The Seattle Mariners Are Exceeding Expectations – In A Simulation

With the MLB season in limbo from uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus, the good folks at Baseball Reference have attempted to fill the void. Using the baseball management game “Out of the Park” (OOTP), the site has set out to simulate the 2020 major league season. The current standings for Seattle Mariners fans are simultaneously encouraging and melancholy, a small glimpse into what if.

After thirty games in the OOTP virtual season, the Mariners sit at 17-13, one game out of first place in the AL West, behind the first place Houston Astros and a half-game back of the Oakland A’s. The A’s and Mariners are neck and neck for the second wild card behind the Cleveland Indians, who find themselves in a dog fight in the Central with the young and feisty Chicago White Sox.

The Hitters Leading the Charge

The WAR leader for this year’s M’s so far is center fielder Mallex Smith with an impressive e 1.3 accumulated through less than 20% of a season. Smith’s 15 stolen bases not only leads the team but leads the majors. Maybe not the greatest center fielder ever, but definitely a fantasy god.

Kyle Seager is seeing a welcomed semi-bounce-back year, as he leads the team in HR with 6. The .223/.267/.455 slash line is, however, a source of concern. But if you still think RBI is important, Seager leads the team with 23.

Other leaders on the team with at least double digit games played include: Dee Gordon batting .333 in 55 PA – Austin Nola with 10 doubles in 73 PA – five players tied for first with one triple (Smith, Seager, J.P. Crawford, Denard Span, and Tom Murphy). Wait. A catcher hit a triple? And finally, leading the team in runs scored is Mallex Smith with 24, followed closely by Shed Long, who has largely usurped Gordon at second, with 20.

On the Mound

Leading the staff through 30 games is the dependable Marco Gonzales. He is 1-1 through 6 starts with a 2.36 ERA and 27 K in 42.0 innings. Yusei Kikuchi appears to have made some encouraging strides after a disappointing debut season in MLB. He too has made 6 starts and pitched to a 2-1 record with a respectable 3.98 ERA and 34 K in 40.2 innings. Prospect Justus Sheffield has shown improvement in his command with only 6 BB in 24.0 innings. The 21 K in 24.0 innings is impressive even if he has gotten a little unlucky per his 4.88 ERA.

As expected, coming into the season, the closer role has been somewhat shared with the lefty Taylor Guilbeau earning 4 of the 8 saves by four pitchers. Guilbeau has pitched 13.1 innings with 13 K and an electric 1.35 ERA.

Cardiac Kids

Incredibly, the 2020 Sim Mariners have been in nine extra-innings games, posting an incredible (probably unsustainable) 8-1 record. Perhaps the most dramatic back to back games of the entire season came at home in mid-April versus the Boston Red Sox. Both game three and game four of the series went to the 12th inning and in both games the Mariners emerged victorious. Dee Gordon scored the winning run on April 11th by beating a throw at the plate on a fielder’s choice. The very next night, fan-favorite Dan Vogelbach scored from third on a single by Dylan Moore, beating the throw from RF easily.

Until There’s Baseball

So, if you’re Jonesing for baseball like many of us are, you can check out the box scores, standings, and stats for the simulated season at Baseball Reference. 

Also, if you have some free time (some more than others), the baseball management game Out of the Park, in its 21st version, can be downloaded on their website or bought through Steam. Every 25 or 30 simulated games throughout the season there will be an update on the Mariners season here on Oregon Sports News. 

Stay Safe. 

Baseball Reference: Out Of The Park: out of the park link

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About Brian Hight 112 Articles
Brian Hight lives in Seattle and writes primarily about MLB and the local Seattle Mariners, with a focus on advanced analytics. Occasionally, he delves into the NFL and the NBA, also with an emphasis on advanced statistics. He’s currently pursuing a Certificate in Data Analysis online from Microsoft, where he hopes to create a prediction model for baseball outcomes for his capstone project.