The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put most of the sports world on hold outside of some isolated events and the upcoming online-based NFL Draft.
The extended downtime has allowed leagues and teams to get creative with the content and entertainment produced for their fans. The MLB and DraftKings partnered to produce one of the coolest examples of that this week as fans can follow along and gamble on the MLB Dream Bracket, presented by DraftKings. The bracket features 32 MLB teams compromised of the all-time greats going head-to-head in best-of-seven simulations run by the esteemed Out of the Park Baseball franchise and available to follow on MLB.com and Twitch.
If it wasn’t obvious by the name, DraftKings is running multiple contests and offering odds on many different props throughout the tournament. The first round finished on Tuesday, featuring a couple surprising upsets.
The all-time Marlins beat the all-time Braves easily, needing just five games to get by Atlanta’s daunting rotation. Jose Fernandez outdueled Greg Maddux twice in the series and the Marlins lineup led by Giancarlo Stanton scored a staggering 35 runs in five games. Another fairly surprising result was the all-time Giants falling to the Brewers in six games, though Milwaukee’s team is underrated in strength. Willie Mays dominated the series, but it wasn’t enough on his own.
All-time Yankees win in first round
The all-time Yankees are unsurprisingly the favorites in the competition, and they got by a tough opening-round draw by defeating the Mariners in six games. New York relied on its pitching mostly, as it allowed just 14 runs in six games and held Ken Griffey Jr. to 1-for-23 and seven strikeouts. The competition will continue on Thursday and Friday for the round of 16.
Expectedly so, the Yankees roster is stacked for this competition. The starting lineup is as follows:
C Yogi Berra, 1B Lou Gehrig, 2B Tony Lazzeri, 3B Alex Rodriguez, SS Derek Jeter, LF Mickey Mantle, CF Joe DiMaggio, RF Babe Ruth, DH Reggie Jackson.
The pitching staff is comprised of Whitey Ford, Andy Pettitte, Ron Guidry, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez, Waite Hoyt, Mel Stottlemyre, Mariano Rivera, Dave Righetti, Goose Gossage and Sparky Lyle.
Even the bench features Don Mattingly, Robinson Cano, and Roger Maris. It’s hard to find a weakness on that roster, and the outfield is terrifying to look at. Fans might be surprised to see Cano on the bench in favor of 1920s standout Lazzeri.
The Yankees’ virtual manager might want to look into Cano being the starter. Since ratings are produced from a three-year peak, Cano’s 2010-2012 seasons in New York are stronger than Lazzeri’s from a wRC+ and fWAR perspective. The slugging second baseman averaged a 142 wRC+ and more than 6 fWAR those three years.
One noticeable absence from the team is Aaron Judge. Though he’s been in the league for just three full seasons, his production from those years would be plenty to merit a spot on most rosters. He’s averaged 6 fWAR per season and has an impressive 152 wRC+.
But you definitely can’t start him in the outfield with Ruth, DiMaggio and Mantle patrolling their positions out there. A bench spot could’ve worked for Judge, but many teams would’ve loved to have a player of his quality starting.
Hall of Famer Mike Mussina is also missing from the Yankees roster, but he does find himself on the Orioles all-time team.
Mussina didn’t have his best years in New York, though he was still extremely productive – just not productive enough to make it over a loaded pitching staff.
Yankees Round of 16 matchup
The Yankees will face off against the Indians on Thursday in a best-of-seven series. Cleveland features a team with much more talent from the 90s onward compared to the historic Yankees. Some of those players include Victor Martinez, Jim Thome, Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Travis Hafner, Roberto Alomar, Kenny Lofton, Francisco Lindor, Cody Allen and Andrew Miller.