MLB The Show Virtual Season

By the numbers: Running down the top stats from our simulated Cubs season

2 years agoTony Andracki

With no baseball going on in real life, we’ve been passing the time and staying sane by airing a simulated Cubs game from MLB The Show 20 each afternoon.

Since we’re following the original season schedule, Thursday is an off-day and a perfect opportunity to take a look at some stats and standings.

To catch you up:

Schedule to date

March 26 (@ Brewers) – W, 6-5
March 28 (@ Brewers) – L, 2-0
March 29 (@ Brewers) – W, 6-3
March 30 (vs. Pirates) – W, 10-2
March 31 (vs. Pirates) – L, 3-1
April 1 (vs. Pirates) – W, 7-3

The Cubs continue their homestand this weekend, welcoming in the Arizona Diamondbacks for a 3-game series starting Friday.

Every day the Cubs were scheduled to have a game, we’ll air the simulated contest on our Facebook page at 1 p.m. After each game ends, we will have a recap and highlights video online.

Standings

The Cubs are tied with the Reds atop the NL Central with identical 4-2 records.

The Pirates are in 3rd place, the Brewers behind them and the Cardinals are bringing up the rear with a lowly 1-6 record.

With a +12 run differential, the Cubs are severely outpacing their divisional rivals, as the Reds (+1) are the only other team with a positive run differential.

Not a bad start for David Ross’ inaugural season as manager…even if it is coming in a virtual environment instead of real life.

Mlb(r) The Show(tm) 20

Lineup

Thus far, the Cubs have only faced right-handed pitchers, so our standard lineup has been:

1. Kris Bryant – 3B
2. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
3. Javy Baez – SS
4. Kyle Schwarber – LF
5. Willson Contreras – C
6. Jason Heyward – RF
7. Ian Happ – CF
8. Jason Kipnis – 2B

Against lefties, David Bote subs in at second base and Steven Souza Jr. will get a start in one of the corner outfield spots with Albert Almora Jr. replacing Happ in center. We’ll work backup catcher Victor Caratini into the lineup when Contreras needs a break and continue to change up the lineup as the season moves along.

We opted to keep Nico Hoerner is in the minor leagues to begin the year, getting everyday playing time and manning second base at Triple-A Iowa when their season begins.

Season slash lines:

Bryant – .200/.250/.240
Rizzo – .318/.400/.409
Báez – .348/.400/.739
Schwarber – .174/.240/.609
Contreras – .136/.208/.136
Heyward – .391/.391/.696
Happ – .250/.348/.550
Kipnis – .125/.300/.375
Caratini – .000/.333/.000
Bote – .200/.333/.200

OPS leaders:

Báez – 1.139
Heyward – 1.087
Happ – .898
Schwarber – .849
Rizzo – .809
Kipnis – .675
Bote – .533
Bryant – .490
Contreras – .345
Caratini – .333

HRs

Báez – 3
Schwarber – 3
Heyward – 2
Happ – 1
Kipnis – 1

RBI

Báez – 7
Heyward – 4
Bryant – 3
Schwarber – 3
Happ – 3
Rizzo – 2
Kipnis – 2
Contreras – 1
Bote – 1

Rs

Heyward – 5
Bryant – 4
Schwarber – 4
Báez – 3
Happ – 3
Contreras – 2
Rizzo – 1
Kipnis – 1
Caratini – 1
Bote – 1

Hits

Heyward – 9
Báez – 8
Rizzo – 7
Bryant – 5
Happ – 5
Schwarber – 4
Contreras – 3
Kipnis – 2
Bote – 1
Caratini – 0

SBs

Bryant – 1

Notes:

— The Cubs have had a lot of success with runners in scoring position in the early going, as 6 players are getting a hit at least a third of the time in such situations: Happ (.333), Baez (.333), Bryant (.400), Heyward (.500) Rizzo (.667) and Bote (1.000).

Rizzo is an impressive 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

— The heart of the order struggled in the opening series, as Bryant (.214 AVG), Rizzo (.273 AVG), Schwarber (.000 AVG) and Contreras (.182 AVG) couldn’t quite get going. But luckily for the virtual Cubs, Heyward and Happ were hot enough to carry the offense and the pitching shut the door on the Brewers offense.

— On a defensive note, Bryant leads the team with 2 errors in 53 defensive innings. Kipnis is the only other Cub with an error.

— Amid their early-season struggles, Bryant and Schwarber have each racked up 10 strikeouts. Schwarber hit a pair of homers in Wednesday’s win, but also struck out 3 times.

Rizzo (3:3), Kipnis (4:4) and Caratini (1:1) are the only Cubs with as many walks as strikeouts.

Rotation

We gave Kyle Hendricks the Opening Day start, so he’s the only member of the rotation to pitch 2 games to this point in the simulated season.

We also gave Tyler Chatwood the final spot in the rotation, with Alec Mills moving to the bullpen.

Kyle Hendricks – 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Jon Lester – 1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Yu Darvish – 0-1, 3.60 ERA, 1.80 WHIP
Tyler Chatwood – 0-1, 3.38 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
Jose Quintana – 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Notes:

— Hendricks only has 3 strikeouts in 13.1 innings, but he’s clearly been inducing a lot of weak contact.

— Darvish walked 5 batters and struck out just 3 in 5 innings in his 2020 debut. In the second half of 2019, he walked only 7 batters with 118 strikeouts in 81.2 innings.

—Virtual Chatwood is off to a solid start, despite the loss. He walked only 1 batter in his 5.1 innings of work with 5 whiffs.

Bullpen

Through 6 games, the Cubs bullpen has been lights out with a 0.58 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 16 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.

That’s a night and day difference over 2019, when the bullpen posted a 8.44 ERA in the first 6 games.

RP stats:

Craig Kimbrel – 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP
Rowan Wick – 0.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Kyle Ryan – 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP
Jeremy Jeffress – 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP
Dan Winkler – 0.00 ERA, 4.50 WHIP
Alec Mills – 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Ryan Tepera – 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP
Jharel Cotton – 5.40 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

Here are the holds leaders in the bullpen:

Kyle Ryan – 3
Dan Winkler – 2
Jeremy Jeffress – 1

Notes:

— Mills is the only Cubs pitcher with a blown save, which he picked up in Wednesday’s game when he gave up a game-tying double in the 7th inning of Wednesday’s game (but the Cubs went on to win that contest 7-3).

The run Mills gave up Wednesday was an inherited runner and charged to Hendricks, so it didn’t change his ERA.

— Craig Kimbrel is 2-for-2 in save situations thus far.

— Winkler has only recorded 2 outs on the season, but he’s been credited with a hold in each outing.

League Leaders

— Báez and Schwarber are tied for 3rd in the National League with 3 homers apiece. Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon (6) and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman (4) are the only players ahead of the Cubs’ duo.

— Báez ranks 8th in the NL in slugging percentage (.739). Heyward (.696) is 12th.

— Báez is 12th in the league with a 1.139 OPS.

Andy Martinez contributed to this article.

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