Detroit Tigers: Simulating the 2018 season with Out of the Park Baseball 19

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

With Detroit Tigers opening day set for Thursday, the time is right to sim the season with the newly-released Out of the Park Baseball 19.

Detroit Tigers fans are preparing themselves for a lousy season as the team begins the first year of what figures to be a three-to-five year rebuilding process (or, ugh, even longer). But a new season always brings new hope. What if things break right? What if some of the young players break through?

With the release of Out of the Park Baseball 19 this past week, I figured now was the perfect time to set up a season simulation and let the little digital men predict what might happen for the Tigers in the 2018 season.

I didn’t want the simulation results to be clouded by my own decisions or preferences, so I simply loaded up the default rosters and set the simulation to run. The program’s AI was set up to make all of the day-to-day management decisions for the team.

Thing started out well for the Tigers in the land of make believe. They entered the middle of June in second place in the AL Central with a record just north of .500. Unfortunately things began to go south at that point. Michael Fulmer hit the disabled list with a forearm strain and would ultimately miss two months of action.

The Tigers pulled into the All-Star break in third place with a 47-51 record. Nicholas Castellanos was the only team member to be selected to the All-Star team. He was one of the few solid producers in the lineup with a .316/.364/.513 batting line with 14 home runs. As a team, however, the Tigers were second from the bottom at the break with a collective .691 OPS.

The second half of the season did not bring a miracle turnaround. The Tigers finished with a poor 24-40 second-half record to cross the finish line with a 71-91 season mark. That’s not as bad as I originally feared, but it was miles out of contention.

Here were some individual bright spots for the team:

Jeimer Candelario acquired over 650 plate appearances and more than held his own with 20 home runs and an .818 OPS. He combined quality hitting with defense that was around league average and put together a 3.7 WAR season.

Nicholas Castellanos wasn’t great defensively in the outfield (-9 runs), but he was playable out there and ended up with an .858 OPS, 21 home runs, and was worth 3.1 wins above replacement.

The pitching side of things had fewer bright spots. Joe Jimenez took over the closer’s role and saved 32 games with a 4.09 ERA (11.3 K/9). Michael Fulmer had a 4.17 ERA but was limited to 123 innings due to injury.

The biggest negative was Jordan Zimmermann who struggled all year with a 6.47 ERA in 27 appearances and never found a groove.

As a further punch in the gut, Tigers fans had to watch as the division rival Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians met in the American League Championship series. Fortunately the Indians were bested by the New York Mets in the World Series.

For those interested in Out of the Park Baseball, here the trailer that the development team posted on YouTube.

Next: Detroit Tigers all-time 25-man roster

MLB Network will run their own full-simulation of the 2018 season using OOTP 19 and air their results on March 28 at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to tune in if you’re into this sort of thing.