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-   -   Harry Lyerly and the Denver Brewers of the WPK (https://forums.ootpdevelopments.com//showthread.php?t=300500)

BirdWatcher 03-22-2019 04:28 PM

Harry Lyerly and the Denver Brewers of the WPK
This is a continuation of the following thread from the OOTP19 Fictional Simulations subfolder: http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar....php?t=289570\

Just wanted to get this set up here but will actually start posting on this later tonight and this weekend.

You will notice that the focus has shifted from Ruben Souffront to Harry Lyerly. There will be more explanation later but suffice it to say that it appears Souffront's career with the Brewers has come to an end (though certainly not his WPK career). With the emergence the past few seasons of young fireballer Harry Lyerly as a fascinating character I decided that he would be the appropriate focus at this time.
Let's hope I haven't just jinxed him the way I did Souffront. ;)

BirdWatcher 03-22-2019 11:42 PM

The Denver Brewers of the W.P. Kinsella League
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So, who are these Denver Brewers and what is this W.P. Kinsella League?

Let's start with the league and work our way down from there. The W.P. Kinsella league is a professional baseball league of the highest order (think, MLB level) based in the continental U.S. (There are hopes, nay, aspirations, of the league eventually spreading outside the confines of the U.S., but for now that is where we play.)

The league was founded in 1965 with 20 teams, 10 each in two sub-leagues. These leagues are the Shoeless Joe League and the Moonlight Graham League.
(Okay, I just remembered that I intended to refer to the WPK from now on as the W.P. Kinsella Association so that I didn't get myself caught up in this leagues within a league linguistic conundrum. Well, I'll work on that.)

The Denver Brewers are one of the 10 franchises in the Moonlight Graham League (hereafter generally referred to as the MGL, while the Shoeless Joe League will usually be referred to as the SJL.) The Brewers are owned, as they have been since their inception, by Steve Lester. Lester has a reputation of not liking to open his pocket book too wide and of meddling in the affairs (thus far particularly when it comes to the spending of the budget) of the team in ways that aren't always comfortable for the G.M. He is also, paradoxically, someone who puts winning first. On the other hand, he is at least known to be a fairly patient man so that tempers some of his other personality traits a bit.

The Brewers play in a market that is considered above average by WPK standards and with a fan base that has shown good loyalty. Though the Brewers got off to a decent start as a team, finishing in 2nd place in the MGL in the league's inaugural season (albeit with a modest 87-75 record), the club, which jettisoned some of its veteran players and was starting several players at a very young age, fell to 8th place in 1966 and lost 90 games. They then began a gradual ascent upwards, finishing in 7th in 1967 with 80 wins, were back up to 2nd in 1968 with 90 wins, and finally won the MGL in 1969 with a 98 win season, only to be swept by the Columbus Whalers of the SJL in the WPK World Series.
The Brewers would again win 98 games in 1970 and this time they carried their success into the post-season, winning the team's first WPK championship by defeating the Jacksonville Wolf Pack of the SJL in 5 games.
In 1971 the team took an even bigger step forward in the regular season, as they set a new WPK record for team win total for a season with 108 (previous best was 104, achieved twice.) Unfortunately, the teams offense went on a bit of hiatus the last few weeks of the season and that carried into the WPK World Series and proved to be the Brewers undoing as they failed to win back-to-back crowns. They were, in fact, swept in the series by the 93 win Washington Night Train.

Which pretty much brings us up to the present. The off-season is in full swing, awards for the 1971 season have been handed out (more about this soon), and arbitration hearing and free agency filing dates approach.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 12:33 AM

And who is Harry Lyerly?
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Some of you might be familiar with Harry Lyerly, even if you weren't following along in the previous thread about the Brewers.
Lyerly was the source of some controversy (here: http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar...d.php?t=295788)
as a young pitcher with very poor movement who nevertheless had rocketed up to being the 3rd best prospect in the WPK, based largely, it seemed, upon his terrific, bat-missing, stuff and potential for good control.

Lyerly, who was originally selected by the Brewers in the 4th round of the 1966 amateur player draft, out of Jackson State in Jackson, Mississippi, was not expected to be more than a marginal big league pitcher at best. The thought when he was drafted was that with his great stuff and very good fastball, combined with a decent sinker, he might someday work his way into a big league bullpen as an injury replacement for a short period of time. His early work in the minors was spotty, but he did show continuous improvement in his velocity. Then something odd happened (well, random talent change, really) and Lyerly developed a fourth pitch to go along with his great fastball, solid sinker, and poor changeup: a knuckle curve with very good potential. At the same time his velocity moved up into the upper echelon (99-101 mph), and the scouting staff reported that it appeared his control had better potential then even earlier thought.

And, all of sudden, as mentioned above, he was one of the top prospects in the WPK. But that propensity to give up the longball, that poor movement. Could be possibly overcome that to have success at the big league level?The first test of that came in the 1969 season, when due to injuries on the starting staff, Lyerly got the call to come up to the big league club. When he was brought up in mid-June it was felt that it would just be a brief stint to get us through until others returned from injury and to see what he might be able to do. Well, it turned out that what he could do was impress the heck out of everyone and earn a permanent spot in the rotation. In his 18 games started from that point until the end of the season he finished with an 8-3 record and a 2.99 ERA but even more than that he struck out 9.7 batters per 9 innings pitched and put up 3.4 WAR. This included several games where he reached double digit strikeout totals, eventually setting a new team record with 14 K's in a game.
He had earned a spot in the 1970 rotation though the general feeling was that a full season in the bigs might start to reveal his weaknesses more and that he was due for a bit of let-down. Boy, was that wrong. Lyerly finished the 1970 season with an 18-9 record, a 2.44 ERA, a league-leading 239 strikeouts (including 4 more 14-K games), a 1.02 WHIP, 6.6 WAR. For his fine season he was awarded the MGL Pitcher of the Year award and his first All-Star game appearance. All at the tender age of 22. He did see some statistical decline in 1971, partly due to an elbow issue (bone spurs) mid-season which sidelined him for over a month, but when it was all said and done he finished with the exact same fine ERA at the prior year (2.44), a 14-6 record, led the league in strikeouts (in spite of pitching far fewer innings than his nearest competitors) with 183, and K/9 at 8.8 and finished 6th in the Pitcher of the Year voting.

He will be 24 entering the 1972 season and already has a WPK career record of 40-18 with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. Can he continue his brilliance going forward or will his propensity to give up homeruns catch up with him? (There are some indications that moving from OOTP19 to OOTP20 has led to some lowering of expectations for him with our scouting staff.) Only time will tell.
Stay tuned.

stevem810 03-23-2019 09:54 AM


Originally Posted by BirdWatcher (Post 4457873)
This is a continuation of the following thread from the OOTP19 Fictional Simulations subfolder: http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/boar....php?t=289570\

You will notice that the focus has shifted from Ruben Souffront to Harry Lyerly. There will be more explanation later but suffice it to say that it appears Souffront's career with the Brewers has come to an end (though certainly not his WPK career). With the emergence the past few seasons of young fireballer Harry Lyerly as a fascinating character I decided that he would be the appropriate focus at this time.
Let's hope I haven't just jinxed him the way I did Souffront. ;)

Can you post (or link) the Streak's career stats?

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 11:30 AM

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Originally Posted by stevem810 (Post 4458572)
Can you post (or link) the Streak's career stats?

Yes, absolutely.
Below you will find screenshots.

Having not quite reached his 27th birthday, Ruben could still be a productive WPK player in the right situation. The reality is that the Brewers have superstar Ryan Rodgers in leftfield, young top prospect Joe McPhillips competing now for the centerfield job this coming season, and the power/speed/defense combination of Antonio Puente in rightfield. Adding in one of best pure hitters in Andrew Kennedy, who primarily plays leftfield and gives Bobby Erbakan days off at firstbase, this leaves at most one spot in the outfield mix for the 1972 season.
And two players competing for that spot: Souffront and Pat Rondeau. While Souffront is a bit younger, hits for more power, and likely has a bit more upside than Rondeau, Rondeau is the more versatile player and the better fielder (a very gifted defensive outfielder!), has nearly the same impact on the base paths (though his raw speed has diminished a bit of late), and is considered the better contact hitter, rarely striking out.
Souffront has shown poor plate discipline in his career and hits into more double plays than one would expect of a player with his incredible speed. And while he is not a bad fielder overall (and has a very strong arm), he is prone to gaffes in the field that often cost his team.
Perhaps most importantly, Rondeau is the better bargain of the two. Rondeau is arbitration eligible this off-season, as is Souffront, but it should take much less to sign Rondeau, who has one more year of arbitration eligibility after this, while Souffront is potentially a free agent at the end of the 1971 season.

The Brewers have explored trading Souffront already this off-season (you will notice that he is currently angry) but couldn't find a deal that really made sense for the team. So at this point it appears that they may simply non-tender him and let him test free agency a year early.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 11:41 AM

1971 Gold Glove Awards
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As was the case at the end of the 1970 season, the Brewers have two players who are honored with Gold Glove awards for their defensive prowess during the 1971 season. And it is the same two players.

Firstbaseman Bobby Erbakan earns his third straight Gold Glove award.

And catcher Kevin Curtis has now received the MGL Gold Glove for his position in both of his full seasons with the team. The feeling is that Curtis is a big part of why the Brewers have easily had the best pitching in all of the WPK the past two years.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 01:32 PM

1971 Reliever of the Year Award
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The 1971 MGL Reliever of the Year award went to Phoenix's dominant veteran closer, Pat Brooks. This is the second time Brooks has won this award (also won in 1968.)

But Brewers reliever Eric Singer did come in second in the voting.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 01:36 PM

1971 Silver Slugger Awards
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Two Brewers players were awarded Silver Slugger awards for the 1971 season.

Thirdbaseman Jamison Bash, in his first season as a Brewer, won his 4th Silver Slugger award with a great season at the plate.

Shortstop Chad Brown received his first such honor as he had a terrific season with the bat and finished 3rd in batting average in the MGL.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 01:49 PM

1971 Rookie of the Year award
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Randy Keisel of the Baltimore Lords was awarded this year's MGL Rookie of the Year award. Keisel is a strong defender at second and also led the league in doubles with 37 while putting up a very respectable slash line of .297/.345/.435 and finished the season with a 5.7 WAR.

Brewers starting pitcher Steve Green finished 3rd in the voting and might have finished higher if he hadn't missed the last month+ of the season with triceps tendinitis.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 01:59 PM

1971 Pitcher of the Year
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Brewers ace Cheol-han Lee received his 3rd career Pitcher of the Year award, his 1st in a Brewers uniform.

Lee received 19 1st place votes, with only teammate Daniel Torres, who for the second year in a row led the MGL in ERA, stealing the final 1st place vote from him. Torres finished 4th in the voting.

As a testament to how strong Brewers pitching was, 4 of the 9 pitchers listed on ballots were Brewers, with Harry Lyerly finishing in 6th and reliever Eric Singer finishing tied for 9th.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 02:08 PM

1971 mgl mvp
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Jamison Bash was named the 1971 MGL MVP, and garnered all but 2 of the available 1st place votes. It was a resurgent year at the plate for the veteran thirdbaseman in his first season in Brewers purple.

The only other player to receive any 1st place votes was the Brooklyn Ace's dynamic centerfielder, Felix Lopez, who led all of the WPK in batting average at .366, hits with 234, and tied for best in stolen bases with 43.

Brewers Ryan Rodgers and Chad Brown also received points in the voting.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 07:17 PM

Souffront, Smart, Brown all now free agents
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Three members of the 1971 Brewers team have filed for free agency: Ruben Souffront, whom the Brewers non-tendered prior to the arbitration hearing deadline, swingman Will Smart, and reliever David Brown.

Souffront we have already talked about here. He was long a management favorite and the team hopes only the best for him in the future. Smart, who was signed as a free agent by the team back in the winter of 1968, pitched very well as an occasional starter for the past few years. But in a crowded staff there just was not room left for him and it was decided to let him see if he couldn't find a better fit elsewhere. Veteran lefthanded reliever David Brown showed little sign of decline at the age of 36 and was a valued member of the Brewers 'pen since 1967. It was a difficult decision to let him walk, but with a number of younger arms having earned a chance at least for role on the big league club, management reluctantly decided to say goodbye to Brown.

A few other long-time Brewers farm-hands, Bobby Arends, who had pitched parts of 3 seasons in a Brewers uniform from 1967 through 1969, and Tony Maldonado, are now on the open market. Arends had 15 starts as a Brewer during the 1968 season and actually fared quite well (9-5, 2.55) but has never been considered talented enough to crack the rotation in any permanent way. He's a high-quality individual, very well liked, and the team hopes the best for him in his future.
Maldonado was part of the WPK's inaugural draft and has spent his entire professional career in the Brewers minor league system. While he has never earned a spot on the Brewers active roster, the thought is that he has enough talent that with the right organization he could provide some value on a big league roster.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 07:37 PM

Former Brewers prospects shine in SJL in 1971
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Two former Brewers prospects, Jordan Gallardo and Chris Martin, had wonderful seasons in the Shoeless Joe League this past season.

Gallardo, who was signed by the Brewers out of the Dominican Republic way back in 1965, was a consistent star with the bat during his 5 seasons working his way up the Brewers farm system. The hard working and intelligent outfielder was a favorite of Brewers management but with the crowded and talented outfield crop of the Brewers he was pretty much blocked from promotion above AAA Chester. Therefore he was traded to the Pittsburgh Roadrunners (appropriate for a player with his great speed) in a deal that brought the Brewers thirdbase prospect Mike Foster, last winter. Gallardo was given plenty of starts between centerfield and rightfield for the Roadrunners this past season, providing excellent defense and solid enough hitting, and came in 2nd in the Rookie of the Year voting for the SJL. The Brewers are happy to see Gallardo thriving but also happy to see him doing it in the other league.

Chris Martin was chosen by the Brewers as a youngster in the inaugural draft in 1965 and though he was far from being big league ready at that time it was felt that he had great potential. Unfortunately, he struggled a good deal in his few years as a Brewer prospect and was traded away back in the summer of 1966 (a trade that brought the Brewers Josh McEwen, who had a key role in the bullpen for a few years, and then highly rated prospect Rob Ibarra, who has made the big leagues but has experienced serious injury issues which have dulled his talents). It took quite a few years, but Martin has certainly come into his own the past few years and put together a great season for the Milwaukee Cadets in 1971 at the age of 24, finishing 3rd in the SJL Pitcher of the Year voting. The Brewers have to consider him one who got away.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 07:49 PM

Brewers extend Hua, Rondeau, avoid hearings
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The Brewers made it a priority to sign both Liann-wei Hua and Pat Rondeau prior to the arbitration hearing deadline to avoid the uncomfortable and adversarial process.

Hua, one of the rising stars of the Denver bullpen and its most prominent lefthander with the departure of David Brown, is a bit of a steal at 37K a year. With the recent changes in the WPK labor rules (which increased the minimum service time a player must play before being free agency eligible to 7 years and added an extra year to arbitration eligibility) Hua has 3 more years of arbitration eligibility remaining.

Rondeau has just 1 year of arbitration eligibility after the 1972 season and his role with the team beyond 1972 is in doubt but he remains an important member of the outfield for now as youngster Joe McPhillips enters what is expected to be his first full season in a Brewers uniform.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 08:24 PM

Poblano named Seattle pitching coach
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Former Brewer Ron Poblano, one of the team's early leaders who finished 2nd in the MGL Reliever of the Year award voting for 1965, has been named the new pitching coach for the SJL's Seattle Alligators.

Sharkn20 03-23-2019 08:27 PM

Off we go!

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 08:47 PM


Originally Posted by Sharkn20 (Post 4459194)
Off we go!

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk

The tough part now is that I am in the off-season and I try not to hurry too much through the off-season. I want to pay attention to free agent signings and trades made by other teams and take some time thinking through my plan of action for the upcoming season.
But of course, I really want to be playing actual games with OOTP20. So I'm eager to get to the 1972 season.
Fortunately, it is a 3-day weekend for me, so I'll have plenty of time to spend in front of the game.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 09:02 PM

Wilson signs with Philadelphia!
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Andy Wilson, one of the biggest superstars of the WPK since the league's inception, has signed a 2-year contract to play with the Philadelphia Mud Hens of the SJL.
Until now, Wilson has only ever played for one team, the Portland Wild Things. But after a 100 loss season the Wild Things are in rebuilding mode and the aging star with durability issues was considered expendable.

Wilson is a 2-time MGL MVP, 7-time All-Star, 7-time Silver Slugger award winner, and 2-time Gold Glove at shortstop, which he played earlier in his career. Wilson has primarily been playing second base the past few years but the rumors indicate that he will be moving to third for the Mud Hens. Wilson will be 37 this coming season and is starting to show some signs of aging (his respectable 4.9 WAR in 1971 was by far the lowest of his career), but he remains a force in the game and a dangerous hitter.
Brewers pitchers will be glad to know that they will not have to face him in the regular season this coming season.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 09:09 PM

Hernandez signs with Keys!
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Reigning SJL Pitcher of the Year Chris Hernandez, one of the most celebrated and beloved players in the WPK, was signed to a one-year deal as a free agent by the San Antonio Keys.

Brewers hitters are happy to see Hernandez remain in the SJL, where he has been one of the most dominant pitchers not named Jake Harris for the past 7 seasons.

BirdWatcher 03-23-2019 09:25 PM

Spinners sign veteran starting pitcher Santos!
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The Los Angeles Spinners made a late season push for contention in 1971 and finished with a surprising 100 wins, even though that was only good enough for 3rd place in the MGL, behind Denver and Phoenix.

But with today's signing of veteran starting pitcher Jose Santos the Spinners have put the rest of the MGL on notice that they intend to be a team to be reckoned with in 1972.
Santos provides the Spinners not only a talented former MGL Pitcher of the Year and 4-time All-Star but one of the finest leaders in the game.

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