This post is related to the 2020 Best Baseball League series. If you missed it, check out the series kick-off article.The 2020 Best Baseball League
The 34th overall pick of the Inaugural BBL draft was Steve Kirby, a 6’1”, 210 pound, 24-year old corner outfielder out of Monroe, Louisiana. Described, frankly, as a complete a-hole, Kirby might be the best hitter on the planet.
With an overall rating of 80/80, Kirby can literally do it all, and did in 2020. 75/80 contact ability. 70/80 gap power. 75/80 home run power. 65/80 plate discipline. 60/80 ability to avoid strikeouts. 75/80 baserunning skills, despite below average speed. 75/80 arm strength.
What Kirby can’t do, however, is make any friends. Most use the word selfish when asked what Steve is like, playing only for himself, the fame and the fortune. He has no leadership qualities whatsoever, shows no loyalty to his team or teammates, and never seems to learn from his mistakes. “Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but damn good at swinging a baseball bat” was how an anonymous GM described him.
Fortunately for Kirby, his performance seems to forgive his attitude, since he lead the league in almost every statistical category in 2020:
Hits – 235 (1st)
Total Bases – 478 (1st)
Home Runs – 62 (2nd)
RBI – 162 (1st)
Runs – 140 (2nd)
Extra-Base Hits – 115 (1st)
Batting Average – .392 (1st)
On-Base Percentage – .464 (1st)
Slugging Percentage – .798 (1st)
RC – 217.77 (1st)
RC/27 – 15.15 (1st)
ISO – .406 (1st)
WOBA – .506 (1st)
OPS – 1.262 (1st)
wRC+ – 231.6 (1st)
WAR – 11.9 (1st)
Kirby won batter of the month 3 times in 2020, hitting .389 in July, .435 in August, and .394 in September. Surprisingly, Kirby “only” hit .294 in the postseason, with a single home run and 8 strikeouts – his strikeout rate jumped from 16% in the regular season to 24% in October (only 34 AB in the playoffs in 2020). That was good enough to beat my Laval Flying Tigers in the division series, but not enough to make it to the World Series, let alone win it.
Steve had a 20 game hitting streak from August 28th through September 19th, which I can happily say was ended by my Flying Tigers, He also posted an 8 game scoring streak, a 3 game home run streak and a 5 game RBI streak over the course of the 2020 campaign as well.
How, you might ask, did EVERY TEAM pass on Kirby in the first round? His scouting report on draft day looked a lot different than at the end of the 2020 season.
Draft Day Ratings (Current #/Potential #) – both out of 80:
Current Overall Rating: 65
Potential Overall Rating: 73
End of 2020 Scouting Report:
Contact: 75/75 (+20/+15)
Power: 75/75 (+5/+5)
Eye: 65/65 (+10/0)
Defense: 45 (-10)
Current Overall Rating: 80 (+15)
Potential Overall Rating: 80 (+7)
The only thing that showed any sign of decline was his defense, and Boston made sure to neutralize that as best they could by only starting Kirby 69 times in the field, (39 games in left, 28 in right and 2 and second).
The way to get Kirby out was to get ahead in the count, and get him out in front to hit into the shift. He hit .296 when behind in the count (still really good), but hit, wait for it, .457 when ahead in the count! But he was also aware of pitchers trying to get ahead, hitting .452 on the first pitch! His lowest average in any count was in an 1-2, in which he hit .212, and .231 in an 0-2 count. But he only reached a 1-2 count 76 times, and a 1-2 count 39 times. THAT IS INSANE.
11.9 WAR in a single season would tie for 6th place on the all-time list for MLB players, even with Barry Bonds’ 2001 season (when he hit 73 home runs). I did NOT realize Carl Yastrzemski had such a ridiculous year in 1967, when he hit .326 with 44 home runs and 1.040 OPS.
|11||Cal Ripken Jr.||34||11.5||1991||30||BAL||AL||162||717||650||99||210||46||5||114||53||15||46||6||1||.323||.374||.566||.940|
Despite Steve Kirby’s less-than-desirable personality and intelligence, he might end up as the greatest (fake) baseball player of all time.