Things are a tad slow in the MLB world a few days before the regular season gets into full swing. Some of the more notable headlines have been that the Yankees still have not named a closer, the Mets extended their 26-year old center fielder for four years and $23 million and the Mariners brought back reliever Joe Beimel after a disastrous spring with the Rangers that saw him being cut after barely two weeks of wearing the Lone Star State’s flag on his sleeve.
Not everyone can feel good all the time like Cosmo Kramer, but I thought I would give it a shot on my Thursday evening. Instead of using the cognitive capacities afforded to me through centuries of natural selection and genetic variations handed down to me by my ancestors, I figured it could be an okay time to let my PlayStation 4 and it’s artificial intelligence determine a 2015 World Series prediction. Plus, my girlfriend is out of town for the Easter long weekend.
I am aware Back to the Future II is all about the Cubs breaking their wretched streak in 2015, but I for one am not buying it. I have a feeling Robert Zemeckis does not know a whole lot about the history of baseball or the game in general, either.
So let’s get on with it, shall we? He is a 2015 season recap courtesy of MLB 15: The Show and its computer generated designs. You can read a more tech inspired review next week on the game itself at GameSided. It was only released on March 31.
Note: To try and get as accurate outcomes as possible, I removed Cliff Lee from the Phillies’ rotation, Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays, Zack WheelerÂ from the Mets, Yu Darvish from the Rangers, Christian Vazquez from the Red Sox and Gavin Floyd from the Indians. Also, Jose Fernandez, Matt Moore and Ivan Nova were held out of action until mid-June’s slate of games. I’m know there are others I forgot about, but c’mon… I’m not that dedicated to the cause.
The Midsummer Classic
Here are your 2015 All-Stars. Not many surprises:
I suppose Nunez making the All-Star Game’s starting lineup at shortstop was the biggest curveball presented by the game in this area. Surely someone like Jose Reyes or Alexei Ramirez might have been the favorite to snag that spot, but Nunez was hitting .284 with 12 HRs, 31 RBI and 10 SBs at the break.
Statistical League Leaders
Fast forward now and all 162 games are in the books. Cutch is your NL batting champion, finishing with a .319 average. In a stranger set of circumstances, only two players in the entire AL hit north of .300 for the 2015 season — Joe Mauer comes in with an impressive .328 batting average and old-faithful Miguel Cabrera hits .304 for what would be his seventh consecutive season above the .300 mark
The top three home run hitters in the NL were Goldschmidt (45), Rizzo (41) and Stanton (37). In the AL, Nelson Cruz was dethroned and finished tied for fourth with teammate Robinson Cano at 33. Given how Safeco Field plays, I find it hard to believe either of those two hitter’s wil be in the top five come October. Cano hit only 14 a season ago. Miggy finished at the top, having gone yard 40 times, followed by Big Papi with 37 and Edwin Encarnacion with 34. Starling Marte led the NL in steals with 51 and Leonys Martin the AL with 47.
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On the pitching front, there was a surprise performance turned in by A.J. Burnett after returning to the Pirates in 2015. He tied Matt Cain for the NL lead in wins with 18, recording seven losses while posting a 3.05 ERA and striking out 186 across 203.1 IP. Not bad for a guy who went 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA in 2014 with the Phils. No one was better than Cole Hamels in the ERA department though, as his 2.18 bested all other NL aces on the year. Scherzer struck out the most hitters with 248 and the Reds’ Tony Cingrani came in a close second with 239.
Over in the AL, Tanaka stayed healthy and led the way with 18 wins, but could not best Anibal Sanchez‘s 2.01 ERA with the Tigers to capture pitching’s Triple Crown. Tanaka finished with the same number of strikeouts as Scherzer had in the NL. Sean Doolittle of the AL (51) and Hector Rondon of the NL (55) were your respective saves leaders.
MLB Year End Awards
The NL MVP went to a great player on a bad team, as the Diamondbacks’ Goldschmidt posted a .313-45-121 line. No eyebrow raiser in the AL either, with Miggy taking home the hardware after a .304-40-128 season for the third time in his illustrious career.
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The NL Cy Young was given to Scherzer after he got snubbed in favor of teammate Strasburg in the All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincy. Scherzer went 16-7 with a 2.89 ERA, and as previously mentioned, led all NL pitcher’s with 248 punch outs. Naturally, Tanaka was bestowed the same honor by the BBWAA in the AL after narrowly missing the Triple Crown.
On the less prestigious side of things and since so much emphasis has been placed on the trials and tribulations of Alex Rodriguez headed into 2015, GM Brian Cashman might be either happy, or distressed — depending on who you talk to — to know that A-Rod finished the season having recorded 415 at-bats with a .188 BA, 15 HRs and 45 RBI. Pretty, pretty bad… or the equivalent of him being paid $282,051.28 per hit, if you prefer an numeric/economic variable to measure.
The Yankees win the AL East (92-70), Tigers the Central (89-73) and the Mariners capture the West (84-78). The two Wild Card squads are the Twins at 86-76 (gasp) and the Angels at 83-79. Noteworthy as well is that the Royals live through a huge fall from grace after winning a pennant in 2014. Kansas City produced a 71-91 record in the AL Central, good for the second worst win total in the AL, just ahead of the Rays at 70-92.
House That Hank Built
Over in the NL, the Nats do indeed win the East division (90-72) with their stout rotation and well rounded lineup. In the Central, the Brewers (91-71) best the Reds (88-74), who end up settling for a Wild Card seed. Out west, the Dodgers narrowly outpace the defending champion Giants (92-70) by going 93-69 for the best record in all of MLB. No love for the Cubs in Alan Turing’s world. Once again, there is always next year. They finish a somewhat competitive 79-83 for fifth place in the Central, while the Braves go 68-94 to imitate baseball’s biggest loser in 2015.
As mentioned in the title to this article, pitching conquers all in MLB 15: The Show and thus, the upcoming Major League Baseball campaign. With their revered pitching staff, the Nats win the NLCS. The M’s, who have themselves a very formidable pitching staff in the AL, win ALCS.
For the 2015 World series prediction, artificial life says the Nats win it all, four-games-to-two, with Scherzer picking up the win in the series clinching sixth game on the road in the Pacific Northwest. A rough pretend year to be a sports fan in Seattle with having to deal as being runner-ups in two popular sports leagues and all.
District on Deck
Bryce Harper is the NL’s postseason MVP after hitting .339-4-10 in the postseason. In the AL, a surprise player delivers solid playoff production for the Mariners as Justin Ruggiano, who supplied a .373-3-18 line, wins the MVP trophy. Ruggiano is a former player for the Cubs, so maybe this is minor consolation for that hard-luck organization. Last but not least, Ian Desmond is the World Series MVP after hitting .429 in the series with three doubles, three runs scored and a swiped base.
So there you have it, folks. Technology has spoken. Do what you will with this information if you’re at all superstitious. Use it for your fantasy baseball draft. Use it to bet big money in Vegas on who wins the pennant (by the way, the Nats are 6/1 favorites and the M’s are 16/1 favorites).
Or, you could read this sentence and simultaneously recollect how you actually did something so much better with your Thursday night. If so, feel free to leave a note in the comments and tell me what you did. Or don’t. Because we can’t always raise our glasses to feeling good all the time, right?