Will Steve “Pinball” Kirby Become the Greatest (Fake) Baseball Player of All-Time?

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.

Steve Kirby improved immensely over the course of the 2020 campaign.

Draft Day Ratings (Current #/Potential #) – both out of 80:
Contact: 55/60
Power: 70/70
Eye: 55/65
Defense: 55
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.

RkPlayerHRWAR/pos YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BRBIBBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLGOPS
1Babe Ruth4114.1192328NYYAL1526995221512054513130170 931721.393.545.7641.309
2Babe Ruth5912.8192126NYYAL1526935401772044416168145 811713.378.512.8461.359
3Babe Ruth6012.5192732NYYAL151691540158192298165137 8976.356.486.7721.258
4Carl Yastrzemski4412.5196727BOSAL161680579112189314121911169108.326.418.6221.040
5Rogers Hornsby2512.2192428STLNL14364253612122743149489 32512.424.507.6961.203
6Barry Bonds7311.9200136SFGNL1536644761291563221371773593133.328.515.8631.379
7Babe Ruth5411.8192025NYYAL142617458158172369135150 801414.376.532.8471.379
8Lou Gehrig4711.8192724NYYAL1557175841492185218173109 84108.373.474.7651.240
9Barry Bonds4611.7200237SFGNL143612403117149312110198684792.370.582.7991.381
10Babe Ruth4611.7192429NYYAL153681529143200397124142 81913.378.513.7391.252
11Cal Ripken Jr.3411.5199130BALAL1627176509921046511453154661.323.374.566.940
12Honus Wagner1011.5190834PITNL151641568100201391910954 2253 .354.415.542.957
13Babe Ruth4711.4192631NYYAL152652495139184305153144 76119.372.516.7371.253
14Stan Musial3911.3194827STLNL15569861113523046181317963473.376.450.7021.152
15Mickey Mantle3411.3195725NYYAL144623474121173286941462375163.365.512.6651.177
16Ty Cobb611.3191730DETAL152672588107225442410661 3455 .383.444.5701.014
17Willie Mays5211.2196534SFGNL15763855811817721311276167194.317.398.6451.043
18Mickey Mantle5211.2195624NYYAL150652533132188225130112699101.353.464.7051.169
19Willie Mays4711.0196433SFGNL157665578121171219111821372195.296.383.607.990
Courtesy of Baseball Reference

Despite Steve Kirby’s less-than-desirable personality and intelligence, he might end up as the greatest (fake) baseball player of all time.  



Categories: 2020 Best Baseball League, OOTP Simulation

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  1. The 2020 Best Baseball League – THE MORNING BISCUIT

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