Should the spread of COVID-19 allow it to, Major League Baseball will kick off its 2020 season in less than two weeks' time. Throughout the pandemic, we've been simulating a season on Outside the Park Baseball 21 as a way to pass time and to ponder what could've been happening on the diamond under normal circumstances. Now that the real season is drawing near, we decided to take a look back at what the standings looked like when most teams had played 60 games -- a notable threshold this year since it represents the maximum length of the season.
OOTP 21 doesn't offer a way for us to look back at what every team's record was through 60 games, but we can get a good idea by checking out the standings from early June:
If we can pretend for a moment that this is exactly how everything would've looked through 60 games -- and to be fair, that is mostly the case -- then here are the playoff teams:
- East: Tampa Bay Rays
- Central: Minnesota Twins
- West: Los Angeles Angels (top seed)
- Wild Card Game: Oakland Athletics at Cleveland
- East: Atlanta Braves
- Central: Cincinnati Reds
- West: Los Angeles Dodgers (top seed)
- Wild Card Game: Arizona Diamondbacks at St. Louis Cardinals
For the most part, that's a realistic field. Sure, the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals each miss out after playing in last fall's World Series and the heavily favored Yankees finished their simulated short season under .500. Other than that? It's easy to think up scenarios where each of the teams makes the postseason.
We would have then had a divisional round that looked like this:
- Athletics/Cleveland at Angels
- Rays at Twins
- Diamondbacks/Cardinals at Dodgers
- Braves at Reds
The postseason is never as cut and dried as saying "the better regular season team would have won." Using that as a guiding light for this exercise, however, means that the League Championship Series would have pitted the Angels against the Twins in the AL and the Dodgers against the Reds in the NL. We then would have been treated to the Angels playing the Dodgers in the World Series, with the Dodgers at least entering as favorites.
It's anyone's guess what will happen over the next few months -- if the season will even be launched at all -- but the Dodgers hoisting the hardware is a rather believable outcome, all things considered.