MLB 2020 simulation: Angels and Dodgers surging, Marlins in first one month into season


Major League Baseball was supposed to launch the 2020 regular season five weeks ago, on March 26. The spread of the novel coronavirus, however, forced MLB to delay Opening Day to some unknowable future date that is dependent on the effectiveness of the containment strategies imposed across the country in recent weeks. 

Because we could all use a distraction these days, we’ve decided to pass time by simulating the season on Out of the Park Baseball 21. Along the way, we’ll be providing updates on what’s happening in our fictional league, similar to what we did on Opening Day

With that in mind, here are the would-be standings and five developments to be mindful of from the week that was (and wasn’t). 

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OOTP

1. Ohtani showing no signs of rust

Shohei Ohtani is back to being a two-way force for the Angels. He received the Pitcher of the Month Award for his work on the mound, as he posted a 126 ERA+ over his first seven starts. He’s also been producing at the dish, hitting .382/.456/.559 with three home runs and six stolen bases in 68 at-bats. That’ll play, Ohtani, that’ll play.

2. Soroka to miss rest of season

The Braves will be without right-handed starter Mike Soroka for the remainder of the season because of a torn flexor tendon. Soroka had started six times, compiling a 3.47 ERA and a 2.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Braves, who are a half-game out of first place in the National League East, have replaced Soroka with Sean Newcomb.

3. Astros remain in last

We’d rather not turn the Astros being in last place into a weekly feature, but we’re making an exception this week because there wasn’t much else going on. Houston ranks 14th in the American League in the following offensive categories: runs scored, batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and wOBA. They also rank seventh in starter ERA and 11th in bullpen ERA. Basically, there isn’t an area of the Astros that’s functioning as well as expected. We’ll see if the Astros can shake off their first-month woes heading forward. Lord knows they’ve dug themselves a hole.

4. Adell gets the call

We touched on one Angels phenom earlier, in Ohtani, but they added another to the roster this week by promoting Jo Adell to the majors. So far, Adell hasn’t hit the ground running, as he’s recorded just six hits in his first 30 at-bats. Still, Adell is considered one of the best prospects in the game, be it virtually or otherwise, and should prove to be a net positive for the first-place Angels sooner than later.

5. Rockies waive Harvey

Matt Harvey’s latest attempt at salvaging his career is over. The Rockies designated him for assignment this week after he’d made five starts with the club. Predictably, those starts didn’t go well. Harvey allowed 29 hits and 27 earned runs in 21 innings. He did strike out 19 batters, but he counterbalanced that (and some) by yielding eight home runs. 

Hitting performance of the week

Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski had the top offensive performance of the season so far, going 5 for 6 with two home runs and four runs batted in against the Nationals. Yastrzemski’s game was even better in context: he hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth, then delivered a walk-off two-run shot in the 11th. 

Pitching performance of the week

Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty nearly no-hit the Padres this week. An Eric Hosmer double may have prevented that from happening, but Flaherty still threw a gem: nine shutout innings, one hit allowed, no walks, and 13 strikeouts. Flaherty did all that on just 103 pitches.





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