It looks like opening day is getting pushed back at least eight weeks.
There aren’t very many good options presently available for Miami Marlins fans. For that matter, there aren’t very many good options presently available for baseball fans, or sports fans in general. Almost every major sports league has either postponed or outright cancelled parts of their seasons in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Miami Marlins fans, this pushes back what should have been the “takeoff” from the absolute nadir of the rebuild. The end of last season should have been the bottom (we are hoping). Now, it’s going to be quite some time before we get to see the brand new 2020 Marlins in action.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always enjoyed baseball simulation games. All the way back to the late-70s, when my dad bought an Intellivision for Christmas, along with MLB. The cutting edge graphics (at the time) had nothing of individual player features, tendencies, or even positions really.
Today, we have a lot more in the way of options. A lot of people prefer MLB The Show 20, and I get it, but I’m not really a “gamer” at heart, and haven’t been since NASCAR 2000. What really floats my boat is something called OOTP (Out of the Park).
Those in the know will tell you that OOTP is the most immersive baseball simulation game ever created, bar none. With the imminent release of OOTP 21 in the offing (it premieres Friday), the timing of the season delay is nothing if not serendipitous to the creators of the game. The public beta for pre-orderers was earlier today. I downloaded it immediately.
With the gaping void where live sporting events used to be, I’ve decided to simulate the Miami Marlins 2020 campaign, and write about it daily in one-week increments. The game allows for a player like me to either choose to play as manager, general manager, or both. For purposes of automation, I chose manager so that I’d get a good look at what the simulation expects the team to do going forward. I’d also get a good fee as to how Don Mattingly has to deal with developments completely beyond his control. Here’s a few surprises going into opening day.
Miami Marlins start Alex Vesia & Yimi Garcia with Triple-A Wichita Wind Surge; Adam Conley in Double-A with Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. I think Vesia is ready, but a look at his performance in triple-A should be advantageous before throwing him in. Garcia is surely going to start with the Miami Marlins in real life, but for some reason the sim has him with the Surge. Conley is no surprise.
Matt Kemp makes opening day roster.
Tommy Eveld, Dylan Lee, and Trevor Rogers open season on major league roster. Eveld is possible, but Rogers was already assigned to the Shrimp in real life. Lee has joined Team Israel last time I checked, but I know they’re not playing either.
Starting rotation: Pablo Lopez, Caleb Smith, Jordan Yamamoto, Sandy Alcantara, Elieser Hernandez. Robert Dugger and Nick Neidert both start with Jumbo Shrimp. The rotation is possibly what actually would have happened in real life, although I think Jose Urena had an inside track, and Dugger looked to be ready to at least join the major league club. Both he and Neidert should start no lower than Triple-A in my opinion.
Monte Harrison & Lewis Brinson begin in Wichita; Magneuris Sierra & J.J. Bleday in Jacksonville. This assumes that Sierra passed through waivers, which is unlikely. Sierra’s speed alone would have another team salivating to get him off the waiver wire.
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Marlins sign Giovanni Soto through free agency. This happens on March 25th. Soto pitched 3 1/3 innings at the major league level with the Cleveland Indians in 2015, but otherwise has been holed up in the minors or in independent league ball. The 28-year-old left handed pitcher posted a 3.14 ERA with the New Britain Bees in 2019 over 48 2/3 innings in the independent Atlantic League. Prior to opening day, the Marlins send Elieser Hernandez to the Surge in order to call up Soto. To address this, I moved Urena into the rotation.
This leaves me at March 26th. I’m going to play the first week’s worth of games right now, and I’ll let you know how it goes around the same time tomorrow. Let me know if this sort of thing gets you the least bit interested. Hey, there’s nothing else to do, right?
Thanks for reading.