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Old 08-21-2019, 01:12 PM   #1
Paulie123
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Better Call Billy

October 2054

The call

Billy DePodesta was dozing in a deckchair by the side of his pool when the call came through. At first he wasn’t going to answer it. The press had been pestering him all day, seeking his reaction to the Des Moines Magpies reaching a franchise record 109 wins this regular season, their first campaign since his departure as general manager in which they chased a third consecutive State Capitals League title. All year long he had steadfastly refused to comment on the fortunes of his team, sorry, his former team, and he wasn’t going to start now. He had largely ignored the incessant ringing of his cellphone this afternoon, but this time he noticed the Richmond, Virginia area code on the incoming call and wondered who it might be. It was to prove a fateful call.

“Billy. It’s Bryan. Do you have a moment?”

Bryan? Bryan who? “I’m sorry, who is this?”

“Billy! You haven’t been out of the game that long, you know, buddy! Bryan Huang here.”

The penny dropped. Bryan Huang was the owner and chief executive of the Richmond Eagles. The 73-89 Richmond Eagles who had just missed out on the SCL playoffs for the sixth straight year. The 73-89 Richmond Eagles who had just yet again finished bottom of the Eastern League’s Central Division. The 73-89 Richmond Eagles who had effectively turbo-charged the Magpies’ current period of dominance by inexplicably, in hindsight, letting Billy acquire their all-star outfielder Earl Becker less than three years ago.

Billy knew what was coming. “Bryan! Great to hear from you. Hope Jessica and the girls are doing well. Listen, I really don’t mean to sound presumptuous, but I’m enjoying my retirement immensely and I have no interest in returning to the professional game.”

“I totally hear what you’re saying, Billy, really I do. But please, hear me out. I have a proposition for you. One which I hope you’ll find interesting.”

“I’m really sorry, Bryan. My year off has recharged my batteries, but I’m happy doing my bit of broadcast work for BNN every now and again. Returning to full-time work is definitely off the agenda.”

“Tell you what. I’ll outline the offer. If you’re not interested, you’re not interested; I’ll not badger you again. But I have a sneaking suspicion you might be.”

Over the next five minutes, Huang summarised the offer: general manager of the Eagles. But not just any GM role. Full and complete control over all the club’s baseball matters. A 20% ownership stake. And the chance to buy out Huang’s remaining 80% stake at a huge discount in the offseason after he first won an SCL Cup Final Series for the club.

Huang was absolutely right. Billy did find it interesting.
__________________
My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:14 PM   #2
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October 2054

Where Eagles dare
There was a certain inevitability about the Des Moines Magpies triumphing over the Albany Firefoxes in the game seven decider in the Cup Final Series. The team that Billy built, doing what Billy built them to do: win it all. For the third consecutive year.

The team that Billy built was the SCL’s best, for sure. But now Bryan Huang wanted him to build an even better one. That would be quite a challenge. Billy liked challenges.

The Richmond Eagles had had a varied history up to this point. They had won the SCL championship just once, in 2033, and had lost the fall showcase on two further occasions, in 2031 and 2039. It was an underachievement for a team with such enthusiastic and committed fans. And the last half dozen seasons had been a particularly barren spell for the club, as they repeatedly failed to quality for the postseason.

Billy had formally mulled over Huang’s offer for several weeks, but deep down he realised he had actually made his decision pretty swiftly. He had enjoyed his year out of the game, but the more he thought about it, the more he realised he wanted back in. Huang’s offer of complete control over all baseball operations was probably the part that clinched it for him. The Eagles team needed some serious rebuilding, and Billy could do it entirely his way.

The morning after the Magpies completed their three-peat, he called up the Eagles front office and asked to speak to Huang. “Hello there, Mr DePodesta”, said Huang’s secretary. “I’m putting you through to Mr Huang now. I know he’s been very much hoping to get a call from you.”

The line went quiet momentarily as the call was transferred, and then Huang came on the line. “Billy! Did you see the game last night? That’s some team the Magpies have. They are gonna take some beating. I’m just glad they’re over in the Western League. So - are you ready to try knocking them off that perch you put them on?”

“I’m in.”

Billy got on a flight to Virginia the very next day. What was the point in hanging around? There was work to be done.

Huang personally came to pick him up from the tarmac like he was some visiting dignitary. “Welcome, welcome , welcome”, he said excitedly, shaking hands and giving Billy a huge bear hug. For an executive, his size and strength were impressive. But what else would be expected from a former outside linebacker? “How about we go straight to the front office complex so you can meet the team.”

The front office was a newly refurbished suite of offices underneath the main stand at Richmond’s iconic ballpark, the Eagles’ Nest. Billy made a point of shaking the hand of every single person he met in every department. He wanted everyone to know that, no matter what their role, they had an equally vital part to play in bringing success back to the franchise. It would take him a little while to learn and remember all their names, but learn and remember them he would.

Introductions done, Huang took Billy to the general manager’s office. Billy sat behind his desk. “You look like a natural fit there, Billy”, said Huang, grinning broadly. “I’m so delighted you decided to come here. I know I speak for our entire fan base when I wish you all the luck in the world.”

“Thanks Bryan, I’m glad to be here”, Billy replied. The two men shook hands, and Huang left.

Huang had arranged for a pile of briefing papers to be placed on Billy’s desk. Huang knew Billy would want to review them all. They presented a wide range of information about the club, the players, the staff, commercial activity, sponsorship and a plethora of financial details. Billy knew what he wanted to look at first of all - player contracts and payroll budgets. Arbitration hearings were fast approaching and some players would be becoming free agents shortly after. He had some important and rapid decisions to make for building the Eagles’ roster for next year. He had work to do.
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies
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Old 08-21-2019, 01:14 PM   #3
Paulie123
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This is a sequel to my previous State Capitals League dynasty report, “The Magpies”. The SCL is a fictional league in MLB Manager 2017. I created the league and simmed nearly 30 years to build some history. I then took over the reins at Des Moines, and my time there formed the basis of the previous report. “The Magpies” also documents the origins and early years of the SCL.

“The Magpies” ended in late 2053 with Billy DePodesta’s sudden resignation after winning back-to-back SCL titles. After a further year of simming to fast forward the 2054 season, I have now engaged the ‘Manage Different Team’ option and have taken over as GM of the Richmond Eagles, which will be the subject of this dynasty report. Well, I hope I becomes a dynasty, anyway. Like last time I’ll be playing the game on mostly the default MLBM 2017 settings, although I’ve set both leagues to use the DH. Player ratings are on the 1-10 scale option, with overall/potential rating as stars. The AI’s trading preference is neutral.

I play the game as a sort of “hands-on GM”. I control roster moves, lineups and team strategy, including setting the lineup to start each game. But then I sim my team’s games inning by inning, letting the AI make the in-game decisions about pitching changes and so on. Occasionally I’ll intervene to shuffle the fielding alignment if the AI makes what I consider to be a daft decision following a substitution.

I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different dynasty report styles in the past, and will be trying something new for me here. I won’t be doing game by game or week by week posts; instead I’ll report back on our performances for each calendar month. Previous readers may recall that I play the game mainly on my train commute to work. This means that I don’t play it everyday necessarily, and as such there could sometimes be fairly lengthy gaps between monthly report posts appearing depending on my progress and my work commitments - for that I apologise in advance. When they arrive they’ll usually be fairly lengthy.

I hope some of you read this and enjoy it. Please do feel free to comment as we go along!
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:09 PM   #4
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October 2054

Money, money, money
The club’s financial position is fairly healthy; Huang set a payroll budget of $200m for the current season, which puts the Eagles slightly below the SCL average. But there is a worrying pressure on that budget considering the team finished 73-89. Payroll spend this season has been $178m. With arbitration rises due for next year, Huang is unwilling to commit any money for free agents at present. There are 12 players due to leave to free agency next month which will open up $30m of payroll - although that will also open up a number of roster holes which will need to be filled.

My assessment is that the roster is in poor shape and I can see why the team finished where it did. There are some very good players on the roster but on hefty contracts eating up too much payroll. Defensively the lineup is weak. The active roster has three first basemen despite us having an exciting and majors-ready prospect in the same position. The 25-man has no left-handed pitchers. So there is a lot of work to do to create a team that will contend, but there is a silver lining: we have a number of good prospects in the farm system and in June will add at least one more thanks to our high draft first round pick
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My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:15 PM   #5
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October 2054

Roster assessment - starting pitching
SP Ryan Hurley (age 37, RHP, 1.5*): 8-6, 2.84 in 2054
SP Scott Hale (age 32, RHP, 3.5*): 1-6, 4.82
SP Butch Davis (age 25, RHP, 4.5*): 17-9, 4.49
SP Manny Clemons (age 22, RHP, 2.5*): 6-16, 4.63
SP Fred Bowling (age 30, RHP, 1.5*): 10-10, 4.75

Three-time all-star Hurley and fellow veteran Hale lead the rotation, but are on eye-watering contracts. Hurley will earn $23m next year, while Hale is owed a whopping $65m over the next four years. Davis and Clemons are two good young right-handers who struggled at times, but are both still a year away from arbitration eligibility and I think will play an important role for us over the coming years. Bowling is departing as a free agent; I will be seeking a lefty to fill his spot.

Shunnar Jabbar (age 20, SCL #16 prospect) and António Ramos (age 23, SCL #71 prospect) have promise but both are likely to remain in the minors for at least another year. Jabbar flopped in 7 relief appearances as a September call-up, but I feel was brought up prematurely and has the talent to become a good second or third starter if nurtured carefully.

Roster assessment - bullpen
CL Doug Bradley (age 37, RHP, 2*): 3-14, 6.16, 39 SV
MR Chet Andrews (age 33, RHP, 0.5*): 0-2, 2.27
MR Paolo Barreirinhas (age 31, RHP, 1.5*): 7-9, 4.41
MR Jerry Hayes (age 36, RHP, 4*): 4-0, 5.29
MR Pancho Jaimes (age 35, RHP, 1*): 2-6, 3.01
MR Miguel Roa (age 29, RHP, 1.5*): 2-1, 3.77
MR Alejandro Suárez (age 35, RHP, 1*): 10-5, 3.44

Bradley, five times an all-star, has been one of the league’s best relievers since making his debut in 2039 and has exactly 400 career saves. But his advancing years seem to have finally caught up with him and his performances fell off a cliff this season. His 2054 numbers demonstrate the meaningless of the saves statistic. He is one of five of this group, along with Andrews, Barreirinhas, Hayes and Roa, whose contracts are up next month and who will be departing the organisation.

The only hold-overs into next season will be the veterans Jaimes and Suárez, with the latter taking the role of long-man and emergency sixth starter. Two of those spots will probably be filled from within the organisation: LOOGY Mark Forrest (age 29, LHP, 0.5*: 1-1, 2.73) and rookie Wes Adams (age 21, RHP, 3*: no major league appearances). The other three places, which will need to include a closer and a lefty setup reliever, must be filled from free agency, as Jabbar and Ramos are the full extent of our pitching depth right now and they aren’t ready. I hope to restock the bullpen over the winter and from the draft over the next few seasons, but in the meantime this could be a real weakness in this team.
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__________________
My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:07 AM   #6
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October 2054

Roster assessment - catcher
C Pedro Rivas (age 30, RHB, 1.5*): .273/.322./.405, 12 HR in 2054
C Mike Williams (age 36, RHB, 1*): .159/.215/..269, 3 HR

Rivas is solid with a bat in his hand but below par behind the plate. His is not a skill set that justifies the $14.7m we are for some reason set to pay him next season, but he will get a chance to prove to me his worth. Williams is also under contract next year, but has told me that he plans to retire and won’t play again next season; I won’t be trying to persuade him otherwise. I aim to find a cheap free agent to compete with Manolo Huerta (age 27, RHB, 1.5*), who’s currently on the minor league roster, to be Rivas’s backup.

Roster assessment - first base
1B Robert Numbers (age 22, LHB, 3.5*): .220/.311/.403, 7 HR
1B Robbie Smith (age 28, RHB, 3.5*): .258/.317/.489, 29 HR
1B Pok-too Xiao (age 26, RHB, 2.5*): .265/.326/.394, 4 HR

I’m loathed to criticise my predecessor, but I cannot understand why we have three out-and-out first basemen on the roster when our best prospect Ben Phipps (age 22, LHB, 2.5*) is another. Smith is a two-time all-star, although his contract (he’s due $68m over the next four years) looks rather excessive. Rookie slugger Numbers broke into the majors in August and will certainly get game time. Xiao is a good player who’ll hopefully have enough trade value to bring in a decent prospect or two.

Roster assessment - infield
2B Bryan Brantley (age 27, RHB, 3.5*): .226/.318/.370, 16 HR
2B Bill Lloyd (age 24, RHB, 4.5*): .274/.327/.411, 13 HR
3B Reynaldo González (age 27, LHB, 4*): .234/.316/.406, 22 HR
SS Ed Shelton (age 24, RHB, 1*): .330/.370/.468, 2 HR

It’s a reunion with González, who played for me at the Magpies, but it could be brief as I plan to trade him if he can bring back a good return. He’s superb defensively and has lots of power with the bat, but doesn’t make contact enough, is hopeless against lefties, and is expected to earn a highly inflated $17m next year through arbitration. Fernando Garván (age 24, RHB, 3*) will be promoted to replace González on the roster. Garvan flopped as an infield starter during 2053, but the front office lost faith in him too quickly, and he was limited to a handful of September games this year. The concern with this group, González aside, is their defense, but I will probably just have to live with that for the time being.

Roster assessment - outfield
LF David Miller (age 41, RHB, 4.5*): .294/.405/.516, 24 HR
LF Scott Reynolds (age 24, RHB, 1.5*): .194/.275/.250, 0 HR
CF Warren Glass (age 32, RHB, 1*): .252/.320/.486, 6 HR
RF Cy Cox (age 38, RHB, 2*): .213/.340/.305, 6 HR

Miller is a phenomenon, who defied all logic of the ageing curve to turn in another excellent year. He’s a 10-time all-star and surely headed for the SCL Hall of Fame when he finally hangs up his cleats. After Miller, there’s little to write home about. Cox is another former Magpie, whose high walk rate no longer compensates for his lack of hitting and poor defense. He and Glass are two more players about to depart as free agents. José Arroyo, our first round draft pick this June (5th overall), struggled badly as a September call-up, but remains a fine prospect who can play across the outfield and will get another chance on the roster next year.
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__________________
My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies

Last edited by Paulie123; 08-25-2019 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:12 PM   #7
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October 2054

Eastern League, Central Division standings 2054
x-Albany Firefoxes 87-75
z-Columbus Heatseekers 84-79
Trenton Colts 82-80
Annapolis Mustangs 80-82
Indianapolis Wildcats 74-88
Richmond Eagles 73-89

The Central is the SCL’s only division containing six teams, and the Eagles finished rock bottom this season despite a decent run down the stretch. The Firefoxes become Eastern League champions but lost to the Magpies in the Cup Final Series. Columbus won the division in five of the previous six years before last.

Trenton have been the least successful team, winning the division only twice in the SCL’s 38 year history. The Eagles have won it seven times in total, but only 3 times in the last 22 years.
__________________
My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies

Last edited by Paulie123; 09-02-2019 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:21 PM   #8
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November 2054

Roster moves
  • Outfielder Cy Cox and catcher Mike Williams both decided to call it a day on their professional careers. Cox was on my list of free agent departures, but Williams was under contract for another year, so his decision came as a surprise. The veteran would not have made our 2055 roster, but this avoids me having to eat his salary by releasing him (he had zero trade value). He plans to move into coaching at college, and everyone here wishes him all the best for the future.
  • There were no surprises at the salary arbitration hearings. As we expected, infielder Bill Lloyd’s salary has increased from $6.8m to $11.7m in 2055. I intend not to go back to the arbitrator in future years - I like to get contracts agreed between club and player and not resort to the arbitration process.
  • I decided to trade first baseman Pok-too Xiao and third baseman Reynaldo González. Xiao is surplus to requirements at 1B with Numbers and Smith on the roster and my top prospect Phipps in the minors. That he is still a year away from arbitration only adds to his trade value. Other teams seem to value González’s power and defense more highly than I do and he is not worth his $17m wage. 24-year-old Fernando Galván will get the 3B job this season. His defense is on a par with González’s and he’s $16.5m cheaper.

Trades
  • I decided to try to move quickly to trade Xiao and González. The early bird gets the worm. And I definitely wanted to move González on before teams started to tie up payroll dollars on free agents. In the end I managed to tie up trades for both before the start of the winter meetings. Hopefully in my haste I haven’t overpaid.
  • The first was with Boston: 1B Pok-too Xiao, C Mike Merrill, RF Pepe Holgain for SP Haden Monroe (age 22, LHP, 1.5*), SP Doug Roberts (age 24, RHP, 1*). Monroe is a crafty young pitcher with a nasty slider and the stamina to go deep into games. If he can improve his control he’ll become a good #3 starter but will nevertheless go straight into our rotation as the #5. He’s also the lefty I was seeking to add. I didn’t really want to lose Merrill, a decent prospect who has great power at the plate, but the Adventurers wouldn’t do the deal without him.
  • Trade two was with Nashville: 3B Reynaldo González, CF Arthur Miles, SS José Zúñiga for SP Adrián Cortéz (age 22, RHP, 2.5*), SP Joe Mathis (age 21, LHP, 1*). Zúñiga and Miles were two more up-and-coming hitters I didn’t want to lose, but I agree this trade anyway because it offloads González’s salary, puts an excellent young pitcher (Cortéz) in the rotation and adds another quality arm (Mathis) to the minor league roster. Cortéz, the SCL #6 prospect, combines four good pitches with outstanding control. His arrival means the rotation next year will be Ryan Hurley, Butch Davis, Manny Clemons, Cortéz and Monroe: four cheap, quality young talents led by a highly respected veteran. That means that now Scott Hale and his monster contractual commitment are surplus to requirements...
  • ...which led to an unplanned trade with Carson City that brought in three more prospects, all aged 19: SP Scott Hale, SP Doug Roberts for 2B Jason Noble (age 19, RHB, 1*), LF/CF Luis Manuel Wyatt (age 19, RHB, 1*) and RF Fred Greene (age 19, RHB, 1*). The Rattlesnakes nabbed a wildcard spot this year but their weak spot was their rotation; they saw Hale as a chance to significantly upgrade their group for another playoff push next season. I was surprised at the prospect package they were prepared to give up. Maybe they know something about these lads that my scouts don’t. Wyatt is the SCL #74 prospect and the standout of the three. All are good and speedy hitters.

Free agency
  • Nine players left the organisation on 16 November when free agents filed: CF Warren Glass, SS David Thomas, CL Doug Bradley, SP Fred Bowling, MR Paolo Barreirinhas, MR Miguel Roa, MR Jerry Hayes, MR Bronson O’flaherty, MR Chet Andrews. Operation “Rebuild The Bullpen” begins here.
  • Barreirinhas, Roa and Andrews are, surprisingly, all Type A free agents and I will very gladly accept the compensation picks if any of them sign for other teams. I fear there is a reasonable chance, however, that none will find new teams unless they significantly soften their ambitious salary demands.
  • The departures prompted some promotions from the minor league roster to fill a few of the holes. Our #2 prospect OF José Arroyo (age 22, LHB, 2*) will likely begin the season as one of the backup outfielders. I expect him to push hard in spring training to win a starting role. Relievers Mark Forrest (age 29, LHP, 0.5*) and Wes Adams (age 21, RHP, 3*) will be in the bullpen. But that leaves three bullpen spaces still to fill, including that I don’t have a recognised closer.

Financial outlook
  • The departures of the costly Bradley, Hale and González, plus the free agents, have had a massive impact on my payroll. Total player salaries for the coming season are down from over $180m to $120m. That will go back up a fair bit if I manage to recruit the free agents I’m targeting to plug roster holes, but nevertheless it will end up significantly below the original position I inherited. In the process of getting the budget under control, I’ve also brought in a number of young, cheap and highly promising new players to the club.

News from around the league
  • Julián Emery (Madison) won his sixth straight WL Outstanding Hitter award.
  • Des Moines’s Donnie Lee won his fifth career Outstanding Pitcher gong.
Attached Images
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__________________
My dynasties:
Part 1 - Oakland A's 2024 and Beyond Dynasty
Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies

Last edited by Paulie123; 09-02-2019 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:51 PM   #9
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December 2054

Free agency
  • I put in a series of offers for free agents to fill the many gaps in our 25-man roster created by last month’s departures. Although our high first round draft pick is protected, I’ve only just offloaded some big earners from the payroll and am not prepared to offer a new large contract that I might regret in a couple of years. There were no absolute “can’t miss” guys in this offseason’s free agent pool anyway.
  • My staff and I drew up a (lengthy) list of targets, and our strategy was to move quickly, so that we would have both time and other options if we could not get the guys we wanted. As it happened, I managed to bag all my top targets before the month was out.
  • C Jorge Flores (age 31, RHB, 1.5*) agreed a one-year deal for $2.2m and barring injury will start the new season as back up Pedro Rivas, ahead of Manolo Huerta. Flores hit for a .721 OPS this season. Defensively he’s dropped off from his level of 2050 when he won a Glove Wizard award at catcher, but he’s still good and I like good defense in that position.
  • The team lacked good defense and was particularly poor at CF. To replace Warren Glass, I agreed a two year, $11m deal with former Baton Roug outfielder Rory Simmons (age 30, LHB, 1.5*). Simmons is a streaky slugger so you never know what he’ll do with the bat, but his value comes from his elite defense, where he’s won two Glove Wizard awards, and exceptional baserunning. He’ll bat 8th or 9th in the order.
  • Plugging the hole at RF is Ian Britt (age 28, RHB, 2*). Britt has never quite performed to the generous talent assessments of SCL scouts and has a disappointing career .657 OPS. He was disappointing for me at the Magpies in 2053, where he never made it out of the minor league roster and I traded him to Annapolis. Now Britt will get the chance to show me what he can do. He’ll platoon with Arroyo in RF.
  • The first free agent pitcher to sign on the dotted line was lefty Gerardo Rivera (age 30, LHP, 2.5*), twice an all-star but looking to bounce back from putting up the worst season of his career (8-15, 4.75). He has operated almost exclusively as a starter during his professional career so far, but will join our pitching staff in the bullpen as the lefty setup man. Made his major league debut as an Eagle back in 2046 after I had traded him there from the Magpies while still a prospect. Rivera’s 1-yr deal is worth $2.4m.
  • MR Don Rich (age 34, RHP, 2.5*) became yet another ex-Magpie to join me here in Richmond. Rich has outstanding control (career 2.00 BB/9) but can sometimes struggle to beat the bat. He’ll begin the season on the minor league roster and will be the first call-up in the event of injury or underperformance.
  • Next free agent reliever to agree terms was MR Seth Middleton (age 29, RHP, 4*), on a 1-yr deal. My scouts have concerns over his fitness (they claim he’s “wrecked”) and he was certainly disappointing for Denver last year, where he put up a 4.90 FIP over 66 innings. But his walk rate was way up on his career norms and I’m gambling his $4m salary on an injury-free bounce back.
  • I also secured a recognised closer in the shape of veteran Justin Dodson (age 36, RHP, 3*). Dodson throws at a pedestrian pace and has always relied on movement and control to get outs. He is coming off a terrific season for Nashville, where he went 5-2 with a 1.36 ERA and led the league with 52 saves. Surprisingly he was not a Type A or Type B free agent, and so his $4.5m deal doesn’t attract draft pick compensation.
  • These deals mean that five of my 2055 reliever corps (Dodson, Suárez, Middleton, Rich, Rivera) are on only 1-year contracts, so I could have a bullpen to rebuild again this time next year. But by the time we get to the draft in June, I’ll be able to make an assessment of which guys I will try to sign to an extension, and also the extent to which I’ve been able to draft young relievers who may be able to join the roster for 2056.
  • A busy month of arrivals for the New Player Support department!

Roster moves
  • Butch Davis agreed a contract extension to buy out his arbitration years 2056, 2057, 2058. The deal is worth $9m annually, below our current arbitration estimate for Davis of $11m. I think this could prove to be great value to the team.
  • I agreed a similar arbitration years contract with fellow young starting pitcher Manny Clemons. The $5m is slightly over his arbitration estimate for 2056, but I hope will save money over the course of the contract compared to three years of likely escalating arbitration awards.

News from around the league
  • Ex-Magpies RF Pedro Soto cashed in with a lucrative $102m/5yr free agent move to Denver. He is incredibly consistent and I’m not thrilled to have him in our division.
  • Lansing signed up veteran RF Jeff Harrington on a deal worth $79m over 4 years. He has a career .813 OPS and has slugged 270 homers. A good move by the Sharks.
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Old 08-28-2019, 04:56 PM   #10
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January 2055

Free agency
  • The plethora of free agent signings in December filled the holes in my roster, but I remained concerned about both our depth and our defensive versatility. So, we had further front office meetings to discuss obtaining more cheap free agents to add depth. Astute signings here could also become potential trade pieces if we’re out of the race by the deadline...
  • SP Héctor Alvarez (age 35, RHP, 3*) is a bit of a coup. He was an all-star way back in 2046 and is looking to get back to the show after a poor 2054 season where he put up a FIP of 5.28 and his BB/9 rate jumped by over a point. He’ll be the first guy called up in the event of injury to one of the RHPs in the rotation.
  • OF Jason Webb (age 30, RHP, 1.5*), previously of Santa Fe, also signed. He plays all three outfield positions well and has excellent plate discipline. These days he doesn’t hit well enough to hold down a starting role, but should be a very effective backup outfielder for us, should we need him.
  • The final addition was Glove Wizard standard defensive infielder Paul Jackson (age 30, RHP, 3*). He’s another ex-Magpie (although he never featured in the majors) who’ll give me some veteran depth behind my youthful infield. It’s a sentimental return home for a guy who spent the first six years of his big league career here in Richmond.
  • All three signed one-year contracts, for a combined total of $4.7m. They will likely be offered extended deals or moved at the deadline, depending on their and the team’s performance.

Trades
  • Trenton came calling, looking to acquire 2B Bryan Brantley. Convenient timing, as I had been toying with whether to move Brantley along anyway. He’s a fine hitter, about to enter his prime at age 27, but is a defensive weak link, who plays only second base and that not very well. It took several separate conversations with Trenton’s GM, but we finally agreed on a straight 1-1 swap, Brantley for SS Jesús Torres (age 23, RHB, 2*). Torres, who was the Colts’ first round draft pick in 2053, is a decent all-round hitter with a good eye, but isn’t yet at Brantley’s level. But what he does have in his favour compared to Brantley is youth, blazing speed on the basepaths and excellent defense at both SS and 3B. He gives us a more balanced and versatile infield. Torres will be our everyday SS, with Ed Shelton shifting down to be our infield backup.

News from around the league
  • Denver signed one of the top free agent pitchers on the board, inking veteran lefty Chris Faulkner to a 3-year contract worth $69m. Faulkner was excellent for the Trenton Colts last season (16-6, 2.42), but he has a fragile injury reputation and only time will tell whether this deal works out for the ambitious Snow Sox.
  • Legendary 1B Brian Coble re-signed with Hartford for another year. The 43-year-old is the SCL career leader in HRs (702), RBIs (2086) and hits (3708), and is now set to add to those tallies.
  • Hartford got the newswires buzzing again a few days later when they signed Ed Rice, the #1 ranked free agent starting pitcher, to a monster 5-year deal worth over $24m annually. Rice has a highly impressive 2.85 ERA over his 9-year career to date. The Tarantulas won the North East Division last year but crashed out 3-0 to Albany in the division series. Rice makes them look altogether a tougher prospect over a short playoff series.
  • Big-money Lansing splashed the cash on the last truly elite free agent, shortstop Rikiya Yamashiita, for $24m per year over five years. An excellent acquisition for a wealthy Sharks franchise desperately seeking to catch their division rival Magpies.
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Old 08-29-2019, 06:07 PM   #11
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February 2055

Roster moves
  • A quiet month in the front office, much to the relief of the overworked New Player Support department.

Free agency
  • Eagles fans were outraged when our former closer Doug Bradley agreed a one-year deal with the Tallahassee Islanders. Did they not notice the 3-14 record, the 6.16 ERA, or that we already let his contract expire three months ago?!

News from around the league
  • Lansing continued their spending spree by coming to terms with the top free agent reliever, Forrest Myers. They’re paying an extortionate $22.5m for the former Columbus, Indianapolis and Denver closer, but with only a year contract they haven’t made a long-term financial commitment and there is no doubt that Myers (career 2.78 FIP) is quality. With Lorenzo Colón and Heath Petersen also in their pen, the Sharks have the late innings locked down.
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Old 08-31-2019, 05:33 PM   #12
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March 2055

Season preview - Huang’s expectations
Barring unexpected injuries during spring training, our opening day roster is now set. BNN pundits are expecting us to have a tricky transitional season, and give us only a small percentage chance of grabbing a wildcard spot. That feels about right; we have too many weaknesses to contend this year, but the roster is young and improving. Bryan Huang wants us to try and “stay close” to .500.

Season preview - pitching
SP Ryan Hurley (age 38, RHP, 1*)
SP Butch Davis (age 25, RHP, 4.5*)
SP Manny Clemons (age 22, RHP, 2.5*)
SP Adrián Cortéz (age 22, RHP, 2.5*)
SP Haden Monroe (age 22, LHP, 1,5*)
MR Wes Adams (age 21, RHP, 3.5*)
MR Mark Forrest (age 29, LHP, 0.5*)
MR Seth Middleton (age 30, RHP, 4*)
MR Alejandro Suárez (age 36, RHP, 0.5*)
MR Pancho Jaimes (age 35, RHP, 1*)
MR Gerardo Rivera (age 33, LHP, 2.5*)
CL Justin Dodson (age 36, RHP, 3*)
  • Hurley provides veteran leadership to an otherwise exciting but inexperienced rotation. Our fortunes this season will depend on these young hurlers going deep into games and keeping our shaky new bullpen off the field. Monroe’s arrival via trade gives the group a much-needed left-hander. Héctor Alvarez and Joe Mathis provide good depth in the minors.
  • Closer Justin Dodson is a nice offseason pickup for a hugely revamped bullpen, but this group isn’t a patch on the relief corps I had in Des Moines. Rivera and Jaimes are the twin setup men, with Suárez the long reliever and emergency starter.

Season preview - offense
C Pedro Rivas (age 30, RHB, 1.5*)
C Jorge Flores (age 32, RHB, 1.5*)
1B Robert Numbers (age 22, LHB, 3.5*)
1B Robbie Smith (age 29, RHB, 3*)
2B Bill Lloyd (age 25, RHB, 4.5*)
3B Fernando Galván (age 24, RHB, 3*)
SS Jesús Torres (age 24, RHB, 2.5*)
SS Ed Shelton (age 25, RHB, 1.5*)
LF David Miller (age 42, RHB, 5*)
LF Scott Reynolds (age 24, RHB, 3*)
CF Rory Simmons (age 30, LHB, 1.5*)
RF José Arroyo (age 22, LHB, 2.5*)
RF Ian Britt (age 28, RHB, 2*)
  • This isn’t exactly the strongest lineup in the league, and much will depend on the star hitters Miller, Lloyd and Smith to drive in runs. The offseason additions of Galván, Torres and Simmons have strengthened the team’s defense in key positions, but there remain areas of defensive weakness in other parts of the field. Jason Webb and Paul Jackson provide veteran depth.
  • In Arroyo and Numbers the team has two very talented young hitters, and top prospect Ben Phipps is likely to make the step up from the minor league roster during the course of the season (delaying starting his service time clock to get an extra year before free agency? Moi?). In July I may have to take a difficult decision about whether to seek to trade SCL legend Miller, who’s in the final year of his contract, if we drop out of contention.

Season preview - financials
  • My offseason moves have shifted several big contracts and got the payroll firmly under control. Our expenditure for this season is $145m, well below Bryan Huang’s $200m limit.
  • We will have plenty of payroll flexibility next year also. The latest projection for 2056 is for expenditure of $160m, but that assumes all the 12 players whose contracts expire after this coming season are retained. That group includes Miller, Rivas and Hurley, who are earning a combined $59m this year, and I think it’s unlikely I’ll seek to re-sign all three. So I should have the budget room next winter to pursue top-end free agents if I wish, in addition to being able to sign my best young players to long-term deals.

Free agency
  • Miguel Roa agreed a one-year deal with Providence, where he’ll be the setup man in their bullpen. That gives me a pick in the first supplementary round and the Blue Sox’s high second round pick. That’ll do nicely.
  • Paolo Barreirinhas agreed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Wildcats, where he’ll also operate in a setup role. That gives me a second pick in the first supplementary round.
  • Our third Type A free agent Chet Andrews unfortunately remains unsigned, not that I can really blame any of the other teams for deciding not to go for him.

News from around the league
  • BNN published their annual Top 100 prospects list. The number one overall is Olympia’s lefty starter Tim Nichols. The Wolfhounds have promoted him to their rotation this spring and straight into their number 2 starter role.
  • We had a good return of 6 guys in the top 100: SP Shunnar Jabbar (#19), 1B Ben Phipps (#28), SP Joe Mathis (#52), MR António Ramos (#87), 2B Jason Noble (#89), SP Mark White (#97). And this doesn’t include José Arroyo, Adrián Cortéz or Jesús Torres who have narrowly accrued too much major league time to remain classified as prospects. I was surprised that outfielder Luis Manuel Wyatt dropped off the list this year from #74 last time, but overall the organisation has a really good crop of young players. And we will get 5 pretty high picks in June’s draft.
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Old 09-02-2019, 06:41 PM   #13
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April 2055

Record
  • 11-17 (11-17 this month)
  • Runs scored: 122 (4th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 125 (12th)
  • Def: .701 (12th)

Central Division standings
Albany Firefoxes 16-12
Indianapolis Wildcats 14-14
Annapolis Mustangs 12-16
Richmond Eagles 11-17
Trenton Colts 11-17
Columbus Heatseekers 10-18

Month summary
  • After a dire 2-9 start, the guys have steadied the ship a little and essentially played .500 ball since then. But the failings of this team are clear to see, and made worse by some of the highly paid veterans not performing.
  • Our pitching has blown hot and cold, particularly the rotation. It’s a very inexperienced group and some degree of inconsistency is to be expected; we’re a young, rebuilding team and I must resist the urge to take innings away from these lads. I must be patient with them. The veterans in the bullpen have also been poor; Alejandro Suárez has been traded and Pancho Jaimes is also under the microscope.
  • The offense has been reasonable, although our runs scored tally is inflated by a couple of blowout wins. Defensively, however, we are really poor in some areas. We actually jointly lead the EL with only 12 errors, but I think that is because some of the guys aren’t even getting to balls that better fielders would. Some of our apparent pitching woes is really bad defense.

Who’s hot?
  • RF José Arroyo won EL rookie of the month after hitting .298/.352/.512 with 2 HR and 16 RBIs in 24 games. If he can increase his walk rate he’ll develop into one heck of a hitter.
  • MR Gerardo Rivera has been lethal out of the bullpen, allowing just 1 run on 5 hits over 11 innings while striking out 17, for a 0.82 ERA. He wants to take another spin on the free agent wheel of fortune in the winter, and if he carries on like this will earn himself a very nice deal.
  • 1B Robert Numbers (.277/.375/.627, 8 HR) has been the mainstay of the lineup. His power is impressive.

Who’s not?
  • C Pedro Rivas (.184/.263/.264) has been shunted down the order. Defensively he’s been more solid than I expected, but backup Jorge Flores is now starting one game every series.
  • LF David Miller (.208/.353/.302, 1 HR) has been dreadful by his own high standards, and I worry than the 42-year-old may finally be feeling his age. For now he remains an everyday player and hopefully we’ll benefit from a bounce-back next month.
  • MR Pancho Jaimes (7 IP, 7.71 ERA) hasn’t pitched much, because he has been rubbish. His decent peripherals (7.7 K/9, 3.00 K/BB) have stopped me trading him so far.
  • I hate to pick on young players, but SP Manny Clemons (6.11 ERA) has had a tough time. He’s given up 6 HR in just 28 IP, and has had only 1 quality start out of his 5. If his form continues I’ll consider whether a bit of time in the bullpen might help him regain his confidence.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 16 Apr: SP Adrián Cortéz threw 8 scoreless innings on 4 hits and 2 walks in a victory over Albany. A rare quality start after a dire first fortnight of the season for our rotation.
  • 18 Apr: SP Ryan Hurley hopefully snapped out of his early season slump with a fine performance in a comfortable victory over the Cruisers, throwing 8.1 IP for 1 run.
  • 21 Apr: RF José Arroyo hit 3-5 with a HR and a DBL in a crazy 13-11 win over Boston. We had led 5-0 early on, fell 9-5 behind, only to come back again late on.
  • 23 Apr: SP Haden Monroe took a no-hitter into the 7th inning in our 4-1 win over the Heatseekers. He finished with an impressive line: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
  • 28 Apr: 2B Bill Lloyd hit 3-5 with a triple, double and a walk in a blowout 13-1 victory over Concord.

Biggest worry
  • The performance of some of the big-earning veterans on the roster. Big names could be traded before the deadline if they fail to convince me to do otherwise.

Trades and transactions
  • Reliever Alejandro Suárez was in particularly awful form (11 hits and 8 walks from just 11 IP for a 6.55 ERA), and I was paying him $8m this year for the privilege. No thanks. I managed to work out a multi-player trade with Hartford to move him on. The Tarantulas had started well (15-9) and were looking for an experienced arm who could throw multiple innings to bolster their bullpen. Suárez fitted the bill perfectly in their view, and were prepared to give up a good prospect, SP Carlos Rangel, to get him. Rangel is the SCL #26 prospect and a hard-throwing righty, but the Tarantulas were known to be worried about his reputation for being injury-prone and missing game time, and were happy to let him go. We soon came to an agreement: Suárez and minor leaguers SS Rodrigo Jiménez and C Rafael Valenzuela went in exchange for Rangel (age 21, RHP, 0.5*) and SP Luis Mendoza (age 23, LHP, 1*). Both new guys will play this year on the minor league roster.

Roster moves
  • Free agent signing Héctor Alvarez was promoted to the active roster to replace the departed Alejandro Suárez as the longman in the bullpen. He can’t do any worse than Suárez. Surely.
  • Fan-favourite David Miller would like a contract extension for a further two years. Given his poor form, I’m not willing to consider an extension at this stage. Frankly, a trade is much more likely.

News from around the league
  • Phoenix’s Junji Tada threw a 4-hit shutout on opening day against Salem. It was Tada’s 12th career shutout, but remarkably he has never made an all-star roster.
  • Raleigh’s 22-year-old phenom Raúl Clemente threw a no-hitter against Concord. He already previously threw one last April against the Wildcats. He will be a lock for the Hall of Fame if he performs like this throughout his career.
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:45 PM   #14
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May 2055

Record
  • 26-31 (15-14 this month)
  • Runs scored: 250 (6th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 239 (10th)
  • Def: .704 (11th)

Central Division standings
Albany Firefoxes 33-24
Annapolis Mustangs 33-24
Richmond Eagles 26-31
Columbus Heatseekers 24-33
Indianapolis Wildcats 24-33
Trenton Colts 23-34

Month summary
  • Our steady .500 play continued throughout May, although arguably we were unlucky not to do better, as we’re 3 games below our Pythagorean record. We are 7 GB of a wildcard.
  • Our young pitchers have had a good month. The rotation has been much more effective and started going deep into games, while Justin Dodson, Gerardo Rivera and Wes Adams have made the late innings into low-scoring affairs. I hope for even better as the season progresses and our youthful arms continue to improve.
  • It’s the lineup where the problems have been biggest. Our reasonable tally of 250 runs scored masks a .224 team batting average - ranking us 30th out of 30 SCL teams. We walk a lot, but our team OBP of .313 is only league average. Neither catcher is hitting. And while we have some excellent defenders, we also have a lot of holes. I am considering how to address this; well, that is my job, after all.

Who’s hot?
  • SP Butch Davis (4-5, 2.96 ERA, 2.82 FIP) delivered a string of quality starts this month and has become the anchor of the rotation. That contract extension I agreed with him is looking like a very cost-effective move.
  • MR Wes Adams (0-0, 1.59 ERA, 12.79 K/9) is having a terrific rookie season and has been promoted into a setup role. His stuff is filthy, and if he just had more movement on his 98mph fastball he’d be nearly unhittable.
  • 1B Robert Numbers (.242/.354/.533, 12 HR) is only a year into his major league career, but he’s carrying our offense on his back right now.

Who’s not?
  • C Pedro Rivas (.201/.269/.299, 3 HR) continues to stink the place up. Unfortunately backup Jorge Flores has been no better in recent weeks. I yearn for a catcher like Ernesto Solís who I had in Des Moines. But I must look forward with this team rather than harking back to past glories elsewhere.
  • SS Jesús Torres (.162/.227/.230, 1 HR) is in a dreadful slump. Ed Shelton is replacing him at SS two or three times per week. I’m loathed to promote veteran infielder Paul Jackson and take playing time away from a young player like Torres, but would he benefit from more seasoning in the minors?
  • SP Manny Clemons (3-5, 4.37 ERA) has been inconsistent rather than outright bad. But I’m giving him just a couple more starts before deciding whether it might be better for him to pitch out of the bullpen for a while.

Biggest worry
  • 42-year-old David Miller (.243/.401/.384, 4 HR) had a much better May than April, but along with Pedro Rivas and Ryan Hurley is one of a trio of costly veterans on expiring contracts who aren’t delivering the goods. The fans would hate to see Miller and Hurley traded, but moving them before the deadline may be in the best long-term interest of the franchise. Hurley, however, has 10/5 rights.

Trades and transactions
  • 3B Fernando Galván has agreed a 3-year extension worth $2.5m through to 2058. That’s in total, not annually. Galván was likely to be a super-2 qualifier for arbitration after this season, and has the potential to be very, very good, so this could be an absolute bargain contract for us. He’ll have one year of arbitration left when the deal expires.
  • Backup C Jorge Flores (.731 OPS, 50% CS) has signed a 1-year extension for next season worth $2.6m. He’s a good reserve catcher and a great influence in the clubhouse.

Roster moves
  • A 14-4 thrashing by Augusta saw a calamitous performance from the bullpen, who collectively allowed 9 runs from 4.2 IP. My patience snapped. Relievers Mark Forrest (6.14 ERA, 5.5 BB/9) and Pancho Jaimes (6.91 ERA, 5.92 FIP) were demoted. 21-year-old prospect Joe Mathis was called up to the majors to replace Forrest as the lefty middle reliever. Winter signing Don Rich replaced Jaimes.
  • I gave MR Héctor Alvarez a spot start at the end of the month in a game against Providence, and it didn’t end well. Alvarez came out in the 6th inning with what was subsequently diagnosed as a ruptured tendon in his index finger, and he’ll need 3 months of rehab. Jaimes was recalled to the active roster and given the chance to redeem himself.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 3 May: MR Héctor Alvarez made his first start of the season and threw a superb complete game: 9 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K. RF José Arroyo also hit a grand slam in a 12-2 victory.
  • 5 May: Batting leadoff, DH Robbie Smith hit 4-5 against Trenton. 1B Robert Numbers hit his 10th homer - he jointly leads the league.
  • 6 May: SP Haden Monroe (4-2, 2.70) won a classic pitchers’ duel against the Wildcats’ Dave Reed. He threw 8 scoreless with just 1 hit.
  • 12 May: SS Ed Shelton hit 4-5 with 2 doubles in a 10-4 win versus Tallahassee.
  • 18 May: MR Joe Mathis made his major league debut as a spot starter against Augusta. He was sensational, throwing 8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. But he didn’t also get the ‘W’ he deserved, as we lost 2-1 on a run in the 16th inning.
  • 25 May: SP Butch Davis beat Nashville with 8 scoreless innings, where he allowed only 5 hits and gave up no walks.

News from around the league
  • Salem’s über-talented young outfielder Dale Hollingsworth broke a bone in his elbow and is out for the season. That’s vital development time that will be missed by one of the league’s top prospects.
  • Madison (22-32) seemed to throw in the towel on their season by trading fan favourite and 8-time all-star closer Wynn Fleming to Salem for four prospects, headlined by the SCL #88 prospect 1B James Fulton. Brown Bears supporters were unhappy with the return.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:16 PM   #15
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June 2055

Record
  • 33-49 (7-18 this month)
  • Runs scored: 330 (11th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 351 (11th)
  • Def: .704 (11th)

Central Division standings
Annapolis Mustangs 50-32
Albany Firefoxes 47-35
Columbus Heatseekers 36-46
Indianapolis Wildcats 36-46
Richmond Eagles 33-49
Trenton Colts 31-51

Month summary
  • A dreadful month from a results perspective. But hopefully a good month from the point of view for setting us up to improve next year and beyond, with a number of good young players acquired in trade in exchange for veterans, and a productive draft. My priority has been to give playing time to the most promising young players in the organisation.
  • That said, performances this month have perhaps not been quite as bad as our 7-18 record would suggest, as we’re now sitting fully 5 games behind our Pythagorean record. 11 of those 18 losses were by only 1 or 2 runs.

Who’s hot?
  • SP Butch Davis (2.85 ERA, 2.96 FIP) has continued to pitch superbly and has cemented his place as the ace on our staff. He has given up just 1 earned run over his last 22.2 innings across 3 starts.
  • Trade acquisition C John Wooten (.309/.373/.500) has hit consistently since arriving from Atlanta. He has been less effective behind the plate, but I expect some regression up to his usual performance levels.

Who’s not?
  • SP Ryan Hurley (2-7, 5.11 FIP) is in fact no longer a starting pitcher and his been demoted to the bullpen. He has 10/5 rights and refuses to be traded. But he’s done ok as a reliever thus far.
  • RF Ian Britt (.230/.310/.259, 0 HR) is repeating his recent history of giving teams poor production for his talent level. He wouldn’t be on the roster if I had a major league-ready prospect in the minors.
  • CF Rory Simmons (.182/.262/.348, 9 HR) is giving me the elite defense I signed him for, but I really was hoping he’d give me numbers closer to replacement level with the bat.

Trades and transactions
  • The month started with a sweep by Albany, and I decided it was time to shift the deadwood off the roster. The first trade actually happened unexpectedly. The Lansing Sharks GM rang me, seeking a trade for his veteran reliever Lorenzo Colón. Colon (age 35, RHP, 4.5*, 180-119, 2.66) is a 5-time all-star who lost his role as the Sharks’ closer to free agent signing Forrest Myers and was deeply unhappy about it. We agreed a trade which served both teams. The Sharks got my closer Justin Dodson to replace Colón in the middle of their bullpen plus minor leaguer John Bailey. The Sharks got Colón’s anger off their books, and also gave me pitching prospect Jaime Zamudio (age 22, RHP, 0.5*). Colón earns more than Dodson did ($14m over 2 years compared to $4.5m for 1 year) but is 2 years younger and a lot better - and will get his desired closer role here.
  • I wasn’t done there. Top prospect Ben Phipps had been tearing up the minors and I needed to get his bat in the lineup. He’s weak defensively, though, and only plays first. But I already have 1B Robert Numbers, 1B Robbie Smith and 2B Bill Lloyd giving me weak defense. I can stash one of these guys at first and another at DH, but I can’t carry all four. Two would have to go. I also needed to address the catcher situation.
  • Next, I sent 2B Bill Lloyd to Atlanta in a straight swap for their catcher John Wooten (age 23, LHB, 4*). Wooten is only slightly above average defensively, but he’s young and can hit: he put up a .863 OPS for the Hurricanes last year, his first full major league season. He’ll be eligible for arbitration at the end of next season. The Hurricanes have a clutch of good young catchers, so this move deals out of an area of strength to improve their weak infield. Lloyd is a talented hitter who definitely upgrades their lineup. Ed Shelton will replace Lloyd at 2B for us.
  • Then, I agreed a trade with Baton Rouge to acquire their Glove Wizard-winning shortstop Vicente Madrigal (age 24, LHB, 4*). I sent 1B Robbie Smith and SS Jesús Torres the other way. Madrigal is an out-and-out leadoff hitter with blazing speed and has a .356 OBP this season. Torres hadn’t been here long, but seemed to be struggling to settle in Richmond. After a conversation with his agent, we agreed that a fresh start was best for all parties.
  • Finally, with Wooten installed in the lineup, I salary dumped unwanted catcher Pedro Rivas, sending him and minor league pitcher Derek George to Carson City in exchange for minor league infielder Pablo Martínez (age 24, RHB, 1*).
  • Although Madrigal is highly paid ($17.8m salary this year), these moves have shifted 3 big contracts off my books (Lloyd, Rivas, Smith). Our payroll for this year is down to $113m, and I have a ton of room for next year. Plus, we’ve got younger and, I think, better. Our primary starting lineup is now SS Madrigal - 1B Numbers - C Wooten - LF Miller - DH Phipps - RF Arroyo - 2B Shelton - CF Simmons - 3B Galván.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 6 Jun: 3B Fernando Galván hit 3-4 with a 3-run HR and a double as we beat Montgomery 7-1 at the Eagles’ Nest.
  • 16 Jun: Having been moved from the rotation down to the bullpen, Manny Clemons threw 5 innings of 1-hit ball in relief against Concord.
  • 19 Jun: LF Scott Reynolds had a rare good day with the bat for our outfield, hitting 2-2 with a HR and 2 walks, but we still lost 5-3 to the Dark Knights.
  • 24 Jun: In the first game after the all-star break, Butch Davis dominated Trenton with 8 terrific scoreless innings, giving up just 5 hits and 1 walk.
  • 26 Jun: Robert Numbers hit 3-3 with a double in a 5-4 win over Trenton that clinched the series.

Biggest worry
  • The outfield. Scott Reynolds, Rory Simmons and Ian Britt have hit below replacement level, and David Miller is 42. José Arroyo (.759 OPS) is the only long-term keeper of the group. This is symptomatic of how we are some way from having a lineup good enough to help us win an SCL Cup Final Series trophy.

First year player draft
  • Providence had the first overall pick, and chose slugging CF José Valenzuela.
  • Generally I tried to take the best player available with our choices, which meant I stocked up on talented young arms. Our picks were: #4 SP Fernando Gutiérrez (age 19, RHP, projects to 5*), #34 MR Nori Okuta (age 22, RHP, 5*), #35 SS José Rojas (age 21, RHB, 2.5*), #57 MR Tommy Randall (age 22, RHP, 5*), #60 LF Lorenzo Vásquez (age 21, RHB, 1.5*), #90 MR Roberto Díaz (age 23, LHP, 4*), #120 MR Michael Ellison (age 22, LHP, 3*) #150 MR Donovan Connolly (age 20, RHP, 1.5*).
  • Gutiérrez had “can’t miss” written all over him. He complements a 97mph fastball with a lethal splitter and a deceptive curveball, and frequently goes deep into games. He’s probably 2-3 years away from reaching the big leagues, but if he lives up to the hype he’ll become the mainstay of our rotation for a long time.
  • Okuta is rated a 5* reliever already. He is rated 10/10/10 potential and he has two 10-rated pitches. If he lives up to scouts’ billing he really could become one of the SCL’s great relievers.

Roster moves
  • LF David Miller sprained his elbow and missed 2-3 weeks. OF Jason Webb was called up in his place and failed to impress.
  • After yet another disappointing start against Boston, I moved Manny Clemons (3-7, 4.75) into the bullpen. Gerardo Rivera (3-1, 3.08) took his rotation spot. Pancho Jaimes (0-1, 6.91) was demoted, and lefty Luis Mendoza was promoted into the pen to replace Rivera. Mendoza pitched nicely in 3 games but then suffered a partially torn labrum and is done for the season; Mark Forrest was recalled.
  • Draft pick Nori Okuta has gone straight into our bullpen, and Don Rich has gone back into the minors. Rich did nothing wrong (3.1 scoreless IP since being called up) but at age 34 I can’t prioritise giving innings to him over one of our younger players.
  • Ryan Hurley’s demotion to the bullpen meant that Manny Clemons returned to the rotation straight after the all-star break.

News from around the league
  • The Dark Knight’s starter Tom Blair threw a magnificent no-hitter against the Indianapolis Wildcats. The righty took just 98 pitches to complete his demolition job.
  • 12 Jun, afternoon: Lansing Sharks announce that they have agreed a 2-year contract extension with ex-Eagles reliever Justin Dodson, worth $10.8m per year. 12 Jun, evening: Lansing Sharks announce that Dodson has sustained a shoulder injury and won’t play again this season. How’s your luck?
  • SS Vicente Madrigal was our only selection for the All-Star Game. It’s hard to argue with that. Madrigal batted 2-3 at leadoff for the Eastern League as they won 9-2.
  • Des Moines (50-32) lead the way in the Western League and have a shot at a fourth consecutive championship. Hartford (51-31) have the SCL’s best overall record.
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:32 PM   #16
Paulie123
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July 2055

Record
  • 44-67 (11-18 this month)
  • Runs scored: 414 (13th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 480 (10th)
  • Def: .706 (8th)

Central Division standings
Albany Firefoxes 67-44
Annapolis Mustangs 67-44
Columbus Heatseekers 48-63
Indianapolis Wildcats 47-64
Richmond Eagles 44-67
Trenton Colts 41-70

Month summary
  • Until we ended July in a 1-8 slump, I thought we had turned the corner. But we are just so inconsistent. That’s to be expected from such a young roster, but it’s still frustrating.
  • I did though, continue the makeover of the team, shifting more veterans to other teams and bringing in more youngsters who will hopefully turn into stars. I doubt we will be wildcard contenders next season, but I expect we will be better.

Trades and transactions
  • Sometimes you feel you need to make a trade which you know will be deeply unpopular with the fans, but which you feel is vital for the future of the team. Such a time came in early July. The Lansing Sharks were 1 game out in the Western League wildcard race and felt that the experience of SCL legend David Miller in their lineup could make the difference. Their GM called, and dangled their exciting young left fielder Will Brown in front of my face. The trade came together: Lansing got Miller, RF Ian Britt (whose form had nosedived) and MR Pancho Jaimes (back in the minors) in exchange for Brown (age 23, RHB, 4*). Brown is still developing as a hitter, but is a powerful slugger with a turn of pace. He’s rated 10/10 in left field so immediately gives my defense a big upgrade. He has directly replaced Miller in the lineup. He’s only had just over a year in the big leagues and will be a borderline super-2 at the end of next season. Miller’s departure means that of the big contracts I inherited here, only Ryan Hurley and his 10/5 rights remains.
  • I didn’t want to include Britt in the trade for Brown, but Lansing wouldn’t do the deal without him. His departure left me short of a backup outfielder, so I sent minor league reliever Earl Curry to Providence in exchange for veteran RF Al Elliott (age 35, LHB, 1*), who the Blue Rocks had put on the trading block. Elliott played for me in Des Moines in 2047, but I had traded him when it became clear he would want an excessive contract extension to remain at the Magpies. However, he was only with us for a few days, because...
  • MR Mark Forrest had a mare in a 10-0 drubbing by Augusta, taking his season ERA up to 7.04. Possibly another knee-jerk decision, but I decided to shop him. To my surprise, Augusta showed the most interest, hoping he would provide a boost to their pitching down the stretch. They clearly see something in him that I don’t. The Romans were also looking for a landing spot for RF José Montoya (age 24, LHB, 2*), a good contact hitter who was blocked by their best batter Jesús Gonzáles and languishing in the minors. The final deal was Forrest, RF Al Elliott and veteran reliever Don Rich going to Augusta, while I got Montoya and minor league pitcher Jorge Ruíz. My starting outfield is now a trio of excellent young players: Will Brown in LF. José Arroyo in CF and Montoya in RF. Rory Simmons and Scott Reynolds are the backups.
  • SS Vicente Madrigal agreed a 5-year contract extension, through to the end of 2060, for $19m per year. A lot of money, but that’s our leadoff hitter and shortstop locked down.

Who’s hot?
  • RF José Montoya has been scintillating, hitting .319/.355/.500 in 19 games since arriving from Augusta. He’s already been moved up to the 3-hole in the lineup.
  • MR Nori Okuta (2-1, 2.86 in 21 appearances) has completely justified my decision to fast-track him into the major league bullpen. His ERA would be even lower but for two outings where he got smashed.
  • 1B Robert Numbers has bounced back well from a disappointing June, and now has 18 HR and 46 RBIs to his name this year.

Who’s not?
  • LF Will Brown has unfortunately been in a big slump pretty much from the day he joined us. He’s hitting a dire .146/.183/.225. A very poor trot, but he’s still only 23 and he’ll come good.
  • 2B Ed Shelton (.238/.281/.286) has been given more game time since Bill Lloyd was traded, but is blowing his audition so far.
  • MR Ryan Hurley (2-8, 5.24 FIP) is pretty much demoted to mop-up relief duties now. He again refused to be traded before the deadline, so I’m stuck with him until his contract ends at the conclusion of this season.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 2 Jul: SS Vicente Madrigal hit 2-3 with 2 HR as we beat Tallahassee 6-1. The homers came in consecutive at-bats in the 3rd and 5th yet were his first of the entire season.
  • 5 Jul: LF Scott Reynolds went 3-4 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in Annapolis. His homers included the decisive 3-run shot in the top of the 9th. CF Rory Simmons was 3-4 with one HR in the game.
  • 14 Jul: RF José Montoya hit 4-5 with 2 doubles in a 4-2 victory over Nashville, taking his batting average to .409 over his first 5 games for us.
  • 20 Jul: SP Haden Monroe (8-8, 3.04) threw 8 scoreless innings to take the win against Providence. He has surprised me with his consistency, and been our second best starter this season after Butch Davis.
  • 21 Jul: Montoya hit 4-5 with 3 doubles against the Blue Rocks. He doesn’t have much power but he swings the bat extremely well.
  • 22 Jul: 1B Robert Numbers went 3-4 with a HR, DBL and BB as we completed the sweep over the struggling Blue Rocks.

Biggest worry
  • The lineup can blow so hot and cold. In particular, our team OBP is only .305, below the league average of .311. We won’t be contenders until that improves.

Roster moves
  • Joe Mathis picked up a 10-game suspension for fighting with Hartford Tarantulas shortstop Chuck Pike. We just went a man short in the pen while Mathis was out.
  • No sooner did Mathis return, than 3B Fernando Galván got himself banned for 5 games for fighting.

News from around the league
  • Bad news from Carson City, as former Eagle pitcher Scott Hale suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and won’t play again until at least next May. The Rattlesnakes have a narrow lead in the West Coast Division and they will miss him.
  • Lansing brought in more veteran help for their wildcard push, re-acquiring veteran C Jimmy Howard from Augusta, who they had only let go in the offseason. In exchange they sent the Romans their on winter veteran arrival, outfielder Jeff Harrington. A puzzling move from both teams frankly.
  • The odds on the Magpies winning a fourth straight title are shortening by the day. They ended July at 70-41, the SCL’s best record.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:12 PM   #17
Paulie123
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August 2055

Record
  • 62-77 (18-10 this month)
  • Runs scored: 538 (13th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 573 (10th)
  • Def: .709 (7th)

Central Division standings
Albany Firefoxes 80-59
Annapolis Mustangs 79-60
Richmond Eagles 62-77
Indianapolis Wildcats 60-79
Trenton Colts 54-85
Columbus Heatseekers 52-87

Month summary
  • A fantastic month that included a 12-2 run during the middle fortnight. The pitching has been excellent, the defense has improved, and the offense has been more consistent. We sometimes struggle to get on base, particularly against left-handed pitching, but the team is clearly moving in the right direction.
  • It all bodes well for next season. I don’t believe in tanking and I’m keen for the team to display good form down the stretch to take momentum into next season. But if we carry on like this we might end up not having a protected (top 10) draft pick next June. I have masses of budget room and think a couple of top quality free agent signings could be enough to really put us in contention for a wildcard spot. But I would have to think twice about doing that if it would cost me my first round pick.

Who’s hot?
  • DH Ben Phipps had a sensational month, crowned with winning Eastern League batter of the month. He hit .326 with 9 HR, 23 RBIs and a .470 OBP. Unsurprisingly he also took home the EL rookie of the month honours. Calling him up was a fine decision - he ain’t goin’ back down!
  • SP Butch Davis (10-10, 2.91) has the 4th lowest FIP, 3.01, of all SCL starting pitchers.
  • MR Wes Adams (5-0, 1.62) has displayed his fantastic stuff all month. But he’s riding an unsustainably low .192 BABIP so some regression is overdue.

Who’s not?
  • Young lefty MR Joe Mathis (0-1, 4.73) has fallen away after making a good start to his major league career in May. He has given up too many extra base hits.
  • 2B Ed Shelton (.225/.271/.275) has continued to offer easy infield outs. He seems to have trade value, but is only 25 so I’ll have to decide in the offseason whether to give him another chance next year.
  • 3B Fernando Galván (.189/.290/.337, 57 BB) has a great eye, but has struggled to get base hits with any regularity. Love the defense, but I want my hitters to, y’know, hit.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 11 Aug: SP Manny Clemons showed us that the talent is there to play at this level, throwing 8 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K in a 1-0 victory over Trenton. He just needs to display his skills more frequently.
  • 15 Aug: C John Wooten hit 3-3 with 2 HR, a walk and 5 RBIs in a one-sided 13-1 win over Indianapolis. The game took him to 20 HR on the season.
  • 17 Aug: SP Adrián Cortéz (9-10, 3.97) threw 7 scoreless innings as we completed the series sweep against the Wildcats.
  • 20 Aug: SP Ryan Hurley (3-8, 4.01) made a spot start and was magnificent, throwing a 2-hit shutout as we beat Tallahassee 1-0. If Hurley had been this good more often he wouldn’t be in the bullpen and heading for free agency.
  • 22 Aug: SP Haden Monroe (10-10, 3.11) threw 9 scoreless innings, and MR Wes Adams (5-0, 1.65) threw 5 scoreless innings of relief, in a ridiculous 3-0 victory over Annapolis, where all our runs came in the 16th on a Jorge Flores walk-off HR. That was part of a streak of 37 innings swhere we didn’t concede a run.
  • 29 Aug: DH Ben Phipps hit 2-2 with 2 homers and 3 walks in a defeat to Hartford. What a month he’s had.

Biggest worry
  • The most surefire way to beat us is to start with a left-handed pitcher. Our lineup has some really strong, young left-handed batters, but we are significantly weaker hitting from the right side. I feel we are now really not that far away from contending for a wildcard, so I plan to address this weakness over the winter.

Roster moves
  • When rosters expanded at the end of the month, I made just one call-up, fringe outfield prospect Lou Knox to be a specialist pinch runner. His blazing speed is insane.

News from around the league
  • Des Moines’s outstanding slugger Earl Becker walloped 3 HR against the Magpies’ arch rivals, the Madison Brown Bears. It moved him to the top of the SCL leaderboard for home runs, with 35.
  • The Magpies’ veteran starter Donnie Lee became the 9th SCL pitcher to reach 250 career wins. Lee is third among active players behind only Tony Casas (Brown Bears, 275 wins) and William Wright (Columbus, 255 wins) but is still some way off the all-time leader Jorge Carbajal (314).
  • Former Eagle David Miller hit his 500th career homer. He has hit to a .968 OPS since joining Lansing, so has given them the offensive boost they wanted. They are tied for the second WL wildcard spot.
  • Salem’s 21-year-old pitching superstar Cristo Pérez is done for the season after hurting his shoulder. This is why I try to stay away from pitchers with a fragile injury reputation.
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Old 09-28-2019, 04:51 PM   #18
Paulie123
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September 2055

Record
  • 76-86 (14-9 this month)
  • Runs scored: 663 (10th in Eastern League)
  • Runs allowed: 667 (10th=)
  • Def: .708 (9th)

Central Division standings
Albany Firefoxes 96-66
Annapolis Mustangs 88-74
Richmond Eagles 76-86
Indianapolis Wildcats 72-90
Trenton Colts 68-94
Columbus Heatseekers 59-103

Month summary
  • We finished the season on a 7-game winning streak. Our hot form meant that, despite sitting 23 games below .500 at the end of July, we actually ended up with 3 more wins than last season. All segments of the roster have played well down the stretch.
  • This performance is hugely encouraging for next season, but we’ve in fact been so good the last two months that our first round draft pick next June is no longer protected. I have an incredible amount of headroom in the budget next season (a projected payroll of just $58m against Bryan Huang’s ceiling of $200m) and had planned to be in the market for top-tier free agents. I’ll now have to think carefully about that as I hate to lose my valuable first round pick, unless it’s in return for an exceptional player who will stay with us for some considerable time.

Who’s hot?
  • MR António Ramos (2.20 ERA, 3.81 FIP) was a low-key call-up to the bullpen in July, and has been quietly effective ever since. He has locked up the LOOGY role for next season.
  • SP Haden Monroe (13-11, 3.24) has excelled down the stretch to cap a magnificent year. He’s eligible for arbitration after next season, and if he maintains his form he’ll earn himself a very tidy contract indeed.
  • DH Ben Phipps had another great month, and finished with a season line of .279/.398/.509 with 20 homers. I’m looking forward to seeing a full season from him in 2056.

Who’s not?
  • LF Scott Reynolds (.192/.284/.355) is a ‘feast or famine’ hitter at the best of times, but as the season has drawn on there has been less and less of the feast part.

Noteworthy individual performances
  • 4 Sep: SP Adrián Cortéz (11-11, 4.18) produced a magnificent performance against the Romans, throwing 8.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K.
  • 6 Sep: C John Wooten hit 2 solo homers to give us a 2-1 victory over Providence.
  • 8 Sep: SP Haden Monroe threw 8 innings of 1-run ball in the series-clinching win against the Blue Rocks. Lorenzo Colón bagged his 25th save of the year.
  • 15 Sep: CF Will Brown went 3-5 with a triple and 2 doubles in a 12-10 defeat to Montgomery. We relinquished the lead 3 times during the game.
  • 16 Sep: Cortéz (8 IP, 1 unearned run) and MR Joe Mathis (6 IP, 0 ER) were terrific against Boston, but we lost in the 15th inning.
  • 20 Sep: We hit a staggering TEN home runs in a 23-5 thrashing of Columbus in their own back yard. DH Ben Phipps, 3B Paul Jackson and RF José Montoya each hit 2 bombs. 1B Robert Numbers went 4-4 and SS Vicente Madrigal was 5-7.

Biggest worry
  • That the season has finished. We’ve shown playoff form the last two months.

Trades and transactions
  • Nashville signed free agent pitcher MR Chet Andrews on a cheap contract in early September. Our fans were, for no fathomable reason, upset about this. They seem not to have noticed that Andrews hasn’t been on our roster all year, and no other team has wanted him until now either. Some people.
  • 3B Paul Jackson (.219/.275/.331) has requested a new contract for next year. He has done okay over the last couple of months but has hardly set the world alight. I might bring him back again next year as infield depth, but I want to see the full free agent market first.

Roster moves
  • MR Héctor Álvarez and MR Luis Mendoza both came off the DL at the start of the month. Both were added to the major league bullpen to give me an extra couple of arms there.
  • Our 2-1 win over Providence was marred by a season-ending injury to SP Gerardo Rivera. Rivera has said for some time that he wants to test the waters in free agency after this season, so he may well have pitched his last game for us. Álvarez replaced him in the rotation.

News from around the league
  • DH Ben Phipps’s fine form continued, as he won EL player of the week for the first week of September. He went 8-23 with 6 home runs. He leads the team in wOBA (.368) and OPS (.864).
  • Lansing DH David Miller reached another milestone with his 3000th career hit. He should enter the SCL’s all-time top ten during next season.
  • Phoenix’s journeyman pitcher Cameron Powers threw a rare perfect game against Salem. He retired all 27 Ironclads hitters he faced, fanning 11.
  • Phoenix slugger Jeremy Black won the Western League batting triple crown. He compiled a .361 average with 44 HRs and 126 RBIs.
  • Eastern League postseason qualifiers: Albany (96-66), Boston (101-61), Raleigh (93-69), Hartford (90-72), Annapolis (88-74).
  • Western League postseason qualifiers: Carson City (83-79), Des Moines (97-65), Phoenix (99-63), St. Paul (92-70), Lansing (88-74). The North Division’s remarkable run of providing both WL wildcards continues: that’s now happened 8 of the last 10 years. Phoenix won their first South Division title for 24 years.
  • Wildcard game results: Annapolis 8-9 Hartford, Lansing 6-3 St. Paul
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Part 2 - The Secret Diary of Paulie Beane, Aged 43 3/4
The State Capitals League - The Magpies
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