MLB 2020 season simulation: Bryant, Wainwright suspended for scuffle; Bellinger gets nearly $200M extension

Major League Baseball was supposed to launch the 2020 regular season three weeks ago, on March 26. The spread of the novel coronavirus, however, forced MLB to delay Opening Day to some unknowable future date that is dependent on the effectiveness of the containment strategies imposed across the country in recent weeks. 

Because we could all use a distraction these days, we’ve decided to pass time by simulating the season on Out of the Park Baseball 21. Along the way, we’ll be providing updates on what’s happening in our fictional league, similar to what we did on Opening Day. 

With that in mind, here are the would-be standings and five developments to be mindful of from the week that was (and wasn’t). 



1. Bryant, Wainwright suspended following brawl

You’re highly unlikely to ever see Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant or Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright duke it out in real life. Even so, the two scrapped following a hit-by-pitch, and as a result both were suspended: Bryant for four games, Wainwright for six. Bryant, for his part, explained that the two are highly competitive and that “sometimes things go a little too far because of it.” As you can see above, the Cardinals are having a much better start to the season than the Cubs, which might help explain why Bryant reacted as he did.

2. Dodgers extend Bellinger, Pederson

The Dodgers put their checkbook to work this week. Andrew Friedman signed Cody Bellinger to an eight-year extension worth $195 million, and inked Joc Pederson to a six-year deal worth $120 million. While those were the headliners, they weren’t the only players to get new contracts this week. Nationals closer Sean Doolittle (two years, $9.68 million) and Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (three years, $44 million) also re-upped.

3. Suarez continues to slug

Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez is underappreciated in real life, but his virtual counterpart is doing everything he can to change that. Through the Reds’ first 18 games, Suarez has hit a majors-leading 12 home runs. No one else is in double digits. Suarez also leads the majors in OPS and WAR, as he’s the first player to cross the two-WAR threshold. For those wondering, that puts him on a 150-game pace of 100 homers and 17 WAR. We’ll take the under on both.

4. Chapman, Hader hit IL

A pair of All-Stars landed on the shelf during the week. Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman will miss a week or more due to a strained oblique. Brewers lefty Josh Hader, meanwhile, was placed on the IL with a tired arm. He was originally classified as being day-to-day, but the Brewers understandably want to take every precaution with their closer.

5. Giants’ Anderson early Cy Young fav

We highlighted a hot hitter earlier, so let’s talk about a pitcher who is surprisingly leading the league in several meaningful categories: Giants lefty Tyler Anderson. It’s early, certainly, but Anderson has started four times and has thrown 29 inning while permitting 23 hits and three walks. He has a 0.61 ERA and has struck out 22 batters. (For the old-school crowd: Anderson also has a 3-0 record.) Will it last? Probably not, but the Giants are getting a great return on their minor offseason investment. 

Hitting performance of the week

It’s probably fair to write that Mariners backup catcher Austin Nola is the most surprising name so far to claim one of these spots. He earned it with a big night against the Nationals that saw him homer twice and drive in five runs. One of those home runs was a grand slam, and both came against Anibal Sanchez. The Mariners won a 10-9 slugfest. 

Pitching performance of the week

Athletics right-hander Mike Fiers had no trouble dispatching the Red Sox. Fiers threw a shutout, permitting just three hits and walking one. He struck out five on 95 pitches. The A’s lineup gave Fiers plenty of breathing room along the way, with five different players driving in at least a run.

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