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Simulating the Blue Jays’ 2020 season with MLB The Show

The Blue Jays 2020 schedule has been pushed back to mid-May at the earliest. There’s a remote possibility there might not be Major League Baseball at all this season. But at least we have video games to keep us occupied in the meantime.

Chances are, most people have a lot of free time over the next little while, and one way to fill that void is by playing video games. While I’ll eventually get around to finishing Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2, I set my sights on MLB The Show 20.

There are many modes you can pour hours into inside the game, but I was curious to play out a 2020 regular season simulation to see how the Blue Jays might improve upon their 67-95 season in 2019. The results weren’t all that surprising, but it was interesting to see where the Blue Jays ended up at the end of 2020 in this simulation.

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At the All-Star break

Comparing year-over-year, the Blue Jays fared a little better in this 2020 first half simulation than they did in reality in 2019. The Jays were 23 games under .500 at the All-Star break last year, while they were only seven games under .500 with a 44-53 record at the break in MLB The Show 20.

Heading into the break, Bo Bichette was one of the team’s best hitters, collecting 12 home runs in 97 games, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led the club with 19 dingers at the All-Star Break.

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On the pitching side, believe it or not, but Chase Anderson led the Blue Jays in strikeouts with 103 and a 3.03 ERA in 124.2 innings of work. Ken Giles was his usual dominant self, locking down 19 saves in the first half. And Hyun-Jin Ryu stayed healthy into July, pitching 122.2 innings.

At the end of the regular season

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By season’s end, the Blue Jays only made an incremental improvement upon their 2019 season in this simulation on MLB The Show 20. The club won three more games, finishing fourth in the division with a 70-92 record. Once again, the Yankees and Rays emerged from the AL East with playoff berths.

Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. finished the 2020 campaign as the best hitters on the team, with Bichette posting some very respectable numbers across the board in his first full season in the bigs (26 home runs, .271 batting average). Gurriel himself wasn’t far behind, with Randal Grichuk and Vladdy trailing a few spots down in the offensive department.

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Incredibly, the Blue Jays boasted three starting pitchers who crossed the 200 inning threshold: Anderson, Ryu and Ryan Borucki. If this were real life, the Blue Jays would be more than happy with these results from their starting pitchers in 2020.

The playoffs

In this timeline, the Blue Jays would sit on the sidelines for the fourth straight postseason. In the American League, it’s the Rays and Astros facing off on the Wild Card game, with the Rays, Yankees, Twins and Angels advancing to the division series.

The Angles and Rays advanced from there, with the Rays representing the American League in the World Series. However, they ran into a powerhouse of a team in the Atlanta Braves in the final round, and the Braves ultimately won the World Series 4-3.

Notable free agent departures

I’d estimate it’s a 50/50 shot whether Ken Giles remains with the Blue Jays beyond the 2020 season. If the Blue Jays don’t trade him, Giles will be one of the hottest commodities in the free agent reliever market.

In this universe, he parlayed another solid season with the Blue Jays into a five-year, $29.5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins. Giles joined former Blue Jay Josh Donaldson in the Twin Cities for the foreseeable future on a very team-friendly deal with the Twinkies.