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-   -   Ruben "Streak" Souffront and the Denver Brewers (http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/board/showthread.php?t=289570)

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 03:34 PM

Ruben "Streak" Souffront and the Denver Brewers
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(Okay, bear with me please as this is my first attempt at including screenshots in a posting.)

As a new convert to the OOTP way of life back in the Autumn of 2017, I found myself looking at all of the fun ways the game could be played, all of the variations of projects I could see myself getting fascinated by. But at first the one type of game I was skeptical about my ability to become immersed in was a universe populated entirely of fictional baseball players.

Still, wanting to play around with the game a bit and explore I did set up a fictional league, based upon MLB structure and strategies of 1965 (the year I was born), largely with default settings. A pretty vanilla affair. And just for fun I went ahead a took over the reins of the Denver Brewers, which the AI had created (had no Denver team been randomly created, I wonder if I would have ever moved forward at all with this league) and proceeded to the inaugural draft. Fortunately, I had inherited a scouting director with a good reputation, one of the few members of the organization's front office personnel and coaching staffs to not be inexperienced or have a poor reputation. So, relying a great deal on his guidance, I drafted my Brewers team. And, moving very slowly (kind of like this post- sorry), I started to put together a team that I didn't hate. And then Round 17 came and I drafted this guy: (see below)
(Oh, hey, that worked. Cool.) (Well, sort of worked. Not sure how to get this text below the attached image. I'll keep learning.)
And something about this cat that suddenly made me think- I really like this guy. And at that point it occurred to me that this fictional league concept might be alright after all.
As you can see, Streak Souffront is likely no superstar in the making. He's a super-speedy RF with decent enough defensive skills who should be able to hit enough to stick in the majors (though he really needs to develop his plate discipline) and some really great character traits that should serve him well. What it is about him that makes me like him so much more than other players is hard to define. Might even be his face- he just looks like a smart and likable guy.

(A few quick notes before I move on: as you probably have gathered I am using a 1-10 ratings system, not the commonly used 20-80 system that more closely aligns with real-life scouting. It's just more comfortable for me at this time. And when I set up this league I didn't think things through very well and not only is set-up and strategies based upon 1965 MLB but so are statistical modifiers. More on that soon. Oh, and the league is called the W.P. Kinsella League. And that I will also elaborate on below.)
But here we go. With Mr. Souffront and several other promising youngsters and a few solid veterans on board, I was ready (well, almost ready) to plunge into the world of OOTP fictional simulations. More to follow.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 03:53 PM

deleted. whoops.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 04:21 PM

To set the context a bit:
The Denver Brewers play in the Moonlight Graham League which is one of two sub-leagues under the umbrella moniker of the W.P. Kinsella Baseball League (or WPK for short.)
The other sub-league is the Shoeless Joe League.
(In future these leagues will generally be referred to as the MGL and the SJL.)

As stated above, the WPK came into existence in 1965 and in many way mirrors MLB of that year. Which is to say that each sub-league has 10 teams and at the end of the regular season the two teams that finish first in their sub-leagues face each other in a 7-game World Series for the title of WPK Champion. It is also to say that the inaugural season of the WPK, like MLB in 1965, was one in which pitching generally dominated.

The Denver Brewers, upon inspection following the inaugural player draft, seemed to be a team built around pitching and speed primarily, as well as solid defense, particularly in the outfield. With several young players pressed into duty on the big league club perhaps a bit prematurely (including Streak Souffront) and a few aging players likely in decline, it was not clear whether the offense would contribute enough to keep the Brewers from finishing in a second division spot in the standings.
Pre-season predictions pegged them solidly in the middle of the MGL, with a predicted record of 79 wins and 83 losses, well behind the predicted MGL winner, the Brewers arch-rival's, the Phoenix Speed Devils.
But with a number of young players in the lineup and a few in the rotation and bullpen, it seemed it would at least prove to be an interesting, and possibly exciting, season of baseball in the Mile High City.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 04:30 PM

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One challenge for me as the G.M. and Manager of the Brewers is the owner, who is not only an economizer who is highly focused on winning, but is a meddler to boot. This has put the organization under great strain economically, as we have the lowest budget in all of the WPK while also carrying one of the highest player payrolls at the major league level (below you will see it at #1, but most of season was at #3). On the plus side, he is a patient man and thus far he reports being largely happy with my performance.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 10:48 PM

At this juncture I should probably say that the first season of the WPK (1965) is in the books, a champion has been crowned, post-season awards have been announced and arbitration and the free agency filing dates are rapidly approaching.
A good number of Brewers prospects are currently competing in the Arizona Fall League (as members of the Surprise Saguaros), and several of them are faring quite well indeed.

This thread will primarily concern itself with what comes next and will follow in particular the career path of our man (well, my man, anyway) Ruben Souffront. With any luck he and the Brewers will be travelling on an upward path together. But that remains to be seen.

But first, in the next several posts, I will provide a bit of narrative about how the 1965 season unfolded and set the stage for the continuing drama of the WPK, the Denver Brewers, and Streak Souffront.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 11:06 PM

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April 1965:
Things got off to a fairly predictable start for the Brewers as they finished the month of April (with several games postponed by inclement weather) at 7-7.
As expected, the starting pitching was very good indeed as they were 2nd in the league in starter's ERA at 2.18. (The bullpen was a bit less effective, but also hadn't been used much yet.) On the other hand, concerns about the offense proved to be warranted as the team was dead last in the MGL in both batting average (.183) and OBP (.242). It was becoming clear that 1965 would be the Year of the Pitcher in the WPK, but even by the anemic standards of the season to that point, this was pathetic. However, the Brewers were surprisingly 2nd in the league in HR's, largely due to the exploits of veteran RF/1B-man Mark Compton, who finished the month hitting .271 with 5 HR's and 9 RBI's.
The Brewers finished the month in 5th place in the MGL, 4 games behind the 1st place Los Angeles Spinners.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 11:21 PM

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May 1965:
The month of May started on a very high note indeed, especially when the Brewers put a complete drubbing on the Brooklyn Aces, 18-1, at the Brooklyn Grounds on May 4th. Young second baseman, Tanner Yurek, led the attack with a 4-4 day in which he clubbed 4 HR's, driving in 7 of the Brewer's runs.
Unfortunately, the month ended with a thud, as the Brewers dropped 12 of the last 16 games to finish the month at 14-18.
Their season record at that point was 21-25 and they had fallen to 7th place in the MGL, now 10 games behind the 1st place L.A. Spinners.
(Note: preseason predictions had the Spinners finishing a solid 4th with 88 wins, but at this stage of the season they looked quite a bit better than that.)

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 11:29 PM

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May 1965- addendum
On May 9th the Brewers made the first trade of the franchise's history, sending young minor league infielder Arturo Baca to the San Francisco Velocity for minor league starting pitcher Jon Goldman and minor league relief pitcher Jim Harrison. Not a blockbuster trade to be sure, but one that the Brewers may eventually regret. With a budding star Tanner Yurek at second base and several good middle infield prospects in the pipeline, and with an aging starting staff and not much promise on the horizon in the organization at that position, it was thought a risk worth taking. At this point it doesn't look like a great decision, but the organization is hopeful that it might still work out alright in the end.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 11:32 PM

But wait, what about Ruben Souffront, you may ask? Yes, of course. Sorry to be remiss.
Streak Souffront was proving to be, well, a bit streaky thus far. But he had put together enough good stretches with the bat that even though he was only hitting .227, he was among the team leaders in RBI with 17, had hit 5 doubles, 5 triples, and 3 HR's, and had stolen 8 bases. He was playing solid defense in right field and was earning his playing time.

BirdWatcher 05-12-2018 11:51 PM

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June 1965:
June swoon, you say? Not for our Brewers, who would have their best month of the season, going 20-12.
After having dropped to 4 games below .500 on the last day of May, the Brewers reeled off 6 straight wins. In spite of losing 3 of 4 to the first place L.A. Spinners in the second week of June, the Brewers had a great mid-month when they went 7-1 the week of June 14th-June 20th, including taking a double-header from the dreaded Spinners (and splitting the last 2 games of the 4 game series.)
It was young LF'er Antonio Puente's turn to be in the spotlight as the MGL's Player-of-the-Week that week as he started to display his great potential with the bat and the glove. (Tanner Yurek had earlier taken such honors during the week in which he had the 4-HR game.)
The Brewers end the month of June with a season record of 41-37, in a virtual tie for 3rd place with the Detroit Falcons, and now 5 games behind the league leading Spinners.

Germaniac 05-13-2018 04:02 AM

As a (Milwaukee) Brewers fan I really like this story :)

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 10:31 AM

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So what about this starting pitching staff that had done so well for the Brewers this season and kept them in the race. Who are these guys?
Well, they are led by a trio of veterans, with the outspoken elder statesman, Jason Lawson the ace of the staff. Workhorse lefty Alex Burley provides valuable consistency. Jeff Burdick, who was the Brewers very first pick in the inaugural draft (16th overall), has been a disappointment and it now seems his best year are in the past, but he does provide smarts and another lefty arm in a park that favors left-handed hitters.

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 10:38 AM

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The starting staff is rounded out with two youngsters: Miguel Campos, a fireballer who struggles with control issues and allows too many HR's, but shows flashes of great potential, and Chris Montefusco, who had a great spring training and continues to be consistently solid during the season, when he is not fighting nagging injury issues. Montefusco is not expected to be much more than a spot starter but if he continues to surprise it could become clear he is underrated and belongs as an important piece in the back-end (or, best-case scenario, middle) of the rotation.
(Another note about Campos: he is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League, where he is once again displaying great inconsistency, hurling an 8-inning gem with 15 K's one game and two starts later getting shelled for 7 runs on 9 hits in 4 IP.)

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 01:39 PM

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But any discussion about the 1965 Denver Brewers starting pitching would be incomplete without a mention of two durable veteran relievers who provided 30 starts between them due to the multiple injuries suffered by Montefusco (and a short DL stint for Jeff Burdick) and the mid-season demotion to AAA of Campos (along with the fact that the most capable starter at AAA also spent two rather extensive periods on the DL). While neither Logan Dunbar or Tony Harrison are starter material, they both served ably enough and each of them threw at least one complete game shutout during the season (Dunbar actually compiled 6 CG and Harrison 4.)

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 01:48 PM

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And what about the rest of the bullpen? Well, veteran lefty, and all around good guy, Ron Poblano anchored the pen and was one of the finest relievers in the league (more about that later.) (Note: the ratings shown here for Poblano show declines from his 1965 regular season ratings.) Two youngsters also provided strong support. Bill Roache, in particular, gave indications of the ability to become a consistent pen mainstay for years to come. Lefty David Windecker was less consistently solid and a bit too likely to issue free passes, but does show potential.

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 02:01 PM

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And finally, three youngsters with varying degrees of potential who spent time both on the big league club and in AAA during the 1965 season. Armando Cruz, a hard throwing 19 year old lefty who struggled mightily with command during his time with the Brewers looks to have a promising career as a set-up man at the very least. But he was clearly outmatched at the major league level this season. (He is currently competing in the AFL and having good success there.) Ben Malzone is a young man with good leadership skills (but questionable intelligence) who has limited potential but has recently developed a third pitch (a rather poor change-up) and might still surprise. (Also in the AFL, has pitched little but quite well.) And finally, Brad Schmidt, who is slightly older (nearly 25), has a good cutter and works hard and throws hard. Schmidt, in just 13 innings pitched with the Brewers, was incredibly successful, though his .167 BABIP would seem to indicate this was probably more luck than skill. Schmidt will likely be a AAAA guy brought up to the team in times of emergency, but could serve well in that capacity.

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 02:09 PM

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But enough with the introductions for now. Back to the 1965 regular season.
July 1965:
July saw the Brewers tumble back to earth a bit, as they finished the month with a 12-15 record.
There was some good news as 3 Brewers were named to the All-Star team. The aforementioned anchors of the starting rotation and bullpen- Jason Lawson and Ron Poblano- and the Brewers starting catcher and team captain, Sam Rogers. Probably a bit odd that I haven't mentioned our fearless captain up until now. But the reality is that the catcher position is a particularly weak one in the WPK and while Sam is a great leader, he is just an adequate backstop. (Spoiler: he did show signs of greater potential as the season progressed, especially with the bat.) Unfortunately, the MGL lost the AS game when the Pittsburgh Roadrunners veteran slugger, Mike Kuehn, hit a walk-off 3-run HR off our own Mr. Lawson.

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 02:23 PM

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July 1965 (con't):
So the Brewers found themselves at the end of July sitting in 3rd place in the MGL one game over .500 at 53-52 and 10 1/2 games behind the surging, and now 1st place, Oklahoma City Diamond Kings (too wordy that one). The L.A. Spinners were now sitting 3 1/2 games behind the Diamond Kings in second place.
Young Ruben Souffront finds himself at this point mired in a mid-season slump and at the end of July is hitting just .225 with 4 HR's and 31 RBI but also has 16 stolen bases.

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 02:35 PM

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August 1965:
An early August game at Detroit did provide a tantalizing glimpse though of the potential of Ruben "Streak" Souffront. In an 11-2 drubbing of the Falcons, not only did Souffront go 2 for 4 with 3 runs scored, 1 driven in, and 2 walks in the game, but in the top of the 3rd inning he gave ample of evidence of the true meaning behind his nickname. After singling his way on he stole second, and then after being moved to third base by a Pablo Gonzalez single, Souffront took the Falcons completely by surprise by stealing home. Streak indeed!

BirdWatcher 05-13-2018 02:45 PM

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August 1965 (con't.):
Perhaps this was a catalyst or just a sign of things to come, but August would prove to be a nice bounce-back month for the Brewers as they went 17-11 in the month. Winning 5 of 6 in the month against the now tumbling Oklahoma City club helped. Unfortunately, as the Diamond Kings tumbled the L.A. Spinners were resurgent. At the end of August, while the Brewers had improved to 70-63, they remained in 3rd place in the MGL, just a half a game behind the Diamond Kings but now 11 games behind the L.A. Spinners who now had 81 wins.

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