997, for example.

The Plan

My posts for new seasons will generally break down into two types - Narrative Posts, and Simulation posts as follows:

Roster Moves - Narrative Post - This will be like in the original narrative thread. This post will be done based on historical baseball facts, not OOTP player ratings or simulation results. I may let something like a player's fielding ratings in OOTP work as a tiebreaker on occasion, but basically, the same method used to determine the moves from the narrative thread will carry over here. I will still rely heavily upon baseball-reference and OPS+/ERA+ and historical injury seasons to influence my decisions, even though I know that my OOTP settings minimize the impact of injuries.

There will, however, be several direct influences from the OOTP Simulation in the following areas:

- Draft Pick Compensation - I no longer have to guess whether a player is a Type A, Type B, or Nobody in terms of compensation. OOTP tells me as they depart each offseason, so I can take that information and make for a more "realistic" narrative. I will also use which team the player signs with in OOTP to use to determine what draft pick I get in the following season. I will also use the OOTP-generated draft order.

- Player Service Time - Instead of trying to guess, OOTP just flat out tells me how much service time a given player has. This means I can predict more precisely when a player will hit FA, or when other moves that I have made impact that player's FA eligibility either way.

Trade Market - Simulation Post - If necessary. Instead of guessing on a player's trade market and destination, and often making convenient choices, I will make the trades via OOTP using default trading settings. The players to be traded will be determined by the narrative roster moves, the players coming back, as well as the destination team, will be determined in OOTP. If there is a needed modification to the narrative roster moves as the result of a OOTP trade, then I'll do a follow-on narrative post prior to the season post.

Historical trades that I choose to keep will be forced to be made via Commissioner mode in OOTP. If the player being acquired is on another team (highly likely), then I still send the original price to the original team, and the new team gets nothing. Better half of a historical action than nothing. If the player traded for is a FA, due to the OOTP teams using players a year early, then I will win the bidding war on that player, or force-trade the player to the Red Sox after he has signed elsewhere, which at least imposes the highest possible cost on my payroll. This actually happened once, with...Joe Hesketh. Yeah, I know.

The Season - Narrative Post - It would be easier to just take the inputs and simulate, but there are two things that are keeping me from doing that. The first is that OOTP has, through its financial model, pretty much irrevocably fucked up the Yankees. That is a serious issue when it comes to trying to imagine how things might have really played out given these roster moves. The second is that I strongly suspect that not everybody who enjoyed my narrative from 1974 - 2002 in the original GM Time Machine thread were into the Baseball Mogul simulation, so I don't want to turn off the potential readers by going all hardcore, stat-heavy, simulation-only on them. Therefore, I feel that a narrative post, to be followed by a simulation post, is warranted. It's also a way to gauge my expectations based on historical results to an actual simulation of a universe in which all of my moves since 1974 have made an impact.

Season Simulation Results - Simulation Post - Each offseason, on the day that the World Series ends and Arbitration begins, is where this post will begin. I will make the appropriate moves based on the roster moves narrative post, all at once, not piecemeal. This means that midseason trades for the following season will happen in Oct/Nov of the previous year. This is for a couple of reasons:

1 - It gives the AI teams a full offseason of Winter Meetings and Free Agency to make the appropriate adjustments.

2 - To be completely honest, I get wrapped up in simulating the season and forget to stop to make roster moves. Better to make them prematurely than forget to make them at all, and have to re-do the entire simulation. Individual player history notes are lost whenever I restore from backup in OOTP, so I will avoid doing that at all costs. This is how I lost the record of Pedro's no-hitter in 1998. :angry:

After the roster moves have been made, and the depth chart set, I will simulate until Spring Training. On the first day of Spring Training, with everyone as healthy as possible, I will generate OOTP's pretty awesome Preseason Predictions Report. An example from 2002 is included below.

Posted Image

As you can see, it even includes Runs Scored, Allowed, HRs, ERA, etc. It's a handy way to see how the OOTP Simulation League is expected to shake out. It also predicts the Top Ten pitchers and hitters in each league, but frankly I'm only pasting one screenshot per report.

After that, I will simulate Spring Training, create a backup on Opening Day, and simulate the season. I will give similar after-action reports on team and player results as I did in the "Tales from the GM Time Machine" thread from Baseball Mogul.

The Draft - Narrative Post

Using the compensation picks as given to me by the OOTP sim, I will do the usual drafting of the best players selected after the picks that I have acquired. I will use the OOTP sim results to estimate where the Red Sox regular #1 draft pick is located. At this moment, I am unsure as to whether or not to use the OOTP draft order or the historical draft order to determine what # the compensation picks are that I receive. If I use the real order, then I might be "cheating" in the sense that I get a regular 1st round pick instead of just a supplemental pick. On the other hand, if I use the OOTP order, then I am forced to guess which players would be drafted by which teams relative to history with the order all jumbled. I will cross this bridge when I get to it, and explain my reasoning once I figure out what it is!

After that, it's onto the Roster Moves for the following season. So, there will be 3 Narrative Posts and 2 Simulation Posts, although the 1st Narrative Post is heavily influenced by the Simulation Engine of OOTP. I think this is the best way to proceed, while preserving the initial aim of the GM Time Machine thread (close to reality beyond my own moves), and simultaneously using OOTP's ability to simulate over multiple seasons to actually see one potential set of outcomes that my moves would have on the rest of MLB.

It's going to take me a while to sort through the 2003 Roster Moves post, since I haven't actually looked *forward* with regards to the roster for quite some time now, but the 2003 Roster Moves should be next...unless I think of something else. :c070:

EDIT - Forgot the Draft Post

Edited by JMDurron, 13 November 2011 - 11:00 AM.

#6 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 13 November 2011 - 09:44 AM

I can't promise not to come back and edit this post 14 times as I discover things I've missed, but here's the

2002 - 2003 Roster Moves

First off, Pedro Martinez does win his 5th consecutive Cy Young Award following the 2002 season.

For some context, here's how things stood from the 2002 season.

I already have two deviations, imposed or revealed by the OOTP sim.

- Rickey Henderson retired prior to the 2002 season, so Kapler was the only backup OFer in 2002
- There was no room for Alan Embree, therefore I did not trade for him. It was a mistake for me to think I needed him


Derek Lowe departs as a Type B Free Agent. There is absolutely no room for him, either in the bullpen or in the rotation. Lowe signs with the Cincinnati Reds, bringing a supplemental 1st round pick.

David Ortiz also departs, but as a Type A Free Agent. The continued presence of Bagwell and the arrival of Mark Teixeira makes him redundant. Ortiz signs with the Milwaukee Brewers. I was concerned that I'd now have to choose between using the OOTP draft order and the Real Life draft order to determine whether I get a 1st rounder and supplemental pick, or just a supplemental pick, but as it turns out, the Brewers had the 2nd overall pick in the historical 2003 draft, and would have the 5th round pick if the Amateur Draft was enabled in the OOTP sim. How handy! I get only a supplemental pick for Ortiz. Drat.


Freddy Sanchez enters year 2, as his cup of coffee became more significant in the Sim due to injuries. I neglected to think of him in my original post.

Mark Teixeira arrives. Kevin Gregg, Rafael Betancourt, and Dan Haren all arrive for the bullpen at the same time. Hello, roster crunch! Brandon Webb joins the rotation, we'll see if that's a roster crunch or not shortly.

Position Players

At C, the Varitek-Mirabelli situation remains unchanged. At 1B, Pujols' remaining LF ability means that there is room for Bagwell/Teixeira to cover 1B/DH without a roster conflict. The middle IF is a potential roster crunch, particularly at 2B. Nomar remains at SS. Hillenbrand remains at 3B, but might be related to the 2B roster crunch. The OF is quite stable, Pujols-Edmonds-Beltran with Kapler backing up. Another backup OFer would be nice, as my depth is sorely lacking there.

At 2B/3B, the roster situation looks like this. Incumbent Polanco (2B/3B) in front of Marcus Giles (2B/3B), and Orlando Hudson (2B). Also in the mix are Freddy Sanchez (2B/SS/3B) and Hillenbrand (3B). Sanchez is still easily a backup player at this point, and is the only SS-capable reserve. He is pretty safe. The main issue is 2B, and the question is whether or not to change 3B for the sake of 2B. Hudson is only in his second season, and still performs like a backup, so he can also be a reserve, but I essentially have two spots for Polanco, Giles, and Hillenbrand.

Polanco is in the last year of his deal, and may not have performed well enough to bring draft pick compensation when he departs. Marcus Giles has 4 years of team control remaining, and looks primed to start being a stud at the plate. Hillenbrand also has 4 years remaining, and is durable, if unremarkable at 3B. It seems that the real choice is at 3B, either going with Giles at 2B and Polanco at 3B for 1 season, or Giles at 2B and Hillenbrand at 3B for 4 seasons. The prospect pipeline provides the solution here, as David Wright is due to arrive in 2004, therefore Polanco's 1 year of mediocre offense but awesome defense serves me well enough to say goodbye to Hillenbrand's 4 years of mediocre offense and defense.

Shea Hillenbrand goes onto the trading block. Giles will be at 2B, Polanco at 3B, with Freddy Sanchez backing up 2B-SS-3B, and probably 1B in emergency situations only.

The Rotation

Pedro Martinez, Javier Vazquez (who has been a sim stud, proof that OOTP doesn't watch the games!), Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, and Roy Oswalt all remain from the 2002 rotation. Brandon Webb is now ready to join the party. Does this require a trade to resolve? Thankfully, no.

In 2003, Roy Oswalt only pitches 127.1 IP, which while not freeing up Webb's full 180.2 IP, does make it reasonable for me to keep Webb as the 6th starter/Pawtucket shuttle starter as insurance for Oswalt's injury. The only reason Webb would start in Pawtucket instead of Boston is due to the number of bullpen arms taking up roster spots, this isn't a play for additional team control, although that might be the incidental result if Oswalt (and everyone else) stays healthy in the Sim.

The Bullpen

Oh, here we go. Derek Lowe's departure frees up one spot, but that's not going to be enough. Bob Howry, Danny Kolb, Keith Foulke (surprise extra year of control!), Scot Shields, Brian Fuentes, and Joe Nathan all remain from the 2002 bullpen, as does Casey Fossum. That's a full 7-man bullpen right there, although Fossum is easily shuttled to/from Pawtucket. Now joining them are Kevin Gregg, Rafael Betancourt, and Dan Haren.

A note is required on Foulke's extra year of control. For the entire exercise, I considered each part of the team as a segment. Position players, Rotation, and Bullpen. The part I neglected to keep in mind was the 25-man roster limit! This comes up when I had rosters that included a 5th OFer, extra backup IFer, 6th starter, or 7th bullpen arm. When simming these out, I generally erred on the side of leaving the extra bullpen arm in "Pawtucket" (Reserve Roster), which means that some of my bullpen arms have more team control left from time to time than I had originally expected. I think this is how most teams would reasonably behave, keeping the extra long-man or position player when faced with a conflict, in order to keep players rested. Therefore, I accept the extra year of control from Foulke...even though that actually complicates the situation right now. This also had an impact on some "6th starter" scenarios, such as Tim Hudson in 1999. This means that Hudson is under team control until 2005, instead of through 2004.

So, back to the bullpen, I essentially have 7 spots for 10 players. I know that I'm not going to need to trade for Curt Schilling in the 2003 offseason, so Casey Fossum is a pretty obvious trade candidate. Onto the trade block with him! This now leaves 7 spots for 9 players. In the bullpen, I can most likely easily justify keeping one of the upcoming arms in the minors, but not two of them. Based on historical 2003 performance, Dan Haren is the obvious guy to ride the shuttle as needed. He'll come up if someone gets hurt, or if one of the starting 7 really happen to suck. One benefit of keeping guys who are pre-FA is that they have options to move up and down as needed if they suck, which is huge given the variable performance levels of relief arms. That puts me at 7 for 8 players. I can trade one of the up-and-comers like Gregg and Betancourt, or one of the soon-to-depart arms, like Howry or Foulke. Comparing their historical 2003 performances leads to one clear conclusion, and that is to trade Bob Howry.

Historical Transactions

I do not claim Brandon Lyon off waivers from the Blue Jays.

I do not trade for Todd Walker.

I do not trade for Jeremy Giambi.

I do not Damian Jackson, forcing someone to go straight to his current screen name.

I do not sign Chad Fox or Ramiro Mendoza.

I do not sign Mike Timlin.

I do not sign David Ortiz.

I do not claim Bronson Arroyo off waivers from the Pirates.

I do not purchase Kevin Millar from the Marlins. A backup 1B might be handy, but I can always move Bagwell from DH, and we know how Millar handles being a benchwarmer.

I do not release Lou Merloni, making a mockery of this transaction. IF depth in AAA is important.

I do not trade for Byung-Hyun Kim.

I do not trade for Scott Williamson.

I do not trade for Jeff Suppan and Scott Sauerbeck.

I do not sign Bill Mueller.

Up Next, the Trade Market for Shea Hillenbrand, Casey Fossum, and Bob Howry. I am seeking an upgrade on Kapler as the 4th OFer.

EDIT - Adding destinations to Lowe and Ortiz. Also forgot Bill Mueller. Shame on me for that.

Edited by JMDurron, 13 November 2011 - 10:52 AM.

#7 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:30 AM

2003 Preseason Trade Market

What I have - 3B Shea Hillenbrand, RP Bob Howry, SP/RP Casey Fossum

What I want - a better 4th OFer than Gabe Kapler. I have an entire new wave of OFers coming in 2004 (Holliday, Sizemore, Rios), so I don't need anyone beyond a 1-year deal. So much the better if I could bag a draft pick for whoever I bring in.

So, it's off to OOTP, and OOTP's quite handy listing - "Upcoming FAs". I am doing this on the day that 2002 offseason FAs file for free agency, so the "Upcoming Free Agents" listing shows guys who will become FAs after 2003. I am looking for someone who is defensively capable, as Kapler's defensive ratings at LF, CF, and RF are only 41, 21, and 51 respectively. 2003 was an excellent offensive year for Kapler historically, but OOTP rightfully penalizes the ratings of players who put up good numbers in small sample sizes, therefore I cannot count on that production. I really want someone who can be a defensive replacement for Pujols in LF, or could play CF or RF full-time if Edmonds or Beltran get injured, even if only for a week or two.

The following candidates come up, where the other team would accept the combo of Hillenbrand-Fossum-Howry for the player:

Marquis Grissom - TOR - Rated 42-45-64
Richard Hidalgo - PIT - 65-35-78 (would also require Tomo Ohka, who I never traded for Ugueth Urbina)
Karim Garcia - LOL

So, I get as far as Hidalgo and stop. Historically, Hidalgo put up a OPS+ of 143 in 141 games for the 2003 Astros, following a poor 2002 campaign. In OOTP, his 2002 campaign for the Pirates was much better, with a 116 OPS+ in 150 games. He is also the most defensively capable LF (not incompetent in CF, good enough in RF) who is a FA after the 2003 season. He is also insurance against either Beltran or Pujols unexpectedly being injured or sucking horribly.

I trade Shea Hillenbrand, Bob Howry, Casey Fossum, and Tomo Ohka to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Richard Hidalgo.

I forgot where I did it, but player personality/morale impacts are turned off in my OOTP sim, just as they were in Mogul. Suddenly that seems quite relevant, as I trade for a starting-quality player to be my 4th OFer. :buddy:

The 2003 Season Narrative Post is next, but after I sim to see where David Ortiz and Derek Lowe sign.

#8 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 13 November 2011 - 11:57 AM

The 2003 Season

Position Players

C: Jason Varitek (120). Doug Mirabelli (92) backs up.
1B: Mark Teixeira over Kevin Millar (110 -> 102). Bagwell backs up with Hidalgo (143) at DH.
2B: Marcus Giles over Todd Walker (95 -> 136). Sanchez (36) backs up, with Hudson (87) coming up for any injury time.
SS: Nomar Garciaparra (121). Sanchez backs up.
3B: Placido Polanco over Bill Mueller (140 -> 113). Sanchez backs up.
LF: Albert Pujols over Manny Ramirez (160 -> 187). Hidalgo backs up, followed by Kapler.
CF: Jim Edmonds over Johnny Damon (94 -> 160). Hidalgo backs up, Kapler behind him.
RF: Carlos Beltran over Trot Nixon (149 -> 132). Hidalgo, then Kapler backing up.
DH: Jeff Bagwell over David Ortiz (144 -> 128). Hidalgo backs up.


Doug Mirabelli - C
Freddy Sanchez - 2B, SS, 3B
Orlando Hudson - 2B, emergency SS/3B
Richard Hidalgo - LF, CF, RF, DH
Gabe Kapler - LF, CF, RF

Starting Rotation

Pedro Martinez (186.2/211)
Tim Hudson (240/165)
Javier Vazquez (230.2/139)
Mark Buehrle (230.1/112)
Roy Oswalt (127.1/143)

Brandon Webb (180.2/160) - 6th starter. Webb comes up and gets time as soon as Oswalt gets hurt. His IP will drop, but it seems unlikely that his effectiveness would.

The Bullpen

Scot Shields (148.1/154) - there's no way he gets this many IP here
Keith Foulke (86.2/215)
Joe Nathan (79/137)
Brian Fuentes (75.1/177)
Dan Kolb (41.1/216)
Rafael Betancourt (38/208)
Kevin Gregg (24.2/136)

Dan Haren (72.2/76)

At this precise point, I accidentally closed this tab. Firefox's "recently closed tabs" history option keeping this text just prevented an aneurism. Ebeh. :gonk:

The Pawtucket Shuttle

One thing that the Sim has made me aware of is that there are too many players to fit on my 25-man roster. Therefore, I need to specify which of these players will be in the minors until they are needed. Out of these 28 players, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and Orlando Hudson - all young players who are basically "in case of..." guys on the depth chart, are the 3 who shall ride the shuttle. So they get playing time throughout the season, but are not on the OD roster, barring ST injuries.

Season Results

Historically, the 2003 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, 6 games back of the Yankees, winning the Wild Card by 2 games over the Seattle Mariners. They defeated the Oakland A's in the ALDS, before famously losing to the Yankees in a 7-game ALCS, courtesy of Yankees ALCS MVP Grady Little.

My lineup might actually be a downgrade over the historical 2003 squad. C and SS are unchanged, 2B, LF, and CF are upgraded, but 1B, 3B, RF, and DH are all downgraded. The flipside of that is not only is the starting rotation ridiculously awesome by comparison, but the offensive downgrades (outside of DH) all represent significant defensive upgrades. Teixeira, Giles, and Beltran are all massive defensive improvements over Millar, Walker, and Nixon, plus Pujols is certainly no worse than Manny in LF. Edmonds might or might not be an upgrade over Damon in this stage of their respective careers.

In short, the offense is still the best in the AL, but this is not the 8th best pitching staff/defense. This team wins the AL East over a still-excellent Yankees team, so now it's time to figure out the ALDS opponents. The Minnesota Twins originally won the AL Central in 2003 by 4 games over the Chicago White Sox, and I see no impact of my moves on the Twins' roster, as Joe Nathan was still a Giant in 2003. So, the Twins are unmolested.

The A's, on the other hand, are missing both their #1 starter and closer in Hudson and Foulke. They only won the AL West over Seattle by 3 games in 2003, so it's time to check Seattle's roster for impacts. There are none that I can detect, therefore the Mariners replace the A's as 2003 AL West Champions. The Red Sox face the Twins, and the Yankees face the Mariners in the postseason.

The 2003 Twins got by on the 6th best offense in the AL, and the 6th best pitching staff. That pitching staff, however, was very bullpen-heavy, with only 1 full-time starter having an ERA+ over 100, that being Brad Radke at 101. The upside is that Johan Santana, who started the season in the bullpen, moved to the rotation at the end of the year. So instead of Radke-Crap-Crap, the Twins can trot out Santana-Radke-Crap for their ALDS rotation, while still having an excellent Guardado-Hawkins-Rincon combo in the bullpen.

Unfortunately for them, Santana tires in the postseason, Radke is well-known by Red Sox scouts, and a top 3 of Pedro Martinez, Tim Hudson, and Mark Buehrle cannot be overcome. The worst Red Sox reliever (out of the starting 7) has an ERA+ of 136. The Twins are buried in 3 games.

The Seattle Mariners got by with the 7th best offense, and the best pitching staff by runs allowed in 2003. Obviously, Safeco Field was a factor there. The Mariners featured a dominant bullpen and above average 1-3 starters, making them a team well-suited to the postseason. The Yankees blow a couple of leads in the ALDS before they can get the ball to Mariano Rivera, but ultimately win a hard-fought ALDS in 5 games. The Mariners simply could not keep up with the Yankees offense, and the Yankees roster is untouched by my direct moves.

We know what this means - the 2003 ALCS between the Red Sox and Yankees. This time, it is the Yankees forced to start the series with their 3rd starter due to a long ALDS, while the Red Sox are able to deploy a rested Pedro Martinez. Unfortunately, the Red Sox lineup slumps to start the series, and Roger Clemens outduels Pedro Martinez in game 1. Mike Mussina is outdueled in turn by Tim Hudson in Game 2, and the series goes to New York tied at 1 each. Game 3 is a battle between lefties Buehrle and Pettitte, with the Red Sox bullpen outlasting Mariano Rivera for an extra-inning win. Pedro and Clemens cross swords again in Game 4, this time with Pedro coming out on top, with the Red Sox bullpen narrowly hanging onto a 1-run lead. The Red Sox run a risk in Game 5, trotting out Brandon Webb (up for an injured Roy Oswalt) against Mussina. The Yankees wallop the rookie, Javier Vazquez comes in from the pen to put gas on the fire, and the Yankees win a slugfest to send the series back to Boston. Tim Hudson pitches well in Game 6, and Andy Pettitte is slighly off, but the bullpens magically shift capabilities, and the Yankees are able to force a 7th game.

The third and final battle between Pedro and Clemens plays out similarly to history. The Red Sox jump out to an early lead against a tired Clemens. David Wells makes his first appearance in the series to hold the line through the 7th inning, as Pedro tires late. The Red Sox lead 4-2 in the 8th, and Francona decides to let Pedro try to get past Jeter in the lineup, before going to the bullpen against Bernie Williams. Nick Johnson pops out to Nomar at SS. Derek Jeter then lifts a fly ball out to RF, with a Fenway breeze carrying it deeper than expected. Carlos Beltran catches it easily, Francona goes to the bullpen, and the Red Sox win Game 7 of the ALCS 4-2. It's a good thing Trot Nixon wasn't out there!

So, the Red Sox advance to the 2003 World Series. But, who do they face? Let's take a look at the NL playoff picture. The NL-East winning Braves are essentially unaffected by my moves, as it's reasonable to suspect that Russ Ortiz might have made his way there by now. The Wild-Card winning Marlins are similarly unaffected. Ditto for the NL-Central winning Cubs. The NL-West winning Giants are missing Joe Nathan, but they won that division by 15.5 games (Giants did not make up a rainout, going 100-61) over the Dodgers. Nathan is not worth 15.5 games in the standings. The two NLDS series play out as expected.

As for the NLCS, one has to wonder whether or not, if you witness something in real life that you understand could only really happen 1 out of every 10000 times if you played that same series over and over again, it would be fair to assume that things played out precisely the same way again. In Game 6 of the NLCS, the Cubs lead 3-1 with 1 out, with Luis Castillo on 2B, Ivan Rodriguez at 1B, and Miguel Cabrera at the plate, and there is a groundball to Cubs SS Alex Gonzalez. The Bartman ball has already happened, but this time around, Gonzalez fields the ball...but not cleanly. He bobbles it briefly on the transfer, and gets only Rodriguez out at 2B. The GIDP is still not converted, even with Miguel Cabrera runnings. Derek Lee then doubles to LF, scoring Castillo and sending Cabrera to 3B. The score is now 3-2, Cubs. Farnsworth comes in for Prior. Farnsworth intentionally walks Mike Lowell. Farnsworth then gets Jeff Conine to fly out to RF, and this is not a sac-fly, as there were 2 outs. The inning ends, and the Cubs win Game 6 of the NLCS, 3-2, advancing to face the Red Sox in the World Series. As it should have been.

The lack of a Game 7 also spares Kerry Wood from having to pitch again in the NLCS, so he is available for Game 1 of the World Series in Boston. Unfortunately for the Cubs, their manager is still Dusty Baker, while the Red Sox bring Terry Francona and a now-awakened Red Sox lineup to the field. Prior and Wood still suffer fatigued from being Dusty Bakered over 162 games, and aside from a heroic Game 2 performance by Carlos Zambrano, the World Series is never in doubt. The Red Sox clinch in Game 5 in Chicago, forcing the Cubs fans to watch another team celebrate a World Series victory on their own field. The Curse of Kenny Lofton lives on. The Red Sox repeat as World Series champions, capturing their 19th title.

Up next, the 2003 OOTP Season Simulation.

Edited by JMDurron, 13 November 2011 - 11:58 AM.

#9 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 13 November 2011 - 04:31 PM

2003 OOTP Season Simulation

OOTP has more storylines, news, notes, etc., so I can add a little more detail/color to this sim than I could in Mogul.

Preseason Predictions

Posted Image

Do I hear 6 straight Cy Youngs for Pedro?

For the NL, not on the screen, OOTP expects the playoff teams to be the Marlins, Expos (now featuring Barry Bonds!), Cardinals, and Diamondbacks.

Single Season Walkthrough

I use Spring Training as an opportunity to teach Hidalgo 1B to the greatest degree possible. The OOTP engine won't move a player from DH in the middle of the game, so if Teixeira goes down in a game with Bagwell at DH, I need Hidalgo to be 1B-capable. OOTP does let you train players on other positions, although their underlying ratings will still have a major impact on their capabilities. I'll take a crappy 1B over someone who doesn't know which mitt to grab, if I wanted that I would have signed Millar! Just kidding...mostly.

My owner's preseason expectation is that I play at least .500 ball. Oooook. OOTP doesn't seem to have the real owners loaded.

A note on simulation behavior - I check my players' performances every month, just as I did with Mogul. If, at the end of a month (besides April, I start this in May unless someone is horrible beyond all reckoning), or when an injury occurs, a player is clearly underperforming relative to his backup, he loses the job. Obviously there is some logic involved here, it takes a bigger performance gap for Pujols to lose his job to Kapler than it would for Marcus Giles to lose his job to Orlando Hudson. This mostly impacts bullpen arms, as Haren will likely move up into the bullpen to replace whoever ends up randomly sucking in 2003. We shall see. I also shift bullpen roles quite frequently, as I established previously in the narrative that all of my reliever prospects are "trained" to be Jamesian bullpen aces. I'm sure they still have egos, but ask me how much I care. I also frequently evaluate and change my batting orders at the end of each month.

At the end of April, the Red Sox sit at 14-14, in 3rd place, 5 games behind the division-leading Blue Jays. Just a single-month of under-performing, nothing to be concerned about. That said, Dan Haren gets some innings at the expense of Foulke, who is pitching so poorly that something must be going on with his home life, or something.

At the end of May, the Red Sox are 31-24, in 2nd place, 4 games behind the Blue Jays, leading the Wild Card by 1/2 game over the Tigers. Are these Blue Jays for real? After two months of putrid offensive performance, Placido Polanco loses the 3B job to Freddy Sanchez. This bodes poorly for Polanco bringing me a draft pick when he leaves after this season. The only good news is that Polanco is the only starter who could also cover SS well as a backup IF.

At the end of June, the Sox are 50-32, still 1 game back of the Blue Jays for 1st place. Yes, I'd say these Blue Jays mean business. Roy Halladay's arrival is at hand. Pedro Martinez wins pitcher of the month, going 4-0 with a 0.50 ERA in 5 starts, 35.2 IP. Freddy Sanchez flops with additional playing time, so given the choice between two guys who can't hit, I'll take Polanco's stellar glove at 3B. Sanchez is back to being the utility IF.

In mid-July, Foulke returns when Kevin Gregg goes onto the 15-day DL with a viral infection. Red Sox All-Stars include Pedro Martinez, Brian Fuentes, Jeff Bagwell, Mark Teixeira, Marcus Giles, Albert Pujols, and Jim Edmonds. At the end of July, the Sox finally claim first place, with a record of 68-41, 2 games ahead of the Blue Jays. Pedro is once again pitcher of the month (6 GS, 5-0, 2.25 ERA, 40 IP). Foulke continued to suck, and goes back down when Kevin Gregg returns from injury.

On August 12, Pedro Martinez gets career victory #200. On August 24, Marcus Giles, AL WAR leader, is lost for a month to a back injury. Orlando Hudson is called up to take his place. At the end of August, the Sox sit at 80-57, 1 game behind the Blue Jays, but leading the AL Wild Card by 1.5 games over the Rays. Brandon Webb and Keith Foulke are added to the roster. Not only is the AL East winning streak of 20 consecutive seasons in jeopardy, but the playoffs are not a sure thing either!

Jim Edmonds hits HR #300 on September 2. On September 21, Mark Buehrle ruptures a tendon in his finger, and is lost for the remainder of the season. Brandon Webb takes his rotation spot. On September 23, Marcus Giles makes his triumphant return. At the end of the Regular Season, the Red Sox are 100-62, winning the AL East by 6 games over the Wild Card-Winning Blue Jays.

The Texas Rangers are the ALDS opponent. As the weakest link in the healthy starting 5, Tim Hudson is banished to mop-up duty in the playoffs. The playoff rotation is therefore Pedro-Oswalt-Vazquez(it's just a simulation...it's just a simulation...)-Webb. Kapler is left off the playoff roster in favor of Hudson. Foulke is sent on a burger run.

In the ALDS, the OOTP AI does not know how to rest starters before the postseason, so Pedro is unavailable for Game 1 at Fenway. The duty falls to Roy Oswalt, who throws 7 shutout innings while the Sox win, 6-0. In Game 2, Vazquez bests him with 8 shutout innings, as the Sox win 3-0. In Game 3, Pedro shockingly gets his head handed to him, and the Texas Con Man himself pitches the Rangers to a 8-1 victory. Pedro gives up 7 runs in 2 IP, 4 earned, thanks to an error by Marcus Giles. Adding ugly to injury, John Lackey cruises while Roy Oswalt gets slammed, and a 10-1 Texas win sends the series back to Fenway Park. Game 5 will feature Javier Vazquez pitching in a do-or-die game for his team, in the postseason. He only allows 1 run over 7 innings, but the Rangers bullpen gets the better of Betancourt and Fuentes, and the Rangers come back with single runs in the 8th and 9th innings to win, 3-2. The 2003 Red Sox pulled a 2003 A's.

The Blue Jays lose to the Twins, who in turn lose to the Rangers. The Rangers then are defeated soundly, in 5 games, by Les Expos in the 2003 World Series.

Post-Season Analysis

So, not much to complain about with a 100-win season, aside from how quickly it ended in October. The team finished 4 games under their Pyth record. The team was 1st in the AL in Runs Scored, 1st in Runs Allowed, and 3rd in Defensive Efficiency.

For the sake of comparison, here's the real 2003 Red Sox.

First, the position players.

Posted Image

Varitek was not up to his 2003 self, but wasn't exactly a problem either. Mirabelli mashed against LHPs. Jeff Bagwell essentially matched his historical performance, but came up short of 2003 David Ortiz at DH. Mark Teixeira bested both himself and Kevin Millar's 2003 baseline. Marcus Giles was clearly the team MVP, destroying Todd Walker and besting his own excellent baseline. Orlando Hudson was excellent in part-time relief of Giles during his injury, easily besting his historical numbers in a small sample size. Placido Polanco and Freddy Sanchez both sucked, Polanco more and Sanchez less than they did historically. Neither held a candle to Bill Mueller, but Polanco was a far superior defender. Nomar gives back about 100 points of OPS, that's not a good thing. Pujols was quite good, but not nearly as good as his 2003 self, or Manny Ramirez. Carlos Beltran (should read RF there, oops) was not helpful. He was a massive disappointment. Jim Edmonds was excellent, and a clear upgrade over Johnny Damon, despite not quite matching his own 2003 baseline. Hidalgo was serviceable, particularly against LHP, when Beltran struggled. He came up short of historical Gabe Kapler, but then, so did Gabe Kapler.

Onto the pitching staff.

Posted Image

Pedro Martinez threw more innings, but came up pretty short of his original 2003 season. Roy Oswalt stayed healthy, but was also less effective on a rate basis. Javier Vazquez threw fewer, lower quality innings than he historically did in 2003. Tim Hudson was quite disappointing, proving to be durable while bringing a below-average performance. Buehrle was slightly less effective than he was historically, and got injured to end the season. Brandon Webb got 1 start and a few relief appearances.

The bullpen, on the other hand, was pretty awesome. Nathan and Gregg were below average, and Foulke sucked, but Fuentes, Kolb, and Betancourt outdid themselves to more than make up for it. The OOTP AI's selection of relief pitchers to use leaves something to be desired, but I find it hard to complain about having 5 bullpen aces.

Years of Control

Before I can get to the individual player awards, OOTP presents the information about arbitration. This is where I discover, essentially, how much service time I have projected left with each player who has finished their league minimum service. As an example, for this year, I see that I have exactly 3 years of service time left for Buehrle, Oswalt, Giles, and Pujols. Scot Shields is a Super-2, so he has 4 years remaining. There is a 6th person here...it is Keith Foulke. Because Foulke sucked, and Haren was called up in his place, Foulke did not exhaust his full 6th year of service time. The OOTP "Reserve Roster" basically acts like the minor leagues for MLB Service Time, except that there are no option years. This leaves me with

The Curious Case of Keith Foulke

He's still under my control, to the point that I cannot get a draft pick for him if he leaves as a Type B. I could just release him, since he "should" be a free agent by now, but on the other hand...players have 3 option years, and I only sent Foulke down twice - in 1997, and in 2003, both times because he sucked. That's two option years out of 3. So, practically speaking, he's still at less than 6 years of MLB Service time, and he has an option year left. I don't actually feel compelled to release him. I do, however, have to do another single-arb year with him for 2004, so he'll be pricier than he would have been if I had been able to predict that I would control him for this long. I'll just have to manually check who gets sent to the minors for the sake of keeping mental "Option Years" in my head, and if a player who still has less than 6 years of service time has been sent down 3 times already, I will release him instead of offering arb, as that seems like a somewhat fair/realistic way to play this. I still have some hope of Foulke playing well enough to merit draft pick compensation in 2004, so I'm going to give him one last shot. He's gone after 2004 no matter what, as it would be his 3rd option year, he's going to suck in 2005,and he really should have sufficient service time at that point.


In an attempt to match the 6 years of team control with contracts, Foulke gets a 1-year deal, Buehrle, Oswalt, Giles, and Pujols get 3-year deals, and Shields gets a 4-year deal.

This is also the screen where I see who merits Type A or B arbitration compensation...but that's for another post. Let's just say that the 2004 draft is going to be AWESOME.

Leaders and Awards

Gold Gloves - Marcus Giles (2B)
Rookie of the Year - Mark Teixeira
Cy Young Award - Pedro Martinez - 6 in a row, 8 total!

AL Leaders:
OBP - Marcus Giles
RBI - Jeff Bagwell
R - Mark Teixeira
XBH - Mark Teixeira

Wins - Pedro Martinez
SHO - Pedro Martinez and Mark Buehrle (4-way tie...with 1)

Up next - the 2003 Draft

Edited by JMDurron, 13 November 2011 - 07:10 PM.

#10 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:21 AM

As an aside, a special thanks goes out to Chainsaw318, who happened to be browsing in this thread just as I was working on one of the initial posts on Sunday (racing to beat kickoff), thereby letting me know that somebody is still interested without me having to make another lame, attention-whoring "is this thing on?" post.

The 2003 Draft

Historically, the Red Sox had 2 1st round draft picks. The team had the standard 17th overall pick, plus a supplemental pick for the loss of FA Cliff Floyd. The Red Sox selected Matt Murton and David Murphy. These two players do not meet my criteria for "keep good players the Sox originally drafted". Those two are not Bruce Hurst, Mo Vaughn, or Nomar Garciaparra. I might still get two OFers, though.

I have the 30th overall pick in the 1st round. I also have two supplemental picks from losing Derek Lowe and David Ortiz.

With the 30th overall pick, I select Matt Kemp. Kemp will arrive in 2006 as a part-timer, going full-time in 2008.

With my 1st supplemental pick, I select Andre Ethier. Ethier will arrive full-time in 2006.

With my 2nd supplemental pick, I select Brad Ziegler. Ziegler will arrive in 2008.

Kemp and Ethier were basically the only post-1st round position players worth looking at. Adam Jones is no Matt Kemp. Ziegler was the best of a strong RP crop, including Brian Wilson, Sean Marshall, and Jonny Venters. Because...I desperately need more relievers! :c070: Honestly, I couldn't find a single starter worth taking over these three.

As per history, the Jonathan Papelbon is drafted in the 4th round.

2003 - 2004 Roster Moves are next.

EDIT - So, apparently, I drafted Ian Kinsler in an earlier post without realizing that he did not sign in the year in which I drafted him. Oops. I'm forced to say that I just threw an ungodly amount of money at him, so now he is a part of my system, due to arrive on schedule, a la Teixeira. Now I can deny him a college education and still let Pedroia take his spot in 2007.

SoSH needs a devil smiley. Seriously.

Edited by JMDurron, 15 November 2011 - 12:27 AM.

#11 MikeM

  • 1,315 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 06:17 PM

I've been checking in too, as i've been a huge fan/player of OOTP after switching over from Mogul years ago (version 6). Never really messed around too much with historic sims though, as the draft mechanic presenting too many of the players at an advanced/MLB-ready rating level always irked me on some some level. Mostly have stuck with MLB quick starts, or pure fictionally generated worlds.

That said, there's certainly fun and potentially interesting scenarios to be played out there, and i've enjoyed reading your progress.

#12 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:08 PM

I've been checking in too, as i've been a huge fan/player of OOTP after switching over from Mogul years ago (version 6). Never really messed around too much with historic sims though, as the draft mechanic presenting too many of the players at an advanced/MLB-ready rating level always irked me on some some level. Mostly have stuck with MLB quick starts, or pure fictionally generated worlds.

Yeah, and those players in the draft being presented at such an advanced/MLB-ready rating, due to filtering out historical scrubs and the ratings of their historical capabilities creates a ridiculously high hit rate for all franchises in the draft. I think that's actually another artificial way that teams end up being "more equal" in these historical sims than they probably should be. Since the teams that get the #1-3 picks are basically guaranteed guys who were perpetual All-Stars or eventual HOFers, all of the teams that suck one year basically get the "2008 Rays Effect" in another year or two, because it's almost impossible to blow those picks. The AI sees the same ratings that you do, so why would they blow their draft picks? You also get no "diamonds in the rough", because the crap players that other teams fell for are filtered out, or replaced with fictional players that you know to stay away from.

This is why I feel that disabling the draft and going with a reserve roster is the best option. It does tie up-and-coming players (middling players and stars alike) to their historical franchises, but since I am more interested in variations upon the real history than a complete reboot of the history of MLB, that works pretty well for my purposes. If they get the financial model worked out (an issue with historical and fictional more than MLB Quickstart, it seems to me), it'll be just about perfect. I mean, the Yankees with the smallest budget in all of the league? In 2003? Come on!

#13 MikeM

  • 1,315 posts

Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:55 PM

Even with the quick start, i've never quite found a comfortable customization point for the financial system. Or at least one where the inflation rate does not eventually push superstar player salaries as a whole a little too far up there (imo) 15-20 years into my sim.

I actually plan on pushing Markus (game developer and Sox fan, who's pretty interactive with the posters on the forum in the event you've never checked it out) pretty hard about that historic draft issue once testing on 13 gets in full swing. As surprisingly, and in the extensive amount of feedback that gets floated around there, that particular issue has rarely been brought up. Probably a simple fix too, as far as what they can and can't implant on a yearly basis.

#14 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:27 AM

Even with the quick start, i've never quite found a comfortable customization point for the financial system. Or at least one where the inflation rate does not eventually push superstar player salaries as a whole a little too far up there (imo) 15-20 years into my sim.

I actually plan on pushing Markus (game developer and Sox fan, who's pretty interactive with the posters on the forum in the event you've never checked it out) pretty hard about that historic draft issue once testing on 13 gets in full swing. As surprisingly, and in the extensive amount of feedback that gets floated around there, that particular issue has rarely been brought up. Probably a simple fix too, as far as what they can and can't implant on a yearly basis.

I check the OOTP board quite frequently myself, I concur on Markus and his level of interaction with the customer base. Schilling's appearance was interesting as well. To me, the most critical issue is tweaking/correcting the financials, and I worry about that getting lost in adding new features and doing more development in iOOTP. We shall see.

I haven't gone more than 3 years into my MLB Quickstart yet, as I just used it to get acclimated to the game for the purposes of this simulation. I do plan to get back to it once I am done with this, but I play out all the games (in the Quickstart, NOT in this...yet!), so it takes me quite some time to sim. The AI bullpen management is so poor that I have trouble leaving my team's season to the simulator. It's part of my issue with the 1980s in this scenario as well.

#15 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:37 AM

2003 - 2004 Roster Moves

Now that I have actual stats from the sim, in a somewhat more competitive league environment, I figure it makes sense to add a little more detail to notable departing players.


Things almost literally could not have turned out better on the draft pick compensation front. This might actually be its own post.

As expected, Javier Vazquez departs. He is a Type A free agent, as well he should be, given his stupendous performance in a Red Sox uniform. Over 6 seasons, he compiled 95 wins and 55 losses, an ERA of 3.70, and an ERA+ of 123. He did that in in Fenway Park, in the AL East. His best season, 2001, featured a 21-8 record, 238.1 IP, and a 2.79 ERA that translated to an ERA+ of 157. His worst numbers, which all came from different seasons, featured a 13-12 record one year, "only" 192.1 IP one year, and an ERA/ERA+ of 4.24/112 another year.

On the other hand, in the postseason, over 8 starts, he compiled a 1-4 record, and a 4.24 ERA. That's the Javy we all know and love! It merits mentioning that he got no postseason starts in either of the two World Series-winning seasons during which he was on the team.

Jeff Bagwell also departs, after 13 seasons in a Red Sox uniform. He leaves as a 7-time World Series winner, with 1 MVP award, 1 Rookie of the Year Award, 1 Gold Glove at 1B, and 6 All Star Selections. He departs with 349 career HRs and a 293/391/512 stat line, good for an OPS+ of 137. He only broke the 1.000 OPS mark once, in 1996, but never had an OPS+ below 100. He is a Type A free agent.

Now, onto the surprises, and my are they happy ones! Richard Hidalgo, acquired for his short contract and 2002 performance that might merit compensation even while spending 2003 as a backup player, is designated a Type B free agent. This despite his impressive 2003 VORP (OOTP uses a different VORP calculation than the norm, I believe, but still..) of...0.2. I do pass go, I will collect one draft pick!

Placido Polanco, on the other hand, is also gone after 6 seasons with the Red Sox. He leaves after having 6 consecutive seasons of putrid offensive performance, with OPS+ numbers of 43, 67, 71, 79, 92, and 68. That last number is even greater when you consider that it came at 3B instead of Bill Mueller. He leaves with two World Series rings and 1 Gold Glove award at 2B from 2001.

Polanco is a Type A free agent. The following is the only appropriate reaction to this.

Posted Image

Gabe Kapler departs as well, bringing no compensation.

So, the worst case scenario brings 4 supplemental picks, and the upside is 3 regular 1st round picks in addition to them, plus I won't be losing a pick for signing Keith Foulke, for obvious reasons. So, who goes where, and what does that mean?

I actually have to sim past the point where I make the rest of my roster moves to find out. So, onto the rest of the roster, then back to this.

Note on Draft Pick Compensation

I am going to let OOTP tell me which teams the players sign with, but I am going to use the historical draft order, not the OOTP draft order. This is because my draft pick selections are too dependent on where each given pick is relative to the players who have already been selected in that slot historically, and in order for that to be usable, I need to keep the original draft pick order for my selections. This will only be unfair in the scenarios where a team that has a protected OOTP draft position had an unprotected 1st rounder in the historical draft, but this seems less unfair than, say, getting the Tigers 1st round pick in 2004 because they sign Jaff Bagwell, due to the Tigers being unprotected in OOTP despite drafting Justin Verlander 2nd overall in 2004. At that point, I'd be either trying to guess who would draft Verlander instead (more overhead), or assuming that I'd have access to that same drafted player, which is more unfair than letting OOTP drive which historical pick I get. I think it's the lesser of two evils, and it just happens to be easier to implement and potentially less evil in execution.

This decision was made only when I learned of Vazquez's destination, as this was the first time the signing team had an unprotected historical 1st round pick. One other downside is that I can't really compare value of Type A players relative to each other, since while the draft order is available in the OOTP sim, since the draft itself is disabled, the picks don't change hands when players are signed. Oh well.

Vazquez signs with the LA Dodgers. I collect the 17th overall pick in the 2004 draft, plus 1 compensation pick.

Bagwell signs with the Houston Astros. I collect the 23rd overall pick in the 2004 draft, plus 1 compensation pick.

Polanco signs with the Seattle Mariners. I collect the 22nd overall pick in the 2004 draft, plus 1 compensation pick.

Hidalgo signs with...nobody as of Opening Day. I need him to sign somewhere before June in order to get the compensation pick. I thought perhaps Polanco might go unsigned as a Type-A, due to sucking and somehow being a Type-A, but Hidalgo is something of a surprise. I will have to keep an eye on this in the season simulation.


Jason Frasor joins the bullpen (we're going to need a bigger bullpen), John Buck arrives at C, Ryan Howard arrives for 1B, David Wright and Kevin Youkilis arrive at 3B, Matt Holliday joins the party in LF, Grady Sizemore arrives to patrol CF, and Alex Rios comes up for RF.

Position Players

Someone remind me why I signed Edmonds until 2005? Oh, right, I didn't look at who I might draft years down the road. Also, due to service time issue, Beltran is still under team control through 2004, instead of leaving after 2003 as I expected.

That said, it's much less of a roster crunch than it appears to be at first.

C is somewhat easy, with Varitek in the last year of his deal, Mirabelli signed through 2005 (another extra year of team control due to Varitek not being injured in 2001, which left Hatteberg as the backup and Mirabelli in the minors instead of Hatteberg starting and Mirabelli backing up), and Buck just coming up. Buck only played 71 games in 2004, so he's clearly in callup/backup position here, ready to step in for injury or any performance issues with Mirabelli. Next season, Buck can start with Mirabelli behind him, but only needing partial playing time saves me here.

At 1B, Pujols shifts from LF to 1B, with Teixeira moving from 1B to DH. Both have good real world defensive reputation, so the OOTP defensive ratings are a tiebreaker. Pujols rates at 81/100, while Teixeira is 37/100. That seems wrong to me intuitively, but hey, it's a tiebreaker, not a major determinant. Ryan Howard only played in 19 games in 2004, so I have no issues with leaving him in AAA unless there is an injury. That's a problem for next season.

Marcus Giles remains the incumbent at 2B after his awesome 2003 campaign, with Orlando Hudson backing him up. I try to keep Hudson from talking to Lou Merloni about career trajectories.

Nomar Garciaparra remains at SS, with Freddy Sanchez backing him up. Since Nomar starts the year injured, for narrative purposes, Sanchez is the starting SS on Opening Day, with Orlando Hudson furiously taking balls as a SS in Spring Training to be the backup.

3B has been vacated by Polanco's departure. Both David Wright and Kevin Youkilis arrive in 2004, and both get limited playing time in their cups of coffee. Wright had the better historical 2004 campaign, and Youk's defense at 3B is questionable compared to Wright (although OOTP disagrees), so I dub Wright the preseason favorite to be the starter. Youk stays in AAA, with Sanchez backing up 3B when Nomar is healthy, Hudson doing so when Nomar is injured. Nomar's injury is what prevents the roster crunch and gives me enough playing time to spread around.

The OF is where things aren't quite as bad as they seem. Given that all 3 OF incumbents remain from 2003, and 3 new players are coming up, that looks like a nightmare. However, Pujols moving to 1B reduces the problem, and the fact that neither Sizemore nor Rios played more than 111 games lets me off the hook. Matt Holliday is named the starting LF, albeit with a short rope due to his lackluster historical 2004 season and the presence of other studs who could use playing time. He's also enough of a butcher in the OF that Pujols in LF, Teixeira at 1B, and Holliday at DH might be a midseason adjustment if the team's defense looks to suck. Sizemore is the 4th OFer, with Rios riding the shuttle as the 5th man. Rios historically played more games in 2004, but Sizemore is the superior player, and backs up the position where my older incumbent resides. It's also more likely for a CF to be able to backup LF and RF capably than it is for a RF to backup LF and CF capably.

So, my only roster crunch really seems to be on the IF, where I may have separate backups for each individual position (if Youk is up, when Nomar is healthy), or a player losing his historical cup of coffee (if Youk stays down all season). This can be resolved with some roster kung-fu during the season, particularly since none of David Wright, Freddy Sanchez, or Kevin Youkilis were good offensive players in 2004. I get to play the "manager tries to go with the hot hand" card here, since none of these guys are good enough in 2004 to grab a starting job and run with it, and none of them have the performance record to be established as one of "Francona's guys."

The Rotation

Javier Vazquez out, Brandon Webb in. Pedro Martinez - Roy Oswalt - Tim Hudson - Mark Buehrle - Brandon Webb is my starting 5. Dan Haren has the stamina to be the 6th starter as needed, even though he was still a reliever in 2004. Yes, he's on the Derek Lowe plan!

The Bullpen

Thank you, Keith Foulke, for sucking so badly that you didn't merit enough playing time to become a free agent on time and bring Type A compensation. :angry:

Jason Frasor joins the pen, and nobody leaves. I can leave the new bullpen guy on the Pawtucket shuttle without having to work too hard to justify it, but Foulke's untimely non-departure gives me 8 men for 7 spots, and even that 7th spot is iffy given the infield roster crunch.

A solution presents itself in the form of Dan Haren. As one of our favorite moderator's heroes might say, ones does not simply walk into starting. Haren becomes a regular starting pitcher in 2005, and only pitched 46 below-average innings as a reliever in 2004, historically. Due to the upcoming departure of Pedro Martinez after the 2004 campaign, Haren is projected to be in the starting rotation in 2004. I think he had better convert to being a starter in ST of 2004, and working on "stretching himself out" in the minors until and unless he is needed as a 6th starter due to injury.

This leaves Keith Foulke, Dan Kolb, Joe Nathan, Brian Fuentes, Scot Shields, Kevin Gregg, and Rafael Betancourt in the bullpen, with Jason Frasor on hot standby in AAA, ready to replace whoever kind of sucks at the end of May, or really sucks hard at the end of April (10 IP minimum for demotion due to suckage in the sim).

Historical Transactions

I do not sign Mike Timlin (again)

I do not trade for Curt Schilling, though it pains be a bit to type that. I'm pretty sure I'd act just like him if I had his physical gifts and track record, complete with frequently not knowing when to say the generic thing, or nothing.

I do not trade for Mark Bellhorn - another painful transaction, as he was the Auburn tie to the 2004 World Series run. One of the city bookstores even had a good luck message for him posted on their street sign that October.

I do not sign Gabe Kapler.

I do not sign Keith Foulke (duh).

I do not sign Ellis Burks.

I do not select Lenny Dinardo in the Rule V draft from the Mets. I do eat a pizza and beer, but alone and without pleasant company.

I do not sign Curt Leskanic.

I do not trade for Dave Roberts.

I do not trade for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz.

I do not select Mike Myers off waivers from the Mariners. If I need Mike Myers in this scenario, something is seriously wrong.

The Season Narrative post is next.

#16 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 16 November 2011 - 11:46 PM

The 2004 Season

Since I wasn't very specific in the Roster moves thread, I'll discuss games played here. This is significant for SS and 3B in particular.

Position Players

C: Jason Varitek (121). Doug Mirabelli (124) backs up.
1B: Albert Pujols over Kevin Millar (117 -> 167). Teixeira backs up from DH.
2B: Marcus Giles over Mark Bellhorn (107 -> 106). Orlando Hudson backs up, except when Nomar is out at SS, at which point Sanchez backs up. Sort of. I'll explain at SS.

SS: Orlando Hudson over Pokey Reese (46 -> 98). Freddy Sanchez (-22) backs up when Nomar Garciaparra (113) is hurt. Nomar is not traded, so I get his "full" 81 games here, but he is also not healthy for Opening Day. On Opening Day, Sanchez gets the initial work at SS until Hudson is serviceable at the position, at which point Hudson's bat makes him the starter over the putrid offensive player in Sanchez. I figure that it will take Hudson about as long to learn the position (given ST playing time) as it will for Sanchez to run out of rope with a Kevin Cash offensive performance. Sanchez will play more than his historical 9 games out of necessity, somehow I don't think it will hurt his offensive production.

3B: David Wright over Bill Mueller (106 -> 113). Kevin Youkilis (99) backs up. Wright gets more than his historical 69 games played, and Youkilis gets slightly fewer than his 72 games played. Sanchez also has some backup duty covering here.

LF: Matt Holliday over Manny Ramirez (152 -> 98). Grady Sizemore (97) backs up. Alex Rios (85) is the 5th OFer.
CF: Jim Edmonds over Johnny Damon (117 -> 165). Sizemore backs up.
RF: Carlos Beltran over Gabe Kapler (77 -> 132). Sizemore backs up, Rios is next on the depth chart.
DH: Mark Teixeira over David Ortiz (145 -> 131). Nomar actually backs him up when healthy, as Hudson is probably a better defensive SS than 2004 Nomar, even with his inexperience. When Nomar is hurt, the rare backup appearances go to Youkilis/Sizemore/Rios as matchups dictate.


Doug Mirabelli - C
Freddy Sanchez - 2B, SS, 3B
Nomar Garciaparra - SS
Kevin Youkilis - 3B
Grady Sizemore - LF, CF, RF
Alex Rios - LF, RF

This roster crunch is resolved with Youk being present when Nomar is injured. Sanchez is the backup when Youk goes down to make room for Nomar. Lots of partial seasons make this roster juggling feasible.

Starting Pitchers

Pedro Martinez (217/125)
Mark Buehrle (245.1/122)
Roy Oswalt (237/120)
Brandon Webb (208/124)
Tim Hudson (188.2/129)

Dan Haren (46/91) - 6th starter in AAA, not many starts needed here.

The Bullpen

Scot Shields (105.1/135) - again, the IP have to drop here with this rotation
Kevin Gregg (87.2/107)
Keith Foulke (83/225)
Joe Nathan (72.1/294)
Rafael Betancourt (66.2/112)
Dan Kolb (57.1/142)
Brian Fuentes (44.2/83)

The Pawtucket Shuttle

Lots of partial seasons makes for lots of movement. There are two categories here - the frequent callups for injuries/situational needs, and the "almost no time/cup of coffee" guys

Jason Frasor, Kevin Youkilis, and Alex Rios are called up when there is a need/room for a replacement reliever, additional IF (Nomar's out), or 5th OF.

Dan Haren, Ryan Howard (117), and John Buck (79) get so little time as to be largely irrelevant, only Haren matters because of his role as 6th starter. It's not like I couldn't just do "a bullpen game" with that group anyway.

Season Results

Historically, the 2004 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, 3 games behind the Yankees, winning the Wild Card by 7 games over the Oakland A's. They swept the Angels out of the ALDS, and were down 3 games to 0 against the Yankees in the ALCS, before winning 4 games in 4 nights to become the first team in the history of Major League Baseball to win a 7-game playoff series after being down 3 games to 0. The Red Sox then won the World Series over the Finland St. Louis Cardinals in 4 games.

This is another team with an offense that might fall short of the original squad. Catcher is the same, 2B and 3B are also equivalent offensively when you mix Wright and Youk at 3B. There are massive offensive upgrades at 1B, CF, and RF. SS is upgraded offensively as well. LF is a massive downgrade, with DH being a mild downgrade as well. This team might not score the 949 runs that the real 2004 squad did, but I doubt that they give back the 52 runs that it would take to fall to #2 behind the Yankees.

Defensively, SS is significantly worse (Nomar is Nomar, but Orlando Hudson as a converted 2B instead of Pokey Reese looks ugly), 2B and RF are most likely better, 1B is an epically massive upgrade in the field, and 3B, LF, and CF are probably roughly equivalent. The rotation is upgraded overall, but none of the starting 5 quite match 2004 Curt Schilling. The back 3 of the rotation are obviously improved, and the bullpen is even more excellent than it originally was.

I don't have anyone from the 2004 Yankees roster, so they are unmolested. My Red Sox score more runs and allow fewer runs than the Yankees, but the Yankees just string the runs together in handier ways and end up winning the AL East via tiebreaker, by winning the head-to-head season series. These Red Sox win the Wild Card again.

I need to look at the potential AL playoff opponents now. In the AL West, the Angels are missing both Scot Shields and Kevin Gregg in the bullpen, which drops them below 92 wins. John Lackey is also still under team control in Texas, where I traded him to. They only won the AL West over the A's by one game...but the A's are lacking Tim Hudson. The A's will fail to win 91 games. So, now I just figure out whether or not Shields + Gregg + Lackey +1 > Hudson, right? But wait, there's more! The Texas Rangers finished only 3 games behind the Angels in 2004, but they are missing Mark Teixeira, but have John Lackey instead of a below-average half season of Chan Ho Park. This will be a fun WAR calc, won't it? It's worth keeping in mind that the Angels had a handy Lackey substitute in Ramon Ortiz. Using bWar because it's the site I happen to be on for my ERA+/OPS+ stats.

Angels = 92 - Lackey - Shields - Gregg = 92 - 2.2 - 1.9 - 0.6 = 87.3 Ramon Ortiz gets his WAR + 50% to take Lackey's innings, so 87.3 + 2.4 = 89.7
A's = 91 - Hudson = 91 - 4 = 87
Rangers = 89 - Teixeira + Lackey = 89 - 4.3 + 2.2 = 86.9

Ok, so the Angels win the AL West still. The absolute win value will obviously be higher with 2/3 of their divisional opponents also weakened. But, the WAR value still matters, because while the Minnesota Twins won the AL Central by 9 games, and therefore are still winning that division despite the loss of Joe Nathan, I need to know who is the #2 and #3 divisional winners for ALDS matchups. Take the Twins' 92 games, subtract Nathan's 4.0 WAR, and you have Ramon Ortiz making the Angels remain the #2 seed.

The Angels are promptly swept out of the ALDS by the Red Sox, and the Twins are even more hapless against the Yankees without Nathan. Glad I put the effort in there! :lol:

With the Yankees unchanged, the ALCS isn't too terribly hard to figure out. No Curt Schilling means no crippled starter for Game 1, as Pedro Martinez outlasts Mike Mussina, who fades late amidst a Red Sox comeback. Jon Lieber pulls a rabbit out of his butt in Game 2, and Mariano Rivera flash-fries it for the save. Kevin Brown and Postseason Javier Vazquez (remember that where he signed in the roster moves only mattered for the sim, and draft pick position, not location) get a taste of Roy Oswalt instead of Bronson Arroyo. The Red Sox take a 2-1 series lead in Boston, but at a cost. Orlando Hudson, playing at SS in place of an injured Nomar Garciaparra, tracks a flyball into the Fenway OF late in the game with the outcome already certain. He collides head-first with Jim Edmonds, and both players are lost for the remainder of the series. SS is left to Freddy "Negative TwentyTwo OPS Plus" Sanchez, and Grady Sizemore takes over in CF. El Duque employs the same scouting reports that the Red Sox did historically against Albert Pujols in Game 4, and Carlos Beltran alone is not enough offensive firepower to make up for Brandon Webb faltering on the mound. Mussina pitches well against Pedro Martinez in Game 5, and there is no David Ortiz to key the 8th inning rally. The series goes back to New York for Game 6, where Game 6 Curt Schilling is replaced by In Yankee Stadium Mark Buehrle. Marcus Giles does not match the heroics of Mark Bellhorn, and the Red Sox lose despite 2 HRs and 4 RBIs from 2004 Postseason Carlos Beltran. The Yankees go on to the World Series.

I must evaluate the NL to determine the Yankees' opponent, and their odds to defeating them. The Braves are intact aside from Marcus Giles, but Nick Green is good enough (just ask...ok nevermind), and they still win the NL East. The Dodgers are similarly unmolested, and win the NL West over the Giants. The NL Central is, more or less, scorched earth. The 2004 Cardinals had 3 excellent hitters, and 2 of them are on my 2004 Red Sox in Pujols and Edmonds. The offensive ineptitude of the rest of the team gets Scott Rolen the Barry Bonds treatment, and the 17.8 WAR lost is actually worse than that due to Rolen getting fewer high-leverage PAs. Clearly, the next best team in the NL Central should seize the day...except that the 2004 Astros are now lacking Roy Oswalt and Carlos Beltran. I estimate that the Cardinals go from being a 105 win team to roughly a 85 win team, and the Astros clearly lose their 1-game edge over the Wild Card winning Giants. The third best team in the NL Central is Chicago Cubs, who tasted bitter defeat in the 2003 World Series. The Cubs are missing no talent, and finished 16 games behind the Cardinals and 3 games behind the Astros historically. The Cubs win the NL Central, and go from 89 to 92 wins due to their competition being even more NL Centralish than normal.

The NLDS matchups are therefore Braves-Giants and Dodgers-Cubs. The 2003 Atlanta Braves were an extremely well-balanced squad, with only 1 starting position player below 100 OPS+, and zero combined top 5 starters and top 5 relievers under an ERA+ of 100. That kind of depth (Nick Green makes the lineup 6/8 good instead of 7/8, oh well) beats out the Bonds-and-Schmidt show, and the Braves move on. The Dodgers feature the best position player in the other NLDS, in 2004 Adrian Beltre, but this isn't the NBA. The Cubs have too much offensive depth and pitching, and the NLCS is between the Cubs and Braves. The Cubs outlast the Braves, with the key play in Game 7 of the NLCS being a go-ahead, 16-pitch walk drawn by Cubs SS Ramon Hernandez, who was not replaced at the trading deadline.

The Cubs' talented, but overworked starters duel the Yankees' mediocre pitching (plus Rivera and Mussina) in the World Series. The series gets some spice when Moises Alou pisses off Jorge Posada, and the benches clear, but ultimately, the Yankees have Mariano Rivera, and the Cubs have LaTroy Hawkins...and Dusty Baker. The Yankees offense stages multiple late-inning comebacks against gassed starters to win their 22nd World Series.

That's 22-19, Yankees in the World Series count by the narrative version.

Up next, OOTP's take on my 2004 roster.

Edited by JMDurron, 17 November 2011 - 10:53 PM.

#17 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 05:12 PM

2004 OOTP Season Simulation

Preseason Predictions

Posted Image

Well, at least OOTP thinks that this offense beats the historical 2004 group. We shall see.

Single Season Walkthrough

I spend Spring Training getting Orlando Hudson time at SS/3B, and Grady Sizemore time at LF/RF.

At the end of April, the Red Sox are 13-11, in 3rd place in the AL East, 1 game behind both the Orioles and Yankees. Kevin Gregg is so bad, over enough IP, that he goes down and Frasor comes up for bullpen duty.

On May 20, just as the Red Sox were picking up steam, Matt Holliday is lost for 3 weeks with a sprained thumb. He goes onto the DL, and Alex Rios is called up to take his spot. Rios is more comfortable in RF than LF, so Rios goes into RF, with Beltran shifting to LF against RHP. I specify against RHP because Sizemore is murdering LHP, so he takes CF against them, with Edmonds shifting his older legs to LF.

At the end of May, the Sox stand at 29-23, in 1st place with a 3 game lead over the Orioles. Heading into June, Pujols plays LF against LHP in interleague play, to keep both his and Teixeira's bats in the lineup. Teixeira sits against RHP in NL parks to get Rios into the lineup. Freddy Sanchez gets starts at 3B against LHP over David Wright. Nomar is still healthy, so no room for Youk yet. Frasor pitches 7.2 scoreless IP to start his MLB career, keying a May comeback by the bullpen.

On June 11, Matt Holliday returns, and Rios is sent down to AAA. Sizemore keeps mashing LHP, so he stays in the lineup over Beltran, who continues to disappoint, upon Holliday's return. On June 19, Jim Edmonds is lost for 6 weeks to a sprained elbow. Rios is called back up. Against RHP, Beltran moves to CF with Rios in RF. Against LHP, it's Sizemore in CF with Beltran in RF.

The Red Sox end June with a 44-33 record, with a 5-game lead over the Orioles. Rios plays his way into the lineup over Sizemore against LHP, as Grady's luck runs out against lefties. Beltran is now the full-time CF until Edmonds returns.

In July, Joe Nathan and Matt Holliday are selected as the only Red Sox All Stars. The month ends with the Red Sox at 61-42, with a 11.5 game lead over the Rays. No other AL East team has a winning record. Roy Oswalt is the AL Pitcher of the Month a 5-0 record in 5 starts, with a 1.80 ERA in 35 IP. Matt Holliday is the AL Rookie of the Month with a 1.086 OPS, 6 HRs, and 26 RBIs in 26 games.

On August 2, Jim Edmonds returns, and Alex Rios goes back down again. He was outhitting Sizemore, but cannot cover the rest of the OF as a backup player like Sizemore can. Beltran returns to RF full time. On August 21, Nomar finally misses some playing time...due to a 6 game suspension for charging the mound against the White Sox.

August ends and the rosters expand with the Red Sox holding a 81-50 record, and a 20.5 game lead over the 2nd place Rays. David Wright is the AL Rookie of the Month with a 356/389/600 line over 23 games. Kevin Gregg, Dan Haren, John Buck, Ryan Howard, Kevin Youkilis, and Alex Rios are all added to the roster for September. David Wright reclaims his PAs against LHP from Freddy Sanchez. Alex Rios starts over Carlos Beltran against LHP. Dan Haren gets some spot starts down the stretch.

On August 23, Albert Pujols is lost for 2 weeks due to "ankle soreness." Rumors abound that it must be something worse hidden by the soreness, as Pujols will now miss at least the ALDS. Kevin Youkilis gets a shot at 1B, with Howard at DH vs RHP due to Teixeira severely underperforming against RHP all season. He also rates as a better defensive 1B (doubtful in 2004, but oh well, whatever you say OOTP), and so takes the 1B spot against LHP with Teixeira at DH.

The season ends with a record of 101-61, as the Sox win the AL East by a mere 27 games over the Blue Jays and Rays. The Red Sox are the 2nd seed in the AL, as the Twins win 104 games behind the bats of Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Carlos Guillen, plus the pitching of Johan Santana and Randy Johnson. The Texas Rangers win the AL West, with the Seattle Mariners in as the Wild Card. The Red Sox will once again face the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.

For the playoff roster, September factors heavily into the analysis. John Buck replaces Doug Mirabelli, as he outhit Mirabelli and has a superior defensive rating. Buck actually outperformed Varitek overall as well, but I'm not quite willing to go that far. As the 5th best starter, Mark Buehrle is removed from the postseason rotation, but also the playoff roster. Kevin Gregg pitches his way onto the roster in September, and another bullpen arm is more useful than a long man with this staff, so Gregg takes Buehrle's spot. With Pujols still out for the ALDS, Orlando Hudson is removed from the playoff roster. Freddy Sanchez performed better at the plate, and covers more positions with more competence in the field than Hudson. The removal of Hudson, when combined with Pujols' injury, allows me to optimize the 1B/DH situation. Kevin Youkilis was above-average against both LHP and RHP in September, Ryan Howard did his Ryan Howard thing of destroying RHP and sucking against LHP, and Mark Teixeira was inexplicably bad against RHP. Therefore, Youkilis is the playoff starting 1B, with Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira platooning at DH. This also guarantees a good PH for late-inning opportunities, with Sanchez available to replace any middle infielder in the following half inning. Grady Sizemore replaces a still-struggling Carlos Beltran in the OF, playing CF with Edmonds shifting to RF.

Pedro Martinez is actually my 4th best starter in 2004, but I don't have the heart to start anyone over him in Game 1 of the ALDS. Pedro repays my loyalty with 5.2 shutout innings in Game 1, and the Red Sox lead 5-0 in the top of the 9th inning. Dan Kolb and Brian Fuentes combine to give up 5 runs in the top of the 9th, with the 5th run scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Adrian Gonzalez, and the game goes into extra innings. Grady Sizemore leads off the bottom of the 11th with a triple, and Ryan Howard brings him home with a sac fly with 1 out to put the Red Sox up 1-0 in the series. In game 2, Roy Oswalt is actually outpitched by John Lackey, and the Red Sox trail 1-0 after 7. Matt Holliday drives in the tying run in the bottom of the 8th, and Grady Sizemore is the hero again, with a walkoff HR in the bottom of the 9th. The series goes back to Texas, and I hope not to see a repeat of 2003.

Albert Pujols finishes his DL stint on the travel day from Boston to Texas, but I did not leave an open spot for him on the playoff roster. I have to wait for the ALDS to end to replace Youkilis with Pujols. Brandon Webb gets shelled in Game 3, and the Red Sox lose 5-4, to Carl Pavano of all people. In Game 4, Pedro Martinez and Chris Carpenter duel to a draw, but Betancourt gives up the deciding run in the bottom of the 8th, and it appears that history is repeating itself, as the Red Sox head back to Fenway after back-to-back 1 run losses in series clinching games. The only good news is that Roy Oswalt, my actual best pitcher on the staff in 2004, is the Game 5 starter. David Wright and Matt Holliday go crazy against John Lackey, and the Red Sox win the game and the series, with a 5-2 score.

Kevin Youkilis, and his robust postseason OPS of 581, is removed from the playoff roster in favor of Albert Pujols. The ALCS opponent is the Minnesota Twins, in a battle of the two best teams in baseball. The Twins have the Homefield Advantage. In Game 1, Pedro Martinez gets pounded and Johan Santana leads the Twins to a 5-3 victory. In Game 2, the Red Sox blow the lead, then the game on errors by Grady Sizemore and David Wright, and the Twins win 5-4 in 11 innings. Back at Fenway for Game 3, it turns out that Mark Redman is no Johan Santana or Randy Johnson, and the Red Sox win in a 13-4 rout. In Game 4, Pedro gets knocked out in the 3rd inning, and the Red Sox face a quick 5-0 deficit. Kevin Gregg, as the mopup man over Buehrle, holds the line through the 5th inning, and the Red Sox take advantage of 2 Twins errors to score 4 unearned runs on Santana, then 1 more against Julian Tavarez to take the lead. The bullpen survives a late Twins rally and the series is tied after a 8-7 Red Sox win. In Game 5, it is Randy Johnson's turn to get pounded, as the Sox win 10-5. Back to Minnesota for Game 6, where Redman is taunted a second time, and the Red Sox move onto the World Series with a 10 - 3 win.

The Florida Marlins defeat the Montreal Expos in 7 games to meet the Red Sox in the World Series. The first two games are in Florida, removing Teixiera/Howard from the lineup. Game 1 is a battle of 2004 postseason Aces, with Pedro Martinez (0-1, 5.06 ERA) facing Josh Beckett (1-2, 5.29 ERA).

In Game 1, quite possibly the dumbest thing that I could imagine happens. In the Top of the 9th inning, with the Red Sox leading 7-2, having just received a solo HR by Jim Edmonds, Marlins RP Matt Mantei hits Albert Pujols with a pitch. This is the point where a real, intelligent player like Pujols would, I presume, glare at the pitcher and take his base, lest he be suspended in the middle of the World Series, exchanging the Red Sox cleanup hitter for the Marlins Nth reliever. But no, in this game, Pujols charges the mound. Mantei and Pujols are ejected, and are each subsequently suspended for the next 5 games by Major League Baseball. The Red Sox win 7-2, but at the cost of losing Pujols for Games 2-6, while the Marlins merely lose Mantei. In Florida, this is actually less of an impact, as Teixiera/Howard merely step in with similar offense and reduced defense in their platoon roles. In Boston, though, this means John Buck at DH vs RHP, and Freddy Sanchez at DH vs LHP, since Youkilis is no longer on the roster and cannot be added mid-series. Just a boneheaded move by Pujols. We'll see how costly it is.

Game 2 features Roy Oswalt vs AJ Burnett, and Burnett comes out on top, 4-3. Ryan Howard drove in all 3 Boston runs, so it's not like Pujols was missed. The series returns to Boston for Game 3, where Dontrelle Willis battles Brandon Webb. Webb is spectacular, with 8.1 shutout innings, as the Sox roll 7-0. Pedro and Beckett square off again in Game 4, but the Red Sox lose at home for the first time in 8 2004 postseason games, 6-2. Two errors on Jim Edmonds led to 3 Marlins runs. Game 5 is Burnett-Oswalt again, and Florida comes out on top again, 8-4. Oswalt is pounded early, and the Sox are never really in the game. Apparently, 5 games actually means 5 days, because Pujols is back for Game 6 in Florida. Webb takes on Willis, and the Sox drive Willis straight to counseling with a 11-4 victory.

The deciding 7th game features the 3rd Pedro vs Beckett matchup of the series, which seems fitting enough. This will be Pedro Martinez's last game in a Red Sox uniform. Pedro and Beckett duel to a draw, each allowing 1 run over 6 innings, with Pedro's being unearned. The Marlins take a 2-1 lead in the 7th against Scot Shields, and head into the 9th up 2-1, and looking to close out the World Series. Billy Wagner comes in to close the series out. He retires Matt Holliday, then hits Marcus Giles with a pitch. Nomar Garciaparra, in his last game in a Red Sox uniform as well, hits a 2-run HR to give the Red Sox the lead. Jason Varitek, in his final game in a Red Sox uniform, scores an insurance run, and David Wright drives in Grady Sizemore for one more. Brian Fuentes closes the door, and the Red Sox win a thrilling 7th game of the 2004 World Series by a score of 5-2. This is the franchise's 17th Banner in the OOTP sim universe.

I think it's fair to say that most of us here wish that Nomar really could have gone out that way.

Post-Season Analysis

The team finished 101-61 after the regular season, 4 games under their Pyth record of 105-57. They led the AL in runs scored with 941, in runs allowed with 681, and were also 1st in defensive efficiency. Bad bullpen work in April appears to be largely to blame for being the #2 seed in the AL.

The real 2004 Red Sox

Position Players:

Posted Image

For the catchers, both Varitek and Mirabelli were disappointments. John Buck was quite good in limited action. That's where the 8 runs lost from the real 2004 team came from! At least Varitek was more like himself in the postseason, putting up a 254/371/407 line.

At 1B, Pujols was excellent, if not quite as awesome as his real 2004 season. Teixeira was pretty disappointing, failing to match even Kevin Millar's production, nevermind that of David Ortiz. Ryan Howard and Kevin Youkilis both exceeded expectations in limited play, with Howard being a huge contributor in the postseason as well, with an OPS of 1.005 in 12 games. Teixeira was slightly better, and Pujols slightly worse than their regular season numbers in October.

At 2B, Marcus Giles easily exceeded his baseline, along with 2004 Mark Bellhorn. He did not match Bellhorn's postseason heroics in the slightest, making several errors and posting a measly 716 OPS in the month. Orlando Hudson was, quite simply, horribly awful.

At SS, thank goodness Nomar stayed healthy, because the Hudson plan would have failed. Nomar was worse than his 2004 historical output, but still better than Pokey Reese, historical Sanchez, sim Sanchez, or sim Hudson. There's some value in not being a boat anchor, although that might have described his defensive range, he was less bad than he was historically in the field as well, since he stayed healthy. He made up for his mediocre regular season bat with some postseason heroics, including a 318/392/545 line and the game-winning HR in Game 7 of the World Series. A fitting sendoff.

At 3B, David Wright was just as good as he was historically, in double the playing time. He bested Bill Mueller at the plate, and was the team's October MVP, pacing the entire squad with a dominating 394/469/620 performance, while playing good defense. Freddy Sanchez was unremarkable backing up mostly SS and 3B, with some 2B, but unremarkable is WAY better than he was historically, and his bat was a major upgrade on that of Pokey Reese.

In LF, Matt Holliday hit his stride a year early, behind only Pujols and Edmonds as the team's top regular hitter, and made the dropoff from historical Manny Ramirez quite manageable. He had a mediocre postseason, but the surprise regular season makes that fine by me.

In CF, Jim Edmonds was merely excellent, instead of awesome as his 2004 campaign was. He also missed a significant stretch of time due to injury, so he was far less valuable than his baseline performance. He still outproduced 2004 Johnny Damon quite handily. During Edmonds' absence, Grady Sizemore asserted himself, eventually taking over in CF down the stretch. Sizemore, like Holliday, was much better than expected in his rookie campaign, and he only had a mild dropoff to the low-800s in OPS against postseason pitching. He matched Trot Nixon's 2004 offense, and provided better defense at a more important position.

In RF, Carlos Beltran was a major disappointment yet again. He was still better than Gabe Kapler, but not by nearly as much as he should have been. He was an effective pinch hitter in the postseason. Alex Rios was roughly who he was supposed to be, albeit in less playing time.

The Pitching staff:

Posted Image

Pedro Martinez was something of a letdown, matching neither his historical IP nor ERA+ marks. Roy Oswalt, thankfully, made up for much of that letdown. Tim Hudson threw more innings of comparable quality. Webb threw slightly fewer innings of slightly lesser quality. Buehrle was a pretty significant disappointment, but he was at least durable.

In the bullpen, Rafael Betancourt outdid himself and threw more IP while doing it. Joe Nathan was merely excellent instead of mind-blowingly awesome. Dan Kolb was essentially right on target, while pitching more innings. Brian Fuentes completely outdid his mediocre 2004 campaign, but made up for it by turning into a batting practice machine in the postseason, with an ERA of 8.44. Scot Shields threw fewer innings of reduced quality, but was still above average. Keith Foulke disappointed again, but at least he didn't outright suck this time. Jason Frasor and Kevin Gregg both underperformed their baselines in fewer innings. Dan Haren had no injury starts to pick up from the rotation, so he only got spotty mop-up duty in September.

Years of Control and Extensions

As the arbitration screen comes up, I take stock of who needs new contracts. The pair of players who are on schedule are Fuentes and Sanchez, who are each at 3 years of service time. They get 3-year contracts instead of going year-to-year.

The next pair to enter the "Keith Foulke Zone" are Dan Kolb and Joe Nathan. They are still under my control, have 5 years and ~100 days of service time, and I can't get picks for them unless they leave after 6+ years of service. They each get a single-year contract. My 2005 bullpen roster crunch is going to be EPIC.

Leaders and Awards

Gold Gloves - Albert Pujols (1B), Marcus Giles (2B)

AL Leaders:
Hits - Albert Pujols
Runs - Albert Pujols

Up Next - The 2004 Draft

Edited by JMDurron, 18 November 2011 - 05:13 PM.

#18 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 18 November 2011 - 11:38 PM

So, before I do the draft, it turns out that I forgot to keep an eye on where/if Richard Hidalgo signed, for my Type B compensation pick. As it turns out, he signed with the Cleveland Indians, and he did it in April, so I got my supplemental pick.

The 2004 Draft

Historically, the 2004 Red Sox had no 1st round draft picks, due to losing their #1 overall pick to the A's for signing Keith Foulke.

I have the 17th overall pick (Vazquez), the 22nd overall pick (Polanco), the 23rd overall pick (Bagwell), and 4 compensation picks, for a total of 7 picks. It's a good thing I have OOTP to work out trade markets (even if the cross-universe player locations are somewhat problematic), because I am going to have a metric ton of players to move to resolve roster crunches, or else I'm flushing careers down the toilet.

With the 17th overall pick, I select Huston Street. Street will arrive in...2005 :rolling:.

With the 22nd overall pick, I select Hunter Pence. Pence will arrive in 2007.

With the 23rd overall pick, I select Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo will arrive in 2007.

With my 1st supplemental pick, I select Kurt Suzuki. Suzuki will arrive in 2007.

With my 2nd supplemental pick, I select Casey Janssen. Janssen will arrive in 2006.

With my 3rd supplemental pick, I select Ben Zobrist. Zobrist will arrive in 2006, but first see meaningful playing time in 2009.

With my 4th and final supplemental pick, I select Mark Reynolds. Reynolds will arrive in 2007.

As per history, Dustin Pedroia is selected in the 2nd round. Cla Meredith is selected in the 6th round.

2004 - 2005 Roster Moves are next, and will most likely be broken up into multiple posts. This one's going to be messy.

#19 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 19 November 2011 - 06:43 PM

2004 - 2005 Roster Moves, Part I

This may be too large for one post, so I'm hedging up front.


The karma of the 2003-2004 draft pick compensation Offseason of Awesomeness has turned against me. There are 5 players of note departing.

The first, and obviously most notable, is Pedro Martinez. He is, also obviously, a Type A free agent. In the OOTP sim, his counting stats vastly exceeded and his rate stats slightly missed his historical performance. Historically, Pedro went 117-37, with a 2.52 ERA/191 ERA+ during his time in Boston, during which he averages 198 IP per season. In this scenario, Pedro goes 145-44, with a 2.96 ERA, averaging an ERA+ of 154 with 234.2 IP per season. One would think that a better defense behind him would have led to a lower ERA, although he clearly benefited from the improved offense and bullpen when it comes to Wins. He won 6 consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1998-2003. In the postseason, he departs with a 12-7 mark in 28 starts, with an ERA of 3.29.

Keith Foulke also departs. He will not be particularly missed. Aside from an excellent 2002 campaign, he never met expectations. His 2003 campaign was so putrid that he forced me to stick him in AAA for an option year, and his rate stats were so bad that they brought his slightly above average 2004 numbers down to the point where he leaves as a Free Agent without compensation. He does not even merit a Type B designation. Over the same time period historically, he managed and ERA+ of 154 over 660.1 IP, but only actually gave me 341.2 IP at 118.

Jason Varitek is another disappointing player who departs. Historically, Varitek managed a 271/347/451 line from 1997-2004, providing excellent defense at C and an OPS+ of 103. He departs with a 251/319/401 career line, and only provided a single season of above average production, back in 1999. He is a Type B free agent.

It is also time to bid a fond farewell to 2004 World Series hero Nomar Garciaparra. He underperformed his historical baseline, but a 305/350/510 line from your SS is nothing to sneeze at. He stayed much healthier than in real life, putting up better cumulative numbers despite reduced rate stats. Unfortunately, he departs after two mediocre (OPS+ of 105 and 101) seasons in 2003-2004, and therefore is only a Type B free agent. He was, though, a postseason stud, putting up a 313/373/559 line over 9 postseasons. He saved the best for last. He will be missed, but at least he went out with a blast.

Carlos Beltran, on the other hand, will not be missed in the slightest. Aside from 32 awesome games in his rookie season of 1998, he was an absolute flop at the plate. He never once broke an OPS+ of 100 in a full season, and his line of 257/321/420 is completely unacceptable from a corner OF in the steroid era. He did manage to win two Gold Gloves in RF, but that doesn't make up the difference between what he gave me and his historical 284/353/490 line. He leaves as a Type B free agent, and good riddance.

Draft Pick Compensation

Pedro Martinez signs with the San Diego Padres. I gain the 18th pick in the 2005 draft, and a supplemental pick.

Carlos Beltran signs with no team by the start of Spring Training. I will look to see where he signs later.

Jason Varitek signs with no team by the start of Spring Training. I'll have to check in on him later as well.

Nomar Garciaparra signs with the San Diego Padres. I gain a supplemental pick.


Matt Cain, CJ Wilson, Jonathan Broxton, Huston Street, Ryan Doumit, Geovany Soto, Brian McCann, Luke Scott, and Skip Schumaker are all due to arrive in 2005.

Oh yes, and that's alongside the historical arrivals of Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen, Cla Meredith, and Kelly Shoppach. Plus some kid at SS. Name of Hanley. Hanley Ramirez.

So, by my count, that's 5 players who left, and 15 players arriving. Um.

Positional Depth Summary

Because there's going to be a whole lot of trading of some kind before I set the position players, we're just going to go over what I have where to start with. Stats are presented in the usual games/OPS+ format.

Catcher - Doug Mirabelli (50/87), Ryan Doumit (75/85), John Buck (118/79), Geovany Soto (1/-100), Brian McCann (59/90), Kelly Shoppach (9/-81). A wonderful collection of players who are below average offensively in 2005. In my mind, the games played by Soto and Shoppach are so small as to make them essentially irrelevant for 2005. They stick in the minors. This leaves Mirabelli in his final year, Buck, Doumit, and McCann. I can justify keeping one of the new kids in AAA as the first callup/September cup of coffee guy, so that's one of Doumit/McCann. That leaves me having to deal one of Mirabelli, Buck, and Doumit/McCann. It would not be McCann, who is my future starter.

First Base - Albert Pujols (161/163), Mark Teixeira (162/144), Ryan Howard (88/128), Ryan Doumit (75/85), Kevin Youkilis (44/113). Pujols and Teixeira are the obvious 1-2 punch at 1B and DH. Youkilis is used to being left in AAA in 2005, but there still isn't enough playing time for him at 1B, particularly when combined with Howard and Doumit. Assuming that Doumit's issues are resolved at C somehow, this still leaves one of Youkilis/Howard to be dealt, since they both get by on partial time in 2005, so I can justify still leaving one down in the minors.

Second Base - Marcus Giles (152/109), Orlando Hudson (131/91), Freddy Sanchez (132/88). Marcus Giles is pretty clearly the starter by default here, particularly if one uses sim performance as a tiebreaker. Sanchez is most likely needed elsewhere anyway, so this may be a position that requires no breaking of any deadlocks.

Shortstop - Freddy Sanchez (132/88), Hanley Ramirez (2/-100). Sanchez can't be my all-world backup IF anymore, because Hanley clearly is just a late-season callup here who can't be annointed the starter from Day 1 if I'm going to be honest to the pattern I've followed throughout this exercise to date (I might make an exception, but we'll see). At the very least, there's no roster conflict here.

Third Base - David Wright (160/134), Freddy Sanchez (132/88), Kevin Youkilis (44/113). Wright is the obvious starter. Sanchez is the starting SS. Youkilis as the dedicated backup 3B might fix my problem at 1B, as I could use Youk as the on-roster backup with Howard as the partial-season 1B/DH depth.

Left Field - Matt Holliday (125/109), Luke Scott (34/41), Skip Schumaker (27/53). No issues here, Holliday starts, Scott/Schumaker are backups/callups.

Center Field - Jim Edmonds (142/132), Grady Sizemore (158/123), Skip Schumaker (27/53). Well now, this is a potential problem. Schumaker is a CF only in an emergency capacity, but both Edmonds and Sizemore are too good to use as a 4th OFer. Both are still defensive assets in CF. Either one could, in theory, play one of the other corner OF positions. I think this is intimately tied to the LF/RF situation.

Right Field - Alex Rios (146/84), Luke Scott (34/41), Skip Schumaker (27/53).

Overall OF - I have 4 starters for 3 positions, without an injury to someone to use to justify a 4th starter getting enough playing time. Using the lowest 3 games-played starters, I'd get 125, 142, and 146, leaving only 73 games for Sizemore. Rios is the obviously least capable starter here, but given that he is RH and Sizemore is a LH, I might be able to justify a straight platoon, so Sizemore would get starts against all RHP and frequently relieve Holliday against LHP, while Rios would start against LHP while backing up Holliday. Ultimately, I think I have two best options here.

1) Holliday-Edmonds-Sizemore as the primaries, with Rios as the 4th OFer/platoon RF and Schumaker/Scott as the 5th OFers/callups.

2) Holliday-Edmonds-Sizemore with Rios traded, Schumaker as 4th OFer (CF capable), and Scott as the 5th OFer/callup.

My course of action may well be determined by what I have to do with the rest of the roster. I have to trade some people away, if Rios is the difference in making a trade package work, then, as the worst broadcaster in modern American sports would say, "He gone!" Otherwise, Rios isn't exactly the kind of star player where I'm concerned about maintaining the integrity of his career, much like Orlando Hudson.

So, on the positional front, I certainly need to trade a catcher, I probably need to trade away a 1B, I might trade away an OF, and there's a chance I need to trade away a 2B.

I might want to upgrade at SS if I am consistent and do not rush Hanley Ramirez.

Starting Pitching Depth Summary

Roy Oswalt (241.2/139), Mark Buehrle (236.2/144), Brandon Webb (229/121), Dan Haren (217/117), Tim Hudson (192/121), Matt Cain (46.1/180).

Thankfully, I have a clear starting 5, with Cain as the injury/September 6th starter.

Bullpen Depth Summary

This is my biggest problem. There are 13 12 players to deal with. Pawtucket now has a better bullpen than the Yankees at status quo ante.

Because a single list would be ridiculous to deal with, this goes into a couple of categories.

New guys - CJ Wilson (48/67), Jonathan Broxton (13.2/66), Huston Street (78.1/254), Jonathan Papelbon (34/173), Manny Delcarmen (9/157), Craig Hansen (3/84), Cla Meredith (2.1/19). Right off the bat, I can say that Broxton, Delcarmen, Hansen, and Meredith pitch few enough innings to justify my not having to call them up at all. I could give less than a crap about Hansen anyway, and Delcarmen's banishment might make Rough Carrigan's evening. This means that only 3, Wilson, Street, and Papelbon advance to being considered on the MLB depth chart.

The Candidates - Wilson, Street, Papelbon, Dan Kolb (57.2/72), Joe Nathan (70/166), Brian Fuentes (74.1/160), Scot Shields (91.2/154), Kevin Gregg (61.4/84), Rafael Betancourt (67.2/151), Jason Frasor (74.2/137). Hooray, I am down to 10 candidates!

Now, it's time to talk about elite vs above-average relievers. The guys who consistently maintain ERA+ above 125 or so, year in and year out, are the ones who I consider to be elite. The guys who vary between, roughly, 125 and 85 with the occasional awesome year are the above-average relievers. I think the best way to do this is to break this further down into the elite guys (while I still control them), and the above-average guys.

Elite relievers - Huston Street, Jonathan Papelbon (except 2010), Joe Nathan, Brian Fuentes, Scot Shields, Rafael Betancourt (except 2008).

By process of elimination, that leaves CJ Wilson, Dan Kolb, Kevin Gregg, and Jason Frasor on the bubble. Assuming a 7-reliever paradigm, which might or might not work given the roster crunch I'm looking at, that means that 3 of these guys have to go, possibly only two if I deem Wilson this season's "thou shalt be the AAA depth" reliever. There is, however, one other consideration.

Dan Kolb and Joe Nathan are in the final year of team control, barring sucking enough early enough to the point that Wilson replaces them for most of the season. They also appear likely to bring draft pick compensation, IF they replicate their 2004 campaigns. Kolb's historical 2005 performance does not bode well towards this end, while Nathan's does.

NOTE - I just realized that Craig Hansen was a 1st round pick in the 2005 draft. He is not getting drafted by me in the 1st round. He's out of here.

So, my plan is to leave Wilson in the minors as the 12 pitcher on the staff, keep Kolb for the potential draft pick, and trade Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor.

So, to summarize, I am taking Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, 1 catcher among Mirabelli/Buck/Doumit, possibly 1 of Howard/Youkilis, and perhaps Orlando Hudson. Some of this is going to actually have to happen "in real time", in that I can't finish the roster moves until I know who I can trade for. If I can somehow trade for a top starting SS on a short deal, that pushes Sanchez back to backing up 2B/SS/3B, and Hudson and Youkilis both go on the block. If I can't...then I have no idea what happens. Or I might have to include Howard in the package to get the type of return I'd be satisfied with, in which case Youkilis is ok.

Trade Market Post is next.

Edited by JMDurron, 19 November 2011 - 11:29 PM.

#20 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 19 November 2011 - 11:02 PM

The 2004 - 2005 Offseason Trade Market

Using OOTP to help me count roster spots, based on my previous post, I show an active roster of 30 players. This is with Schumaker, Scott, Ramirez, Soto, Shoppach, Wilson, Meredith, Delcarmen, Broxton, and Cain all in the minors and therefore not involved in the calculation. That number includes both Youkilis and Howard, even though I can reasonably have one spend 50% or more of the season in the minors, so I really only need to trade 5 players, not 6, in order to add one.

I basically have only two areas of potential upgrade. Starting catcher is currently represented by some combination of Mirabelli and Buck, with McCann and/or Doumit in the minors. Shortstop is currently manned by Freddy Sanchez, who is keeping the spot warm for Hanley Ramirez. Brian McCann is clearly the starting C from 2006 onward. I have 5 elite starting pitchers, and a totally full, elite bullpen (plus Kolb!). 1B (Pujols), DH (Teixeira), 2B (Giles - defense is better than I had expected), 3B (Wright), LF (Holliday), CF (Sizemore), and RF (Edmonds) are all occupied by elite players, or players who a year away from being elite and need the playing time (Holliday). This leaves only C or SS to upgrade, and both have future stars ready to step up in 2006. So, I need a 1-year upgrade at one (or both?) of those positions.

I utilize OOTP's "upcoming free agents" screen once again. The pickings are quite slim at C, headed up by Jorge Posada, then it drops off to Mike Redmond. Posada would certainly be an upgrade over Mirabelli/Buck/Doumit (McCann is getting partial time in some fashion no matter what).

The pickings at SS are...well, bizarre, and actually harken back to an old SoSH idea put forth by Eric Van. If memory serves, back before the Red Sox signed Adrian Beltre for the 2010 season, EV was advocating for him, and mentioned that the team was interested in signing Beltre and coverting him to SS back in the 2004-2005 offseason, before he signed with the Mariners. Filtering for SS ability in OOTP will bring up any player with any capability (fielding rating >0) whatsoever for the position. Out of the top 5 candidates, 3 are 3B Russell Branyan, 2B Todd Walker, and 2B Ray Durham. Those are 3 defensive disasters waiting to happen. The two viable options, as listed in the menu, are 3B Miguel Tejada, and..."SS Scott Rolen". Apparently, the Texas Rangers converted Rolen to a full-time SS in 2004, so his position label reflects that change. He actually rates as a better defensive SS than Tejada! Rolen appears to have disappointed the Rangers offensively as much as he let me down during his Red Sox years from 1996-2001, so I'm not going there, plus he'd be unlikely to merit Type A compensation upon his departure. I am targeting Tejada, but I thought the "SS Scott Rolen" result, complete with a full season of positive defensive data, was noteworthy.

I begin negotiations with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the services of Miguel Tejada. I start adding from the players that I know I am moving, working my way up until the trade is acceptable. If I need to break into the Meredith/Shoppach type minor league depth as I go, that's fine. I add Frasor, Gregg, Mirabelli (might as well start with the worst C), and Hudson, when the Pirates accept the deal. I didn't even get to Ryan Howard, the best piece and my preferred player to trade over Youkilis, since Howard's career seems more significant to sustain in terms of fairness, and because I prefer Youk's 1B/3B flexibility for my roster, plus his lack of a major platoon split. That's a 4-for-1 trade, which still leaves my roster over-stuffed by one player!

I now, essentially, have two courses of action available.

1) Trade Ryan Howard and Ryan Doumit to the Reds for Jorge Posada
2) Add Ryan Howard as a toss-in to the Tejada trade to make it more fair.

In scenario 1, I swap out 6 players for 2. Posada is the starting C with Buck backing him up, and McCann is in AAA as a reserve.

In scenario 2, I swap out 5 players for 1. Buck starts at C with Doumit backing him up, with McCann in AAA as a reserve.

In both scenarios, Tejada starts at SS, and Freddy Sanchez backs up 2B, SS, and 3B.

I have a major issue with both of these scenarios. In scenario 1, I am forced to root for Jorge Posada. There is also the question of whether or not 1 year of Doug Mirabelli, 3 years of Orlando Hudson, 4 years of Kevin Gregg, and 5 years of Jason Frasor is a fair trade for 1 year of a star SS, and recall that Miguel Tejada was still a premiere bat at the SS position in 2005. In scenario 2...how is Ryan Howard a "toss-in" to a trade? Making him the centerpiece of a trade for an aging catcher seems reasonable. 5 years of Howard and 6 years of Doumit for 1 year of Posada is not just fair, it's outright unbalanced in Cincy's favor.

Ultimately, I don't want to root for Jorge Posada OR have to explain how I have Posada in 2005 and the Yankees don't in my narrative post, when there's no way in hell I would ever trade Doumit and Ryan freaking Howard to the Yankees. The Orioles suck anyway, so the Tejada issue on that same "parallel universe" front is less pressing.

I trade Ryan Howard, Jason Frasor, Kevin Gregg, Doug Mirabelli, and Orlando Hudson to the Pittsburgh Pirates for SS Miguel Tejada.

The Parallel Universe Problem

Ultimately, I am faced with a distinct gap between my narrative and OOTP posts. I am using OOTP to emulate a real trade market, as I like having a fairly involved system working out the fairness of these deals instead of just guessing myself. The downside to that is, because OOTP's financial model screwed the Yankees to the point that I can't use the OOTP sim results to date for my narrative, and just combine the sim/narrative into a single, coherent storyline, I am basically forced to make trades that make sense from a value standpoint, but the pieces move to/from the wrong teams. There is also the added distortion factor that my narrative teams will benefit from these trades, even though the other team on the end of the OOTP transaction won't get the narrative benefit.

In other words, I just sent 5 players to the Pirates, and got 1 player from the Pirates, because I did it in OOTP. In the narrative, when I try to determine which teams are impacted by my various moves, I do that based on players who I have let go being on their original teams, and the original teams that I take players from being without those players. In other words, even though I'm trading these players to the Pirates, in order to make the narrative somewhat coherent, and more importantly workable, I'm not actually figuring out the impact of all those players on the Pirates roster, because the Pirates, with that roster, might not work with those players. As an example, I can't think about whether or not the Pirates might not know what to do with Adam LaRoche in 2007 because they traded for Ryan Howard in 2005. I'm going far enough down the rabbit hole with this already. I could do that back in the 80s, when I was trading maybe 3-4 players every 5 years, so I could figure out the impacts reasonably well. I just have way too many moving parts at this stage to do that. I am forced to, for narrative purposes, simply take Tejada off the Orioles, and put my trade pieces on their original squads when I try to project out playoff teams. This is not ideal, but I don't have a better solution, so I'm just going to ask for some suspension of disbelief when I jump to and from the narrative and OOTP sim universes.

I know realism is already way, way, WAY out the window here, but I have tried to be at least consistent within my own constructed reality, but the fundamental mismatch between the real history and how the OOTP sim has played out just keeps me from being able to merge the two coherently.

Roster Moves Part 2, coming up.

Edited by JMDurron, 19 November 2011 - 11:03 PM.

#21 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 19 November 2011 - 11:15 PM

2004 - 2005 Roster Moves, Part II

Just for a quick summary of where the roster stands:

SP - Buehrle, Haren, Hudson, Oswalt, Webb
RP - Betancourt, Fuentes, Kolb, Nathan, Papelbon, Shields, Street
C - Buck, Doumit
1B - Pujols, Teixeira, Youkilis
2B - Giles
SS - Tejada
3B - Wright
2B/SS/3B - Sanchez
LF - Holliday
CF - Sizemore
RF - Edmonds, Rios

The 25th man is whichever of Youkilis/McCann I need at the time. Sanchez spends time at 1B in ST so I'm not too dependent on Youkilis, I'd rather have McCann available as the 3rd catcher to allow Rios or Doumit to pinch hit for Buck as needed without being down to zero catchers.

Historical Transactions

I do not sign Matt Mantei, David Wells, Edgar Renteria, Jay Payton, Lenny DiNardo, Matt Clement, Wade Miller, Jason Varitek, Roberto Petagine, or John Olerud.

I do not claim Adam Stern from the Braves in the Rule V draft.

I do not trade for Alex Cora, Chad Bradford, Tony Graffanino, or Mike Remlinger.

Up Next, the 2005 Season Narrative.

#22 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 20 November 2011 - 04:08 PM

The 2005 Season

Position Players

C: John Buck over Jason Varitek (122 -> 79). Ryan Doumit (85) backs up. Brian McCann (90) sees spot/September duty as injuries dictate.
1B: Albert Pujols over Kevin Millar (98 -> 163). Kevin Youkilis (113) backs up when McCann is not needed on the roster, Doumit backs up when he is.
2B: Marcus Giles over Mark Bellhorn (81 -> 109). Freddy Sanchez (88) backs up.
SS: Miguel Tejada over Edgar Renteria (89 -> 128). Sanchez backs up.
3B: David Wright over Bill Mueller (109 -> 134). Youkilis backs up when present, Sanchez does when Youk is in the minors.
LF: Matt Holliday over Manny Ramirez (153 -> 109). Alex Rios (84) backs up via Edmonds moving to LF.
CF: Grady Sizemore over Johnny Damon (110 -> 123). Rios backs up via Edmonds covering CF.
RF: Jim Edmonds over Trot Nixon (109 -> 132). Rios backs up.
DH: Mark Teixeira over David Ortiz (158 -> 144). Youkilis backs up when present, McCann when he is not.


Ryan Doumit - C, 1B
Brian McCann - C, DH
Kevin Youkilis - 1B, 3B, DH
Freddy Sanchez - 2B, SS, 3B
Alex Rios - RF

Starting Pitchers

Roy Oswalt (241.2/139)
Mark Buehrle (236.2/144)
Brandon Webb (229/121)
Dan Haren (217/117)
Tim Hudson (192/121)

Matt Cain (46.1/180) - 6th starter in AAA

The Bullpen

Scot Shields (91.2/154)
Huston Street (78.1/254)
Brian Fuentes (74.1/160)
Joe Nathan (70/166)
Rafael Betancourt (67.2/151)
Dan Kolb (57.2/72)
Jonathan Papelbon (34/173)

The Pawtucket Shuttle

I think they might actually have to expand the Providence airport at this rate.

Going to separate out the situational callups from the "cup of coffee" gang.

Situational Callups - Kevin Youkilis, Brian McCann, Matt Cain, CJ Wilson, Skip Schumaker

Cup of Coffee/No Time - Jonathan Broxton, Manny Delcarmen, Cla Meredith, Geovany Soto, Kelly Shoppach, Luke Scott, Hanley Ramirez

Season Results

Historically, the 2005 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, losing the division to a tiebreaker against the Yankees, winning the Wild Card by 2 games over the Cleveland Indians. They were then promptly swept out of the ALDS by the Chicago White Sox.

The 2005 Red Sox led the AL in offense, and I'm pretty sure that my squad will be even better. There are significant downgrades at C and LF, a very mild downgrade at DH, a mild upgrade in CF, and large upgrades at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B and RF. This group has a legitimate shot at 1000 runs.

Defensively, I'm forced to call C a mild downgrade, as my understanding is that Doumit is a catcher of Mike Piazza's defensive skills. Buck is also most likely not Varitek's equal. Every spot on the IF is either mildly (3B) or hugely upgraded (1B, 2B, SS - even an aging Tejada easily beats 2005 Renteria). LF is probably neutral, CF should be an upgrade, and RF is an absolutely noticeable upgrade.

The pitching staff, well...well, let's just say that Tim Wakefield isn't my best starter here, and the bullpen consists of more than Mike Timlin and Mike Myers.

The 2005 Yankees (unmolested) simply don't have the pitching to keep up with my Red Sox. They get bumped down several wins due to being owned head-to-head by the Sox, but make up some of them back against the Tejada-less Orioles. The Sox win the AL East and over 100 games.

Time to go around the AL. I'm ballparking the Yankees at around 93 wins (-4 from Sox, +2 from Orioles). Time to look at the other divisions. The White Sox won the AL Central by 6 games over the Indians historically. They are now missing 5.4 bWAR from Buehrle, but had enough depth to still hang onto the Central. The Indians would have tied the Yankees with their historical 93 wins, but are now lacking Sizemore and Betancourt. They are not a factor for the Wild Card. In the AL West, the Angels beat out the A's by 7 games historically. The losses of Lackey and Shields take the Angels down about that much, but the A's are lacking Dan Haren and Huston Street, and the Rangers are too far away to matter, even with Lackey, so the Angels still win the AL West. They are the #3 seed, with the Red Sox at #1 and the White Sox at #2. The Yankees face the White Sox, while the Red Sox face the Angels.

The Angels did well to make the ALCS in 2005, behind a mediocre offense and very good pitching. That pitching is now significantly degraded, so the ALDS against the Red Sox is another brief affair. The postseason axiom of good pitching beating good hitting still applies in the other ALDS, as the White Sox squeak past the Yankees in 5 games, due mostly to their bullpen and some timely hitting.

In the ALCS, Garcia-Garland-Contreras was enough to get through the ALDS, but going from Mark Buehrle to Orlando Hernandez is a major problem when facing Oswalt-Buehrle-Webb-Haren instead of the lackluster group from the Bronx. They are also hopelessly outgunned on offense, as the Red Sox advance to the World Series in 5 games.

So, the National League. This may be spectacularly entertaining, as both the only 95+ win team in the NL (Cardinals) and the eventual NL Champions have been hit by my roster moves.

In the NL East, the Braves won the division by 2 games over the Phillies. They have lost Marcus Giles (3.8 bWAR), and Tim Hudson (2.9 WAR). I know WAR isn't perfect, but it's better than spitballing in my mind. They are also without Dan Kolb (-1.5 WAR), which actually helps them. So, a two game lead appears to become roughly a 3 game deficit. The Phillies, due to my handling of letting go of Ryan Howard, are untouched. They are now the NL East winners. The Braves are a potential WC contender around 85 wins.

In the Central, the 100-win juggernaut Cardinals are now missing Albert Pujols (8.2 WAR) and Jim Edmonds (6.8), who accounted for half of their non-crappy hitters. They won the division by 11 games over the Astros, who now lack Roy Oswalt (5.3 WAR). The Brewers were 19 games back, too far to have the other two fall down to their level. The Cards still win the Central, at around 85 wins. The NL West-winning Padres are untouched, and therefore still best the Diamondbacks by 5 games, with 82 wins. The Braves win the NL Wild Card.

This makes the playoff matchups Padres-Phillies, and Cardinals-Braves. The Padres are simply not a credible playoff team, and are beaten by Philly. The Cardinals bring superior pitching to bear against the Braves, but the gap in offenses trumps the gap in pitching, and the Braves advance. Unfortunately for Atlanta, Smoltz and Hampton alone aren't enough to get through a 7-game series, and the Phillies move on to the World Series.

The World Series is a complete mismatch on paper. The games, as they say, are not played on paper. The Red Sox lose Game 1 when Brett Myers beats the Red Sox lineup as if he lived with them. In Game 2 at Fenway, Miguel Tejada appears to age 3 years in a day, as he makes several key errors that throw the game away in the late innings. It's those darn snakes again. As the series shifts to Philadelphia, while running into each other at the local GNC, Albert Pujols and Miguel Tejada have a heart-to-heart to help get Miguel's head right. The conversation seems to be effective, as the Red Sox come storming back, sweeping the 3 games in Philly. Buehrle is too much for the Phillies' lefty-heavy lineup in Game 6, and the Red Sox are World Champions again.

Up Next: The OOTP sim.

Edited by JMDurron, 20 November 2011 - 04:11 PM.

#23 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 20 November 2011 - 10:17 PM

2005 OOTP Season Simulation

Carlos Beltran finally signs with the Atlanta Braves during Spring Training. I collect a supplemental pick.

Jason Varitek signs with the Cincinnati Reds. I collect a supplemental pick.

Posted Image

Looks like my 1000 runs estimate just might be accurate.

Single Season Walkthrough

Spring Training is spent getting Freddy Sanchez time at 1B, and Alex Rios time in LF/CF.

Kevin Youkilis is rated as such a miserable defensive 3B (8/100 rating), that he cannot be the primary backup ahead of Sanchez. He backs up 1B/DH.

At the end of April, the Red Sox are 18-6, leading the AL East by 7 games over the Rays, Yankees, and Orioles.

On May 14, in the midst of a 8-game winning streak for the Sox, Grady Sizemore strains a quad, and is lost for 4 weeks. Schumaker is called up, Edmonds moves to CF, and Rios comes in to play RF. On May 15, Albert Pujols returns for a 5-game suspension for brawling, and is promptly suspended for 7 games for another brawl. What a hothead!

At the end of May, the Red Sox are 40-12, leading the AL East by 13 games over the Blue Jays. Mark Teixeira is the AL Batter of the Month with a 330/374/800 line. He mashes 12 HRs and collects 28 RBIs in 25 games. Alex Rios is such a failure at the plate that he is platooned with Schumaker until Sizemore returns. Schumaker in RF vs RHP, Rios in LF vs LHP. Doumit crushes LHP to the degree that a platoon with Buck is justified. Rafael Betancourt is so horrible in a sufficiently large (small) sample size as to justify sending him down to AAA for a cycle chance to get his mental bearings, and CJ Wilson is called up to get some bullpen duty.

On June 10, Grady Sizemore returns. Since Skip Schumaker is holding his own against both LHP and RHP, and has proven to be defensively serviceable in all 3 OF positions, while Alex Rios has been completely abysmal at the plate, and only useful in the field in RF, Rios goes down and Schumaker stays on the roster. Rios has failed me for the last time.

At the end of June, the Sox are 56-21, 17 games ahead of the Blue Jays. Albert Pujols wins the AL Batter of the Month, hitting 462/558/946 in June, for a staggering OPS of 1.504. He hits 12 HRs in the month. Nice of him to not pick any fights this month. Brandon Webb ends the month without having lost a game on the season, with an overall ERA under 2. Joe Nathan and Dan Kolb continue to cruise with ERAs below 3.00 in the bullpen, as pictures of draft picks dance in my head.

In July, Brandon Webb, Joe Nathan, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, and Grady Sizemore are elected to the All-Star Team. The Sox end the month at 72-32, 18 games ahead of the Blue Jays. Grady Sizemore is the AL Batter of the Month, with a 347/460/653 line. Brandon Webb takes his first loss of the season on July 25.

On August 6, Jim Edmonds is lost for 3 weeks due to shoulder tendinitis. Schumaker has not exactly run with the opportunity to replace Rios, so Luke Scott is called up to take some RF duty.

The Sox end August with a record of 89-43, 20.5 games ahead of the Orioles. The roster expands on September 1, allowing Matt Cain, Rafael Betancourt, Jonathan Broxton, Manny Delcarmen, Cla Meredith, Brian McCann, Alex Rios, Luke Scott, Kelly Shoppach, Geovany Soto, and Hanley Ramirez to be called up.

On September 23, with the Red Sox cruising into the postseason, Jim Edmonds goes down with wrist tendonitis. He will miss 3 weeks. That figures to be the ALDS and ALCS, if necessary. Naturally, it had to be the player at the position of least effective depth.

The Red Sox end the season with a 110-52 record, edging out the Blue Jays and Orioles by 28 games. David Wright is the batter of the month in September, courtesy of his 416/470/733 line in the month. The Red Sox are the #1 seed in the AL, and face the Wild Card-winning Royals in the ALDS. The other ALDS features the Twins and the Mariners.

Tim Hudson is left off the playoff roster. Based on his excellent September performance, Brian McCann replaces Hudson. Luke Scott was such a disaster in RF that Alex Rios is the Edmonds replacement on the playoff roster instead of Scott. Schumaker remains on the roster. The presence of Rios/Schumaker in RF makes McCann particularly helpful as a PH option. There are a pair of platooned players. Against RHP, Schumaker is in RF with Buck at C. Against LHP, McCann catches with Rios in RF. Kevin Youkilis also starts against DH, in place of Mark Teixeira, who is surprisingly ineffective against LHP. The playoff rotation (4-man) is Webb-Oswalt-Buehrle-Haren, although the 4th starter never goes when the top 3 have high enough stamina ratings to recover quickly in playoff series.

The ALDS begins at Fenway Park, between the 110-win Red Sox and the 83-win Royals. The other ALDS is the 107-win Twins against the 83-win Mariners. I smell reverse locks!

Game 1 pits Webb against Zack Greinke. Greinke wins the duel, aided by 4 Red Sox errors, 2 by Albert Pujols at 1B. The final score was 4-2, with 2 unearned runs allowed. Roy Oswalt takes on Matt Clement in Game 2, and although Oswalt gives up 4 ER over 6.1 IP, the Red Sox lineup eats Clement, and then the Royals bullpen alive, en route to a 12-4 victory. The Royals are the ones with stellar defensive players making errors this time, with errors by Ivan Rodriguez and Alex Gonzalez leading to unearned Red Sox runs. Game 3 is 2005 Mark Buehrle vs Miguel Asencio. Ok, if this game isn't a reverse lock...but it's not, the Sox win 6-4. Webb and Greinke face each other again in Game 4, but Webb is the victor this time. He goes 8 shutout innings, and CJ Wilson slams the door on a 2-0 victory. The Red Sox move on to face...the Seattle Mariners in the 2005 ALCS.

Thankfully, Jim Edmonds is cleared to play the day before the ALCS begins, allowing me to add him to the roster. Adios, Rios. The ALCS begins with a matchup of Brandon Webb and Joel Pineiro at Fenway Park. As an aside, looking at the NLCS, it appears that I may have created a monster, and a key piece was someone I forgot about. More on that later. Webb wins the battle, 4-3. Rookie Felix Hernandez challenges Roy Oswalt in Game 2. The pitchers each give up 4 runs over 7 innings, and the game goes into extra innings. The Mariners get to CJ Wilson in the top of the 11th, and win 6-4. Freddy Garcia hosts Mark Buehrle in Game 3, and the Red Sox hold off a late Mariners rally to win 7-5. Webb and Pineiro cross swords again in Game 4, Webb throws 7 scoreless innings, and the Sox win 4-2. The NLCS is swept by my monster, and the Sox need only one more win to meet them. Game 5 is another Oswalt-King Felix matchup, and the Red Sox head to the World Series with a 8-4 win.

The World Series opponent shall be the monster that I have created, the 105-win Pittsburgh Pirates. Ryan Howard as a "throw in" might not have been the best idea. The Pirates enter the series featuring former Red Sox players Ryan Howard at 1B and Orlando Hudson at 2B. It appears that Kevin Gregg was left in their minors, and I have no idea what happened to Mirabelli or Frasor. That is not where this Red Sox-created uber team ends, though. The Pirates, powered by Howard, were confident enough at the deadline to trade for their current starting 3B, Ray Durham. Durham proceeded to play out of his mind for half of a season. There are real world Red Sox ties as well, with SS Mark Loretta, and their 4th OFer, Trot Nixon. If there's one player who has enjoyed my "very low" injury setting, it has been Trot Nixon. Their pitching staff was aided by a non-move of mine, as Bronson Arroyo was never claimed, and has been their postseason ace. Their closer is Mike Timlin. On top of all that is the FA starting pitcher they acquired in the 2004-2005 offseason, fresh off unloading Miguel Tejada's salary - Roy Halladay. He was surprisingly mediocre for them in the 2005 regular season, but appears to be over it for the playoffs. Throw in the fact that two of the teams hit hardest by my drafts have been the Cardinals and Astros, and you have a 100+ win Pirates squad.

Note on OOTP Quirk - The OOTP playoff series each start after one off day after the previously ended series. In other words, if both teams sweep, the series starts two days later, not on a firm, real MLB schedule. This gives the Pirates a major advantage here, because instead of both teams having 3-4 days to rest starters to set up their rotations, the Pirates get two off days, and the Red Sox only one prior to the World Series. This is thanks to the Pirates sweeping aside the Colorado Rockies, while the Red Sox took 5 games to down the Mariners.

Game 1 features Roy Halladay against Mark Buehrle at Fenway Park. Miguel Tejada contributes with a HR against his former team, and the Red Sox steal a vital Game 1, 6-2. The Pirates can't afford to lose Halladay starts, particularly with Bronson Arroyo facing Brandon Webb in Game 2. Bronson Arroyo parties like it is the 2004 ALCS Game 3, and the Red Sox roll, 10-2. The series shifts to Pittsburgh, denying the Red Sox the Teixeira/Youkilis platoon. Sean Burnett faces Roy Oswalt, Burnett outlasts Oswalt, and Ryan Howard homers, but the Red Sox destroy the Pirates' bullpen to win Game 3 by a score of 8-3. It is all on Roy Halladay to stem the tide in Game 4, and he matches Buehrle with 3 runs allowed. The game goes to the bullpens, and Ryan Howard singles in the winning run in the bottom of the 11th, as Mike Timlin gets the W. That's a little bit disturbing. Webb vs Arroyo again in Game 5, and Arroyo is once again mastered by a top offense, as the Red Sox win 5-3. The Red Sox repeat as World Champions.

That's number 18.

Post-Season Analysis

The team finished 110-52, 5 games above their Pyth record of 105-57. The Sox led the AL in runs scored with 960, was 2nd in runs allowed with 689 (Twins - 670), and was 8th in defense.

The Real 2005 Red Sox

Position Players:

Posted Image

At catcher, John Buck exceeded expectations by a fair margin. Doumit was in the ballpark of his baseline, and McCann was significantly better in less playing time. They were not as productive as the historical Varitek/Mirabelli combo, but methinks McCann will more than make up for that in the immediate future. Both Buck and McCann made up for that with their respective postseason OPSes of 890 and 1364.

1B - At last, Albert Pujols exceeds himself. He's certainly a clear upgrade over 2005 Millar. Teixeira slightly undershot himself at DH, but that was disproportionately against LHP only, he was basically on-target against RHP. He's no David Ortiz. Youkilis was less effective, but had roughly double his historical playing time. He mashed LHP to compensate for Teixeira. Youk was useless (182 OPS) in the postseason, while Teixeira produced at a Pujols-esque level (1036) in a platoon role, while Pujols (940) was merely excellent.

2B - Marcus Giles was right on target, easily besting 2005 Bellhorn. Freddy Sanchez underachieved, and was basically a warm body who could play 3 positions. He's a better defending version of Lou Merloni. Thank goodness he wasn't the starting SS. Neither were notable for good or ill in the postseason.

SS - Miguel Tejada was a clear upgrade on Edgar Renteria, but failed to live up to his baseline 2005 performance. Hanley Ramirez was infinitely better than his historical -100 OPS+, in similarly little playing time. Tejada was a corpse in the postseason (601 OPS).

3B - David Wright was excellent, even if he came up just short of his own baseline. A clear upgrade on Bill Mueller. He was middling in the postseason, neither helping nor hurting.

LF - Matt Holliday was right on target, coming up well short of Manny Ramirez. Another middling postseason performer.

CF - Grady Sizemore, but all rights, should win the MVP Award when I sim to that point. He easily exceeded his baseline, which was already an upgrade on Damon. He missed some time, but a 158 OPS+ out of CF just simply HAS to make him the best player in the league. He didn't miss a beat in October, either, with an OPS of 901.

RF - Jim Edmonds was brittle, and just slightly beneath himself when he did play. He still played more games than 2005 Trot Nixon. He compensated by tearing up the ALCS and World Series with a 1096 OPS.

OF Depth - Alex Rios was a bitter disappointment. Luke Scott was less bad than anticipated, but his lead glove made up for some of that. Skip Schumaker was a fair bit better than expected, in more playing time. As a starter in the ALDS and as a frequent defensive sub for Matt Holliday, Schumaker was an October hero with a 1056 OPS in 13 games. Dave Roberts and Bobby Kielty applaud postseason heroics by a reserve OFer.

The Pitching Staff:

Posted Image

Brandon Webb took it to another level, making up for a somewhat disappointing overall performance from the group. Tim Hudson was simply awful, yet still had a winning record thanks to a great offense, defense, and bullpen. Roy Oswalt and Mark Buehrle both significantly undershot their awesome 2005 seasons, although they were still above average starters. Dan Haren was roughly on target, with a mild underperformance. Out of 5 starters, I expected more than 1 to meet or exceed his historical baseline. The one who did was awesome, complete with a 5-1, 43.0 IP, 1.88 ERA performance in the postseason in 6 starts, but I had higher expectations for the others.

In the bullpen, Huston Street was merely excellent instead of otherworldly. Papelbon kicked it into awesomeness ahead of schedule. Dan Kolb easily beat his historical campaign, as did CJ Wilson. Betancourt was quite the disappointment, but that opened the way for Wilson. I know at one SoSHer who might get a kick out of Delcarmen's 2 innings of horror. No injuries in the rotation led to very little action for Matt Cain.

Years of Control and Extensions

This one is easy. Only Teixeira pops up, right on target with 3 years of service on the books. He gets a 3-year extension.

Leaders and Awards

Gold Gloves - Jim Edmonds (RF)
MVP - Albert Pujols (1B) - Sizemore was robbed!

AL Leaders:
OBP - Albert Pujols
SLG - Albert Pujols
OPS - Albert Pujols
wOBA - Albert Pujols
WAR - Albert Pujols
HR - Albert Pujols
Runs - Albert Pujols
TB - Albert Pujols

Ok, maybe Sizemore wasn't robbed.

ERA - Brandon Webb
H/9 - Brandon Webb
BB/9 - Dan Haren
oAVG - Brandon Webb

The 2005 Draft is next.

EDIT - Fixed the pitching image.

Edited by JMDurron, 24 November 2011 - 10:51 PM.

#24 Bigpupp

  • 1,153 posts

Posted 20 November 2011 - 10:29 PM

Thanks for the time you're putting into this. I'm having a great time reading it.

#25 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 20 November 2011 - 11:36 PM

I appreciate the feedback. :)

Other Quirks from OOTP

One thing I noticed in the 2005 season sim is that OOTP's managerial moves are, at the very least, odd. I noticed that in one of the extra-inning games that I checked the box score of, Kevin Youkilis was used as a PH for Grady Sizemore. Even against a LHP, Sizemore should not have been PH for at any point. There's also some rather odd bullpen usage, given the depth I've consistently assembled. This is something of an argument for going back and playing some of this out manually, which I may do when I get to the end, but I will not do posts for those.

I also think I may have discovered some mistakes I made in my initial settings/season-to-season settings. The main one is the cash limit that comes in with the financial settings. I think I need to be setting that to zero each season, because I think the inability for the AI teams to carry cash (or losses) over from season to season is a major driver of the distorted markets that I am witnessing. I know having a Cash Max set too low is a major financial issue in OOTP's MLB Quickstart, so it stands to reason that the same logic might make it an issue in the Historical sim. There also may be some mod out there that brings the real owners with personality/cash management ratings, in which case I bet I'd see more normal budgetary behavior.

The main setting that I think I might have goofed up on is during the initial creation of the league - the "generate random L/R splits" setting. It is recommended for historical multi-season franchises, because L/R splits are not available for many historical players. The thing is...I'm pretty sure they are available for 1974 onward, so there was no reason for me to select that setting. I think that might be artificially depressing the output of my above-average, but not Pujols-level awesome RHH. Looking back, my LHH stars or above-average players (Lynn, Gwynn, Boggs, Edmonds) pretty consistently hit the mark, while my RHH equivalents (Rice, Evans, Dawson, Burks, Rolen, Nomar) were slightly underachieving. If there's a slightly random variation on a standard "same handedness" penalty being applied, then it might be disproportionally hurting guys who historically hit RHP just as well as LHP. That might help to explain some of the odd splits I've been seeing, at least beyond what makes sense as random variation.

Just wanted to get that out there for any OOTP players possibly considering leagues in a similar timeframe. It's too late for me to fix these issues now, but it might help somebody else out.

#26 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 22 November 2011 - 08:34 PM

The 2005 Draft

Historically, the Red Sox had 5 1st round picks in 2005 - the 23rd and 26th overall picks, and 3 compensation picks. They gained the 23rd pick for losing Orlando Cabrera, gained the 26th pick for losing Derek Lowe, and lost the 28th selection for signing Edgar Renteria. They gained the 2 comp picks for Cabrera and Lowe, plus one for Pedro Martinez, due to the Mets' protected 1st rounder that year.

I have 6 picks. I have the 18th overall pick from the Padres for Pedro Martinez, the 29th overall pick (Twins had a better record), and 4 compensation picks for Pedro, Nomar, Varitek, and Beltran.

The Red Sox historically took Jacoby Ellsbury, Craig Hansen, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, and Michael Bowden with those selections.

Obviously, Ellsbury (23rd overall) and Buchholz (42nd, sup) are significant enough for me to keep. I don't have to gamble on Ellsbury lasting until the 29th pick since I have the 18th selection, even though this means I lose out on Matt Garza at #25. There are zero significant players between the 29th overall pick and when Buchholz was historically selected, so Buchholz goes #29. Hansen and Bowden are obviously not worth keeping. Jed Lowrie is on the bubble, and if he had a full career path played out, I would probably ditch him, but given that we are now into the present day, and know that Lowrie has been heavily impacted by injuries as opposed to just being a scrub, I feel obligated to keep him.

With the 18th overall pick, I select Jacoby Ellsbury

With the 29th overall pick, I select Clay Buchholz

With my 1st supplemental pick, I select Jed Lowrie

This leaves me 3 to play with.

I would like to take this moment to get something off my chest. DAMN YOU TO HELL LINCECUM AND POSEY FOR NOT SIGNING! With the same teams they eventually signed with later, oddly enough. Methinks the Giants liked those two. Point Sabean.

This was a draft that absolutely went to crap outside of the 1st round. So many 1st round studs (Justin Upton, Zimmerman, Braun, Tulowitzki, McCutchen, Bruce, Ellsbury, Garza, Buchholz), and so much crap after them. At least for position players, relative to other seasons.

With my 2nd supplemental pick, I select Tommy Hanson. He will arrive in 2009.

With my 3rd supplemental pick, I select Yunel Escobar. Escobar will arrive in 2007.

With my 4th supplemental pick, I select Sergio Romo. Romo will arrive in 2008.

2005 - 2006 Roster Moves are Next.

#27 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:47 PM

There's no way I'm getting through this without some more trading, so...

2005 - 2006 Roster Moves, Part I


There are 5 players leaving for free agency, all notable in some way.

Miguel Tejada did his job, playing just well enough (105 OPS+ at SS) to secure Type A compensation. One ring for him, two draft picks for me. Well, hopefully two draft picks.

After 12 years in a Red Sox uniform, Jim Edmonds moves on. He leaves with 6 Rings accumulated over 12 seasons, 6 All Star selections, and 4 Gold Gloves - 3 in CF, and 1 in RF. He leaves with a career line of 293/382/521 in a Red Sox uniform, with a OPS+ of 133 that is comparable to his career OPS+ of 137 over the same timeframe. He was everything that I had hoped for, and his debut at 1B in 1994 helped to secure a World Series win when Jeff Bagwell was lost for the season due to injury. He leaves with 360 HRs instead of his 331 historically, giving him a great shot at 400 if he stays healthy. Speaking of staying healthy, after 5 straight years of 155+ games from 1999 - 2003, Edmonds has begun to break down. With only 121 and 127 games played in his last two seasons in Boston, along with gradually declining rate stats, Edmonds only brings Type B compensation, mostly likely due to his time spent in RF instead of CF. To call Edmonds' postseason numbers randomly distributed would be a mild understatement, small sample sizes rule!

In contrast to Edmonds, Tim Hudson departs as a disappointment. In 6 full seasons on the Best Team in baseball, with an above-average defense behind him most seasons, Hudson only managed a record of 89-53, never winning 20 games, and only twice posting an ERA under 4.00 while earning a career mark to date of 4.12. His ERA+ in Boston is at 112, so he was not a boat anchor, he simply wasn't Tim Hudson. He went 0-2 with a 19.06 postseason ERA in 5 appearances, 1 start. For a baseline, the real Tim Hudson went 106-48 from 1999-2005, with a 3.33 ERA that translated to an ERA+ of 134. Hudson narrowly manages to achieve Type B status by being durable and balancing out his 83 ERA+ in 2005 with his previous year's mark of 131.

Joe Nathan also departs. Nathan is an odd case to compare to his baseline, because his career began historically with 2 bad seasons as a starter, 2 seasons of no playing time at all, and 3 seasons of awesome relief. I never made him a starter, and he only spent limited time in the minors in 1999-2000, so I essentially received, by ERA+, 1 awesome year of relief (252), 3 great years of relief (149, 139, 128), 2 average-or-slightly better years (119, 102), and 1 bad year (88). He wasn't consistently great, but he was quite good, leaving with a career ERA+ of 134, with a 33-21 record and 75 saves (a tough group to steal saves from, this bullpen was) and a 3.62 ERA in the AL East in the peak of the steroid era. He pitched 390 IP. Granted, I think the peak of the steroid era happened in his clubhouse in this setup, but still, he was a solid contributor. He leaves as a Type B free agent, as my unwillingness to stick with any one closer for an entire season makes racking up picks from non-Smith, non-Eckersley relievers difficult.

Dan Kolb departs, bringing no compensation. His 1999 season is the cause here, where his 8.31 ERA in limited time led me to send him back down to AAA. He peaked in 2002-2004, posting ERA+ of 209, 257, and 144. If he had hung around in 1999, he leaves after 2004, and should have brought Type A compensation. Or some compensation, at least. Instead, he tacks on a solid, but save-free 120 in 2005, and off he goes. He leaves with an overall ERA of 3.07, much nicer than Nathan's, but in only 281.1 IP.

Side Note on Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran signed a 1-year deal in Atlanta, and had the season of his career so far. He is the premiere FA on the market. Now he gets his payday. :angry:

Draft Pick Compensation

Miguel Tejada signs with the San Francisco Giants. The Giants had the 10th pick in the 2006 draft, therefore their pick is protected. I get a compensation pick, and am not doing the 2nd round pick for this exercise as per my standard practices to date.

Jim Edmonds signs with the Pittsburgh Pirates...after June 15. This means that I do not gain a compensation pick for the 2006 draft.

Joe Nathan signs with the Chicago White Sox. I collect a compensation pick.

Tim Hudson signs with the San Francisco Giants. I collect a compensation pick.


Cole Hamels, Casey Janssen, Ian Kinsler, Dan Uggla, Ben Zobrist, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier now join the roster.

They join historical arrivals Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia.

5 Out, 9 in. Naturally.

Positional Depth Summary

Catcher - Brian McCann (130/138), Ryan Doumit (61/78), John Buck (114/80), Geovany Soto (11/20), Kelly Shoppach (41/75). It's pretty clearly McCann and everybody else. Soto's lack of playing time prior to 2008 is quite handy right about now, he's AAA depth. Ditto Shoppach. I can't really evaluate the defense of catchers who I didn't watch to read much about, so I'm forced to go to OOTP ratings for a ruling between Buck and Doumit. Buck is considered a better defender than Doumit, plus Buck has been the better bat in the sim. Not that the bat matters much with McCann, but injuries do happen. Doumit is a capable backup at other positions, so he might be useful as roster depth to the point of justifying him getting playing time beyond C, but we'll have to see how 1B and RF play out.

McCann is the starter, Buck is the backup, Doumit is bench depth or trade bait, and Soto and Shoppach are getting seasoning in AAA.

First Base - Albert Pujols (143/173), Mark Teixeira (162/126), Kevin Youkilis (147/106), Luke Scott (65/160), Doumit. Pujols is clearly the best player on the team, nevermind at 1B, and possibly in the league as a whole. He is a serious candidate to get an extension. I can no longer justify Youkilis as a backup/platoon partner for Teixeira, there isn't enough time behind David Wright at 3B, and so one of them has to go.

The objective (and aesthetic, to be honest) choice is a tough one, obviously the emotional move is to keep Youkilis for Teixeira. Teixeira is, at this stage, the superior defensive 1B, and is a year away from elite offensive production in 2007-2008, at which point he becomes a Free Agent. Youkilis is a serviceable 1B at this point, is expected to provide average to above-average offense in 2006 and 2007, and then is scheduled to be an elite bat in 2008 and 2009. He may also be under team control for another stellar year in 2010. The defensive and short-term offensive edge goes to Teixeira, the emotional and long-term offensive edge goes to Youkilis. Of course, the defensive factor is somewhat moot if I extend Pujols to stay at 1B indefinitely (through 2011), which is my inclination at this time. My last long-term deal is off the books with Edmonds gone, so this is really a DH consideration. If the defensive factor is mitigated (it is), then the choice is clear. Youkilis is staying, Mark Teixeira is being sent to the glue factory trade market.

Doumit and Luke Scott are both viable backup choices here. Other positional depth issues will help influence this.

Second Base - Marcus Giles (141/82), Ian Kinsler (120/105), Dan Uggla (154/107), Freddy Sanchez (157/114), Dustin Pedroia (31/42). Giles is the incumbent, with Sanchez as the reigning backup. Kinsler, Uggla, and Pedroia are all new, and Pedroia has so little playing time that I can justify waiting until September for his cup of coffee. I can also rationalize leaving one of Kinsler/Uggla in AAA as depth due to their youth and relative lack of awesomeness thus far, but not both. There simply would not be enough playing time to go around. I don't particularly care about Sanchez's career prospects, he more useful to me as depth and I'm not ruining a star here. Giles is in his final season, and none of the three options are awesome hitters in 2006. Uggla is the clearly inferior defensive option of the 3.

At no point in the present or future am I willing to tolerate Uggla's defense at 2B. David Wright is at 3B, Pujols is at 1B, and Youkilis is at DH, which means there's nowhere else for him to go. Dan Uggla is getting traded. This leaves Giles and Kinsler. Since Kinsler is fresh meat, Kinsler and Giles are roughly equivalent defensively according to OOTP, AND Giles is on the final year of team control, I decide to let Giles try to play for counting stats for draft pick compensation purposes. It's not like trading 2 2Bs at once gains me much, and I doubt I'll have more than one position to upgrade anyway.

Shortstop - HANLEY HANLEY HANLEY HANLEY Ahem. Sorry about that. Hanley Ramirez (158/111), Ben Zobrist (52/48), Sanchez. This is straightforward. Hanley starts. Sanchez backs up. Zobrist makes coffee of the Pawtucket blend until September. Please do not give that coffee to Pedroia. You have been warned, Benjamin.

Third Base - David Wright (154/128), Youkilis, Sanchez. Also straightforward. Wright starts, Sanchez replaces in late innings. Youkilis can play in the field if Wright needs to DH or miss any significant time, unless Sanchez is the hot hand. Sanchez is basically Francona's swiss army knife at this point, and I'm planning to upgrade to the Zobrist Platinum version shortly.

Left Field - Matt Holliday (155/132), Skip Schumaker (28/28), Luke Scott. Holliday starts, Scott backs up, Schumaker was basically drafted because I don't have to care about his playing time. He has a first name that befits either a manager or a household pet, so he comes when the manager calls either way. Not before.

Center Field - Grady Sizemore (162/133), Alex Rios (128/120), Matt Kemp (52/85), Schumaker. I include Rios here because he is both able to play RF and CF, and with Ethier arriving in RF, I think Rios backing up Sizemore may be a part of my solution. You know, the Grady Sizemore who played 162 games. :c070: Sizemore is clearly the starter, Kemp is clearly either the backup or a September callup, and Schumaker is AAA depth.

Right Field - Andre Ethier (126/113), Alex Rios, Luke Scott, Skip Schumaker. Scott and Schumaker's roles are identical to those in LF, but the problem is playing time. Both Ethier and Rios as full-time players. Luke Scott is too good as a part-time player in 2006 and as a full-time player from 2007-onward to stunt his playing time/development. I'm not quite willing to give him the Sanchez/Schumaker treatment, although his defense might merit it. Really, I need to have Scott be the primary backup, which means resolving Ethier/Rios.

Rios is slightly better in 2006, and in 2007, while Ethier is the superior player from 2008-2011. Rios is scheduled to depart after the 2010 season. This is essentially too close to call at a quick glance, so I hit the OOTP ratings. Rios appears to be the superior defender. Unfortunately for Mr. Rios, my looking at the sim does him no favors, as it reminds me of how much he has annoyed me with his utter uselessness in his first two seasons. Emotion wins again! Plus, there is the possibility that I broke Rios' production by platooning instead of starting him last season. Time to cut my losses and prevent a repeat with Ethier. Alex Rios goes on the block.

Overall OF - Holliday - Sizemore - Ethier, with Luke Scott as the 4th OFer covering RF/LF, and Matt Kemp as the 5th OF covering CF from AAA. Schumaker is deeper depth.

Since Scott is occupied as the 4th OFer, Doumit is required as the 3rd catcher/backup 1B. He comes off the trading block.

The trade block from this section consists of Mark Teixeira, Dan Uggla, and Alex Rios. I have no apparent position of need, barring something odd like Chase Utley being on an expiring deal, at which point Giles is fair game. Ditto for some unexpected uber-stud in RF for Ethier.

Starting Pitching Depth Summary

Brandon Webb (235/147), Dan Haren (223/108), Roy Oswalt (220.2/145), Mark Buehrle (204/95), Matt Cain (190.2/103), Cole Hamels (132.1/110), Jon Lester (81.1/100).

Not quite as simple as 2005, but neither is it as complicated as it first appears. I come out of Spring Training and set up a Rookie Camp at Mass General Hospital. One player is assigned to the roster. Lester will have his Lymphoma discovered earlier, miss the entire season, and be back earlier in 2007.

It's time to count starts for Hamels. Oswalt takes 32, Webb 33, Haren 34, Buehrle 32, and Cain 31. That sums up to...162 games. Hamels needs 23 starts. I had expected Mark Buehrle to leave after 2005, but he didn't get sufficient playing time in 2000. Perhaps I could stash Hamels away in the bullpen? :rolling:

More seriously, Mark Buehrle does somewhat suck (for him) in 2006, and it is his last season under team control. It would make sense to move him to either make room for Hamels, or significantly upgrade the rotation spot. Mark Buehrle goes onto the block.

Bullpen Depth Summary

Yeah, this is normal. The good news is that I lost more guys than I gained, with only Janssen arriving as Kolb and Nathan depart. Janssen gets the standard AAA new reliever spot. Fuentes, Shields, Betancourt, Wilson, Street, and Papelbon were all mainstays last season and remain. Broxton, Delcarmen, and Meredith now demand enough playing time to have to be accounted for. This means I have 10 pitchers for 7 slots, although the Janssen carveout means I only have two. This is actually pretty easy to figure out, here. Which two pitchers do not belong with the group? Delcarmen has two excellent seasons in 2007-2008, and Meredith has an insane year in 2006 and a good year in 2007. We do have some slight anecdotal evidence that pressure/competition might reduce Meredith a tad in Boston. CJ Wilson does appear to bring a 2008 season that is worse than anything Delcarmen/Meredith can match, but I think my mind is made up.

Delcarmen and Meredith join the train out of town.

I am now attempting to trade Mark Buehrle, Mark Teixeira, Dan Uggla, Alex Rios, Manny Delcarmen, and Cla Meredith for a superior starting pitcher to Buehrle, possibly one who might leave room for Hamels to squeeze some starts in.

The Trade Market Post is next.

Edited by JMDurron, 25 November 2011 - 01:03 PM.

#28 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:24 PM

The 2005 - 2006 Offseason Trade Market

I am offering 1B Mark Teixeira, "2B" Dan Uggla, RF Alex Rios, SP Mark Buehrle, RP Manny Delcarmen, and RP Cla Meredith. I am seeking the only real area of upgrade that seems useful - 1 SP better than Mark Buehrle in 2006.

Once again, I am seeking a 1-year solution. Assuming that I either work around or explain away the Hamels problem here (I do it with the bullpen often enough), I have 6 SPs right now with Buehrle. Buehrle and Oswalt are due to depart, that makes 4. Lester returns earlier in 2007 now, plus Gallardo arrives (Buchholz is Sep only). That's 6 again, but Gallardo requires fewer starts from Hamels, and can still give Lester a breather, so that's workable. It's only workable if whoever replaces Buehrle leaves immediately as a free agent. So, I'm looking for a draft pick comp guy again.

There are two ways to go about this, each with a great option, and I'll describe them both here.

Option A - Get The Best Vet

The Upcoming Free Agents screen shows mostly older players, as it turns out, who are projected to be FAs, because at the start of a season, a young player with 5 years of service time isn't necessarily guaranteed to play a full season and become a FA. They get added in later as they hit the requisite amount of playing time. So, this screen shows me mostly veterans, and not necessarily the entire picture. It's taking the knowns instead of projecting.

The benefit of a veteran pitcher is that it helps me solve my Hamels problem. Instead of trying to carve off a few starts from all of the starting 5, Hamels can basically give the veteran a break every month or so in the rotation, plus the usual rainout, doubleheader duties, and get to 15+ starts with minimal disruption elsewhere. There's also the intangible factor. With the departure of Jim Edmonds, every single player on my roster now has less than 6 years of MLB service time. I have, literally, no veteran players who have been around the block a few times. A team this talented, with this many egos, might very well need some kind of example/leader to follow. Of course, a starting pitcher might not be quite the solution to that issue anyway, if starters tend to be a different breed.

The best veteran starter who is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2006 season is Curt Schilling. I guess the Mariners didn't give him a World Series clause. Curt Schilling, 2006 version is a pretty solid option. 15-7, 204 IP, ERA of 3.97, and an ERA+ of 120 actually pitching in Fenway Park. Plus, he's certainly a veteran, and he has a couple of rings from his time in Seattle. Despite his historical 31 starts and 200+ IP, he could probably get the occasional breather from Hamels. Even better, his 2005 season in Safeco was dead-on league average, unlike his historical 2005 disaster in Boston, thanks to zero ankle problems. This makes him more likely, but not certain, to be a Type A free agent after the season.

Option B - Get The Best Young Stud

The other way to find the best option, particularly if he's younger, is for me to just walk through the 2005 league leaders and check their service time. I can then compare that player to their historical 2006 performance. The downside to this is that, unless there was some minor injury issue, it's difficult to find a totally dominating, somewhat young pitcher with less than 6 years of playing time. I'd basically like the 1999-2000 Pedro here, in terms of both rates AND lower IP, and that's not happening. I'm not going to find him.

I am, however, going to find something awesome enough to just say "yeah, Hamels can just get a couple fewer starts, taking one turn every 10 days or so from one of the guys in the rotation." One of the best pitchers in baseball in 2005 in both real and OOTP life, and one with exactly 5 years of playing time to start the 2006 season. By leaving him in my rotation, I can guarantee 6 years of playing time, and free agency. There is no concern about free agent compensation here.

Johan Santana, of the Minnesota Twins. He was apparently never extended, and is still just going year-to-year in arbitration. He was the 2005 OOTP AL Cy Young, and the real world 2006 AL Cy Young. His real 2006 campaign - 19-6, 2.77 ERA, 34 starts, 233.2 IP, 9.4 K/9, ERA+ of 162.

I'm not going with Option A.

This actually isn't a bad deal for the Twins, unlike the lube-free backdoor maneuver that the real Johan Santana trade turned out to be. 3 years of Mark Teixeira, 6 years of Dan Uggla, 4 years of Alex Rios, 1 year of Mark Buehrle, 5 years of Manny Delcarmen, and 5 years of Cla Meredith. Sure, only 2 years of the last two are worth much, but they happen in short order. It's a mix of guys on their arb deals (cheap ones, relatively speaking) and pre-arb players. In the court of public opinion, Teixeira and Buehrle are notable enough to satiate the fans. The pundits write lengthy columns demonstrating the superior value brought in by the Twins.

I smile like the Grinch, but I still didn't rip them off. The Twins are analyzed as being weak at 1B (problem solved), SS (no help), and CF (eh, maybe Rios?).

I trade Mark Teixeira, Dan Uggla, Alex Rios, Mark Buehrle, Manny Delcarmen, and Cal Meredith to the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana. As it turns out, the OOTP AI would have accepted Buehrle-Uggla-Rios alone. Or Buehrle-Delcarmen-Meredith-Uggla. They get all 6.

It turns out that the Twins can't afford the combined contracts, as they would start the offseason 1.5 million in the hole without signing a single FA. They also get 10 million in cash from the underground vault where I have been storing my "What's free agency?" money. It's actually "vaults", plural, after I buy up all of Frank McCourt's parking lots and put a replica of Duckburg's most recognizable building in the middle of downtown Boston. The swimming pool is underground, thank you very much...but the bottom of the pool is an image of a one million dollar bill that you can see through the water.

Did I mention my equity stake that John Henry gave me to stay on instead of that quack kid Larry tried to bring in? I probably should have mentioned that. The ad deals don't hurt either.

Roster Moves Part II to follow.

#29 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 24 November 2011 - 09:33 AM

2005 - 2006 Roster Moves, Part II

Post-Trade Roster Review

SP - Santana, Oswalt, Webb, Haren, Cain, Hamels (6th/AAA)
RP - Shields, Broxton, Street, Papelbon, Fuentes, Betancourt, Wilson, Janssen (AAA)
C - McCann, Buck, Doumit
1B - Pujols, Youkilis (DH), Doumit
2B - Giles, Sanchez, Kinsler (AAA)
SS - Hanley, Sanchez, Zobrist (AAA)
3B - Wright, Sanchez, Youkilis
LF - Holliday, Scott, Schumaker (AAA)
CF - Sizemore, Kemp (AAA), Schumaker (AAA)
RF - Ethier, Scott, Schumaker (AAA)

Historical Transactions

I do not trade for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell.

I do not trade for Mark Loretta, Andy Marte, Josh Bard, David Riske, Coco Crisp, Wily Mo Pena, Doug Mirabelli, Javier Lopez, Javy Lopez, or George Kottaras

I do not sign Rudy Seanez, JT Snow, Julian Tavarez, Gabe Kapler, Alex Gonzalez, Eric Hinske, or Carlos Pena.

I do not claim Kyle Snyder off waivers from the Royals.

The Face of the Franchise

With the departure of Jim Edmonds, for the first time, I have zero veteran (6+ years) players on the team. With the massive roster churn that I constantly have, it is a tad difficult for fans to get attached to particular players, knowing that they are likely to leave town, no matter how good they are, in a relatively short period of time. I need a new franchise icon.

In the 70s and early 80s, it was Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk, Ozzie Smith, Andre Dawson, and Fred Lynn.

In the mid 80s to early 90s, it was Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Tony Gwynn, and Wade Boggs.

In the 90s and turn of the century, it was Jeff Bagwell, Jim Edmonds, and Pedro Martinez.

There's also the intangible clubhouse factor. A team that is consistently talented, but full of young players, is going to need at least one veteran presence who can hand down the way things are done from season to season, and to, whether publicly or not, show the kids the ropes. That player needs to be productive enough to have the credibility to talk to players who need talking to, and has to have been around enough relative to the other players to have some seniority. That player also needs to not be too busy worrying about his next contract, it seems that being on the last year of a deal can compromise the clubhouse leadership ability of some players, particularly those who need to feel secure in their position.

So, for both the fanbase, and the success of the team, I need to keep somebody long-term. It's quite obvious who that needs to be.

The tie to the recently departed 1990s stars, the best player at his position in the game, and a solid citizen and defensive player all happen to be the same person. He is on the last year of his contract. It's time to extend Albert Pujols.

He is actually extremely (ridiculously, in fact) reasonable in his contract demands. Ownership has zero issues ponying up the budget room, since I am currently winning the World Series with some consistency while running the 27th largest payroll in the game. I sign Albert Pujols to a 7-year extension, covering the 2007-2013 seasons. Going into the actual future, I am hesitant to bet on his real world health to a significant degree. John Henry is happy, Albert Pujols is happy, I am happy, and Larry Lucchino and Tom Werner are thrilled to have a long-term star to build narratives and ad campaigns around. Winning is good. Winning with steady icons who sell jerseys is better.

The 2006 season is next.

#30 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 24 November 2011 - 11:32 AM

The 2006 Season

Position Players

C: Brian McCann over Jason Varitek (83 -> 138). John Buck (80) backs up. Ryan Doumit (78) is also available.
1B: Albert Pujols over Kevin Youkilis (106 -> 173). Doumit backs up.
2B: Marcus Giles over Mark Loretta (80 -> 82). Freddy Sanchez (114) backs up. Ian Kinsler (105) gets callup time.
SS: Hanley Ramirez over Alex Gonzalez (75 -> 111). Sanchez backs up.
3B: David Wright over Mike Lowell (104 -> 128). Sanchez backs up, Youkilis from DH as needed.
LF: Matt Holliday over Manny Ramirez (165 -> 132). Luke Scott (160) backs up.
CF: Grady Sizemore over Coco Crisp (77 -> 133). Matt Kemp (85) backs up from AAA, as Sizemore played 162 games.
RF: Andre Ethier over Trot Nixon (96 -> 113). Scott backs up.
DH: Kevin Youkilis over David Ortiz (161 -> 106). Oof. Luke Scott gets some time here when Youk is in the field for Pujols or Wright.


John Buck - C
Ryan Doumit - C, 1B
Freddy Sanchez - 2B, SS, 3B
Ian Kinsler - 2B
Luke Scott - LF, RF, DH
Matt Kemp - CF

Starting Pitchers

Brandon Webb (235/147)
Johan Santana (233.2/162)
Dan Haren (223/108)
Roy Oswalt (220.2/145)
Matt Cain (190.2/103)

Cole Hamels (132.1/110) - 6th starter. Hamels will get fewer IP than this, but not by as much as you might think.

The Bullpen

Scot Shields (87.2/159)
Jonathan Broxton (76.1/169)
Huston Street (70.2/134)
Jonathan Papelbon (68.1/517)
Brian Fuentes (65.1/138)
Rafael Betancourt (56.2/118)
CJ Wilson (44.1/114)

The Pawtucket Shuttle

Situational Callups - Casey Janssen, Ian Kinsler, Matt Kemp, Skip Schumaker, Ben Zobrist, Cole Hamels (he's up and down a TON). Ryan Doumit is normally up, but goes down when Hamels needs to come up and there's nobody else who can be DLed for a 2-week rest.

Cup of Coffee/No Time - Geovany Soto, Kelly Shoppach, Dustin Pedroia

Medical year off - Jon Lester

Season Results

Historically, the 2006 Red Sox finished 3rd in the AL East, 11 games behind the Yankees, and 9 games behind the Wild Card-winning Tigers. The 2006 squad was 6th in runs scored, and 11th in runs allowed.

Suffice to say, this team is not going to be 6th or 11th in either category.

Offensively, the team is significantly downgraded at DH, slightly downgraded in LF, status quo at 2B, slightly upgraded in RF, and significantly upgraded at 1B, SS, 3B, CF, and C. This is the best offense in the AL, easily.

The pitching staff goes without saying, I think. Haren and Cain are not dominating, but are durable. They give some starts to Cole Hamels, who basically picks off 2-3 starts from each of the starting 5 to keep guys rested down the stretch, plus one other issue that I shall address shortly.

Defensively, McCann-Buck-Doumit is likely an upgrade over the 2006 Varitek-Mirabelli-Javy Lopez cripple squad. Pujols is a mild upgrade over Youkilis, if any. Marcus Giles is likely a slight upgrade on Mark Loretta. David Wright is rangier, if potentially less reliable with the glove than Mike Lowell. Holliday is only a marginal upgrade on Manny Ramirez in LF. Grady Sizemore is an upgrade on injured, new-to-Fenway Coco Crisp. Andre Ethier should be an upgrade over an aging Trot Nixon in RF.

Then, there's Shortstop. Shortstop is manned by one Hanley Ramirez. Hanley Ramirez is not a good defensive shortstop, and he's a rookie, performing in the glaring spotlight of a pennant race, named as the heir apparent to the SS legacy of Ozzie Smith and Nomar Garciaparra, dealing with the infamous Fenway Park IF. Hanley Ramirez is not known for his maturity and ability to slough off mental distractions. This is not an upgrade, particularly relative to Alex Gonzalez.

There's also another factor. Johan Santana is not a hothead. He is, however, new to Boston, playing under huge expectations, and playing for a massive payday following the 2006 season. It is assumed, not hoped, that he will be the ace of a squad that is almost certain to win the World Series. He is a left-handed power pitcher pitching in Fenway Park. His ability to get his slider in under the hands of RHH leads to a large number of weak pop flies to LF, and groundballs to SS.

As the year goes on, Hanley develops a remarkable propensity to boot balls during Johan Santana starts. Santana shrugs this off at first, and pitches his way out of jams. Over time, the pressure of the pennant chase and rookie scrutiny on Hanley, plus Santana's self-imposed drive to get as many counting stats as possible to drive up his value (while helping the team win) intersect for a poor combination. As Hanley keeps extending innings, causing more pitches thrown, more unearned runs allowed, and more no-decisions and losses, Santana begins to get slightly demonstrative about Hanley's screwups. This, naturally, causes Hanley to make more mental mistakes in the field, particularly for Santana. He'll win some games in the late innings or extras with his bat, but that doesn't help Santana's numbers. As the problem snowballs, the two take some shots at each other in the local press, who finally have some red meat to feast upon in the sea of success, and there is no assertive clubhouse leader to handle things internally yet. Pujols tries, but he doesn't quite know which buttons to press yet, and Hanley is a complete enigma anyway. Pujols is able to help keep Santana calm, but as Hanley starts placing blame on Santana letting the other team put the balls in play to begin with, Santana starts to snap back. Francona tries to shrug it off with one-liners in the press conferences, but everyone knows what is happening.

Making matters worse, the entire clubhouse sides with Santana. Hanley's sense of entitlement, lack of maturity, and general unwillingness to accept responsibility and work on his poor defensive fundamentals rub the whole team the wrong way. This, naturally enough, only causes Hanley to be more defensive. Pujols tries to play mediator to no avail, you have to have two sides at the table to make peace. Things come to a head in July, when Hanley boots 2 balls and throws another away while Santana loses a 2-1 decision, with both runs being unearned. One of the errors was on Holliday, but nobody talks about that. Santana is already developing some soreness from trying extra hard to get more bite on his slider to get strikeouts, due to his lack of faith in his defense behind him. After the game, Santana is placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness, with rumors abounding that there was actually something of a mental breakdown in the clubhouse after the game. Santana stays out for a month, with Cole Hamels taking his starts to get his time in.

Aside from that ugly incident, the team rolls through the regular season, claiming the AL East without breaking much of a sweat.

The Yankees, unmolested, claim the Wild Card quite easily. In the AL Central, the Twins won the division by 1 game over the Tigers, but without 2006 Johan Santana, that isn't happening. The Tigers are unaltered and win the AL Central. In the AL West, the A's won the division by 4 games over the Angels. The A's are now missing Dan Haren and Huston Street. That's a loss of 3.6 + 1.9 bWAR. That puts the Angels in range, but the Angels are missing Scot Shields, good for a 2.8 WAR hit. They do not fall far enough to be within range of the Rangers, so the A's still win the AL West with a worse record. The ALDS matchups are therefore Red Sox-A's, and Yankees-Tigers. The Tigers-Yankees series plays out as per history. The Red Sox-A's series is a complete mismatch.

On paper. In the field, Hanley Ramirez adds his first postseason experience to the defensive devil's brew that he is already working on. His tightness is contagious, and the team gives up nearly as many extra runs as they score. Santana pitches well, but the position players tighten up with the less than perfect clubhouse atmosphere, combined with the fan expectations. The A's win the ALDS in 5 games. The Tigers go on to beat the A's to advance to the World Series.

In the NL, the Cardinals don't even sniff a 500 record without Pujols. In the NL East, even the loss of David Wright does not make up a 12-game difference between the Mets and Phillies. In the NL Central, the Astros lose Roy Oswalt and his 4.7 WAR, moving them out of position to take advantage of the Cardinals' fall. Pujols was worth 8.3 WAR to the 83-win Cardinals. Oswalt is 4.7 to the 82-win Astros. The 80-win Reds are unmolested, and with the hits to two division rivals, they manage 84 wins and take the NL Central. In the NL West, the Padres are left alone and still win the division with 88 wins. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are missing Ethier, Broxton, and Kemp's minor part. Kemp is a non-factor, but Ethier and Broxton translate to 2.1 and 1.9 WAR lost, respectively, putting them around 84 wins instead of 88. That puts the 85-win Phillies back into the Wild Card picture. The Phillies are missing 1.9 WAR from Cole Hamels. That puts them roughly one win below the Dodgers...BUT. The Phillies' divisional rival, the Mets, is missing David Wright. The Dodgers are the ones missing most of the talent that has come from the NL West, so they get no added wins from weaker competition. The Phillies win a 1-game playoff for the NL Wild Card.

The Padres beat the Phillies, the Mets best the Reds, and the Padres upset the Mets to meet the Tigers in the World Series. Javy Peavy turns his season around in October, Dave Roberts steals a key base in Game 3 to spark a Padres rally, and Chan Ho Park is locked in a closet and left behind somewhere in Tijuana. The Tigers make key rookie mistakes while choking away a 2-0 series lead, and the San Diego Padres are unlikely World Series champions.

The media jackals descend upon the Red Sox following their ALDS loss, but some upper management saber-rattling keeps them from stalking Hanley too much during the offseason.

The OOTP Sim is next.

#31 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 24 November 2011 - 10:52 PM

2006 OOTP Season Simulation

Peaseason Predictions

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At this point, I'll believe the 1000 runs when I see them.

Single Season Walkthrough

At the end of April, the Red Sox are 17-8, leading the East by 4.5 games over the Orioles. Roy Oswalt is the AL Pitcher of the month. Oswalt went 4-0 with an ERA of 1.54 in 35 IP in 5 starts. Hanley Ramirez is the AL Rookie of the Month, putting up a 346/402/682 line in 24 games.

At the end of May, the squad is 41-13, leading the Blue Jays by 12 games in the AL East. Brandon Webb is the AL Pitcher of the month, with a 6-1 record, 42 IP, and a 4.07 ERA in 7 starts. Rough month for AL pitchers, I guess? Or W-L is weighted far too heavily. Hanley Ramirez is the AL Rookie of the Month again, this time with a 342/411/604 line in 27 games.

At the end of June, the Sox are 56-24, 12.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays. Marcus Giles loses PAs to Freddy Sanchez. I want to bring up Kinsler, but Giles is iffy enough on service time that he might be stuck for another year without compensation, so I'm basically stuck with the current roster. None of the relievers are bad enough to be sent down, and Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Doumit have both been excellent from the bench, so I can't justify sending them down either. Sanchez and Giles swap places. That's some rough SS defense, but it's really no different from Hanley being out there anyway. McCann is awful against LHP in a significant enough sample to become a platoon partner with John Buck.

In July, Pujols gets suspended for brawling yet again. This time, it's a 5-game suspension on July 23. Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, Brian McCann, Albert Pujols, David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, and Grady Sizemore are all named to the AL All-Star Team.

The Sox end July at 76-30, with a 17.5 game lead over the Blue Jays. Brandon Webb wins the AL Pitcher of the month, this time with a better stat line. In 5 starts, Webb goes 5-0, with an ERA of 2.05 in 30.2 IP. Giles gets the 2B job back, as Sanchez squanders the opportunity. Kinsler will probably start in September at this rate, but I need the roster expansion to make room for him, since nobody in the bullpen or on the bench has sucked enough to merit demotion.

On August 19, Andre Ethier suffers torn ligaments in his ankle, and is lost for 6 weeks. Matt Kemp takes his roster spot as Luke Scott moves into RF. The Sox end the month at 98-37, 24.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays. Dan Haren is the AL Pitcher of the Month, posting a 6-0 record in 6 starts, with a 2.05 ERA in 40 IP. Hanley Ramirez is the Rookie of the Month, with a 407/453/676 line in August, over 28 games.

On September 1, the rosters finally expand. Cole Hamels, Casey Janssen, Kelly Shoppach, Geovany Soto, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, and Dustin Pedroia are called up to join the party. Kinsler is immediately made the starting 2B vs RHP, Sanchez is dominating LHP and remains in place. So much for compensation from Giles.... Hamels immediately takes Cain's spot in the starting 5 for the stretch run.

The Red Sox finish the season at 116-46, winning the AL East by 31 games over the Blue Jays. Hanley Ramirez is once again the AL Rookie of the Month, posting a 366/465/677 line in 25 September games. He was a huge part of why the team finished with the most runs scored in the AL...and the 12th "best" defense. The Sox are the #1 seed in the AL, and host the Wild Card winning Detroit Tigers in the ALDS. The other matchup is the Twins and the Rangers.

Note on OOTP's Playoff Rosters

The code for the AI's selection of a team's playoff rosters was put together by monkeys. Yes, OOTP, leave Papelbon off my roster in favor of Kelly Shoppach, he of the 0 PAs in 0 Games. Soto instead of Hanley Ramirez is another stroke of genius. I recommend cutting your roster down to 25 men before finishing the last day of the season (perhaps play the game, but don't "finish today"), to avoid having the AI basically pick your roster from random. You then get to repair your depth charts, because anyone not initially on the AI's crappy playoff roster is removed from the lineups and depth charts that you painstakingly set over the course of the season.

Matt Cain is left off the playoff roster. Andre Ethier returns from the DL on the last day of the season, and replaces Matt Kemp on the postseason roster. This is fortunate, because although Luke Scott is a terror at the plate, he is also a terror in the field. Cain's omission leaves room for Ian Kinsler, who remains the starting 2B in the playoffs. Giles is left on the roster as a somewhat capable 2B/SS backup, because Pedroia is not ready yet, and there's an opportunity for depth in potential NL ballparks. With off days removing the requirement to backup OFers who tire from use, Luke Scott takes Youk's DH duties against RHP. I simply have to keep his bat in the lineup, and his glove out of the field.

I set my playoff rotation based on the top 4 starters from the regular season, in descending order.

Game 1 of the ALDS brings the Tigers to Fenway Park, where John Garland challenges Brandon Webb. Albert Pujols goes 4-for-4 with a HR, and the Sox win 5-2. Game 2 is Justin Verlander vs Dan Haren. Do not ask me why Verlander was not lined up for Game 1 when the Tigers won the Wild Card by 5 games. Score another one for the AI! It is a distinction without meaning, however, as the Red Sox romp to the tune of a 8-1 victory. Game 3 is in Detroit, featuring Roy Oswalt against Jeremy Bonderman. Both pitchers bring their best stuff, only allowing 1 run apiece. The bullpens are also well matched, and the game is tied 1-1 in extra innings. In the top of the 12th, David Wright hits a 1-out double, and he then steals 3rd base. Ethier responds by promptly striking out. Grady Sizemore follows up with a groundball to thirdbase, which is mishandled by Tigers 3B Damion Easley. Sizemore reaches, Wright scores, and Betancourt closes out the win for Scot Shields in the bottom of the 12th. Game 3 is the only game of the series in which the Red Sox do not make an error in the field.

The only DS to go longer than 3 games is the other ALDS (I'm sure FOX loved that), and the Rangers advance past the Twins (Whew!) to face the Red Sox. The ALCS features the 116-win Red Sox hosting the 82-win Rangers. The words of Ackbar echo through the city.

Former ALDS tormentor John Lackey leads the Rangers into Fenway for Game 1 against Dan Haren. Lackey does it again, and the Rangers take game 1 5-3. Chris Young and Brandon Webb square off in Game 2. The Rangers get to Webb for 3 runs, and Young is scoreless through 5. The hook is too slow in the 6th, and the Red Sox tie the game with a 3-run 6th inning rally off of Young. The calvary doesn't quite do the job either, as the Rangers bullpen gives up 3 more in the 7th, as the Red Sox tie the series at 1 with a 6-3 victory. Game 3 features Roy Oswalt against Randy Johnson (2006 version, not 2001 version). Neither pitcher has reason to boast, as both give up at least 4 runs and pitch fewer than 6 IP. In the 4th inning, Ian Kinsler sprains his knee, and is replaced by Freddy Sanchez. The Rangers take a 5-4 lead into the 7th, when the Red Sox hammer the Rangers bullpen again for 4 runs. Unfortunately, Huston Street is victimized by the Rangers offense and a Pujols error, allowing 4 runs (2 earned) in the bottom of the inning. The Sox lose 9-8, and Kinsler is done for a week. A true double-whammy. Haren and Lackey square off again in Game 4. The Rangers hammer Haren and the Red Sox bullpen en route to a 10-6 victory. The Red Sox face elimination in Game 5, as Brandon Webb faces Chris Young. Luke Scott, batting 2nd due to the Kinsler injury, pulls a Big Papi from the DH spot. He goes 3-for-5, with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs, to lead the Sox to a 7-2 win, and a trip back to Fenway Park to play more baseball. Oswalt and Johnson clash again in Game 6, with the Red Sox trying to mirror the real 2007 ALCS. Oswalt does not get the job done, there are no Josh Beckett/Curt Schilling heroics from him, with 5 runs allowed over 6.2 IP (4 earned, thanks Hanley).

The Rangers lead 5-1 in the bottom of the 7th, when David Wright gets his JD Drew on. Randy Johnson allows a few baserunners, and so the bullpen is called upon. The first Ranger out of the bullpen is none other than Carl Pavano. Andre Ethier gets the Sox within 3 with an RBI single, and then David Wright puts the Red Sox on top with a Grand Slam. There will be a Game 7. John Lackey faces Dan Haren. Once again, the Red Sox allow an unearned run (Huston Street victimizes himself this time). This time, however, that is the only run allowed, and the Red Sox eek out two against Lackey. Papelbon in the 8th, Broxton in the 9th, and it's onto the World Series. The comeback is complete!

The NL West Champion, 93-win Diamondbacks come to town. They are a rather odd World Series team, featuring the #1 offense in the NL, and the #13 pitching staff, complete with the worst starting pitching in the National League. They do have the 4th best bullpen by ERA. It's basically the 2011 Patriots, only in baseball. The Diamondbacks do have the advantage of having swept the Florida Marlins, therefore their rotation is lined up for Game 1. Seeing as their top 3 starters are Jon Lieber, Matt Morris, and Nate Robertson, only one of whom has an ERA below 5 (in the NL!), that's not much of an advantage.

Brandon Webb welcomes Lieber the Diamondbacks to Fenway by surviving two passed balls by Brian McCann (it's like the 2006 defense was transported across some kind of inter-dimensional bridge, go to hell Rodney!), and pitching the Red Sox to a 4-3 Game 1 victory. The prodigal Kinsler returns for Game 2, as Matt Morris faces Roy Oswalt. Oswalt gives up 1 over 8, and Pujols and Ethier each drive in a pair to power the 4-1 victory. The move to Arizona takes the Scott/Youkilis DH platoon out of the picture, but staff ace Dan Haren is ready to go against Nate Robertson. Ian Kinsler drives in 4 with 2 Home Runs, as the Red Sox take full advantage of 3 Arizona errors and a poor bullpen performance to crush the Diamondbacks, 11-4. Game 4, and the chance to sweep, features another Webb-Lieber matchup. Webb allows an unearned run (Hanley), but is otherwise stellar through 7. Down 6-1 in the bottom of the 9th, courtesy of HRs by Hanley and McCann, the Diamondbacks storm back against Scot Shields. They tag him for 3 runs, and force Broxton into the game to close things out. He succeeds. Game Over, Series Over, Red Sox Win.

These posts are getting unwieldy, the Postseason Analysis is going into a new post.

#32 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:24 AM

2006 OOTP Sim Postseason Analysis

The team finished 116-46, 5 games better than their Pyth record of 111-51. The Sox led the AL in runs score with 1032, and were 2nd in runs allowed with 674. The team defense was 12th in the AL. It clearly didn't sink me, but that's troubling.

The Real 2006 Red Sox

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Position Players

C - Can't complain about McCann at all, he outdid himself with similar playing time. A clear upgrade on 2006 Varitek. Doumit put up stellar numbers backing up C and 1B, plus some DH time. His bat just kept begging for more games, so he got them. A clear step up from himself. John Buck was also an upgrade over himself. The three worked even better together with McCann and Buck being platooned, with McCann destroying RHP and Buck hitting LHP well. Doumit backed up both quite evenly as well. All 3 sucked in the postseason.

1B - I think it's clear that Albert Pujols is packing it in now that's set for life with his new extension. Seriously, only slightly less awesome than he really was, in slightly more playing time. A significant upgrade over Kevin Youkilis. Speaking of Youkilis, he was slightly better than advertised in slightly less playing time, but that's actually something of a mirage. He was right on pace for his baseline, but Luke Scott stole PAs as the year went on against Youk's weaker platoon split, costing Youk games while effectively increasing his rate stats. The numbers look better, but they result from the same level of performance. That level was far below that of David Ortiz. Youkilis disappeared in the postseason again, while Pujols kept right on mashing.

2B - Well, Marcus Giles was right on target, just barely better than Mark Loretta. Freddy Sanchez underperformed in a manner that I'd expect from someone who was forced into a bench role, and Ian Kinsler taunts me with his SSS awesomeness. What might have been, Ian...what might have been. None of the three were better in the postseason, and Kinsler was just average.

SS - Hanley Ramirez didn't just outperform himself, nevermind Alex Gonzalez, he outperformed any offensive season he's ever had in real life. I don't know for certain where the line is between "tolerate his bad defense" and "don't tolerate his bad defense", but I'm pretty sure that line is somewhere below a .900 OPS out of the SS position. Zobrist made a nice, brief impression, in a meaningless SSS. Hanley was the 2nd of the team's 4 postseason offensive heroes, he kept right on hitting.

3B - David Wright was roughly on target, as a meaningful upgrade over Mike Lowell. He was merely average in October.

LF - Matt Holliday was a tad below expectations, but in the ballpark. He was still a significant downgrade from Manny Ramirez at the plate. He slumped in October. Luke Scott, on the other hand, was worth his weight in Gold as a LF/RF/DH. He was technically off his historical rate stats, but had over double the playing time due to his general excellence at the plate. His 138 OPS+ vs RHP puts him closer to his original baseline. He played nearly every day against RHP, between his performance and the injury to Ethier. He was the 3rd of the team's 4 postseason heroes, with his ALCS Game 6 performance almost single-handedly forcing a Game 7.

CF - Grady Sizemore was right around his baseline projections. That's a huge upgrade from Coco Crisp. He was also the team's 4th and final postseason hero, not only matching but exceeding himself in October 928 OPS, behind only Pujols and Hanley.

RF - Andre Ethier was right on target, although he lost playing time due to injury. A fitting tribute to Trot Nixon, that. Good thing Luke Scott was no Gabe Kapler. Ethier was not invisible in October, because an invisible man could theoretically still hit something. Matt Kemp did not see significant playing time, but was not impressive in the time he did see.

The Trade That Failed

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Apparently, I should have gone with Curt Schilling instead. Johan Santana was durable, and technically above average, but I did not trade a King's Ransom for "technically above average." He was invisible in the postseason because he was my 4th starter, who was never needed. I was so thankful that I did not have to face Teixeira, Buehrle, and company in the ALCS. Santana was bitterly disappointing relative to my expectations. Matt Cain was also disappointing, to the point that I gave Hamels all his September starts, since nobody missed a single turn in the rotation otherwise to give Hamels a shot. Hamels was similarly underwhelming.

Luckily, it wasn't all bad news. Dan Haren outdid himself, becoming the staff ace by the end of the season. Neither Brandon Webb nor Roy Oswalt technically matched their historical baselines, but they were both still excellent performers. All 3 performed well in the postseason overall.

It is worth noting that the FIPs of all 5 primary starters are more or less indistinguishable. Perhaps I was onto something with Hanley's defense being extra harmful to Santana's numbers?

In the bullpen, not a single pitcher with an ERA+ under 100 is quite indicative of a successful campaign. Papelbon was extremely good, despite not matching his impossibly great baseline. Broxton actually did outperform his excellent baseline. It's worth noting that those two each accounted for 9 scoreless innings of postseason relief. Papelbon allowed a .228 OPS against in the playoffs. Fuentes was merely average instead of good. CJ Wilson was roughly on target, as were Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt, and Scot Shields. Janssen was essentially irrelevant due to nobody needing to be sent down, either due to injury or ineffectiveness.

Years of Control and Extensions

This screen is busier this time, with Haren, Webb, Betancourt, Wright, Holliday, and Sizemore all appearing for their first run at arbitration. They all get 3-year extensions, which, with the possible exception of Betancourt due to bullpen performance variability, should run them right up to their free agency eligibility.

Leaders and Awards

Rookie of the Year - Hanley Ramirez
Cy Young - Dan Haren
MVP - Hanley Ramirez


WAR - Hanley Ramirez
2B - David Wright
Runs - Hanley Ramirez
SB - Hanley Ramirez
XBH - Hanley Ramirez
TB - Hanley Ramirez

ERA - Dan Haren
Wins - Dan Haren
Ks - Johan Santana

The 2006 Draft is next.

#33 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:55 PM

The 2006 Draft

Historically, the Red Sox had 4 1st round picks in the 2006 draft. The Sox had the #27 pick overall, and the #28 pick from the Yankees for losing Johnny Damon. There was also a supplemental pick for the loss of Damon, plus another for losing Bill Mueller. The Red Sox drafted Jason Place, Daniel Bard, Kris Johnson, and Caleb Clay with those 4 picks. Bard was selected #28 overall.

I have 4 picks. #30 overall, plus 3 compensation picks for the losses of Miguel Tejada, Tim Hudson, and Joe Nathan. Jim Edmonds signed too late to bring a compensation pick for the draft. Tejada, a Type A, signed with a team with a protected pick.

It's safe to assume that Bard makes it 2 more picks.

With the 30th overall selection, I take Daniel Bard.

This starts getting difficult now, because the sample sizes at the MLB level for these potential draftees are getting very small. Now I get to start guessing how good guys might be from 2012 onward.

With my first supplemental pick, I select Andrew Bailey. Bailey arrives in 2009.

With my second supplemental pick, I select Desmond Jennings. Jennings arrives in 2010.

With my third supplemental pick, I select David Robertson. Robertson arrives in 2008.

2006 - 2007 Roster Moves are next.

#34 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 07:01 PM

2006 - 2007 Roster Moves, Part I


There are three players departing.

The first departure is Johan Santana. He came along for the ride for the 2006 World Series Title, as opposed to making a meaningful contribution. 14-9 with a 4.06 ERA over 206.1 IP isn't quite what he was brought in to do. Still, like Tejada, he was just good enough to merit Type A compensation. I suspect he hurt his offseason market significantly, now he has the "can he do it in a big market?" question following him around.

Roy Oswalt also departs. He departs with a record of 108-42 over 6 seasons, with zero below-average seasons or years with fewer than 200 IP. He leaves with a career ERA/ERA+ of 3.38/134 to date in 1294.2 IP. This is pretty comparable to his real world marks of 98-47, 3.05/144 in 1201.1 IP. He was everything he was supposed to be, and that's all I can ask for. He is a Type A free agent.

Marcus Giles is also departing. His offensive production made for quite the bell curve, with OPS+ numbers of 34, 102, 149, 123, 108, and 85. He actually exceeded his historical baseline, with his 296/371/442 line over 6 years (OPS+ 114) exceeding his real 285/361/448 line (108) over the same timeframe. That's mostly due to my quickly relieving him in disadvantageous platoon situations, which is something that the Braves weren't really in position to due in real life. Despite the final two years being disappointing, positional scarcity makes Giles still worthy of a Type B designation for FA compensation.

Draft Pick Compensation

Johan Santana signs with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers have the 27th pick in the 2007 draft, so I gain a 1st round pick, and a supplemental pick.

Roy Oswalt signs with the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have the 15th pick in the 2007 draft, so I gain only a supplemental pick.

Marcus Giles signs with the Oakland A's. I gain a supplemental pick.


Yovani Gallardo, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Reynolds, Yunel Escobar, and Hunter Pence now join the roster.

They join historical callups Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz.

3 out, 7 in.

Positional Depth Summary

Catcher - Brian McCann (139/94), John Buck (113/92), Ryan Doumit (83/105), Kurt Suzuki (68/98), Kelly Shoppach (59/102), Geovany Soto (18/169). McCann is the starter. Soto gets a small enough sample of playing time as to be irrelevant. That leaves 4 players for the backup C position, albeit with the caveat that Doumit is also a useful bench player at 1B/Corner OF. Suzuki's problem could be pushed off for a year with AAA/September duty in his first season. John Buck has been so excellent for me as the backup/platoon C that I am inclined to stick with him. Ultimately, the lack of good catchers on the market means that I need to keep extending out years of control as much as possible, but I think my solution to this is to stick with Buck for a year, then transition to Suzuki in his full seasons. Suzuki is a defense-first C who I think would not be ruined by getting healthy amounts of playing time behind McCann. So, McCann starts, Soto and Suzuki in the minors, Buck as the backup, Shoppach definitely onto the trading block, possibly Doumit as well depending on the bench situation.

First Base - Albert Pujols (158/157), Kevin Youkilis (145/117), Mark Reynolds (111/109), Ryan Doumit. The key here is whether I'm willing to keep Doumit as a 3rd C/backup 1B again. Pujols is not going anywhere from 1B, Youkilis is the incumbent DH. There may be an argument for another player at DH (more to come on that), but with the status quo, one of Doumit or Reynolds has to go.

Second Base - Dustin Pedroia (139/112), Ian Kinsler (130/108), Freddy Sanchez (146/99), Ben Zobrist (31/4). One of Pedroia or Kinsler has to start, Sanchez is in his last year as super-backup, and Zobrist has so little playing time as to be irrelevant, he gets Sanchez's spot in 2008. Pedroia and Kinsler are, essentially, a complete wash in terms of productivity. I don't know how good Kinsler is defensively, but OOTP prefers him to Pedroia. I know Pedroia is an excellent defensive 2B, particularly going forward. I also know that I need players who can become assertive clubhouse presences quickly, particularly given how the narrative 2006 season ended. Pedroia is staying, Kinsler is going, Sanchez is the backup, with Zobrist in the minors.

Shortstop - Hanley Ramirez (154/140), Yunel Escobar (94/118), Freddy Sanchez, Ben Zobrist. Hanley starts, Sanchez backs up, Zobrist lurks. Escobar appears to be a slight defensive upgrade, major offensive downgrade, and negligible attitude difference relative to Hanley Ramirez. I won't be keeping him, but I don't think I necessarily need to trade him just yet, he's in his first year and can ride the shuttle. No moves needed here.

Third Base - David Wright (160/144), Freddy Sanchez, Mark Reynolds, Kevin Youkilis. Wright is obviously the starter, Sanchez is the backup. Youkilis can cover from DH. Reynolds might be able to be hidden on the first year AAA shuttle, but he's such an undisciplined hitter and defensive butcher that I can't see ever wanting to let him play full time. If there's something worth trading him for now, I will, otherwise he's on the shuttle.

Left Field - Matt Holliday (158/145), Luke Scott (132/113), Skip Schumaker (88/106), Jacoby Ellsbury (33/131), Brandon Moss (15/111). Moss barely counts, but he's technically available to play the position. Matt Holliday is clearly the starter. Moss and Ellsbury are also obviously AAA depth. Schumaker has been covered elsewhere. Luke Scott is the argument for another DH, because he's essentially Youk's offensive equal for now, and he's technically a LF/RF, but is actually a defensive butcher. Last year's defense was poor enough that I don't want to rely on the Scott/Reynolds types. Scott is the likely backup OF/part-time DH, but then I'm stealing PAs from Youkilis that I may not be able to justify. I need to see what the rest of the OF depth looks like.

Center Field - Grady Sizemore (162/123), Matt Kemp (98/127), Skip Schumaker, Jacoby Ellsbury. I think this may be the solution to my backup OF problem. Sizemore starts in CF, Kemp backs up all 3 OF spots, with Schumaker/Ellsbury/Moss bringing up the rear from Pawtucket. I think I can safely put Luke Scott on the block.

Right Field - Andre Ethier (153/105), Hunter Pence (108/129), Luke Scott, Skip Schumaker, Brandon Moss. Ethier starts, Pence gets the 1st year Pawtucket shuttle (ahead of Schumaker on the depth chart, but behind Kemp), Schumaker is the deep depth, and Moss is irrelevant except in case of emergency.

Overall OF - Holliday-Sizemore-Ethier, Kemp as the 4th OF backing up all 3 in Boston, Hunter Pence as the 5th OFer from Pawtucket. Schumaker, Ellsbury, and Moss are deeper depth until September. Luke Scott is on the trading block.

Assuming 12 pitchers, I have 13 position players. That leaves room for 4 bench spots. 3 of those spots are taken by John Buck, Freddy Sanchez, and Matt Kemp. Since Reynolds and Pence are both shuttle-capable, this means I keep Doumit as the backup 1B, and emergency C/LF/RF in the middle of a game. His versatility is why I drafted him, after all.

The trading block consists of Kelly Shoppach, Ian Kinsler, and Luke Scott, with Mark Reynolds and Yunel Escobar easily parted with from the AAA depth.

Starting Pitching Depth Summary

Brandon Webb (236.1/153), Dan Haren (222.1/138), Matt Cain (200/118), Cole Hamels (183.1/130), Yovani Gallardo (110.1/121), Jon Lester (63/104), Clay Buchholz (22.2/303).

This is quite painless. Lester's cancer was discovered sooner in 2006, so he comes back to the rotation earlier in 2007, and gets some more innings. Gallardo is in the rotation until Lester returns, picks up some of Hamels' leftover innings, and gets some September time. Buchholz's IP are so small as to be largely a non-issue. Webb-Haren-Cain-Hamels-Lester, with Gallardo starting the season in the MLB squad while ending up as the 6th starter from AAA.

Bullpen Depth Summary

The only problem here is the end of Janssen's 1st year shuttle time.

Out of the 8 full-time relievers (Fuentes, Shields, Betancourt, Wilson, Broxton, Street, Janssen, and Papelbon), Shields is the least effective in 2007, with "only" an ERA+ of 118 in 77 IP. He is also in the last year of his deal, and suddenly draft pick compensation is looking far less attractive to me. My knowledge of the future can only be leveraged when I know what the drafted players will do, plus it seems that teams are now doing a better job of not letting gems last until the later rounds. I am also in the odd position of having players that I need to trade, but with no positions of need, as far as upgrading from "average or worse" to "pretty good." I'm now forced to change tactics a bit, trading pieces that I can live without with to see if I can upgrade a spot from "pretty good" to "AWESOME!" I'm also no longer particularly interested in trading for mercs on the last year of their deals, because the draft pick compensation helps me less now.

Scot Shields goes onto the trading block. In the right deal, Brian Fuentes is available as well, because that allows room for the Okajima signing.

The final trading block consists of certainly Kelly Shoppach, Ian Kinsler, Luke Scott, and Scot Shields. Mark Reynolds, Yunel Escobar, and Brian Fuentes are also available as sweeteners. If I settle upon a potentially huge upgrade, the incumbent at that position would then also obviously be in play.

As for what I am seeking, it seems like the biggest issue I run into is the variability even among very good, but not-elite starting pitching. This is particularly apparent in the OOTP sim, in the difference between peak-year Clemens, Maddux, and Pedro and every other starting pitcher I have had. My inclination is to look to upgrade one of my quite good rotation pieces into a stud. Not just for one year, either, but for a long-term stud. I'm feeling ambitious. Perhaps even a little...freaky? :buddy:

The Trade Market Post is next.

EDIT - I left off my key trading piece, Ian Kinsler!

Edited by JMDurron, 25 November 2011 - 11:18 PM.

#35 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 07:32 PM

The 2006-2007 Trade Market

My trade-able pieces are C Kelly Shoppach, 2B Ian Kinsler, DH/Butcher Luke Scott, and MR Scot Shields. 1B/"3B" Mark Reynolds, SS Yunel Escobar, and MR Brian Fuentes are also available if needed.

I am targeting a steady, reliable, elite starting pitcher. Preferably one who is under team control for many years. Roy Halladay is one of the first candidates to come to mind, but his OOTP performance was actually quite mediocre in 2005-2006. That's the kind of problem I am looking to avoid. Cliff Lee is not quite "CLIFF LEE!" yet. There is, however, one stud who is entering the league, but who has not yet thrown a pitch in anger, and therefore might be attainable at a moderate discount.

Time to see what the Giants want to Tim Lincecum. I offer my 4-pack, and obviously that is not nearly enough. The Giants appear to be weak at nearly every position, so that is a positive for my chances of providing them good value. If I am going to try to acquire Tim Lincecum, who is under cost control (as 2007 is his first season), then I need to make room for him in the rotation. The least-awesome starting pitcher over the long haul is Yovani Gallardo. If I offer Gallardo, Shoppach, Kinsler, Scott, and Shields, the Giants accept the offer. Because that might be questionable in terms of value/fairness, and because I think I would like to add Okajima anyway, I'll throw in Brian Fuentes to complete the deal. Fuentes' contract actually pushes the Giants over their (unreasonably low, IMO) payroll budget, so I throw in a healthy cash bonus.

I trade Kelly Shoppach (5-6 years), Ian Kinsler (5-6 years), Luke Scott (4-5 years), Scot Shields (1 year), Brian Fuentes (1 year), and Yovani Gallardo (6 years) for 6 years of Tim Lincecum.

Roster Moves Part II is next.

Edited by JMDurron, 25 November 2011 - 09:22 PM.

#36 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:56 PM

2006 - 2007 Roster Moves, Part II

Post-Trade Roster Review

It's time to count starts in the rotation.

Brandon Webb - 34
Matt Cain - 32
Dan Haren - 34
Cole Hamels - 28
Tim Lincecum - 24
Jon Lester - 11

The top 4 total 128 starts, leaving 34 for Lincecum and Lester combined. Lester comes back earlier than in the baseline (let's say a month, to ease him in?), giving him 4 more starts. Lincecum loses 4 starts to Lester, and takes one start from the top 4 in September to ease everyone else into the postseason rotation. So it's Lincecum, then Lester, then Lincecum again in September. For sim purposes, it's just Lester, but the specific timeline described above is what I'm going for from a narrative perspective.

RP - Broxton, Betancourt, Janssen, Wilson, Okajima, Papelbon, Street
C - McCann, Buck, Doumit, Suzuki (AAA)
1B - Pujols, Youkilis, Doumit
2B - Pedroia, Sanchez, Zobrist (AAA)
SS - Hanley, Sanchez, Zobrist (AAA)
3B - Wright, Sanchez, Youkilis
LF - Holliday, Kemp, Pence (AAA)
CF - Sizemore, Kemp, Pence (AAA)
RF - Ethier, Kemp, Pence (AAA)

Historical Transactions

I do sign RP Hideki Okajima.

I do not sign Alex Cora, Julio Lugo, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Doug Mirabelli, JC Romero, Joel Pineiro, Kevin Cash, JD Drew, or Bobby Kielty.

I do not trade for Brendan Donnell or Eric Gagne.

The 2007 season is next.

#37 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 25 November 2011 - 10:50 PM

Note - I completely forgot about applying a 5 OPS+/ERA+ penalty to players moving from the NL to the AL. Frankly, the thought of trying to go back and modify the forms I'm using to track projected player performance going forward depresses me. I would expect the league transition to be a bigger issue for league-average players than stars anyway, and I'm not really building my roster around too many league-average players. The penalty is already in place for some players, and missing for others. It's a rough order of magnitude estimate anyway.

The 2007 Season

Position Players

C: Brian McCann over Jason Varitek (103 -> 99). John Buck (92) backs up. Ryan Doumit (105) is the 3rd catcher.
1B: Albert Pujols over Kevin Youkilis (117 -> 157). Doumit backs up.
2B: Dustin Pedroia (112). Freddy Sanchez (99) backs up.
SS: Hanley Ramirez over Julio Lugo (65 -> 140). Sanchez backs up. It got a little dusty in here thinking about this one.
3B: David Wright over Mike Lowell (124 -> 144). Sanchez backs up.
LF: Matt Holliday over Manny Ramirez (126 -> 145). Matt Kemp (127) backs up. Hunter Pence (129) lurks in AAA as needed.
CF: Grady Sizemore over Coco Crisp (83 -> 123). Kemp backs up. Pence in AAA.
RF: Andre Ethier over JD Drew (105 -> 105). Kemp, then Pence.
DH: Kevin Youkilis over David Ortiz (171 -> 117). Kemp backs up.


John Buck - C
Ryan Doumit - C, 1B
Freddy Sanchez - 2B, SS, 3B
Matt Kemp - LF, CF, RF
Hunter Pence - LF, CF, RF

Starting Pitchers

Brandon Webb (236.1/153)
Dan Haren (222.2/138)
Matt Cain (200/118)
Cole Hamels (183.1/130)

Jon Lester (63/104)
Tim Lincecum (146.1/112)

As I've discussed elsewhere, this goes from Lincecum to Lester to Lincecum getting some September starts. Lester gets 4-5 more starts than he did historically, Lincecum loses 4 starts. I don't see either of their relative levels of capability being affected by this setup, Lester might actually be a tad better with the increased time that has passed since his cancer fight.

The Bullpen

Jonathan Broxton (82/151)
Rafael Betancourt (79.1/307)
Casey Janssen (72.2/191)
Hideki Okajima (69/215)
CJ Wilson (68.1/151)
Jonathan Papelbon (58.1/257)
Huston Street (50/148)

The Pawtucket Shuttle

Situational Callups - Hunter Pence, Kurt Suzuki, Tim Lincecum, Matt Reynolds, Skip Schumaker, Yunel Escobar

Cup of Coffee/No Time - Geovany Soto, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brandon Moss, Ben Zobrist

Season Results

Historically, the 2007 Red Sox won the AL East by 2 games over the Yankees, swept the Angels out of the ALDS, had a great comeback against the Indians in the ALCS, and then swept the Rockies in the World Series.

For this team, the question isn't one of talent, but of mentality. Can the franchise recover from the putrid stench of controversy, internal division, and abject failure that helped bring them down in 2006? Can the defense be improved? Can the maturity level of Hanley Ramirez be improved, or at the very least managed? How do the players from the 2006 squad forget what happened and move forward into 2007?

As for the raw talent, on offense, the 3rd best offense in the AL looks somewhat improved. The only area of downgrade is at DH, with a significant dropoff. C, 2B, and RF are equivalent, there is mild improvement in LF and 3B, with large upgrades at 1B, SS, and 3B. The "worst" hitter in the lineup is a young catcher who plays solid defense and hits for the AL average for all players, not just catchers. That's a recipe for offensive success.

The starting rotation shifts from 2 aces and 4 decent pitchers to 3 aces and 3 decent pitchers. It merits noting that while Tim Lincecum is effectively taking Julian Tavarez's slot in this scenario, it's not a spectacular upgrade...yet. The difference between 2 aces and 3 should be huge in October. The bullpen is ridiculously awesome, as usual at this point. This pirate ship has an ion cannon.

Defensively (starting to use b-ref's Total Zone numbers except for C/1B, because Fangraphs loads too damn slow for my tastes, and damnit this is a lot of clicking around), C should be a mild upgrade, just due to youth/flexibility/durability with McCann and Buck. Pujols is probably not measurably better than Youkilis at 1B, but he's certainly not a downgrade. 2B goes without saying, it's the same guy. SS is a significant downgrade from Julio Lugo to Hanley Ramirez. At 3B, Wright gets to more balls than Lowell, but fields fewer of them cleanly. Ah, the curse of improved range. LF is a wash, it's just a paler form of ugly. CF is also a significant downgrade from Coco Crisp to Grady Sizemore. RF features a mild downgrade from Drew to Ethier.

Still, regardless of how the talent shakes out, the team attitude is the real area of concern. Will there be a hangover from the 2006 campaign? The first piece of positive news comes from the early appearance of Jon Lester in Spring Training. He's happy, healthy, and confident, and ready to rejoin the team ASAP. Eventually, the expected return of the latest Red Sox pitching phenom from a serious personal setback becomes the dominant story of Spring Training, instead of everyone descending upon Hanley Ramirez.

One other positive is that half of the Hanley-Santana snit is no longer around, and is therefore not a problem. Albert Pujols continues to work with young Hanley on how better to handle the media (saying the right things), keep his focus, etc.. That doesn't make him any more popular with his teammates, but one of his former teammates from the minors steps up to try to make him feel a little more comfortable. From Day 1, Dustin Pedroia is pleased to announce that he is the cure to the team's clubhouse atmosphere problem, and that he intends to prove it. He doesn't change everything, only winning can do that, but he does help Hanley loosen up a little bit, which was a big part of why his defensive issues seemed to snowball on him back in 06. Hanley and Pedroia spend a fair amount of time joking around between taking balls on the IF, even when full team drills aren't happening. Could this be a positive influence at work? Another positive factor is that the latest pitching acquisition is wired just a tad differently from Santana. Lincecum's reaction to Hanley's first error behind him in a ST game is to shrug it off and move onto the next batter. Between the lack of an antagonist, more fundamentals practice with his double-play partner, some advice in media relations from Pujols, a handy distraction in Jon Lester, and just another year of growing up a bit, Hanley Ramirez starts to get a handle on his defensive malaise. He doesn't suddenly become a good defensive SS, but he does keep his miscues from clustering and creating more of themselves, which is a huge defensive step forward.

NOTE - Looking at Hanley's defensive ratings by TZ for 2006-2007, for the purposes of this narrative, flip them, then put 50% of the poor ratings as happening during one particular pitcher's starts, due to mental issues on Hanley's side.

The team plays well enough to hold a narrow lead in the division for the first 1/3 of the season. Once Jon Lester comes back (and Pedroia starts hitting and can run his mouth), the team rallies a bit mentally and takes off. The team smashes the rest of the AL, cruising into the postseason with the #1 seed.

The Yankees still take the Wild Card. The Indians originally won their division by 8 games, but they are missing their best position player, Sizemore, as well as Betancourt, their best reliever. That's between 9 and 10 WAR. This drops them back to the level of the Detroit Tigers, who win 90 games and the AL Central. The Angels won their division by 6 games, but are now missing John Lackey's best season. This drops the Angels into a dead heat with the Seattle Mariners, but Jared Weaver wins the 1-game playoff to put the Angels into the playoffs with 89 wins.

It was so nice of the Angels to use Weaver before the ALDS started. They were swept before, they are swept again. The Yankees handle the Tigers, in their midge-free environment, in 4 games. The 2007 ALCS is yet another Red Sox-Yankees showdown. The two best offenses, but only one pitching staff is elite in this matchup. The Yankees' starting pitching simply cannot handle the Red Sox lineup, while the Red Sox do have just enough pitching to survive the Yankees' bats. After 5 games, a Red Sox team that cannot be denied rolls on into the World Series.

Figuring out the NL is going to be fun. A 1-game division lead, a 2-game division lead, and a 1-game playoff? Awesome! Starting with the NL East, the Mets finished 1 game behind the Phillies historically. The Phillies lack Cole Hamels, roughly a 4-win loss. The Mets are devastated without David Wright, losing nearly 8 games off their mark. The Phillies fall back far enough that the Braves could make up their 5-game deficit...but they have no Brian McCann. A significantly less intimating Phillies squad wins the NL East, at around 85 wins. The Cubs are unmolested, and still take the Central. The Arizona Diamondbacks are not winning 90 games without Brandon Webb. More like 84. That's great news for the Rockies, but wait, they have no Matt Holliday. They go from 90 wins to around 83. The San Diego Padres win the NL West with 90 wins. The 84-win Diamondbacks are good enough to take the Wild Card.

The Phillies beat the Diamondbacks, the Padres beat the Cubs, and the Padres' pitching beats the Phillies' hitting in the NLCS. Jake Peavy and Chris Young are a very powerful 1-2 punch, but ultimately, they can't win every game. Trevor Hoffman blows a save for Chris Young in Fenway Park, Greg Maddux is eaten alive by his former franchise, and the Red Sox pitching staff simply walks Adrian Gonzalez half the time. The World Series is not terribly interesting, and the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series in 5 games, thanks to a heroic effort by Jake Peavy in Game 4. There will be no repeat for San Diego.

The OOTP Sim is next.

#38 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 26 November 2011 - 09:02 AM

2007 OOTP Season Simulation

As an aside, I think it's telling that OOTP's auto-lineup solution to Matt Holliday's glove in LF is to DH him, put Albert Pujols in LF, and Doumit at 1B. I override it every time, but every year, OOTP tries to put Pujols in LF over Holliday, despite Pujols having a defensive rating of 1/100 at LF compared to Holliday's 45/100. The game either really hates Holliday's glove, or Youk's bat. Maybe both. I override and go with my planned starters.

Preseason Predictions

Posted Image

You know you're getting entitled when you're annoyed by being projected for less than 1000 runs on offense.

Season Walkthrough

In Spring Training, David Wright suffers a strained groin, and is lost for 5 weeks. Mark Reynolds is called up to replace him. Youk's 3B defensive ratings are unreasonably bad, so I can't shift him to 3B and just put anyone at DH to avoid the problem. This might be the worst defensive left side of the infield in baseball, if Hanley doesn't hold up.

At the end of April, the Red Sox sit at 17-9, with a 1/2 game lead over the Orioles. The need for a Kemp/Ethier platoon is apparent, so Kemp gets the starts in RF vs LHP.

May ends with the Sox at 36-17, leading the Orioles by 5 games.

On June 23, Brandon Webb hits the DL with a foot contusion, opening a spot for Lincecum. The Sox end the month at 57-23, up 13.5 games on the Orioles. Albert Pujols is the AL Batter of the Month, with a 371/436/664 line in 27 games.

In July, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Albert Pujols, David Wright, Hanley Ramirez, and Grady Sizemore are named to the All-Star Team. Brandon Webb returns on July 8, and Tim Lincecum plays his way right back down to Pawtucket with a brutal performance during Webb's absence. The Red Sox find themselves at 76-31 when July ends, leading the Orioles by 16.5 games in the AL East. Dan Haren is the AL Pitcher of the Month. In 6 starts, Haren threw 39.1 innings, pitching to a 4-1 record with a 3.20 ERA. Rough month for pitchers again? Dustin Pedroia is the AL Rookie of the Month, with a 348/412/533 line in 26 games. Jon Lester remains undefeated (12-0) at the end of the month. Matt Kemp demands more playing time, stealing PAs from Matt Holliday vs RHP.

The end of August brings a record of 95-40 for the Red Sox, with a 23.5 game lead over the Orioles. Cole Hamels is the AL Pitcher of the Month, with 38 IP in 6 starts, for a 5-0 record with a 1.18 ERA. Jon Lester remains undefeated, at 15-0. Tim Lincecum, Clay Buchholz, Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Reynolds, Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist, Brandon Moss, Jacoby Ellsbury, Hunter Pence, and Skip Schumaker are all called up to Boston.

September, and the regular season, end with the Red Sox at 116-46, winning the AL East by 30 games over the Blue Jays. On September 18, Jon Lester loses his first decision of the season, and he ends the year at 18-1. The Wild Card-winning Indians are the ALDS opponent.

Matt Cain is left off the playoff roster yet again. The postseason rotation is Webb-Hamels-Lester, with Haren in the 4th spot and Lincecum in the bullpen as a long man, as he had a hot hand on the mound in September.

The ALDS begins with Fausto Carmona facing Cole Hamels at Fenway Park. Hamels is masterful, and Matt Kemp has two RBI singles as the Red Sox win 2-0. Daniel Cabrera faces Brandon Webb in Game 2, and Dustin Pedroia shockingly goes 0-for-4 against his favorite pitcher. David Wright and Brian McCann pick up the slack with 3 and 4 RBIs respectively, as the Sox roll 8-3. As the series moves to Cleveland, Jon Lester faces Cliff Lee in Game 3. Lester goes 5 innings with 1 unearned run (Wright) allowed, while Cliff Lee and Matt Holliday start a fight and get ejected, and then suspended for 4 games. The Red Sox sweep with a 4-2 win. The only real negative impact to the Holliday suspension is that Andre Ethier is forced to play vs LHP.

The Minnesota Twins, fresh off their sweep of the Angels, come to town for the ALCS. Brandon Webb and Kyle Lohse face off in Game 1. The Red Sox take advantage of errors by Carlos Guillen and Brian Buscher to score 3 unearned runs, leading to a 5-3 win. Old friend Mark Buehrle returns to face Cole Hamels in Game 2. Hamels outduels Buehrle, but Casey Janssen blows a 5-2 9th inning lead, and the game goes into extra innings. With the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 12th, Freddy Sanchez drives home Ryan Doumit to win it. Manny Delcarmen is the losing pitcher. Lester is paired against a fellow lefty once again, this time it is Liriano. Lester pitches around errors by Pujols and Pedroia, but gives up one run to Liriano's zero. The Twins lead 1-0 in the 9th, when Grazy Sizemore lets loose a 3-run bomb off of Cla Meredith. Thank you, Twins, for leaving Cla Meredith in against a LHH with power. Webb takes the mound against Lohse looking for the sweep, and he gets it as the offense unloads on Lohse for 5 runs in 2.1 IP. The Sox win 7-2 to head on to the World Series.

Amusingly, the World Series opponent is the Colorado Rockies, fresh off their 6-game NLCS against the Dodgers. Now it's the Red Sox who have been sitting idle since their LCS sweep. Jeff Francis once again comes to Fenway Park to start Game 1 of the World Series, this time against Brandon Webb. Francis has better fortune this time, and the Red Sox lose their first game of the postseason, 4-2. Cole Hamels faces Gil Meche in Game 2, and Hamels allows only 1 run over 5 IP. The Red Sox lead 2-1 in the 7th, but the Rockies get to Broxton, then Betancourt, then Papelbon for late runs, and win 5-4. The Red Sox score 2 in the bottom of the 9th, but come up just short on the comeback. Jon Lester faces Jake Westbrook in Colorado, with the Sox looking to stop the slide. Lester gives up 3 runs in only 5 IP, but the Red Sox lineup goes nuts, led by Ethier's 5 hits, to build a 9-3 lead after 4. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th, Hanley Ramirez boots a ball. CJ Wilson, then Broxton can't stop the bleeding, and the Rockies explode for 6 2-out runs after the error, tying the game. With 2 outs in the top of the 10th, Ethier's 5th hit brings home David Wright, and the Red Sox win 10-9 in 10 innings.

Webb and Francis face off in Game 4, with the Sox looking to build on the momentum. Webb is stellar and the bullpen is solid, as the Sox win 4-1. Hamels tries to keep it going against Meche in Game 5, but errors by Hanley and Ethier lead to 3 more unearned runs for the Rockies. Those two combine to drive in as many runs as they allowed with their gloves, courtesy of a HR apiece. Pujols adds two of his own, and the Sox win 10-5. Lester tries to finish the job in Game 6 at Fenway, facing Westbrook again. Westbrook pitches the game of his life, and Lester gets hit hard, as the Rockies force Game 7 with a 6-0 win. It all comes down to another Webb-vs-Francis game. Webb and Francis each give up two early runs, and the game goes to the bullpens. The Red Sox put the first two men on in the bottom of the 9th, only to strand them. They do the same in the bottom of the 10th, and Freddy Sanchez singles home Matt Holliday to win Game 7 of the World Series, 3-2, in the bottom of the 10th. In 3 postseason plate appearances, Sanchez gets two game-winning hits.

This is the franchise's 20th World Championship, and 4th in a row. The Red Sox have won 12 of the last 21 World Series, and 11 of the last 17. They are now tied with the Yankees with 20 banners.

Sim Postseason Analysis is next.

#39 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 26 November 2011 - 10:16 AM

2007 OOTP Sim Postseason Analysis

The team finished 116-46 for the 2nd straight year, 1 game ahead of their pyth record of 115-47. They led the AL in runs scored with 1045, led the AL in runs allowed with 637, and were 4th in defense. Without a ton of roster churn, that's quite the defensive improvement, and much of that came from Hanley Ramirez at SS, who actually rated as above-average at SS by the game's metrics. Clearly, the game's metrics are broken are awesome! Replacing Luke Scott with Matt Kemp didn't hurt, either.

The Real 2007 Red Sox

Position Players

Posted Image

C - Brian McCann exceeded both himself and Jason Varitek, although once again some credit goes to John Buck for taking PAs against LHP. Buck essentially got the same advantage, with McCann taking away the weak half of his platoon split. Doumit was also better than his baseline in bench action. Buck was amazingly, horrifyingly bad in the postseason, putting up a 468 OPS, but when the lefties are Liriano, Francis, and Cliff Lee, I suppose that can be understood. McCann, on the other hand, threw up a 529/566/824 line in 12 postseason games. He was easily the team's October MVP.

1B - Albert Pujols was roughly where he was expected to be, and Kevin Youkilis was dead on target. Once again, Pujols just kept right on mashing in October, while Youkilis was average.

2B - Dustin Pedroia was also right on target, although he slumped in the postseason. Freddy Sanchez had a noodle bat, until it counted the most. He was the unlikeliest of heroes.

SS - Hanley Ramirez came up a bit short of his baseline, but was still light years ahead of Julio Lugo. He was merely average in October.

3B - David Wright fell well short of historical projections, failing to match Mike Lowell. He was also below average in October.

LF - Matt Holliday was a complete disappointment, relative to both himself and Manny. The only good news is that he gave up lots of PAs to Matt Kemp, who did better work with them.

CF - Grady Sizemore came up just short of his baseline, well ahead of Coco Crisp. He was basically useless in October. Matt Kemp was a little short on rate stats, but put them up in far more games. He played in RF vs LHP for Ethier, and in LF vs RHP for Holliday by the time the season was over. He slumped in October.

RF - Andre Ethier benefited from the McCann effect, where his rate stats were boosted by avoiding the downside of his platoon split thanks to Kemp. He exceeded JD Drew.

The Pitching Staff

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It's a bit odd to see so many studs, with nobody over 200 IP, but with that bullpen, can you blame "Francona"? Brandon Webb was even more awesome than his historical season, which was pretty great. Haren was merely just above average, as opposed to being excellent. Cole Hamels more than made up for that by matching Webb's excellent performance. Matt Cain was right on track. Jon Lester was such a revelation that there was basically no room for Lincecum until September. Buchholz got some light September work from the pen. Webb-Hamels-Lester were all excellent in the postseason, there was no letup in the postseason rotation.

The bullpen was excellent, with only Okajima failing to be above league average. There was the expected variation among the various relievers relative to history, with only Janssen and Papelbon being dominant. Janssen was the only disappointing postseason performer.

Years of Control and Extensions

There are 5 players at or just over 3 years of service time, and 1 Super Two player. Papelbon, Street, Doumit, Buck, and Youkilis are all at 3 years of service time, and get 3-year extensions. CJ Wilson is a Super Two and gets a 4-year deal.

Leaders and Awards

Cy Young - Jon Lester
MVP - Albert Pujols

AL Leaders:

RBI - Albert Pujols
Runs - Albert Pujols
TB - Albert Pujols

ERA - Brandon Webb
H/9 - Jon Lester
HR/9 - Brandon Webb

The 2007 Draft is next.

#40 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 26 November 2011 - 02:25 PM

The 2007 Draft

Historically, the Red Sox had two picks in the 1st round of the 2007 draft - both supplemental picks. The Red Sox lost the 20th overall selection as compensation for Julio Lugo, and received compensation picks for the losses of Alex Gonzalez and Keith Foulke. They selected Nick Hagadone and Ryan Dent with those picks.

I have 5 1st round picks. The 27th overall pick is compensation for losing Johan Santana to the Tigers, the 30th overall pick is the earned pick from the best record in baseball, and 3 compensation picks are for losing Santana, Roy Oswalt, and Marcus Giles in free agency.

At this point, I'm snagging what productivity I can from these late drafts, then trying to stockpile current (2011) Top 100 prospects.

With the 27th overall pick, I select Mike Stanton. Stanton will arrive in 2010.

With the 30th overall pick, I select Freddie Freeman. Freeman will arrive in 2010.

With my 1st supplemental pick, I select Steve Cishek. Cishek will arrive in 2010.

With my 2nd supplemental pick, I select Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann will arrive in 2009.

With my 3rd supplemental pick, I select Matt Moore. Moore will arrive in 2011 (BA #13 prospect at start of 2011 season).

2007 - 2008 Roster Moves are next.

#41 JMDurron

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Posted 27 November 2011 - 02:39 PM

2007 - 2008 Roster Moves, Part I


2007 World Series hero Freddy Sanchez is the only departure. He was underwhelming offensively, but was still immensely useful as a single player who could always backup 2B, SS, and 3B. He brings no compensation.

Draft Pick Compensation



Brad Zeigler, Sergio Romo, and David Robertson join the bullpen mix.

They join historical callups Justin Masterson and Jed Lowrie.

1 Out, 5 In.

Positional Depth Summary

Catcher - Brian McCann (145/130), Kurt Suzuki (148/95), Geovany Soto (141/113), Ryan Doumit (116/122), John Buck (109/79). There's no putting off the culling of the catchers now. Brian McCann is clearly the main starter, but needs a strong backup/partner who can mash LHP. John Buck has done an excellent job of this, but frankly, there's little difference between him, Soto, and Suzuki, except that he has now accrued more service time. The choice appears to be between Soto and Suzuki, and Soto looks to have more offensive upside. Doumit might or might not be my only backup 1B option, he's on the bubble. Again. McCann stays as the starter, Soto is the backup/platoon guy, Suzuki and Buck are on the trading block, and Ryan Doumit will depend on the rest of the roster.

First Base - Albert Pujols (148/190), Kevin Youkilis (145/143), Mark Reynolds (152/95), Ryan Doumit. Pujols is the starting 1B, Youkilis is the DH. Reynolds is a defensive butcher with no plate discipline, and he can't be hidden in the minors any longer. He's on the trading block. Doumit remains on the bubble.

Second Base - Dustin Pedroia (157/122), Skip Schumaker (153/97), Ben Zobrist (62/120), Jed Lowrie (81/90). Pedroia is the starter. Schumaker is now 2B-capable, but as I've established...he's depth. Guys who never top league average mean little to me, aside from positional versatility. Ben Zobrist becomes the new Freddy Sanchez, with a combination of limited playing time and offensive upside. The catch with Zobrist is that he's only game for 2B/SS on the IF "as is", so Lowrie might be needed as well. Lowrie can at least be hidden for a year in AAA if necessary. No roster moves required here.

Shortstop - Hanley Ramirez (153/138), Yunel Escobar (136/103), Ben Zobrist, Jed Lowrie. Hanley is clearly the alpha dog here. Escobar is just the dog, with Hanley's attitude without the same talent level. Zobrist is the backup, Lowrie in AAA. Yunel Escobar goes to the trading block.

Third Base - David Wright (160/136), Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, Jed Lowrie. Wright is the starter, Youkilis can backup from DH (although only in the narrative, more on that in a bit), Reynolds is on his way out of town, and Lowrie can be depth from either Pawtucket or Boston.

Left Field - Matt Holliday (139/133), Jacoby Ellsbury (145/87), Skip Schumaker, Brandon Moss (79/93), Ben Zobrist. Holliday is the starter, Schumaker is depth, Brandon Moss is another way of saying "Skip Schumaker." Jacoby Ellsbury is something of a problem here. He's not really a quality starter on this roster until 2011, but I don't really have anywhere to hide him until then, barring a ton of roster gymnastics. One thing I have established in the sim results is that I get a starter's number of PAs to 4 OFers per season, so I can carry a 4th full-time OFer without issue, and I can write that into the narrative, but does Ellsbury make that cut? His fate is in question, and depends upon what happens in the other OF spots.

Center Field - Grady Sizemore (157/133), Matt Kemp (155/110), Jacoby Ellsbury, Skip Schumaker. This is another interesting situation. Sizemore is entering his last season as a valuable contributor, while Kemp is just starting to get going. As a RHH with LHH starters in both CF and RF, Kemp is the natural 4th OF choice to get a full season of PAs. My initial plan is to keep them both.

Right Field - Andre Ethier (141/132), Hunter Pence (157/105), Skip Schumaker, Brandon Moss, Ben Zobrist. Ethier is the starter, and Pence does not become good enough to take that spot from him until 2011, plus he's not better than Matt Kemp. Ethier starts, Pence goes onto the trading block.

Overall OF - Out of 6 starting-caliber players, I have room for 4, and have pared things down to 5. Holliday-Sizemore/Kemp-Ethier/Kemp is the default set, with Pence on the block, and Ellsbury's fate undecided. I need to see the total roster picture before I decide Ellsbury's fate.

The trading block consists of John Buck, Kurt Suzuki, Mark Reynolds, Yunel Escobar, and Hunter Pence. The fates of Ryan Doumit and Jacoby Ellsbury are to be determined.

Starting Pitching Depth Summary

Cole Hamels (227.1/137), Tim Lincecum (227/169), Brandon Webb (226.2/136), Matt Cain (217.2/113), Dan Haren (216/134), Jon Lester (210.1/144), Clay Buchholz (76/69).

It's immediately apparent that one of the main 6 has to go, while Buchholz is the 6th starter/AAA depth. Webb and Haren were originally expected to be gone after 2008, but it appears that they did not get sufficient playing time in 2003 to accrue 6 years of MLB service time. So, I have zero spots opening up next season, but there is one pitcher who falls off a cliff in 2009, and that's Brandon Webb. Matt Cain is the least-awesome option for the 2008 campaign. I'd hate to lose Webb's 2008 or Cain's 2009, but ultimately, Webb's 2009 is far, far worse than Cain's 2008. I'll just have to limp by with Lincecum-Lester-Hamels-Haren-Cain in 2008. :c070:

Brandon Webb goes onto the trading block.

Bullpen Depth Summary

Here's where the party is happening. Nobody left, so I have the original 7 from 2007 (Betancourt, Wilson, Broxton, Street, Janssen, Papelbon, and Okajima), plus the new arrivals (Masterson, Ziegler, Romo, Robertson). I can allow myself one of the new arrivals as the 8th man in AAA. I also get some unexpected "help" in the form of Casey Janssen's season-ending labrum tear prior to the 2008 campaign. He pitched zero innings, and spent the year on the disabled list. So, I have 7 spots for 11 pitchers, but 1 can be stashed in AAA (down to 10 for 7), plus Janssen is lost for the season due to injury (now 9 for 7). So, which two pitchers are on the outside looking in?

All of the newcomers threw at least 30 IP in 2008, so none of them can be in the "small enough sample that I can ignore them" category. With the benefit of...is it hindsight or foresight in this situation? Hmmm...I know that Betancourt hits the wall in 2008. With a set of candidates that close together, that's enough to get him voted off the roster. That leaves 1 more. The only newcomer who is not excellent in 2008 is David Robertson, but that also makes him an ideal 8th man candidate who can be partially/mostly hidden. The least effective remaining reliever in 2008 is CJ Wilson, but part of his appeal is his excellent years as a starter coming up. Looking forward, though, Masterson provides that same capability in 2010-2011, and I have now drafted enough other starters to fill in a full rotation without him. I'll take the short term gain for long term pain here, because I've mitigated the long-term pain.

CJ Wilson joins Rafael Betancourt on the trading block.

Final Trading Block

C John Buck, C Kurt Suzuki, 1B/3B Mark Reynolds, SS Yunel Escobar, RF Hunter Pence, SP Brandon Webb, RP Rafael Betancourt, RP CJ Wilson.

Unresolved questions remain about C/1B Ryan Doumit and LF/CF Jacoby Ellsbury

What am I seeking? Uh...good question. C is excellent with McCann/Soto. 1B is awesome with Pujols, and Youkilis is hitting his offensive stride at DH. Pedroia at 2B is not changing for anything. Hanley Ramirez at SS is excellent, and his defense has gone from "putrid" to "serviceable". David Wright is still excellent at 3B. Matt Holliday is mashing in LF, but plays defense like Manny. Perhaps a more well-rounded upgrade would be possible? Sizemore is excellent in CF for one more year, but that time onward is what I have Matt Kemp for. Andre Ethier is excellent in RF, if defensively unremarkable and possibly needing a platoon partner for sim purposes.

The rotation and bullpen are pretty spotless.

So, for the bounty that I am offering, all I can ask for is an upgrade on Matt Holliday in LF? This may require some really creative juggling, I may even have to just start doing straight veteran-for-prospect trades.

The Trade Market Post is next.

#42 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 27 November 2011 - 09:43 PM

2007 - 2008 Trade Market

I have a set of trade chits consisting of C John Buck, C Kurt Suzuki, 1B/3B Mark Reynolds, SS Yunel Escobar, RF Hunter Pence, SP Brandon Webb, RP Rafael Betancourt, and RP CJ Wilson.

I have no needs. This means I'm now more concerned with future than current needs.

I'm going to give OOTP sim results primacy here, with some acknowledgements of real world issues where suitable.

Taking a look at the remainder of the simulation, 2008-2011, here's how the positions stack up in terms of holes needing to be filled.

C: Due to waiting for more playing time, both McCann and Soto are under control through 2011. No future needs.

1B: Pujols is extended beyond the end of the simulation. Youkilis is under control through 2010. Freddie Freeman is ready for full-time play in 2011. No future needs.

2B: Pedroia is under control through 2011, as are backups Zobrist and Lowrie. No future needs.

SS: Hanley Ramirez is under team control through 2011, although 2011 is a lost season for him. Zobrist still has that covered, even if I assume a reduction in effectiveness/defense due to aging and lack of playing time. Maybe a 2011 need, but probably not.

3B: David Wright is under control through 2009. Lowrie is inadequate, and Zobrist is not necessarily able to cover 3B, although I bet he could if Evan Longoria isn't there in real life. 2010-2011 need at the position, unless I want to convert Zobrist, in which case 2011 SS is a need again.

LF: Matt Holliday is under control through 2009. Ellsbury's lost year happens to coincide with Holliday's departure, which is not helpful. Desmond Jennings and Josh Reddick are available just as Ellsbury goes into beast mode. A severe 2010 need. Holliday is a limited defensive player, but OOTP just had him has above average somehow in 2007. I'm confused. This is a potential area of upgrade in 2008-2009, and a need in 2010. It is also a need in 2011 if I cannot find room for Ellsbury.

CF: Grady Sizemore is under control through 2009, but becomes mediocre in 2009 anyway. This is why Matt Kemp is here. Kemp is under control through 2011. There is no future need.

RF: Andre Ethier is under control through 2011, so no future need here. The to-be-traded Hunter Pence is only better than Ethier in 2011, which brings up something I need to address.

A Note on Ellsbury and Pence

We now run into the problem where players kick their production into a new gear in 2011, historically. Out of the Park Baseball 2012 does not include 2011 results in player ratings, because 2011 had not happened yet when the game shipped. This means that players who were immensely valuable in 2011, but mediocre or only slightly above average before then can be expected to under-perform in the 2011 OOTP simulation. Prospects who were highly anticipated in 2011, like Desmond Jennings, are a better bet than someone like Ellsbury, particularly coming off a washout in 2010. Players with awesome 2010 seasons who regressed in 2011 might be over-valued in the same manner. Given that I am really targeting the sim results here, it is something I am keeping in mind during player evaluation.

So, my sum total of needs are maybe 2011 SS, 2010-2011 3B, and 2010-2011 LF.

Another potential LF solution in 2010-2011 is Mike Stanton, who arrives in RF in 2010. So LF is a maybe?

Even "worse", there's a solution to each of these "problems" that requires no trades. Fill LF with Stanton/Ethier. Cover SS with Zobrist/Lowrie. Sign Adrian Beltre for multiple years in 2010, instead of on a 1-year deal. It's not like I won't have the cash for it.

Or I could go nuts with my trade chits and engorge myself upon the likes of Evan Longoria and Carlos Gonzalez. I bet I know who Billy Beane would take for him!

I was actually somewhat joking about Longoria and Gonzalez, but I could actually get them using my existing trade chits. Gonzalez for Webb, straight up. Longoria for Wilson, Betancourt, Buck, and Reynolds. Both Longoria and Gonzalez are 2008 rookies and could therefore be stashed for a season. That helps in the OF, where I'd be ditching Sizemore anyway, and just puts off the David Wright issue by one season. It also still leaves Suzuki, Escobar, and Pence as trade chits. Since neither Longoria nor Gonzalez have faced a single pitch at the MLB level yet, I can understand GMs taking 1 (or 2 or 3) in the hand over a prospect in the bush.

At this stage in this exercise, I am less concerned with upgrades than I am with pushing out windows of control at various positions. Each player's clock effectively starts one year earlier than I'd really like, but that beats having to completely change my tactic of "do anything to get as many cost controlled players as possible" at this stage of the game, when my draft knowledge is effectively nullified.

In the interest of fairness (HA! I know!), I add Suzuki to the Gonzalez package, and Escobar to the Longoria deal. Both deals include cash to offset salaries.

I trade Brandon Webb and Kurt Suzuki to the Oakland A's for Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez only seeing partial play in 2008 and 2009 is a huge asset to me here.

I trade Yunel Escobar, Mark Reynolds, John Buck, Rafael Betancourt, and CJ Wilson to the Tampa Bay Rays for Evan Longoria. I'm treating Longoria as stashable for this season, and I have to deal with David Wright before the 2009 campaign.

The fanbase is extremely angry with me for trading away players that they know, Webb in particular. I am amused.

I am still left with Hunter Pence to trade, plus uncertain statuses of Jacoby Ellsbury and Ryan Doumit.

For Doumit, I simply deem him too useful as a versatile 3rd C who can backup other positions to let go, plus he was never really so consistently good that I have to feel particularly bad about wasting him from a career standpoint. Welcome to the Freddy Sanchez zone, Ryan!

For Pence, my first instinct to trade him to the team he should be on for a prospect. Unfortunately, the Astros' minor league system is awful, and they don't draft Jordan Lyles until the 2008 draft, so I'm a few months early. I am forced to use the OOTP "Shop a player" function to see what teams are interested, then I'll see what I could snag from them (I'll have to project the actual prospects, as I set up this league to only add in players during the season of their original MLB debut).

I may need to turn up the AI trading difficulty here, because the Dodgers just offered me my choice of Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, or Javier Vazquez (hi again!) for Hunter Pence. Of course, I suppose that they have a few OF vacancies to fill. *trollface* Kershaw does top the Baseball America team listing of 2008 prospects, and in this OOTP reality, they would seem to be trading from a position of strength since they have Beckett and Vazquez. Their 5-man rotation is Beckett-Kershaw-Kuroda-Vazquez-Billingsley in whatever order you like, and their starting OF is currently Scott Hairston in LF, Jason Tyner in CF, and Delwyn Young in RF. This trade offer would seem to make sense for them upon further review, and not just be a quirk of bad AI. Kershaw meets my objective of letting me push out my years of control for the starting 5. He is also a rookie who has not thrown an inning yet going into 2008, so he is stashable as the 6th starter over Buchholz, whose career prospects are rapidly dimming.

I trade Hunter Pence to the LA Dodgers for Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw is stashed in AAA for 2008, but is effectively the 6th starter in the event of injury or horrifying suckage by someone I can option. The fans are mad at me for trading away Hunter Pence. He had 3 PAs in a Red Sox uniform, I guess Gammons overdid the prospect hype there. Ah well, live by the scribes, die by the scribes, eh?

As for Ellsbury, I can actually make him work because I am keeping Doumit. Keeping Doumit makes him my backup 1B, meaning that I can either have Lowrie back up 3B with Zobrist behind 2B/SS, or I can leave Lowrie in AAA, keep Ellsbury available as the 5th OFer, and train Zobrist to backup 3B. I'm going with the latter option, leaving me with a bench of Soto-Doumit-Zobrist-Kemp, with Ellsbury up for 5th OF duty as needed. As much as it pains me, given that Ellsbury's 2011 effectively doesn't happen in the sim universe in which I am operating (and there's no way he's going to survive the roster crunches until that time), he is more Lowrie/Schumaker/Sanchez/Doumit than he is Kemp/Ethier/Sizemore/Holliday/Gonzalez.

Roster Moves part II is next.

#43 BucketOBalls

  • SoSH Member

  • 5,644 posts

Posted 28 November 2011 - 09:49 AM

Fascinating as always. I'm actually kinda curious to see what it makes of Lowrie, es with the injury setting.

#44 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 28 November 2011 - 10:35 AM

Fascinating as always. I'm actually kinda curious to see what it makes of Lowrie, es with the injury setting.

As am I, but there are two issues to keep in mind.

1) Lowrie's in-game ratings, which inform his performance, are still impacted by his injury-related output from real life. So, even if he doesn't get injured, his performance baseline as "healthy Lowrie" in the game will be lower than "healthy Lowrie" would be in real life, because the after-effects of his wrist injury is already baked into the real-world numbers that OOTP uses to generate his ratings.

2) I have no freaking idea how I'm going to find playing time for him. I'm having to make 4 and 5-for-1 trades just to get the roster under control, and Zobrist has him pretty well blocked as the backup IF, plus Pedroia at 2B, Hanley at SS, and Wright at 3B with Longoria now behind him for 2009. Oddly enough, the injury setting is Lowrie's biggest enemy - it's less likely for one or more of Zobrist, Pedroia, Hanley, or Wright/Longoria to get injured and lead to him getting enough playing time to see if he performs better.

#45 Bigpupp

  • 1,153 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 01:00 AM

Sorry if you addressed this in a previous thread/post, but I was curious how you're getting drafted players in your organization when they are automatically put in their historical teams rosters at the beginning of the year?

Edited by Bigpupp, 29 November 2011 - 01:09 AM.

#46 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 08:07 AM

Sorry if you addressed this in a previous thread/post, but I was curious how you're getting drafted players in your organization when they are automatically put in their historical teams rosters at the beginning of the year?

I'm actually not sure whether or not I did address it, so...

Note on OOTP Roster Management

After each season, OOTP has certain benchmark dates. I have matched up several of those benchmark dates with actions I take in the thread. The primary one of note here is the day after the World Series ends, when the World Series winning team's baseball card is created, arbitration-eligible players are revealed, departing players are listed with their compensation status, and new players for the following season are added to their respective historical teams.

I use this screen across two posts in several sections - the arbitration section informs my "Years of Control and Extensions" part of the OOTP Sim Postseason Analysis post, while the departing players inform my Departures section of the following season's Roster Moves post. I also use my own tracking spreadsheet (filled in as I draft players with their years, games/IP, and OPS+/ERA+) to fill in the Callups portion of that same post.

As I put the players into the Callups section, I force-trade them from their historical teams to the Red Sox using the Commissioner Mode in OOTP12. I do this on the first day of the offseason so that the teams losing players can make alternations to their rosters via extending/retaining players and/or signing new FAs and/or making trades as necessary. Waiting until Spring Training or Opening Day would deny the other teams the flexibility to react to what they no longer have available in terms of talent. Since the players are automatically put onto the roster with no games played at the very start of the offseason, it's actually pretty easy to plan around snagging the appropriate guys for the upcoming year all on the same day.

EDIT - For awful, awful grammar. I should not post before 8am.

Edited by JMDurron, 29 November 2011 - 07:31 PM.

#47 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 07:51 PM

2007 - 2008 Roster Moves, Part II

Post-Trade Roster Review

SP - Lincecum, Lester, Cain, Hamels, Haren, Kershaw (AAA), Buchholz (AAA)

Kershaw bumps Buchholz down the SP depth chart. I can somewhat explain this away via Buchholz working on his new mechanics in AAA instead of at the MLB level. Kershaw gets the September starts and any injury time.

RP - Broxton, Masterson, Papelbon, Okajima, Romo, Street, Ziegler, Robertson (AAA)
C - McCann, Soto, Doumit
1B - Pujols, Youkilis, Doumit
2B - Pedroia, Zobrist, Lowrie (AAA), Schumaker (AAA)
SS - Hanley, Zobrist, Lowrie (AAA)
3B - Wright, Zobrist, Longoria (AAA), Lowrie (AAA)
LF - Holliday, Ellsbury (AAA), Gonzalez (AAA), Schumaker (AAA), Moss (AAA)
CF - Sizemore, Kemp, Ellsbury (AAA), Gonzalez (AAA), Schumaker (AAA)
RF - Ethier, Kemp, Zobrist, Gonzalez (AAA), Moss (AAA)

You'll note that Ellsbury has the AAA designation when I previously named him as my 5th OFer who I had room for. Well, I miscounted. I have room for 4 bench players - Soto, Doumit, Zobrist, and Kemp are 4. Ellsbury makes 5. It's a roster crunch between Ellsbury and Doumit, and Doumit has produced too well as a PH/3rd C/1B to leave off the roster to start things off. I am going to have a hair trigger with him on the roster during the sim, but I can't really justify Ellsbury over anyone else on the roster until/unless there is an injury. If Doumit struggles, up comes Ellsbury. If McCann and Soto mash, Doumit can go down for Ellsbury, with Zobrist adding 1B to his bag of tricks.

Historical Transactions

I do not sign Curt Schilling, Kevin Cash, Mike Lowell, Mike Timlin, Doug Mirabelli, Danny Kolb, Sean Casey, or Bobby Kielty.

I do not trade for David Aardsma, Jason Bay, Mark Kotsay, or Paul Byrd.

The 2008 Season is next.

#48 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 02 December 2011 - 04:17 PM

The 2008 Season

Position Players

C: Brian McCann over Jason Varitek (73 -> 130). Geovany Soto (113) backs up. Ryan Doumit (122) also remains the 3rd C.
1B: Albert Pujols over Kevin Youkilis (143 -> 190). Doumit backs up.
2B: Dustin Pedroia (122). Ben Zobrist (120) backs up.
SS: Hanley Ramirez over Julio Logo (78 -> 138). Typing that is like making sweet love to the keyboard. Zobrist backs up.
3B: David Wright over Mike Lowell (103 -> 136). Zobrist backs up.
LF: Matt Holliday over Manny Ramirez (136 -> 133). Matt Kemp (110) backs up. Jacoby Ellsbury (87) lurks in AAA.
CF: Grady Sizemore over Coco Crisp (93 -> 133). Kemp backs up.
RF: Andre Ethier over JD Drew (137 -> 132). Kemp backs up.
DH: Kevin Youkilis over David Ortiz (123 -> 143). Doumit backs up.


Geovany Soto - C
Ryan Doumit - C, 1B, DH
Ben Zobrist - 2B, SS, 3B
Matt Kemp - LF, CF, RF
Jacoby Ellsbury - LF, CF

Starting Pitchers

Cole Hamels (227.1/137)
Tim Lincecum (227/169)
Matt Cain (217.2/113)
Dan Haren (216/134)
Jon Lester (210.1/144)

Clayton Kershaw (107.2/98) - Kershaw gets some September starts and gets spot starts when any of the starting 5 have so much as a runny nose. He won't get 100+ IP, but he'll get enough to get a taste of the show. He also gets some time to keep Lester rested down the stretch.

The Bullpen

Justin Masterson (88.1/147)
Huston Street (70/112)
Jonathan Papelbon (69.1/199)
Jonathan Broxton (69/129)
Hideki Okajima (62/178)
Brad Ziegler (59.2/394)
Sergio Romo (34/211)

The Pawtucket Shuttle

Situational Callups - Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, Clayton Kershaw, Skip Schumaker, David Robertson

Cup of Coffee/No Time - Clay Buchholz (working on his mechanics), Evan Longoria (I feel it's fair to not rush a guy when he originally came up with a poor franchise at the time that needed to rush him. He's also enough of a "sure thing" that I'm less concerned about his development), Casey Janssen (injured), Carlos Gonzalez, Brandon Moss

Season Results

Historically, the 2008 Red Sox finished 2nd in the AL East, 2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox won the Wild Card by 6 games over the Yankees. The Sox were then generous enough to let the Angles win a game in the ALDS for a change, before losing an epic ALCS to the Rays in 7 games.

You'll pardon me for being significantly less worried about the Rays now, without Zobrist and Longoria. These Red Sox are clearly winning the AL East in a walk, it's just a question of whether they clinch in August or September.

Offensively, there are no downgrades. LF and RF are close enough to be essentially equal. 2B is obviously equal as well. DH is actually a mild upgrade with a great Youkilis season over a mediocre season by David Ortiz's standards. C, 1B, SS, 3B, and CF are all significant upgrades. Even the bench features a grad total of zero below average offensive players, except when Ellsbury gets the callup. Of course, it's safe to regress those numbers a fair bit due to irregular playing time, so we'll call them average. There's still no Kevin Cash or Alex Cora to be found here.

It goes without saying that the pitching staff is an awesome upgrade. Instead of 2 aces (one who nibbles), 2 above-average pitchers, and 1 gaping hole of unbearable torment, there are 4 aces (none who nibble) and 1 above average pitcher. If Matt Cain is "the weak link" in the rotation, there are no weak links in the rotation. I bet he gets a few more Ws!

Defensively, C is most likely a wash between Varitek/Cash (Cash still being a good defensive C, not a corpse yet) and McCann/Soto/Doumit, with Doumit bringing the capability down a bit. 1B is most likely a wash, and 2B is obviously the same. By TotalZone, a full season of Hanley is roughly equivalent (average) to the combined season of Lugo (bad), and Lowrie (good). 3B is actually a defensive downgrade from Lowell to Wright, but Wright has the bonus of not being crippled for the postseason. Matt Holliday is roughly equivalent (average) to Manny (just a tick above Holliday) and Bay (bad) combined in LF in 2008. Sizemore is actually an upgrade on a surprisingly low-rated Crisp in CF. RF is a defensive downgrade from Drew to Ethier. Kemp averages things out for the better in RF, with no real impact in CF.

The bullpen, as usual, is mind-blowingly good. If Huston Street is the weak link, there is no weak link.

Once again, the only question is mentality. Despite the fire of Pedroia and the steadiness of Pujols, this is a team that is well aware of just how awesome they are. They plod along early in the year, kick it into high gear in June-August, and coast through September after clinching in the 2nd week. The AL East is won, but the Sox are the 2nd seed in the AL. The positive side is that everyone is well rested, between callups getting lots of playing time in September, and guys not exactly busting their asses over 162 games. The negative is the rust factor.

As usual, it's time to determine the ALDS matchups. The Angels (with John Lackey post-year-6 from Texas, I assume he goes back there) are untouched, and still win 100 games in the Al West, and are the #1 seed. The Rays had a 8-game margin over the Yankees, and it turns out that 3.8 WAR from Longoria and 0.5 WAR from Zobrist aren't enough to sink them down to the level of NY's awful pitching. The White Sox originally won the AL Central by 1 game after beating the Twins in a 1-game playoff, and I don't have anyone from either team in this scenario. So, the original playoff teams are all in, the difference is the matchups. The Red Sox host the White Sox, while the Rays travel to the Angels.

The White Sox, having used Danks in the 1-game playoff against Minnesota, are simply not set up to take on a Lincecum-Lester-Hamels-Haren playoff rotation. Still, the series goes 5 games thanks to sloppy defensive play by the Red Sox, and some slumping bats from players who didn't keep themselves sharp down the stretch in September. It's very fortunate that the ALDS opponent was a weakened one, as Lincecum was able to just barely edge Buehrle for the Game 1 win, and Danks might not have been as accommodating.

The Rays pitch their way past the anemic Angels offense easily enough, although it takes 4 games thanks to their own anemic lineup. The ALCS is a mirror of the historical 2008 matchup, with the HFA flipped.

In Game 1, James Shields pitches well, and BJ Upton takes Lester over the monster to give the Rays a win. In Game 2, Scott Kazmir gets destroyed by as Cole Hamels gets the job done to tie the series. Back in Tampa, Matt Garza and Tim Lincecum (travel day gets him back in a game ahead) go toe-to-toe, with Carlos Pena hitting a clutch shot off the Red Sox bullpen to put the Rays back on top. Andy Sonnanstine goes in Game 4 for the Rays, but is facing Dan Haren instead of Tim Wakefield. The Red Sox shut out the Rays to tie the series again. Game 5 is Kazmir vs Lester, with Lester bringing his A game, while the lineup waits out Kazmir to feast upon the Rays bullpen, and the Sox go up 3 games to 2. James Shields and Cole Hamels face off in Game 6, with Shields getting better defensive support behind him, as errors by Hanley and Ethier help the Rays force a 7th game. Game 7 is Garza vs Lincecum, and while Garza is good, Lincecum is better. The Rays score a run off of Papelbon in the late innings to force extras, but Ben Zobrist comes in as a late-inning defensive sub for Hanley, and sends the Fenway Faithful home happy with a 11th-inning, series-ending HR to send the Sox to the World Series.

Determining the World Series opponent should be fun. In the NL East, the Phillies bested the Mets by 3 games originally, but the Phillies now miss Hamels, and the Mets are without Wright. Hamels represents 4.4 lost WAR, while Wright accounts for 6.1. So, the Phillies still win the East, but with more like 88 wins than 92. The NL Central features the 97-win Cubs and the 90-win WC Brewers. The Cubs are missing nobody and proceed as planned. The Brewers are similarly unmolested. This might be easier than I had thought. In the West, the LA Dodgers originally beat out the Diamondbacks by 2 games, but those 84-win Dodgers are now missing Kemp, Ethier, Kershaw, and Broxton. That should make the issue academic, but the Diamondbacks are missing Dan Haren, so out come the bWAR numbers. The Dodgers start with 84 wins. 84 - 3.0 (Kemp) - 2.3 (Ethier) - 1.2 (Kershaw) - 0.8 (Broxton) = 76.7, or roughly 77 wins. The D-backs start with 82 wins. 82 - 4.8 (Haren) = 77.2, or roughly 77 wins. That's still a solid 3 games up on the Padres, so this comes down to a 1-game playoff. Brandon Webb should have little trouble with a Dodgers lineup featuring only two barely above-average hitters in Russel Martin and James Loney. The Diamondbacks win the NL West.

Therefore, the NLDS matches are Phillies-Brewers and Cubs-Diamondbacks. Even the often-hapless Cubs can get past a below-.500 NL West winning Diamondbacks. Due to the lack of Hamels, the Phillies need 5 games to defeat the Brewers instead of 4. Lacking the NLCS MVP Hamels, clearly the Phillies are in some trouble. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much trouble the Cubs can mean when they historically scored all of 6 runs in 3 games in the NLDS. I think the Phillies mash their way past a slumping Cubs squad into the World Series.

I'm somewhat at a loss for a way that the Red Sox-Phillies World Series would not be a laugher. The 2008 World Series MVP is now in the Red Sox rotation. Jamie Moyer is now the Phillies' ace. The Phillies do still have their lineup intact, but it's still nowhere as potent as that of the Red Sox. The Phillies only really had one offensive outburst in the series originally, so there's not much of a "they got hot" lineup to point to. Ultimately, even with a "the balls just fell in for Philly" modifier, I can't see this series going past 6 games. The real threat was in the sleeping giant being defeated in the ALCS, but the White Sox simply weren't up to the task. Think of the 2000 Oakland A's.

The Red Sox win the 2008 World Series in 6 games.

The OOTP Sim is next.

#49 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 02 December 2011 - 09:48 PM

2008 OOTP Season Simulation

This time, OOTP's lineup AI wanted to start Ben Zobrist over Dustin Pedroia at 2B, making Pedroia the utility IF. I override this, hopefully Pedroia is angry enough to produce accordingly. The game thinks he's a little pudgy.

Preseason Predictions

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So...OOTP seems to think that this is the greatest roster I have ever assembled. 1158 runs? Winning the division by 43 games? We shall see.

Season Walkthrough

In Spring Training, Kevin Youkilis suffers a strained PCL, and misses 3 weeks. Kemp is used to cover LF, moving Holliday to DH, since I need Doumit to backup 1B and OOTP can't handle a player starting at one position while backing up another. Ellsbury is brought up to be the backup OF. The team goes 21-3 in Spring Training.

April ends with the Red Sox at 19-10, leading the AL East by 4.5 games over the Rays. Matt Holliday is the AL Batter of the Month, with a 409/471/731 line over 26 games. Jon Lester begins another winning streak with a 3-0 month. The kid's just a winner! Ryan Doumit sucks in limited play, so as promised, up comes Ellsbury. Zobrist gets to backup 1B as well.

At the end of May, the Sox are 40-18, leading the Rays by 13.5 games in the East. Ben Zobrist is the best hitter on the team vs RHP, but nobody that I could start him over can backup the rest of the IF, so he gets rotated among 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, and DH vs RHP. He gets plenty of PAs at the expense of David Wright, who has a woeful first two months, putting up a 642 OPS vs RHP. Way to boost your trade value there, pal. Lester loses 3 games in May, so much for another wins streak.

The Sox end June with a 57-28 record, with a 14-game lead over the Rays. Hanley Ramirez is the AL batter of the month, posting a 358/412/642 line in 27 games. Cole Hamels, rocking an ERA of 5.62 after 3 months, is sent down to get his head straight in exchange for Clayton Kershaw. This is Hamels' 2nd option year. Forgetting to set my no-DH lineups for interleague play did me no favors in June.

In July, Tim Lincecum, Brian McCann, Albert Pujols, and Hanley Ramirez represent the Red Sox at the All Star Game. July ends with the Red Sox at 75-34, leading the East by 21.5 games over the Rays. Brian McCann, after holding his own vs LHP for most of the season, loses the C job vs lefties to Geovany Soto, who has destroyed them all season long.

The Red Sox end August at 94-43, 25.5 games up on the Rays. Tim Lincecum is the AL Pitcher of the Month. In 6 starts, Lincecum threw 39.2 IP, earning a 5-0 record with a 1.13 ERA. He allowed an OPS against of .473 in the month. Clay Buchholz, Cole Hamels, David Robertson, Ryan Doumit, Evan Longoria, Jed Lowrie, Skip Schumaker, Carlos Gonzalez, and Brandon Moss are called up. Longoria starts over Wright at 3B vs RHP, Zobrist takes over at SS with Hanley moving to DH vs RHP, and Matt Kemp takes over in CF vs LHP, now that there is enough depth to cover postions 2-3 deep.

On September 17, Ben Zobrist suffers from a bout of back stiffness. He could play through it at an increased chance of further injury, but with this depth, why bother? Lowrie plays at SS vs RHP. Zobrist merely moves down the depth chart behind Lowrie at SS, Longoria at 3B, and Schumaker at 2B vs LHP.

The season ends with the Sox at 114-48, good enough to win the AL East by 32 games over the Rays. The Wild Card-winning Mariners are the ALDS opponent, with their potent CC Sabathia-King Felix 1-2 punch in the rotation.

The backup IF spot is an interesting decision for the playoff roster, with Jed Lowrie hitting very well during Ben Zobrist's absence due to back stiffness. Unfortunately, with Hanley at SS, the ability to play defense at SS in the late innings is a key requirement, and Lowrie actually does worse than Zobrist OR Hanley in a small sample size. Zobrist also has 2B covered as a backup, while Lowrie does not at this time. Meanwhile, at 3B, Evan Longoria outfields Wright while outhitting him against both RHP and LHP, so he is the starting playoff 3B. Ellsbury makes the playoff roster as the 5th OF and designated PR.

The postseason rotation is Lincecum-Lester-Kershaw (who had the lowest ERA of the 5 at the end of the season, but in a small enough sample that I'm not putting him higher than 3rd position), with Cain in the 4th spot and Haren as the long man from the pen. Romo, Okajima, and Masterson are the 1-2-3 punch in the bullpen.

Game 1 of the ALDS features Sabathia vs Lincecum. The game is 1-1 after 6, when the bullpens bring in the gas...as in gas cans. The Mariners score 2 in the 7th and 1 in the 8th, then explode for 4 runs in the 9th against Okajima and Romo. The Red Sox get one back in the 8th, and trail 8-2 entering the 9th inning. The Sox rally for 4 runs, but come up short. The Red Sox lose by 2, which precisely matches the number of unearned runs allowed, courtesy of errors by Pujols and Pedroia. King Felix faces Jon Lester in Game 2, and Felix is completely dominant. The Mariners win in a 3-0 shutout. Clayton Kershaw takes the mound in Safeco with the season on the line, against Carlos Zambrano. Holding true with the mental fortitude that he is known for throughout baseball, Zambrano keeps the Red Sox alive. A late Mariners rally is for naught, and the Red Sox live to fight another day with a 11-8 win. Lincecum and Sabathia face off again in Game 4, and the Red Sox defense holds firm this time. Sabathia gives up 5 runs, and the Red Sox return to Fenway with a 7-3 victory. Seeking the first home team victory of the ALDS, Lester tries to complete the comeback against King Felix. He fails, giving up 7 runs over 3.2 IP, all in the 4th inning. The OOTP manager's reluctance to go to Haren or Cain is inexplicable, as the Red Sox are never able to get into the game, and are eliminated by a score of 11-4.

The Mariners go on to defeat the Twins in the ALCS, then lose to the Colorado Rockies in a 7-game World Series.

Sim Postseason Analysis is next.

#50 JMDurron

  • 4,524 posts

Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:16 AM

2008 OOTP Sim Postseason Analysis

The team finished 114-48, hitting the pyth projection of 114-48 right on the head. Led the AL in runs scored with 1007, and in runs allowed with 628. The team was 9th in the AL in defense.

The Real 2008 Red Sox

Position Players

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C - Brian McCann was right on target, matching himself and providing a huge upgrade over Jason Varitek. Geovany Soto was even more awesome in part-time play, I think some of this is the OOTP "random L/R splits" setting at work. Just a tad better than Kevin Cash, he was. Ryan Doumit sucked and opened the roster spot for Ellsbury. In the postseason, McCann was merely average, while Soto was horrible, posting an OPS of .222. Ouch.

1B - Albert Pujols did not match his baseline, but was still slightly better than historical Youkilis in relative terms. Youkilis was a mild disappointment, and got some rest to let some of the callups handle some DH duty in September. Both players were hugely responsible for the team's October chokejob. Pujols posted an anemic .582 OPS, while Youkilis followed with an abysmal .393 mark. There is plenty of blame to go around, though, and just wait until we get to the bullpen. :angry:

2B - Dustin Pedroia was slightly better than his baseline, albeit in less playing time due to my desperation to get Ben Zobrist PAs. Speaking of Ben Zobrist, HOLY COW. He saw time at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, and DH vs RHP. He was useless vs LHP, oddly enough. Dustin Pedroia also gets his share of the postseason blame, with his .438 OPS. Zobrist saw no playing time, as I try to avoid platoon/rotation situations in the postseason.

SS - Hanley Ramirez outdid himself, although he reverted back to being a poor defender at SS. It seems like he almost single-handedly determines the team's defensive efficiency. Jed Lowrie's spectacular September made the postseason roster decision quite difficult, but ultimately "Jed Lowrie, defensive replacement at SS" just didn't work. The team was eliminated in the postseason despite Hanley, not because of him, as he posted a 1.101 October OPS.

3B - David Wright was a bitter disappointment. He was essentially 2008 Mike Lowell, with the added bonus of taking away PAs from the vastly superior Evan Longoria. I should have traded Wright when I had the chance, but frankly I got tired of making offseason deals and wanted to give him one last season. Another act of emotion at 3B hurts the 2008 Red Sox. Longoria mashed his way into the postseason, and then helped to whiff the team right out of it with his .525 OPS. Every postseason move seems to have turned to failure.

LF - Matt Holliday was right on target, matching 2008 Manny Ramirez. His defensive butchery led to lots of late inning PAs for Ellsbury and Kemp. Holliday was not the postseason problem, mashing to the tune of a 1.236 OPS.

CF - Neither Grady Sizemore nor Matt Kemp matched their historical baselines, but both were an upgrade over Coco Crisp. Jacoby Ellsbury was roughly on target as a serviceable 5th OFer, while Carlos Gonzalez was similarly unremarkable in part-time September duty. Kemp and Sizemore more than made up for it with their postseason numbers, leading the team with their respective 1.555 (Kemp) and 1.297 (Sizemore) OPSes.

RF - Andre Ethier came up just short of himself and JD Drew. He stayed steadily above-average in the postseason, and was not responsible for the team's failure.

The Pitching Staff

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Here lies a tale of regular season excellence, and postseason failure.

Tim Lincecum was pretty much exactly what he was supposed to be. Jon Lester and Dan Haren were disappointingly average, but didn't really hurt the team. Matt Cain was roughly who he was supposed to be. Cole Hamels was impressively bad, but gave way to Clayton Kershaw's dominant debut. Masterson is incorrectly listed as a SP, he was a MR.

The bullpen was quite good, led by dominant performances by Sergio Romo, Hideki Okajima, and Justin Masterson. Broxton and Papelbon ended up being the 6th and 7th relievers by the end of the season. This would haunt me in October.

Ah yes, October. Only Tim Lincecum was steady in the postseason, posting a 2.53 ERA in 2 starts. Those two starts still only translated to 10.2 IP, though, and he went 0-1 in those starts due to poor offensive support. You can understand from the regular season numbers why I felt that Lester and Kershaw were superior options to Haren and Cain for the postseason rotation, but that really bit me in the ass. Lester posted a 7.84 ERA in 2 starts, with Kershaw allowing 4 ER in 5.2 IP in his lone start.

It is truly in the bullpen, however, where the season was lost. My constant rotating of bullpen roles based on month-by-month cumulative ERA really came to bite me in the ass. This led to the top 3 in the bullpen being Romo-Okajima-Masterson, with Papelbon and Broxton on the back end. By IP/ERA, Romo (2.0/9.00) and Okajima (3.1/18.90) absolutely killed me, while Masterson (2.1/0.00) did his job. Papelbon (2.0/0.00) and Broxton (3.0/3.00) might have made all the difference in the world. A truly bitter pill to swallow. This was the case of letting the numbers compel me to do something when a more ratings-based or simply personal understanding-related evaluation would have taken me in the superior direction. Alas and alack.

Years of Control and Extensions

There are 5 players at or just over 3 years of service time. Matt Cain, Jonathan Broxton, Brian McCann, Hanley Ramirez, and Andre Ethier all get 3-year extensions.

Leaders and Awards

Gold Glove - Jon Lester (P)
Cy Young - Tim Lincecum

Al Leaders:

AVG - Dustin Pedroia
RBI - Albert Pujols

ERA - Tim Lincecum
H/9 - Tim Lincecum
Ks - Tim Lincecum
K/9 - Tim Lincecum
K/BB - Dan Haren
OppAVG - Tim Lincecum
FIP - Tim Lincecum
WAR - Tim Lincecum

The 2008 Draft is next.