As the baseball world turns to the MLB: The Show Players’ Tournament, consider that one of the best teams in the virtual tournament is the Baltimore Orioles.
So, what does this say about Smith Jr’s ability to manage a team?
In the virtual world, he is a master at his craft.
Consider the other players at the top of the tournament. The overriding rule of the game is that each participant has to manage his own team. So, Blake Snell gets to manage the Tampa Bay Rays and Joey Gallo gets the Rangers. They’ve got proven pitchers and veteran hitters.
Then look at the teams that are tied with the Orioles as of Sunday morning: Dodgers and Padres. The Dodgers have been to the playoffs every season since 2013. And, the Padres are loaded with talent, too.
Smith Jr has outplayed the Yankees, Cubs, Mets, Athletics, Twins, and Nationals, just to name a few. Under Smith Jr’s watchful eye and deft fingers, his players have earned wins against pitchers like Gerrit Cole, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, Max Scherzer, Kyle Hendricks, and Madison Bumgarner.
He’s done this on the backs of a handful of players. If you look at Smith Jr’s statistics, Jose Iglesias, Anthony Santander, and Trey Mancini have scored the most runs. All three have played in 115 innings. Smith Jr has 112 innings. Austin Hays has 103. The next highest is Chris Davis with 80 innings.
Unfortunately, if real baseball was being played, Mancini would not be in the lineup, so we aren’t really comparing apples and apples. Lack of injuries is the beauty of virtual sports.
While runs win games, the virtual Orioles couldn’t have the 9-3 record without its pitching staff. And, Smith Jr gets to call the pitches. Mychal Givens has pitched in eight of Smith Jr’s games and has a WHIP of 1.0 with seven Ks in six innings. John Means and Alex Cobb each have three starts. Cobb has dominated with an ERA of 0.00, while Means has an 11.00 ERA, but a WHIP of 1.00. Combined, they have five innings of work between them, so ERAs are misleading.
As the only sports being played at the moment are e-sports, Smith Jr has shown what he can do with a young team in the midst of a rebuild. If the real Orioles do get to play in 2020, maybe the managing staff should include him in their daily plans?
Smith Jr and his dominating Orioles had the night off on Saturday. The team resumes tonight. Watch him on his Twitch channel as he hopefully continues his winning ways against Colorado, Texas, Miami, and Detroit. The Texas game is huge, as Gallo is currently leading the league.