By: Spotter Pandora
One of the breakout batters of the Expansion Era, Tokyo Lift’s homegrown star Engine Eberhardt finally reached five stars in batting during the Season 23 Elections. It took 10 seasons, two teams, some blood, some coffee (or maybe more blood? unclear), and a lot of triples, but Engine Eberhardt is now officially…
Maximized (as per previous definitions).
But Engine wasn’t always great. The Lift spent five seasons praying that nobody would notice how good they were, and five more seasons undoing wimdies by the Dallas Steaks to keep them on the team.
At the time of unShadowing, he was one of the only good prospects in our Shadows, and easily the second or third best batter on the team (behind Goodwin Morin— Vault Legend— and of course Ayanna Dumpington— Lift OG turned star batter in Hades) due to good baserunning and excellent patheticism.
But optimized stats only go so far. They started at 1.5 batting stars, and their road trip to five was just beginning.
Before even their first improvement was, of course, their first season, and our first stop. 14. The Lift had just brought them out of the Shadows in exchange for Cudi di Batterino, and weren’t expecting much at first. That all changed on Day 77, when Engine set the record for most runs scored in a single at-bat: an unheard of 6.
After all of this, the journey to five was revving up. In the Election, the Lift won Soul Swap, a Blessing that would reroll the lowest batter’s stars 5 times. This would’ve left Engine with potentially a higher star count, but much less optimized. Good thing, then, that we infused them the first chance we got!
And thus, the first improvement to Engine! The trip to five was long, but the three…
Err. 3 and a third star batter had a quiet few seasons. Seasons 15 and 16 were unremarkable for a shining star on a devastated offense. With Goodwin and Ayanna gone, Engine was a high point in a weak Lineup, but far away from the other strong batter— Gerund Pantheocide and Jessica Telephone. It was kind of pathetic, honestly, but the Sixth Stage carries on.
Another party came in Season 17, bringing them up to 3.5 batting stars, but then Season 18 was another slog. Good but unremarkable performance is the mark of Engine’s early career.
Season 19 was different, though. Season 19, the Dallas Steaks held Engine, thus starting Engine’s true road trip- Tokyo to Dallas to Tokyo to Dallas to Tokyo— all within five Elections.
The Steaks hoped to take advantage of Engine’s triple-hitting prowess to power their AAA blood (among other, more complicated reasons), but their stadium was unkind to them. Seasons 19, 21, and 22 were definite dips in performance compared to 18, 20, and 23. The Steakhouse’s tiny Grandiosity allows for much better defense but more home runs, meaning that although their batting average was down, their out-of-the-park hits were up— perhaps not numerically, but comparatively.
One notable hit from this time, however, came on Day 3 of season 21.
Pies @ Steaks. Bottom of the 7th, Henry Marshallow on the mound. Holiday Inning. Frankie Incarnate hits a single. Holden Stanton grounds out. Forrest Best flinches, hits a single, Frankie runs to third. Rai Spliff hits a single. Forrest steals third while Cory Ross is batting. Cory draws a walk.
Foul ball, 0-1.
Despite the dip in performance, or, perhaps, because of it, Engine was much better at Partying in Dallas. Along with the Partyslam, Engine Partied once normally in Seasons 19, 21, and 22, leaving them teetering on the edge of five stars. This was the state the Lift got them back in for the Grand Siesta: with the destruction of Wills, Engine was safely back in Tokyo until Feedback or an Umpire decided to take aim.
A smattering of subpar performances isn’t all that came out of this era of Engine’s career, however. I’ll let Moth (@CowboyMoth#8639) of SIBR explain.
SIBR has been wanting to quantify clutch performance for a very long time, and just recently the work of Korvys#2316 made that possible.
The actual math is pretty interesting, but basically the stat just looks at how important a player actually was to their team’s success, and compares that to how important they would’ve been if you ignored the context of their plate appearances. This lets you see how much better a player performed in really important situations.
Engine’s Season 20 produced more Clutch value than any other season in history, despite having far fewer plate appearances than the other top seasons. When you look at Engine’s clutchness per PA, you can really see just how wide the gap is between him and everyone else.@CowboyMoth#8639) of SIBR
Headmistress Iliana, when approached for comment, had this to say: “Of course the player named ‘Engine’ has Clutch. That’s just nominative determinism at work.”
The end of Expansion, but more importantly, the end of our road trip…
Season 23 was, of course, the last Election of Expansion, as well as the last season with Partytime. Our last stop is here: The first, and last, division blessing for Wild High. Season 13: Hitting Flotation Bubble.
At the very last second, Engine sneaks it in. As part of the last stat boosts of Expansion, Engine hits five batting stars.
To celebrate hitting the big five-oh, in season 24, Engine was first in triples despite being nullified early. The 31 hits that season put their regular-season total to 295. Combined with his 5 during playoffs, Engine has hit exactly 300- just shy of the career leaderboard. Number 10 has 362. They are coming for your spot, Zion Aliciakeyes.
Our trip ends here, but Engine’s dominance is just getting started. Having missed Ego for all of the Expansion Era, they’ve flown under the radar for long enough. Let’s go Engine! Horsepower!