Then we ran the whole thing through the computer. Here’s what we learned: Cormican is better at this than anyone else.
Let’s back up: here’s the tweet that originated this whole thing.
Pick one franchise. One guy from each of the last 25 years. No repeated players. Must form a coherent 25-man. Don't cheat on positions. Go.— Russell A. Carleton (@pizzacutter4) January 27, 2017
Sounds easy enough, but once you start looking through the late ‘90s Phillies desperately seeking a fifth starter, you too will come to wish for the sweet embrace of death.
Some house rules had to be added to keep with the spirit of the game. In the interest of roster “coherency,” bench players had a cap of 300 PAs, and relievers a max of 12 starts.
In any event, the gameplan was to come up with a handful of different teams, plug them into everyone’s favorite video game cum baseball simulator (Out Of The Park Baseball) and let them battle it out for a full season. Ultimately, we had eight entrants: Cormican, David Cohen, Ethan Witte, Paul Boyé, John Stolnis, Matt Winkelman, myself, and blogger emeritus Zeus Moscow.
Obviously, there would be some overlap among these franchises. Who would pass up 1997 Curt Schilling, and his plentiful strikeouts? Who could reach past 2006 Ryan Howard and his plentiful stri—home runs? Who could forget Tony Longmire?
Ed. note: who is Tony Longmire?
Equipped with 8 teams of 25 players, we dove into OOTP, which allows importation of historical players from any given year using the Lahman database. Creating teams in a blank OOTP universe requires a bit of creativity in regards the name, so rather than that, and seeing that it gave us the Witte Wild Things, the staff opted to stick with their randomly chosen squads:
The Cormican Makos, The Cohen Cossacks, The Phrozen Red Falcons, The Stolnis Swamp Bats, The Winkelman Aztecs, The Witte Wild Things, The Boyé Navigators, and the Moscow Brigands.
What a great bunch of lads. And here’s how they did over a full season:
Cormican’s Makos dominated, with a 13 game lead over Cohen’s Cossacks. My own Red Falcons, the Swamp Bats and Aztecs were gathered in the middle as well, and, well, the less said about the Wild Things, Navigators and Brigands, the better.
Statistically, some of the leaders were pretty expected. 2000 Bobby Abreu won the batting title for Cormican, hitting .316, while Winkelman’s 1993 Lenny Dykstra led the league in OBP and Boyes’ 1992 Darren Daulton led in SLG and OPS. 2006 Ryan Howard, also for Cormican, led in HRs, with 43; and, showing that this game format is a cruel bitch, Witte’s 2006 Howard hit only 28, while leading the league in strikeouts. Boye’s Daulton also led the league with 8.3 WAR.
On the other side of the field, 1997 Curt Schillings dominated the strikeout totals, all but one posting at least 300. There were no 20-game winners, but, proving Roger Craig right, 2010 Roy Halladay managed to lose 21 games for Moscow. 2011 Cliff Lee led the league in pitching WAR, with 7.4.
And of course this would happen to my copy of Curt Schilling:
Oh, and remember Tony Longmire? He finished with 179 hits.
So, this was Part I of a new series. Part II is where it starts to get fun, though, because we want your help. Picking 25 men from 25 years is an interesting challenge, but there really isn’t much difference between these teams. Running this simulation 10 times would probably give 10 wildly different results. So to up the stakes, we’re going to stretch it to 25 men from 40 years. And we want you to play along.
There’s a template you can fill in below, and the rules are pretty simple. For the last 40 seasons of Phillies baseball (i.e. 1976 to 2016), pick 25 players for a full regular roster. The cutoffs for relievers/bench players will be the same—no more than 12 starts for a reliever and no more than 300 PAs for a reserve. No more than one player per year, and no more than one of the same guy.
We'll take all the entries received by Monday night, add our own, and go from there.
Give me a team name unless you want one randomly chosen, and a list of player-seasons thusly:
First Name, Year, Position
For the rest of this year, we will be taking The Good Phight Out Of the Phight in OOTP, putting ourselves to the test in one challenge after another. And we want you to get involved. Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter @Phrozen, @TheGoodPhight and hashtag #OutOfThePhight what challenges and scenarios we should explore!