If your love of sports is equal to your love of video games, then you are a lot like me. To me, there is no better way to unwind than putting in your favorite game while listening to AM 570 on iHeartRadio. One of my favorite game franchises of all-time is MLB: The Show for Playstation. It has long been a Playstation exclusive and I have been playing The Show ever since high school. With the latest installment, MLB: The Show ’17, due out in late March, I thought it would be fun to play around with the roster editor in The Show ’16 to give readers a look at how player performances in the 2016 MLB season influenced their specific attributes in-game.
On a side note, these are all simply my opinions and are by no means considered official. I took into consideration the overall performance of each of the noteworthy players, their statistics, their performance in certain matchups and situations and their potential to improve at this point in their careers. So let’s get started!
CLAYTON KERSHAW, STARTING PITCHER
No surprises here with my first adjustment. Kershaw had another bright and sunny year on the bump for the Dodgers. Even after missing two months in the year with injury, he still posted numbers that send chills down the spine of opposing hitters. He finished the year 12-4 with a 1.62 ERA. His control with all pitches was also phenomenal, striking out an unprecedented 15.64 batters for every walk. Having earned three Cy Young Awards and an MVP honor all before his 30th birthday, Kershaw still remains one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game. Much to the chagrin of my fellow baseball fans, I take joy in saying that by the time he hangs up his spikes, he will have been the greatest pitcher to ever play the game.
KENLEY JANSEN, CLOSING PITCHER
Jeez. 6’5″, 265 pounds. Seriously? He’d be a fine pro wrestler to watch, but anyway…
Kenley Jansen was a highly sought-after closer this winter who was due for his big payday. After receiving a number of substantial offers, he swooned every Dodger fan by taking less money to stay in L.A. His 5 year/$80M contract ensures that the Dodgers premier fireman will be saving the day as the Dodgers try to win their first World Series title since the miraculous 1988 season.
Last season, he posted career lows in ERA and WHIP and chalked up 47 saves, and let’s not forget his heart and determination during game 5 of the NLDS versus the National as he came out of the bullpen to pitch 2 1/3 innings to propel the Dodgers into the NLCS.
The only glaring adjust I made was to his HR/9 attribute. He’s is very adept at painting the corners of the strike zone, but we’ve seen him make mistakes in the past. In 2015, 6 pitches caught too much of the plate and hitters made him pay for it. Last year was a little better as he only surrnedered 4 homers over 69 innings.
ADRIÁN GONZÁLEZ, FIRST BASE
This was a tough one for me, because I really love Adrián at first base, but his lack of power last year drove me up the wall.
His 2016 splits mirrored the trend set by the rest of the Dodgers lineup. He batted .304 vs LHP, but a less-than-satisfactory .244 vs RHP. I adjusted his contact rating vs RHP a few points due to his consistency, but docked him quite a few points vs LHP. His .244 was 2016 is far below his lifetime performance of .272 vs LHP.
His power numbers were also uncharacteristically low last season. He swatted 16 homers vs RHP, but a measly 2 homers against lefties. So I adjusted both of his power ratings accordingly. Of course, 2016 could just be an anomaly, which is why I left his potential high at a ‘B’ grade, hoping he will turn it around in ’17.
Many people may think this is an overreaction and if they would like to read me the riot act and tell me that Adrian is as good as he ever was, then by all means, go ahead. I enjoy any and all reactions to my articles, but keep in mind, (it’s just a video game… about a kid’s game…)
JUSTIN TURNER, THIRD BASEMAN
Justin Turner made like his fellow free agent Kenley Jansen and chose to stay put in sunny Los Angeles. After his 2016 performance, he is quickly becoming my favorite Dodger to watch at the plate and is still making his case as one of the best at the hot corner today in baseball.
Against righties, oddly enough, he is prolific. When a right-handed batter hits right-handed pitchers very well, we call that a reverse split. When you smash 22 homers and bat .305 against righties, we call that another day’s work by Mr. Rojo Chingon.
Where Turner’s game suffers is against LHP, though. Last season he only batted .209 against LHP with 5 homers. I adjusted his hitting attributes accordingly and his defensive performance last season earned him a few points towards that category as well. I also gave him the highest possibly “clutch” batting rating, (a hitters performance with RISP) because he batted a monstrous .325 with RISP last season. I expect Turner to be one of the best batters in the league next season, if he hits lefties with more regularity.
COREY SEAGER, SHORTSTOP
Corey was the newest phenom in L.A. last year and with good reason. He smashed RHP, batting .334 with 21 homers and was plenty serviceable vs LHP. He was the best hitter in the Dodgers lineup last season, earning him the first Rookie of the Year award by a Dodger since Todd Hollandsworth won it 20 years ago.
The only blemish on his game would have to be his defense at shortstop. With his large frame, it’s long been expected that he will inevitably make the change to third or second base, but until then, he will be just fine where he is up the middle.
RICH HILL, STARTING PITCHER
Rich Hill should have been a Cy Young winner in the A.L. last season, but when he was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline, that immediately made Rick Porcello the favorite to win the award. There is no doubt though that Hill was the most crucial player during the postseason last year, delivering a huge shutout loss to the Cubs in the NLCS that gave the Dodgers the 2-1 lead in the series.
His control and break on all of his pitches were increased and a cutter was added to his arsenal, thanks to Kershaw showing him how to use it. Still though, he will be 37 years old next season. Much older than most players looking to compete as one of the best hurlers in the league. Should his blister problem remain dormant, I left his potential at ‘B’ because there is no doubt that when his stuff is on point, he spins a lot of batters into the ground.
Those were my most noteworthy adjustments to the Dodgers roster. Next are a few more with a couple of notes pertaining to which traits I made changes to.
YASIEL PUIG, OUTFIELDER
Puig continues to confuse everyone. Behavioral problem? Yes. Painfully inconsistent? Yes, but this kid plays with
passion. If there were a way to measure the intangibles, Puig would be one of the best in the league. Unfortunately, stats on paper is all we have to go by. He batted just above .260 vs both RHP and LHP, but only hit 11 homers all year. His defense is still superior, but if he doesn’t start performing, his potential and overall ratings will continue to drop.
YASMANI GRANDAL, CATCHER
Yasmani hit just over .220 against both RHP and LHP, but demolished righties, hitting all 27 of his homers against them. Scouts suggest that the switch hitter hits for more average on the right side of the dish, but with only a 5 point difference discerning his left from right, I’d expect him to drop the switch hitting gimmick and continue to mash as a left-handed hitter.
JOC PEDERSON, OUTFIELDER
Joc earned himself some positive adjustments as he boosted his .210 batting average in ’15 to a much better .246 in ’16. His impressive power remained the same, however it all comes against RHP. Last year, he hit all but one of his homers vs righties. Hopefully, he’ll remain along this trajectory, which is why I left his potential where it is at an ‘A.’
ANDREW TOLES, OUTFIELDER
Toles was probably the toughest player to consider out of the rest. He burst onto the scene late last season and became quite the X-factor for the Dodgers late in the pennant race. In 48 games, he batted .314 with an OPS of .870. However, the scouting report on him is out now and we will find out if he has what it takes to stay in the show in 2017. He still remains a promising young talent, so I left his potential at a ‘B.’
So those are some of my player ratings based all solely on my opinion, with my opinion based on observations and stats. I hope this was a fun read for all of you. Perhaps I’ll see some of you at the store on March 28th when MLB: The Show ’17 drops!