In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2015 season. Previous installments can be found here. Today, we’ve reached the Los Angeles Angels of Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 2000 Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, Orange County, California, USA, North America, Northwestern Hemisphere, Planet Earth, Sol System, Milky Way.
The new Out Of The Park Baseball came out yesterday, and while my review won’t be coming for another week or so, I decided I’d give it a quick spin today to see what it thinks of the Angels for this year. Go below the jump, as this is very image intensive.
Note that some mods were used in this (for player photos, etc.), but much of it is the standard game as well.
So, how does Continuum Contuumson’s Angels do? Let’s start at the beginning, with Arte Moreno’s thoughts and goals for the season. This a new feature, a far greater and more detailed communication from the club owner than in previous installments:
Okay, so Arte expects me to have a winning record, sign Erick Aybar to an extension, acquire a hometown kid, and he expects me to reach the World Series in the next 6 seasons. The last one is the weirdest, as I’m reasonably sure that Arte Moreno expects the World Series more often at this point, since it’s been awhile.
So, might as well try to work out something with Aybar before the season starts. So, let’s see…
Well, crap, he won’t discuss until the final year of his contract, so right from the start one of the four goals Moreno has given me is impossible. Man, this is realistic! So, let’s simulate up to Opening Day and get this show on the road…
Well, after I check out some other things. After all, this is a big game and lots of stuff is getting simulated, not only for the majors, but in the minors and in international leagues! So, in a shocking twist, in late March the Chicago White Sox completely unexpectedly trade Jeff Samardzija TO THE CUBS for Miguel Montero and minor leaguer Jeimer Candelario. If this happens in real life, I am dropping everything and letting OOTP pick my lottery numbers, what I eat, and probably also who I vote for president. Oh, also, the Orioles traded Wei-Yin Chen to the Pirates for Andrew Lambo for some reason, Mets minor-leaguer Steven Matz retired to pursue a professional golf career and Daisuke Matsuzaka got injured back in Japan. And that’s all in late March. In April, the Mariners and Tigers had a blockbuster deal where the Mariners got Victor Martinez in exchange for Fernando Rodney and a prospect.
But anyway… game time! Angels at Mariners, game 1 of 162, Jered Weaver vs. Felix Hernandez.
Aybar walks to start the game, and then Kole Calhoun has a short single to right to make it men on first and second with no outs. And up comes Mike Trout… who walks. I imagine Mariners twitter having a collective meltdown, seeing as how King Felix just loaded the bases in the first inning of the first game of the season with Albert Pujols coming to the plate. That he is able to get Pujols out on a fly-out is small comfort, as Aybar easily beats the throw from left to tag up for the 1-0 lead.
Felix strikes out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Now, it’s Jered Weaver’s turn:
After getting the first two hitters, Cano gets a single off Weaver, as does Cruz… but then Victor Martinez (remember earlier, the trade?) strikes out to end the inning.
The Angels put up two more in the top of 2nd, and then two more in the top of the third, and so, after only two inning, 61 pitches, 6 hits, 5 ER and a responsibility for the man on second and no outs in the third, Felix Hernandez is pulled for Tom Wilhelmson. Such a thing, in the real world, would lead to a Twitter meltdown of epic proportions. Oh, Wilhelmson retires the side, by the way. 5-0 Angels going into the bottom of the third inning.
The game goes on and innings go by. Wilhelmson is replaced in the top of the 5th by Yoervis Medina, having thrown 2.2 innings of scoreless ball. Weaver shows no signs of slowing down, striking out the side in the bottom of the inning and working his way out of a Albert Pujols error in the 6th. His luck finally runs out in the bottom of the 7th, however, when he gives up a solo shot to Logan Morrison. Weaver gets out of the 7th, though, ending the game with 10 strikeouts.
Fernando Salas was handed the ball to start the 8th and promptly started to blow it, so Cesar Ramos was then sent in and got out of it. Huston Street got the save in the 9th, and the Angels started their season 1-0.
The simulating stops on May 1. The Angels are 12-10, third in the AL West. I jump back into the simulation to May 7, the day the first-year-player draft player pool is revealed in OOTP. Arte Moreno said he wanted a hometown player, so I’ll give him a hometown player, so I note some particularly promising ballplayers from the LA area and put them on the draft shortlist. This is a new feature: It used to be that you could just create one shortlist, now you can create multiple ones and make it so that they can contain, say, only players of interest on your team, draft possibilities, or your top prospects, or players with silly names.
The simulating occurs again, occasionally interrupted by scouting updates on prospects I’ve sent the scouting director to check on and the time Huston Street asked for a 6-year extension (I was able to talk him down to 3, with the back end less than it had been- I’m only playing one season here, so it doesn’t really matter).
June 1st. In the past month, Josh Collmenter no-hit the Twins, the Yankees traded Chase Headley, a minor leaguer and cash to San Diego for Ian Kennedy, and also somehow traded for Wade Davis using only two minor leaguers. Huh. In other news, the Angels are tied for 4th at 25-26, 6 and a half game backs of the Mariners. I also see, just browsing around, that Lyle Overbay is doing very well for Winnipeg in the Can-Am/American Association league, so I send a scout to check it out. He comes back and more-or-less says his good stats early in the Indy league is a result of it being, well, an indy league.
I simulate up to the draft. During it, I draft a well-regarded High-School 3B Zach Ramzy, who’s from LA. For the first time ever, OOTP has the real current draft class, or at least some of it, and that’s really cool.
I enter simulation land again. The Angels continue to hover around .500, and about mid-month I buy Andruw Jones from the Bridgeport Bluefish so I can have some veteran depth in the minors. This, again, is a new feature- the ability to purchase players from independent teams.
I simulate to July 2nd, the beginning of the International Free Agent signing period. The Angels are 37-42, 8 games out of the division but only 3 and a half out of the wild card. Just for kicks, I make offers to two Dominican pitchers. In the real world, of course, the Angels would be far more active. But, again, I’m just doing this one season to get a rough idea of what OOTP thinks the Angels would do, I’m just doing stuff now and then to make things more interesting.
At the All-Star Break, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton (who didn’t have the incoming drug suspension and apparently who OOTP predicts would have a bounce-back year in it’s universe) were named All-Stars. As the trade deadline approached, Continuum Continuumson realized something would have to be done. Ivan Nova was grabbed from waivers to shore up the pitching staff a little. And, on July 31st, the 51-50 Angels are just one game out of a Wild Card spot, and preparing to make a splash. They sort of make it by flipping 3B Kaleb Cowart, a mid-level prospect, for Brandon McCarthy, who has had a horrible season for the Dodgers but who Continuumson is willing to take a risk with (two other minor leaguers are also included).
John Lackey (who was in AAA for St. Louis) is acquired straight-up for the nearly-useless Andruw Jones. Ichiro Suzuki, grabbed from Waivers from the Marlins, takes up Jones’ spot as the old guy off the bench.
Except… there were injuries in August and September, and, well…
Oh, and a few days after that…
The final damage for the 2015 LA Angels, according to yesterday’s OOTP simulation: 78-84, 4th place, 15 games back.
Oh, and Adam Wainwright throws a Perfect Game in the Wild Card play-in, but the Cardinals then get swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS, which must feel like a real buzzkill for Cardinals fans in this OOTP universe.
The World Series is between the Cubs and Yankees (who benefited from how stupid some of the other OOTP-universe GMs were in this simulation- Wade Davis for two minor leaguers, seriously?), and the Yankees win in a sweep.
And, by the way, Mike Trout finishes second in MVP voting (behind Jose Bautista), but wins a Silver Slugger.
One last thing- in Japan, Wladimir Balentien hits 75 HRs:
So, there you have it, Angels fans, this one particular OOTP simulation says the next year will be horrible for you. So go back to sleep.