Simulating the Reds’ 2020 season using OOTP: Part 1

Team suffers injury woes attributing to a mediocre start to the new campaign

In lieu of actual baseball being played, the Newswire turned to the Out of the Park Baseball simulator to determine how the Reds’ 2020 season could have played out. Turns out the medley of injuries sank the hopes of a strong year.

Today is April 9 and the Major League Baseball season should be in full-swing by now. 

It would be the second full week of the season, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t have baseball yet and we won’t for the foreseeable future. 

Thankfully, we still have virtual baseball provided by engines like Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP), an insanely detailed and realistic simulator. 

Using OOTP, the Newswire simulated through the Reds’ season while managing the roster in a general manager role. Here’s how the first few months of the season played out.

The season started off with a 3-1 opening day loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. The team was dealt a major blow on April 21 with Luis Castillo and his 2.48 ERA suffering an abdominal injury that knocked him out for over a month. 

Lucas Sims was called up to replace him in the rotation. More bad injury news came down on April 25 when the simulation informed that Tyler Mahle wasn’t making progress in his recovery from an oblique strain he suffered early in the season and that his timetable to recover was unknown. 

Despite the bad luck with the injury bug, the Reds escaped April tied for the lead of the jam-packed National League Central with the 16-16 Cubs (who lost Javy Baez for the season due to a broken kneecap). 

The bullpen needed some bolstering, so Luis Avilan was brought in on a waiver claim. He was previously the victim of a roster crunch for the Yankees. To open up a spot on the roster, the team released Nate Jones as the former Northern Kentucky pitcher was struggling and refused to be demoted. 

On May 13, Tyler Mahle returned after making two rehab starts in Louisville and he replaced Sims in the rotation (He was sent back to AAA). 

With the team sitting at 24-25 on the field on May 21, the Reds get some good publicity off the field as they announced they’d start a Cincinnati-based charity in conjunction with Freddy Galvis to help the less fortunate in the area. 

The Reds entered June with a 29-30 record, half a game back of the 30-30 Cardinals. 

Castillo returned from the injured list on June 2nd to provide a much-needed spark to the rotation. On June 4, the MLB Amateur Draft is held, and the Reds take Tanner Burns, a junior right-hander from Auburn with the 12th overall selection. 

After a sweep of the Cubs brought us to 36-30 and brought the winning streak to eight games, more bad news struck when the trainer alerted the team that Wade Miley tore his rotator cuff and will miss the rest of the season. 

Mahle and Sims struggled when they were forced to start, so the Reds turned to the trade market to try and find a more reliable fifth starter. Drew Smyly was having a nice bounce-back year with the Giants, so they acquired him via a trade in exchange for Matt Gill, the No. 20 prosect in the organization.

Come back next week to read about how the rest of the virtual year went in Cincinnati and whether the Smyly acquisition will pay off or not.