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Old 09-04-2012, 02:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Extreme Makeover: OOTP Edition (2012 Astros)

I grew up in southern Illinois and since childhood my favorite baseball team has been the St. Louis Cardinals. I have lived in Houston since 1977, and I adopted the Astros as another favorite team when I moved here. Having followed both of these teams closely for many years, I was intrigued when former Cardinals scout Jeff Luhnow became the General Manager of the Houston Astros.

I have followed Luhnow’s career with interest because he does not fit the mold of your typical “baseball man”. He got the Astros job over several other candidates by thinking outside the box. After completing a lengthy phone interview with Astros president and CEO George Postolos, Luhnow told Postolos he wanted to send him more information. The next day a package arrived and, instead of a resume and cover letter, Postolos was astonished to find a 25-page binder outlining a plan to improve the Astros.

Luhnow has the toughest job in the sport. The Mission Impossible team wouldn’t take this one. He has to turn around one of the worst franchises in baseball history and rebuild the fan interest from a historical low. In the meantime, he will move the team (figuratively) to a new neighborhood… that upscale address known as the American League West where wealthy teams like the Rangers and Angels reside.

Some of his 25-page remodeling plan has been revealed over the past several months. Luhnow is treating the franchise as an extreme makeover project. He has stripped it down to the bare wood, keeping very little of the structure that he inherited. Now he plans to rebuild it from the bottom up, with the amateur draft providing the frame, floor, and rafters. He still has several years to go before the episode is ready for prime time. In the meantime, he has to grow the fan base by putting a decent product on the field.

Luhnow has accelerated the process by trading every marketable piece on the roster for young talent, partially compensating for five years of poor drafts before he arrived. He has said publicly that he wants to make the team more competitive in 2013 with mid-level free agents that could buy time for the developing prospects and help the younger players. The team has a 45% stake in Comcast SportsNet Houston, which debuts this fall. It will increase annual TV revenue seven-fold in a deal that averages $80 million annually for 20 years. When the organizational depth is in place to support a run, funds will be available for high-priced free agent talent to put them over the top. It could work.

I think it would be fun to be in his position, starting at the bottom with no future payroll commitments. I have thought a lot about what I would do in his shoes, and now I have decided to try it. I will stay true to Luhnow’s philosophy of building organically, but this is a simulation so obviously things will be different from the real world. The Astros’ current prospects will develop differently in the game, and my future drafts will contain fictional players. Regardless of the random fictional element, it should still be interesting to see when, or if, the approach and style bears fruit. My first challenge is to avoid being fired.


For those who want more background, I suggest this excellent article by Jon Heyman:

Clemens is just a sideshow; Astros' ongoing, unprecedented overhaul is the real story - CBSSports.com
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Starting the Simulation

The first step will be to advance the simulation to September 1, 2012, making the same moves as Luhnow (using the commissioner mode to force the trades). The other teams in the game will be left alone, except if they are involved in one of the real-life Houston transactions. Injuries and moves by other teams may complicate this initial stage of the scenario, so please allow me a little leeway if I have to be creative (i.e. cheat a little).

I will fire scout Bobby Heck at the appropriate date (August 11) and select a new scout from the available pool in the game with a focus of “favor ability” and at least decent ratings. I will use the editor to rename this scout as Mike Elias, who is the new director of scouting in real life. The scouting budget will be increased considerably under Luhnow, so I will use a league average budget for 2012 and then boost it a lot for 2013. The stated international focus of the team is Latin America, so I will do the same. (Luhnow is American but he was born in Mexico City and speaks fluent Spanish.) I will also bump up the player development budget for 2013, as I am sure Luhnow will do.

My first major off-season decision will be the choice of a new field manager to replace Brad Mills, who was fired in real life on August 18. Luhnow has stated that he intends to hire someone to foster the right environment for a young team. “A big part of it for us is teaching — teaching the game the right way and putting players in position to succeed,” Luhnow said. “That’s going to be a key part of how we evaluate anybody that’s going to be on our staff.” I will be very likely to choose a different person in the game, because I will actually make my decision first (or at least before his is announced). But I will select a manager that embodies the same traits, meaning good scores in teaching game skills (pitching, hitting, and fielding) and especially in working with “rookies”.

I have left most of the game settings at the “new major league game” defaults. Trading is set to Hard/Favor Prospects. The scouting scale is 1-10 because that’s what I like. In a major departure from real life, the National League will adopt the designated hitter rule beginning in 2013. Hey, if I have to adapt, why shouldn’t everyone? I don’t want to mess with two sets of lineups for interleague play, so this is really about my convenience.

I won’t fuss too much over the 2012 season. I will publish monthly updates, mainly to establish the league environment going into 2013. I will detail the 2012 Astros player moves as I go, noting the real-life transactions that are “forced”. I will try to keep the current prospects at their real-life organizational levels for this season, and hopefully arrive at September 1 with nearly the same 40-man roster as the real Astros. I won’t be reporting much about the Astros roster until September 1, at which time I will describe both the major league team and the organization’s key prospects in excruciating detail.

Owner Jim Crane has decided on the goal for this season. “I have concluded that you can do whatever you want. I don’t expect anything.” Good! We are predicted to finish 60-102, with the prize being the #1 overall draft pick for the second straight year.


(The next few posts will be pretty quick, because I have played through the draft.)
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Summary for April 2012
Astros Record: 5-18, .217, 11 GB, 6th
Power Ranking: 28.9, 28th
Owner Mood: Good; Fan Interest: 55/100

A.L. Division Leaders: Yankees (17-6), Royals (14-9), Rangers (15-8)
N.L. Division Leaders: Phillies/Braves (14-9), Brewers (16-7), Rockies (15-7)

Astros Transactions:
• Claimed RF Justin Maxwell off waivers from the Yankees (actual transaction, forced as trade for $20K)

Significant MLB Transactions:
• White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf passed away, leaving the team to his son Fred.
• Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg injured his shoulder and will miss 2-3 months.
• Braves CF Michael Bourn is out for the season with a broken kneecap.
• Indians owner Larry Dolan passed away, leaving the team to his son Larry Jr.
• Phillies signed free agent SP Roy Oswalt to a 1-year contract for $5.5M.
• Brewers SP Zach Grienke signed a 4-year extension at $14.5M/yr. so he won’t be a 2013 free agent
• Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedrioa will miss this season with a torn PCL.
• Phillies CF Shane Victorino signed a 6-year extension at $16M/yr.
• Angels SP Jered Weaver will miss 4 months with shoulder inflammation.

Inside the Astros:
• Luhnow has said that he wished he could have kept SP Jordan Lyles at AAA in 2012. I intend to grant his wish, filling the MLB rotation with scraps if necessary.
• Our pitching and hitting have been equally horrible. Our fielding is average.
• Best Hitter: LF J.D. Martinez (.266, 6 HR, 17 RBI); 2B Jose Altuve (.295)
• Best Pitcher: SP Wandy Rodriguez (2-3, 4.59 ERA)
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Summary for May 2012
Astros Record: 21-30, .412, 9 GB, 5th (16-12 in May)
Power Ranking: 73.8, 25th
Owner Mood: Good; Fan Interest: 54/100 (-1)

A.L. Division Leaders: Yankees (35-16), Royals (28-23), Rangers (28-23)
N.L. Division Leaders: Phillies (33-19), Reds (30-21), Rockies (31-19)

Astros Transactions:
• F/A SP Armando Galarraga was due to be signed in May, but he had already been signed by Twins. Since he was later released by Astros, I just ignored this.
• Traded LF Justin Ruggiano to Marlins for minor league C/1B Jobduan Morales (actual trade – forced).

Significant MLB Transactions:
• Reds 1B Joey Votto is out for the season with a broken bone in his elbow.
• Phillies SP Cole Hamels has a torn flexor tendon in his elbow and will miss 10 months. He is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
• Mets SP R.A. Dickey is out for the year with a torn UCL.
• Angels obtained LF Carl Crawford from Red Sox for MR Scott Downs and minor league SP Brandon McNelis.
• Phillies SP Cole Hamels signed a 4-year extension for $16M/yr rather than test free agency after his missed season.
• Angels SP Dan Haren joins Jered Weaver on the 60-day D/L. Haren is out for the year with a torn labrum.
• Indians RF Shin-Soo Choo will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured MCL.
• Red Sox SP Jon Lester is out for the season with a torn UCL.
• Cardinals SP Jake Westbrook will miss 4-5 months with a shoulder injury.

Inside the Astros:
• SP Dallas Keuchel (AAA) has a torn rotator cuff and will be out for 12-13 months.
• SP Jose Ortegano was signed to a minor-league contract to replace Keuchel. The 24-year-old lefty was an undrafted free agent and has never pitched above AA.
• Jose Altuve’s 18-game hitting streak was stopped on May 17.
• Backup C Chris Snyder wants to be traded. His $4M team option for 2013 won’t be exercised, but until then he is stuck here.
• Best Hitter: LF J.D. Martinez (.330, 12 HR, 36 RBI); 2B Jose Altuve (.322)
• Best Pitcher: SP Wandy Rodriguez (4-5, 4.09 ERA)
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Old 09-04-2012, 02:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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2012 First-Year Player Draft

I attempted to mimic the Astros actual draft in order to have as many of their prospects as possible. It didn’t go too well, but I did get a few of Luhnow’s top picks. Some of the actual draft picks were not in the game’s pool, so I had to deviate a bit. A couple of my picks were taken by other teams, so I made compensating adjustments on the fly.

Rounds 1-5:
• High school SS Carlos Correa was the #1 overall pick by Astros (actual pick)
• Yankees took Astros #2 pick, SP Lance McCullers Jr., at #29 (round 1) **
• I took Yankees actual #1 pick, SP Ty Hensley, at #31 (first pick in round 2) **
• Astros actual #3 pick (SS Nolan Fontana) did not exist in the draft pool, so…
• Astros selected HS SP Max Fried, a lefty, at #61 (round 3); Fried went #7 overall in actual 2012 MLB draft
• Rockies took Astros #4 pick (SP Brady Rodgers) at #100 (round 3), so…
• I took Rockies actual #1 pick, CF David Dahl, still on the board at #121 (round 4)
• Astros selected HS 3B Rio Ruiz at #141 (round 5). He was Astros actual 5th pick.

** As soon as McCullers and Hensley are signed, I will force a trade with the Yankees so that I have the Astros actual top two picks (and the Yankees have their actual first pick). I will add cash to the deal on one side to make the signing bonuses correct.

I gave up trying to duplicate the Astros draft at round six. I doubt that many of the later picks will actually make the majors anyway. I ignored my soon-to-be-deposed scout Bobby Heck for the next several rounds and instead selected players that were taken high in the actual 2012 MLB draft regardless of their in-game ratings. Heck did not agree with these picks, but who knows how these players will develop in the game?

• Round 6 – HS C Stryker Trahan (actual 1st round pick #26 overall)
• Round 7 – HS SS Addison Russell (actual 1st round pick #11 overall)
• Round 8 – College 1B/3B Richie Shaffer (actual 1st round pick #25 overall)
• Round 9 – College SP Pat Light (actual Supp-1st round pick #37 overall)

From round 10 on, I primarily focused on taking players with good intangibles and filling out the rookie league rosters with multiple players at every position. I was pretty happy with this draft considering that I ended up with seven players that went in the first round of the actual MLB draft. Of course, they may be busts in OOTP. It will be fun to watch.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Summary for June 2012
Astros Record: 32-46, .410, 14 GB, 6th (11-16 in June)
Power Ranking: 71.5, 27th
Owner Mood: Good; Fan Interest: 54/100 (no change)

A.L. Division Leaders: Yankees (50-28), Royals (44-33), Angels (44-34)
N.L. Division Leaders: Marlins (45-33), Reds (46-32), Rockies (45-32)

Astros Transactions:
• Astros #1 prospect 1B Jonathon Singleton (AA) injured his shoulder and will miss four weeks. He was hitting .315 with 15 HR and 44 RBI in 68 games.
• Signed former Astros farmhand RF Jon Gaston to a minor league contract. He will replace Corpus Christi (AA) RF Adam Bailey who is out for the year with an injury.
• C Chris Snyder was injured (sprained thumb) and will miss 6 weeks. C Carlos Corporan was added to the 40-man roster and called up from AAA.

Significant MLB Transactions:
• Orioles (44-33), Rangers (44-35), Red Sox (35-44), Yankees, Brewers (41-36), Cubs (45-33), Diamondbacks (38-39), Mets (43-36), Phillies (41-39) and Rockies have set their focus to “Win Now”.
• Twins (36-41), Astros, Cardinals (37-41), Dodgers (27-52), Giants (39-40) and Pirates (32-45) have set their focus to “Rebuilding”.
• Dodgers traded RF Andre Ethier to the White Sox for two minor league prospects.
• Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre is out for the season with a ruptured finger tendon.
• Pirates LF Nate McLouth will miss 4 months with a torn back muscle.
• Rays SP Jeremy Hellickson is out for the year with a torn labrum.
• Rangers CF Josh Hamilton signed a 1-year extension at $15M.

Inside the Astros:
• 1B Carlos Lee wants a 3-year, $15M/year contract extension. ROTFL
• CL Brett Myers wants to be traded to a contender. All in good time, my pretty.
• Best Hitter: SS Jed Lowrie (.322/.361/.530, 10 HR, 35 RBI)
• Best Pitcher: SP Wandy Rodriguez (5-7, 3.18 ERA)

Three players on the current roster have impressed me. They are LF J.D. Martinez, SS Jed Lowrie and 2B Jose Altuve. Martinez has developed faster and better here than in real life. It is a simulation and I expected some surprises, both good and bad. There are no obvious keepers among the pitchers so far. This staff is a disaster, and that’s before I trade all of the decent arms.

Next, I will publish the All-Star rosters for those that are interested in the performances around the league. Frankly, I don’t find the 2012 results all that interesting because there have been dozens of 2012 seasons played out on this forum already. I will be more engaged with the league environment when the scenario reaches 2013.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Orcin View Post
• Mets SP R.A. Dickey is out for the year with a torn UCL.
I thought, R.A. Dickey *had* no ulnar collateral ligament ...!?

What a terribly modelled game!

Taking over the '12 Astros sounds as much fun as I had with the Raccoons. Good luck, you're gonna need it.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Westheim View Post
I thought, R.A. Dickey *had* no ulnar collateral ligament ...!?

What a terribly modelled game!

Ha ha, good catch! That flew right by me until you mentioned it.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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July 8, 2012

Subject: Major League All-Star Rosters Are Announced

Showcase for the Stars -- The Major League All-Star Game. It's a great game for the fans. The All-Star Classic comes around each year at this time to the delight of every baseball fan. Talented players from the American and National come together and show their wares on the baseball diamond. The top players go toe-to-toe with one another to get the bragging rights for their league.

Selected to play for the American League All-Stars are:

SP Jake Arrieta (BAL) - 11-7, 3.20 ERA
SP Phil Hughes (NYA) - 8-0, 2.75 ERA
SP CC Sabathia (NYA) - 10-4, 2.64 ERA
SP James Shields (TBA) - 11-6, 2.91 ERA
SP Justin Verlander (DET) - 9-4, 3.08 ERA
SP C.J. Wilson (LAA) - 7-3, 2.20 ERA
MR Matt Capps (TOR) - 4-2, 15 SV, 2.86 ERA
CL Greg Holland (KC) - 6-1, 21 SV, 1.80 ERA
CL Brandon League (SEA) - 4-5, 25 SV, 2.54 ERA
CL Matt Lindstrom (BAL) - 1-2, 24 SV, 1.94 ERA
CL Joel Peralta (TBA) - 2-2, 22 SV, 2.10 ERA
CL Jose Valverde (DET) - 2-4, 21 SV, 2.31 ERA
C Carlos Santana (CLE) - .277/.408/.547, 10 HR, 33 RBI
C Joe Mauer (MIN) - .299/.375/.418, 6 HR, 34 RBI
1B Mark Teixeira (NYA) - .291/.377/.626, 30 HR, 71 RBI
1B Miguel Cabrera (DET) - .317/.413/.591, 22 HR, 55 RBI
1B Kendrys Morales (LAA) - .279/.322/.514, 19 HR, 62 RBI
1B Eric Hosmer (KC) - .300/.374/.446, 8 HR, 53 RBI
1B Albert Pujols (LAA) - .313/.417/.597, 24 HR, 57 RBI
2B Jason Kipnis (CLE) - .283/.341/.492, 14 HR, 53 RBI
3B Alex Rodriguez (NYA) - .295/.387/.502, 17 HR, 50 RBI
SS Derek Jeter (NYA) - .288/.352/.417, 7 HR, 18 RBI
LF Nolan Reimold (BAL) - .287/.372/.583, 25 HR, 70 RBI
LF Alex Gordon (KC) - .281/.387/.495, 13 HR, 53 RBI
LF Nick Swisher (NYA) - .302/.393/.500, 13 HR, 44 RBI
CF Curtis Granderson (NYA) - .276/.356/.502, 18 HR, 46 RBI
RF Jose Bautista (TOR) - .260/.369/.551, 24 HR, 55 RBI
RF Nelson Cruz (TEX) - .286/.371/.572, 24 HR, 73 RBI

The National League All-Stars will have these players on their roster:

SP Matt Garza (CHN) - 10-3, 2.53 ERA
SP Zack Greinke (MIL) - 11-4, 2.29 ERA
SP Jeremy Guthrie (COL) - 9-3, 2.97 ERA
SP Ian Kennedy (ARI) - 9-6, 2.55 ERA
SP Adam Wainwright (STL) - 9-6, 2.62 ERA
SP Carlos Zambrano (MIA) - 9-3, 2.32 ERA
CL John Axford (MIL) - 0-5, 25 SV, 3.24 ERA
CL Frank Francisco (NYN) - 2-5, 22 SV, 2.48 ERA
CL Joel Hanrahan (PIT) - 2-4, 21 SV, 2.04 ERA
CL Carlos Marmol (CHN) - 3-0, 27 SV, 0.22 ERA
CL Sean Marshall (CIN) - 5-4, 21 SV, 2.63 ERA
CL Jonathan Papelbon (PHI) - 3-1, 20 SV, 2.17 ERA
C Brian McCann (ATL) - .278/.352/.464, 15 HR, 36 RBI
C Geovany Soto (CHN) - .266/.380/.482, 12 HR, 53 RBI
1B Freddie Freeman (ATL) - .286/.341/.473, 12 HR, 50 RBI
2B Martin Prado (ATL) - .319/.375/.512, 12 HR, 44 RBI
3B David Wright (NYN) - .256/.405/.440, 9 HR, 42 RBI
3B Pablo Sandoval (SF) - .299/.339/.492, 11 HR, 40 RBI
SS Zack Cozart (CIN) - .305/.343/.527, 14 HR, 38 RBI
SS Jed Lowrie (HOU) - .314/.359/.508, 10 HR, 38 RBI
SS Troy Tulowitzki (COL) - .299/.382/.511, 16 HR, 70 RBI
LF J.D. Martinez (HOU) - .316/.365/.557, 14 HR, 55 RBI
LF Ryan Braun (MIL) - .303/.366/.558, 17 HR, 39 RBI
LF Jose Tabata (PIT) - .319/.405/.423, 2 HR, 28 RBI
LF Carlos Gonzalez (COL) - .327/.375/.567, 18 HR, 58 RBI
CF Cameron Maybin (SD) - .298/.359/.483, 12 HR, 48 RBI
CF Matt Kemp (LAN) - .306/.386/.552, 17 HR, 46 RBI
RF Corey Hart (MIL) - .278/.320/.525, 19 HR, 63 RBI
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Extreme Makeover: Demolition Phase

From July 5-29, Jeff Luhnow made a series of trades that sent 7 players from the major league roster to other teams. In return, he obtained 17 players, most of whom were minor league prospects (none were in the BNN Top 100 in the game). I duplicated all of these trades in my game, but it wasn’t easy. Injuries were a complicating factor, so a couple of injuries were “healed” a little early. I made one trade early in order to facilitate other roster moves. Two of the actual acquired prospects had already been traded to other teams in the game, so I creatively “retrieved” them by providing replacements for the innocent team. Finally, it goes without saying that all of these trades were forced.

July 5: Astros traded 36-year-old 1B Carlos Lee and $5 million in cash to the Miami Marlins for 22-year-old 3B Matt Dominguez and 23-year-old SP Rob Rasmussen. Lee waived his 10/5 rights to allow the deal. Brett Wallace was recalled from AAA Oklahoma City to replace Lee in the lineup. Surprisingly, fan interest in Houston fell by 6 points.

July 11: Astros traded 27-year-old 3B Chris Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 21-year-old 3B/LF Bobby Borchering and 24-year-old LF Marc Krauss. Tyler Greene, recently claimed off waivers from the Cardinals, will replace Johnson on the roster. Jed Lowrie will move to third base for the near term with Greene and Marwin Gonzalez sharing time at shortstop. (This was done early to coincide with the Cardinals waiving Greene, who the Astros actually acquired in a trade for cash a few weeks later.)

July 20: Astros made a mega-deal with Toronto, sending SP J.A. Happ, MR Brandon Lyon and MR David Carpenter to the Blue Jays for seven players. The Astros received major-leaguers CL Francisco Cordero and RF Ben Francisco along with minor-leaguers SP Abner Wojciechowski, SP David Rollins, C Carlos Perez, SP Joseph Musgrove, and SP Kevin Comer. Two pitchers, SP Aneury Rodriguez and MR Jorge De Leon, were added to the Astros active roster. RF Justin Maxwell was demoted to AAA to make room for Francisco. Fans are upset about the loss of J.A. Happ.

July 21: Astros traded CL Brett Myers to the Chicago White Sox in return for three minor league pitchers: MR Matthew Heidenreich, SP Blair Walters and SP Chris Devenski. This clears the path for Francisco Cordero to be the closer for the rest of the season. MR Wesley Wright was promoted to the active roster to replace Myers.

July 25: Astros traded SP Wandy Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for three prospects: RF Robbie Grossman, SP Rudy Owens and SP Colten Cain. Veteran SP Brandon Webb (effectively Armando Galarraga’s replacement) was signed and placed on the active roster to soak up Wandy’s innings until the September 1 roster expansion.

These trades eliminate all of the team’s future contract commitments. Incredibly, the Astros finish this series of transactions with an estimated $25 million payroll for next season. Five of the acquired prospects (more detail to come) are now among my Top 20. Fan interest has totally collapsed (45) because all five of their “favorite players” are now gone. This was expected and follows the real-life scenario closely.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yay! Between the WS boards and here, I've wanted to follow an Orcin dynasty. Now finally one I caught from the start!
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spotted an 11-run lead, then going into the 9th up by 8 and not a single out recorded (using three relief pitchers all warmed up), nine runs score... game over? nope, thank the demo for saving me $20 on the after the season special or/and another $35-40 on 14. I will NOT be purchasing this piece of crap!
You see, this guy here, he is that guy. Don't be that guy.


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Old 09-05-2012, 05:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yay! Between the WS boards and here, I've wanted to follow an Orcin dynasty. Now finally one I caught from the start!

LOL, yes so much easier to get in on page 1.
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Old 09-05-2012, 06:43 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I like it so far.

You picked a good team for a dynasty, I think.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Jake Arrieta made the All Star Team!? Poor guy can't catch a break this year, but at least his virtual self is performing.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stromson View Post
Jake Arrieta made the All Star Team!? Poor guy can't catch a break this year, but at least his virtual self is performing.

Jeremy Guthrie and Nolan Reimold are All-Stars that caught my attention. Both surprising.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:46 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Can you tell us the settings you're using (ratings, coaches, scouts, AI eval, aging modifiers, etc)? Is this the downloaded MLB quickstart or the stock one?

I always find this interesting to know with MLB leagues to see how the players we know behave differently. Good luck, I'll be following!
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soxfan34 View Post
Can you tell us the settings you're using (ratings, coaches, scouts, AI eval, aging modifiers, etc)? Is this the downloaded MLB quickstart or the stock one?

I always find this interesting to know with MLB leagues to see how the players we know behave differently. Good luck, I'll be following!

Stock MLB Quickstart, i.e. "New Major League Game" from the menu.

I have left most of the game settings that you mention, including the financials, at the defaults. Trading is set to Hard/Favor Prospects. The rating scale is 1-10 because that’s what I like, but the scouting accuracy is left at normal. Aging modifiers, player development, AI evaluation, etc. is all at the default.

I plan to use the DH in both leagues starting in 2013 for my own convenience. I don't want to mess with two sets of lineups.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Summary for July 2012
Astros Record: 44-61, .419, 16 GB, 5th (12-15 in July)
Power Ranking: 74.1, 25th
Owner Mood: Good; Fan Interest: 45/100 (-9)

A.L. Division Leaders: Yankees (64-39), Royals (62-41), Rangers (58-44)
N.L. Division Leaders: Marlins (58-46), Cubs (59-44), Rockies (57-44)

The Royals are doing it without major stars. Their payroll is #25 of 30 teams. They have a young and balanced team, mostly home-grown.
The Royals project to show a $25 million profit this season – before playoff revenue. THIS is what the Astros strive to become.

Astros Transactions:
• Traded SP Ty Hensley and $500,000 cash to Yankees for SP Lance McCullers (forced – temporarily removed the restriction on trading recently drafted players)
• Signed C Koyie Hill to a minor league contract and assigned to AAA for depth
• Claimed SS Tyler Greene off waivers from St. Louis (previously reported)
• Signed SP Brandon Webb to a minor league contract (previously reported)
• Claimed MR Mark Hamburger off waivers from Texas (actual transaction)

Significant MLB Transactions:
• Rays SP Matt Moore (10-2, 1.67) will miss 3-4 months with shoulder inflammation.
• Twins traded CL Matt Capps to Blue Jays for CF prospect Anthony Gose.
• Cardinals traded 3B David Freese to Athletics for 3B Eric Sogard and a prospect.
• Cardinals traded RF Allen Craig to Indians for MR Vinnie Pestano and a prospect.
• Cardinals traded MR Mitchell Boggs to Rangers for SS prospect Jurickson Profar
• Angels SP C.J. Wilson will miss the rest of the season due to a torn labrum.
• Mets SP Johan Santana is out for the season with a torn biceps.

Inside the Astros:
• We currently have only four players (Cordero, Francisco, Lowrie, and Snyder) above the minimum salary with a total payroll of $26M (#30).
• We have the worst pitching in the league. The offense is tied for #6 and really not that bad. The defense is #8.
• We would have the #6 pick in next year’s draft if the season ended today, but we still have two months of potentially dismal play ahead of us.
• Best Hitter: LF J.D. Martinez (.294/.342/.529, 17 HR, 63 RBI)
• Best Pitcher: SP Lucas Harrell (8-9, 4.53 ERA); SP Kyle Weiland (4-7, 4.62)
• Weiland missed the 2012 season in real-life due to shoulder surgery for an infection, but I got the chance to develop him and I like him for the future.
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Old 09-06-2012, 02:16 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Team Personnel

After the trade deadline passed, Luhnow turned his attention internally to his personnel. Mike Elias replaced Heck as the scouting director on August 11. Brad Mills was fired as manager one week later, along with the hitting coach.

I accomplished the scouting change in the game by hiring a fictional scout. I changed his name using the editor but I left the ratings alone, because I had hired someone that matched what I thought the Luhnow/Elias team might have. The ratings are Majors and Minors = Good, International = Excellent, and Amateurs = Outstanding. The focus is “Favor Ability”. Immediately after hiring Elias, I ran the “OSA and human re-scout” function to see what the “ability” scout had to say vs. the “highly favor tools” scout. There were some changes in star ratings, and Elias seems to favor players with a high floor instead of a high ceiling. I like this viewpoint better for my philosophy in this game. I want to accumulate a lot of good MLB prospects and then let the cream rise to the top.

Since it makes no difference to the scenario, I decided not to fire Brad Mills in the game until the end of the season. I will have a lot of positions to fill in the organization during the off-season, so this will be a major focus for me in September and October. I don’t find a lot of candidates in the pool right now. The new Astros manager will be a surprise. I will have to craft this person in the game to match the qualities that Luhnow wants, but I don’t think it will be a stretch at all. I haven’t decided about the bench coach yet, but I may replace Pettini with a highly-rated fielding coach. The hitting coach, Mike Barnett, will definitely be replaced but pitching coach Doug Brocail will be retained somewhere.

I will post the August summary next, and then I will go into my analysis of the Astros roster and farm system. It may not seem like it, but the dynasty really starts there. The information posted so far is just the background for the story.
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:35 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Summary for August 2012
Astros Record: 55-77, .417, 23.5 GB, 5th (11-16 in August)
Power Ranking: 63.5, 30th
Owner Mood: Good; Fan Interest: 43/100 (-2)

A.L. Division Leaders: Yankees (81-50), Royals (80-52), Rangers (81-50)
N.L. Division Leaders: Braves (72-60), Brewers (78-53), Rockies (69-61)
A.L. Wild Cards: Rays (75-57), Angels (74-58)
N.L. Wild Cards: Cubs (73-58), Marlins (71-61)

Astros Transactions:
• Team Trainer Nathan Lucero agreed to a 5-year extension at $100K/year.
• Astros traded RF Ben Francisco to Rays for a player to be named later (actual transaction).

Note: I moved Francisco to the Rays via commissioner mode. I will take my player later when he is finally named. It probably won’t be a good player anyway.

Significant MLB Transactions:
• Reds 2B Brandon Phillips is out for the year with a ruptured tendon in his finger.

Inside the Astros:
• I tried Jed Lowrie at third base for 30 games, but that experiment is over. He is rated as the #8 shortstop (a harder position to fill) by BNN. Why mess with that?
• Matt Dominguez was called up to play third base for the rest of the season. The job will be his if he hits, because he is an outstanding fielder.
• Best Hitter: LF J.D. Martinez (.294/.346/.517, 20 HR, 82 RBI)
• Best Pitcher: SP Lucas Harrell (9-9, 4.12 ERA)

September 1 Roster Expansion:
The following players were called up: SP Jordan Lyles, MR Mark Hamburger, C Carlos Corporan, 2B Matt Downs, 3B Jimmy Paredes, LF Travis Buck, and RF Justin Maxwell.
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