The OOTP21 COVID-19 Simulation: Miami Marlins Edition

The Miami Marlins aren’t playing any ball for a while, at least another month or so.

With that in mind, it’s a perfect time to simulate a season with the OOTP simulation. The latest version, OOTP21, just dropped on Friday. I had been doing a simulation starting earlier with the pre-order beta, but the public update erased everything. Now I’m starting again from scratch.

In today’s update, we’re going to deliver you a primer for this “alternate dimension” version of the Miami Marlins.

Pre-Season Developments

Prior to the first pitch on March 26, there was still a lot of “house cleaning” to take care of.

First, the Marlins signed 25-year-old third baseman Jan Hernandez for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, then turned around and got 19-year-old second baseman Jerrick Francees to play for the Batavia Muckdogs.

On March 7th, in kind of a big deal, the Marlins traded parent-club first baseman/right fielder Garrett Cooper and minor league infielder Riley Mahan to the Los Angeles Angels for starting pitcher Julio Teheran. They then returned Sterling Sharp to the Washington Nationals.

On March 13th, the Miami Marlins signed starting right-hander Aaron Sanchez to a minor-league deal. Sanchez posted a 15-2 record with an American League-leading 3.00 ERA in 2016, and has a career 34-33 record with a 3.98 ERA. They also signed a few other lower-level minor leaguers prior to Opening Day.

Miami Marlins

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 09: Julio Teheran #49 of the Atlanta Braves opens the 2020 campaign with the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Due to these pre-season moves, the Marlins open the season with a rotation of:

Pablo Lopez
Caleb Smith
Julio Teheran
Sandy Alcantara
Aaron Sanchez

The bullpen looks pretty close to what we were envisioning:

Adam Conley
Tommy Eveld
Jose Urena
Dylan Lee
Yimi Garcia
Setup: Ryne Stanek & Brandon Kintzler
Closer: Drew Steckenrider

No platoon split for the lineup, with identical one-through-eight versus both-handed pitchers:

Jonathan Villar CF
Matt Joyce RF
Brian Anderson 3B
Corey Dickerson LF
Jesus Aguilar 1B
Isan Diaz 2B
Miguel Rojas SS
Jorge Alfaro C

The bench features at least one surprise:

Francisco Cervelli C
Eddy Alvarez 2B
Matt Kemp LF
Harold Ramirez LF
Jon Berti CF

With this cast in place, how could the Miami Marlins do anything but win? Let’s find out.

March 26th

Marlins 5, Phillies 1

Jesus Aguilar led the Miami Marlins with three singles, including one RBI. Miguel Rojas pitched in with a pair of doubles and two RBI, Jonathan Villar and Corey Dickerson each had a single and a double, and Jorge Alfaro also hit a pair of singles with an RBI.

Miami Marlins

JUPITER, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 19: Could Pablo Lopez #49 of the Miami Marlins be the ace of this bunch? (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Pablo Lopez earned player of the game honors with a strong six-inning effort, striking out eight and allowing one run on four hits and a pair of walks. Jose Urena pitched two scoreless relief innings, and Drew Steckenrider earned his first save by getting two outs with three pitches.

Post-Game Transactions

The Miami Marlins signed former major league outfielders Melky Cabrera and Peter Bourjos to minor league contracts.

March 27th

Marlins 7, Phillies 2

Caleb Smith struck out eight in five two-hit innings, allowing a run only on a solo homer from Bryce Harper. He did walk five and also earned his first win of the season. Adam Conley pitched the final two frames to scoreless results in a non-save situation.

Matt Joyce and Jorge Alfaro both hit solo homers, and Jesus Aguilar added a two-run shot. Joyce added a single, and was the only Marlins player to finish with multiple hits.

March 28th

Phillies 5, Marlins 2

Jonathan Villar had a three-for-five game, but new acquisition Julio Teheran got a rude awakening.

Like Lopez and Smith before him in the rotation, Teheran totaled eight strikeouts in his 2020 debut. He allowed four runs in six innings, on five hits and three walks. Although the Marlins totaled nine hits in the game, nobody had an extra base hit, and only Villar had more than one single.

Miami Marlins

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – MARCH 04: Jon Berti #5 of the Miami Marlins squeezed out by Peter Bourjos? (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Post-Game Transaction:

The Marlins made a change on their bench, sending down Jon Berti in favor of recently acquired Peter Bourjos.

March 29th

Phillies 4, Marlins 0

The Marlins offense could only muster six singles and no runs against a strong performance by Nick Pivetta in the season-opening series-finale against the Phillies.

Pivetta whiffed 10 in 7 2/3 innings, and Steven Okert struck out the side in a perfect ninth for his first save. Sandy Alcantara turned in a Quality Start in his debut, whiffing six in 6 1/3 innings and surrendering three runs on nine hits and a walk. Dylan Lee’s major league debut would see him striking out two in a perfect ninth.

Post-Game Transaction:

The Marlins called up starting pitcher Trevor Rogers along with Jon Berti, and sent down Harold Ramirez and Dylan Lee. Center-fielder Jake Smolinski signed a minor league contract.

March 30th

Marlins 3, Nationals 1

Aaron Sanchez lasted 7 1/3 innings in his first Miami Marlins appearance, striking out eight and earning no decision. He allowed one run on five hits and three walks. Drew Steckenrider earned his second save with a clean ninth, allowing only a walk.

Miami Marlins

SARASOTA, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 29: Drew Steckenrider #71, the new closer of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Miguel Rojas, Francisco Cervelli, and Peter Bourjos all collected two hits in the winning effort. Corey Dickerson hit a double, and Jorge Alfaro added a pinch-RBI-single in the eighth.

Post-Game Transaction:

The Miami Marlins signed right fielder Pedro Alvarez (remember him?) to a minor league deal.

March 31st

Marlins 8, Nationals 0

Pablo Lopez struck out eight in eight shutout two-hit innings to earn his second win of the season.  Trevor Rogers got the last three outs for a combined three-hitter.

Jonathan Villar, Brian Anderson, and Miguel Rojas all collected three hits in the win. One of Anderson’s hits was a two-run triple, and Villar’s contributions included his first homer of the season, a fifth-inning solo shot.

Post-Game Transaction:

Trevor Rogers was optioned back to Wichita and Dylan Lee was again recalled in his place.

Miami Marlins

DENVER, CO – AUGUST 17: Brian Anderson #15 of the Miami Marlins stands in the on deck circle before batting against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

April 1st

Nationals 3, Marlins 1

The Miami Marlins failed to secure a sweep of the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals, but they did take two-of-three. In the finale, Max Scherzer and company limited the Marlins to four hits. Only Peter Bourjos had a multibase hit, with a triple, and no player had more than one hit.

Caleb Smith whiffed nine but took the loss, allowing two runs on five hits and zero walks in 6 2/3 innings.

After one week, the Miami Marlins own a surprising 4-3 record and sit tied for first in the National League East with the Atlanta Braves. Week two will open with a three-game road series versus those same Braves, and will continue with a three-game set in our nation’s (simulated) capital versus the Nationals.

Life in the matrix is pretty good for the Marlins. What do you think of the Cooper-Mahan for Teheran trade? The signing of three near-major-league level outfielders? Trevor Rogers making an ahead-of-schedule debut? Will all of this lead to a postseason berth in 2020? Let us know in the comments.

Next: The Marlins Should Make the Playoffs
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