You can find our review of Out of the Park Baseball 19 here but this is where we get into the stuff you came here for. How do the Blue Jays do in 2018 according to the simulation in OOTP 19? Last year, we had a predicted record of 80-82 and the real life Blue Jays underperformed even that mediocre simulated prediction.
I set up the game as close to the Blue Jays’ real life roster as I could, getting the same guys on the 40-man and setting up the minor leagues as closely to the season-opening rosters as possible. There were some players who just weren’t configured for their current role. Emerson Jimenez, the infielder-turned-pitcher was one who just didn’t have any ratings when it came to pitching, so I went in and edited Jimenez (admittedly, making him better than he likely should have been. My player editing skills need work). I also didn’t make any trades. While I did try to shop around guys like Tulo and Kendrys Morales, the AI GMs seem to be getting better, only offering me back guys with big contracts who were also underperforming.
Also, I should have taken better notes to “narrate” a story as the season went on. I didn’t, so you’re left with what follows.
I asked Donaldson what he wanted for an extension and the answer was particularly disheartening.
So yeah. 6 years, $260 million. Ouch. Not going to happen.
We were off to a flying start in March and April, going 20-10 in 30 games.
Major injuries: Aaron Sanchez had some back soreness missing about two weeks. Josh Donaldson hurt his elbow, missing a week. Curtis Granderson had a 1-2 week injury at the end of the month.
Anthony Alford was sent to Buffalo in mid-April while Joe Biagini came up to the big leagues when Sanchez went on the DL, going back to Buffalo when Sanchez returned. With Granderson going on the DL, Teoscar Hernandez came to Toronto.
The club was 12-14 in May and saw major injuries to Aledmys Diaz (dislocated shoulder, 3-4 months) and Jaime Garcia (torn flexor tendon in elbow, 11-12 months). Aaron Sanchez also had back spasms, missing more time.
Joe Biagini came back up to take the place of Garcia while Ryan Borucki got a chance when Sanchez went on the DL again. When Curtis Granderson came back from the DL Gift Ngoepe went to Buffalo and when Diaz was injured, Richard Urena came up to Toronto. Finally, Teoscar wasn’t doing well and Alford came up to Toronto to replace him at the beginning of May.
The Jays went 13-13 in June.
Major injuries: Seung-hwan Oh tore his rotator cuff and was gone for the season. Justin Smoak had a 1-2-week injury, spraining his ankle. Yangervis Solarte was out for 2-3 weeks.
Borucki went back to Buffalo when Sanchez returned to Toronto on June 4. Troy Tulowitzki started his rehab on June 10 and returned to Toronto on June 12, with Richard Urena going to the minors. Sam Moll’s contract was purchases when Seung-hwan Oh went on the DL and Urena came back to Toronto after Solarte went on the DL.
The Blue Jays took high-school outfielder Zaid Walker from Homewood, Illinois with their first pick in the 2018 draft. In the second round, they took Braxton Ashcraft, a high school pitcher and took 3B J.T. Schwartz in the third round. Interestingly, the draftees who would perform the best in 2018 were not the top picks.
The Blue Jays went 13-11 in July.
Major injuries: Aaron Sanchez had a rough July. He had more back spasms and then, when he returned, he damaged his elbow ligament and was out for 11 months. Roberto Osuna had a hamstring strain that caused him to lose 2-3 months.
When Roberto Osuna went on the DL, and Tim Mayza came up.
All-Star Game: The Blue Jays had three All-Stars, Roberto Osuna, Justin Smoak and Josh Donaldson. Adam Lind also made the All-Star team for the White Sox.
We signed LF Carlos Aguilar out of Venezula to a deal worth $2.44 million and LF Oneill Manzueta out of the Dominican Republic to a deal worth $2.4 million. We signed French pitcher Yoan Antonac to a $1.16 million deal.
The Blue Jays surged in August, going 16-12 and putting themselves into a Wildcard spot, battling closely with Oakland for the second spot (with Cleveland fairly securely holding the top wild card). Oh, and we destroyed the Marlins 22-1 on August 31.
Major injuries: Steve Pearce dislocated his shoulder, missing three months and Ryan Tepera lost a couple weeks with biceps tendinitis.
When Sanchez went on the 60-day DL on August 2, Luis Santos was promoted from Buffalo. Yangervis Solarte rejoined the team on August 4, sending Urena back to Buffalo and Dwight Smith Jr. took Steve Pierce’s place when he went on the 10-day DL on August 5. On the 15th, Pearce and Aledmys Diaz were activated with Smith and Alford going to the minors. When Pierce was injured yet again, Teoscar Hernandez came back to Toronto. Luis Santos was struggling and Ryan Borcuki came back up at the end of the month to take his place and Matt Dermody joined the Jays when Ryan Tepera went on the DL.
The Blue Jays dropped off, going 12-16 in September but backed their way into the second wild card spot.
Major injuries: The starting rotation was dealt a big blow with J.A. Happ suffering from shoulder inflammation and losing the last month of the season.
September Call Ups:
Jake Petricka, Deck McGuire (to take Happ’s spot in the rotation), Lourdes Gurriel, Dwight Smith Jr., Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey.
Wild Card Game
Starting Marcus Stroman, the club’s top starter, was a no-brainer. Because of Troy Tulowitzki’s solid play since returning from injury, I played him over Devon Travis with Solarte DHing. We got off to a 1-0 lead over Cleveland in the top of the first and scored three runs in the second on an RBI double by Kevin Pillar and a two-RBI single from Troy Tulowitzki.
In the bottom of the third, a walk, fielder’s choice followed by an error on a pickoff throw by Stroman brought up Jose Ramirez who hit an RBI single.
In the top of the fifth, we extended our lead to 5-1 with a solo home run by Aledmys Diaz. Cleveland got one back in the bottom half, scoring Mike Napoli’s double on a single by Yandy Diaz.
Kevin Pillar got the lead back to 6-2 with a solo home run in the top of the sixth.
Things got weird in the bottom of the seventh. Stroman was still in the game and gave up a one-out walk. The next batter singled and then Francisco Lindor hit a fly ball to left that Randall Grichuk dropped, scoring one run. I pulled Stroman for Aaron Loup and he got Jose Ramirez to ground out, bringing Yandy Diaz home and got an infield pop up to end the inning. 6-4 Toronto.
Loup remained in to pitch the a lefty to start the bottom of the eighth and retired him before John Axford came in. With Danny Barnes warming in the bullpen, Axford gave up a double, triple and then home run before Barnes was ready to come in. Barnes got a strikeout and a ground out but the damage was done. Cleveland led 7-6.
In the top of the ninth, now trying to come back to tie or take the lead, Yangervis Solarte grounded out, Josh Donaldson walked, Tulo flew out and Justin Smoak hit into a fielder’s choice, ending our season.
Revisiting the season goals
We made the playoffs!
Apparently, Tulo’s improved season (.276/.364/.484) was enough to be considered improving at shortstop.
Donaldson’s ask has actually gone up. He’s now asking for 7 years and $310 million. No extension.
I deliberately didn’t make any trades to see if the Jays could get things done as constituted at the beginning of the season. So I didn’t bring in a Cy Young Award winner.
We didn’t get to the World Series.
Review of Hitters
Josh Donaldson led the club in WAR with 7.1, hitting .277/.385/.565 and I’m sure he’ll get a big contract with 48 home runs, 11 behind Giancarlo Stanton for first and was tied for third with Cody Bellinger.
Justin Smoak – 5.2 WAR -.277/.368/.562, 30 2B 42 HR
Kevin Pillar was third in WAR with 4.6 – .269/.305/.427, 33 2B, 22 HR and 24 SB in 27 attempts.
Curtis Granderson – 3.9 WAR – .270/.361/.532, 27 HR
Randal Grichuk – 3.6 WAR – .244/.309/.489, 27 HR.
Devon Travis – 3.0 WAR – .260/.302/.447, 42 2B, 25HR.
Russell Martin – 2.2 WAR, .217/.333/.362, 17 HR
Troy Tulowitzki – 1.9 WAR, .276/.364/.484, 11 HR, 192 AB
Aledmys Diaz – 1.8 WAR, .279/.333/.504, 16 2B, 14 HR, 258 AB
Yangervis Solarte – 1.0 WAR, .306/.365/.459, 21 2B, 8 HR, 307 AB
Steve Pearce – 0.3 WAR, .234/.325/.440, 14 2B, 12 HR, 252 AB
Review of Pitchers
A note here: I think the calculation of WAR for pitchers in OOTP is pretty off. You’ll see some interesting things and I think Seung-hwan Oh and Sam Moll were were more than the WAR reflects.
Marcus Stroman – 3.6 WAR, 3.89 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 137 K, 46 BB, 178 1/3 IP
Aaron Sanchez – 1.5 WAR – 2.74 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 71 K, 37 BB, 85 1/3 IP
Danny Barnes – 1.2 WAR, 3.02 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 136 K, 23 BB, 104 1/3 IP (89 appearances)
Joe Biagini – 1.1 WAR, 4.42 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 96 K, 25 BB, 136 1/3 IP
Matt Dermody – 0.8 WAR, 2.20 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 26 K, 1 BB, 28 2/3 IP
Tyler Clippard – 0.7 WAR, 4.36 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 138 K, 44 BB, 97 IP
Aaron Loup – 0.6 WAR, 2.55 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 76 K, 17 BB, 70 2/3 IP
John Axford – 0.4 WAR, 3.51 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 97 K, 52 BB, 97 1/3 IP
Roberto Osuna – 0.1 WAR, 3.57 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 43 K, 6 BB, 45 1/3 IP
Marco Estrada – 0.1 WAR, 5.36 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 105 K, 47 BB, 174 2/3 IP
Jaime Garcia – -0.0 WAR, 9.49 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 24 K, 8 BB, 37 IP
Jake Petricka – -0.2 WAR, 8.10 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 11 K, 5 BB, 13 1/3 IP
Seung-hwan Oh – -0.3 WAR, 3.57 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 39 K, 8 BB, 40 1/3 IP
Sam Moll – -0.3 WAR, 4.95 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 40 K, 14 BB, 43 2/3 IP
Deck McGuire – -0.3 WAR, 5.21 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 12 K, 6 BB, 19 IP
Ryan Tepera – -0.4 WAR, 5.62 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 88 K, 34 BB, 75 1/3 IP
J.A. Happ – -0.4 WAR, 5.86 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 87 K, 54 BB, 129 IP
Tim Mayza – -0.5 WAR, 8.76 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 12 K, 10 BB, 12 1/3 IP
Luis Santos – -0.6 WAR, 8.83 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 22 K, 10 BB, 17 1/3 IP
Ryan Borucki – -0.7 WAR, 6.29 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 34 K, 16 BB, 48 2/3 IP
Overall, it wasn’t a bad season, sneaking into the playoffs only to lose in a heartbreak/collapse of the bullpen.
If you have any questions about the season that was/will be, please let us know in the comments!
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The 2018 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available!
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