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OOTP 19 - Fictional Simulations Discuss fictional simulations and their results in this forum.

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Old 10-13-2018, 01:32 PM   #381
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For only the second time in the month of May, the Brewers put together back-to-back wins. In this case, back-to-back shutouts.
But can they keep the winning ways going as we head towards June?
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Old 10-14-2018, 06:48 AM   #382
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Then, with the team still sputtering, this happened:
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:11 AM   #383
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My first instinct was to ignore it for a bit and hope that the team put together a little winning streak and the long-time captain might calm down. After all, there are no viable candidates to take over the starting catching job in the organization yet. And Rogers is not only the long-time captain of the team but a 3-time All-Star as well.
Still, upon further thought, he is also nearly 29 and there have been concerns about his defensive deficiencies for some time now. And with the emergence of young starting pitcher Abel Pennington as a captain as well, Rogers might be expendable.

So I decided to at least explore the possibility of acceding to his wish. I knew that the only way it could happen was if the deal included someone who could take his spot behind the dish right now. And as it turned out, there were a few potentially acceptable catchers offered by other teams. In spite of the poor season Rogers is having, he is apparently still an attractive bargaining chip.
The best replacement offered was the Los Angeles Spinners Brett Wood, who has generally been Rogers' main competitor for the title of best catcher in the MGL the past three years. Wood, like Rogers, has been unhappy this season and struggling at the plate. While just a few seasons ago Wood put up very fine numbers as a hitter, at this point it looks like pretty much a wash between the two offensively, though Rogers has a decidedly better eye and Wood a bit more gap power. And Wood's contract is not as favorable as Rogers. Rogers, who makes 75K per year is signed through 1969, and with a team option for that season. Wood, on the other hand, is guaranteed 120K per year through 1970.

But two factors led me to go ahead and make this move (not counting the factor that Rogers wanted out.) 1- Wood is nearly three years younger than Rogers. 2- Wood is quite a bit better defensively.

I felt that our starting staff, in particular, could use the boost of a better defender behind the plate. The other players in the deal are mostly inconsequential, but the 23-year old shortstop we got should provide some minor league value and might yet compete for a reserve role in the majors in the next few seasons.

Fortunately, although the fans feedback was not great at the loss of Rogers it was basically counteracted by the fact that Wood has strong national popularity. How things will sort out in the clubhouse is another matter and it will likely soon become clear whether Pennington alone can hold things together.
The thought still is that if things start to go upside down in there, disruptive force Jamel McNeil (who, admittedly, has returned to being his dominant self out of the bullpen the past several weeks) will likely need to be dealt. Possibly for an upgrade at thirdbase if one is available. (A decent veteran, D.J. Bonds, is on the trading block and was offered for Rogers.)
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:19 AM   #384
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It was also decided that the team could no longer afford to carry Tony Silmon as the backup catcher. Silmon was sent down to AAA Chester and Joey Townsend was brought up to caddy for Wood.
Townsend is considered an underachiever with a poor work ethic but he can't really hit any worse than Silmon (and has potential to provide a bit more power and a good eye at the plate) and profiles very similarly defensively.
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:41 AM   #385
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Tanner Yurek is at it again with his walk-off homer ways.
Hopefully this provides a spark to the team and they reel off some wins.
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:38 PM   #386
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Although the team has been playing a bit better the last several games, the absence of Sam Rogers seems to be catching up in the clubhouse as team morale has dipped from Content to Unhappy in the past few days. (Sent young reliever Kelly McTavish back down to AAA so that I could bring back strong leader (though also outspoken, so this could backfire) Ben Malzone up to the bullpen.)

At times like this I find myself wondering what is causing the team to underachieve. Well, to underachieve in my eyes at least.
Setting aside the morale issue due to having the disruptive influence of Jamel McNeil on the team this year, what is keeping this from at least being a team with a winning record? (I'm setting the morale thing aside mostly because the morale reports up until now have been quite good and the team got off to a great start this season with McNeil on the squad. I'm sure this is part of the problem now, and possibly going forward, but I don't think it is all of the answer, by any means.)

One thing I started to think about today is the makeup of the pitching staff in terms of the propensity to induce ground balls, fly balls, etc. And how that lines up with team defense. I'm not sure I've ever really looked closely at this aspect of the pitching staff. What I find in looking at this is that 3 members of our starting rotation (admittedly this includes veteran Jason Lawson, who is now pretty awful and used only sparingly) are extreme ground ball pitchers. Two more at the back end of the rotation- Pennington and Arends, are basic ground ball pitchers. Two of our front-end starters- Ramirez and Alonso are neutral in this regard. But both are also pretty good swing-and-miss guys with good stuff.
As for the bullpen- our two lefties (Brown and Healy) are both extreme ground ball guys. Three others (though this includes recently demoted McTavish) are ground ball pitchers, including the dominant McNeil and the recently returned Ben Malzone. The last two- Miguel Solis and Armando Cruz- are neutral. But they are also both high strikeout guys and Solis is probably our most consistently excellent reliever.

So- decently slanted towards guys who induce groundballs or guys who don't allow as many balls in play.
How does that align with our infield defense?
Going around from first to third:
Bobby Erbakan, who is increasingly becoming the primary firstbaseman has base infield ratings of 9/8/6/7 (range,error,arm,dp) with an experience rating at first of 10 (all of this is on a 1-10 rating scale.)
Backup Erik Shelton has infield ratings of 7/5/7/1 and experience rating of 7.
At second- Tanner Yurek is rated 7/7/4/6 with an experience of 7.
Primary backup, Arturo Baca, is 9/10/5/6 with a secondbase experience rating of 9 (he's a 10 at 1B and an 8 at shortstop.)
Shortstop Chad Brown is defensively tremendous. He is rated 10/6/7/10 and has an experience rating of 9. And obviously on the rare occasions when he needs to sit (he is durable) Baca is a solid option.
Thirdbase features two very weak hitters who are pretty fine with the glove. Hector Uribe has 8/6/8/3 ratings and Willie Chavez is 6/6/10/5. Both have experience ratings at third of 7.

So- in terms of range the team is solid to great up the middle, very good at firstbase, and solid at third. There are some error problems on the team, especially up the middle. And the secondbasemen could be better turning the double-play. But ultimately, this is a very good defensive infield.

So what about balls put in play to the outfield?
Well, here's how that stacks up:
Leftfield- Antonio Puente's base ratings are 8/5/7 (Range/Error/Arm) with an experience rating of 9. He also has an experience rating in RF of 8 and in CF, 5.
Centerfield- Ryan Rodgers base ratings are 9/10/8. Gold glover. And he has experience ratings at all 3 OF positions of 8.
Pat Rondeau's ratings are 8/9/8. His best experience rating is in LF, where he is a 10, but although his CF experience rating is 7, thus far he has looked very good out there. He also is an 8 in RF.
Rightfield- Ruben Souffront is the weak link. Relatively. He is rated 6/5/7. But thus far he has looked very solid and his advanced defensive metrics have been quite competitive. He does have his share of clankers off his glove on what should be easy outs. But he also throws quite a few guys out on the basepaths and makes some really fine plays with the glove.
No real problems here either.

As mentioned in an earlier post, with the recent trade which brought Brett Wood to the team as the primary catcher, this should be an area that is improved. Perhaps it will pay off in terms of making the pitching staff more effective.
Though, in fact, the pitching staff has mostly been pretty solid in the history of this team. We are not built for the post-season, with no dominant ace starters, but the staff is deep and usually performs pretty well.

What about running the bases/team speed?
Well, here are some of the ratings in that regard (Speed/SB/Baserunning)
Ruben Souffront- 10/10/10
Pat Rondeau- 10/10/10
Chad Brown- 9/9/10
Willie Chavez- 9/9/7
Arturo Baca- 8/10/10
Tanner Yurek- 7/9/10
Bobby Erbakan- 7/8/7
Antonio Puente- 7/8/6
Erik Shelton- 9/6/6
And our new catcher- Wood- 7/10/9. Yes, that's right, our starting catcher can fly.
Ryan Rodgers is a bit of an oddity in that he is rated a 10 in terms of speed, but is a horrible base-stealer (2) and a poor baserunner (3).
And that leaves our new back-up catcher Joey Townsend, who is 3/2/1, and our other thirdbaseman, Hector Uribe, who is a total base-clogger at 1/1/1. But hey, Uribe rarely gets on base anyway for this to be a problem.

So- speed's good.

And we have some very fine hitters, including reigning SJL MVP Rodgers, who currently leads the MGL in batting average, Ruben Souffront who continues to hit well, Chad Brown who makes good contact and collects a lot of doubles and a fair share of triples, Pat Rondeau who continues to impress with his gap hitting abilities and speed-aided singles, etc, etc.

Yeah, yeah, okay, we don't hit enough homeruns. And our primary power source, Antonio Puente, is having a poor season at the plate and just picked up his 4th HR of the season- and we are in June now- with an inside-the-parker a couple of days ago. Our other usual power source, Tanner Yurek, is also struggling at the plate.

And we have quite a few guys who strike out too much. But also several who are very good at drawing walks (often these are the same guys- Puente and Yurek two prime examples.)

Still, we have to be a bit better than our record has shown, right? (He tries to assure himself.)
Maybe Puente and Yurek start to right themselves at the plate and get on hot streaks, Rodgers, Souffront, and Rondeau just keep doing what they're doing, Erbakan keeps developing and the flashes of great talent he shows become more common, the staff gets more consistent with Wood behind the plate, etc. etc, and we start to put together some winning streaks. Then again, maybe we get some tough breaks, team morale continues to plunge and the losses mount until we reach a breaking point.
Hard to say right now.
I just can't shake this feeling that if I stay the course a bit this team has the talent to eventually (the next season or two or three) compete.

Any ideas/suggestions/words of wisdom/encouragement?

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Old 10-16-2018, 07:35 PM   #387
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So when the present is disappointing and a bit murky, it's kind of nice to have the distraction of a first-year player draft so that you can dream a bit about the possibilities of the future.
With the first-round of the draft completed the Brewers are satisfied that they were able to pick one of the guys nearer the top of their wish list with the ninth overall pick of the draft.
That guy is starting pitcher Steve Green. While it's not expected that Green will become a superstar, he is considered a solid prospect with four above average to very good pitches, decent velocity in spite of his rather small stature, a proclivity to get batters to hit the ball on the ground, already well-developed control, and good stamina.
And for a franchise that is currently dealing with a bit of a character crisis, Green has the reputation of being a real team-first kind of player.
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Old 10-16-2018, 07:54 PM   #388
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With their second pick, in the supplemental 1st Round, with the 28th overall choice, the Brewers selected righthanded relief pitcher Ali Pressley.
To a certain extent this was a gamble on the part of the decision-makers, a gamble that in spite of his current stamina not indicating a future as a starting pitcher, with two pitches already basically at major league quality, and a third expected to develop to that level, and given his high intelligence and perceived durability, he might be able to develop into a starter in the WPK. Then again, it isn't necessarily a big gamble as if he doesn't, the chances are very good that he can be a premium late-inning reliever.
The scouting staff is very high on Pressley and it is felt he will have an important role in the Brewers pitching staff, one way or another, likely by about 1971.
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Old Today, 01:21 PM   #389
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With the free agency signings of Ryan Rodgers and Jamel McNeil in the off-season the Brewers did not have picks in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft.
It's unlikely that any of the subsequent picks will have much impact in the WPK, though one or two might eventually earn back-up roles in the major leagues. Away from the game right now so can't feature any of these players at this moment, but at least one young CF'er with good basic raw skills and strong work ethic was chosen and one young relief pitcher who should develop good stuff with two quality pitches but whose poor movement and inconsistent control might keep him from being a quality major league reliever. The team also took a flyer on a few 18-year-olds with some raw skills and good character traits just in case they develop into more than is currently predicted for them.

But the Brewers management feels pretty confident that at least Green and Pressley, who are considered to be pretty well developed as pitchers coming out of college, will likely be able to hold important roles, even if not at star levels, on the team within 3 years or so.

But back to the present.
Rumors are that the team is considering trading firstbaseman/outfielder Erik Shelton and officially naming Bobby Erbakan as the full-time starter at first. Shelton is considered an unmotivated player and while he has some skills there are no indications that he will ever be much more than he is right now. Erbakan, on the other hand, is considered a front-line prospect. Even though he is far from fully developed at this point, history has shown that he always plays better when given promotion and more opportunity to play. And he is currently unhappy, not only due to the team's losing record, but also because of his role on the team. It is clear he thinks he should be an everyday starter. And, honestly, I can't see where it will hurt the team if he is. He's performed pretty well and the very least he should provide at least as much production as Shelton would have in the games he played. And with Arturo Baca a very fine firstbaseman, there is no problem backing up Erbakan when he needs a breather. (Or if he struggles.)

The bigger question, about which there have only been the faintest whiff of whispers, revolves around veteran starting pitcher Jason Lawson. Although he recently had his best outing of the season (a very small sample, admittedly) all indications are that his skills have eroded well below replacement level. He is a free agent at the end of the season and certainly will not be in a Brewers uniform in 1969. But the real question now is whether the team will just unceremoniously release him and eat his 1968 contract so that they can bring up one of the several quality bullpen arms currently at AAA. (Likely it would be Josh McEwen, who has shown the ability to be a decent swing-man and has high leadership qualities.) Lawson, like Shelton, is considered an unmotivated player. With the current challenges with clubhouse chemistry, it might not be a bad idea to be rid of these two.

And unless the Shelton trade brings a player who provides quality at the major league level at this time, which is unlikely, the question becomes who will be brought up to take his slot on the roster.
A strong candidate is outfielder Andrew Kennedy. Kennedy is another high leadership guy who is considered a very good clubhouse influence and he has advanced contact and gap power skills. Recent indications from the scouting team is that he continues to rise in their estimation as a prospect. While there really is no starting role for him in the future with the Brewers- what with the quartet of Puente, Rodgers, Souffront, and Rondeau- Kennedy could provide a valuable bat off the bench now. And giving him an extended audition at the major league level this season might also increase his trade value for the off-season or beyond.

Stay tuned for reports of the shifting tides.
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