The Cubs have won the World Series!
That message flashed across the screen four times in 10 separate seasons of our MLB 16 The Show simulations.
On the other hand, the White Sox didn't make the playoffs ever in those 10 seasons, earning a record above .500 just once.
Obviously, this is just a video game and it cannot be taken as gospel. After all, the White Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series in one simulation.
But posting eight losing records in 10 seasons paints a pretty bleak outlook for the Sox in 2016 while simultaneously ramping up the excitement for Cubs fans (they won the World Series almost half the time; that's nuts.)
In all, 10 simulations of the 2016 season is hardly a large sample size, but we figured it was a nice, round number. (What were we going to do, simulate 100 seasons on The Show? We have stuff to do, like trying to analyze who it was on the receiving end of Negan's beatdown in "The Walking Dead" finale.)
Ten simulations was also enough to stir up some crazy moments, including Avisail Garcia winning two (two!!) Gold Gloves and the Cubs trading Ben Zobrist for Bartolo Colon midseason (for reasons we can't even imagine) and then going on to win the World Series while Colon won a Gold Glove. The world of virtual reality is something, isn't it?
Here's a season-by-season recap of the simulations:
All-Stars: Hector Rondon, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward
Final record: 102-60, 1st place, 16 games ahead of STL
Runs scored: 710 (2nd in MLB)
ERA: 3.10 (3rd in MLB)
Postseason: Beat WAS in NLDS (4 games), beat LAD in NLCS (4 games), beat CLE in World Series at Wrigley Field (7 games)
Notes: Rizzo NL MVP (.307 AVG, 42 HR, 122 RBI); Kris Bryant World Series MVP; Jake Arrieta missed two weeks during the season with a hip injury
Thoughts: One simulation down, one World Series for the Cubs. This is easy!
All-Star: Dioner Navarro
Final record: 64-98, 5th place, 20 games back
Runs Scored: 598 (22nd in MLB)
ERA: 4.42 (30th in MLB)
Notes: Adam Eaton missed several months with a broken leg; Jimmy Rollins missed several months with a broken foot
Thoughts: Yikes. It’s hard to see a White Sox team with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon and a solid bullpen having baseball’s worst ERA, but apparently, The Show doesn’t like the Sox rotation as much as their 2015 numbers would suggest it should. Also, the 598 runs would be a 24-run dropoff from 2015 and are as many as the 99-loss White Sox scored in 2013.
All-Stars: Jake Arrieta, Rondon, Rizzo, Heyward
Final record: 104-58, 1st place
RS: 726 (3)
ERA: 3.04 (4)
Postseason: Beat NYM in NLDS (5 games, came from down 2-0 in the series), Beat LAD in NLCS (7 games, came from down 3 games to 1), Beat TOR 4-0 in World Series
Notes: Kyle Schwarber missed 2 months (fractured hand); Addison Russell named WS MVP
Thoughts: Two simulations, two championships for the Cubs! What's all this about a World Series drought? They were able to accomplish the feat without Schwarber for 2 months, though that's hardly comparable to getting injured in the third game of the season.
All-Star: Chris Sale
Final Record: 76-86, 5th place, 14 GB
RS: 599 (18)
ERA: 3.99 (27)
Notes: Alex Avila missed a month (MCL sprain)
Thoughts: A 3.99 ERA is more like it, even if it’s 27th in the majors (where’s the offense?). The White Sox had a 3.98 ERA in 2015 and went…76-86. So we’ll call this an accurate enough simulation, even if it’s not exactly flattering to the White Sox
All-Stars: Arrieta, Jason Hammel, Rondon, Rizzo, Heyward
Final record: 99-63, 1st
RS: 678 (6)
ERA: 3.18 (5)
Postseason: Swept by LAD in NLDS
Notes: Jorge Soler missed 4 months (fractured shin + fractured arm); John Lackey missed 4 months (head fracture)
Thoughts: Lackey fractured his head?? Ouch! No wonder why the Cubs didn't wind up anywhere this season. Also interesting to see Jason Hammel as an All-Star, but he put up All-Star caliber numbers in the first half last season and his downspins usually don't begin until the second half historically.
Final record: 63-99, 5th, 32 GB
RS: 572 (24)
ERA: 4.45 (30)
Notes: Adam Eaton, Garcia earn Gold Gloves; Navarro missed 2.5 months (fractured shin); Melky Cabrera missed 2.5 months (broken shin)
Thoughts: Another simulation with a bad ERA. But Avisail Garcia winning a Gold Glove? Maybe if Melky Cabrera has to miss an extended period of time he’d get to see the field, but through three games in 2016, Garcia hasn’t played the outfield yet. Also, he’s -24 in DRS and -23 in UZR for his career, which isn’t close to Gold Glove material.
All-Stars: Arrieta, Rizzo, Bryant, Heyward
Final record: 97-65, 1st
RS: 739 (1)
ERA: 3.04 (2)
Postseason: Beat WAS 3-1 in NLDS, lost to LAD 4-3 in NLCS
Notes: Bryant won the Hank Aaron Award (.332, 37, 110)
Thoughts: The Cubs essentially dominated the regular season, sporting the league's best offense and nearly the best pitching staff. Bryant turned in a monster season, but apparently wasn't enough for MVP honors. The Dodgers' megapayroll won out in the end to deny the Cubs a third World Series victory in four simulated seasons.
All-Stars: Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier
Final record: 84-79, 3rd, 9.5 GB
RS: 718 (3)
ERA: 4.01 (26)
Notes: Abreu MVP (.296, 45, 131); Sox still missed out on playoffs; Navarro missed 2 months (fractured wrist); Eaton missed 2 months (torn labrum)
Thoughts: An 84-win season is a positive simulation, but the way to get to this one is strange. If the White Sox finish third in runs scored but 26th in ERA, it’d be a major shock. But then again, if Jose Abreu hits 45 socks 45 home runs, anything is possible.
All-Stars: Hammel, Rondon, Rizzo, Heyward
Final record: 106-56, 1st, 9 gms
RS: 762 (1)
ERA: 2.95 (1)
Postseason: Lost 3-1 to LAD in NLDS
Notes: Miguel Montero missed 3 weeks (MCL sprain)
Thoughts: Well, another Hammel All-Star appearance and now this Cubs team was the top offense and defense, but none of it mattered as they ran smack into the brick wall that is the virtual Dodgers in the postseason once again.
All-Stars: Sale, Abreu
Final record: 81-81, 4th, 12 GB
RS: 663 (10)
ERA: 3.73 (18)
Notes: Cabrera missed 1 month (dislocated shoulder); Jose Quintana missed 3 weeks (inflamed hip)
Thoughts: Decent pitching and offense combine for a .500 season, a mark the White Sox haven’t hit since 2012. The Sale-Abreu All-Star duo is an easy call, even in April.
All-Stars: Lester, Rizzo, Bryant
Final record: 93-69, 1st
RS: 729 (1)
ERA: 3.27 (6)
Postseason: Lost 3-2 to WAS in NLDS
Notes: Rizzo won the Silver Slugger Award
Thoughts: Another strong regular season, but comes up short in the playoffs. Though, losing to the Nationals is a rather easy pill to swallow given Bryce Harper and Co. were seen as the World Series favorites before 2015 began.
All-Stars: Robertson, Navarro
Final record: 61-101, 5th, 32 GB
RS: 534 (27)
ERA: 4.45 (30)
Notes: Garcia missed 3 weeks (shoulder strain)
Thoughts: This would qualify as the fourth-worst season in White Sox history. Another simulation in which The Show doesn’t like White Sox pitching. The back of the rotation is an unknown, yes, but bad enough to have the White Sox have the worst ERA in baseball? That seems extreme.
All-Stars: Lester, Rondon, Rizzo, Bryant
Final record: 101-61, 1st
RS: 751 (1)
ERA: 3.00 (3)
Postseason: Beat MIA 3-1 in NLDS, lost 4-1 to LAD in NLCS
Notes: Bryant won Hank Aaron Award; Kyle Hendricks missed 1.5 months (fractured hand), Hammel missed 2 months (broken hand)
Thoughts: Would it be a disappointment in real life if the Cubs won 100 regular season games before being ousted again in the NLCS? Probably...
All-Stars: Robertson, Rollins
Final record: 64-98, 5th, 22 GB
RS: 563 (25)
ERA: 4.16 (28)
Notes: Garcia Gold Glove; Robertson Delivery Man of the Year Award; Rodon missed 4 weeks (strained pectoral)
Thoughts: Jimmy Rollins makes an All-Star team and Garcia wins a Gold Glove. If either of those things actually happen in 2016, the White Sox probably will be feeling better about their chances than this 98-loss simulation suggests they should.
All-Stars: Rizzo, Zobrist
Final record: 97-65, 1st
RS: 755 (1)
ERA: 3.02 (2)
Postseason: Beat MIA 3-1 in NLDS, beat SF 4-2 in NLCS, beat BOS 4-0 in World Series
Notes: Heyward World Series MVP; Dexter Fowler missed 3 weeks (finger contusion), Cubs traded Zobrist for Bartolo Colon; Colon won Gold Glove
Thoughts: First off...BARTOLO COLON?? Very weird. With no major injuries to the starting rotation, was Colon just in relief? And if so, how was that worth trading Zobrist for? Just an odd move from the AI there. But, guess all's well that ends well, right? The Cubs won it all, so maybe the AI was on to something?
All-Stars: Quintana, Abreu, Eaton
Final record: 67-95, 5th
RS: 611 (20)
ERA: 4.24 (28)
Notes: Danks missed a month (inflamed hip); Navarro missed 2 months (fractured leg)
Thoughts: Another season with 95 or more losses. For what it’s worth, FanGraphs projects the White Sox to finish 81-81.
All-Stars: Rondon, Rizzo
Final record: 100-62, 1st
RS: 648 (14)
ERA: 3.11 (4)
Postseason: Lost 3-0 to SF in NLDS
Notes: Zobrist missed 2 months (broken shin)
Thoughts: Who would figure the Cubs offense would be in the middle of the pack, yet they'd still win 100 games? Either way, it was a fruitless postseason that provides flashbacks to 2007-08.
Final record: 62-100, 5th
RS: 613 (20)
ERA: 4.43 (30)
Notes: Danks missed 3 months (torn groin); Sale missed 3 weeks (pulled hamstring)
Thoughts: Missing Sale for three months would hurt, but not as much as the torn groin video game John Danks suffered here. Ouch.
All-Stars: Arrieta, Jean Machi, Rizzo
Final record: 99-63, 1st
RS: 686 (9)
ERA: 3.08 (4)
Postseason: Beat MIA 3-2 in NLDS, beat LAD 4-1 in NLCS, beat CLE 4-2 in World Series
Notes: Rizzo World Series MVP; Lackey Gold Glove; Hendricks missed 2 months (fractured wrist)
Thoughts: Wait a second...Jean Machi an All-Star??? That's weirder than seeing Bartolo Colon winning a Gold Glove on the Cubs. But hey, maybe the weirder the better? In both cases, it led to a Cubs World Series.
Final record: 69-93, 5th
RS: 660 (11)
ERA: 4.25 (29)
Notes: Rollins missed 3 months (fractured forearm)