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Baseball fans aren’t going to see actual baseball on their television for at least a couple of months, but that doesn’t mean life has to be completely devoid of America’s Pastime. Thanks to “MLB The Show 20,” baseball fans can simulate what the 2020 Major League Baseball season would look like if the year started on time and played out as expected.
While it’s not a substitute for actual baseball, the “MLB The Show” franchise is considered the pinnacle of baseball video games today. At a time when many people are quarantined due to the coronavirus, playing sports video games is one of the best ways for fans to get their baseball fill while awaiting its return. Since everyone could use a little fun right now, we at Yahoo Sports decided to simulate through the 2020 MLB season using “The Show.” Full disclosure: Yahoo Sports MLB was given a review copy of the game.
The result of that simulation: The New York Yankees will win the 2020 World Series.
For those wondering what the heck we’re talking about, we’ll explain. We fired up a copy of “MLB The Show 20” on a Playstation 4, loaded up a franchise and let the computer do everything. We just sat by and watched as it played through each game, made trades and signed free agents. Every result you see below happened without our influence, we promise.
The Yankees will win the World Series in 2020
Back to the Yankees, it was a hard-fought battle, but the New York Yankees prevailed over the Washington Nationals in the 2020 World Series in seven games. Aaron Judge hit .364 with four home runs in the series and was named the World Series MVP.
The entire postseason played out as follows:
• AL wild card: Red Sox (95 wins) beat the Oakland Athletics (88 wins)
• NL wild card: Chicago Cubs (94 wins) beat the Atlanta Braves (95 wins)
• ALDS: Yankees (101 wins) beat the Minnesota Twins (93 wins) in four games
• ALDS: Red Sox beat the Houston Astros (116 wins) in five games
• NLDS: Nationals (99 wins) beat the Cincinnati Reds (96 wins) in four games
• NLDS: Los Angeles Dodgers (110 wins) beat the Cubs in four games
• ALCS: Yankees beat Red Sox in seven games
• NLCS: Nationals beat Dodgers in six games
• World Series: Yankees beat Nationals in seven games
That’s right, coming off their sign-stealing scandal, the Astros won an incredible 116 games. The team tied the 2001 Seattle Mariners for the best single-season record in MLB history. Like the Mariners, the Astros fell short in the playoffs, losing to the Red Sox in the ALDS. Similarly, the Dodgers won 110 games and lost to the Nationals in the NLCS.
Oh, and in case you were doubting the accuracy of these simulations, the Twins once again lost a postseason series to the Yankees. So, yeah, we’d say “MLB The Show 20” knows what it’s doing.
What other team records stood out in the regular season?
With 52 wins, the Baltimore Orioles finished with the worst record in baseball. Other surprising regular-season results: the Tampa Bay Rays (77 wins), Chicago White Sox (68 wins), St. Louis Cardinals (70 wins), New York Mets (71 wins) and San Diego Padres (88 wins).
All-Star weekend results
• Home Run Derby winner: Franmil Reyes
• All-Star Game starters: Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer
• All-Star Game result: NL defeats AL 7-5
• All-Star Game MVP: Bryce Harper (3-for-4, with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI)
Cleveland Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes — who came into the Home Run Derby leading the majors with 32 home runs — defeated Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber in the finals. Reyes beat Schwarber 15-14 in the final round, so it was close.
The usual suspects — Mike Trout, Christian Yelich, Ronald Acuña Jr. — made the All-Star team. Some surprising selections included Toronto Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen, Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun and Seattle Mariners first baseman Daniel Vogelbach in the AL. Surprising picks in the NL included Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro, Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Kevin Newman and Milwaukee Brewers reliever Brent Suter.
The most shocking selection of all, however, was Orioles infielder Ramon Urias. In real life, the 25-year-old Urias hit .262/.362/.419 over three minor-league levels last season. Did we initially believe Urias was a computer-generated character? We’re ashamed to admit we did.
Who won MLB’s end of season awards?
• NL MVP: Max Scherzer (23-5, 2.14 ERA, 258 strikeouts)
• AL MVP: J.D. Martinez (.318, 55 home runs, 134 RBI)
• NL Cy Young: Max Scherzer
• AL Cy Young: Chris Sale (19-3, 2.10 ERA, 289 strikeouts)
• NL batting title: Josh Bell at .338
• AL batting title: Shin-Soo Choo at .355
• NL reliever award: Josh Hader with a 1.46 ERA
• AL reliever award: Tyler Duffey with a 0.72 ERA
• NL home run leader: Kris Bryant with 49
• AL home run leader: J.D. Martinez with 55
• AL WAR leader: Mike Trout with 9.5
• NL WAR leader: Christian Yelich and Bryce Harper with 9.7
• AL ROY: Ramon Urias (Orioles infielder)
• NL ROY: J.P. Feyereisen (Milwaukee Brewers pitcher)
Chris Sale’s injury proved to be overblown, as he breezed through the 2020 season. Sale not only won the AL Cy Young award, he also led the league in innings, strikeouts and shutouts. It was a dominant season for the lefty.
Sale was so good that he managed to beat out Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. — who somehow won 25 games — for the AL Cy Young award. Even the digital BBWAA voters know wins are overrated.
While it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Mike Trout (9.5) led the AL in WAR, he actually finished fourth in the stat. Bryce Harper and Christian Yelich were slightly better at 9.7, and Ronald Acuña Jr. came in at 9.6.
The most surprising results may have occurred with the Rookie of the Year awards. Urias — who we covered above — took home the award in the AL, edging out White Sox prospect Nick Madrigal. By all accounts, Madrigal is considered a top-50 prospect within the game. Urias doesn’t even rank as one of the Orioles’ top-30 prospects, according to Baseball America.
J.P. Feyereisen is a similarly out of nowhere choice. Feyereisen, 27, doesn’t rank as one of the Brewers’ top-30 prospects, according to Baseball America.
What major trades occurred during the 2020 MLB season?
• Nationals: Acquired Josh Bell from Pittsburgh and Austin Meadows from Tampa Bay for prospects
• Braves: Acquired Adalberto Mondesi from Royals for prospects
• D-backs: Acquired Jose Abreu from White Sox for Archie Bradley and Kole Calhoun
• Yankees: Acquired Alex Wood from Dodgers for Tommy Kahnle and a prospect
While it wasn’t a major trade, shortstop prospect Jeter Downs, who was sent to the Red Sox as part of the Mookie Betts deal in the offseason, was traded three times by the 2020 MLB trade deadline. He eventually wound up with the Nationals. Turns out, Boston can’t have Jeter after all.
What will happen in the 2020-21 MLB offseason?
OK, look, the season simulation is over. We could have stopped here, but decided to take a look at the 2020-21 offseason anyway. Here are some of the bigger names “MLB The Show 20” believes will retire following the 2020 season. After the player’s name is the reason “The Show” gave for that player hanging up his cleats.
• Chris Davis - ability
• Dustin Pedroia - ability
• Adam Wainwright - ability
• Pablo Sandoval - ability
• J.A. Happ - age
• Albert Pujols - age (He was eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, according to “The Show”)
• Matt Harvey - poor free-agent market
• Tim Tebow - ability
In an odd twist, Yasiel Puig went unsigned for the entirety of the 2020 season. He did not retire, however, and instead signed with the Diamondbacks for 2021. Some other big offseason acquisitions included:
• Brewers: Signed Mookie Betts to an 8-year, $156.3 million deal
• Twins: Signed Trevor Bauer to a 4-year, $43.1 million deal
• White Sox: Signed Corey Kluber to a 3-year, $47.3 million deal
• White Sox: Signed DJ LeMahieu to a 4-year, $69 million deal
• Mets: Signed Starling Marte to a 2-year, $21.3 million deal
• Blue Jays: Traded for Whit Merrifield
• Brewers: Traded for Miguel Sano
• Orioles: Traded for Angels prospect Jo Adell
What does this mean for the 2020 MLB season?
Ultimately, all of this means nothing for the 2020 MLB season. With the league looking until at least July to get things started, we don’t even know whether each team will play a full 162-game schedule this year.
That much uncertainty can get baseball fans down, which is why we decided to have a little fun and simulate the season. If you disagree with the results — and we think many of you will — you can always simulate your own season on “MLB The Show 20.”
If it starts to look like New York is going to win it all, you can always do what we did not, and intervene to make your own story.
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