Simulating the 2020 Dodgers season with ‘Out of the Park Baseball 21’

This post should be the Game Thread for the first game of the 2020 season with the Dodgers coming off the most disappointing 106-win season you’ll ever see. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the course of everyday life. Sports is toward the very bottom of priorities right now.

As a baseball blog, we are, obviously, obligated to write about baseball. I’m sure you’re all tired of reading my “Dodgers should go after Player X” posts, and the Top 100 Prospects countdown has wrapped up (with a couple supplemental pieces to come). So, what are we going to do now?

Well, we don’t know just how long the opening of the season could be delayed. It could be until the middle of May, it could be the All-Star break or it could be never. There’s a non-zero chance the 2020 season never happens and Mookie Betts doesn’t suit up in an official game before he reaches free agency (more on that in another post). Instead of lamenting that fact, let’s try something different.

We are going to simulate the entire 2020 season using Out of the Park Baseball 21, and we’re going to do it in real-time. Every day there’s a game scheduled, we’ll simulate it and post the computer-generated recap that is punched up a bit because the recaps are even more stilted than my normal recaps. We’ll also keep track of any big injuries, roster moves and potential minor-leaguers. This will be done with a clear headline that indicates this is part of the simulation. It will also be done with no interference from us. Once we begin, all decisions you’d usually get to make while playing — lineup decisions, promotions/demotions, trades, et al — will be left up to the computer. This could mean some crazy trades, interesting playing time decisions and roles.

As such, here is the Dodgers’ 26-man Opening Day roster, via OOTP Baseball 21.

Catchers (2)
Austin Barnes
Will Smith

Infielders (5)
Gavin Lux
Max Muncy
Corey Seager
Justin Turner
Tyler White

Outfielders (3)
Literally Mookie Betts
Joc Pederson
A.J. Pollock

Infielders/Outfielders (3)
Cody Bellinger
Enrique Hernandez
Chris Taylor

Rotation (5)
Clayton Kershaw
Walker Buehler
David Price
Alex Wood
Julio Urias

Bullpen (8)
Pedro Baez
Brusdar Graterol
Caleb Ferguson
Kenley Jansen
Joe Kelly
Adam Kolarek
Blake Treinen
Ross Stripling

Injured List (1)
Jimmy Nelson

Looks pretty close to my first (and only) projection, with White being the lone exception, as he’s not on the 40-man roster anymore.

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If the real MLB season does begin, then we’ll fast-track the simulation. If not, well, strap in for a full slate of simulation goodness. Let’s just hope the game isn’t too realistic and the Dodgers lose to the World Series in the most heartbreaking fashion.

Look for the first recap in a few hours.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.