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Let’s Go Tribe OOTP team wins Iron League Championship

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The inaugural season is a smashing success

New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

The first season of the Let’s Go Tribe OOTP experiment completed with a championship win. Our squad brought home the title thanks primarily to a strong pitching staff and stellar performances from Carlos Santana and Omar Vizquel. If you joined us last week, you’ll recall that I had some acquisition targets. You will note that I’ve already nabbed on in Vizquel, who is slotted at second base.

Why second base, you ask? One of the fun aspects of Perfect Team is the ability to train-by-playing players at other positions. It’s also critical for success if operating without an unlimited budget, which some folks do based on their inexplicable ownership of all Legends by the end of the first week. With Vizquel, we gain an elite defensive second baseman to pair with a pretty fine player at shortstop: 1944 Lou Boudreau.

This is a filthy, nasty, absolutely devastating shortstop card in my opinion. The pairing of Vizquel and Boudreau up the middle is a big reason that the team lead the league in Zone Rating. We scored a 1992 Kenny Lofton, too. He proceeded to steal 52 bases and put up 5.6 WAR. Nice.

Our other additions included Live Carlos Carrasco, 1934 Mel Harder, 1956 Early Wynn, and literally the only member of the bullpen remaining from last time is Dan Otero.

Current Roster

There is still some work to do, especially in the lineup. George Burns did well enough last season at DH by accruing 1.3 WAR. A hot start in Bronze League—1.1 WAR through 27 games thanks to a .452 BABIP—means I’ll be waiting for him to cool off a bit before I make a move.

Vic Power also needs to go. The bat was enough, but he’s a poor defender everywhere but first base. What I might do in the short term is DH Santana and slide Power to first, where he is actually a better defender than either Burns or Santana. Still, the corners of this infield are its weakness.

What are you going to do about it?

What, indeed. This brings us to one of the problems I’m running into while trying to build this team: the gulf between available and affordable players, and the cards that actually constitute an upgrade. The cost of Jose Ramirez normalized a bit and now sits just below 30,000. 1948 Ken Keltner goes for 15,000. Other than those guys, I see no real upgrades available at third. At first, there is this weird Jim Thome card for around 600:

Not a good defender, and I’m terrified to play anyone with an ‘Avoid Ks’ that low. He would also play exclusively against RHP.

I’m not too hung up on a bad defender playing at first base, but I’d like for them to be at least close to 50. Victor Martinez might make sense there if we can’t find any other options.

I think I’m going to pick up the Thome and use him in a platoon with Vic Power for now. Will Thome strike out 275 times? Probably, but the hope is that he’ll draw enough walks and hit enough bombs to make up for it. As for third, I may look into grabbing the 2016 Lindor All-Star card and train him at third. It will be overkill for defense in the infield, but at least great defenders tend to perform more consistently in this game. Long term, this will also be a very good utility infielder card, and a upgrade over the Baerga I’m using for the purpose now.

Thoughts about the pitching

There aren’t very many good reliever cards for the Indians. 1995 Jose Mesa looks fun, but it goes for more than I ever really like to pay for a reliever card. I plan on continuing to upgrade starters and then move old starters to the bullpen when it makes sense to do so. There are definite advantages to having a lot of stretched out arms in the bullpen in Perfect Team, in particular if you use the “stopper” bullpen rule. In the 2019 game it wouldn’t be too uncommon for me to have a reliever toss 110 innings with a 3.0+ WAR.

I’m hoping I can settle on an option to make that happen in this season, too. Carrasco looks like a good long-term bet if I end up having stupid-good starting pitching. He basically becomes everyone’s piggy-back starter in the ideal configuration.

Next week, tune in to see how the Cleveland LetsGoTribe.com do in the Bronze League. Early returns look good, but anything can happen when you hand a bunch of numbers to RNGesus.