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Virtual Tie: MLB 09 Predictions for This Season

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Jim's absolutely right: it's time for spring training to be over. Thanks to the WBC, it feels like opening day should have been Monday, but instead we're mired in more irrelevant games, with only three roster slots really up for grabs at this point. Such is life.

Having picked up MLB 09: The Show a couple weeks back (and I've been enjoying it thoroughly), I decided to run some season simulations to see what the game thought the outcome of the 2009 season would be. This is by no means a scientific or quantitative measure; it's just something for fun on the side, an impassionate look at what one simulation thinks will happen this year. Call me Xeifrank if you must. Either way, it's a way to break up the stir-craziness of spring wrap-ups and get some additional content in.

Follow me after the jump to see how the numbers add up.

First of all, here's MLB 09's ratings for the Diamondbacks heading in. I've had to add Jon Garland manually to the roster, since that signing came after the deadline, and it assumes Tom Gordon won't be around all season, but otherwise everything is intact.

CONTACT 26th
POWER 7th
DEFENSE 29th
PITCHING 19th
SPEED 22nd
OVERALL 15th

 

A couple of these look a little low, but I think the overall one isn't too far off. I assume the power ranking is higher because of the team's higher rate of doubles and triples, but low number of singles. Defense is somewhat self-explanatory. I'm surprised the pitching is as low as it is, given Webb/Haren up top, but The Show doesn't seem too confident in the prospects of anyone in the bullpen besides Qualls and Peña.

With that basis in mind, I ran 10 season simulations and averaged them out to see what would happen. I know, a lot of other simulators out there can run tens of thousands of simulations, but humor me here.

The show thinks the standings will play out like this:

DODGERS 89-73
DIAMONDBACKS 88-74
ROCKIES 80-82
GIANTS 75-87
PADRES 69-93


Interestingly, the Diamondbacks win the division five times to the Dodgers' four. Somehow the Rockies snuck up and stole the division with 86 wins once. But overall, L.A.'s record was slightly better, thanks in part to two 97-win seasons. Not surprisingly, the Giants' offense was terrible despite their good pitching, and the Padres were just terrible. They lost as many as 102 games, but did get to 79 once.

Given the other teams' average records, the rest of the playoff pictures played out like this: Mets, Brewers, Cubs (WC); Red Sox, Indians, Angels, Rays (WC). The Yankees only made the playoffs twice in 10 tries, which amused me to no end.

Finally, a look at the average stats of Dback players for those 10 seasons:

NAME BA HR RBI SB NOTE
Jackson, C .282 16 83 8
Young, C .243 22 70 21 144 K
Drew, S .274 18 75
Tracy, C .263 11 54 390 AB
Reynolds, M .231 26 82 6 168 K
Upton, J .261 19 63 19
Lopez, F .257 7 47 14
Snyder, C .252 15 58
Byrnes, E .202 11 30 7 220 AB
Ojeda, A .263 2 27 210 AB
Montero, M .238 6 21 190 AB


And the pitchers:

NAME W/L ERA WHIP K IP
Webb, B 16-8 3.49 1.27 181 218.1
Haren, D 15-9 3.12 1.19 210 221.2
Scherzer, M 13-10 3.66 1.38 169 164.0
Davis, D 6-12 5.02 1.64 114 178.1
Garland, J 11-11 3.95 1.49 126 203.0
Qualls, C 2-5 2.89 1.22 31 SV


Some points of interest:

  • Max Scherzer was only hurt three times in the 10 seasons, one of which caused him to miss four months, with the others being 2-3 week stints. We could certainly cross our fingers and hope that something along those lines turns out to be true.
  • Eric Byrnes was traded by the end of May in six of the 10 seasons, bringing back such renowned names as Derrick Turnbow and Corey Patterson. Apparently the virtual front office was just really eager to dump his contract, and teams were happy to oblige
  • Doug Davis averaged .131 at the plate, which sounds about right for his limited batting skills...but in one season he hit .382 (29-76). Go figure. And yes, he was generally awful on the mound, posting a 6+ ERA four times.
  • Brandon Webb won the NL Cy Young once. Dan Haren won it twice.
  • Conor Jackson's numbers were hurt pretty badly by a season where he hit .231 for some reason. He hit .300 four times.
  • There were a lot of people with 3-5 SBs, but I've only listed those with more than five. Upton and Young both stole 30 bases twice.
  • Reynolds had three 30-HR seasons, one of them being 39. He never struck out more than 180 times. One can hope.
  • On an unrelated note, in my Road to the Show franchise with a pitcher I've been developing, I got called up to the bigs in 2011 and here's what the lineup looked like: C Snyder, LF Jackson, CF Young, RF Upton, 3B Tracy, SS Drew, 2B Lopez...1B Pujols. I would wholeheartedly support this potential future.

Again, these aren't meant for anything else besides a lark. There are definitely a couple of flaws in the way the game puts together certain metrics (too many strikeouts, not enough runs scored, etc.), but some of the numbers would seem to be pretty decent. If nothing else, it's got as good a chance of being right as us. And a much better chance than me.

Here's to the start of the season.