The Show Must Go On: Simulated 2020 Season Recap
Image courtesy of MLB The Show 20, SonyTo get caught up on what we're doing here, you can check out the introductory post in the series for an explanation of the premise and setup. But the quick version is this: We played a progressive simulated Twins season on MLB The Show 20 on PS4, and y'all helped guide the ship.
Although the Twins beat Cleveland in a walk-off Game 163 thriller, it was the Indians who got the last laugh. After edging into the ALDS with a Wild Card Game win against Boston, Cleveland swept the Angels and advanced to face Tampa in the ALCS. (The Rays, of course, had knocked out our Twins 3-1 in the other ALDS matchup.)
Cleveland won the ALCS in six games and moved onto the World Series, where they faced off against Washington, after the Nats topped LA in an NLCS repeat from 2019.
In seven games, the Cleveland Indians defeated the Washington Nationals to become 2020 (virtual) World Series champs.
Francisco Lindor was named World Series MVP after batting .348 in the seven games. Domingo Santana was the top overall performer in Cleveland's postseason run, batting .375 with four homers and 11 RBIs. Here are some of the other award-winners from the simulated 2020 season:
AL MVP: J.D. Martinez, BOS (.299/.381/.590, 48 HR, 127 RBI)
NL MVP: Ronald Acuña Jr., ATL (.294/.367/.607, 44 HR, 123 RBI)
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, BOS (18-5, 2.90 ERA, 283 K)
NL Cy Young: Patrick Corbin, WAS (18-9, 3.65 ERA, 237 K)
AL Batting Title: Mike Trout, LAA (.347)
NL Batting Title: Wilson Ramos, NYM (.332)
AL Reliever of the Year: Nick Goody, TEX (44 saves, 0.58 ERA)
NL Reliever of the Year: Sean Doolittle, WAS (53 saves, 2.02 ERA)
AL Rookie of the Year: Anderson Miller – OF, KC (.265/.309/.464, 14 HR, 58 RBI)
NL Rookie of the Year: Dom Thompson-Williams – OF, MIL (.215/.261/.391, 10 HR, 33 RBI)
AL Gold Gloves
- P - Hector Velasquez, BOS
- C - Jason Castro, LAA
- 1B - Ji-Man Choi, TB
- 2B - Ramon Urias, BAL
- 3B - Hanser Alberto, BAL
- SS - Elvis Andrus, TEX
- LF - Andrew Benintendi, BOS
- CF - Kevin Kiermaier, TB
- RF - Aaron Judge, NYY
- P - Kyle Hendricks, CHC
- C - Kurt Suzuki, WAS
- 1B - Freddie Freeman, ATL
- 2B - Kolton Wong, STL
- 3B - Nolan Arenado, COL
- SS - Miguel Rojas, MIA
- LF - David Peralta, ARI
- CF - Bryan Reynolds, PIT
- RF - Bryce Harper, PHI
- Luis Arraez, 2B: .331/.419/.483, 14 HR, 78 RBI
- Jorge Polanco, SS: .270/.352/.437, 18 HR, 64 RBI
- Mitch Garver, C: .266/.362/.444, 20 HR, 46 RBI
- Miguel Sano, 1B: .254/.359/.485, 36 HR, 100 RBI
- Josh Donaldson, 3B: .259/.369/.475, 35 HR, 98 RBI
- Max Kepler, RF: .285/.379/.464, 21 HR, 82 RBI
- Nelson Cruz, DH: .267/.342/.473, 28 HR, 99 RBI
- Marwin Gonzalez, LF: .281/.342/.480, 17 HR, 48 RBI
- Byron Buxton, CF: .222/.294/.327, 6 HR, 26 RBI
- Alex Avila, C: .245/.338/.480, 12 HR, 31 RBI
- Willians Astudillo, C/UTIL: .291/.326/.384, 3 HR, 19 RBI
- Jake Cave, OF, .295/.366/.468, 7 HR, 20 RBI
- Brent Rooker, OF: .248/.313/.406, 4 HR, 14 RBI
- Jose Berrios: 224.2 IP, 20-5, 2.96 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9
- Blake Snell: 185 IP, 12-10, 3.75 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 10.7 K/9, 3.6 BB/9
- Kenta Maeda: 188.1 IP, 18-8, 3.39 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9
- Jake Odorizzi: 192 IP, 15-10, 3.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.5 BB/9
- Alex Wood: 178.2 IP, 8-7, 2.77 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.5 K/9, 2.5 BB/9
- Michael Pineda: 45.2 IP, 4-2, 3.35 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 5.0 K/9, 2.2 BB/9
- Homer Bailey: 111 IP, 10-6, 5.43 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 3.8 BB.9
- Rich Hill: 25 IP, 1-2, 10.44 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, 6.5 BB/9
- Randy Dobnak: 49.1 IP, 4.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 5.5 K/9, 2.7 BB/9
- Taylor Rogers: 71.2, 43 SV (6 BS), 2.51 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.5 BB/9
- Tyler Duffey: 69.2 IP, 1.94 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 10.3 K/9, 3.4 BB/9
- Trevor May: 64.2 IP, 3.06 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 11.7 K/9, 5.2 BB/9
- Tyler Clippard: 66.1 IP, 2.71 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 8.1 K/9, 4.1 BB/9
- Sergio Romo: 60 IP, 4.13 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 4.0 BB/9
- Fernando Romero: 53.2 IP, 3.35 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6.0 K/9, 4.7 BB/9
- Zack Littell: 46. IP, 4.44 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
- Cody Stashak: 9.2 IP, 8.38 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, 4.7 BB/9, 1.9 BB/9
- Devin Smeltzer: 5.1 IP, 8.44 ERA, 2.81 WHIP, 1.7 K/9, 8.4 BB/9
Our Twins used the Injured List zero times all season. This obviously is unrealistic and pretty glitchy. I'm not sure why it happened – there definitely are injuries in the game, and other teams had plenty – but it's not the worst bug in this case. Who wants to deal with the unpleasantness of injuries in a virtual season, while a health pandemic has wiped out all actual baseball? And besides, I think this exaggerated outcome does speak to a true strength of the Twins: they were (and are) quite healthy heading into the 2020 season, with a number of prime-aged athletes and a sophisticated medical/training operation.
Luis Arraez finished second in the AL in batting average (.331) and on-base percentage (.419). Arraez trailed only Mike Trout in both categories. He also batted .556 (10-for-18) in the ALDS. Arraez was just sensational in this simulation, leading the Twins in OPS. However ...
Arraez and Jorge Polanco combined to commit 39 errors. Polanco's 20 were not all that stunning (he committed 22 in 2019) but the 19 from Arraez at second base were brutal. Miguel Sano had 13 errors, and was the only other player in double-digits. This highlights one of the rare foreseeable shortcomings on the 2020 Twins roster: infield defense.
Josh Donaldson finished third in the AL in walks with 100. He trailed only Houston's Yordan Alvarez (112) and Boston's Xander Bogaerts (105). Although his overall production – .844 OPS, 35 HR, 98 RBI – was a bit light by his standards, Donaldson definitely delivered on this front, matching his 2019 total.
Tyler Duffey was ridiculous. You can see the final numbers above, but here are a couple other things to consider. First of all, he gave up only three home runs all year, in 57 appearances. And secondly, he allowed one-third of his runs for the season in a single outing: in August where he was charged with five earned runs while recording one out against Houston. (I suspected shady tactics by the opposing Astros.) Subtract that appearance, and he had a 1.30 ERA in 69 1/3 innings. This game believes in Duffey, and so do I.
Byron Buxton had a tough year at the plate. His was really the only disappointing outcome from all the simulated results. Buxton never found a rhythm offensively and batted just .222 with a 115-to-40 K/BB ratio in 511 plate appearances. On the bright side, he ranked second in the AL with 35 steals. Incidentally, I happen to think the real Buxton can be the Twins' most valuable player in this 60-game sprint.
Above all, I just wanna give major props to the team behind MLB The Show and its latest release. Clearly a lot of effort and thoughtfulness went into creating realistic player attributes and game dynamics, which is reflected in the (mostly) plausible outcomes in our sim.
I also wanna express my sincere gratitude to everyone who voted, commented, and engaged with this series. I wasn't too jazzed about contributing another simulation to the void, but felt like infusing an interactive aspect might make it more fun for me and everyone else – if people interacted. So many of you did, and it made this series a nice little routine diversion over the past few months.
With that said, I'm excited by the prospect of watching real baseball again. So if things proceed as planned and the 60-game season goes on without (catastrophic) incident, I probably won't be returning to this simulated team.
If those plans go awry, however? I hope y'all are down to join me in navigating the offseason and building a champ in 2021.
Part 1: We Can Build This Thing Together (0-0)
Part 2: 10 Games In, 6 Games Back (4-6)
Part 3: Roaring Back (11-9)
Part 4: Over the Hill (17-13)
Part 5: Checking In at the Quarter Point (23-17)
Part 6: Rising Power (30-20)
Part 7: First Place! (Barely) (34-26)
Part 8: Drafting and Dropping (38-32)
Part 9: Cruz Control (45-35)
Part 10: Pulling Ahead (52-38)
Part 11: Bashing into the All-Star Break (58-40)
Part 12: Deadline Decisions (62-46)
Part 13: Inauspicious Debuts (66-52)
Part 14: Treading Water as the Clock Ticks (71-57)
Part 15: Stretch Race & September Call-Ups (78-59)
Part 16: Dancing for the Division (84-63)
Part 17: Down to the Wire (90-66)
Part 18: Game 163 (94-68)
Part 19: Twins Walk Off Game 163 (95-68)
Part 20: ALDS Preview – Twins vs. Rays
Part 21: Eliminated
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