New York Mets' Virtual Reality: Team Wins World Series in OOTP Simulation
Albert Pujols, Buster Posey and Derek Jeter aren't injured.
The Cubs win the National League Central.
Despite their financial woes, the Dodgers pull off an improbable season.
The Astros still stink.
Thanks to our friends at Out of the Park Productions (www.ootp.com), we were able to turn back time and simulate the 2011 season with their ground-breaking baseball game. Founded by Markus Heinson, OOTP has stood out as the most sophisticated and best-selling game on the market. Not only does the game allow fans to simulate the current campaign, it also offers the chance to simulate any season from 1871 to the present along with creating fictional leagues and the chance to take part in numerous online leagues.
How did the rest of the simulated season pan out? Follow along.....
National League East
SS Jose Reyes chose the right time for a career year (NL-leading .338 average, 12 homers, 79 RBIs, 55 SBs) to guide the Mets to a 100-62 record. 3B David Wright (.279-21-95) and 1B Ike Davis (24 HR) also paced a New York team that won the division by 14 games over the Braves, while P Mike Pelfrey assumed control of the staff with 18 wins and a 3.06 ERA.
Brian McCann had an MVP caliber season (.324-32-114) as the Braves stayed in the wild card hunt despite a pitching staff that finished next to last in the NL in team ERA. Injuries cut a devastating swath through the heavily favored Phillies (76-86) as ace Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt suffered season-ending setbacks, while 2B Chase Utley and 3B Placido Polanco played in a combined 107 games.
The Marlins (78-84) got another solid season from Josh Johnson (15-8, 3.14), but were unable to get consistent hitting beyond SS Hanley Ramirez (.330), who missed 35 games with a variety of injuries. A 5-21 start set the tone for a 104-loss season for the Nationals.
National League Central
Something special was in the water in the north side of Chicago, as the Cubs took control of the division early and held off late challenges from the Cardinals and Reds to complete an out of the blue 94-68 campaign that gave the Cubbies an unexpected trip to the postseason.
Infield corners Carlos Pena (35 HR, 89 RBIs) and Aramis Ramirez (.309-22-98) anchored the offensive attack, while closer Carlos Marmol saved 39 games and a revived Carlos Zambrano won 16 games, including a pair in the final week that helped stave off what could have been a monumental collapse.
Cardinals (90-72) fans watched 1B Albert Pujols flirt with a triple crown, finishing with a .335-33-118 line that was helped by Colby Rasmus' All-Star season (.275-24-94). Injuries to Adam Wainright and Chris Carpenter were offset by Kyle Loshe's 10-1, 1.90 mark before injuries sidelined him in August, but Kyle McClellan emerged as the ace of the staff (14-9, 3.36).
Joey Votto put up MVP-caliber stats (.312-37-106) as the Reds (90-72) made a late run that ran out of gas in the final week. A shaky bullpen led to an overhaul that helped spark Cincinnati's second half spurt as Nick Masset replaced Francisco Cordero as closer and finished with 33 saves.
Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks combined for 93 homers as the Brewers (84-78) faded with a 12-13 September. Ace Yovani Gallardo won 18 games, but newly acquired Zach Greinke made just 26 starts, while John Axford led the NL with 43 saves.
National League West
In classic Dodgers fashion, pitching was the foundation of LA's 102-60 season, as five starters won at least 14 games, led by rookie Rubby De La Rosa's 16. The franchise survived a career-ending injury to OF Matt Kemp (fractured foot) and -- of course, the McCourt saga -- to cruise to the division crown.
The defending World Champion Giants (93-69) got hot late and overtook the Reds and Cardinals to claim the wild card. To no surprise, P Tim Lincecum paved the way, winning 17 games and striking out a career-best 292 batters.
Colorado survived an injury-plagued season from OF Carlos Gonzalez to finish 89-73, but the surprising Padres, paced by the major's best bullpen (2.54 ERA), won 88 games and stayed in the playoff hunt until the final week.
Someone had to be the division's whipping boy, as the Diamondbacks (56-106) allowed a major league-worst 942 runs, with Daniel Hudson finishing with a 7-22 mark.
American League East
As expected, the Red Sox rolled to the division crown with a 102-60 record. Newcomer Adrian Gonzalez (.303-37-106) teamed with veteran Kevin Youkilis (.266-35-111) to provide the pitching staff with more than enough run support. Ace Jon Lester won 22 games, with Josh Beckett (18) and Clay Bucholtz (17) benefited from the thunder.
The Yankees won "only" 95 games, but captured the wild card behind a historic effort from their infield. 1B Mark Texieria, 2B Robinson Cano, SS Derek Jeter (who also recorded his 3,000th career hit) and 3B Alex Rodriguez each batted at least .298, while the quartet also hit at least 23 homers and drove in 100 runs to offset a shaky pitching staff.
Toronto (82-80) and Tampa (79-83) were both hit with injuries. Jose Batista missed 39 games, while the Rays endured a brutal August that saw P David Price and OFs B.J. Upton and Johnny Damon go down with season-ending bumps and bruises.
The Orioles stood little chance to compete, as their youth movement was set back by injuries, part of the reason why they finished 64-98.
American League Central
In a lackluster field, the Twins (87-75) claimed the division again. This time, C Joe Mauer (.330-15-91) and 1B Justin Morneau (.273-36-115) were healthy, while the pitching staff got huge efforts from Scott Baker (20 wins) and Kyle Gibson (18).
Adam Dunn swatted 32 homers, but without 1B Paul Konerko and OF Carlos Quentin for much of the second half, the White Sox (80-82) floundered in the last two months. The Royals (79-83) finished with a 34-15 record after August 1, sending a clear message that their youth movement had taken a major step forward.
Victor Martinez (.336-22-93) and Miguel Cabrera (.324-38-121) were the only bright spots in a miserable campaign for the Tigers (69-93). There was no hot start for the Indians, who just avoided joining the Astros and Diamondbacks in the 100-loss club (64-98).
American League West
Texas reclaimed the division crown, but their 84-78 record was a far cry from their impressive run to the AL pennant the previous season. The Rangers needed every bit of offense from OFs Nelson Cruz (.283-27-102) and Josh Hamilton (.303-36-102) to return to the postseason.
Felix Hernandez won just nine games, but rookie Michael Pineda (16-6, 2.95, 202 Ks) anchored Seattle's (82-80) rotation as the Mariners pushed the Rangers into the final weekend despite an offense that finished 13th in the league in runs scored. Oakland stayed in the hunt, but their lack of offense led to an 80-82 finish.
Age finally walked down the Angels, as they placed last with a 72-90 mark. OF Vernon Wells managed only 111 games, while veterans Torii Hunter and Bob Abreu ran out of steam, a key reason why Los Angeles produced only 100 home runs.
In the ALDS, the Red Sox needed five games to eliminate the Rangers, while the Yankees' mastery of the Twins continued with a four-game rout.
Cubs fans had their magical season dashed in four games by the Dodgers. Bolstered by the late season return of Johan Santana to the rotation, the Mets used their arms to overpower the Giants in a three-game sweep.
Boston put to rest any thoughts of another Subway Series as they mauled the Yankees to the tune of 41 runs in a five-game pasting of New York. The Mets fell behind 2-0 to the Dodgers, but Reyes helped spark the comeback with a .455-2-11-6 line in the next four games as New York reached the World Series for the first time since 2000.
Just like 1986, it would be the Mets claiming the World Series crown, defeating the Red Sox in six games. Boston's vaunted bats managed just a .233 average against New York, with Santana clinching the victory with eight innings of two-hit ball in a 3-1 win that left Citi Field awash in joy.
2011 Honor Roll
Most Valuable Players
AL: Miguel Cabrera, 1B/DH, Detroit (.324-38-121)
NL: Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis (.335-33-118)
Cy Young Award
AL: Jon Lester, Boston (22-6, 2.83 ERA, 254Ks)
NL: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco (17-12, 2.45 ERA, 292Ks)
Rookie of the Year
AL: Michael Pineda, P, Seattle (16-9, 2.95 ERA, 202Ks)
NL: Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco (.287-24-80)
Manager of the Year
AL: Terry Francona, Boston (102-60 record)
NL: Don Mattingly, Los Angeles (102-60 record)