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Who wins worse? An OOTP collaboration with The Dugs

We interrupt this tournament to bring you another mini-tournament.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
Any excuse for this image.
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

If you’ve been following my ongoing Gud Twins Tourney, you’ll know that I’m an avid Out of the Park player.

In that tournament-opening article, I mentioned that the tournament was inspired by The Dugs’ recent Experimental Baseball Tournament, a short OOTP competition between eight teams composed by unorthodox means. Such means included a team of players who spent time in prison, one featuring the largest players in baseball history, and the 2019 Detroit Tigers.

(By the way, another nod at the inspiration: “Gud” is “Dug” spelled backwards.)

Recently, The Dugs reached out and asked to collaborate on another OOTP challenge, one which I have taken up.

Here are the rules, as sent to me:

I’m simming 3 games. Wins and losses don’t matter. First half of the scoring is run differential. So if you were to beat me 6-0 in all of the 3 games, you’d be at +18. The second half of the scoring is based off of player rating. I’m setting people’s overall ranking on a scale from 20-80 (80 being the absolute best). I’ll calculate our average team rating. However many points you’re above me in ranking, we subtract off your run differential. So, if you were +18 in run differential, but ranked 20 points higher than me, you’d lose. We’re kind of trying to beat each other with the worst team possible

In deciding a team (9 batters, 3 starters, 7 relievers), my strategy was to pick players ranked no higher than 50 in OOTP whom I believe can play higher than their rankings.

As any OOTP player knows, the best hitters are those with good contact and a good eye; such hitters with low power are often ranked as mediocre but can put up good stats. Therefore I looked on Baseball Reference for players with high OBP but low SLG, plugged their seasons into OOTP to optimize my ratings criteria, and came up with a lineup of:

  • C: 2019 Willians Astudillo
    Previous season: .355/.371/.516
    (Had to include one Twin.)
  • 1B: 1955 Ferris Fain (.302/.399/.417)
  • 2B: 1993 Mark Lemke (.227/.307/.304)
  • 3B: 1912 Tillie Shafer (did not play in 1911)
  • SS: 1902 John McGraw (.349/.508/.487)
  • LF: 1946 Jimmy Outlaw (.271/.338/.330)
  • CF: 1889 Dummy Hoy (.274/.374/.338)
  • RF: 1987 José Oquendo (.297/.359/.341)
  • DH: 2000 Rickey Henderson (.315/.423/.466)

While I do not recall the exact criteria I used to determine my three-man rotation and seven-man bullpen, I believe I looked for players who had seasons with a better FIP than ERA, and tried to get a good number of lefties in there. Regardless, my pitching staff consists of:

  • SP: 1973 Steve Busby (R)
    Previous season: 1.58 ERA, 1.77 FIP
  • SP: 1977 Jerry Reuss (L) (3.53/3.35)
  • SP: 1966 Diego Segui (R) (4.64/3.76)
  • RP: 2001 Bronson Arroyo (R) (6.40/5.23)
  • RP: 2003 Alan Embree (L) (2.18/2.62)
  • RP: 1961 Harvey Haddix (L) (3.97/3.01)
  • RP: 1967 Ramón Hernández (L) (rookie season)
  • RP: 1925 Sad Sam Jones (R) (3.63/3.88)
  • RP: 2020 Phil Maton (R) (6.14/5.04)
  • RP: 1990 Scott Radinsky (L) (rookie season)

So that was my strategy.

The Dugs went with “pick the worst team possible and assume Matt can’t score enough runs to overcome the ratings differential.”

Since this tournament is only three games, that could very well work.

The Dugs’ video previewing this matchup and introducing their roster can be found on their YouTube channel; specifically, at this link. They’ll be releasing the challenge recap video on Friday. I have no idea how it’ll go for my squad, but when you’ve got La Tortuga and the inspiration for Homestar Runner on your team, things can’t go all badly.

We’ve got a few weeks until Opening Day. It’s time to baseball.