10 Burning Questions on The 2055 Las Vegas Hustlers(Team Preview)

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10 Burning Questions on The 2055 Las Vegas Hustlers(Team Preview)

Post by niles08 » Tue May 30, 2023 1:59 pm


What moves did the Las Vegas Hustlers make this off season?

Key Free-agent signings/Rule 5/Waivers:
• SP Zak Johnson(2 yr/$13.3M)

• SP Daniel Camacho(1 yr/$2.9M)
• CF Frederick Brisset(3 yr/$31.2M)
• RP Daniel Gonzalez (1 yr/$1.5M)
• SP Jimmy Fisher (rule 5)

Key Departures:

• SP Ramon Gonzalez(3.0 WAR)--Opt Out
• SP Gerald Sizemore(2.9 WAR)--TO Declined
• CL Lorenzo De’ Medici(1.3 WAR)--TO Declined
• 2B William Drew (1.2 WAR)
• OF Manchu Li (0.9 WAR)--Not offered Arb.

For the first time in a decade, the Brewster playoff field looked a bit different last year as Las Vegas watched others play ball while sitting on their couch. The last time Vegas missed the playoffs, was in 2045, when they had missed 4 consecutive times. Prior to that, Vegas went on a stretch from 2017 to 2041, where they missed the playoffs just twice.

Vegas said goodbye to some familiar faces this off-season with the departures of Gerald Sizemore and Lorenzo De Medici. Both had been with Vegas since the 2052 season. William Drew, who bounced all over the field last year, also departs. None appear to be returning to Vegas, as they have all signed elsewhere.

Vegas quickly spent the money elsewhere, though, as shown by the players arriving. I can’t state enough how much of an improvement Frederick Brisset is going to be in center field for the Hustlers this season, as they allow Ata to slide to left field.

In the rotation, it appears that Camacho and Johnson are almost “extra” and there is nothing wrong with spending $10M on two extra arms. It’s likely that Johnson is one and done in Vegas just as much as Camacho despite Johnson having a 2-year deal. The second year on that deal only vests if Johnson starts 30 games. At age 37, it’s possible, but unlikely.

Justin Niles off-season grade: B

Players to watch

Team MVP?
Tom Rudge, OF: It took me a minute to commit to Rudge as the team’s MVP, not because he isn’t deserving of it, but because there were a few other deserving options to consider. Rudge, at the tender age of 35 stands out though after back to back 6 WAR seasons. He is a potential free agent after the season as he holds a player option for the 2056 season that Vegas fans will be watching closely as they will have to likely wait for Rudge’s decision on whether he will leave the only franchise he has called home.

Most likely trade candidate?
Pepe Prieto, C: Las Vegas has 4 true prospects who are ready to play in the BBA and all stand behind the plate (some better than others). With the emergence of Claudio Morgan, Reed Schute, and even Cecil Clarke, Prieto seems like the odd man out thanks to his age. Despite that age, don’t overlook his value, as he has posted a 2.0 WAR average his past two seasons.

Most likely to take a step back this season?
Alfonso Trinidad, 1B: Alfonso Trinidad had a 5.5 season WAR in 2054. I don’t have him repeating that career year. You can point at his BABIP being higher than average, you can point at a slugging percentage being .100 higher than his career average, but I will actually point at his plate appearances. He isn’t going to have 692 plate appearances again this season, which was almost 75 more than his career average. Trinidad has had a few major injuries in his career, and at age 34, I just wonder if he will make it through the entire season without a little rest.

Who has the most to lose (or gain) this season?
Gamal Bin Badr, SP: Bin Badr struggled last year, despite a 2.2 WAR, as he finished with a 5.28 ERA. He has teeter-tottered his first 4 seasons (2.82 ERA, 5.82 ERA, 4.71 ERA, 5.29 ERA), so it’s time for him to put his foot on the mound and show which of those arms he is capable of being on any given day. Last season, his BB/9 were a career high, and K/9 were a career low, so those helped point his ERA north of 5. With a huge opportunity in the rotation this year, Bin Badr can show he belongs there or he can show that he might be a better fit in the pen. He has all the tools, at first glance, to successfully pitch in the middle of a rotation. It’s his chance to prove it.

Most likely to have a bounce-back season?
Alex Brayton, RP: I am taking a chance on a candidate here. I am not even sure he is going to get the opportunity, but I think he should. The 23-year-old struggled in 16 innings last year with a 11.81 ERA, after posting a 1.12 ERA in 24 AAA innings. His BABIP was .411 in those 16 innings, compared to his career average of .283 throughout his career. Give Brayton the ball in middle relief and let him toss.

Likeliest to outperform their projection?
Steffan Gimsing, SP: I really am a fan of Gimsing. He was signed from the GBC on a 5 year $36M deal, and I think he is going to earn every penny this season of his $7,000,000 salary. He had a 3.71 ERA last year, far better than the league average of 4.63. The only thing that held him back last year? He only tossed 136 innings. Give Gimsing the ball for 200 innings and let him put up 3-4 WAR on the season.

Rookie most likely to make an impact?
Claudio Morgan, C: Morgan had 132 plate appearances last year, but only 123 at bats, so I believe according to BBA rules, he still qualifies as a rookie this season. One of the rare catchers who appear to be able to handle the stick and glove both, I am expecting Morgan to be a possible rookie of the year candidate, putting up 2 WAR on the season and getting Vegas fans excited for their young future.

How good is the Hustlers farm system?

No. 1 prospect: Tankut Saltik (#17 overall)

Saltik has come out of nowhere, as he was literally scouted to be a 25 potential just 4 years ago, with some scouts now expecting multiple all-star trips and potential Sawyer awards out of him. Granted he is 21 years old and has quite a bit of developing to still do, don’t expect Saltik to debut until at least the 2057 season.

Organization’s ranking: No. 21

This system isn’t getting some of the credit it deserves, as I would have it ranked 5 or so higher and middle of the pack. Behind Saltik, pitchers Jimmy Fisher (rule 5 pick) and Edward Joseph Pfeffer(who's family clearly created the card game) round out the club's top 3. Not far behind is catcher Cecil Clarke, who we mentioned above is ready to go at age 25 but who some may view as more of a first baseman.

What to expect from the Hustlers this season?

Justin Niles season projection: 90-72

As mentioned, the Hustlers missed the playoffs last year, and as a betting man, I would never bet on them to miss the playoffs a second consecutive season as a full rebuild is clearly not the plan right now. I think the Hustlers win 90 games, falling just short of the division title (RMO), however still punching a ticket as a wildcard team. I'll never bet against @recte44 getting to the post-season.

Bold prediction:
The Frederick Brissett signing turns out a bust as he goes down with an injury in early April, ending his season. Las Vegas releases him, which immediately voids his player options and Vegas foots the entire $31,200,000 deal despite Brissett accumulating less than 200 plate appearances.

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Re: 10 Burning Questions on The 2055 Las Vegas Hustlers(Team Preview)

Post by trmmilwwi » Tue May 30, 2023 2:03 pm

I guess we shouldn't bet against Vegas. Nice writeup as usual!
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Re: 10 Burning Questions on The 2055 Las Vegas Hustlers(Team Preview)

Post by Dington » Tue May 30, 2023 2:18 pm

Had an offer out on Brissett, but it was the same sim I spent $100M on IFA, so I think I was unable to sign him. Good pick up, though, he probably won't last long in CF either.
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Re: 10 Burning Questions on The 2055 Las Vegas Hustlers(Team Preview)

Post by ae37jr » Tue May 30, 2023 3:58 pm

I had a hard look at Brisset also. His drop from 6.9 ZR to -.8 scared me off. Didn't want to spend $30 million and have him lump to 8 range before opening day.

Looks like he had some offensive bumps this winter, so I think he'll end up doing well for Vegas.

I'm not quite sure where the Hustlers stand this season. Mexico City still appears to be the team to beat. Though that window is probably closer to the end than the beginning. My guess is that Vegas continues to retool and pounce the second the Aztecs start to regress.
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Re: 10 Burning Questions on The 2055 Las Vegas Hustlers(Team Preview)

Post by BaseClogger » Tue May 30, 2023 5:46 pm

I'm stealing this preview format. It's too good.

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