by Cam Cain
How well would a team do if all 25 of its players were mediocre relievers?
This post, originally written in 2016 for Reddit, is the first of many OOTP Experiments by M-SABR member Cam Cain.
What would a team look like entirely comprised of one player, playing every position? In reality, a player can only be in one place at a time. (damn physics) However, this isn’t the case in the sophisticated baseball simulation game OOTP. I cloned Phil Coke 25 times and placed all of them on the Phillies, of course. Thus, the Philadelphia Coke is born.
Here is the lineup for the team:
C: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
CF: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
2B: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
SS: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
LF: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
1B: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
3B: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
RF: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
P: Phil Coke 6’0 210 Lb; Sonora CA Bats L Throws L
I’m sure you can guess how the rotation and bullpen look.
Here is the team home page, including a slick custom logo and each player’s league ranking. Phil Coke is the 27th best relief pitcher to be the best on his team, I guess.
The game also generated preseason predictions, and I have to say they were a little generous. I mean, they expect a team where all of its hitters are relief pitchers to score 153 runs and hit a home run? That’s pushing it. The 8.66 expected ERA is a little surprising though. I guess when your starter goes 2 innings every day, the bullpen will get worn out quickly.
I also turned off injuries, mostly because I didn’t fill my minor leagues with Phil Cokes, and I wanted my 25 Cokes to play a full season.
As expected, the Fighting Cokes went 0-22 in April. We were dead lastin every category, which was not much of a surprise.
25-6 on April 12 vs Washington. Jorge Cantu hit for the cycle. Phil Coke (the catcher) went 3-5 with a double. Phil Coke (the shortstop) made 2 errors. 8 Cokes took the mound, and all but one gave up a run.
2-1 April 30 @ St. Louis. This game was tied 1-1 going into the 9th, before it was rescheduled to the next day due to rain. When the game resumed, Matt Holliday hit a walk off home run as the first batter. My team managed 2 hits. Miraculously, we have not been no-hit yet. I also found this amusing:
The fan interest is at 53%. Average attendance is 19,792, which is higher than Tampa Bay and Houston. Upon seeing this, I lowered ticket prices to $15. Total revenue is 12th in the league, so while the Coke is not good, it is profitable.
The team record is now 0-50, 31 games out of first. We remain dead last in every category, but the pitching improved.
We also recieved a trade proposal from the Dodgers. They would send us Juan Uribe in exchange for LHP Phil Coke and CF Phil Coke. Though it was tempting, I rejected their offer.
Also, every Coke has a negative WAR except for one. RP Phil Coke has a 4.11 ERA and 11.9 K/9 in 31 innings, good for 0.3 Wins above Replacement.
Julio Teheran threw a perfect game against us on May 5th. He struck out 15 batters in the 11-0 win.
19-1 May 15 vs Arizona. Chris Owings hit 2 home runs and scored 5 total runs. Phil Coke (the second baseman) hit 2 singles to raise his average to .167.
5-3 May 20 @ Colorado. Starting pitcher Phil Coke pitched 5 innings only allowing one run, lowering his ERA to a staff-leading 6.62. Phil Coke (the CF) went 2-4 with a 2 run double.
Fan interest dropped to 50%. After lowering ticket prices again, attendance skyrocketed to 24,501 per game. That number is 25th in the league, and ahead of the division-leading Miami Marlins, who are led by Cy Young frontrunner Mat Latos (don’t ask how). I think I am going to lower my ticket prices until my 0-162 team gets the top attendance in the league.
They won a game! I will discuss it in more detail later. Our record sits at 1-76. We are 45 games out of first place. Every team in the division, including Atlanta, is above .500. We still have not hit that elusive home run, but Phil Coke (the centerfielder) stole a base on June 4.
22-1 June 15 @ Baltimore. Miguel Gonzalez pitched a complete game and struck out a season high 15 batters. Phil Coke (the shortstop) made his 48th error, and he made 11 more by the time the month was over. He is worth -6.0 WAR.
Closest Loss Best Win:
2-1 June 20 vs St. Louis. It was only fitting that the original Phil Coke, or Coke Classic, got the win in this one. He threw one pitch in the 9th and got Matt Holliday to fly out. This game came down to the wire. With 2 outs in the 9th, down 1-0, third baseman Phil Coke came to the plate with runners on first and second. Phil “Babe Ruth” Coke hit a scorching double past third base, scoring both runners. The crowd of 31,000 was on its feet for the first time all year. They had a winner.
Fan interest skyrocketed to 51%. Team attendance is up to 26,317 per game, up to 22nd in the league. Tickets are $6 a piece.
The team struggled in the hot summer month, going winless and dropping to 1-102, 57 games behind the first place Marlins. Shortstop Phil Coke has made 71 errors, and my team has the top 5 fielders in errors. Hanley Ramirez is 6th. Also, Cokes make up the 4-8 spots in strikeouts, but none of my players could crack the top 3, a list led by George Springer who is on pace to strike out 230+ times.
13-0 July 9 @ LAD. Zack Greinke struck out 15 Cokes in his shutout. That number is 3 shy of the season high, which was set the previous day by Kershaw. Catcher Phil Coke made 3 errors and struck out 3 times.
2-1 July 31 vs Atlanta. SP Phil Coke pitched 6.1 innings and gave up only an unearned run. The original Coke got the loss after allowing a go-ahead single by Christian Bethancourt in the 9th.
Fan interest is now at 49%. The attendance dropped by 300 fans/game, so I lowered tickets to 99¢.
The bad news is that they were eliminated on August 4th. The good news is, they won again! The Philadelphia Coke are 2-130, 74 games out of first, 63.5 games out of 4th. Even better news is that the team hit its first home run! Phil Coke the shortstop, the team’s scapegoat due to his poor fielding (92 errors!) hit a home run off of Matt Harvey of all people. This home run came in a 16-1 loss on August 27th, and it was one of only 2 hits all game. Meanwhile, on August 20th, Jose Fernandez threw a no-hitter against the Coke, the second of the season.
19-1 August 25 vs the Mets. This loss was only 2 days before the famous home run. SP Phil Coke gave up 8 runs in 1.1 innings, dropping his record to 0-25. Wilmer Flores went 6-6 and hit for the cycle.
5-0 August 9 @ San Diego. This one came out of nowhere. SP Phil Coke (the best one) pitched 5 shutout innings and won player of the game. His ERA is 5.73 on the season, lower than Clay Buchholz, Anibal Sanchez and Derek Holland. SS Phil Coke hit the team’s first triple, while 2B Phil Coke raised his average to .185 with a pair of hits.
Fan interest is still at 49%. No matter how cheap I make the tickets, attendance continues to fall, but it is still 25th in the league. I still lowered them to 3¢ a piece.
And so it ends. The team finished the season 2-160, 92 games out of first and losing 51 straight. SS Phil Coke homered again. Again against the Mets, this time off of Bartolo Colon, who put up a 2.77 ERA in 30 starts.
20-0 September 4 @ Boston. Nothing special to say about this one. Just a beatdown.
1-0 September 13 vs Chicago Cubs. The game was called in the 5th inning due to rain. Catcher Phil Coke made 2 costly errors.
In conclusion, a team made up entirely of Phil Coke would be historically awful. Despite all of this, I managed not to get fired by my owner. Here are the team’s batting statistics:
And here are the pitching stats.
World Series: Cardinals over Yankees (ugh) 4-1
Final record: 2-160
Team Stats and Rankings:
K (hitters): 1736
Opponent AVG: .334
Combined WAR: -90.4
Errors: 348 (98 by SS Coke)
Attendance: 1,877,924 (28th)
Team MVP: CL Phil Coke Classic
1-2; 4.98 ERA; 1.47 WHIP
Following the season, all 25 Cokes became free agents, and they were forced to rebuild the team from the ground up. I simulated the next season, and the Cokeless Coke went 68-94, with better records than 3 teams! 14 of the 25 Phil Cokes were signed by teams, including 11 pitchers and even 3 hitters. 4 of the Cokes pitched in the majors, but not Coke Classic. Only one of the three hitters had playing time in the minors. Catcher Phil Coke hit .297 in 101 ABs for Pittsburgh’s rookie affiliate. The Philadelphia Coke may now be a misnomer, but its spirit lives on throughout baseball.