With one week remaining in the month of January it’s time to lay MLB 17 The Show to rest for the year, it was a great run but I need a month or two off before jumping into 2018. Despite having a rage filled tumultuous relationship with this game at times, I actually did love playing online in abbreviated games. Meaning I’m not a full 9 innings guy, I can’t do it, my attention span isn’t there and it’s hard for me to grind out a game that long. I love Battle Royal (3 innings) and I loved the events with shortened game lengths (6 innings). And so with those modes I accumulated a ton of games played and got to experience a wide array of players. I had my favorites and my favorites weren’t the obvious choices. I loved Mike Trout, Jose Altuve and all of the Ken Griffey Jr. cards but I was more excited (and relieved) when Brandon Belt was batting clean-up. And that’s where this post jumps off.
I want to memorialize those players who did an amazing job for me during online gameplay this year. I’m going to make it an annual tradition and I assure you my selections are all justified unlike the BBWA whose selections are less than spectacular. Sorry but I hated Jake Lamb so he’s not going to show up here.
Unfortunately The Show only tracks total statistics (offline + online) so a few players I’m going to have to disqualify due to inflated stats via Conquest mode against the computer. We can call it an offline PED asterisk. They had great online campaigns but I can’t quantify what the splits are so guys like Trout, Hosmer, Arenado and Turner will have to be removed from the voting. I will leave them on the ballot because I don’t want to erase their contributions to the game and to my team; unlike some in the BBWA who refuse to acknowledge the existence of any player linked to performance enhancing drugs.
So without further adieu, let’s get down to it. The 2017 Hall of Fame class is represented by ten total players, of which six are position players, two are starting pitchers and two are relief pitchers. I really wanted to distinguish between players and not just take who had the best cumulative stats. Roberto Osuna and Felipe Rivero were both amazing closers but only one should be enshrined as the best closer of this game. If one was used as a set-up man then that would be a different story.
I’ll give a quick two to three sentences per each player explaining why they deserve this honor and what they did to deserve it. The numbers on the screenshot speaks for themselves. If you want to see the total ballot you can see that at the bottom of the screen. There were some players who were destined for greatness but unfortunately didn’t have enough at-bats or innings pitched to qualify.
If there is one person to headline the class of 2017 it has to be All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury. He was tremendous in ’16 and somehow better in ’17. He hit for power, he hit for average and he was a lock for batting lead-off no matter what the event. Opponents would try and pitch Ellsbury up and him but his bat speed is exceptional and would turn on balls for power to right. His home run follow through is one of the best in the game. GOAT.
Steve Finley entered my team right before the Speedster event and that’s where he made his name batting third in my line-up. His power was uncanny and his clutch rating was through the roof. Many times Finley hit walk-off home runs with no doubters to right-center. His compact swing also made for great line drives back up the middle and opposite field gappers into left-center.
Initially Charlie Blackmon wasn’t on my radar despite being in my inventory very early in the game. I finished the Rockies set first to get the gold Tulo card but never found any use for Blackmon in an already loaded outfield. When the Speedster event came around it was the perfect opportunity to get Blackmon’s bat into the game but at 1st base. He was like a mini-Todd Helton most hitting for average but capitalizing with power when the pitcher made a mistake.
Chris Davis aka “Crash Davis” when he strikeouts and “Crush Davis” when he hits home runs was a critical piece of the Advantage Hitters event during Spring. Davis destroyed right handed pitching and when he gets a hold of one there’s no doubt it’s going over the fence. He has a high clutch rating (93) and his defense is better than advertised. He was the best diamond first baseman I used all year.
Normally I wouldn’t say a hitter batting .215 should make it into a Hall of Fame conversation but when you have 11 home runs in 79 at-bats for a guy strictly being used in Battle Royal that’s a pretty phenomenal feat. Time and time again he would have clutch home runs against difficult pitchers like Billy Wagner, Aroldis Chapman or Carter Capps. Seager also had a very reliable glove at third base which was a pleasant surprise.
Brandon Belt was easily my favorite player in MLB 17 The Show. As you can see by the numbers below he was absolutely a killer at the plate. Almost every at-bat was a home run or extra base hit. Racking up a 2.063 OPS is ridiculous. I feel like there was no cold zone in Belt’s swing, every swing felt like it squared the ball up perfectly. Brandon Belt was my Jake Lamb, he felt over powered in every way and I loved it.
My biggest learning in MLB The Show was velocity isn’t everything. Sure it helps to have a pitcher who can throw gas but in the end it’s all about placement, changing speeds and being unpredictable. Ian Kennedy was perfect because the range of his pitches and speeds left the hitter guessing. His Vulcan change-up was filthy and would enhance his fastball that was otherwise pedestrian. Kennedy had great stamina and good control allowing me to throw two complete game shut-outs in ranked seasons games.
I don’t know what it is about Justin Nicolino but when he was on the mound I pitched like Tom Glavine in his prime. He doesn’t have over powering velocity (90 mph fastball), he doesn’t have insane break on his pitches but yet the numbers below are incredible. He was my “go-to” guy in Battle Royal. Every time he stepped on the mound he got me a victory. He never allowd a run, he barely allowed any hits. I could command any pitch, in any location and that makes for success nine times out of ten.
As I mentioned earlier I had two lights-out closers, a righty and a lefty, Roberto Osuna and Felipe Rivero. The stats were close but in the end I’m giving the edge to Osuna because of his sub 1.00 ERA and his lack of blown saves. Osuna’s slurve is such a nasty pitch (on par with Dellin Betances) especially when you learn how to throw it backdoor to lefties. When you have five A+ pitches with a wide range of speed and high movement that gets you enshrined into my Hall of Fame.
I had never heard of Koda Glover but when the Advantage Hitters event came around he was a staple coming out of the bullpen. I used him in a closer role, a set up man role, a stopper role. He was a swiss army knife of that event. In the process he picked up 10 wins and 16 saves with a great WHIP and respectable ERA. Glover’s slider was filthy against righties and his 10 mph difference in pitches (97 mph fastball to 87 mph change-up) kept hitters on their heels.