MLB: 2017 Playoff Predictions Using MLB The Show
When trying to put together a justified guess, some people turn to video games to provide a simulation. This is no different, as we will simulate the 2017 MLB season and see exactly what may happen.
Video games are not the most reliable sources of information, as we all know. In a video game you can bat .400 with 75 home runs and 150 runs batted in, never questioning how realistic the game truly is. What does give us a sense of realism however is the simulation. MLB players are given proper ratings, and come up against each other with no outside interference. This adds realism into the game, and can actually give us a sense of what may happen.
We see this dynamic all the time with the NFL and the Madden franchise. There will likely be several videos circling the internet of the conference championship games being simulated to find a winner. This will be no different, but instead of one game we will be simulating the entire season.
Sure, several things the game might get completely wrong, but it may shock you in how it plays out. I remember before 2016 I did this for fun, and the game correctly had all the postseason teams except one. This exception was the Cardinals making it instead of the Nationals, and the Mets winning the division. Of course, this was before the emergence of Trea Turner and the exceptional season Washington had. That may not be perfect, but the game does a much better job predicting things than we humans do, and I’m sure not many baseball analysts perfectly guessed how the playoffs went down.
So let’s get this simulation started, and do something outside the normal. So often we make predictions, but let us have some fun and see what the most popular MLB video game has to say.
The playoff teams that resulted from simulation weren’t two surprising, however there was some shockers. There was some good teams from last year that did not repeat, and some surprising inclusions into October. Overall, I would say that the game did a fairly decent job at predicting the playoff teams, and although some are a shocker, they are teams that have potential to shock the world.
The division winners were the Nationals, Cubs, Giants, Red Sox, Indians, and Astros. As you can see, compared to last season those division winners aren’t too far off. The Giants replaced the Dodgers, and the Astros replaced the Rangers. However, the Giants have fixed their bullpen issue, which is what held them from winning the division this season. This is shown in the simulation with Mark Melancon‘s 55 saves, which led to a 98-win season. Also, the Astros have increased a ton over this off-season, which makes their division title seem justified. The Nationals had the best overall record with 101 wins, and the Indians had the best AL record with 99 wins.
As for the wild cards, well those were pretty surprising. In the National League, the Dodgers were the first wild card, which made sense as they are a good team and had a 95-win season. The second wild card however surprised me, it was a team with 92 wins. This team was the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have talent but flopped. Sure, on paper they are good and that’s why they succeeded here, but in 2016 they were pretty bad. As for the American League, the Tigers hosted the Angels in the wild card game. The Tigers aren’t too big of a shocker, they have potentially to be great. As for the Angels though, I would not be surprised to see them sneak into the wild card next year if they remain healthy. With Trout leading the way, anything is possible.
What Happened in the Playoffs:
The way the playoffs happened during this simulation was pretty interesting honestly. Let us start with the Wild Card games, which certainly shocked me. Both away teams pulled through victorious in the Wild Card. The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers 3-1, led by a gem thrown by Zack Greinke. Greinke threw 7 innings with only one run allowed and 11 strike outs. The Angels defeated the Tigers 4-0, where Trout drove in all four runs on three hits and Garrett Richards threw a complete game shut out.
Then, the division round occurred. Both Wild Card teams got eliminated in the divisional round, which was what I expected. The Angels lost to the Cleveland Indians three games to one, where each game the Indians won they scored five or more. As for the Diamondbacks, they got bested by the Nationals in five games. None of these games were close, as they all were decided by four or more runs. The Cubs lost in five games to the Giants, where the Giants’ wins were decided by a combined 13 runs. The Astros then defeated the Red Sox in five games, so three of the four divisional rounds went the full five games.
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In the championship series the Giants took on the Nationals, and the Astros took on the Indians. Both series were once again competitive, as they both went to seven games. The Giants came back from a 3-0 deficit to take it to Game 7, where they were finally bested by Stephen Strasburg, getting shut out. The Astros were up 3-2 against the Indians heading into Cleveland, where the Indians took both games by one run.
Then there was the World Series, with the Indians matched up against the Washington Nationals. Surprisingly, this series was the least competitive of all. After losing Game 1, the Nationals won four straight to become World Series champions. That’s right, MLB The Show predicted the Washington Nationals to win it all next season.
As for award winners, there was some good winners for the top rewards. Anthony Rizzo won the National League MVP with a .309 batting average, 36 home runs, and 129 runs batted in. According to the game, this accounted for a 6.42 WAR. Mookie Betts took home the AL honor, racking up a .305 average with 44 home runs, 118 runs batted in, and a 6.22 WAR.
Mike Fiers won the AL Cy Young, which was super surprising. He tallied up a 20-6 record, 3.29 ERA, 220 strike outs, but only a 4.25 WAR. Far less surprising, Clayton Kershaw took home the NL Cy Young. With 17 wins, 260 strike outs, and a 2.29 ERA, Kershaw was able to rack up a 6.12 WAR.
Then, when it was all said and done, Ryan Zimmerman of all people won the postseason and World Series MVP. Over the postseason Zimmerman batted .381 with six home runs and 16 runs batted in. In the World Series alone Zimmerman batted .400 with two home runs and four runs batted in, so I guess it was justified.