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MLB Dynasty Report - April 2018

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Posted 04-14-2018 at 07:41 PM by tgreitsma
Updated 04-14-2018 at 08:47 PM by tgreitsma

I always tell myself that this year, of all the years, will be the one where I write dynasty reports for these forums. But then I get lazy, I just want to play the damn game, and I figure no one will read them anyway. But screw it. THIS year will be the year.

You know, until I get tired of it or forget.

How I play
A few notes, if you’ll allow, on how I play the game specifically.

I’ve been playing OOTP since the 11th version. The day I discovered and bought it, I sold my PlayStation 3 and my copy of MLB: The Show. No need for that unrealistic garbage when a much more realistic and customizable game exists. Graphics never appealed to me. I only ever wanted the simulation realism.

I always play modern day MLB games. Every version I get about two simulated seasons into my game and then start over; until OOTP 17 when I started a game that lasted two versions and four seasons. That rate, about two seasons per year, is the rate at which I play. I play out every game involving the Toronto Blue Jays, select others including all playoff games, and I at least glance at every box score for every Major League game.

Another peculiarity of how I play: I control every Major League team and am always in Commissioner Mode. I make transactions, set lineups and pitching staffs, and even make Major League coaching hires and firings. I do this because as incredible as this game is, I find the transaction AI to be pretty unrealistic and I lose immersion when Aaron Judge is traded to the Giants for Chris Stratton.

I try, however, to be as realistic as possible. I create my own storylines and stay true to what the actual big league team would do in a given circumstance—at least as far as I’m capable.

If you have any questions about how I play or if you would like me to screenshot something for your perusal, please let me know and I will accommodate.

As I said, in OOTP 17 and 18, I had the same MLB save—spanning the simulated 2016-2019 seasons. I expanded my league into Montréal and Portland—something I plan to do again, and I created my own specialized Collective Bargaining Agreement which I implemented for the 2019 season which included age-limits on arbitration-eligible players, trading of draft picks, and an additional year of arbitration for Year 2 players.

For the first time, I felt like I had created a hyper-realistic baseball world, but with OOTP 19, I decided to start over. I’m hoping I can keep this save going for three versions of the game and at least six total seasons. And I plan (something, something of mice and men) to write dynasty reports at the end of each simulated month.

So without further ado, here’s my first dynasty report for the 2018 MLB season.

March 29, 2018
In the winter, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the National League would be adopting the designated hitter meaning that pitchers will no longer be required to hit in either league. A polarizing move by the commissioner, but one that was made to appease a Player’s Union upset by an offseason of precarity for many top free agents.

MLBPA President Tony Clark saw the move as one of good will by the owners since it will both limit pitcher injuries sustained while hitting, while also providing more jobs for hitters who’ve aged or eaten their way out of a defensive position. Immediately upon the announcement, a few players found jobs such as José Bautista and Mark Reynolds who signed Major League contracts with the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves respectively.

Additionally, MLB forced the Cleveland Indians to not only get rid of Chief Wahoo from their branding, but also to change their name. They have adopted the Cleveland Spiders as their new moniker and have some pretty sweet new uniforms.

Here were some notable transactions that occurred as the season got underway. This is not an exhaustive list:

March 28-31, 2018
 Tampa Bay claims INF Hunter Dozier off waivers from Kansas City.
 Detroit claims INF Gift Ngoepe off waivers from Toronto.
 San Francisco signs OF/DH José Bautista to a 1yr/$2.5-million deal.
 Atlanta signs 1B/DH Mark Reynolds to a 1yr/$4.0-million deal.
 Seattle signs RHP Greg Holland to a 1yr/$9.0-million contract which includes two team-option years for the 2019 and 2020 seasons at $13.0-million each which must be taken together. The options have a $1.0-million buyout. The deal will be worth 3yr/$34.0-million if Seattle picks up the option years.
 Miami claims OF Bubba Starling off waivers from Kansas City.
 Toronto claims C Carlos Pérez off waivers from the Angels.
 Seattle claims C Chris Stewart off waivers from Atlanta.
 The Mets claim OF Sócrates Brito off waivers from Arizona.
 Detroit claims OF Matt Szczur off waivers from San Diego.

April 1-15, 2018
 The Red Sox trade INF Deven Marrero to the Diamondbacks for OF Kevin Watson Jr.
 Toronto claims LHP Dario Alvarez off waivers from the Cubs.
 Kansas City claims C Luke Maile off waivers from Toronto.
 The Mets claim RHP Severino González off waivers from Miami.
 Texas claims LHP Ryan Merritt off waivers from Cleveland.

April 16-30, 2018
 The Red Sox trade C/UT Blake Swihart to the Detroit Tigers for RHP Garett King and 3B Kody Eaves.
 The Tigers release C Derek Norris.
 The Mets release 1B/DH Adrian González.
 The Royals claim C Jett Bandy off waivers from the Brewers and release C Luke Maile.
 Miami claims OF Trayce Thompson off waivers from the Dodgers.

Here are the standings at as of April 30th, 2018

Small sample-size fun! My Blue Jays are off to a tremendous start at 20-10, leading the Yankees by 3 games in the AL East. Their .667 winning percentage represents the second-best mark in franchise history at the end of April, bested only by the 1992 Jays, which went 16-7 for a .696 winning percentage.

Other surprises include the 19-9 Twins on top of the AL Central and the 22-7 Phillies, led by Gabe Kapler’s steady hand and spreadsheet. The Angels are off to a great start at 18-11 in spite of a subpar performance thus far by Mike Trout (121 wRC+, 3HR)—at least by his incredible standards. And the Cubs won 22 of their first 26 games before dropping the final two games of the month.

There are some atrocious teams out there too. The Atlanta Braves are off to one of the worst starts in baseball history at 4-25, enduring a 17-game losing streak at one point. On April 29, after being swept by the Phillies, General Manager Alex Anthopoulos fired Manager Brian Snitker—something he said he wasn’t going to do just two weeks earlier. Anthopoulos promoted bench coach Walt Weiss to interim manager and third base coach Ron Washington to bench coach. Anthopoulos says the Braves plan to find a permanent manager by mid-season at which point Weiss and Washington will assume their former roles.

Individual Players of Note
Astros SS Carlos Correa was named AL Player of the Month after a .361/.457/.750 slash line in April. He also set the Astros record for March/April HR with 12.

The AL Pitcher of the Month was Yankees right-hander Luís Severino who posted a 0.55 ERA in six starts, striking out 46 while walking 8 in 38 innings pitched.

The AL Rookie of the month was Rays left-handed starter Anthony Banda, who came over in the Steven Souza Jr. trade with Arizona as Spring Training was just getting under way. Banda posted a 3.55 ERA and a 34/12 K/BB ratio in 38 innings. Shohei Ohtani has won the hearts of sports fans everywhere with an excellent start to his season. The two-way phenom posted a 4.91 ERA with a 10.2/4.5/1.2 pitcher slash line and a .304/.360/.565 slash line as a hitter with 3 homers in 50 plate appearances.

In the National League, the Phillies swept the monthly awards with 1B Rhys Hoskins, RHP Aaron Nola, and SS J.P. Crawford winning the Player, Pitcher, and Rookie of the Month awards respectively. Hoskins picked up where he left off in 2017 with a .362/.477/.733 slash line and 12 home runs. He now has a 184 OPS+ and 30 homers in 342 career plate appearances at the big league level. Nola posted a 1.99 ERA in six starts with a 26/3 K/BB ratio in 40.2 innings. Crawford, meanwhile, hit .355/.452/.532 with a couple homers for a 158 OPS+.

Home runs continue to be hit at a near-record-breaking pace, although so far they are down about 10% from 2017—possibly due to cold weather. High home run rates combined with an earlier start has meant March/April home run records are being challenged. Oakland DH/OF Khris Davis tied the record for most home runs at the end of April with 13. He tied the mark set by Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. Correa and Hoskins each had 12 while Charlie Blackmon, Jay Bruce, Kris Bryant, Randall Grichuk, and Kyle Schwarber all finished the month with 11—making for eight total players with 11 or more homers. In the entire history of baseball coming into this season, only 25 players had ever hit that many in March/April. That number now stands at 33.

Again, let me know if there’s any screenshots you’d like to see. Until next month…
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