Today marks the official release date of Out of the Park Baseball 20. As an assistant on the game, I get access to all beta versions. I decided release day was a perfect time to run an ‘official’ simulation for Royals fans to see what the team might have in store for them this season. Anyone familiar with probability understands that you need more than one sample to make any serious assessments. This is purely for fun and entertainment, something to satisfy fans as spring training winds down and we chomp at the bit for the regular season.
OOTP is a great baseball game that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the literal world of baseball. It is hands-down the best simulator of any kind I’ve ever played. If you’re interested in learning more about the game, I encourage you to visit Out of the Park Development’s Youtube site.
How I ran the sim was to essentially let the AI take control of everything. I will make some minor moves here or there (adjusting rotation, promotions/demotions) but my interventions will be as limited as possible to allow the season to unfold ‘naturally’.
The roster isn’t exactly set in stone just yet, so it affords me some liberty with lineups and the pitching staff. For whatever reason, Danny Duffy isn’t designated any sort of injury, so he will remain in the starting rotation (remember, its just a simulation). And because the bullpen will likely be a revolving door of opportunities, I set it up exactly how I would if I were the manager.
This is what the opening day starting rotation will look like:
And, the two main lineups:
Owner David Glass’s expectations for the season are simple- try to stay close to .500, upgrade third base, and stay respectable on the field.
Can they do it? Will Kyle Zimmer emerge as a stud reliever? Will Adalberto Mondesi become a star? Can Brad Keller become a true ace? Is it possible that Wily Peralta holds down the closer role? How will the offense, the most potent this spring, behave without the presence of Salvador Perez?
Let’s find out
The Royals started the season looking pretty good, posting a 6-4 record through the first two weeks of the season. However, it was followed up with multiple series losses which dropped them to 14-16.
Billy Hamilton and Adalberto Mondesi lead the league with four triples. Hamilton also tops MLB with 17 stolen bases along with Mondesi who is in third with 10.
4/5- Right fielder Jorge Bonifacio was diagnosed with forearm inflammation and is put on the ten day injured list. Two weeks are needed for recovery. OF Brett Phillips was promoted from Omaha to fill the roster spot.
4/18- Reliever Jake Diekman plunked Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu, which erupted into a bench-clearing brawl. Both players were suspended for three games.
5/13- In order to make room for Bonifacio’s return, I placed Brian Goodwin on waivers (he was out of options) due to an OPS+ of 54 through 57 at-bats. Goodwin was subsequently claimed by the Texas Rangers. OF Brett Phillips stays with the team thanks to his 143 OPS+ and strong defense.
5/19- During a bench-clearing incident with the Anaheim Angles, Danny Duffy got into a fight with Kole Calhoun with both players being suspended six games.
5/20- Alex Gordon is lost for a month due to a foot fracture. I promoted SS Nicky Lopez after a hot start in Omaha.
5/25- A waiver claim for utility player Tony Kemp was completed. To make room on the roster, Lopez was sent back down to Omaha after 2 games.
Sam McWilliams (1.69 ERA, 26.2 IP) was diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon in his elbow, which ends his season. Unfortunately for him, Williams was being considered for a spot in starting rotation. Josh Staumont was brought up as his replacement. He posted a 3.69 ERA in Omaha.
5/30- Kemp fractures his ankle and will be out for three weeks. Lopez brought back up from Omaha.
JUNE to All-Star Break
The team is struggling and problems in the clubhouse are escalating. With the lack of a true leader, Alex Gordon has tried to step in but the team doesn’t seem to be responding well.
The clear MVP thus far is Adalberto Mondesi, who was also named to the AL All-Star team.
Here’s how the Royals are faring in the American League as a team.
6/1- Whit Merrifield lands on the injured list with a fractured wrist that will keep him out three weeks. First baseman Samir Duenez is promoted from Omaha mainly due to Ryan O’Hearn’s regular day-to-day injuries.
After two months of carrying a nearly 11 ERA, Homer Bailey has been released by the organization. Ian Kennedy (4.03 ERA) takes his place in the rotation.
6/17- Chris Owings was sidelined for about a month with a herniated disc. Alex Gordon is sent back to the team a week early from his rehab assignment in Omaha.
Adalberto Mondesi is named AL Star of the Week after hitting .521 with one homer and five RBIs.
7/3- Despite a strong showing, Brett Phillips (.767 OPS) is demoted back to Omaha to make room for Owings return.
JULY to SEPT
The Royals continue to meander in a very weak AL Central.
Injuries, dissatisfaction in the locker room, and weariness have worn the team down during the dog days of summer.
However, there are some bright spots. The Royals have the league-leaders in stolen bases- Billy Hamilton (78) and Adalberto Mondesi (64). Mondesi is killing it in 2019, sitting third in MLB war (7.2), and Whit Merrifield is sixth overall in league batting average (.326).
7/2- 2B Hunter Dozier was traded to the Washington Nationals for 3B Matt Reynolds and low-level starting pitcher prospect Jimmy Murphy
7/17- Ian Kennedy suffers an oblique injury and is placed on the 10-day injured list. Heath Fillmyer is promoted from Omaha.
7/18- Chris Owings is traded to the Cincinnati Reds for reliever Odrisamer Despaigne. The fan base did not react well.
7/30- Hanley Ramirez is claimed off of waivers from the Cleveland Indians.
The Royals acquire Jake Odorizzi from the Minnesota Twins for 1B Ryan O’Hearn and low-level minor league SS Frank Herrera. To make room for Odorizzi, Kyle Zimmer (6.09 ERA) is demoted to Omaha.
8/2- Reliever Josh Staumont (2 saves, 3.86 ERA) is diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and placed on the 60-day injured list. Brady Singer is promoted and will take his spot in the bullpen.
8/16- Staff ace Brad Keller (8-7, 4.20 ERA) suffers a ruptured finger tendon and is shut down for the rest of the year. Heath Fillmyer takes his place in the rotation. Alex Gordon has a strained hip and will be day to day for several weeks.
Ladies and gentlemen, much like I predicted during my guest appearance on 810 WHB’s The Program in February, the Royals have finished .500! The youth that arrived during roster expansion must have loosened the clubhouse up as the team went 18-7 in September.
9/4- The season is over for Jake Junis (9-11, 4.89 ERA) after a shoulder strain lands him on the 60-day injured list. Alex Gordon has also been shut down for the season due to several lingering injuries. The veteran slashed .244/.296/.388
9/13- The Royals are officially eliminated from the playoffs. They stuck around much longer than expected.
Here is how the main roster, as well as the entire organization, finished the 2019 season:
- Adalberto Mondesi had a huge year slashing .311/.344/559 and finished fourth overall in league WAR (8.4). He was also rewarded the Sliver Slugger award at second base.
- Whit Merrifield was the league batting champion with a .340 batting average and also had the second-longest hitting streak of the season (23 games).
- Despite his random injuries, Alex Gordon wins a Gold Glove in left field.
- A possible rising star in shortstop Nicky Lopez emerged after being called up to fill in a roster spot. He kept hitting and regularly found his way into the starting lineup.
I hope you all enjoyed this brief journey into a fantasy world that hopefully ends up ringing true for the 2019 Royals.