Yankees Boast Best Record in MLB Through One Month of Baseball-Reference's Simulation of 2020 Season

Max Goodman

The 2020 MLB season was originally scheduled to begin one month ago on Sunday. Instead of a jam-packed start to this year's campaign, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has left the baseball world dormant for the last 30-plus days. 

With countless fans longing to fill the void left behind by this season's postponement, several have turned to simulations for their daily baseball fix.

Among the sites to play out the season thus far is Baseball-Reference and a simulation powered by 'Out of the Park Baseball 21.' 

Through one full month – and 28 games played for the Yankees – New York boasts the best record in all of Major League Baseball. As of Saturday, the simulation has the Bombers at 19-9, good for a .679 win percentage (best among all 30 big-league teams). Only the Braves and Indians have 19 wins, while each of those two clubs have more than nine losses. 

So, how has this star-studded Yankees roster gotten to this point through the season's first month? Here's a breakdown of the club's top performers – on offense and on the mound – and two of the best games along the way...

Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela leading high-powered offense

In 28 games, New York has scored 168 runs. Sure, it's been a team effort – as eight different Bombers have over 20 hits so far – but these two specific individuals have been hitting the cover of the ball in this simulation.

First off, Gleyber Torres – in his first full season as the Yankees' starting shortstop – is putting up MVP numbers. The 23-year-old has started all but one of New York's games thus far, leading the team in practically every single offensive category. The shortstop has 36 hits – good for a .333 batting average.

Not only is he paving the way amongst his teammates, Torres is among the league's best with a bat in his hands. Torres has the second-best WAR among American League position players (1.6) and is tied for the second-most RBI in baseball (27).

His 10 home runs, 24 runs scored, 70 total bases, .648 slugging percentage and 1.059 OPS are all among the top-seven totals for each category in the game.

READ: Milestones for Gleyber Torres, Gerrit Cole, Aroldis Chapman we'll miss if this season is canceled due to the coronavirus

Factor in Torres' stellar start with how Gio Urshela has played through the first month of this sim season and it's fair to say New York has the best left side of the infield in the Majors. Urshela is hitting .325 (25-for-77) in 21 games played. It's his power stroke that's taken his game to the next level. 

Urshela is tied with a group of sluggers including Pete Alonso, Trevor Story and teammate Giancarlo Stanton with nine home runs (a deadlock for eighth most in baseball).

Since Urshela hasn't played every single day, his home run total is even more impressive. Every 8.6 at-bats he's gone yard – that's the best and most efficient rate in the league. He's also in first place with the best slugging percentage (.740) in the game.

If you're curious about how Aaron Judge has done so far, the Baseball-Reference simulation had him return from his rib injury just over one week ago. Here's an update on how he's produced since then, and how he singlehandedly helped New York secure a victory over Cleveland on Saturday:

An unlikely ace while Gerrit Cole takes care of business

Gerrit Cole's much-anticipated Yankees debut came on Opening Day in this simulated universe. After one month in a Bombers uniform, he's posted a 3.54 ERA in six starts to go along with his 2-1 record. Not too bad at all for the club's No. 1 starter. 

The true ace of the staff thus far, however, has been veteran southpaw J.A. Happ. The left-hander has yet to lose a decision, has a 3.58 ERA and a record of 3-0 in five appearances. He's twirled four quality starts along the way.

READ: J.A. Happ proved this spring after Luis Severino's injury that this club doesn't need to go out and get more starting pitching

Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and Jonathan Loaisiga – to go along with Cole – each have at least two victories. The rotation's final starter – Jordan Montgomery – has struggled, posting a 7.40 ERA in four stars.

Although Happ has been practically perfect on the mound, Cole is still taking care of business. The right-hander is leading baseball as of Saturday in strikeouts (60). When it comes to punch outs, after Cole, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Lucas Giolito, Walker Buehler and Jacob deGrom round out the top-six hurlers in descending order. 

Further, Cole has walked just four batters in 40 2/3 innings pitched. His spectacular strikeout-to-walk ratio (15.000) and average of base on balls per nine (0.885) are both far and away the best in MLB. 

In the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman has closed out seven simulated games while Adam Ottavino has yet to allow a run in nine appearances. With 10 2/3 innings pitched, Ottavino is tied for the longest stretch to start the year, with Tampa's Jose Alvarado, while maintaining a spotless ERA. 

Games of the month: 1 blowout and 1 walk-off homer

The Yankees have needed clutch hitting to seal a handful of their 19 victories. 

In an interleague game last week, with the Reds in town, New York found themselves down by two runs after Cincinnati dropped a three-spot in the top of the eighth inning. Torres chipped away at the deficit with an RBI single in the bottom half of the frame, driving home Tyler Wade. When the Reds' closer Raisel Iglesias entered the game in the bottom of the ninth, however, New York's chances to come back appeared bleak.

Forget the saying 'a bloop and a blast.' Mike Ford and Luke Voit provided back-to-back solo home runs before Cincinnati even got one out. Voit's blast clinched a 5-4 Bombers win.

Other times, New York's bats provide insurmountable leads over the club's opponents. 10 days ago, in the final contest of a six-game road trip, New York trounced the Texas Rangers by a score of 19-5. 

The Yankees scored in all but three innings, notching 19 hits and mashing six home runs.

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For more from Max Goodman, follow him on Twitter @MaxTGoodman. Follow ITP on Twitter @SI_Yankees and Facebook @SIYankees

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