It’s Phil Coke’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
It was the next logical step.
Last year, I created a team using OOTP entirely comprised of Phil Coke. I set out to prove that with Phil Coke playing every position, a team would be unstoppable. Actually, they finished 2-160. A lot has changed since then. I graduated high school, joined a sabermetrics club in college, and helped create this very website. Coke pitched 10 innings in the majors in 2016 and signed with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan’s league. He faded to the back of everyone’s mind. But now, Coke is about to be forced up all our noses for an entire year.
First, I deleted nearly every single player on a major league roster or disabled list. The game’s superstars such as Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, and Pablo Sandoval are wiped from consciousness as if they never existed. They have all been replaced by identical copies of everyone’s favorite 35-year-old middle reliever (sorry, Dustin McGowan.)
I had to do this 750 times. It took me a week.
Phil Coke is everyone, and everyone is Phil Coke. Well, almost everyone.
Every good experiment needs a control. Using a random number generator, I chose one hitter and one starting pitcher to remain with their teams and play out the season against hundreds of Phil Cokes. Meet Tim Beckham and Mike Leake.
Bow down to them. They are your new Gods.
I turned off injuries, so that teams would be stuck with their 25 (or 24) Phil Cokes for the entire season. I also turned off transactions, so that teams would not be tempted to sign free agents or promote minor leaguers.
So going into the season, I wasn’t sure how the hitting-pitching balance would be. On one hand, the hitting should be absolutely terrible. However, the Philadelphia Coke were by far the worst pitching team in the league as well. The pitchers are all going to get tired really quickly, and then quite possibly give up a lot of runs. Here are the preseason predictions for the league.
Pitching is going to be even more dominant than I thought. The Yankees are projected to go the entire season without hitting a home run. Unsurprisingly, parity is the name of the game. The Rays are expected to dominate, largely because they have the only real position player in the entire league. I’m not sure what the game sees in the White Sox that makes it think they’ll struggle. Looking at their lineup and rotation, I don’t see any major reasons for concern.
I guess they’ll have to prove me wrong. Let’s get the season underway!
Let’s take a look at the scores from the first day of play.
This is going to be a long season. 2 of the 3 games had final scores of 1-0, and one of those games took 11 innings to get that result. Mike Leake struck out 16 batters in the first game of what was sure to be a dominant month, right?
Mike Leake’s inexplicable 2.55 ERA in April was the third worst in all of baseball. His ERA+ is a marvelously bad 34. However, his peripherals show reason to believe he will improve. After all, he only walked one batter all month.
Tim Beckham fared a little better. He was named batter of the month after hitting .343 with 1 home run. Those stats may not grab you, but remember that every other hitter in the league is Phil Coke. Beckham’s OPS+ is 380, and he was worth 5.0 WAR in April, largely due to the fact that he is the only person in the league who knows how to play defense.
9 home runs were hit all month. No player has more than 1, and no team has more than 2. Only 11 stolen bases were attempted in the month of April, and all were successful.
I also stumbled upon the most amazing game ever played.
The A’s beat the Rangers 4-3 in 28 innings. This game lasted 8 hours and 33 minutes and had over twice as many errors as runs scored. The one thing that fascinates me is that all 18 starters played the entire game, even the catchers. A’s reliever Phil Coke pitched 6.1 shutout innings of relief, and then pitched 4.2 more shutout innings 3 days later. The stamina of the pitchers has really come as a shock to me. Pitchers are throwing complete games left and right despite the fact that the real Coke hasn’t started a game since 2011. There were 4 no hitters thrown in the month of April, but due to the absurd number of errors in this league, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a perfect game.
Here are the standings after the month of May.
There surprisingly doesn’t appear to be much more parity than usual in the league. Even with Tim Beckham, the Rays don’t hold a playoff spot. Beckham’s May was as good his April. His batting average dropped to .320, although his WAR is a healthy 10.4. His 3 home runs are more than every team except the Padres, who have 5.
On the final day of the month, Beckham was involved in this game.
It took 30 innings and over 9 hours, but the Rangers defeated the Rays 1-0. 35,000 fans showed up to watch the Rangers, who have the best record in the major leagues. This is becoming commonplace. The previous night, the A’s and Yankees played a 30 inning game that lasted 9:53. New York third baseman Phil Coke went 1-13 and struck out 8 times. I have killed baseball.
6 more no-hitters were thrown this month. Remarkably, no team has thrown more than one, but the Rockies were no-hit twice in a 4 day span. They’re still second in the majors with their .409 OPS.
Cleveland’s #3 starter Phil Coke allowed a run in 4.2 innings on May 29th, thus becoming the final starting pitcher in the league to allow an earned run.
There are no rookies in the entire league, yet the game still has to give out a Rookie of the Month every month. This is how we end up with this:
The game randomly chose a player from San Francisco’s International Complex to receive this prestigious award. It’s hard to argue with the numbers Flores was able to put up.
The standings definitely appear to be tightening up. The Rays have jumped out to a big lead thanks to a huge month by Tim “literally Babe Ruth” Beckham. Beckham slashed .378/.450/.653 in the month of June. His WAR of 17.2 is already the highest of the modern era. Beckham hit 2 home runs in a game against the Mariners on June 2nd; 19 teams have yet to hit their second home run of the season. Beckham has 3 times as many home runs as the entire NL East. He has become a God amongst men in the Phil Coke league.
The same can not be said for Mike Leake. After another poor month, Leake is 4-6 with a 44 ERA+. He hasn’t just been bad, he’s been one of the worst pitchers in the league in many metrics. I’m baffled as to why he can’t pitch better than hundreds of washed up Phil Cokes.
There were 5 more no-hitters this month. The Reds and Yankees, both below .500, threw their second of the season, but so far no Coke has thrown more than one.
190 baserunners have attempted to steal a base this season, and so far all 190 have been successful. It’s been a very even distribution of base stealers. Tim Beckham leads the MLB with just 7, and no other player has more than 4. It’s surprising to me that players haven’t been attempting to steal more, since there’s clearly nothing anyone can do to stop it.
Despite the awful quality of play, fans continue to show up to all the games. The 41-40 D-Backs are averaging over 40,000 fans per game. They have seen three home runs at Chase Field all season, two of which were hit by the opposing team. In 2016, more homers were hit at Yankee Stadium and Great American Ballpark than any other stadium in their respective leagues. Neither has seen a single home run yet this year.
The standings are tightening up, which makes sense, since every team should be the same. Every team in the NL West is within 5 1/2 games of each other. That should make for a fun race down the stretch. Well, as fun as anything in this universe can be.
Tim Beckham won his 4th batter of the month, as his WAR is now 22.3. He has made 16 errors this season. Every other qualified second baseman in the majors has made at least 36, led by Marlins 2B Phil Coke with 65.
The All Star Game went 13 innings this year. 22 Phil Cokes took the mound in a 6-3 win for the AL.
On July 29th, Dodgers 1B Phil Coke was thrown out stealing second in a 1-0 win over the Giants. It was the first time all season a runner was thrown out trying to steal. Base stealers are now 257-258.
It’s no surprise that hitting has been down this year. The league batting average is .147, and excluding Tim Beckham, only one hitter is hitting above .200. The Cubs, A’s, Mets, and Reds have yet to hit a single home run, yet New York leads their division and sells out every game. With 2 months to go, batters have struck out over 35,000 times. As a reference, batters struck out just over 40,000 times in the entire 2017 season, a number that crushed the record.
No game has exemplified the lack of offense more than this one.
In the longest game of all time, the Blue Jays and Tigers took 36 innings to score a single run. Depending on your perspective, this is either the greatest or worst game ever played. This game began at 7 PM and ended at 6 AM the following morning. Yet for some reason, the game refused to take out any of the starters. The poor catchers caught 36 consecutive innings without a break. The Blue Jays starting right fielder struck out 10 times! Joey Votto struck out 8 times in the entire month of June. Blue Jays backup outfielder Phil Coke came in late in the game, pitched 6 shutout innings, and got the win. Their other backup outfielder got the save.
41,000 people showed up for this game. Both teams were below .500 when this game was played. I can’t imagine how many were left at 4 AM the following morning.
Everything about this game was absurd, but the thing that was the craziest? 12 hours after this game ended, the teams were forced to play another game. That game lasted 17 innings. Those poor players played 53 innings over the course of 2 days, and scored 4 runs. The Tigers had to have their backup left fielder catch for them. He had only one passed ball, and he drove in the game winning run in the 17th.
With the exception of Tim Beckham’s juggernaut Tampa Bay Rays, no team is on pace to win more than 94 games. With a month to go, nearly every team has playoff aspirations. The last place Dodgers have a 7.4% chance of qualifying for the playoffs. But not all Coke is created equal. The Braves have the worst record in the majors, and they are last in the NL with their .173 OBP and 0.92 ERA. The best ERA in the MLB belongs to the Indians at 0.59, led by ace Phil Coke, who has allowed 8 ER all season.
Tim Beckham was player of the month for the fifth straight month. His WAR is an even 28, more than Paul Konerko put up in his entire career. I think the game must be broken, because this number simply does not make sense. But then again, nothing in this universe makes sense. He has 3 times as many home runs as any team besides his own. The Chicago Cubs hold the second wild card and have still yet to hit a home run.
There have now been a total of 23 no hitters thrown this year. This number is a little lower than I expected, until I remembered how many games go to extra innings tied 0-0 (a lot).
Speaking of which…
The best part of this experiment is that the games keep getting longer and longer. And we have a new winner!
At what point is a baseball game no longer a game, but rather an organized form of torture? Does it happen when the game hits the 12 hour mark? What about the 40th inning? This game began at 6:30 PM Tuesday night and ended just shy of 9 AM on Monday. No runs were scored until the 30th inning, when miraculously both teams put a run on the board. This game took so long that OOTP forgot how to count the box score. The Yankees did not score in the 40th, and only scored once in the 41st, yet the line says otherwise. The craziest thing is that in AL games (but not in the NL for whatever reason), the AI refuses to remove the starting position players except in case of injury, which I turned off in this game. Two different players went 0-16. Both catchers caught the equivalent of 4 1/2 games and didn’t say a word, although neither has played any games since.
12 different players took the mound for the Yankees. 2B Phil Coke got the win after pitching 4.2 perfect innings. He relieved a shortstop, who relieved a left fielder, who relieved a right fielder. Overall, Yankee “position players” pitched 18.1 innings in this game, allowing only one run.
And here are the final standings. No team won or lost more than 93 games. The Colorado Rockies won the NL West with an 84-78 record, helped by the fact that the Dodgers lost 13 games in a row in September and scored a total of 7 runs during that streak. 4 of the 10 teams to qualify for the real MLB playoffs made the playoffs here.
5 no hitters were thrown, bringing the grand total to 28. The last place Dodgers led with three, and no player threw more than two. Unsurprisingly, none were perfect games.
Team chemistry has become a major issue for nearly every team in this league. Teams experience constant feuding in the clubhouse, despite the fact that Phil Coke isn’t a particularly abrasive fellow. No team has it worse than the last place Pirates.
All 25 players complain about the lack of leadership on the team, and clearly no one has stepped up, not even first baseman Phil Coke, whose 2 home runs are tied for second in the NL. How the game decides which players have a bad relationship with their manager is beyond me. But this isn’t only a problem with last place teams. The Mets have the best record in the NL, and their team chemistry is only marginally better than this. And here’s the reason.
This simple three word sentence is the defining personality trait of every single player on every single team. Simply put, Phil Coke is lazy. Every team has an unmotivated player or two, but when none of your players seem to care, you’re in trouble.
Yet despite the poor quality on the field and poor attitude of the players, the Phil Coke league is immensely profitable. Attendance has not taken any sort of hit. 748 of the 750 players are making league minimum salary, and the teams are operating on close to no budget. This league is Jeffery Loria’s wet dream.
End of Season:
Here are the playoff results. I also put the final scores of all the playoff games, just to put into perspective how low the scoring is in this league.
Twins over Rangers 4-2 (17)
Phillies over Nationals 1-0
G1: Rays over Rangers 2-0
G2: Rays over Rangers 1-0 (19)
G3: Rays over Rangers 2-0
Rays defeat Rangers 3 games to 0
G1: Indians over Angels 3-2 (23)
G2: Indians over Angels 1-0
G3: Angels over Indians 4-3 (13)
G4: Angels over Indians 3-0
G5: Angels over Indians 4-0
Angels defeat Indians 3 games to 2
G1: Mets over Phillies 1-0 (16)
G2: Mets over Phillies 2-1 (16)
G3: Phillies over Mets 3-0
G4: Phillies over Mets 3-2 (13)
G5: Mets over Phillies 1-0
Mets defeat Phillies 3 games to 2
G1: Brewers over Rockies 3-1
G2: Brewers over Rockies 1-0 (29)
G3: Rockies over Brewers 3-1
G4: Brewers over Rockies 1-0 (14)
Brewers defeat Rockies 3 games to 1
G1: Rays over Angels 1-0 (12)
G2: Angels over Rays 1-0
G3: Rays over Angels 2-0
G4: Rays over Angels 4-0
G5: Angels over Rays 2-1 (11)
G6: Rays over Angels 1-0 (12)
Rays defeat Angels 4 games to 2
G1: Brewers over Mets 3-0
G2: Brewers over Mets 5-4
G3: Brewers over Mets 3-0
G4: Brewers over Mets 1-0 (27)
Brewers defeat Mets 4 games to 0
G1: Rays over Brewers 2-0
G2: Rays over Brewers 3-1
G3: Rays over Brewers 2-0
G4: Rays over Brewers 2-1 (22)
Rays win World Series 4-0
This is all it took for the Rays to finally win the World Series, making all of their opponents Phil Coke. And they did it in dominating fashion. The Rays remarkably allowed only 5 runs the entire postseason, and they didn’t give up a single run until their 6th game. No team scored more than 5 runs in a single game all playoffs. 14 of the 33 games went to extra innings, and 8 went to at least 15 innings. The Rays won the World Series on a go-ahead homer in the top of the 22nd by none other than Tim Beckham at roughly 2AM local time. It was a fitting end to a truly perfect season.
Stats and Notes:
Tim Beckham’s final stats:
AVG: .297 (led MLB)
HR: 19 (led MLB)
OPS: .870 (led MLB)
OPS+ 390 (led MLB)
wRC+ 397 (led MLB)
SB: 16 (led MLB)
WAR: 34.0 (led MLB)
I don’t know how that number is possible. I made this game unable to count WAR. Imagine if this was Mike Trout instead of Tim Beckham.
Mike Leake final stats:
Don’t let the ERA and WHIP fool you, relative to his peers, Leake was a below average pitcher. I have no clue why.
Phil “the original” Coke final stats:
The original Phil Coke, a middle reliever for the Phillies, was almost as valuable as Mike Leake despite pitching in half as many innings.
Batting Leaders (Tim Beckham excluded):
AVG: Phil Coke LF COL (.179)
HR: Phil Coke SS MIL (5)
RBI: Phil Coke CF OAK (34)
3B Phil Coke 3B MIN (5)
SO: Phil Coke SS OAK (217)
SB: 6 players tied (5)
CS: 3 players tied (1)
Errors: Phil Coke SS ARI (83)
Passed Balls: Phil Coke C KC (62)
OBP: Phil Coke SS KC (.220)
SLG: Phil Coke 1B ARI (.244)
OPS: Phil Coke LF COL (.458)
WAR: Phil Coke SS NYM (12.1)
ERA: Phil Coke SP1 KC (0.37)
ERA (worst): Phil Coke SP1 LAD (1.46)
Most IP with a 0.00 ERA: Phil Coke RP PIT (53.2)
SV: Phil Coke RP SD (52)
K: Phil Coke SP5 MIL (262)
WHIP: Phil Coke SP3 MIL (0.51)
WHIP (worst): Phil Coke SP5 ARI (0.84)
Quality Starts: Phil Coke SP5 SF (31)
Quality Starts (fewest): Phil Coke SP4 BOS (18)
Not a single home run was hit at the following ballparks: Angel Stadium, O.Co Coliseum, Marlins Park
The Colorado Rockies and Tampa Bay Rays were the only two teams with an OBP above .200. Joey Votto’s OBP in 2017 was .454.
The St. Louis Cardinals led the majors with 148 runs scored. Babe Ruth scored 177 runs by himself in 1921.
Hitters were intentionally walked 137 times this season.
8067 errors were committed over the course of the season. There were nearly 1000 more errors than runs scored.
There were 2028 wild pitches. Each qualified starter threw at least one.
Batters struck out 54,178 times, or 14,000 more than they did in the real 2017 season.
There were a total of 128 home runs hit, or 2.1% of the actual 2017 total. Tim Beckham accounted for 19 in the game and 22 in real life.
No rookie of the year was chosen.
The Phil Coke League drew higher attendance than the real MLB in 2017.