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Simulating the 2019 season with Out of the Park Baseball

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OOTP is out, which is the best time of year.

MLB: World Series-Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This week was one of the best weeks of the year, because it was when Out of the Park Baseball came out. If you’ve never played or never heard of it, OOTP is a text-based simulation baseball game where you can act as a general manager, manager or both of a team. It is the most in-depth baseball game out there, and it’s not particularly close. This is not a paid sponsored post or anything, either. This is all 100 percent genuine. OOTP is the only game I faithfully buy every iteration of and will talk it up to anyone who has any interest in baseball.

Anyway, every year when the game comes out the first thing I do is run through a straight simulation for the Red Sox. For the last four years, I’ve put the results on the site. Well, it’s time to do that again. Just to clarify, this is all computer-generated as I stayed out of it. For whatever it may be worth, last year our sim ended with the Red Sox winning 95 games and losing in the ALDS.

Preseason

It should be mentioned that OOTP is still in the beta stage, and while everything is pretty much up to par (the full game comes out on Friday) there are some minor fixes that will come over the next couple of day. As such, there are a few weird quirks here such as the Red Sox being able to stash Blake Swihart, Brandon Workman and Brian Johnson in the minors. They also have Carson Smith healthy and he is the closer at the start of the game. Additionally, Jenrry Mejia and Zach Putnam are both on the Opening Day roster.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the sim. From the time the game stats (March 10) to Boston’s Opening Day on March 28, things got weird. The Red Sox completely blew up their catching situation, designated both Sandy León and Christian Vázquez for assignment. Both cleared waivers and took assignments in Pawtucket. To replace them, they signed Evan Gattis to a minor-league contract and then traded Smith and Yoan Aybar to the Cubs for Victor Catarini. In the real world we are trying to figure out which two catchers Boston will keep. In the OOTP world, the answer is none of them.

Before the season started, the OOTP system projected Boston to win a whopping 106 games. They also had Mookie Betts as the MVP favorite with J.D. Martinez fifth as well as having Chris Sale as the Cy Young favorite with Rick Porcello fifth (what the hell?) and David Price tenth. On the prospect side, Bobby Dalbec was number one in the system and 143rd overall. Boston’s farm system was rated as the worst in baseball and the only one without a top-100 prospect.

Boston Red Sox Victory Parade Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

April

April was pretty wild in terms of transactions, too, with Boston getting a couple different extensions done. First, right after the first game of the year, they inked Brock Holt to a new three-year, $22.2 million deal. Later in the month, Jackie Bradley Jr. agreed to a three-year, $39.7 million deal. Something tells me that might not get it done in the real world. Meanwhile, Putnam got hurt a week into the year with an injury that would keep him out for four months, and Durbin Feltman was called up to the majors on April 19.

Boston ended up going 19-12 in the first month-plus of the year, heading into May in second place and two games behind the Yankees. They got big months from Porcello and Sale, but the bullpen was a weakness. Ryan Brasier quickly took over as closer and was great, but everyone else behind him was garbage. Offensively, Betts was absurd and worth 3.5 WAR with just one month in the books.

May

May also saw multiple extensions for the Red Sox, and these ones were bigger. The first was with Sale, who agreed to a massive seven-year, $259 million deal. The contract had an opt-out after the fourth year while the seventh year was a vesting option requiring 25 games started in year six. A couple weeks later, Porcello agreed to a five-year deal worth $111 million. Additionally, the team signed Brett Anderson to a league-minimum contract at the end of the month and put him at the end of their bullpen.

It was a big of a rougher month for the Red Sox this time around, finishing 16-12 to give them a 35-24 record overall. That brought them down to third in the division, 4.5 behind the first-place Yankees and a game behind the second-place Rays. Meanwhile, they had a one-game lead on the Royals (!!) for the second wildcard. Betts was at 5.1 WAR by the end of this month, which is just bananas, and the bullpen was still trash.

June

The big event this month was an injury to Sale, who went down just about a month after he signed the extension. He was diagnosed with tendinitis in his biceps and missed about two-and-a-half months. The draft was also in June, and the Red Sox didn’t pick until 53 overall. There, they selected St. Mary’s Kevin Milam, who is listed as a reliever but is actually a two-way player. I’m not sure if he actually has a real shot at being a two-way player in real life, but his ratings in OOTP suggest he could in the game. Anderson also got cut just three weeks after he was signed, and Holt suffered a broken collarbone that kept him out six weeks.

Despite the big Sale injury as well as Holt’s injury, the Red Sox had a big 18-8 month. By the time July rolled around they were 53-32, 3.5 behind the Yankees and in control of the top wildcard spot. Porcello stepped up in a big way that month, Betts was still amazing (5.7 WAR at this point) and J.D. Martinez had his best month of the year.

July

Dave Dombrowski did not have a quiet deadline, addressing the major bullpen issues right at the start of the month by trading Zach Schellenger, Alex Scherff, Ryan Fitzgerald and Hildemaro Requeña to Oakland for Blake Treinen. A couple weeks later they traded Triston Casas, Gregori Custodio and Connor Berry to the White Sox for Yonder Alonso (Mitch Moreland was having a brutal year) and minor-league pitcher Luis Martinez. Additionally, David Price tore his triceps this month and missed the rest of the year. Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Betts and Martinez all made the All-Star team and Betts won MVP of the game.

It was another mediocre month overall, though, as the team went 14-11 in July and was 67-43 overall. That put them 3.5 back in the division still, and they remained in the top wildcard spot. Kansas City was somehow sticking around and was the second wildcard at that point.

August

Not a whole hell of a lot happened in August. Darwinzon Hernandez was called up in the middle of the month and Sale made his return in the final week. The Sox had their worst month of the year, too, going 11-15 and sitting at just 78-58 for the season. That dropped them way down to 8.5 behind the Yankees and just 1.5 up on the Royals, who were somehow still in the playoff hunt.

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

September

The Red Sox got things together at the right time of the year and had their best month, finishing the final month with an 18-7 record. That gave them 95 wins overall on the season, though it wasn’t enough to challenge the Yankees. New York had a runaway season and finished eight games up on Boston. The Red Sox took the top wildcard spot, eight games ahead of the Rays, who overtook Kansas City for the second spot. Cleveland and Houston won the AL Central and AL West, while the NL Playoff teams were Colorado, St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles and Washington. The Red Sox got some bad news right before their wildcard game, though, as Brasier went down with an injury. He was the one consistent reliever all year.

Playoffs

The Wildcard Game featured an all-time matchup between Sale and Blake Snell, who went on to win his second consecutive Cy Young. Sale won this game, though, with Victor Catarini having a big game and Boston winning 5-2.

They went on to play Cleveland in the ALDS, and after losing Game One they took the next three. Andrew Benintendi won series MVP.

That led to a rematch of the 2018 ALCS against Houston, but this didn’t go in Boston’s favor. This was a brutal way to end the year, as the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-1 series lead. They lost the next two, though, forcing a Game Seven. There, Porcello was brilliant and the Red Sox had a 1-0 lead heading into the ninth. Cora stuck with Porcello, and he gave up a game-tying home run to Robinson Chirinos. Then, in the tenth, Josh Reddick hit a walkoff homer off Treinen, and the Red Sox season was over.

The Cardinals would go on to beat the Astros in the World Series in five games. Caratini and Betts won Gold Gloves for the Red Sox, and Betts finished fifth in MVP voting.

Here are the full batting stats:

And here are the pitching stats

Note: Jose Leclerc is on this list but was acquired after the season ended.

If you have other questions I didn’t answer here, drop them in the comments.