Archive for Gaming

Dangerous Experiment: A Roster of 25 Adam Dunns


One of the things we tend to love about baseball is when the game breaks, and a player ends up doing something they’re not supposed to be doing. Don Mattingly playing second base to finish off the Pine Tar Game, Randy Johnson manning left field on a double switch, Skip Schumaker firing fastballs that would make Tommy Milone jealous: these are the images of incongruity and improvisation that stick to us. We wait for the situations not because we want our heroes to fail, necessarily, but because throwing them out of their element makes them resemble us, just for a moment.

But why wait for the planets to align in real life, when we can simulate our dreams right now?

Thus I began this mad, stupid experiment. The premise is simple: using everyone’s favorite realistic baseball simulation, Out of the Park 2015, I created teams of baseball players by cloning a single player until they filled the active roster, and set them against each other in 162 games of gory combat. The results exceeded my wildest expectations.

The four teams in the CBL (Clone Baseball League) are:
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Your 2014 Scripps MLB Spelling Bee

The annual Scripps National Spelling Bee — my favorite non-baseball “sporting” event of the year — is on ESPN today and tomorrow. How about our own MLB Spelling Bee? Can you identify and then spell the following fifteen words/names correctly without looking them up? Try your luck in the comments.

1. This FOX broadcaster also broadcasts Reds games along with his father.

2. This is the mascot for the MLB team based in the eastern part of the Keystone State.

3. He’s the current closer for the Mets.

4. This man manages the Brewers.

5. This Padres starting pitcher is currently missing his second consecutive season due to injury.

6. This former major-league manager and 2013 Rockies first-base coach is now a catching instructor and defensive positioning coach for the Rockies.

7. This Cubs starter currently has an ERA of 1.68.

8. This former A’s reliever became a starter in 2008 and finished the year with a 2.54 ERA and a WHIP under 1.

9. This former Braves starter, who made the 2011 All-Star Team, was just signed to a minor league contract by the Reds.

10. This former Rays top shortstop prospect is now serving a harsh punishment on the Phillies (and on their AAA team).

11. This pitcher from Hawaii, formerly a Mariners and Royals reliever, currently plays for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League and has a last name similar to the first baseman for the Yankees.

12. This first baseman was never really given a chance in Kansas City, and didn’t do so well when given a chance in Oakland.

13. This former Blue Jay and Cardinal is currently a member of the Indians bullpen.

14. This man was a backup catcher for the Padres, batting .144 from 1981 through 1984.

15. This former Mariner and Tiger left fielder, first baseman, and third baseman, currently plays in Buffalo for the Blue Jays’ AAA team.

The NotGraphs Quiz

Studies I don’t feel like citing show that numbers are irresistible. The real world, with all its relative values and subjectivity, is undeniably terrifying. Put a number on something, however, and all your problems are solved.

That 90 bestowed on your bottle of pinot noir will tell you exactly how much you’re going to enjoy its tones of cherry and sandalwood. That 4.2 rating you saw on the internet will inform you exactly how competent you’ll find your sweater-clad Lit professor. A quick trip to his player page will demonstrate exactly what it feels like to watch Luis Valbuena play baseball. All these draining uncertainties in life, all this tiresome effort of developing your own opinions and feelings, get stripped away in a couple of digits. Truly, this is the best of all possible worlds.

Now I offer you an opportunity to quantify your love for our very own site, via this arbitrary and ridiculous Sporcle quiz. Prove to the world your appreciation for the NotGraphs #brand. Escape the soul-shearing ennui of your daily experience for up to six minutes, and then compare yourself to your peers through a number that, as well as anything else, represents your value to society and to the people you love. Select a question and answer each with open eyes and pure heart. And don’t cheat, or Banknotes Harper will turn you into shitty burgers.

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NotGraphs OOTP Fantasy: Year X! Final Consummation!

Check out the Draft Registration post or peruse the links at the bottom of this-here post to understand the context.

You know me; I’m an honest guy. I had every intention of posting the results from Year 10. But here’s what happened: I simmed up to Year 10; I surveyed the prospect carnage before me; and I knew immediately the dream was dead. Out of sheer pity, I went ahead and proceeded to Year X, the year in which the all the prospects had retired. And because the vast majority of prospects had retired by Year 10, I needed sim only three more years until the deed, like holding a pillow fast over the throat of our baseball dreams, was done.

Or maybe not.

After the simming, it became apparent two careers had bloomed late and we indeed had some legit major leaguers on our hands. So instead of going through the 17 spoiled careers of our custom-made prospects, I’m going to lighten the tone and celebrate the mildly successful careers of two of our young men: 1B Fred Hamilton and INF Andrew “Swede” Osborn.
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NotGraphs OOTP Fantasy: Year 5! Full Pandæmonium!


Our crop of 17 prospects has withered into a near nothingness, a throbbing blight of the minor leagues! We have a combined 0.3 WAR in the majors — over five seasons. Basically, Jerry “Juice” Loose reached the majors in 2015, pitched 29.0 innings, got injured, and never returned to the majors. That’s our combined career MLB experience.

Here’s a look at our miserable scouting report:


And the miserable statistical outlay of our players across all levels:



But before you say to yourself, “Well, hey, there’s some solid numbers in here,” just know: None of these players are in Triple-A. Perrywinkle, Wiggin and Osborn spent most of the season in Double-A, and everyone else was lower.

Go ahead and set the mood near your computing device — put on a vinyl of eerie Baroque music, light some candles and dab a light pale white foundation on your sallow cheeks and eye sockets — because here comes our most depressing, emo Top Five:
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NotGraphs OOTP Fantasy: Year 3! Full Rankings!

So here we are. A new year. The third year. When we began this little adventure through OOTP, things were looking good, things were coming up all Bradley. John Donne had just ranked No. 2 in the No. 1 in the prospect lists, and I was looking like a prospect genius.

But I think now we can agree, but clearly this game has many flaws. The first of which allow me to illuminate:


I believe on the merit of that very clearly flawed assessment of Yuniesky Betancourt we can deign to assume John Donne is still probably the best prospect of this whole system, if not of all time.but I am honorbound to play the game according to the rules. And as such I will offer henceforth a prospect list that utilizes the rating systems projection systems of OOTP, even if it is very apparent to me that justice has been usurped and genius has been restrained.

Here are the ratings for our dear 17 prospects:
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NotGraphs OOTP Fantasy: Year 2!

Year 2! Year 2! Year the second!


In the comments of Year 1, Ol’ Double R axed:

Any way to see our pre-draft profile? You know, the one when the draft list is released? Or at least our scouting history?

So, what the heck, right? We’re doing this for fun. So here’s this:

Double R

Uh oh.

For whatever reason (not including the possible reason of data entry error; this I double-checked), some of the prospects did not have quite the prospectiness of other prospects. I am open to suggestions that might improve this in later editions.

Go below the jump for a more detailed look.
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NotGraphs OOTP Fantasy: Year 1

The 2013 season has concluded for our mystical NotGraphs OOTP Fantasy League. Here is a look at the entrants that made it into the first draft:


We started with 17 five-star prospects, and we are down to just 2 five-star prospects. Jerry “Juice” Loose is still projected to be a five-star reliever and my humble top overall pick, John Donne, has retained five-star status because, let’s be honest, he failed to sign with the Houston Astros and is still benefiting from Shiny New Tow Syndrome.

Here are the top five prospects in my estimation, as well as the player cards for all the remaining players:
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NotGraphs OOTP 14 Fantasy League

This is probably not what you think.

As you may know, Out of the Park 14 (OOTP 14) is perhaps the best baseball simulation game on the market (review). It is an addicting and delicately balanced game (cue Dubuque).

But my friends over at found a way to make the game even more interesting. Below the jump, you will find a singup to enter YOURSELF into the 2013 draft class. You can choose either a position player or a pitcher, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Over the next few posts, we will follow your player through the seasons.

Will you be a bust or a boom? Will you be the first Nigerian to win the Cy Young? Will you go undrafted and then cry yourself to sleep every night? Join us and find out!

The first 5 people will be guaranteed coverage. Any additional signups will be subject to the whims of my magnanimity.
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Player-Profile Game: Baseball America Handbook 2006

In the past, the author of this post has facilitated what’s known as the Player Profile Game, in which readers are given a player profile — generally one having been written for FanGraphs Plus — and tasked with providing the identity of the player in question.

What we have on our hands presently, however, is not the past, but rather the present. As per usual, the present has issued its own set of unique circumstances and constraints. In particular, what the present has provided today is a copy of Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook from 2006 into the hands of the author.

Below are three profiles from said Handbook, in likely order of difficulty. For each player, the author has included the prospect’s parent club and Baseball America ranking within same as of the 2006 preseason.

Note that the author regards this exercise not at all as a commentary on the editors of Baseball America, nor their capacity to rank prospects. If certain young players’ future talent has been assessed incorrectly, this is almost entirely due to the difficulties inherent to that sort of exercise.

Prospect No. 1 (Player Page)
Club: Cincinnati
Ranking: Ninth


The Reds tried to cut costs in the 2002 draft with disastrous results, as Denorfia and [BLANK] are the lone bright spots from that crop. After establishing himself as the system’s best power prospect, [BLANK] had a disappointing 2005 and continued to struggle in the Arizona Fall League. [BLANK] can launch balls out of sight in batting practice. He drew 90 walks in 2004, showing a disciplined, mature approach. For a big man and former catcher, [BLANK] runs the bases well, and he has grown into a solid defensive first baseman with an above-average arm for the position. [BLANK] lacks plus bat speed and his swing lengthened in 2005. Perhaps too passive in the past, he seemed to start guessing, finding himself behind fastballs and ahead of offspeed offerings. He especially struggled against lefties, hitting .193 with a .315 slugging percentage. [BLANK]’s prospect stock has taken a hit, though he’s still the top first-base prospect in the system. He heeds to rediscover his short stroke and trust his natural hitting instincts in Double-A in 2006.

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