Earlier in the season, I used Out of the Park Baseball 2017 to answer an insane question: what would happen if Terry Francona took his usage of Bryan Shaw to the extreme and forced him to pitch every single inning?
It wasn't pretty.
We'll start with the ground rules again
- Bryan Shaw and 1,199 of his clones will be the only players in the league during the season. No amateur draft. No international free agents.
- There will be no minor leagues to help speed the simulation up.
- The pool of managers, scouts, trainers, etc will remain the same. Do sabermetrics matter if every player is the same?
- No DH. We can't let Bryan Shaw bat for Bryan Shaw in one league and not the other!
- I have nicknamed the original Bryan so that we can keep track of him.
It took me about two hour to figure out exactly how to force OOTP to make every team sign nothing but Bryan Shaw clones. Finally, I found the trick: dump all the players into the free agent pool, delete all of them but Shaw, and then start cloning. Then, hold an inaugural draft with 2,048 Shaws to choose from (an artifact of the quickest way to clone).
Wait. What? Is this just a total fluke? I expected pitching to dominate this league, but there have to be some more valiant offensive opening day performances out there, right?
Bryan Shaw pitched arguably the greatest game in the history of baseball, then sat on the bench and watched as the rest of the Bryan Shaws muddled through 14.1 innings. Of the twelve games played on Indians' opening day, seven total went to extra innings. No team scored more than three runs. It looks like it's going to be a very long season for Bryan Shaw. Not to mention Bryan Shaw. Let's not forget Bryan Shaw, who jumped out to an early MVP lead with five hits.
You might think that teams would be content to stand pat and not reach into the vast free agency pool of Shaws. Some teams are a bit frisky, though. Look at the Seattle Mariners making a splash:
At the time of the signing, Shaw became the highest-paid Shaw in the league. After seeing this report, I decide to look at who else is making news:
Just to review: the Indians scout still takes the time to do an in-depth scouting report of each team before the series. Teams all over the league are scrambling to add depth through free agency. Ned Yost quickly builds 'Great Rapport' with a locker room of 25 6'1" relief pitchers, stoking the competitive fire in their identical brown eyes. Not even coffee tables are safe. And the Shaw who crashed that Maserati apparently spent his entire season's salary on it.
At this point, I'm a little bit terrified to see what the final statistics are going to look like in this league. There is no turning back: we've entered the Shaw Singularity, from which nothing can escape, not even light. It's only going to get weirder as we get deeper, and in many instances, I have absolutely no words to add. It simply stands alone.
The game itself seems to be calling out to me with this screen. "I tried to warn you," it says. "I spent two hours keeping you from creating this hellscape and I finally relented. You will share the pain that I am feeling. I will make sure of it."
I go ahead a simulate a large swath of the season. Maybe if I just churn through everything as fast as I can, OOTP will forgive me, won't resent me, won't blow out Kluber's UCL the next time I fire it up for a serious playthrough.
At the end of the regular season, here are the most interesting findings:
- Stolen Bases Leader: Brian Shaw, Toronto - 1
Correct. Only Shaw in Toronto stole a base during the season. Here's the really ridiculous thing: none of the other Shaws even tried to steal. Not even one.
- The longest game played during the season is a macabre masterpiece.
The Indians battled the Rangers on September 26th. The game began at 7:08pm, with the rain blowing in at 11 mph in 46-degree weather. The game lasted for 19:11. Yes. Nineteen hours and eleven minutes. The Indians finally scored in the top of the 67th inning just after 2pm on September 27th. Both teams suited up again and played for 26 innings five hours later. This isn't the only abysmal marathon that I could find. There are at least two other games that went for at least 60 innings. Overall, the season took 77,308.2 innings to play.
- The entire league hit only 97 HRs. St. Louis hit 0. The average slash line ended at .117/.121/.241. Houston led the league with 168 runs.
- The pitching records are all ludicrous
That's a pretty phenomenal set of numbers there, don't you agree? Except for one thing: Shaw from Colorado isn't the true winner of this award. There is an even more exceptional Shaw in the league. Another Bryan Shaw on the Pirates pitched 181 innings, striking out 376 without allowing a single walk.
For a moment, I wonder why the AI decided to use this Shaw only against left-handed hitters. Then it dawns on me: Bryan Shaw is a switch hitter, but throws with his right hand. The system would always prefer to have Shaw bat from the opposite side of the plate, meaning that not once in the entire season did a right-handed batter have an at-bat.
How did our friend Real Bryan Shaw fare? Well, he threw 91 strikes on 20 pitches on June 2nd according to the box score. I have absolutely no explanation for how this happened, but with a game score of 112, he not only had the best start of the season but of all time.
And Now, the Playoffs!
In these playoffs, not a single Shaw hit a home run. Many of the games were a fairly boring 9-inning affair, with scores like 2-1 and 3-2. In one of the World Series games, the Pittsburg Pirates even walked off. After a long and bizarre season in which some teams didn't even have time to change before game, it all ended with a whimper.
The offseason won't be any prettier for this strange baseball world -- every single player in the league is up for arbitration, and they deserve significant compensation.
Which player deserves the MVP?
This poll is closed
Bryan "REAL BRYAN" Shaw