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Baseball Game Theory: Diamondbacks Results and Perspective

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I played the Diamondbacks in a simulation for Beyond the Box Score. Here are the results.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

So I participated in an SB Nation MLB simulation of sorts through Beyond the Box Score. Unlike previous GM simulations, this was more of a hypothetical thing that wouldn't happen, but was a fun exercise.

(You can find the original article here)

Basically the rules were this:

1) Any player is fair game. Free agents, minor leaguers, and big leaguers. The pool of players is restricted to those that are, or have been in MLB organizations already. This means that recently defected players, or soon to be posted players are off limits.

2) GM's are prevented from picking a player that's already in their organization. Teams like the Cubs and Mets would have had an enormous advantage over the other 28 teams, as they simply could have cast votes for their respective core five's and blocked anyone else from having a chance. While it's still difficult to secure a player like Kris Bryant, or Jacob deGrom, allowing a team to submit votes for their own players would have made it impossible.

3) If a team successfully steals a player, their current contract comes with them. So if a team were to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, they would have to be able to afford his salary.

4) The most important rule; no communication between GM's. While SB Nation's previous GM simulation was built upon a dialogue between different teams, allowing GM's to talk to each other about their picks would have completely defeated the point of the exercise.

Rule 2 is very important there, so before you go "HOW COULD YOU LET THOSE PLAYERS GO?" please know I had no control over that at all.

The full list of picks is below

(Players in black changed teams, players in red were picked by multiple GMs and stayed on their current team)

First, I'll go over why I chose who I chose. In general, I went with the current front office's tack of competing sooner rather than later, so I targeted Major League players exclusively. First, the players I did end up getting.

Adam Eaton

I had briefly thought about making my list an "Avenging myself against Kevin Towers" theme, but decided not to. However, Eaton was intriguing as a possible Ender Inciarte replacement. By that I also mean a Yasmany Tomas replacement, because I still don't trust his bat or glove. Would also solve the "Who the hell should bat leadoff?" conundrum our current roster has.

Kelvin Herrera

I thought shoring up the Diamondbacks bullpen was a good use of this scenario. I immediately thought of the Royals and their hydra of late-inning relievers. I thought Herrera was a good target, since I thought Wade Davis would be too popular. Turns out, if I had picked him I would have gotten Davis. Doh. However, Herrera's numbers are nothing to sneeze at the past two seasons, and would fit in well in the back of our bullpen, maybe even taking over the closer's spot, saving Ziegler for fireman/double play duty.

Jacob deGrom

I'll be honest, this was my shot-in-the-dark pick. With deGrom being cheap for awhile and young and at his current level, I thought more people than me would be in on him. I guess I was wrong, and I am okay with that. With an ERA under 3 his first two seasons, deGrom would slide into our rotation nicely (and after our losses in this scenario, save it from being 2015 bad.) Also the hair. '

Josh Harrison

This pick was made for the sake of infield depth. While Harrison has played a plurality of Third Base, he's also played a fair bit of Second (a definite team need.) and Outfield as need be. His numbers the past two seasons would run circles around our current infield group (Goldschmidt excluded of course) A value/need pick, for sure.

And the one person I didn't get

Corey Seager

This was also an infield depth move. Also, I wanted to do it to spite the Dodgers. Unfortunately, Seattle and Detroit had a similar idea. Ah well.

And now the players we lost. This hurts.

A.J. Pollock (Braves)
Zack Greinke (Phillies)
David Peralta (Padres)
Patrick Corbin (Mets)
Jake Lamb (Rangers)

Paul Goldschmidt was targeted by Colorado and Cleveland, keeping him safely here.

Now, I came in thinking Peralta might have been someone that would have been lost. He's not too well known, and a savvy GM might pick him as a target. I get that. I honestly thought that Pollock would have had more than one suitor, but nope, Atlanta has to get a young Diamondback player. It's ape law. Greinke hurts, obviously, but the Phillies went HAM on everyone and we weren't the only ones who felt it. We essentially traded deGrom for Corbin, which would be a plus for us, but I also wanted to keep him around because I like tons of shiny things. Jake Lamb to Texas is the wild card here, as the team already has Adrian Beltre, but perhaps they're thinking to the future, as Beltre is closer to 40 than not.

So right now, a hypothetical 25 man roster would look something like this (This is who I would choose, anyway, ignoring injuries and such. This simulation was completed before the Segura/Hill/Anderson trade Saturday, hence the appearance of Anderson and Hill on the roster. Plus Segura was chosen in the simulation, so that really muddied things up. I just kept it as it was.)

C - Welington Castillo
C - Tuffy Gosewisch
1B - Paul Goldschmidt
2B - Chris Owings
2B - Aaron Hill
SS - Nick Ahmed
3B - Josh Harrison
IF - Phil Gosselin
IF - Brandon Drury
OF - Adam Eaton
OF - Socrates Brito
OF - Yasmany Tomas
OF - Peter O'Brien

SP - Jacob deGrom
SP - Shelby Miller
SP - Robbie Ray
SP - Archie Bradley
SP - Chase Anderson

RP - Josh Collmenter
RP - Randall Delgado
RP - Rubby de la Rosa
RP - Andrew Chafin
RP - Daniel Hudson
RP - Kelvin Herrera
RP - Brad Ziegler

So on paper, this team does not look as good as the team that would be fielded in 2016 in our normal universe. However, things aren't so bleak. I would look at this team as a "Rebuilding team that is thiiiis close to getting over the hump" There is still young pitching, upgraded with the addition of deGrom, and at least in the short term you could argue that Harrison is an upgrade over Lamb at Third. The outfield group has some potential, but losing Pollock hurts bad.

However, if you went forward with this team, you could also assume the Greinke money still existed in the ether. In that case, for the 2017 offseason, you could go after some free agents hard, again. Stephen Strasburg would be interesting for this rotation.

I also think a lot of the General Managers were gun-shy in going after big names (Phillies excluded) because they thought that a lot of people would be going after those names. However, if everyone thinks that, you get scenarios where guys like Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Jake Arrieta, Dallas Keuchel, etc aren't chosen.

Overall though, it was a fun exercise, and one that I'm glad is not happening in real life, because I would have thrown a shoe at someone then drank a loooooot of vodka.