How Cubs, White Sox fared in 2016 MLB simulation

How Cubs, White Sox fared in 2016 MLB simulation

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.)

[RELATED - MLB 16 The Show: Cubs-White Sox World Series showdown]

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:

Season 1


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.

Season 2


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

Season 3


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.


All-Stars: Sale

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.


Season 4


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.


Season 5


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.


Season 6


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.


Season 7


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.


Season 8


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.


Season 9


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.


All-Stars: Navarro

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.


Season 10


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.


All-Stars: Sale

Final record: 69-93, 5th
RS: 660 (11)
ERA: 4.25 (29)

Notes: Rollins missed 3 months (fractured forearm)

Thoughts: Welp.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of


Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: