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A game theory offseason simulation yielded the Rockies Jose Abreu and Lucas Giolito

Were the Rockies able to #GetGoodPlayers in this sim for Beyond the Box Score?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

What if teams were able to steal any five players from another organization?

That is the question that Matt Goldman, a writer for MLB Daily Dish and Beyond the Box Score, posed for an offseason simulation that took place this past weekend.

Of course, there is more to it than just "take any five players you want," because if that was the case, everyone would choose Bryce Harper, and there are not 29 Bryce Harpers available. Instead, any player picked by more than one team would remain with their original team. Teams had to strategize in this context. In addition, there were these set ground rules:

1) Any player is fair game. Free agents, minor leaguers, and big leaguers. The pool of players is restricted to those that are, or have been in MLB organizations already. This means that recently defected players, or soon to be posted players are off limits.

2) GM's are prevented from picking a player that's already in their organization. Teams like the Cubs and Mets would have had an enormous advantage over the other 28 teams, as they simply could have cast votes for their respective core five's and blocked anyone else from having a chance. While it's still difficult to secure a player like Kris Bryant, or Jacob deGrom, allowing a team to submit votes for their own players would have made it impossible.

3) If a team successfully steals a player, his current contract comes with them. So if a team were to acquire Giancarlo Stanton, they would have to be able to afford his salary.

4) The most important rule; no communication between GM's. While SB Nation's previous GM simulation was built upon a dialogue between different teams, allowing GM's to talk to each other about their picks would have completely defeated the point of the exercise.

I took part in this sim as the Rockies and after consultation with the rest of the Purple Row staff put together what I think is a solid list of five players to claim. Goldman has an excellent review of the results of the sim league-wide at Beyond the Box Score, which I highly recommend reading, but here is a look at how things worked out for the Rockies.

★ ★ ★

In terms of raw numbers, the Rockies came out even, gaining three players and losing three players. First, a look at who the Rockies picked up in the sim.

When compiling a list of players to pick up for the Rockies, the priority was mainly to add young pitchers, and I also wanted a power-hitting first baseman, preferably from the right side of the plate. With those two things in mind, here is the list of five players submitted by the Rockies for the sim:

Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles
Lucas Giolito, RHP, Nationals
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
Steven Matz, LHP, Mets

First, a look at the three players the Rockies were successful in adding through this sim:

Jose Abreu

It is fairly well-known that the Rockies were strong contenders for Abreu when he defected from Cuba in 2013, narrowly losing out to the White Sox, who signed Abreu to a six-year, $68 million deal. The Rockies still need a slugging first baseman, so Abreu, who has hit .303/.364/.540 with 66 home runs in his first two big league seasons, seemed a natural fit.

Kevin Gausman

Another player the Rockies have been rumored to be in the mix for, Gausman, a Colorado native, has a 4.21 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 240 strikeouts in 273⅓ innings in his big league career. At just 24 years old, he also fits in nicely with the wave of young pitching the Rockies have been developing.

Lucas Giolito

Honestly, I thought it would be a long shot to get Giolito, so it was a pleasant surprise that no one else picked him. Just this week, Giolito was rated as the No. 3 prospect overall, and top pitching prospect in all of baseball by The 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Giolito posted a 3.15 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 131 strikeouts in 117 innings between High-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2015, his age 20 season.

Now, for the two players I missed out on:

Paul Goldschmidt

This was a case of me shooting for the moon and hoping that teams would not be lookig for a first baseman and/or overlook Goldschmidt playing in Arizona. Unfortunately, Cleveland also claimed Goldschmidt, so he stayed in Arizona.

Steven Matz

Given the plethora of strong pitchers for the Mets, I figured Matz may slip through the cracks, and that it would be nice to add a southpaw to the rotation. The Twins had the same idea, however, so Matz stayed in the Big Apple. It turned out that the Mets pitcher to slip through the cracks was Noah Syndergaard, who went unclaimed.

Unfortunately, in addition to adding three talented players, the Rockies also said goodbye to a trio of players in this sim. The only player selected from the Rockies major league roster was its newest addition, as the Twins selected reliever Jake McGee. Interestingly, the Rockies would have been in a similar spot prior to acquiring McGee, as the Nationals successfully claimed Corey Dickerson.

In addition to losing McGee from the major league roster, the Rockies lost a pair of prospects, both to the Cubs, who successfully claimed both Brendan Rodgers and David Dahl. I was not all that surprised to see Rodgers claimed, but did not expect to see Dahl taken given the glut of prospect outfielders in baseball currently.

Also of note is that Nolan Arenado stayed with the Rockies after being claimed by both the Angels and Marlins and that no one selected either Jon Gray or Jeff Hoffman.

In the end, I think the Rockies came out ahead in this sim as that rotation of Gausman, Giolito, Gray and Hoffman in 2017 or 2018 looks, well, like the one we saw in New York in 2015. Having three successful picks was in line with league average, as 92 of the 150 claims league-wide were successful. There is talk of running the sim again now that we have seen the initial result, so look for an update in the next couple of weeks on that.

And, in case you were wondering, not a single team claimed the one Bryce Harper available, the result of overthinking it. Who would you try to claim given the parameters above?