To catch up from last week, the Motor City Bengals led Detroit Tigers in Out of the Park Baseball 16 were 47-42 at the All-Star break with a lineup and bullpen that produced, but without a strong starting staff. David Price, Miguel Cabrera, and Ian Kinsler were all on the DL. The goal this season was to make the playoffs and reach World Series in the next four seasons.
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After the All-Star Break, only the San Diego Padres were rebuilding while the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, and Washington Nationals were all trying to win now.
We looked to acquire starting pitching before the trade deadline, but a market with only one seller and at least eleven buyers (including the Tigers) made prices interesting. The most wanted Tiger was Nick Castellanos for any viable starting pitcher. I would have liked to have traded Castellanos, but that would leave me with Mike Hessman playing third as Jefry Marte herniated a disk in his back and was out for another 8 weeks.
Instead, I watched the trade block and acquired Dan Haren for Thad Weber to see if that experiment would work, as the John Lackey experiment from last week did not. I then flipped John Lackey for Mark Reynolds who had 20 home runs for the Kansas City Royals after the St. Louis Cardinals sent him to KC.
My final move to try to bolster the starting staff was to flip Steven Moya for Chris Archer. Moya has 19 home runs a 48 RBI in AAA in 39 games and a .248 batting average with no home runs and 6 RBI with the Tigers in 21 games. Archer had a 4.52 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP with the Rays over the course of the season.
I received a notification from Reynolds a few weeks later telling me he liked Detroit and wanted an extension. He floated out a 7-year deal for $119 million or $17 million per year. Alex Avila then contacted me and asked for a 6-year $47 million deal. I politely declined both of their offers and concentrated on the playoff run as the Tigers were 61-54, 3.5 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox and 4.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians.
As soon as that playoff run started, J.D. Martinez fractured his fibula and was out for four months. The best available replacement was Chris Coghlan on waivers so I acquired him and tried to make a stretch run.
Eventually, all of the injuries caught up with the virtual Tigers and they faded hard down the stretch which is expected without David Price, Ian Kinsler, and J.D. Martinez for the entire stretch and Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez for most of the stretch.
The high water mark for the Tigers was 68-58 after a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, but it went downhill fast after that. The Tigers went 11-25 through the rest of August, September, and October to finish 79-83, 12 games behind the first place Cleveland Indians.
Here is a look at the final standings for the season:
At the conclusion of the season, Miguel Cabrera finished with the batting title with a .333 batting average with 22 home runs and 69 RBI. The Tigers’ biggest offensive weapon was Yoenis Cespedes with a .260 batting average with 25 home runs and 105 RBI. Victor Martinez finished with a .317 batting average with 16 home runs and 77 RBI. The trade deadline acquisition of Mark Reynolds won the home run crown with 37 home runs.
The problem that plagued these Tigers was the starting rotation after losing David Price for the season. Justin Verlander led the staff with a 15-7 record with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Chris Archer finished with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Shane Greene finished with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Anibal Sanchez basically reproduced Greene’s season with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Alfredo Simon rounded out the rotation with a 5.14 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
In the bullpen, Bruce Rondon finished with a 0.30 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 29 games. Joakim Soria finished with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 36 saves. Tom Gorzelanny finished with a 2.48 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. The only bullpen arm with an ERA over 4 was Al Alburquerque with an ERA of 4.22.
The postseason tree went like this with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Baltimore Orioles in 5 games.
After the season was over, awards were distributed and the winners from the American League are listed below. Some Tigers took home a few awards including the most surprising award with Justin Verlander winning the AL Cy Young Award
- AL MVP – Mike Trout
- AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander
- AL Rookie of the Year: Dalton Pompey CF Toronto Blue Jays (he is currently tearing it up at AAA at Buffalo for the Toronto Blue Jays.)
- AL Gold Gloves:
- AL Silver Sluggers (Called Platinum Stick Awards in OOTP)
When the postseason was over, I was given a score of 30 out of 100 and told I could do better. I was told by Mr. I, “I gave you the task of building me a contender last year. I understand there will be bumps along the way. I hope that you can learn from what happened this year, and don’t let it repeat itself. There’s still a few years left to build the contender I asked for, but I do hope that we can at least get back to the playoffs next year en route to an eventual championship in 2019!”
There were new goals set forward for the Tigers next season. They were:
- Achieve a winning record
- Upgrade at shortstop
- Improve your team defensive efficiency
- Acquire a hometown player
- Reach the World Series in the next 5 seasons
Overall, Out of the Park 16 was an enjoyable game to play. There were some difficult aspects for a new player in figuring out how to get everything started and substantial simulations, but once I got going, Out of the Park Baseball 16 was an enjoyable experience. I am not sure all of the contracts that everyone wanted to sign were as reasonable as real life and trades almost always had to be 1-for-1, but I have never seen a video game that accurately simulates these two features. OOTP 16 is the closest that I have ever seen. I didn’t exactly appreciate David Price, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, and Ian Kinsler all getting hurt, but injuries happen.
I know I was only supposed to write up the 2015 season, but I will play out the next few seasons to see if I can get Mr. I his title and not get fired in years to come.