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Kevin Slowey was Framed!

Using MLB 13: The Show to Replay the 2013 Twins Season

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Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed!

Back in March, I took a stab at previewing the upcoming 2013 Minnesota Twins season using MLB 13: The Show. It was a hoot. I used the game to see how the Twins would fare as a team and how some of their players would perform during the upcoming season. If you look back at that preview, you'll see that Sony had a very different view for some very important Twins players. I enjoyed the exercise, and enjoyed the residual pageviews that I received anytime someone was looking for information about the game.

Then I thought: that preview was really stupid And not just because I used the word "haterz.". The main problem was that not all the players were in the game at the beginning of the season. Most prominently, Aaron Hicks, Kyle Gibson, Oswaldo Arcia and Andrew Albers had never played an MLB game, so they weren't there. I created Aaron Hicks myself, but mostly as a means for making a joke about how much we overreact to Spring Training stats.

HAHAHAHAHAHA. You see, the joke is...

Since the Twins' 2013 season was such a bust in real life, I decided to take the updated rosters that Sony provided at the end of the season and replay the season using the game. I figure, the results couldn't be any worse and it will probably be about 25 times more watchable. For the record, when I say play, I mean simulate. I can't sit through another season, much less play one.

So, I dug the game out from under my couch and spent a good hour setting up the rosters properly. I had to put Justin Morneau and Jamey Carroll back and I had to find where some of the scrubbier players had been hidden. I found Drew Butera. I found Luis Perdomo. I found P.J. Walters. However, some players could not be found. Some players either disappeared or transformed into fake players. Here are the vanished: Esmerling Vasquez, Alex Burnett, Nick Blackburn, Lester Oliveros, Ray Olmedo and Jeff Clement.

Ouch. Now, your average blogger would just move on. Not me. I can't just let these players go missing forever.

I feel better now. Since we've got that in place, we can get back to this fake season.

I started with Spring Training. I set up the 40-man roster as it was before the season and I added all potential future Twins to their respective Minor League teams. Andrew Albers may have earned a real MLB promotion, but we'll just see if he earns a Sony promotion. Sony might make some crazy changes too! Maybe the EA version of the Twins will keep Aaron Hicks at AAA for a few months. Maybe they'll move Kyle Gibson to the Majors a bit faster. Who knows? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

Spring Training

Spring Training was grueling. It took well over 45 seconds to simulate. No one was injured during Spring Training, meaning all players were healthy and ready to go! These Twins finished Spring Training 14-14, although they started 9-1 and scuffled to finish March. There were certainly some interesting performances in this fake Spring Training, including the Battle for Center Field Supremacy!

Aaron Hicks - .829 OPS
Darin Mastroianni - .437 OPS

Guess who won the job? I pleaded with the game to give Hicks just a month or so at AAA but they were more concerned with selling tickets to those circle faces in the virtual crowd than Hicks' long-term development. Disgusting.

Josmil Pinto hit the crap out of the ball in Spring Training, ending with a .927 OPS and 6 home runs! Your OPS leader in Spring Training? Doug "Luke Hughes" Bernier with a 1.171 OPS. On the pitching side, Sam Deduno decided to skip the World Baseball Classic to focus on his Twins career. He had a 7.84 Spring ERA and walked more than he struck out. Bad choice, man. Pedro Hernandez was the best Twins pitcher in the Spring, posting a sweet 2.08 ERA. He was still assigned to AAA.

After every Spring Training, difficult decisions have to be made. Some players get cut and some players make the cut. Of course, the video game can make robot decisions and the real team has to weigh emotions and pride and crud like that. As such, the Robot Twins 25-man roster was a bit different.

Sony sent Pedro Florimon and his .279 Spring OPS down to New Britain. Ouch. They also decided that stretching out Josh Roenicke as a starter would be a good idea, but sent him to AAA to work it out. They sent Eduardo Escobar, Wilkin Ramirez and Tyler Robertson to AAA. Somehow, they got Ryan Pressly to AAA as well. They must have some additional ninja powers that Terry Ryan doesn't have. Finally, they just released P.J. Walters altogether. The real Minnesota Twins would never release a nice guy like that.

However, it wasn't all goodbyes. They chose to keep Kyle Gibson, Oswaldo Arica and Josmil Pinto in Minnesota. Arcia won the starting RF job, Pinto would be the backup catcher (an odd choice) and Gibson was put in the 5th spot in the rotation. In addition, they kept Sam Deduno and that bad ERA from Spring, Clete Thomas and his steely glare and Scott Diamond because he wasn't hurt in virtual reality.

The starting rotation out of Spring Training looked like this: Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, Scott Diamond, Cole De Vries (lol) and Kyle Gibson. WHERE'S KEVIN CORREIA? They felt his talents better suited a long-man role. Of course, they also felt that way about Deduno and Liam Hendriks. Interesting approach to building a bullpen.

Ready or not, it is time for Opening Day!

Opening Day

Actual Opening Day MLB Show Opening Day
CF Aaron Hicks SS Jamey Carroll
C Joe Mauer CF Aaron Hicks
LF Josh Willingham C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau 1B Justin Morneau
DH Ryan Doumit DH Ryan Doumit
3B Trevor Plouffe LF Josh Willingham
RF Chris Parmelee 3B Trevor Plouffe
2B Brian Dozier RF Oswaldo Arcia
SS Pedro Florimon 2B Brian Dozier
SP Vance Worley SP Vance Worley

As you can see, the Twins' Opening Day lineup looks a bit different than it was in reality. Sony felt that Aaron Hicks was ready for the Big Time, but not the lead-off spot. Jamey Carroll's veteran presence was valued very highly and Chris Parmelee was banished to the bench (sometimes art imitates life).

How did Opening Day go, you ask? The Twins were shut out by Justin Verlander through 6, then EXPLODED for four runs off of him in the seventh. Ryan Doumit hit a solo home run, Oswaldo Arcia doubled in a run and Jamey Carroll did the same. However, Vance Worley staked the Tigers to a huge lead, giving up 5 earned runs through 4 innings. The Twins didn't have enough offense and lost 6-4, almost certainly because Eduardo Escobar and Wilkin Ramirez were down in AAA doing damage. Aaron Hicks went 0-4 with 3 Ks. Art, life, you know.

Ok, this is getting lengthy. I'm sure you want to know more about how this fake season went. In the next part, we'll see how the first half of the season went down. A bit of foreshadowing: the Twins trade a young stud catcher for a pitch-to-contact pitcher. But who? And why? You'll find out soon enough.

If you want to, part II is actually posted. You can read it here.
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