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Old 04-16-2017, 08:23 PM   #1
Bub13
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Introducing Your Hawaii Islanders!


This is my first dynasty report. It begins in 2014, from version 15 [soon to be going to version XX], and has been migrated through to version 18. Meaning this league to be a fun learning experience, I played around a bit and added myself and a few old game-playing friends. But I enjoyed the league so much, even after "the gang" went UFA and retired, that I kept it going. So let's get started.

Background
In 2014, a New Ownership Group(tm) bought the Miami Marlins and moved the team to Richmond, Virginia. Armed with a mystery group of free agents, new GM Jim Smith (me!) began to build a dynasty. Richmond won its first World Series in 2016, and won again in 2019, 2022, 2025, and 2027. You would think five titles in twelve years would please any owner...but you would be wrong. Facing demands to "build a dynasty," or "re-sign an old player who wants way too much money," or "leave me with $20 million in profits while getting a top free agent," tensions began to build between owner and GM. After a late-season collapse in 2030, in which the team went from 12 games up to barely making the playoffs and an early post-season exit, I resigned.

Looking around for a new challenge, I took on the Brooklyn Robins for 2031. This was a team that had never made the playoffs, never finished higher than fourth in their division, and obviously needed a new vision, new direction. The first year, we treaded water, only improving by one game. But we cut payroll and brought a profit for the first time in nearly a decade. The next year, 2032, saw the addition of a few free agents, some trades, and the near-impossible feat of maintaining a manageable budget. Attendance improved by 50%, and the team won 87 games, for its first ever winning season. And then...with a rebuilt pitching staff, and some big spending on retaining our best players, we were dreadful. We won 75 games, slipped in nearly every statistical category, people stopped coming to games, and -- horrors! -- lost a ton of money. After some angry exchanges with my owner, I decided it was best to move on...again. This time, tho, would be my last. Of that I was determined.

So now it's 2034, and time for another new beginning.
......

Before we get started, let's go over the current lay of the land.

As mentioned above, in 2014 the (old) Miami Marlins ceased to exist, and were moved to Richmond, becoming the Eagles. The Eagles remained in the NL East. In 2016, the league expanded, adding the (new) Miami Marlins in the AL East, and the Portland Hawks (now Pioneers) in the NL West. Things remained stable until 2023, when the league expanded again by two teams. Expansion brought back the Montreal Expos, into the NL Central, and a third team in New York: the Brooklyn Robins, into the NL East. To keep the leagues balanced, the Milwaukee Brewers moved back to the AL, into the Central. Finally, to bring us up to the present, in 2034 MLB expanded one more time: into the NL Central went the New Orleans Zephyrs (with Richmond getting a new AAA team in Raleigh), and the AL West getting the team that brings us here, the Hawaii Islanders.

2014-2033 history, with league and Series champions



The Angels have been the cream of the AL year-in and year-out. They've only missed the playoffs six times, with only two losing seasons. Richmond has been the class of the NL, with six titles. Going into 2034, the Angels, Twins, Blue Jays, and Rays look to be the top teams in the AL. In the NL, the Pirates are the defending World Champs, and have three division titles in four years. Philly, Atlanta, and San Diego are tops in the NL, and I think Montreal is building for a long run as well.

Whos' been bad? Cleveland has never made the playoffs. Neither have the new Marlins or the Brooklyn Robins. Houston has made the playoffs just once, and last had a winning season in 2024. Colorado has only been to the post-season once. And two long-time MLB powerhouses are currently in the dumps: St. Louis is coming off seasons of 53, 60, and 64 wins, and fan interest is at an all-time low. Likewise, the Yankees, despite their astronomical payroll, have made the playoffs just once in the last ten years. Both teams are drawing less than 20K per game.

A few other facts and tidbits...
...there have been 41 no-hitters, but no perfect games. Luis 'Gambler' Cuevas pitched three for Detroit in the '20s.
...Miguel Cabrera (DET) won a Triple Crown in 2014, and Justin Williams (PHI) in 2021. Jon Talley (TB) won the pitching version in 2027, going 25-3 with a 2.40 ERA, and 287 strikeouts.
...Leonys Martin (TEX) has the longest 'new' hitting streak, at 39 games in 2015.
...3000 hit club new members: Miguel Cabrera (3518) and Joe Mauer (3000).
...A-Rod retired with 662 home runs, Cabrera with 625, Pujols with 561. Miguel Sano currently has 569...along with 3609 whiffs.
...Craig Kimbrel ended up second all-time with 605 saves. Paco Rodriguez retired at number four with 512. Paco also appeard in 1277 games, passing Jesse Orosco for first place.
...Max Scherzer (23-0 in 2016) and Stephen Strasburg (18-0 in 2025) had the first perfect win-loss seasons in history.
...Strasburg was by far the most dominant pitcher of the era. He retired #5 all-time in WAR and #4 in strikeouts:


Next up: It's 2034, and baseball is back on the islands!
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Old 04-16-2017, 08:29 PM   #2
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Getting Started

I decided to let the game run the expansion draft for both Hawaii and New Orleans. I wanted to come to the team totally fresh, and to work with whatever I find, rather than crafting a team out of the draft leavings. Likewise, I will not hire my own staff, letting the game do that as well. I'll go at least half a season with all these original coaches/staff until considering any changes.

For now, we'll be playing in Aloha Stadium. I went with the game-generated stadium stats, and they're a bit...odd. It's a pitchers park, and will depress averages, doubles, and triples. But...home runs will be easy to come by. Once I find a fictional stadium image I like, that looks suitably picturesque, I'll make a big deal of moving out of the cavernous, 70s-looking Aloha.

My new owner is Alexis Pagan, a 49-year-old originally from the Dominican Republic. He's tolerant and hands-off (good), but an economizer and has profit as his priority (hmm). His first goals to me are "don't suck completely." Hey, thanks. He's also given me a budget of $90M.

Our head coach is Rehiner Cordova. He's 40, from Venezuela, and is listed as "Inexperienced." He's easygoing, conventional, and favors power hitters. His ratings (yes, I peeked) are all just on both sides of average. I also find out that he's a former 2B, came up in the Miami/Richmond system starting in 2012....and that I released him in 2017 after two seasons in A ball. No hard feelings, big guy!

Meet the Players
The expansion draft brought me 33 players, 17 batters and 16 pitchers. Nearly all of these guys figure to be on the 40-man roster. From there, I'll need to fill out the rest of my farm system. I have teams in AAA, AA, A, S A, and two R. More on them later.



Oh my. This is pretty clearly an expansion lineup. It's obvious that we'll struggle for hits, with only two players having good contact. All those low Eye ratings are worrisome as well. But we will hit some homers and some extra-base hits (away from home, at least). Breaking down the batters a bit more closely:

CATCHER: a decent enough platoon here, even though both are RH batters. Zamorano is the better defensive player. I'll ride whoever is hitting better here. Neither is a long-term solution. (Get used to hearing that.)

FIRST BASE: Thomas looks like our cleanup hitter. Neither he nor Elder are any great shakes in the field, although Elder has a nice looking overall rating.

SECOND BASE: Connor gets the nod going into camp. He has the slight edge at the plate, and is by far the better fielder. Depending on injuries and how the season unfolds, Hebert (3B) might figure in here as well.

THIRD BASE: Hebert looks like an all-star on this team. Good contact, won't strike out, and won't hurt you with his glove. Not rangy enough for shortstop, and has no power. Neitzke has a cannon arm, and has good intangibles, so he's useful even though he's limited to third.

SHORTSTOP: A trouble spot. Hubert would be a decent-enough backup on a better team, especially as his glove is a bit clunky for a SS. Lamborn is a very good fielder, but probably won't hit. He's a bit of a slacker too. And you may have noticed we have a Hubert and a Hebert. Good times.

OUTFIELD: There's a lot of mediocrity here, and I'll need spring training to figure out who's going to play where. Bacon, Moreno, and Christopher are better corner outfielders, with Torres and Winchester better at center. However, anyone could end up anywhere with this group.



Sixteen pitchers, almost all of whom have stamina enough to start, almost all with at least three pitches too. Camp is going to tell me who does what come opening day. Right now, I'd have to guess my starters will be Rivera, Wiggins, Fisher, and two of Adams, Griffith, Tello, and Vance. Key and Yates are the best bullpen options, although I'm hoping some of these guys with high Stuff will settle in to useful roles. Once play starts, I think we're going to walk a lot of guys. There are going to be a lot of high WHIPs. And if we're beset by injuries, well...let's not think about that.

Next up: rest of off-season and training camp, plus a system report.

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Old 04-16-2017, 09:56 PM   #3
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Wow this is great so far.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:46 PM   #4
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Filling in the Rest

Owner Alexis Pagan has given us a 90M dollar budget. I set the scouting budget at 15M, the development budget at 12M, our draft budget at 8M, and international amatuer at 3M. I may have to adjust these in coming years as we get better players (ha) with higher salaries. Our big league player salaries total around 30M. We will be 36th out of 36 teams, easily.

Next is filling out our farm teams. I begin the parade of minor league signings, eventually filling out our AAA, AA, and A teams. I sign a few extras, who will sit in short A and be the initial call-ups when injuries strike, and because I don't like having 30+ players on a farm team. The draft will help fill out the summer teams, and I'll take advantage of the inevitable mid-summer releases to hopefully grab a few other useful guys for the low minors.

Our minor league system is as follows:
AAA International League -- Kansas City (MO) T-Bones
AA Eastern League -- Lewiston (ME) Millers
A California League -- Eureka (CA) Aces
S A New York-Penn League -- Poughkeepsie (NY) Tanks
R Appalachian League -- Athens (GA) Warriors
R Appalachian League -- Boone (NC) Mountain Cats

A pretty tight little system. Decided not to add any DSL or VSL teams, to keep things manageable. Plus, six minor league teams fits nicely on my Rosters & Transactions screen! I'm not optimistic that we'll have much joy on any of these teams, given the marginal talents I've been able to sign. Kansas City might fare well, since there are a passel of near-big leaguers who will sign for minor league deals, added to the expansion draftees who won't make the big club out of the gate. Below are really the only guys who might see some MLB time of the free agents:

...Ryan Marciante, RF, 28 (2033 stats: 126gp, 496ab, .274/.348/.373, 8hr, 51sb in AAA Toronto org) Average batting ratings; speedy, but no OF range; nice glove and arm
...Steve Edmisten, LF/1B (2033 stats: 5 at bats and 1 hit in R ball. Yep.) Fair contact, but nice gap, eye, and avoid K's. Little power, slow as molasses, and a subpar fielder
...Esteban Reyes, C, 23 (2033 stats: none available, Saltillo in the Mexican League) Another average batter; good defensive catcher, best of a bad lot
...David Briseno, C, 22 (2033 stats: none! Out of baseball) Below average across the board, but the fastest catcher I've ever seen
...Salvador de la Cruz, SP, 25 (2033 stats: 27starts, 12-7, 2.82era, 129k, 150ip, 3.6war, AA HOU org; 2gp in AAA) Sort of a AAAA player; 12-13 (of 20) ratings, four developed pitches, 92-94mph, groundball guy, hard worker, left-handed
...Tyler Hines, RP, 34 (2033 stats: 71gp, 2sv, 3.99era, 79k, 67.2ip for Minnesota) Big guy (6'5") who's best days are behing him; 2026 and '27 Hoyt Wilhelm Award winner, won Series with Angels in 2032; nice stuff and control, average movement, extreme FB pitcher

That's it.

Spring Training and Start of Season

Somehow we managed to go 14-14 during spring training. There were no real standouts, but I was a encouraged by some steady hitting from several outfielders, and I think I've got a set lineup going into the season. I gave eight pitchers starts during camp, getting decent numbers out of Fisher, Wiggins, and Rivera, and cautiously serviceable stuff out of Hancock and Pugsley.

Here's our lineup going into the season, with better (best?) players in bold:

C Lucas Crabtree, 29 (2033 split between BOS and AAA) .341 in 44ab with BOS) Decent hitter, bad arm. Should produce some offense.
C Willie Zamorano, 27 (2033 hit .307 for SF AAA) Line drive hitter, good arm. I'll ride the hot hitter at this position.
1B Harlan Thomas, 28 (2033 .213/.270/.343 with 12hr for STL) Has some power, bad glove. Will split at 1B and DH. Cleanup.
1B JD Elder, 31 (2033 .218/.329/.340 between LAA and MIN) Some power, good plate discipline. No glove. Like Thomas, will split at DH too.
2B Tom Connor, 30 (2033 .310 in AAA, .292 in 48ab for TB) Average hitter, decent in field, can also play 1B. Great bunter.
2B Jamie Forbes, 28 (2033 .313 in AAA, 4ab with PHI) Decent batter, no eye though. Iron glove. Can play all across infield, so that's something...
3B Ryan Hebert, 26 (2033 .344, 13triples for AAA CLE) Nice contact and gap, great eye, no power. Little range, but a solid fielder at 3B/SS. Leadoff.
SS Walt Hubert, 28 (2033 .301 in 236ab for SD) Good gap/eye/discipline; rated higher at 1B, but needed at SS despite so-so glove. Nice arm.
SS William Lamborn, 31 (2033 .276 in AAA for LAD) Line drive hitter with good discipline. Top notch fielder across the infield.
LF Zach Bacon, 27 (2033 .287, 26hr in AA/AAA, .162 in 37ab for MTL) Has some pop in his bat, but little else. Average fielder; corner OF.
CF Robbie Christopher, 29 (2033 .309 in AAA, .261/.317/.383 in 115ab for ARI) Average hitter with good gap power. Better corner OF but will get most playing time in center.
RF Kelvin Moreno, 27 (2033 .311 in AAA, .250 with MIL) Low average but good power and OBP; cannon arm; corner OF only.
OF Miguel Torres, 27 (2033 .252 in AAA, .169 in 59ab with CHC) Very nice power, eye, discipline. No contact. Very solid fielder, all three positions. Will try him at #3 or #5, probably.

SP Oscar Wiggins, 32 (43g, 34ip, 40k, 4.98era with CHW) Three quality pitches, good stuff and movement, mediocre control. Opening day starter.
SP Ed Fisher, 26 (19starts, 96ip, 4.95era with SD) Junkballer, movement his best quality. Five decent pitches, only slider is good tho.
SP Rich Rivera, 28 (58g, 11starts, 111ip, 123k, 4.28era with MIA) Great stuff, elite slider/fastball, two other good pitches. Control an issue.
SP Chance Muller, 26 (33g, 139ip, 3.88era in AAA for LAD) Highest potential here, but hasn't shown anything in MLB yet. Ratings very nice all across board. We'll see.
SP Dan Hancock, 33 (30g, 45ip, 66k, 1.79era with ATL) Three quality pitches, good velocity and stuff...but no movement or control. Extreme flyball pitcher (uh-oh).
CL Jay Yates, 28 (78g, 79ip, 107k, 3.40era for RIC) Probably best player on team. Solid closer. Elite curve. Keeps ball on ground.
RP Raleigh Vance, 25 (79g, 76ip, 3.52era for SD) Scouts LOVE him, ratings look fantastic. Will be key setup man.
RP Dwight Kaufman, 29 (15starts, 87ip, 4.78era for BAL) High velo fastball, good leader. Control could be a big problem tho.
RP Jackson Klug, 28 (36g, 56ip, 74k, 4.66era for CLE) A tweener: has five rated pitches, two are very good; stamina fair, ditto control.
RP Adam Pugsley, 26 (22starts, 124ip, 2.91era in AAA for NYY) Another tweener; four pitches, good stuff. Movement and control so-so.
RP Billy Cerrone, 28 (52g, 6.75era in AAA for RIC) Three pitches but stamina keeps him in pen. Great stuff, little else. Stands at 6'6".
RP Ryan Key, 26 (40g, 39ip, 2.77era for SD) Rare guy here who has good ratings across the board. Probably the second setup guy.

...
Whew. A whole lot of, what? Mediocrity, average-ness, maybe some just plain bad here. (And, man, did we raid the San Diego pitching staff!) No surprise that MLB predicts we'll finish 60-102, sixth place, with no one in the top ten batters or pitchers. My feeling is that we can do better than 60 wins, but we'll have to stay healthy, and avoid long streaks where both the pitching and hitting are slumping. We'll see.

Next up: Season recap, with stats, transactions, roller coaster rides, and more!
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Old 04-20-2017, 09:29 PM   #5
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Joyriding Through 2034

MLB says we're going to finish with 60 wins. Hey, what do they know? They also rate our minor league system 35th out of 36th teams...which means that New Orleans has actually signed worse minor leaguers than we have. That's simultaneously comforting and sad.


April 2034: month 11-15 / overall 11-15 .423 Hey, not too bad. We're tied for last place, since Houston got off to an 0-5 start, but recovered. We didn't win more than 2 in a row, but didn't lose more than 2 consectively, either. So that's something. No major injuries, and no exciting performances either.

Transactions: none
Outlook: still cautiously optimistic. We're on a 70-game winning pace, which would be ten games over what MLB says we're capable of.


May 2034: month 5-23 / overall 16-38 .296 Disaster. Two eight-game losing streaks were our only "highlights." Hitting went downhill, pitching went even lower than that. One thing we are doing is hitting home runs, averaging over one per game.

Transactions: Claimed RP Sonny Balderston off waivers from MTL 5/11...Claimed RP Roberto Castillo off waivers from CHW 5/20. Both are better than most of what we're trotting out of the pen every night. Both have good stuff and control, Castillo not much movement tho. Balderston a righty, Castillo a lefty...Traded SP Chance Muller to CLE for OF Eric Lane 5/22. Muller was a big disappointment, not living up to his quality ratings (5.20era and 45ip over 9starts). Lane has decent contact, and good power and gap power. He'll slot into RF, where Kelvin Moreno has HR power, but little else...Traded 2B Tom Connor to BRO for IF Andy Hellard 5/31. Connor hit .141 when he wasn't injured. Plus, he's making $1.05M, so we're saving big bucks. Hellard is solid at the three skilled IF positions, and has a rocket arm. No power, but good enough with the bat to be a quality fill-in when needed.
Outlook: trending downward. Five wins in May. Still, a few transactions and a whole lot of lineup juggling means things can't get worse, right?


June 2034: month 4-23 / overall 20-61 .247 Ahhhh, what. Here's the poster child for our May and June: SP Brent Adams, called up in May, made 7 starts and delivered these results: 1-6, 34ip, 54hits, 15k, 17bb, 10.16era, -0.4war. At the plate, we're still hitting home runs, but little else. (NOTE: The draft review will come in the next post.)

Transactions: Signed 2B Alex Contreras to a one-year deal worth $920K. He's 36, so definitely not a long-term solution. Has a solid glove, decent contact, and good eye. Hit .232 for CLE in 38 games last year. Was a quality starter in the '20s for OAK and POR, putting together a couple of 6 WAR seasons, and even a couple of 20 HR seasons, although his power has declined significantly since.
Outlook: ugh. We're approaching the all-star break, and something's gotta give by then. This is my first extended experience with a team that is not hitting and not pitching at the same time. Home attendance is also hovering around the 15K mark.


July 2034: month 9-17 / overall 29-78 .271 When a 9-17 mark is a fantastic improvement, you know you're not only living in the basement, you're signing a long-term lease. Lots of transactions this month, detailed below, but the biggest one was in the dugout: we fired manager Rehiner Cordova after he started July 0-4, to drop the team to a 20-65 record. To replace him, I hired...ME. Yes, my doppelganger had retired, and was hanging out in the Available Personnel section. I checked me out, saw that I actually had pretty decent ratings, and signed me. Good times. Apparently I'm conventional in style, but controlling in personality. Maybe I'm what this team needs. I look forward to the day when I get to fire myself.

Transactions: Very busy. Traded 2B Alex Contreras to KC for OF Marc Ferenczi 7/5. Contreras played 3 games, got hurt, then sat on the bench when he came back due to the improving play of Jamie Forbes. He was NOT HAPPY, and demanded a trade. So I granted his wish. Ferenczi is 27, best in left and center, and looks like a lot of guys on this team: decent contact, good gap power, no HR power. Good glove tho, which I hope helps our league-bottom defensive efficiency...Traded JD Elder to BAL for IF John Kuczkowski 7/6. Kucz right now is good field/no hit, so he'll fit right in. Actually, he'll probably start in AAA, since I'm set in the infield for now due to some better play from 2B Forbes and 3B/SS Hebert. Elder was supposed to be a go-to lefty power hitter in the middle of the lineup, but only put up .174/.272/.246 in 276ab. I also decided he could go b/c I was hot in pursuit of a new free agent who popped up on the board after his IBL season ended... Signed 1B Jeremy Dunklee as a free agent 7/15. This is potentially my first huge move for this team. Dunklee is 24, and currently has good contact, but plus gap, power, and eye. He's got room to develop; if he hits his potential, he's a future MVP candidate, in my mind at least. He only lacks a glove, and pretty seriously bought his fielding tools from Dave Kingman. He'll DH most of the rest of the season, to see what develops. I signed him for a gigantic $100M contract over 9 years. I made sure our owner was out of town when I did that...Traded SP/RP Dwight Kaufman to BOS for RP Mike Koslowsky 7/27. Kaufman is popular, and had actually pitched relatively well for us (4.42era in 92ip, including 9starts). But he's making $4.1M, and I wanted to cut some pay after signing Dunklee. Plus, his control is erratic (49bb in those 92ip). Koslowsky is decent (13-15 ratings out of 20), affordable, and has enough stamina and three pitches, so could be a spot starter if we need a body...Traded RP Tyler Hines to OAK for RP Matt Inman 7/31. Hines had injury problems, came back and then had every other kind of problem: 19ip, 12bb, 8.05era from the pen. A rotting corpse, basically.) Inman is rated basically the same as Hines, but with better movement (14 vs 10). If his ERA is below 8, he'll be a success.
Outlook: Ok, breathe. We played better with a new manager (9-13 after the firing), and continued remaking our bullpen. I'm also excited to see if Dunklee can live up to his hype. I'm surprised we got him, but we did have budget room. We only had to up our offer twice, so I'm hoping that doesn't mean that he's horribly overrated and this contract will be my Waterloo.


August 2034: month 11-17 / overall 40-95 .296 So close to that magical .300 win percentage. Most of my moves from July have been okay, at least. My bullpen is no longer drawing flies (although Inman, whom I jokingly said could be a success if his ERA was below 8, has an ERA at 7). Dunklee is only hitting around .230, but he's got some power and is getting on base at a .400 clip, which leads our team by far.

Transactions: Claimed RP Andy Long off waivers from RIC 8/27. Great stuff (20 out of 20), and a sweet cutter (19), just fair everywhere else. You can't have too many pitchers, and since we have very little in AAA that's worth calling up, I'm constantly trolling the waiver wire in hopes that at least 1 out of 3 pickups work out.
Outlook: Stability. Hopefully we've at least left the dark months of mid-summer behind, even if we're still a long way off from being competitive.


September 2034: month 17-10 / overall 57-105 .351 Not sure where this came from, but our first winning month ever. Most of the month we treaded water, but ended the season on an 8-game winning streak. Since our Kansas City AAA affiliate was vying for a playoff spot, I only called up a few players. (Plus...there are few interesting players there anyway.) SP Salvador de la Cruz looked promising in five starts, but no batters distinguished themselves. I'll take the end of season funsies, but I'm not sure how many of these guys will be around next year, so I'm thinking this stretch was something of a false dawn.

Transactions: none, other than September callups.
Outlook: Is there room for some optimism for 2035 after that finish? Maybe. Dunklee looks promising at 1B/DH, Forbes looked good at 2B, and Hebert was actually quite good at 3B and SS. The outfield is still all question marks, and the pitching was a mess. The off-season will require a lot of hard thinking.

......

2034 In Review: Hitting



Nobody distinguished himself at the plate, but it wasn't all bad news. Ok...it was mostly bad news. We scored 619 runs and had a .235/.296/.373 slash line. We were the only team to get on base at less than a 30 percent clip. We only stole 33 bases. We did pop 160 home runs, good for a tie for eighth.

Ryan Hebert played well all season long, moving around the infield (52gp at SS, 51 at 3B, 47 at 2B). Still, a 1.5 WAR in 621ab does not an all-star make. He's young enough and still on a minimum contract, and our best contact hitter. He'll return. Jamie Forbes was a pleasant surprise once he took over at second in June, with 16hr and 1.8 WAR in essentially half a season's worth of at bats. He is NOT a good fielder, tho, and that could be his ultimate undoing. At catcher, we got 2.5 WAR out of our regulars, Zamorano and Crabtree, which is satisfactory. Neither is great behind the plate, but they don't kill you either. RF Eric Lane played well after his trade. He only hit .235, which was just below expectation, but he got on base and hit enough HR to earn his keep. Dunklee is still My Precious and I'm looking forward to him developing even more next season. Since Thomas was a lot of meh at 1B, Dunklee might end up there, depending on what I'm able to find in the off-season. Center field devolved to Christopher after Miguel Torres couldn't stay healthy. Neither is really suited to the position. Ferenczi looked okay late in the season, but his upside is limited. Bacon and Moreno had alternating good and awful stretches at the plate, and neither looked particularly useful in the field as well.

Our biggest problem was simply getting on base: next to last in average, and dead last in OBP. Only Seattle was worse than us at the plate, but they still managed to win 75 games due to having good pitching. Going into the off-season, I want to find at least a decent CF, and another 1B or DH. I'll privilege fielding and OBP over power.

2034 In Review: Pitching



If our batters couldn't draw a walk all season, our pitchers couldn't stop putting people on base. We were consistenly ranked 17th out of 18 AL staffs, with only Houston performing worse (although we did give up the most runs, 827 to Houston's 817). We were 16th in WHIP and BABIP, 11th in strikeouts, and 17th in walks allowed.

By far our best starter was Oscar Wiggins. A 3.5 WAR would be pretty fair on most teams, but for us, it's Pitcher of the Year quality. He consistently gave us chances to win, even if we just as consistently failed to grab them. Ed Fisher gave it his all, and his ugly W-L record belies a decent year otherwise. His low strikeout numbers means he puts a lot of balls into play, and our fielding just wasn't good enough to make him better. The rest were nothing special. Tello was second in the league in walks; Klug was maddeningly inconsistent. Rich Rivera started the year well, but fell off the table then got hurt. Hancock and Adams were awful. Others were traded. De la Cruz looked good in his September callup, but my scouts don't like him. Still, he's earned another look.

Our bullpen stabilized after my mid-season moves, but there's still enough bad pitching to shoulder some blame for our woeful season. Closer Jay Yates was the notable exception, and was our only all-star. Ryan Key was up and down, but is worth keeping around. Balderston, Castillo, and Koslowsky were decent to good after their acquisitions, as was Long in September. Raleigh Vance is a scouting darling, and on paper looked like our best pitcher. However, he got bombed all year long, and his ERA only dropped below 6 in September. Cerrone, Hines, and Inman were dreadful.

For next season, I think I can at least tread water with quite a bit of this staff. I want to find 2 more starters, and hopefully another 1-2 more relievers. I want to go into camp with at least 17-20 big league quality pitchers to choose from. We're not there yet, but also not too far from having a servicable, stable rotation and bullpen.

......

2034 MLB Roundup
In the AL, Toronto was the cream of the league with 111 wins. Minnesota (94-68) won the Central, and Oakland (89-73) the West. Tampa Bay (97 wins) and Kansas City (91) were the wild card teams, and the Rays won the one-game playoff. Tampa Bay then shocked Toronto, and Oakland swept the Twins. The A's topped the Rays in 7 to head to their first World Series since 1990. In the NL, Richmond, Pittsburgh, and San Diego won their divisions, with San Francisco (87 wins) and Montreal (91) claiming the wild card spots. The Giants topped the Expos, then swept the surprised Pirates in three games. San Diego likewise swept Richmond. The Giants then beat the Padres in seven to set up a reprise of the 1989 Bay Area Series. The Giants won a classic in seven games, their eighth title overall and first since 2012.

AL Awards:
League MVP: C Devlin Ransberger, Toronto (.289/.364/.621, 50 HR, 129 RBI, 113 R, 166 wRC+, 9.2 WAR)
Cy Young Award: Dave Henderson, Toronto (19-4, 3.13 ERA, 210 IP, 1.26 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 5.6 WAR)
Rookie of Year: RF Sean Holliday, Texas (.317/.407/.580, 37 HR, 119 RBI, 164 wRC+, 8.4 WAR)

NL Awards:
League MVP: SS Pablo Delgado, Pittsburgh (.303/.428/.574, 36 HR, 91 RBI, 122 R, 188 wRC+, 10.9 WAR)
Cy Young Award: Jake Atkinson, Brooklyn (19-4, 1.95 ERA, 212 IP, 0.97 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, 8.2 WAR)
Rookie of Year: 1B Julio Gonzalez, San Diego (.314/.365/.519, 15 HR, 56 RBI, 158 wRC+, 4.7 WAR)

Other items of interest...
...four no-hitters, including the first two perfect games in this dynasty play (Shawn Knox for STL and Zac Webster for CLE)...Tom Sloan (PIT) and Joey Etler (MIN) win 20 games, but no Cy Young for either...WAS pitcher Orlando Ramos records his 4000th strikeout...PIT hits 248 home runs, missing tying the MLB record by one...Ransberger won his second MVP...the other expansion franchise, New Orleans, won 63 games; St Louis won 60, meaning we'll have the first overall pick in next year's draft.

Next up: 2034 draft review
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:22 PM   #6
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2034 Islanders Draft Review and More

MLB graciously allowed us to have the first pick in this year's draft, which was especially kind as New Orleans went first in the expansion draft. Look how well that worked out for both teams. I think we got the better end of the deal. And having just finished dead last in the standings, we'll draft #1 overall again next year.

Round 1, 1st Overall
OF Travis McArthur, 22, Univ. of South Carolina. Very well rounded, and projects out well in nearly every area. Plus contact, gap, and power potential, and won't strike out a ton either. Eye below average. Good speed and judgement on the basepaths. Can play all three outfield positions, and has great range and arm. His glove is problematic, and will probably put him in RF. He's far enough along in his development that he could make the team out of camp in 2035. Started for us in S A, then to AA, and finally 10 games in AAA. Hit a combined .256 with 4 HR.

Round 2, 49th Overall
IF Josh Robertson, 19, high school. Listed as a 3B on the draft list, but his average arm will probably see him end up at 2B. Rates at SS as well. Good fielder otherwise. Good contact, plus gap power and avoid K's. Not much power. Has a sweet Jeff Kent porn-stache too. Played 66 games at rookie ball, hit .238/.258/.312 in 218 at bats. Still a few years away from the bigs.

Round 3, 83rd Overall
RP Jason Albritton, 23, Grambling State. Average movement and control, but great stuff. Two plus pitches, fastball and slider. Nice intangibles too. Lefty. Worked in 26 games in S A ball, 28 IP, 33 K, 3.21 ERA. Will be in A or AA next year, depending on need.

Round 4, 123rd Overall
SP Cameron Vitali, 22, Wichita State. Good potential in all three pitching ratings. Has a mostly developed fastball and sinker, and a changeup that could be super if it develops. Mediocre stamina. High work ethic. Made 15 starts in rookie ball, 3.27 ERA, 77 IP, 70 K, 1.4 WAR. Likely in A ball for 2035.

Round 5, 159th Overall
RP Travis Kelley, 20, Univ. of Michigan. Possible future closer, more likely a quality set up guy. Plus stuff, solid movement and control. Working on plus fastball and curve. Velocity at 97-99. Saw 22 games in rookie ball, 20 IP, 31 K, 4.95 ERA. Good enough for AA, maybe AAA next year.

Round 6, 195th Overall
OF Drew Livolsi, 18, high school. Maybe a reach here, as he'll have to work to surpass his current potential. Scouts see him as decidedly average across the board at the plate. Good fielder, average arm. High intelligence/work ethic gives me hope he'll surprise. Was seriously overmatched in rookie ball tho, 68 games, 227 AB, .150/.175/.181. Will be there again next year.

Round 7, 231st Overall
OF Greg Zachry, 19, high school. Another high character guy, similar to Livolsi but with a little more pop in his bat. Slow on the bases and in the field. Good glove, good arm. In 62 GP at S A, hit .229/.257/.285 in 214 AB. Probably in A ball next year.

Round 8, 267th Overall
RP Cameron Bornhoft, 18, high school. Really middling across all ratings, as the draft started dropping off significantly at this point. Movement looks good, tho. Two decent pitches, third might develop, probably won't. Low velocity, 85-87. Lefty. High work ethic. Rookie ball, 23 games, 4.20 ERA.

Round 9, 303rd Overall
SP Rob Hart, 18, high school. Something of a wild card. Potential stuff is off the charts, but only if his third pitch (changeup, currently at 3 out of 23) develops. Fastball and curve could be plus, too. Could end up as back-end starter or a middling reliever. Two games in rookie ball. Not yet developed enough for A ball yet.

Round 10, 339th Overall
SP Paul Piazza, 20, Virginia Tech. Like Hart, likely to develop two pitches, but needs his change (3 of 15) to make it as a starter. Decent stuff, so-so movement and control. Pitched poorly in rookie ball, 7.55 ERA in 13 starts; will be there again in 2035.

......

Others of note in the system:

1B Erik Hodge, 23, FA signing 4/12/2034. Slightly above average contact and gap, and decent power. Bad eye, but keeps strikeouts down. Decent speed and running, especially for a big 1B type. Below average fielder. Good minor league fodder; could surprise and make it to the bigs with a little development. Spent 2034 in AAA: 413 AB, .300/.336/.477, 11 HR, 18 SB. A good camp might see him in Hawaii next year.

OF Phil McDaniel, 23, FA signing 3/18/2034. One of those guys you just wish could hit his weight. Incredible speed and running. Rates very highly in all three OF spots, great arm, nice glove and range. Intangibles to kill for. But below average contact and gap, and absolutely no power. Still, could one day figure as a defensive replacement. Hit .274/.331/.378 in A ball, with 12 triples and 35 SB; .261 in 23 AB at AA. So maybe there's something there after all; worth keeping an eye on.

SP Bobby Little, 22, trade with RIC for Dan Hancock and Billy Cerrone, 6/30/2034. Took a chance on this guy, as currently he's rated to have good stuff, but so-so movement and control. Could have four good pitches, and has a big-league slider already. Made 29 starts across four MiLB teams in two systems, 160 IP, 125 K, 3.54 ERA.

OF Mel Carillo, 17, int'l amateur FA 7/3/2034. Went hard after Carillo. Signed for $2.2M bonus. Could be an offensive force, with excellent contact potential, plus gap and HR power, and above average eye and K avoidance. Not a runner. Average fielder; fair arm will probably put him in LF, and he's too slow to be a good CF. Can play 1B too. In international complex.

OF Tony Mendez, 17, scouting discovery 3/14/2034. Doesn't rate too highly at the plate right now, and may never develop there. But is a speed demon, and has a nice glove. Good range, might be a fit for CF. International complex.

P Jorge Grijalva, 17, int'l amateur FA 7/3/2034. Projects strictly as a hard-throwing reliever. Good fastball and curve. Little movement. International complex.

......

If my scouts are not completely on drugs, we're on our way to building a decent farm system. MacArthur and Robertson look like sure-fire starters, and hopefully at least a couple pitchers develop. Getting Carillo was a bonus, too. We have an owner goal to build a top-ten prospect system, so hopefully when the next rating comes out we'll be much further up the list.

Next up: 2034-35 off season
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Old 04-24-2017, 09:19 PM   #7
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Now is the Winter of our (Dis)Content

Our first real off-season is upon us. We've got a season under our belts, and I have a better idea of who I want to stay for 2035, and who needs to go. I'll also get a better feel for what I want to do when I see the results of arbitration. While we're not an extremely limited team budget-wise, we have to be sensible when doling out contracts. I don't want to put marginal players who aren't in the long-term future of this team on big deals. By 'big' I mean I'm not paying a marginal starter 6-10 million bucks per season. Plus, if we're going to have any hope of going after free agents, we'll need room to do that. I know I don't have to strictly play by OOTP's financial rules, but I'm going to try.

So, having said all that. My goals for the off-season? Build a better pitching staff. I was only happy with two pitchers last year: SP Oscar Wiggins and CL Jay Yates. Everything else is wide open. I want pitchers with better control (2nd in most walks allowed is no good), and while I prefer groundballers, our infield defense is not yet so reliable as to make that type of pitcher a must-have. Still, I'll favor that type, all other things being equal. Beyond the pitching staff, I'm a little more open to whatever is out there. I've got a nebulous crowd of outfielders, so I'd like to end up with three obvious starters and a more well-defined bench. I'd love to upgrade at SS. (Yes I know: a 57-win team probably needs upgrades everywhere.) I also want players who are more willing to take a walk to get on base.

Summing up: 1) Pitching; 2) Better contact/eye/OBP players; 3) Cheap FA

OCTOBER
...10/6 -- we get things off to a quick start with our first post-season trade: SP Fernando Tello to DET for RP Juan Salazar. There's a lot to like about Tello: intangibles, great stuff, stamina, three quality pitches. But his control was lacking (102 BB in 173 IP) and he didn't strike out enough batters to make up for that. I've had Salazar before, in Brooklyn, and he's an able set up man who instantly makes our bullpen much better. He's in the last year of his contract though, and currently makes 1.2M.
...10/13 -- our next move could be a big one. I'm excited, at least. We signed free agent SP Ken Clark out of the Mexican League for 10.5M over 3 years. My scouts love this guy, saying he has no weaknesses: good stuff, movement, and control; three developed pitches; and decent stamina. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Mets in 2028, but they released him in '29. Apparently he joined the foreign legion for a few years, because he drops off the radar until turning up for Puebla in Mexico in 2032. Last year was his first decent year, with a 3.4 WAR. There are caveats, of course: LMB is not MLB; pitchers are notoriously unreliable; and the fact that he signed quickly, as apparently no one else was after him. So a steal or a dud. We'll find out quickly, at least.

NOVEMBER
...11/1 -- Owner Goals time! I kind of like owner goals, even if some make no sense. I figure that's like management everywhere, not just in baseball. Last year our goals were: don't suck completely, average 29K in attendance, and make a profit. We did, we didn't, and we did. This year, we get: 1) Don't Suck Completely. I'm working on it. 2) Upgrade at CF. Again...working on it. 3) Increase attendance to 34K. Um...tougher, but if we play better, we'll get there. 4) Build your farm to a top-7 team. I think we'll get there sooner than you think. 5) Long term goal to make playoffs by 2041. If I can't make the playoffs by year 7, fire me.
...11/1 -- we also get a message that fan loyalty has dropped to "Above Average." Really, after one year? Fickle b*st*rds. And...Pagan has cut our budget by nine mil, down to 86M. Come on! How do you expect me to build a winning team, big guy? Jeez.
...11/6 -- I'm always up for taking advantage of other GMs, and this next move could be just that: we claim on waivers C Austin Collins from MIL. Collins right now is all hitter: not that he's exceptional anywhere, but he makes good contact, doesn't strike out much, and should develop above average power and eye. He could become a steady .290 or .300 hitter, with 15-20 HR per season. But he is slow as dirt, and his ratings as a catcher are...not good. Below average arm, catcher rating at 11 (of 20). I'll give him time in ST to see if he'll develop any more behind the plate, but as I've got two decent backstops already, Collins could see most of his time at DH. He's an upgrade there already, rating better across the board than last year's DH's, Thomas and Elder.
...11/20 -- signed Ryan Castellani to be our pitching coach in Poughkeepsie, our S A affiliate. This will be his first coaching position.
...11/24 -- TRADE! We send IF Tom Nietzke and RP Matt Inman to NYY for SP Bobby Anderson. Basically a back-of-the-lineup IF and a decent RP for a quality starter. Anderson is one of those ratings-over-stats guys, as he's had three years in the Yankees rotation and nothing stands out. He does not have great stuff, and in fact has no fastball at all, going entirely with cutter/curve/change/forkball. Very good movement and control, tho. Plus, he's a leader, and the players immediately appreciate that. He'll make 3.3M, but his contract balloons to 8M next season.
...11/26 -- arbitration decisions came out today. Mostly good news for us, as arbitrators favored the team in 8 of 10 decisions. But the ones we lost will cost us: SP Oscar Wiggins will get 6M, and OF Eric Lane 4.2M. Wiggins was our best starting pitcher by quite a lot last year, but I can't see that he's worth 6 mill. Lane is a big swinger, and did play well for us after coming over from CLE, but again I think it's an overpayment for a guy who only hits home runs, and not by the bucketful. No one else was awarded more than 1.2M, so we're not in too much pain. Yet.
...11/27 -- TRADE! More pitching. This time we send SP Jackson Klug and 1B/DH Harlan Thomas to MIA for SP Jimmy Wunderlich. I have a soft spot for Klug, as he was the only pitcher last year who got a hit for me. But he's a high stuff/low movement flyball pitcher, and I hate giving up tons of home runs. Thomas became expendable with the acquisition of Collins and the (hopefully) continued development of Dunklee at first. Wunderlich is my kind of pitcher: lots of green in the ratings, with no weak spots; groundballer; good intangibles. Went 12-12 with a 3.95 ERA and 2.5 WAR for a weak MIA team last year. Won't strike out a lot of guys. Like Anderson, also a forkball pitcher. Only noticing that now. In fact, none of the three pitchers I've acquired this off-season have a fastball. Interesting...

DECEMBER
...12/1 -- the pitching retooling continues, as we send OF Miguel Torres to STL For RP Jack Shewmake. Torres has a lot of tools: glove, speed, power, eye, and low K totals. But low contact and gap just kill him for me. Shewmake is a bit of a gamble, like most relievers. His ratings are outstanding: fantastic stuff, closer level really. Good control. Two excellent pitches (including a fastball, finally!). Velo approaching 100 mph. His stats have not been good tho: 1.62 WHIP and 5.52 ERA (but a 3.30 FIP). So he gives up a lot of hits. He did have 32 saves for the horrible Cardinals, so maybe he does have something. I'm hopeful.
...12/14 -- International free agents come out, and it's a whole lot of YAWN. We do sign 24-year-old 2B Eigo Mikami out of Japan. Solid defensively and speed to burn, but he doesn't hit. High work ethic tho, so maybe he'll still pan out. He agrees to a minor league deal.
...12/27 -- Rule 5 draft claim RP Evan Larkins from RIC. Decent enough ratings and a hard worker. Has spent two unsuccessful seasons in AAA, however. No risk, medium/high reward.
...12/30 -- going after a lot of minor league-type free agents. One worth mentioning is SS Ethan Dow. He's a lot like Mikami, above: great glove, very fast, but average bat and no power at all. Baltimore picked him in 2027, released him six months later, and he's spent six years in Mexico. Strictly a AAA guy right now, but if his bat develops he could be a quality bench player. He's 25 tho, so....long shot.

JANUARY
...1/2 -- another minor league FA signing that could develop: 1B Carlos Quintero. All bat, he projects above average in contact, gap, eye, and K avoidance. Below average power. No glove. Was a scouting discovery for TOR in 2027, and was making steady progress for them, but they just gave up on him. He's good enough for AAA, even though he never rose higher than rookie ball for the Jays. Elsewhere, we sign a lot of pitchers, the kind of guys who'll probably be looking for another minor league deal a year from now.
...1/2 -- Hall of Fame voting results: Stephen Strasburg gets in in his first year of eligibility. Of course he gets 99.3% of the vote, despite being about as sure a thing as this dynasty has produced. (See his career in the first post.) Two of my former MIA/RIC guys, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez are the only other candidates to receive 30% of the votes. They probably won't get more next year. Some guys with pretty decent careers dropped off the list this year: Yasiel Puig, Elvis Andrus, Michael Wacha, and Nick Castellanos. They'll go into the Hall of Very Good.
...1/27 -- our glorious owner, Mr. Fickle Pagan, has decided in his glorious gloriousness to raise our budget "after seeing how the off-season has gone." We're back up to $95M...where we were last season.

FEBRUARY
...2/5 -- nothing happened this month, except that I signed a new manager for AAA Kansas City. Clarence Whitney was an 8th round draft pick of mine for Richmond, a 2B with intangibles to burn. His potential was low, but I took a chance that he'd develop beyond his means. He didn't, and retired at 26 after barely making it to AAA. But just look at his player pic. This guy is taking no crap from anybody:


Now look at him, just thirteen years later. He looks like Grady from Sanford and Son.


No wonder, since he's done nothing but travel in his dozen years as a coach: hired as the batting coach for the Hanwha Eagles in Korea, he stayed three seasons and won a title. Then off to San Diego, to manage the Padres. That ended after his second year and 58 wins. Then two years as pitching coach for Kane County in the Midwest League, and then back to Korea for a year as the batting coach for Lotte...and another KBO title. The White Sox then signed him to be their new manager, where he lasted just under four years, getting fired just before the end of 2034. Tidy up, Clarence. You might be in KC for a while.

...2/13 -- Mets owner Joey Wilpon died. Son Eric Wilpon will succeed him.

MARCH
...Spring Training! Really not much to report. We went 14-14, just slightly better than last year, which doesn't really mean much. More meaningful is that we suffered no injuries, outside of minor league SS Ethan Dow, who'll miss a month. We also got some offense from 2034 #1 overall pick Travis McArthur. He's got some developing to do yet, particular his patience and strikeout avoidance, but could play for us right now. But I still have a host of MLB-level outfielders, and would prefer for him to get a little more seasoning in AAA. Go rip the minors apart, Travis. You'll be on the islands soon enough.

APRIL
...4/2 -- TRADE! It's tough to trade pitching when you're trying to become and up-and-coming team, but we had a glaring hole at SS during camp. So today I fixed it: we sent RP Mike Koslowsky to NYY for SS/2B Tony Castro. Castro is very smart, plays hard, and has ginormous talent in the field. At the plate, he rarely strikes out, but is average to just above everywhere else, aside from having no power at all. He's 25, and has played three years in New York. He had a very good rookie year, batting .303 with 17 triples, but his stats have regressed since. He'll probably bat at 8 or 9 for us, and if he hits at all, it will be a bonus.
...4/2 -- we get one final message from our owner, who never seems to be around, but is always sending me these little messages: "I hope the off-season has treated you well! This is also a reminder that you should at least try to stay close to an even record." I've never even met the man, yet still he annoys me.
...4/2 -- Preseason Prediction time! MLB says we'll win 72 games and finish last in the West. Surprise, surprise. They also say that 1B Dunklee will hit 30 HR and hit .297/.399/.530. I'll take that. Elsewhere, AL division winners will be Toronto (100 wins), Minnesota/Cleveland (tied at 88), and the Angels (99). Texas and Boston will finish with 85 wins and duke it out for the other wild card. In the NL, Atlanta (95), Montreal (97), and San Francisco (87) will win their divisions, with Richmond (89) and Pittsburgh (93) getting wild cards. I'm a little surprised about that MTL/PIT pick, but the Expos are picked to have three starters and their closer among the top ten pitchers in the league. League doormats will be the White Sox (60 wins), Detroit (62), New Orleans (68), and St. Louis (69). We're just above doormat status! Huzzah!

Next up: Opening Day roster and personal outlook

Last edited by Bub13; 05-06-2018 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:32 PM   #8
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Opening Day Roster

Roster, with 2034 stats.

DH Austin Collins -- Nashville (PCL, AAA), .287/.345/.535, 21 HR, 394 PA; also 6 PA with MIL
C Willie Zamorano -- Hawaii, .244/.298/.342, 5 HR, 143 PA
C Lucas Crabtree -- Hawaii, .261/.311/.390, 20 2B, 7 HR, 357 PA
1B Jeremy Dunklee -- Hawaii, .246/.410/.428, 9 HR, 21 RBI, 240 PA
1B Erik Hodge -- Kansas City (INTL, AAA), .300/.336/.477, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 440 PA
2B Jamie Forbes -- Hawaii, .283/.315/.510, 16 HR, 45 RBI, 314 PA
3B Ryan Hebert -- Hawaii, .288/.322/.375, 37 2B, 17 SB, 659 PA
SS Tony Castro -- NY (AL), .266/.283/.336, 24 2B, 589 PA
SS Walt Hubert -- Hawaii, .201/.271/.296, 6 HR, 363 PA
OF Zach Bacon -- Hawaii, .244/.285/.427, 19 HR, 438 PA
OF Robbie Christopher -- Hawaii, .222/.286/.355, 12 HR, 548 PA
OF Kelvin Moreno -- Hawaii, .219/.267/.357, 13 HR, 376 PA
OF Eric Lane -- Cleveland/Hawaii, .240/.340/.415, 20 HR, 527 PA

When they're all lined up like this, it's easy to see our weaknesses. Hitting for average and OBP will still be our Achilles' heel(s) again, but I'm still optimistic that we'll be better than last year. We'll get a full season from Dunklee, for one. His average was low, but his OPS was solid during his limited run. While I don't expect Collins to hit like he did in AAA, I expect he'll be more than respectable. Hebert and Forbes need to duplicate their play from last year to keep us in games; Forbes in particular delivered a lot of power in essentially half a season. His ratings don't necessarily show he's capable of it again, but if he did it once... I still need to figure out what to do with this outfield. For now it will be Bacon in left, Christopher in center, and Lane in right. Moreno is a capable enough backup all around, so I'm only going with four outfielders to start the season. I'll be on the lookout during the season to make improvements where I can, especially in the outfield.

SP Oscar Wiggins -- Hawaii, 10-12, 4.09 ERA, 194 IP, 8.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 3.5 WAR, LHP
SP Bobby Anderson -- NY (AL), 11-11, 3.91 ERA, 209 IP, 4.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, RHP
SP Jimmy Wunderlich -- Miami, 12-12, 3.99 ERA, 226 IP, 5.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, RHP
SP Ken Clark -- Puebla (LMB), 9-7, 2.94 ERA, 150 IP, 10.9 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, RHP
SP Rich Rivera -- Hawaii, 1-5, 6-05 ERA, 42 IP, 10.6 K/9, 5.4 BB/9 (2.83 ERA in 124 IP at AAA), RHP

RP Raleigh Vance -- Hawaii, 1-12, 5.36 ERA, 84 IP, 8.5 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 3 SV, RHP
RP Andy Long -- Hawaii, 0-0, 1.04 ERA, 9 IP, 11.4 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 (5.25 ERA in 24 IP at AAA), RHP
RP Evan Larkins -- Raleigh (INTL, AAA), 3-9, 6.10 ERA, 49 IP, 7.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, RHP
RP Ryan Key -- Hawaii, 3-2, 4.55 ERA, 59 IP, 8.5 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1 SV, RHP
RP Juan Salazar -- CIN/DET, 4-8, 3.61 ERA, 62 IP, 8.2 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 19 SV, RHP
RP Jack Shewmake -- St Louis, 7-11, 5.25 ERA, 70 IP, 9.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 32 SV, RHP
CL Jay Yates -- Hawaii, 7-7, 3.32 ERA, 69 IP, 11.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 33 SV, LHP

I'm a little more optimistic that our new pitching staff will deliver better results than last year's model. With three new starters (plus Rivera, who spent much of 2034 in AAA) in the rotation, and four new relievers, you'll need a scorecard to tell who's who. I'm hoping Anderson and Wunderlich will be stable, at least, and that Clark will get better as he acclimates to MLB. Here's hoping Shewmake and Salazar are the ace set up guys I think they can be. It could be problematic that both of them want to be closers, but Yates pretty much has that nailed down.

Defensively, we'll be better than our near-the-bottom defensive efficiency from last year. At SS, Castro is a huge improvement at a key position, and allows Hebert to stay at 3B, where his limited range isn't as big a drawback. My catcher platoon is adequate. My outfielders have good range and arms, even if their glovework is spotty. The right side of the infield, however, could be a problem. Dunklee only played four games at first last year, so he's brand spanking new over there and his ratings don't impress. And at second, Forbes had better hit, because his fielding is decidedly subpar.

OVERALL: We'll be better than 2034, but how much? If our hitting doesn't collapse, and our new pitchers deliver, we'll easily top 70 wins, and maybe even approach .500. But there are a lot of 'ifs' on the roster. Still, OOTP has made me an optimist, and I'm excited to see how we do.

Next up: Play ball!
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:46 PM   #9
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Early Season Report

April 2035
The first month of the season was a wild one. After an early 4-game winning streak put us at 6-2, the rest of the month went like this: lose 4, win 3, lose 3, win 1, lose 3, win 1, lose 3. Our end-of-month record was 11-15, exactly the same as 2034. Ominous, given how perfectly horrible we played over May and June last year. More troubling is that my shiny new pitching staff has an ERA over 5, including five games where we gave up more than 10 runs. We also recorded our first shutout (Ken Clark, 8 innings of 2-hit ball vs Oakland). Jay Yates continued his fine work from last year, netting 8 saves and a 2.31 ERA. At the plate we're a little better, with Dunklee sporting a nice .368/.440/.674 line, with 6 HR. New DH Collins hit .297/.357/.475, and OF Kelvin Moreno seeing more playing time after hitting .395 to start the year.

NOTES: consider OF Eric Lane. On his first at bat, on opening night, he gets hit by Miami pitcher Levi Brady. He breaks his foot, and is out for a month. At least he's got a 1.000 OBP. We call up Marc Ferenczi, who will slot into CF, moving Robbie Christopher over to right. Sadly, Ferenczi doesn't come close to hitting his weight (185 lbs), going .128/.139/.141 in 21 starts, with 21 Ks and 1 BB. He'll be back in KC when Lane returns. AND WE ARE NOT IN LAST PLACE.

TRANSACTIONS: none

STANDINGS
SEA 16-10 --
LAA 15-11 1
TEX 14-12 2
HOU 12-13 3.5
HAW 11-15 5
OAK 10-17 6.5

......

May 2035
This time, May is not our undoing. We go 15-14 for the month, even with 4- and 3-game losing streaks. We also pitch two more shutouts, and our staff ERA finally drops below 5. Clark is the starter for both shutouts, but his ERA is still over 4 at the end of the month, suggesting that he's all or nothing right now. Dunklee continues to mash, finishing May at .363 with 13 HR and 43 RBI. Ryan Hebert is hitting .323, and our lowest BA among regulars is Forbes at .254.

Our starting pitchers continue to struggle, however. ERA isn't everything, but take a look at these numbers anyway, for our starters: Wiggins 6.47; Anderson 5.04; Wunderlich 3.95 (yay); Clark 4.03; Rivera 4.92. Our bullpen is doing some bailing out, tho, with four players sporting ERA below 2, Shewmake at 1.80.

NOTES: More Eric Lane follies. After his month-long absence, he returns May 2nd against the Angels. He is again hit by a pitch in his first at bat, and is dtd for 3 days. The effects are minimal, so he plays the next night against Texas. He walks in the top of the first, and in the bottom half of the inning collides with the wall going after a fly ball, and is injured again. This time he hurts his thumb and is out for another month. His stat line: 3 PA, 1 BB, 2 HBP...Another OF, Zach Bacon, gets injured on the 1st, and is out for 3 weeks. We call up last year's #1 overall pick Travis McArthur, but he starts poorly, going .179 in 8 starts, but with two guys out, he'll stay up for now. See also transactions, below. ALSO, WE CONTINUE TO NOT BE IN LAST PLACE.

TRANSACTIONS: We make our first roster moves of the season. On 5/3, after Bacon's and Lane's injuries, we trade minor league SS William Lamborn to Cincy for OF Bruce O'Brien. He's an adequate contact hitter, with a bit of pop; he's a better runner and fielder, tho, and can play all three OF spots, plus 1B if needed. The next day, we claim RP Adam McAdam (I know) off waivers from the Cubs. He is your garden variety reliever, with good stuff, and won't walk many. Good curve, decent fastball. He's immediately helpful, earning 2 saves, with an ERA below 2 and 18 K's in 16 IP.

Finally, on 5/8 we trade the seriously disappointing Raleigh Vance to KC for OF Chris Wiggins and RP Ricardo Balderas. Vance has some of the best ratings for a reliever that I've ever seen, but was bad for us last year, and a disaster this year, with a 13.50 ERA in 5 games, including 6 BB and 3 HR. Enough. Wiggins is a solid line drive contact hitter, who won't strike out, but has little power. He's also a good fielder, with a rifle arm. He's our new RF, especially with Lane still out. (And with Chris and Oscar, we've cornered the market on MLB Wiggins'.) Balderas is 6'6", with good stuff and control, and two good pitches and a adequate third one, so he could be a spot starter if necessary.

STANDINGS
SEA 37-18 --
LAA 35-20 2
TEX 28-27 9
HAW 26-29 11
OAK 25-31 12.5
HOU 24-30 12.5

......

Next up: Mid-summer report
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:47 PM   #10
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Mid-Summer, Part One

June 2035
This month bested us, as we went 11-16 and slid further back in our division. Although, to be fair, we did have a juicy six game slide in the middle of the month, getting swept in interleague play by Atlanta and Richmond. 1B Jeremy Dunklee cooled off a bit, only batting .266 with 4 HR, and his first OPS below 1.000. He's still hitting .331 for the season, and 3B Ryan Hebert is still chugging along at .314. RF Chris Wiggins now has 11 triples, and is hitting over .300 since coming over from KC. He could be a keeper. But 2B Jamie Forbes, a nice surprise last year, is fast playing himself out of a job, hitting below the Mendoza Line this month and with a ZR of -11.

My 'vaunted' rotation is still taking it on the chin. No one has an ERA better than 4.34, and Oscar Wiggins and Bobby Anderson are over 5. Anderson's season then comes to an end on the 19th when he ruptures a finger tendon in the first inning against the Nats. At least my bullpen is pulling its weight, with closer Jay Yates continuing to dominate (21 SV, 2.41 ERA, 0.85 WHIP). And waiver pickup Michael Bridenbaker (see below) makes two starts after Anderson's injury, going 10.2 IP with 3 ER and 13 K.

NOTES: We went oh-for-Tuesday this month, losing all four games. Going back to May, we've now lost eight straight Tuesdays. And that six game losing streak? All of those games were played at 2:05pm, and were the only day games we had all month. What does it mean? We need better sunglasses? Dunno....The Eric Lane injury follies returned for another extended engagement. Remember he was injured (again) on 5/3, and out for a month. His return was delayed nearly two weeks by a setback, and when he did play he hit .191 in 17 games on rehab in AAA. And then got injured again, this time for another month. He'll be back in late July. Sigh....Rookie Travis McArthur is starting to flex his muscles. In limited play, he hit .294 with 5 HR and an OPS of 1.070. Only 34 AB, so a small sample size. Encouraging, nonetheless....You think you have a bad minor league team? Our AA affiliate in Lewiston is now 13-57, deeply, deeply mired in last place....And, WE ARE STILL NOT IN LAST PLACE.

TRANSACTIONS: More moves to help our pitching. After last month's acquisition Ricardo Balderas struggles, on the 7th I claim RP Ivan Lopez off waivers from Houston. Lopez is 34, and his ratings are nice but modest. He's a team leader, tho, and I thought we could use another one of those. He pitched for me in Richmond nearly ten years ago. Then I try to be sneaky and get Balderas through waivers to AAA, but he's claimed by Miami. He didn't make much of an impression for us, with an ERA over 7 in 8 appearances, but I hate to lose a decently-rated arm like that. All's fair tho. On the 15th I then claim P Michael Bridenbaker off waivers from Richmond. He's tiny and charismatic and the fans love him. He's got big-time stuff, tho, and an elite change. Two other good pitches, with quality movement, but poor control. Stamina is not great, but he gets pressed into the rotation with Anderson's injury and no one on the farm pitching well at the moment.

One final deal with month, to address our 2B issue with Forbes not hitting and playing like a statue in the field. So, with McArthur playing better, and Moreno back from injury and maybe even Long (!) returning one day, I deem an outfielder expendable. On the 20th we send OF Bruce O'Brien to Washington for 2B Ki-Nam Kim. We got O'Brien in May from Cincy, and in 42 starts he went .240/.269/.413. Mediocre. Kim is 39, ancient. He's been in MLB since signing with Milwaukee in 2025, at the age of 30. He's never been spectacular, but has hit .300 six times, and has a sticky glove and good range for an old man. He makes contact, will hit some doubles, take some walks, and refuses to strike out. He will not hit a home run for us, guaranteed. He's like a Korean Duane Kuiper right now.

......

STANDINGS
SEA 58-26 -- ... went 21-8 this month
LAA 44-39 13.5
OAK 40-42 17
TEX 40-43 17.5
HAW 37-45 20
HOU 35-46 21.5

Around the league, Toronto leads the AL East by 8 over Boston; Minnesota is up by 1 over Cleveland in the Central. Philly leads Atlanta in the NL East by 1; Pittsburgh has the league's best record (57-24) and a 7.5 game lead over Montreal; and Portland leads San Diego in the West by 8.5. Fellow expansion team New Orleans is playing like ass, sitting at 25-57, 32.5 games behind the Pirates. It feels good to be way better than they are right now. Pretty damn good.

Next up: 2035 Draft Report
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Old 04-27-2017, 11:00 PM   #11
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2035 Draft Review and System Report

2035 Draft Review

Round 1, 1st Overall
SS Adam Groff, 21, Vanderbilt. A big, rangy kid who has all the tools: contact, power, range, arm, and speed. He's got plus contact potential, good gap power, and could hit 25-30 HR for us one day. Good discipline and won't strike out a ton. Rates well as a fielder too, and can play SS, 3B, or 1B. He'll fit best at short for now, and probably will end up at third one day as his range declines. Could swing a decent bat in the bigs right now, but needs to develop his patience and his power stroke. He'll start at A, with an eye to moving to AA if he hits well.

Round 2, 50th Overall
CL Dave Seaman, 21, USC. Perhaps a bit of a reach, taking a reliever in the second round. But this is a weak draft, so I went with BPA, in my mind. Probably won't be a closer at the big league level, but certainly has the chops to be a quality set up guy. Control and second pitch need work. Velo tops out at 95-97 currently. Can also hit, so I might play around with him in the OF during part of a season, and possibly ST next year. His potential at the plate is only slightly above average right now, so I still think his best bet is on the mound. Will go to rookie ball.

Round 3, 76th Overall
SP Dave DeLong, 22, Kansas. Is fairly well developed already, but doesn't have the highest potential. Lefty, groundballer, velo at 93-95. Good fastball, with curve, forkball, and change (if it develops) just behind. Middling stamina, which may limit him in the bigs. Will start season in short A ball.

Round 4, 113th Overall
3B Steve Douglas, 18, high school. Mellow kid, with good contact and gap potential. Little power and plate discipline. May not strike out much tho. Good fielder with a big time arm. Only rated at third, but I may stick him in the outfield to develop some versatility and make him more useful. Rookie ball.

Round 5, 149th Overall
SS Eric Antoniuk, 20, Notre Dame. Currently projects as a mediocre hitting utility infielder. Rated only at short right now, so he might get some forced starts at third to increase his value. All around good marks on defense, so he's got the chops. Speedy. Canadian. Off to S A ball.

Round 6, 185th Overall
3B Jeremy Stevens, 21, Wake Forest. Another utility infielder, with less hitting potential than Antoniuk. Not the most mobile player, but a very strong glove and the best arm in our draft. Third his best position; might be too immobile for short. Short A ball for him.

Round 7, 221st Overall
SP Jake Feinstein, 17, high school HS starter, but the pen is his future for us. Two pitches, good curve, decent fastball. Velo at 94. Pitcher ratings project to 12-13 (of 20), but he's a hard worker, so maybe he'll surpass those projections. Not tall, so not a power guy. Will start at S A ball.

Round 8, 257th Overall
OF Brendan Ritchea, 20, Southern Utah. A character guy, super smart with a great work ethic. Ratings fairly average at the plate (poor power). Better fielder, with decent range and arm, and a good glove. Can play all three spots, but best suited for LF. Off to rookie ball.

Round 9, 293rd Overall
SS Jason Berthold, 21, Rock Valley. A dynamite fielder, truly gold glove capability. Great range and glove, and a good arm and DP turning. Highly rated already at second, third, and short. Capable outfielder too. If he ends up hitting a lick, he'll be in the majors one day. If. Starts in rookie ball.

Round 10, 329th Overall
3B Rick DeWeese, 22, UCLA. Another choice between batting or pitching. Above average pitching potential, but has only one pitch currently, and I have no confidence he'll ever develop a second one. Average hitter, little power, mediocre eye. Not much range in the field, but good glove and cannon arm. Good clubhouse guy. Rookie ball.

......

Last year's top five:
1st. Travis McArthur, OF. Currently playing in Hawaii. Probably done with the minors.
2nd. Josh Robertson, 2B. Sandwiched a good May between a bad April and June. Injured late June, will be out until August. Progressing slowly, but still only 20, so no worries yet.
3rd. RP Jason Albritton. Pitching well in AA, but not developing at all. He's 24 now, with below average control and only one pitch. Worried.
4th. Cameron Vitali, SP. Got off to a horrid start in A ball (12.27 ERA, 2.51 WHIP, in 5 starts), but thankfully is improving. Is approaching his projected potential, which is so-so. Needs a bump to move up, and soon.
5th. Travis Kelley, CL. Playing for a horrible AA team, but has managed 10 saves and decent stats. Walks too many, needs to develop his control. Fastball already there, curve catching up. Still projects as a big leaguer, probably in 2037.

Others of note:
SP Bobby Little, currently in AAA. Slow start, but picked up in June. Getting his walks down. Still perking along, needs to keep developing his pitches to get his stuff up to big league level. I'd like him to make a run at the rotation next year.
1B Erik Hodge, currently in Hawaii. Only a few starts, mostly at DH. Is hitting .354 in 48 AB, but no HR. For his power, that's surprising. Still, if he keeps hitting in spot play, I'll have to find somewhere to put him, or trade him for pitching, maybe.
SP Rob Hart, currently in A, started in S A. Stats just so-so, but got a big ratings jump in both recent scouting reports. If my scouts are to be believed, he's developing into a #2 or #3 starter. Has three solid pitches now, just needs to keep working hard. Still only 18. Fingers crossed. Was last year's 9th rounder.
OF Marc Ferenczi, currently in AAA. Bombed in Hawaii in April, but rebounding nicely in KC. Hitting near .300, 5 triples, 6 steals. Has maxed out his development. Still useful to have around.

Minor League System Overview
AAA - Kansas City T-Bones: 45-25, 1st place
AA - Lewiston Millers: 13-57, very last place
A - Eureka Aces: 26-53, 6th place
S A - Poughkeepsie Tanks: 3-3, 3rd place
R - Athens Warriors: 0-3, 6th place (tied)
R - Boone Mountain Cats: 0-3, 7th place

......

Up Next: 2035 Mid-summer report, part two
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Old 04-29-2017, 02:53 PM   #12
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Mid-Summer, Part Two

July 2035
This was a strange month. Sadly, we kept losing, going 8-17 for a .320 clip. We've now slipped back into our natural habitat, sixth place in the West. Our hitting, however, has picked up, as we hit .290 and averaged 5.3 runs per game. Of course, winning a third of your games while scoring over five runs speaks volumes about the sorry state of our pitching. We're in the bottom quarter in every pitching category, except for bullpen ERA and home runs allowed. And despite our high batting average, we're not turning those runners into runs, this month's results notwithstanding. We're 16th in runs scored and home runs, outside the top ten in OBP and SLG, and dead last in walks.

Taking all of that into consideration, well out of any playoff hopes and 17 games below .500, it's time to make some more changes and start thinking about 2036. More explanations can be found below in the Transactions section.

NOTES: Our guys continue to make contact with the best of them. A few July batting averages include: Dunklee .382, McArthur .328, Hodge and Hebert .321, Wiggins .320, and Kim .298. Not a lot of high OBP to go along with those averages, but it's a start....SS Tony Castro suffers an abdominal injury on the 10th, and is out for five weeks. Ethan Dow is recalled from KC to take his place. Dow has a great glove, but isn't much of a hitter, and he bears that out this month: .184/.244/.211, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 2B....In 25 games this month, our starting pitchers lasted six or more innings only seven times, three of those in the seven games before the All-Star break. That's way too much pressure on our bullpen; I'm surprised the pen hasn't completely imploded already....1B Dunklee and CL Yates were our All-Star reps; both played, neither figured in the game, won by the AL 4-1.

TRANSACTIONS: Made six deals this month, five trades and one waiver pickup. The net result leaves me with a more solid outfield, and hopefully some pitching prospects to build on for next year. Breaking them down:
...7/15 traded SS Walt Hubert, MiL 2B Eiko Mikami to SD for SP Steve Brock. Hubert was an original expansion pick who hit .245 in limited action for us this year, and was currently in KC. Mikami was an international FA signing in June. Brock is 25, and has 13 starts for the Padres this year. Nothing he does is outstanding, but he's solid across the board. He'll go to KC and likely be a September call-up.
...7/15 traded SP Oscar Wiggins and SP Ryan Loe to MIN for SP Angelo Partida. Wiggins was our best player last year. This year he's been a disaster: 5.52 ERA and 5.89 FIP in 20 starts. I can't continue to pay him $6M for those numbers. Loe was a FA signee last summer who was pitching in short A for us. He's got some good upside as a future starter, but still a long way to go. Partida is nearly developed, 23, has decent stuff, movement, and control. He's pitched well in AAA Rochester this season. He'll go to KC for the moment. We call up Ed Fisher to take Wiggins' place in the rotation.
...7/27 traded SP Ed Fisher, OF Eric Lane, C Lucas Crabtree to NOZ for OF Ian Hoppmann and RP Alex Lopez. Fisher's call up lasted 12 days and three starts. Lane's comical inability to stay healthy this year, plus his $5M salary, have soured me on him. I'll miss his power; I won't miss his ability to bruise easily. Crabtree was another original Islander, but his so-so hitting (.251 and only 7 walks in 299 AB) and weak arm, plus my desire to get Austin Collins more time behind the plate, make him expendable. What we get back is a potential lead-off guy in Hoppmann, solid across the board except for HR power, and in Lopez a guy who has starting ability but better stats out of the pen. He's been horrible this year (9.99 ERA, 22 BB, in 33 IP), but I'm hoping we can turn him around. We also call up the just-acquired Partida to take Fisher's place.
...7/28 claimed SS Brian Mulholland off waivers from TEX. Rated just above average (12-13 out of 20) nearly everywhere but throwing arm and stealing/baserunning, Mulholland is not the long-term solution. But with Castro's injury, Dow's failure, and no one else able to play short, he's worth the free pickup.
...7/28 traded SP Ed Prindiville to COL for SP Bryan Hardin. Both were expansion draft picks, but we lost Hardin to the Rockies in the Rule 5 draft. They have the same potential, but I like Hardin for his balanced ratings and better pitches. Prindeville has good movement, but is only fair elsewhere. He does have six (!) pitches tho. Hardin's drawback is a low (8) stamina, which may limit him to the pen and only spot starts. Hardin will go to KC for now.
...7/30 traded OF Zach Bacon, RP Andy Long, MiL OF Dave Tait to SF for OF Josh Drayton. This one surprised me, in that while shopping Bacon the Giants offered me Drayton. I had to add a bit to get it done, but I think he's worth it. Drayton finally completes my outfield, as he's a natural CF with great range. He can also hit and has solid power. In an up year he could hit .300 with 30 HR, but he's more likely to 'settle' for .280 and 15-20 HR. Has plus speed too; he'd be a 70 steals-a-year guy 40 years ago. Bacon has a lot of power, but struggles in the field; Long was a waiver pickup last year who struggled in my pen this year, but has closer-type ratings. San Fran's pen is terrible, so he's got to help there. Tait is similiar to Drayton but with less hitting and outfield range. I signed him out of the IBL last year and he was my 4th rated prospect. Now I have an outfield with no significant weaknesses, except salary (Hoppmann and Drayton combine for $13M this year).

The upshot of these moves is 1) more pitching prospect depth, especially for the rotation; 2) a solidified outfield with Hoppmann, Drayton, and McArthur starting, and Christopher and Moreno as solid depth; 3) Collins now the full-time catcher, with Zamorano as defensive backup and spot starter; 4) Erik Hodge moves to full-time DH (he's hitting .326 as a PH and backup DH/1B); 5) more options in the infield going into the off-season. Like so:
1B -- Dunklee is set;
2B -- Kim has been solid, but is nearly 40 and will miss August with a thumb injury. He's going FA after the season, and is still making nearly $5M; Jeremy Forbes will get more time here in August, but he hasn't hit like he did last year and his glove is weak; I want 2034 #2 pick Josh Robertson to get a long look in camp too. If I can re-sign Kim on the cheap this fall, I'll do it. If not, watch this space;
3B -- Hebert has been fine; lots of hits, few Ks, and a good glove. He'll hit arbitration in the off-season, but I think he won't cost us too much;
SS -- Castro has also been solid at short, but with Adam Groff developing on the farm, his days may be limited. Mulholland is the stop-gap with Castro's injury, and can also play second.

......

STANDINGS
SEA 73-35 --
LAA 55-53 18
OAK 54-53 18.5
TEX 53-54 19.5
HOU 51-55 21
HAW 45-62 27.5

Not much change in the league standings. Toronto and Seattle continue to hold large leads in their divisions, while Cleveland and Minnesota are separated by one game in the Central. In the NL, Pittsburgh and Portland are running away with the Central and the West, respectively, while Philadelphia, Richmond, and Atlanta battle in the East....Milwaukee pitcher Frank Canales had two 15+ K outings in July. He's lead the AL in Ks the last three years....Toronto 1B Preston Sorensen has pounded AL pitching for 30 HR, with a slash of .301/.401/.585....Detroit 1B Colin Moran collected his 3000th hit on the 27th, and his teammate Ty Cobb (yep) gathered his 2500th the next day. (More about these two in another post.)....Montreal's rotation is keeping them in the playoff hunt: Ruben Villasenor (12-5, 2.88 ERA, 188 K, 153 IP, 4.5 WAR), Robert Hinojosa (8-5, 3.06 ERA, 101 K, 96 IP), Bill Salazar (8-5, 3.21 ERA, 133 K, 133 IP), Tommy Dahlen (10-4, 3.20 ERA, 3.3 WAR), and Zach Setaro (9-5, 151 K, 142 IP) are the best top-to-bottom rotation in the game today. Unfortunately for them, the Pirates may have the second best. (The Expos also have five pitchers on the top 100 prospects list. Something must be in the water.)


Next up: Late Season Report
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Old 04-30-2017, 02:09 PM   #13
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Summer, Summer, Summer

August 2035
I feel pretty good about our 13-15 record this month, and believe we've finally stabilized our lineup. Our only significant injury is starter-to-backup OF Robbie Christopher, who misses nearly three weeks with a knee contusion. He hits .188 when he does play, and likely has seen the last of his full-time starting days. Jeremy Dunklee has another great month, going .370/.500/.565, and walking 25 times in 28 games. We close the month with a three game winning streak, so there are good feelings all around.

NOTES: June waiver pickup Michael Bridenbaker is sent back to AAA after 10 starts, 5.32 ERA, 61 H, 47 IP. Less than 5 innings per start, just killing the bullpen. I recall Brent Adams to take his place. You might recall Adams had a 10+ ERA in seven starts for us last year. August goes better for him, with a 3.86 ERA in five starts. Rich Rivera is my best starting pitcher this month, going 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA, 26 K, in 25 innings over 4 starts. CL Jay Yates continues to impress, sporting a 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 14 K, 6 SV, in 10.2 IP. RP Jack Shewmake is the other half of the 1-2 punch, and has a 1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 11 K in 10 IP.

Two regulars, Dunklee at .349 and Hebert at .301, are hitting .300 for the season, with Wiggins (.297), Kim (.283), and Castro (.274) also hitting well. My other outfielders, Hoppmann and Drayton, only hit around .250 for August, but their outfield play is having a mark, as our team defensive effiency has risen from 16th to 12th place.

TRANSACTIONS: NONE. Go figure.

......

STANDINGS
SEA 87-48 --
LAA 70-65 17
HOU 68-66 18.5
OAK 65-70 22
TEX 64-70 22.5
HAW 58-77 29

No changes at the top of most divisions from last month. Minnesota has taken a six game lead over Cleveland, and Richmond and Atlanta have pulled away from Philadelphia (now 10 back). At the thick end of the wedge, New Orleans has a juicy 41-93 record, and St Louis 51-83. As of right now, we would have the fifth pick in next year's draft....Twins 1B Andrew White won AL POM with a killer month: .421, 11 HR, 40 RBI. Richmond 2B Josh Wall got the NL nod, hitting .357 with 29 RBI and 22 runs....Philly pitcher Garrett Gooden becomes the 25th player in MLB history to record 3000 career strikeouts. He's third on the active list, behind Brooklyn's Orlando Ramos (4214) and Texas' Cobi Johnson (3530)....Richmond 1B Ruben Zamora is now 61st all-time with 400 home runs. The active leaders are Angels 2B Macario Fiel (516), White Sox OF Dylan Cozens (512), Washington C Christopher Cullen (457), and Washington 1B Victor Montoya (411)....Toronto is on a pace to tie the 1997 Mariners season record of 264 HR. Likewise, Pittsburgh is again threatening Houston's 2000 record of 249 HR, which they missed tying by one last year....Dodgers hitters are on pace to strike out more than 1600 times this year....Nationals manager Min-Tae "Minty" Jung has passed 1200 career wins. He's the second winningest Korean-born manager in MLB, after legendary (and legendarily cranky) Yankees skipper KK Lee, who won over 1400 games in a 17 year career with the Bronx Bombers and the Washington Nationals. Lee won the World Series in his first year with the Yankees, but missed the playoffs altogether the following season, and never got the team back to the final. Unceremoniously dumped in 2025 after his first losing season (79 wins), he spent eight years in Washington, making the playoffs just once, and taking a controversial 20% pay cut halfway through his tenure.


Next up: End of Season Report
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:04 PM   #14
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September 2035
We wrap up the season 13-14, to finish with 71 wins, one below our predicted finish. Sixth place (and 34 games back) is never fun, but there were some encouraging signs, and I'm generally pleased with how we played over August and September. My mid-season moves paid off with better play to close out the season, but there's still a lot of work to do, and a lot of decisions to be made this off-season.

We end up batting .278, good for first place in the AL. However, we were 8th in OBP and SLG, 15th in HR, and 15th in runs scored. So we're getting guys on base, but not getting them around to score. (FYI, our run diff is -91, 704 for and 795 against.) Plus, we're first in strikeouts (fewest, that is), but last in walks. More patience has to lead to more men on base, and more runs. As for pitching, the only stat we're top ten in is fewest HR (165, tied for 6th best). BABIP and bullpen ERA are 11th, starter's ERA 13th, and 14th in team ERA, runs, and opponent's average. We're also 16th in strikeouts, and 17th (2nd most) in walks. I was really disappointed that we didn't get that walk number down more.



Great season by Dunklee: 36 HR, 8.0 WAR, almonst 1/3 of the team's walks. His defense improved too; he's still below average, but his stats indicate he was not a liability in the field. Wiggins made a mark at LF as well, and produced 3 WAR in 3/4 of a season with us. Likewise, Drayton in CF put up good number in a third of a season. 3B Hebert had a good year, although he doesn't produce a ton of runs at a traditionally power position. The middle infielders, Kim and Castro, likewise produced, but there's not a lot of dynamism in the infield beyond Dunklee.



I had higher hopes for the staff, especially the rotation, than how things worked out. Rivera had the best WAR, but he hardly dominated. I expected more out of Clark and Wunderlich; they were alternately sharp and ineffective all season long. Likewise Anderson, until he got injured. New acquisitions Partida and Brock showed enough to hope they'll make strong runs in spring training. In the pen, Yates and Shewmake held things together. McAdam pitched well. Everyone else was up and down.

......

STANDINGS
SEA 105-57 --
LAA 87-75 18
OAK 80-82 25
HOU 75-87 30
TEX 74-88 31
HAW 71-91 34

Toronto, Minnesota, and Seattle win divisions in the AL, Richmond, Pittsburgh, and Portland in the NL. Wild card teams are Cleveland, LA Angels, Atlanta, and Montreal. Seattle won just 75 games last year. Pittsburgh tops the league with 111 wins, Toronto gets 103. New Orleans finishes 49-113, St Louis has 64 wins, Colorado 68, and the Yankees and Tigers 69.



Toronto wins its fourth World Series title, first since 2020. Series MVP is Toronto CF Manny Luna, who hit .464 in the six games. He played in AAA most of the season, and hit only .167 in 36 AB during the regular season. Enjoy your fifteen minutes, Manny. Blue Jay 1B Preston Sorensen is named AL MVP, going .319/.414/.656 with 56 HR, 134 RBI, and a 10.5 WAR. He also wins a Gold Glove. NL MVP is Atlanta's LF Bill Duce (.300/.427/.615, 40 HR, 8.1 WAR). Toronto keeps winning awards, with Dave Henderson nabbing the Cy Young after a good but not spectacular year (2.90 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 6.0 WAR, 19 wins). Montreal's Ruben Villasenor wins the NL Cy Young, going 20-6, 2.78 ERA, 281 K in 230 IP, and a 7.8 WAR. And our own Jay Yates wins the AL Hoyt Wilhelm Award, with Montreal's Vince Bell (2.36, 42 SV, 10.5 K/9, 2.0 WAR) getting the NL honor. No other Islanders won awards.

Next up: Off-season Plan
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:22 PM   #15
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Onward, Ever Onward

Can you consider a 71-win season a success? Well, yes, when you won just 57 games the previous season. I would take a 14 game improvement each season, wouldn't you? However...while we made improvements at the plate and in the field, pitching remains an issue. And there are some other, more fundamental issues to consider.

Peripatetic owner/annoyance Alexis Pagan drops me a note at the start of November. He's happy we're improving, but disappointed that we won 'only' 71 games. He's happy we upgraded in center field (Drayton), but he wants someone even better. He's happy we increased attendance to 31K, but now he wants 34K. He also wants me to make $15M profit next year, maintain a top-ten farm system, and win a championship in the next six seasons. And he's cut my budget again, like last year: down a million, to $94M. A little bird in the front office tells me he's planning on dropping the budget by a million each of the next two seasons as well. I'm expected to spend about $65M on player salaries. (We ended the season at just over $56M.) He ends with "Don't suck completely! I'll check in again next year. Good luck! AP"

Silly man. Just to spite him, I'm sticking with Drayton in center, will probably spend over $65M on salaries, and will leave him with a nickel profit. And while our farm system was rated #1 this season, the top five players all ended up in Hawaii, and thus will not count towards next year's rating. We won't be dead last, but we won't be anywhere near the top, either.

Let's look at where we stand going into the off-season.

Designated Hitter. After cleaning house in July, Erik Hodge settled into the role full-time. Although he ended up with only 9 HR in 310 PA, his power ratings are good enough that I expect more from him next year. He's a lefty, but has very little drop off against left-handed pitching. He's under team control for 2036 and '37, at league minimum.

Catcher. Austin Collins took over full-time after Lucas Crabtree was traded in July. He was solid at the plate, and better than expected behind it. He's under team control for the next two years. Willie Zamorano is a solid backup, but is only under control for 2036, and is pushing for more playing time. I'll have to take a close look at what's brewing in the system as he'll probably be gone during or after next season.

First Base. Jeremy Dunklee was our team MVP. He's a monster at the plate, and I think he's certainly capable of throwing out a triple crown-type season one day. I signed him long-term last year, so while expensive (11.5M), he's locked up for the long term.

Second Base. Ki-Nam Kim came over in June and brought a lot of stability to the position. However, he made 4.9M and wants a raise to 6M next year, despite nearing 41 years of age. Right now I'm thinking I need to sink some money into pitching, I probably won't make him an offer. Jamie Forbes lost his starting role to Kim, due to mediocre hitting and atrocious fielding. Josh Robertson is the future, but he's at least a year away. I could move Hebert over from third, but his limited range is better suited for that position. I'll have to make a trade or go after an affordable free agent here.

Third Base. Ryan Hebert doesn't hit home runs, doesn't have the strongest arm or slickest glove, but he gets results. As long as he hits .300 with 30-40 doubles, and doesn't hurt us in the field, the position is his. He's under control for next year, but could see a significant bump in arbitration for 2037.

Shortstop. Like Kim at second, Tony Castro came over during the season and stabilized a sore spot in the lineup. He made 1.5M last year, but the contract he signed with NYY before the trade bumps him up to 2.96M for next year. Affordable, but I may have to cut somewhere to pay for some upcoming arbitrations. Adam Groff, our #1 overall pick this summer, is far enough along to get a strong look in camp. Watch this space.

Left Field. Ian Hoppmann was fantastic for us over the last quarter of the season after coming over from New Orleans. He slashed .329/.394/.406 and played flawless defense. However...he'll make $9M next year. Right now I'm thinking of putting one of Chris Wiggins or Travis McArthur in left, and using Hoppmann to get a quality middle infielder. Wiggins will make minimum next year, but gets a big arbitration bump the year after.

Center Field. Chris Wiggins got the most starts, but Josh Drayton was our best option here by the end of the year. Drayton's range is better suited for center; Wiggins' arm for right. Drayton's bat came around for us as well, and he combined for 21 HR and 4.8 WAR between Hawaii and San Francisco. He's signed for 3.5M next year, but that balloons 6.2M for 2037, and 13M for 2038 and beyond. These escalating salaries make it imperative that we keep working hard to develop from within. Robbie Christopher started 102 games across all three spots, and is the backup here. He's not a natural CF, but is our only backup who's rated there. Marc Ferenczi is a better option in the field, but was a bust at the plate. He'll be 30 next year, and could figure, but won't develop any more.

Right Field. Travis McArthur seems like the better fit, as his arm just edges out Wiggins'. But Wiggins had the better year in the field, so I'll just have to see who plays better in camp. Either would be good here, and the 'loser' will just slot over in left, where they're both well rated. McArthur still has some room to grow, and I really hope he can improve upon his .246 average. He did hit 11 HR in 250 PA, and has 25-30 HR potential. His batting numbers did go up as the season progressed; I think he'll have a breakout season in 2036. Kelvin Moreno is the corner backup. He's just adequate, bringing some power and a strong arm, but that's it.

Starting Rotation. This was a sore point all season, and a source of some disappointment for me. I am very much a "set it and forget it" GM, and having to tinker here all year really wore on me. Ken Clark, Bobby Anderson, and Jimmy Wunderlich were all brought in during the off-season to give us stable, worry-free starting. That didn't happen: Clark and Wunderlich were inconsistent all year, and Anderson was barely impressive before getting hurt for the season in early June. Clark is the highest rated of the three, and most likely to stick around as he's affordable at 3.5M for the next two seasons. Wunderlich jumps to 5.5M (up from 3.7M) next year, and escalates slowly after that. Anderson jumps all the way to 8.5M (from 3.5M), and 13.3M starting in 2037. Note to self: never trade with the spendthrift Yankees again. Rich Rivera had the best season, but pulled in only a 2.4 WAR, not exactly Ace material. He's our only true power pitcher, leading the team in K's and the starters in K/9. He's affordable at only 4M too. But he's wild, walking 5 per 9 innings, which I don't like. Still, I'll keep him at least into camp, as I need enough arms around for insurance, if nothing else. Assuming all four of the above stay around, the #5 spot is wide open. Angelo Partida looked good in 12 starts, producing a 3.43 ERA, the best for any Hawaii starter, ever. But his FIP was a worrying 5.49, and he had a negative WAR, so he's not guaranteed anything yet. Steve Brock also looked decent in his 16 starts, and produced better power numbers than did Partida. Both will make miminum next year. Brent Adams was just fair, but right now looks more like an emergency fill-in than a potential full-timer. Michael Bridenbaker made 10 starts, but got worse as he went along. He's a strong arm, but wild. Bryan Hardin has good numbers, but low stamina, and may be better suited for long and middle relief. He'll get a look in camp anyway. The best prospect in the low minors, Rob Hart, is 2-3 years away, minimum. Another worry: no lefthanders in this crowd. (Our only true LHP prospect is Bobby Little, who produced a 3.5 WAR in AAA. I want his stuff and control to develop more before throwing him into the rotation; worrisome that he hasn't developed much in the two years we've had him.)

Bullpen. Closer Jay Yates was the Hoyt Wilhelm Award winner. Jack Shewmake was a top-notch set up guy, likewise Adam McAdam by the end of the season. Ryan Key ate up a lot of innings (87), but was wildly inconsistent. Sonny Balderston, Ivan Lopez, Alex Lopez, and Evan Larkins rounded out the regulars, and none impressed. Ivan Lopez had the best stats of the lot, but wants a huge raise over his 700K from last year. He's 35, and won't get it, at least not from me. Yates and Shewmake are due substantial arbitration raises, which will eat into my off-season spending budget, but they're worth it. Problem is, I'll probably have to build the rest of the pen on the cheap. Except...Key, A.Lopez, Balderston, and McAdam want over 7M combined. Can I afford a 10M+ bullpen? I may have to. On the farm, Roberto Castillo got some time in the bigs, but pitched poorly. Travis Kelley did well in AAA, but needs a lot more development before he's ready. Pat Stanley spent the year in AA and might be a decent stop-gap, if he has a good camp.

......

Off-season needs look like this: sort out the middle infield, find some cheap bullpen arms, maybe find a lefty starting pitcher, dig up lots of cash. Simple.

Next up: 2035-36 Off-Season
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:56 AM   #16
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Off-season 2035-36

...10/11...Sign former minor league catcher Chase Blackwood as the new manager for the Boone Mountain Cats in the Appalachian League. Best of luck, Chase, as I have a long track record of awful rookie ball teams in my history.
...10/18...Sign Nori Shiroishi as our new hitting coach in AAA Kansas City. Good ratings, and a balance approach to hitting. Just what I like.
...11/01...Aaaand Shiroishi announces his retirement from coaching. Well, it was a fun two weeks, Nori. I know I'll never forget them. Back to the drawing board. We also let go Assistant GM Jorge Bermudes and Trainer Mike Davis from the big club.
...11/01...TRADE! We pull the trigger on a big one, getting a top-notch 2B. We send OF Ian Hoppmann and SS Tony Castro to Toronto for 2B Phil Clarke and prospect OF Mitchell Masse. Clarke is coming off a big year for the Jays, with a 7.7 WAR, a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at second. He's not likely to repeat that production, but he's still a top-ten player at his position. Masse is 23 and spent the last three years in Mexico. He's got a good bat, won't strike out, average power, and a poor eye. Speedy, and a dynamic fielder. Salaries just about balance out: Hoppmann (9M) and Castro (2.9M) vs. Clarke (12.6M).
...11/08...Trainer Jordan Villalobos agrees to a five-year contract. This will be his first gig in the US; he's previously been in Italy, Mexico, and Japan.
...11/15...Asst GM Jonathan Myers signs a three-year deal. This is his first job.
...11/22...Arbitration Day! CL Jay Yates goes from minimum to 3.75M. Yikes. We had offered 2M...RP Jack Shewmake goes from minimum to 2.75M. Also offered him 2M...RP Alex Lopez goes from 2.48M to 3.3M. We had offered 2M. This bullpen is getting expensive...RP Adam McAdam goes from 1.8M to 2.48M. We'd offered 1.5M...OF Robbie Christopher goes from 1M to 1.6M. We offered him 1M...We did win a few: RP Sonny Balderston gets 1M, but wanted 1.75; RP Ryan Key gets 950K, but wanted 1.21M...If you're keeping score at home, that's six relievers at 14M combined next year.
...11/25...International free agents hit the market! The only one worth looking at, to me, is Korean pitcher U-ram Wu. We start him at 750K.
...12/03...Hitting coach Danny Espinosa signs a three-year deal for our AAA team. He's coming off three seasons with the Padres. And he's got the best 'stache in the system now.

...12/10...TRADE! More infield upgrading, this time for the bench. We send SP Brent Adams to the Mets for INF Ervin Miranda. Adams should be better than he's performed these two years; maybe a change of scenery is what he needs. Miranda is an average hitter with no power, but has speed to burn and is a top-notch fielder with a big arm. For someone who spent last year in AA, he's also extremely popular.
...12/15...TRADE! We cut a bit of salary, trading OF Robbie Christopher to the Cardinals for a draft pick. First day of the Winter Meetings. There are eighteen other trades during the meetings, no others by us.
...12/19...We do, however, claim SP Robby Clark on waivers from Richmond. Clark is 28, decent enough ratings and four pitches, but only two of them rated above average. He'll likely spend the year in AAA.
...12/27...Rule 5 time! We lose two players: SP Michael Bridenbaker, a waiver pickup last year, and a low-stamina/big stuff/low control starter; and, sadly, OF Mitchell Masse, who we just acquired from Toronto on 11/1. I didn't think he was rated highly enough to stay on a big league squad next season, but I guess I was wrong. Dammit. He goes to New Orleans, who desperately needs decent players. We do make one claim: SP Jamie Bell, from Texas. Big guy, power pitcher, mediocre control, good stamina. If he washes out, at least he's free.

ELSEWHERE...SFG signs SP Billy Heine for 151M over 7 years. He's coming off two seasons of 4.8 WAR for CLE...LAD gets SP Brady Dunne for 28.8M over 2 years...Power-hitting OF Riley White goes from the Braves to the Cubs, 23M over 5 years...SP Jason Davis hasn't done much over his career, but is worth 15M for the next 2 years...Seattle loses star SP Chris Varo to MIN, for 132M over 6 years...SP Zach Setaro leaves the Expos for the Red Sox, at 15.4M per for six years...The Sox keep going, getting SP Tommy Dahlen for 105M over six years...SS Alex Guerrero signs with OAK, 86M over seven years...Quality starting pitching is costing an arm and a leg this off-season, so it's not likely we're going to sign anyone MLB-worthy after all.

...1/02...We claim RP Adrian Bolin on waivers from Montreal. Decent but standard ratings for a reliever. He's cheap, making minimum, which is great for us.
...1/08...Hall of Fame voting results are in, and no one makes it. Lewis Thorpe comes closest, at 70%. Giancarlo Stanton gets 53%, and Aroldis Chapman 41%. Is Thorpe Hall-worthy? 61.4 WAR, 2317 K in 2839 IP, 192 wins, 2019 Cy Young winner. Meh. I did think about making a veteran's committee selection, but couldn't find anyone I liked.
...1/09...2B Ki-Nam Kim wanted 6M from me in the fall, but now he signs with the White Sox for 3.28M, a one-year deal. Our fans are mad.
...1/11...TRADE! 2B Jamie Forbes, our surprise batting star from 2034, gets traded to CIN for INF Eddie Aguilera. He's got good contact and avoid K's, but is below average elsewhere. His primary asset is his outstanding fielding, and his ability to play second, short, and third. The deal saves us a few hundred K.
...1/15...We sign RP Vicente Ixcoy for one year at 1.05M. Not as cheaply as I'd hoped, but good enough. He'll likely start on the big club, as he's well rated across the board. He pitched poorly for BAL last year in 26 appearances.
...1/15...Another big pitching signing: ARZ signs star CL Vince Bell for 10.3M per for three years. He won the Hoyt Wilhelm award with Montreal last year. Montreal is losing a lot of pitching talent this off-season.
...1/16...SP Jake Metz signs a minor league deal with us. Really more of a 4A player, as he'll pitch in KC and be an injury insurance policy.
...1/16...One more waiver claim: RP Jonathan Sarabia from OAK. Minor leaguer, on a minor league deal. Most of our AAA staff from last year left last fall, so we're grabbing decent AAA talent where we can.
...1/16...ATL signs CL Brent Radcliffe for 20.8 over three years. I'm feeling better about our Yates and Shewmake contracts all the time. Three days later MIN signs CL Chris Elliott for 19.5M over three years.
...1/23...RP U-ram Wu signs with Chiba in Japan for 1.3M. No international free agents for us this year.
...2/02...A message from fun boy owner Alexis Pagan: we still have 94M available as our budget this season. Yes, yes, I know that. No change here.
...2/08...Among a plethora of minor league free agent signings, I re-sign one Nate Hullinger, 1B. Hullinger was a reliever in our system the last two seasons, and split time between AA and AAA last year. He pitched well, but with his so-so ratings and a desire for a 750K salary, I let him walk. Checked out the available batters recently, and only just noticed his ratings: 13 contact, 13 gap, 17 power. Wow. I manage to get him for a minor league deal, so he can go pound homers in AAA.
...2/13...Okay, one more waiver claim: SS Jim Mullen from the Cubs. Decent contact, excellent gap and avoid K's, bad eye. Good fielder with an adequate arm. Rated at short, second, and third. Pay is minimum, very attractive to me.

......

Spring Training
Our lineup is pretty much set, at least in the field. Pitching will be another matter. We didn't sign any SP free agents, but did add to our bullpen depth, and grabbed a couple of AAA-rated starters who could pitch in Hawaii if we run into injury problems. We have six starting pitchers rated for the majors, so we'll have a decision to make come April.
...3/07...SP Rich Rivera suffers forearm inflammation, and will miss three months. Decision made for us.
...3/09...2B Phil Clarke sprains his elbow and will miss a month. Without a setback, he'll be back a few days into the season.
...4/07...Owner Alexis Pagan actually drops by the office (!) to remind me to "stay respectable" this season. Does he mean me, or the team?

We win 20 games during Spring Training, rather unexpected. More important, our pitching is decent in March, for what that's worth. With Rivera's injury, we have five starters, and so I don't have to make a move until he comes back. Barring injury, that is. Below is our roster to start the season. Newbies in italics.

DH Erik Hodge (also 1B)
C Austin Collins, Willie Zamorano
1B Jeremy Dunklee
2B Phil Clarke
3B Ryan Hebert
SS Jim Mullen, Ervin Miranda (also 2B, 3B)
OF Travis McArthur/Josh Drayton/Chris Wiggins, Kelvin Moreno, Marc Ferenczi

SP Ken Clark, Bobby Anderson, Steve Brock, Jimmy Wunderlich, Jamie Bell
RP Jack Shewmake, Adam McAdam, Ryan Key, Vicente Ixcoy, Adrian Bolin, Roberto Castillo
CL Jay Yates

Preseason Predictions
MLB says we'll finish 88-74, second place, 11 games behind Oakland. We're slated to be the top wildcard team. Seattle won the division last year with 105 wins; this year they're picked to get 84. The Angels, a perennial powerhouse, figure to win just 77. Toronto and Minnesota are the other predicted division winners. Detroit looks like a 60-win team. Jeremy Dunklee and Josh Drayton make the top ten hitter list, while Ken Clark makes the pitcher list.

In the NL, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and the Dodgers get the top marks. San Diego and the Mets figure to be the wildcards. New Orleans won 49 games last year; MLB says they'll manage 72 this year. Nice jump. Pittsburgh figures to be the best of the lot, with 102 wins.

What is this thing I'm feeling? Ah yes: Optimism! Nice.

......

Minor League Report
Despite "losing" our top five prospects to the pro team, our prospect system still comes in at #5. Our top ten, according to OOTP:

Adam Groff, SS/3B, #8 overall. Still has some room to grow, but is ready for the big time right now. I'd like him to play half a season or so in AAA, but I may not be able to resist temptation and call him up early.

Bobby Little, SP, #20 overall. Probably good enough to be our #5 starter now, but I want him to develop a little more, especially his stuff. Finally moving up in ratings after a couple of sluggish seasons.

Rob Hart, SP, #49 overall. Potential stuff got a boost in March, now rates as a quality power pitcher. Control still needs a lot of work. Just 19, will start in A ball.

Mel Carrillo, OF, #166 overall. Still a project, but has a high ceiling. Just 18, but good enough for A ball already. If he develops, will be a perennial all-star at the plate.

Ayahito Yoshimoto, SP. Big time stuff, no movement, fair control. Two pitches, two more could develop. Long shot at this point: 23 and still in A ball.

Keith Dennis, RP. Marginal prospect, biding his time in rookie ball. Not sure why OOTP loves him so much.

Rob Holden, SP. Came over from Cleveland in 2034. Ceiling is probably AAA right now, but intangibles could drive him higher. Control needs the most work. In AA to start the season.

Mark Phillips, SP. Looks a lot like Yoshimoto, but with a better selection of pitches. Lack of movement, and a flyball pitcher. Off to A ball.

Eddie Aguilera, INF. Light hitting but golden in the field. Acquired from Cincy in January. Will see time on the islands if/when injuries strike.

Carlos Quintero, 1B. Decent enough hitter, but lack of big time power will probably hold him back in our system. Has a good eye, something of a rarity among my prospects. AAA to start, also on 40 man roster.


Next up: Play Ball!

Last edited by Bub13; 05-02-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:43 PM   #17
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April 2036

MLB says we'll win 88 games. I think that's a good estimate. I know we can hit with the best teams out there, and I think I've addressed power and OBP issues that should help us get more runners around to score. Our pitching staff...well, I'm going with nearly the same rotation as last year, and much of the same bullpen, so... I'm hoping that our hitting holds up, and our pitching is good enough to keep us in games and not make every game a 10-9 barn burner. Bad for the nerves, you know.

So let's get started. Here's how the games played out in April, with wins-losses for each series:
CHW 2-1 / KCR 2-1 / CLE 2-1 / TEX 3-1 / LAA 2-1 / MIL 3-0 / DET 1-2

Yep, that's a 15-7 month, by far the best we've had as a franchise. We scored 99 runs, 4.5/game, and gave up 70, 3.2/game. I'd say the pitching held up. At the plate, we got big months from 1B Dunklee (expected), CF Drayton, and C Collins. RF Wiggins and 3B Hebert also play well. Our shiny new toy, 2B Clarke, struggles to hit, but he's still getting base with those 15 walks. Notice also that my lineups got messed up somehow (operator error I'm sure) and our backups saw hardly any PT at all, save for C Zamorano, who comes in as a defensive replacement for Collins.



Lots to love for the pitching staff this month. Except for one glaring exception, our starters were pretty damn good. Clark, Wunderlich, and Anderson are living up to their paychecks, and Brock earns the best WAR of them all. Jamie Bell, tho, was glaringly awful, and will be on a short leash. He was a Rule 5 pick, so we can't send him down, and I've developed a lack of patience for pitchers with ERA over 9. Anderson missed two weeks with a strained oblique, so Partida was called up and did well in his two starts. The bullpen was great too, with only Ixcoy struggling.



......

Around the league... We're 2 games up on Seattle, outperforming their preseason prediction so far....Other notable teams this month are Minnesota (16-5), Pittsburgh (15-8), and Montreal (14-8), ditto Philadelphia. That NL Central could be fun to watch this year....Portland has struggled out of the gate, going 7-14, and Detroit has been flat out bad, at 5-16. Of course they won 2 out of 3 against us....Richmond pitcher Andy Fisher throws the season's first no hitter, 4/13 against Portland. Fisher was one of my last great draft picks while GM for the Eagles. Would love to get him on the Islanders....Pittsburgh 2B Danny Diaz has the best month in the NL, going .460/.509/.840, with 10 HR and 26 RBI. Chicago C Alexis Mercedes is tops in the AL, hitting .289 with 8 HR. Eh. Toronto's Dave Henderson (2035 Cy Young winner) goes 5-0 and is the top pitcher in the AL, while Montreal closer Jimmy Kelley gets the NL nod.

Next up: May 2036
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:44 PM   #18
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Just wanted to let you know someone was reading. I'm enjoying this. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-03-2017, 08:40 PM   #19
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Hey, thanks. Much appreciated.

And, never been to Charlotte, but lived in Raleigh for a few years. Loved it.
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:04 PM   #20
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May 2036

The other shoe did not drop in May. April brought us a .681 winning percentage, and May... a .786 percentage. Twenty-eight games, twenty-two wins, six losses. Including an eight-game winning streak in the middle of the month. We scored 165 runs, good for 5.9/game, and gave up 120, 4.3/game. At the end of the month, we're now 37-13, nine games up on the Rangers. In fact, we're 4.5 games up on the team with the next best record, Minnesota at 32-17. Attendance is also way up, at about 43K per game. Tickets are still cheap, folks, so come on down!

May series and records:
MIN 2-1 / SEA 3-0 / OAK 2-2 / HOU 3-1 / NOZ 3-0 / STL 3-0 / CHC 2-1 / NYY 2-1 / BOS 2-0

Look at these numbers, good grief. Hebert keeps slapping hits all over the yard, Mullen wakes up and smacks 11 doubles, and Dunklee's crazy month nets him the MLB player of May honor. Plus, Collins goes wild: lots of singles (30 out of 35 hits), but how can you find fault with someone hitting .449 for a month? Plus, he ends the month riding a 22-game hitting streak. So many guys are hitting at such a high rate that you end up shrugging your shoulders at guys like Hodge and Wiggins hitting in the .290s. And Clarke and McArthur hit better this month, but are still bringing up the rear of all the starters. Drayton slips too, probably due to nursing a couple of minor injuries during the month.



Pitching wasn't terrible, but it wasn't nearly as good as April, giving up more than a run per game more. And 35 home runs given up in 26 games. Blecch. Our starters slipped the most, with only Clark and Anderson giving dominating performances. Wunderlich and Brock were so-so, very inconsistent this month. Partida started the first of the month, and went down with shoulder inflammation and will miss four months. Shame, because he was starting to look quite good. He's due back in September, but will need rehab, so is essentially done for the year. Anderson came back right when Partida went down. Jamie Bell was a disaster in his only start, so after some thought I released him and he went back to the Rangers. To take his place, I called up Bobby Little, who's been lights out in KC. He struggles too, but he'd better work through it: Rich Rivera isn't due back from injury until early June, and then will need some rehab time in AAA.

Yates and Shewmake continue to bring it: only 13 hits and 3 runs given up in 25 innings combined, plus 40 K's. Vicente Ixcoy, however, is our Bizarro World reliever, doing everything he can to keep rallies going. How he got a win this month is beyond me. Key had a good month in his set up role, and Lopez still hasn't given up a run this year.



......

Around the league... We have a nine-game lead on the Rangers, 9.5 over the Angels. Minnesota is three up on the Royals, and the Jays have a 1.5 game lead over the Red Sox. In the NL, Richmond has just a half-game advantage on Philly, likewise the Dodgers over Arizona, and the Pirates continue to dominate the Central, 6.5 games over the Reds....Portland's on the bottom, at 17-32, with the Cardinals one game better....Colorado has been bad for some time, having made the playoffs once in 25 years, and won just 59 games a couple seasons ago. So it's a bit surprising when on the 12th they fire GM Jean-Michel Gilbert and Manager Bobby Malek, with a 12-19 record. They hire 37-year-old Ben Reeves out of the mail room apparently, as this is his first job anywhere. Brendan Illies is their new manager, and favors playing Smallball. In Coors Field. Heh, good luck, Brendan....Dunklee is AL player of the month, and Richmond 2B John Wall (.345, 15 HR) gets the NL nod. Texas closer Elias Morales is the AL pitcher of the month, with a 1.69 ERA and 11 saves. I think you'll notice someone named Jay Yates was a good sight better than that, dangit. Arizona pitcher Yutaka Fujino goes 5-0 with a 2.19 ERA is the NL recipient....Pittsburgh's Danny Diaz slipped some this month, but still leads the NL, hitting .385.

Next up: June 2036
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