One factor is for sure about Main League Baseball’s 2020 season: no matter kind it takes (if any in any respect) will look significantly totally different than the usual, pre-coronavirus selection. That probably means the season will see fewer video games, with these video games being performed in empty ballparks that would not essentially home the house workforce in query.
We reported final week on one proposal in MLB circles that may see groups cut up between three “hubs,” situated in Phoenix, Arizona; Arlington, Texas; and St. Petersburg, Florida. Ought to that situation come to go, the league might assign 10 groups per hub, splitting up the divisions so that every one the East, Central, and West groups are situated in a single space. USA As we speak’s Bob Nightengale lately laid out an identical alignment, with one tweak: the Atlanta Braves being positioned within the “Central” hub, whereas the Pittsburgh Pirates have been within the “East” hub.
This is that very same data in a digestible graphic:
As a result of we’re nothing if not curious, we determined to fireside up our copy of Exterior the Park Baseball 21 and simulate a season utilizing these alignments. (You may recall that we did one thing comparable again when the proposal de jour concerned simply two websites.) Earlier than we get to the outcomes, let’s hit on among the logistical tweaks we made heading into the season:
Each workforce performed 100 regular-season video games, with the marketing campaign starting in July.
The highest 4 groups in every of the three divisions certified for the postseason, that means 12 groups in whole.
The 4 greatest groups by successful proportion every acquired a first-round bye.
The underside eight playoff groups, in the meantime, have been entered into 4 one-game playoffs — 4 Wild Card Video games, if you’ll.
The remainder of the playoffs format — best-of-five, then consecutive best-of-seven sequence — remained the identical, albeit with out the Nationwide and American League features.
Received it? Good. Let’s transfer on to the outcomes, starting with a division-by-division look.
One theme you may discover right here is the prevalence of ties. Within the East alone, you may have three groups tied for that closing playoff spot: the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Yankees, and the Washington Nationals. The Phillies ended up claiming that spot, for the report.
Essentially the most shocking developments within the East have been the Boston Crimson Sox successful the division (albeit with the fifth-best report within the sport), and the Pittsburgh Pirates — sure, the Pittsburgh Pirates — keen their method right into a playoff spot. Good job, digital Derek Shelton. These groups have been joined within the postseason by the Tampa Bay Rays. Preserve that in thoughts for later.
Over within the Central, the most important shocker is the poor efficiency of the Chicago Cubs. Who had them ending inside three video games of each the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas Metropolis Royals? Ouch. The Minnesota Twins, who entered the 12 months because the favorites within the real-world American League Central, ending below. 500 additionally qualifies as a shock.
The 4 playoff groups from the Central have been in any other case who you’ll count on: Cleveland, the St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, and Milwaukee Brewers. The Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, two of the offseason’s most aggressive golf equipment, every completed not less than a handful of video games past a playoff spot.
We famous there have been going to be some extra ties on this simulation. Right here you may have it, with the Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Angels ending deadlocked for the ultimate two postseason spots within the division. The Angels and Astros ended up claiming them.
Now, onto the playoffs.
In lieu of the same old League Championship setup, we’ll simply notice that the ultimate 4 included the Dodgers, Crimson Sox, Angels, and Rays. The Dodgers and Rays prevailed, and went on to play a six-game World Sequence — the Andrew Friedman Bowl, if you’ll. The Rays ended up successful out, notching the primary championship within the franchise’s historical past.
That is all for team-level performances. What about people? Let’s get to it.
Mike Trout was, shock shock, the most effective participant within the sport, in keeping with the Wins Above Substitute metric. Trout was price 5.eight WAR, a tick greater than Juan Soto (5.7) and Ozzie Albies (5.6), who led the league in common (.343).
The Cardinals workers featured the No. 1 and a pair of finishers in ERA (Carlos Martinez and Jack Flaherty) and the saves chief (Giovanny Gallegos). Flaherty additionally led the league in wins, with 13. Is it any surprise how they made the postseason?
Gerrit Cole led the majors in WAR, with 6.5. That is two extra wins than anybody else had on the pitching facet, and 0.7 wins greater than Trout.
Essentially the most shocking particular person stat we might discover? Chris Bassitt ending with a league-best two shutouts … regardless of having an ERA over 5.00 for the season. Maybe this can be a case the place when he was good, he was actually good, and when he wasn’t good, he … effectively, you get it.
Be part of us once more subsequent week, once we use OOTP to search out out what occurs when half the league is stationed on the moon.