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Simulating the 2020 Padres season using a video game

Simulating the 2020 Padres season using OOTP21

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Hi there! Like the rest of you, I am very sad that there was no baseball yesterday and that we can’t make Tony Gwynn proud by attending the second game of the season today. Unlike the rest of you (I’m assuming), I have decided to drown my sorrows in Out of the Park Baseball 21.

What is OOTP21? Well, it’s a baseball simulation video game. Instead of trying to time the release of your pitch just right or trying to pick up a curveball out of the pitcher’s hand while you wait in the batters box, OOTP is 100% about strategy. You make the decisions and then you let the simulation tell you how things played out.

Now, I’m normally obsessed with OOTP this time of year. What makes 2020 different is that I’ve started streaming my attempts to make the Padres great again on Twitch, and I’m going to regularly keep you updated on how things are going with posts on GLB.

The Starting Point

The 2020 San Diego Padres roster in the game is the same as the roster in real life (although Quiroz is still with the Padres, duh). A big objective of the game is try and reach the goals your owner sets for you. The more often you do that, the more your budget grows.

Here are Ron Fowler’s goals for my virtual Padres:

Now, you can ignore some of these goals if you do a good job on the others. For instance, Fowler will forgive me not signing Brian Dozier to an extension (seriously, I’m not doing that) if the team plays above .500 and I find a way to acquire a top player. I’ll still get a stern talking to, but my budget will go up.

Roster Changes Are Coming

It is not my intention to simply sim out the season with the current Padres roster. That is never what I’ve been about. It’s my intention to try and make the 2020 Padres good without sacrificing the future (we’re going to play beyond 2020).

I am going to welcome any and all feedback or ideas for how to improve the roster, keeping in mind that I don’t need to be reminded about how bad those contracts are for Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer.

The S.O.P.

I think most people that play OOTP set their roster, rotation, bullpen and lineups and then hit “sim”. Heck, this is me most of the time too. I usually set everything up and hit “sim to next week” and then see how things went. This is not what we’ll be doing here.

I will be managing every single at-bat. After all, I gave myself the dual role of GM and Manager (A.J. Preller is now my Assistant GM and Jayce Tingler doesn’t appear to exist) and I intend to take that responsibility seriously.

Each game should take around 20-30 minutes to play through, which means I may occasionally play double-headers on Twitch, but that doesn’t account for extra innings. And, for whatever reason, when you play through the games instead of simulating them on OOTP, you get a lot of extra inning games.

Where We Are (So Far)

I got started already!

I played game 1 on Wednesday without making any changes to the roster. It led to me emptying out my bullpen before Trent Grisham sent the virtual fans home happy with a 14th inning walk-off RBI double.

I played game 2 yesterday, but first I made a trade. I felt like I needed a better backup CF option than Abraham Almonte and Franchy Cordero, neither of which have very good defensive ratings when put in CF. I also wanted to make sure whoever I got wasn’t left-handed, since my OF is already a little heavy on the lefties.

Hey, look at that! I got a younger player, convinced the Seattle Mariners to toss in an extra $2M because my books were looking a little tight, and got a right-handed centerfielder. Can he play defense?

Yes, this will do nicely. Braden Bishop can’t hit and probably never will, but he is a fine defensive backup for all three OF positions. This is what I wanted.

Once I added Bishop to the roster, I started game 2. It did not go well for Chris Paddack, who gave up 5 earned runs in 5 innings. However, the offense was there to pick him up. When he gave up 2 runs in the 1st, San Diego scored 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. When he gutted his way through the 5th inning, the offense scored 4 more runs in the bottom of the inning and put him in line for the win. The bullpen did the rest and the 2020 virtual San Diego Padres are 2-0 to start the season, looking to sweep the Colorado Rockies.

Where We’re Going

Here’s a quick look at lineups/pitching, as it currently stands:

This team still needs a lot of work if it’s going to keep its head above water, and I’m still going to need to find a way to move those Hosmer and Myers contracts before the trade deadline.

Check me out on Twitch to follow along as I continue on my quest to make the Padres respectable, good, or possibly even great. I’m usually live around 11am PT (lunchtime!), but will also start storing broadcasts on my channel so that you don’t have to be there live to watch and enjoy.

And don’t forgot to put your feedback/ideas in the comments!