SimSeason: The 2015 Yankees, 162 games in the books

It’s episode five of our just-for-fun projection of the 2015 season, as run through the newest edition of Out of the Park Baseball, licensed by MLB.com. If you missed the first two posts, here’s our ground rules and what happened in April, and here’s how May and June wentJuly and August followed, and yesterday we covered September. If you want to get in the driver’s seat for your own GM/managing experience, OOTP 16 is available now for PC and Mac.

As I said in the previous entry, this is a good time to promise to everyone reading that, yes, I stuck to the ground rules of the simulation and did not alter the settings to help the Yankees. This is just what happened. “You can’t predict baseball,” as John Sterling might say.

Checking In… Oct. 1, 2015

Greetings from New York CityHello from Yankee Stadium, where we have seen some incredible baseball in front of packed houses over the last few days. While it seems pretty assured that the Yankees will be playing in the postseason, ending their two-year drought, the division is still very much up for grabs. Joe Girardi keeps talking about how it is hugely important to win the division and not put yourself in a situation where you’re the second Wild Card, guaranteed only to extend your season for nine innings. We’ll know if they can hold off Tampa Bay and accomplish that goal soon. 

Let’s wrap the regular season…

In our 2015 season sim, Ivan Nova's solid Oct. 4 effort helped the Yankees lock up the American League East title.

In our 2015 season sim, Ivan Nova’s solid Oct. 4 effort helped the Yankees lock up the American League East title.

Michael Pineda came up huge on Oct. 1, holding the Red Sox to a run and five hits over seven innings as the Yankees clinched a playoff spot. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits as the Yanks improved to 86-73, one game up on the Rays. “The hard work doesn’t stop now, it’s only just beginning,” Ellsbury said. … Chase Headley and Stephen Drew homered Oct. 2 as the Yankees rolled to a 9-1 win over the Orioles at Camden Yards. Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of one-run ball, improving to 17-6 with a 3.17 ERA. …

CC Sabathia tossed a five-run clunker on Oct. 3 in Baltimore, chased in the third inning of the Yanks’ 6-2 loss as he fell to 9-16. New York and Tampa Bay were tied, 87-74, going into the season’s final day. …

Joe Girardi bypasses Nathan Eovaldi and pitches Ivan Nova on short rest on Oct. 4. The gamble pays off, as Nova hurls five solid innings and the Yanks beat the Orioles, 7-4, to clinch the American League East. Brett Gardner’s RBI single in the ninth inning off Brian Matusz provided the margin of victory, and Carlos Beltran added a two-run single.

With the Rays’ 2-1 loss to Toronto, here’s how the American League East finished:

x- NEW YORK  88-74 .543 --
z- Tampa Bay 87-75 .537 1
Toronto      77-85 .475 11
Boston       75-87 .463 13
Baltimore    65-97 .401 23

Let’s check back in on that Opening Day lineup:

Didi Gregorius enjoyed a solid debut campaign in pinstripes.

Didi Gregorius enjoyed a solid debut campaign in pinstripes.

Jacoby Ellsbury CF – 80 games, .261, 5 HR, 31 RBIs, 14 SB
Brett Gardner LF – 141 games, .249, 7 HR, 63 RBIs, 15 SB
Carlos Beltran RF – 91 games, .261, 9 HR, 37 RBIs,
Mark Teixeira 1B – 95 games, .206, 12 HR, 40 RBI
Brian McCann C – 138 games, .224, 22 HR, 76 RBI
Chase Headley 3B – 154 games, .232, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 12 SB
Alex Rodriguez DH – 108 games, .229, 12 HR, 36 RBI
Stephen Drew 2B – 116 games, .220, 6 HR, 29 RBI
Didi Gregorius SS – 134 games, .279, 7 HR, 62 RBI, 9 SB

Other contributors as the guys in the room start thinking about how to split up the playoff shares:

Garrett Jones (.232, 14 HR, 43 RBI in 410 at-bats), Slade Heathcott (.276, 3 HR, 24 RBI in 210 at-bats), Rob Refsnyder (.372, 1 HR, 15 RBI in 129 at-bats), Greg Bird (.246, 6 HR, 19 RBI in 134 at-bats), Chris Young (.193, 7 HR, 33 RBIs in 378 at-bats), John Ryan Murphy (.212, 2 HR, 8 RBI in 80 at-bats), Ramon Flores (.161, 2 HR, 4 RBI in 31 at-bats), Brendan Ryan (.168, 0 HR, 9 RBI in 131 at-bats).

So, yeah, if our ‘Brian Cashman’ could have made some moves at the Trade Deadline, he would have. 378 at-bats for Chris Young, and he didn’t even crack the Mendoza line? But, hey, they made it, thanks to the pitching and a 49-32 home record. They only scored 666 runs, 12th in the AL, and actually allowed 686 runs. Differentials be damned, I guess. Here’s a look at the biggest contributors on the pitching side:

Masahiro Tanaka — 34 starts, 17-6, 212.2 IP, 3.17 ERA
Michael Pineda — 33 starts, 14-10, 203.2 IP, 3.58 ERA
CC Sabathia — 33 starts, 9-16, 192.1 IP, 4.40 ERA
Nathan Eovaldi — 32 starts, 8-19, 174.2 IP, 5.62 ERA
Ivan Nova — 21 starts, 7-9, 122.1 IP, 4.27 ERA

Dellin Betances posted

Dellin Betances posted 35 saves and a 1.69 ERA in his first full season as the Yankees’ closer.

Dellin Betances — 64 IP, 10.0 K/9, 1.69 ERA, 35 SV
Andrew Miller — 62.1 IP, 10.4 K/9, 3.32 ERA, 2 SV
David Carpenter — 61 IP, 10.5 K/9, 2.95 ERA, 2 SV
Adam Warren — 76.2 IP, 6.6 K/9, 6.69 ERA, 4 SV
Justin Wilson — 67.1 IP, 8.8 K/9, 2.54 ERA, 3 SV
Esmil Rogers — 81.1 IP, 7.1 K/9, 4.54 ERA, 2 SV
Chase Whitley — 31.2 IP, 5.1 K/9, 2.27 ERA
Chris Capuano — 60.1 IP, 6.6 K/9, 4.48 ERA
Chasen Shreve — 22.2 IP, 11.1 K/9, 5.96 ERA

On to the postseason. Here’s how the Yankees set their roster…

PITCHERS (11): Betances, Carpenter, Eovaldi, Miller, Nova, Pineda, Rogers, Sabathia, Tanaka, Warren, Wilson.
CATCHERS (2): McCann, Murphy.
INFIELDERS (7): Drew, Gregorius, Headley, Jones, Refsnyder, Rodriguez, Teixeira.
OUTFIELDERS (5): Beltran, Ellsbury, Gardner, Heathcott, Young.

Joe Girardi brought the Yankees back to the postseason for the first time since 2012.

In our simulation, Joe Girardi handled injury problems and incorporated youth to steer the Yankees back to the postseason for the first time since 2012.

Remember back in the preseason, when I said ‘Joe Girardi’ must stick with the Opening Day lineup whenever possible? He’s got it, healthy and ready to go in October, so the vets will get the starting nods in the playoffs.

While we assume the Yanks were having workouts at the Stadium, the White Sox (87-75) beat the Rays (87-75) in the AL Wild Card playoff game and the Padres (90-72) beat the Reds (89-73) in the NL Wild Card playoff game.

The ALDS is thus set: the Yankees (88-74) will play the A’s (91-71) while the White Sox play the Tigers (101-61). In the NLDS, the Padres get the Dodgers (99-63) and the Nationals (95-67) face the Cardinals (97-65). See you in Oakland tomorrow.

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