No one in real life expected the Orioles to be any good, or really anything other than very bad, in the 2020 season. Our OOTP simulated version of the team has offered no surprises in this regard. The O’s aren’t on pace to break any records - yet - but this approximation of what they might have done is about what we all thought.
This is not to say that Out of the Park Baseball does nothing more than generate expected results. In today’s post, the O’s are playing their late May series against the White Sox, as they would have done in real life if not for COVID-19. These White Sox were projected to go 83-79 by PECOTA. That’s decent, and certainly better than the O’s projected 62-100, but not great. And yet entering this series, the sim White Sox are 34-19, having led the AL Central every day since the start of the season.
It’s an eye-opening surprise. The real life South Siders would probably enjoy if they had six players with double digit home runs after only 53 games played, and if they had Gio Gonzalez pitching to a 1.94 ERA along with three other starting pitchers with an ERA of 4.08 or lower. This team has the second-best rotation ERA in the AL and their bullpen ERA is #1.
Maybe it’s going to evaporate for this sim team. They’re only 10-12 in May before this series, and their home run leader, Eloy Jimenez, is out of commission for at least four weeks. Their pitching staff has been hammered heading into these four games with our O’s, with three guys dealing with day-to-day injuries and five relievers who are labeled as “exhausted.” But the simulated fans of the White Sox are probably having more fun right now than the simulated fans of the Orioles.
This week’s games
My desire to keep the roster as real as possible has led to a bit of chicanery before this series, as Trey Mancini’s rehab assignment has run out. OOTP hadn’t updated to indicate his likely full-season absence when I began this sim. I can’t bring myself to DFA this simulated Mancini just to get him out of the way, so I’ve demoted Richie Martin in order to activate Mancini, then sent Mancini to Aberdeen (sorry) and recalled Ramon Urias, if only just for a little while.
Game 54: White Sox 6, Orioles 3
So much for that tired White Sox staff. The surprising ace Gonzalez kicked off the series for them with an eight inning outing. The O’s were kept off the scoreboard except for three solo home runs, two by Austin Hays (#11 and #12 on the sim year) and Pedro Severino (#5). Hays had three of the eight O’s hits all on his own.
It’s now our pitching staff that’s going to have a bit of a problem, because starter Tommy Milone had to exit the game after just 3.2 innings with back stiffness that’s expected to keep him out for at least a week. Not great! Milone gave up two runs in this game, followed by Miguel Castro, who gave up two runs in 1.1 innings. Tanner Scott gave up an eighth inning run and Mychal Givens gave up a solo dinger in the ninth to make sure Chicago had some insurance.
Private message: We received the following note from Alex Cobb: “I have been unhappy for quite some time now, and I am sick and tired of playing for a losing organization. I have no desire to stay here and would like a trade.”
In response, I have run the OOTP “Shop player” function on Cobb. No team offered a single player in trade. That’s probably because Cobb has a 6.33 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in this sim. We’re stuck with him and his salary and he’s stuck with us.
Game 55: White Sox 7, Orioles 3
No matter that the O’s went up against the worst of the Chicago rotation, Reynaldo Lopez. They got a whopping four hits and were lucky to get the three runs, clustering much of their offense in a three-run fifth where they had both an RBI sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout.
It’s difficult to win a game like that, especially when your pitching staff gives up six of seven runs via the home run. John Means was blasted for three home runs on his own, including a first inning shot by that dastardly invisible parrot carrier Edwin Encarnacion that put the O’s in the hole for good. In all, Means allowed five runs in 4.1 innings. If he had a 5.03 ERA at the end of May in real life, that’d have been a bummer.
Game 56: White Sox 11, Orioles 5
If the sim version of Cobb really wants to get traded, maybe he could avoid giving up five runs in the first inning? That would be just great. Cobb came out for the second inning, let two men on base, and those inherited runners scored, so he was left with a line of seven runs in one-plus innings, kicking the ERA up to 7.36. Ouch.
The O’s batters were up against Chicago’s Lucas Giolito, a tough task even without the big early deficit. In this sim, Giolito is #2 in MLB in strikeouts with 89 and #1 in K/9 with 12.5. The Orioles only struck out six times in seven innings, but they also only got four hits while Giolito was in the game, so it’s only worth so much. Hanser Alberto had a three hit game and the rest of the team combined for four hits total.
Game 57: White Sox 5, Orioles 4 (15 innings)
This one ended up being a bullpen game for Chicago and the O’s couldn’t capitalize on it. The first four Sox pitchers each gave up a run, but the O’s weren’t able to score again after plating a run in the seventh. The O’s got 7.1 innings out of their own starter, Wade LeBlanc, something of a miracle in this sim.
Unfortunately, the decision to bring LeBlanc out for the eighth was a poor one and he gave up a game-tying home run to Jose Abreu, who now has 18 homers in the season. He drove in four of the five Chicago runs in this contest.
Once the game went into extras, the O’s got a man to second base in both the 12th and 13th innings, but each time it came with two outs and they couldn’t capitalize. In the 15th, they got the tying run on base with none out as Dwight Smith Jr. drew a leadoff walk. He had gotten no farther than first base by the time the game ended.
That’s six losses in a row for these jabronis. I guess I spoke too soon about not setting any records. And the first place White Sox roll on.
Record: 21-36, 14 games behind Rays and 11 games out of WC2
The Orioles run differential of -80 is the second-worst of all MLB teams. They’re now right at their Pythagorean W-L expectation of 21-36. They are 1-5 in extra innings and 3-11 when facing a lefty starting pitcher.
Next: Three games vs. Blue Jays (27-30)
Help with the pitching staff for the short term
Here is the situation. Six of our eight relievers are listed as “exhausted” and the other two are “slightly tired.” We probably need some long relief backing up Keegan Akin, who’s the next day’s scheduled starter. Additionally, the game after that (5/29) has Milone as the schedule starter, but he’s still out for another three days.
We have the following rested 40-man pitchers at Norfolk:
- Kohl Stewart: 2.80 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
- David Hess: 5.59 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10.2 K/9
- Dillon Tate: 5.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 6.9 K/9
- Hector Velazquez: 8.68 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 6.8 K/9
It seems like Milone’s going to need an injured list trip, which is a shame since his ERA+ is 107, but that’s life. The silver lining is that gives us an easy roster move to call up a fresh arm. Who do you like from that bunch?
Ryan Mountcastle status
He’s batting .263/.307/.411 through 46 games with the Tides. I’m tempted to make an exception to the “What would Mike Elias do?” standard here and call this dude up because our designated hitter right now is Pat Valaika and it’d be more fun to keep following this sim with Mountcastle. We can rather easily kick Urias back down to Norfolk and make it Mountcastle time.
Minor league injury bummer
Simulated DL Hall tore his rotator cuff while pitching for Bowie. It was only a simulated rotator cuff but that was probably a lot of simulated pain nonetheless. He wasn’t going to be a factor on the big league roster this year, and this injury has no long-term impact on anything beyond that either, but still: bummer.
Full statistics through 57 games
Austin Hays is now our only player with an OPS+ of 100 or better, which is unfortunate for everyone who isn’t Hays.
Is it time for our simulated team to bring Ryan Mountcastle to Baltimore?
This poll is closed