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Simulating the 2020 Marlins—Week 2

Image from “MLB The Show 20” via Yahoo Sports

The 2020 Marlins regular season has been shoved off its axis and will inevitably be shortened to far fewer than 162 games. But technology is a beautiful thing, ain’t it? Across the internet, we can peek inside the alternative universes in which this much-anticipated campaign is being simulated precisely on schedule, featuring many of the players who were projected to make an impact for the real-life Fish.

At the end of each week, I will do a roundup of how the Marlins are performing.

Yahoo Sports

Paul Rosales/Yahoo

Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports asks, “What if Derek Jeter never broke up the Marlins?” He constructed a roster in MLB The Show 20 to test it out, re-acquiring Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna, etc.

It should come as no surprise to Fish Stripes readers that the star-laden team was unable to contend due to its severe lack of depth. But poor Chris was blindsided by this harsh reality.

“It absolutely sucks,” he writes after putting so much effort into the exercise.

The Throwback League

CLNS Media Network is using an “advanced computer algorithm” to simulate a March Madness-style tournament involving AL and NL pennant winners from 1974-2006. As voiced by veteran radio announcer Josh Lewin, this week’s matchup was between the 2003 Marlins and 1985 Cardinals. The Cards were victorious, 6-3, on the strength of a late-inning comeback.

Our last hope is the 1997 Marlins, who are set to take on the 1980 Royals soon in a first-round matchup.


Baseball Prospectus annually projects the upcoming MLB season using PECOTA. Their standings—reflecting the 50th-percentile projections—get the most attention, but the system actually runs 100,000 simulations, covering a broad range of possibilities.

Friday’s article from Rob Mains (BP subscription required) shares more details of how the Marlins fair in each of these alternate realities. They finish first in the NL East in 147 simulations and second place 873 times. As you’d expect, of course, the most likely scenario is occupying the NL East cellar (75,014 times).

Across all simulations, the club’s win total ranged from 46 to 94 wins.


Baseball-Reference is simulating the entire 2020 MLB schedule using the game Out of the Park Baseball 21 (OOTP 21). Results are published daily at around noon ET.

2020 Marlins (7-3 overall, 4-2 last week; first place in NL East)

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Jesús Aguilar enjoyed an awesome week in the sim, going 10-for-22 at the plate with two home runs. Isan Diaz has made the most of his limited opportunities—.417/.563/.500 in 16 PA—but he’s been blocked at second base lately behind Jonathan Villar. As expected, the accomplished base-stealer has a bright green light in Miami, attempting 10 stolen bases in as many games (though only succeeding at a 50% rate).

Caleb Smith leads the Marlins rotation in earned run average, innings pitched and strikeouts. He tossed the first complete game of his career against the Nats Wednesday to outduel Max Scherzer.

Stats through the simulated games of April 5
Stats through the simulated games of April 5

Monday’s probable starter at the Nationals is Pablo López. He will try to stop the Marlins’ two-game losing streak.


The Strat-O-Matic 2020 Season Simulation spits outs its daily details at 2 p.m. ET.

2020 Marlins (5-5 overall, 3-3 last week; tied for second place in NL East)

Fish Stripes original GIF

All things considered, a solid start to the campaign. However, all the close losses have been frustrating—the largest margin of defeat for the Marlins through 10 games is two runs. What a difference it would make to have one more productive bat in the lineup, right?

Surprise, surprise, outfielder Lewis Brinson is struggling at the plate. Sunday’s 0-for-4 dropped his season batting average to .111. In that contest, the Marlins blew a 3-0 lead.

“This was a tough loss, the kind that sticks with you,” Don Mattingly said postgame.

Villar is doing his part, leading the National League in walks to prop up his .469 on-base percentage.

On Saturday, Alex Vesia was promoted from the minors to give the Fish a fresh arm in the bullpen. The promising left-hander hasn’t made his first appearance yet.

Next up

  • April 6-8 at Nationals
  • April 9-12 vs. Braves