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OOTP 20 - Fictional Simulations Discuss fictional simulations and their results in this forum.

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Old 06-18-2019, 11:02 AM   #1
GBOV
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Major MLB Expansion

So I've been tinkering with a major overhaul to the MLB. Here is the premise:

MLB has a serious geography problem -- The Southern US, and to a lesser extent, the Western US are unrepresented in MLB. The vast majority of the clubs are based in the Northeast, Rustbelt and along the Pacific coast.

In this world, an "antitrust" suit has been filed against MLB by a contingent of unrepresented states, including nearly all of the Southern states, and many western states, and the Country of Canada.

Realizing that the case has merit, and rather than risk the Courts breaking up MLB into several smaller parts, a settlement as been reached between MLB and the suing parties:

MLB agrees to expand to 48 (Yes 48!) teams. However, this expansion cannot take place overnight, otherwise the product will be severely diluted.

So, beginning in 2019, the 18 expansion teams will begin to build their organizations, and ultimately MLB will officially expand beginning with the 2025 season.

To set up the game, I've done the following: created a fictional league of the 18 expansion teams called the MLB Expansion League (MLBEL). To begin with, the MLBEL will have a AAA affiliate and a Rookie league affiliate.

Upon creation of the MLBEL, all players were released and became free agents, then all free agents were deleted (this deletes all fictional players).

Next the MLB and all US Independent Leagues were created into the world. The US Independent Leagues were then all immediately deleted so that their players all populated the Free Agent database (along with the regular MLB free agents). This created a database of over 4000 free agents.

With the 1.1.19 start date, All MLBEL teams begin filling their major league and AAA rosters with the available free agents.

Additionally, an association is formed between MLB and MLBEL (the MLB Association). The MLB and MLBEL will share an amateur draft beginning in 2019, which will consist of 33 rounds. Draft order will be determined by winning percentage.

Beginning in 2020, full A and short A affiliates will be added to the MLBEL.

Beginning in 2021, AA and another Rookie League will be added to the MLBEL

Beginning in 2022, another full A league will be added for the MLBEL.

The MLBEL will play a full season each year of 162 games, and will compete for the "MLBEL Title."

At the conclusion of the 2024 season, the teams from the MLBEL will be merged into MLB, along with their minor league affiliates.

The new expanded MLB will restructure its leagues based on geography. The American and National Leagues will now be known as the Eastern and Western Leagues, each will have 3 divisions of 8 teams. The new playoff structure will see each of the 3 division champs, plus 5 wild cards from each league for a total of 8 teams making the playoffs from each league (round 1 - best of 3, round 2 best of 5, round 3 - best of 7, and World Series - best of 7).

The Designated Hitter will be enabled in both the Western and Eastern Leagues.

The 18 Expansion franchises are the following:

Birmingham Barons
Charleston RiverDogs
Charlotte Knights
Durham Bulls
Jacksonville Suns
Las Vegas Aviators
Louisville Bats
Memphis Chicks
Montreal Expos
Nashville Sounds
New Orleans Zephyrs
Norfolk Tides
Oklahoma City 89ers
Portland Beavers
Richmond Virginians
Salt Lake Bees
San Antonio Missions
Vancouver Canadians

The new leagues and divisions for 2025 will be the following:

Eastern League:

Atlantic Division:
Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
Richmond Virginians
Norfolk Tides
Durham Bulls
Charlotte Knights
Charleston RiverDogs
Jacksonville Suns

South Division:
Nashville Sounds
Memphis Chicks
Birmingham Barons
New Orleans Zephyrs
Tampa Bay Rays
Miami Marlins
Louisville Bats
Atlanta Braves

North Division:
Montreal Expos
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
NY Yankees
NY Mets
Pittsburgh Pirates
Philadelphia Phillies
Cleveland Indians

Western League:

Pacific Division:
Vancouver Canadians
Seattle Mariners
Portland Beavers
Oakland Athletics
San Francisco Giants
LA Angels
LA Dodgers
San Diego Padres

Desert Division:
Colorado Rockies
Houston Astros
Texas Rangers
San Antonio Missions
Oklahoma City 89ers
Salt Lake Bees
Arizona Diamondbacks
Las Vegas Aviators

Central Division:
Minnesota Twins
Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals



Thoughts?

My major contemplations have been over whether to start building in 2019 and merge in 2025, or begin at an earlier time/era. I think that 6 full seasons of drafting and building is enough to make the 18 expansion teams relatively competitive by the time they join MLB, and also it won't dilute exisiting MLB teams too severely or force some sort of fantasy draft, etc.

I'm also going back and forth on what to do with the DH. As of now, I'm thinking of implementing it across the board.
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Old 06-19-2019, 01:45 PM   #2
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So I completed season 1 last night.

A couple variations from my original description:

After deleting all of the fictional players, I brought in all of the US Independent Leagues, and then deleted each of those leagues. This left a free agent pool of around 2500 players.

From there, I schedule a 40 round Free Agent draft for the 18 expansion teams. This gave each team a baseline of 40 players to work with.

Next, I brought in MLB, and all of their free agents, which the expansion teams could sign based upon their wants/needs.

I also linked the MLB and MLBEL so that they share a waiver wire and Rule 5 draft. The waiver wire proved very helpful for me as GM in my first season (I'm playing as the Richmond Virginians).

I also scheduled a playoff series between the MLB champion and the MLBEL champion, known as the "Exhibition Series" -- it will be held each year until the merger as kind of a barometer as to how the MLBEL looks against the MLB. After this first season, the World Series champion Houston Astros swept the MLBEL Title winner Durham Bulls in four games, but the games themselves had fairly reasonable scores (mostly 7-2 type games).

I've saved as of the Rule 5 draft -- it is a godsend for the Virginians. We've picked up 8 (8!) Rule 5 players, all of which I think will stick on my club for the upcoming season, and since all are under the age of 23, should be around for when the Virginian's join the big leagues.

Next season I'll be adding A and Short A affiliates.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:12 AM   #3
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Season 2 (2020) in the books. Four more exhibition seasons before the major MLB merger that will take place before the 2025 season.

Some highlights: Both Full A and Short A affiliates were added for the expansion franchises. They now have AAA, A, Short A, and Rookie league affiliates (and international complexes). Next season (2021) will add AA and another Rookie league. 2022 will add one final A affiliate.

Once the merger occurs, the affiliates will be transferred into their corresponding MLB counterparts: AAA, AA, A+, A, Short A, Rookie, Rookie

The Richmond Virginians Rule 5 draft position players turned out to be excellent. To recap, in the 2019 Rule 5 draft, the Virginians selected 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes (PIT), SS Jazz Chisolm (ARI), SS Andres Gimenez (NYM), Miguel Amaya (CHC), CF Estevan Florial (NYY), and SP Sixto Sanchez (MIA). all of these guys were scouted as 1.5-2.0 current/3.0 or better potential at the time of the draft. Knowing that Richmond was still 5 seasons away from playing games that really mattered, all of these guys were perfect prospects to let develop at my highest level club.

The results were mostly great. With the exception of Sixto Sanchez, who floundered to a 6.00+ era, and spent time on the DL, the other guys were great. Chisholm settled in as the everyday 2B by late May, and had a very good year. Amaya was the everyday backstop and hit great and played good D. Hayes and Florial were both Expansion League all-stars. Gimenez had a .330+ BA, a WAR 8+, and won league MVP.

Quite the foundation.

Richmond won 101 games and took the Eastern Division title, but was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Memphis Chicks, who boast a veteran squad of players with a lot of MLB experience. (The Expansion League has a 4 team playoff -- the 2 division champs, plus a wild card from each division).

The Memphis Chicks went on to win the Expansion League title, and then to somehow beat the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves 4 games to 2 in the 2nd annual Exhibition Series.

Richmond is starting to develop talent at its lower levels. We took Andrew Vaughn in the first round of the 2019 amateur draft. He batted .300 and had 12 homers in his 2019 Rookie League campaign, which was good enough to move him up to A ball for 2020, where he proceeded to hit 27 dingers and again batted right at .300. He was drafted as a 3B, but his future is at 1B. He's been moved there and will man 1B in AA ball in 2021. His ETA looks like 2022.

In the first round of the 2020 draft, we took hard throwing RHP Emerson Hancock. he projects as a top of the rotation starter, and played well in Short A ball as a rookie. He'll move up to full A in 2021, but I think we'll put him on a pitch count to keep his arm healthy. He only throws three pitches, but all three are high potential.

Our International system has produced a promising SS out of Venezuela who just turned 18 and will make his professional debut in A ball next year.

I'm comfortable with Richmond's young bats, the focus will be on finding pitching over the next season or two with the goal of having a team reaching their early prime years of 26-27 by 2025.

Overall, I would speculate that the MLBEL's top level is playing somewhere around the equivalent of MLB's AAA currently. All of the expansion teams are picking off the waiver wire daily to improve themselves, and signing MLB free agents.
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