The regular season has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so all we have is the next best thing with Baseball-Reference's simulated season.
B-R announced on what would have been MLB’s Opening Day that they are teaming up with Out of the Park Baseball 21. This was a way for fans to continue to get their baseball fix, and B-R made sure to ask those on Twitter for help as well as using artificial intelligence to make trades and transactions throughout the season.
To that extent, Yasiel Puig is now on the Giants -- so let’s get weird. Reminder, that last part is part of the simulation. Puig is not on the Giants ... at the moment.
So buckle up.
Here are five A’s takeaways from the first week of MLB simulation.
Chad Pinder wins 2B role
For Oakland, the first thing of note is the second base situation.
During spring training, the everyday job at the position was Franklin Barreto’s to lose, and in the sim, it appeared Chad Pinder was getting a bit more time at the position than perhaps we would have anticipated. He even started at second base on “Opening Day,” with Jesús Luzardo starting on the bump.
For now, super-utility guy Pinder is batting .231/.444/.923 with three home runs.
Perhaps this was the right move, after all.
(Yes, I know -- this isn’t real).
Tony Kemp also was looking to be in the second base mix as a lefty platoon bat, and he started in two games and got a couple of hits in seven plate appearances.
Luzardo, by the way, started in two sim games. In 7 1/3 innings, he struck out 11 and gave up six hits.
Khris Davis back?
A's designated hitter Khris Davis has a couple dingers to his name in the first eight games of the season. He’s not quite hitting .247 yet, but he’ll get there.
Marcus Semien once again won’t sit out
A’s shortstop Marcus Semien is leading the home run category with five(?!), and also is batting .267/.371/.800 in 35 plate appearances.
Semien has started in all eight games thus far, and expect that to be the case throughout the season. He doesn’t know how to sit out.
He told NBC Sports California earlier in the year he spoke to A’s manager Bob Melvin about how it had been a personal career goal of his to start in all 162 games. He did that last season, and perhaps he wants to do it again.
Chris Bassitt is your guy
Another note is Chris Bassitt got the nod as a starter against the Twins. He was a possible guy to round out a six-man rotation, but it appears the team stuck to five. He got the win against Minnesota on Sunday, when he gave up six hits in 6 1/3 frames, his only blemish a home run to Byron Buxton.
Last season, Bassitt graciously took over a bullpen role when Blake Treinen struggled with a back injury, with Liam Hendriks serving as a lights-out closer.
No A.J. Puk
In additional pitching nuggets, A.J. Puk doesn’t have any action in the simulation thus far this season. He had faced a minor setback during spring training after being shut down due to a mild shoulder strain (this isn’t part of the simulation, this actually happened). An MRI revealed no structural damage at the beginning of March, but it was unclear at that time when he would start throwing again.
Melvin said Puk would work on getting stronger before getting back to throwing again.
For now, the Mariners and the A’s are currently leading the AL West standings with a 7-1 record, and the A's swept the Astros at home.