Blake Snell guided the virtual Tampa Bay Rays to a 24-5 regular-season record in the MLB The Show Players League, a mark that has clinched the No. 1 seed for the league playoffs.
He’ll be joined by seven other MLB stars in the postseason, which will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN 2, and FS1.
Snell, Gallo Lead the Players League Pack
Snell finished one game ahead of Joey Gallo, who went 23-6 with the Texas Rangers to grab the No. 2 seed. Toronto’s Bo Bichette, New York Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil, Baltimore’s Dwight Smith Jr., and Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs have also clinched playoff spots.
Happ enjoyed a particularly exciting stretch run to end his regular season. He won 10 of his final 11 games to go from a mediocre 9-9 mark to a 19-10 finish. Thanks to tiebreakers, Happ has clinched a playoff spot, though his final seeding isn’t yet clear.
— Ian Happ (@ihapp_1) April 28, 2020
Two games remain in the MLB The Show Players League regular season, both of which will be aired live on ESPN 2 on Wednesday evening. First, Lucas Giolito (18-10) and the Chicago White Sox will take on Amir Garrett (17-11) and the Cincinnati Reds.
That’s followed by a matchup between Tommy Kahnle (18-10) of the New York Yankees going to bat against the Houston Astros piloted by Lance McCullers Jr. (14-14). Both Kahnle and Giolito can make the playoffs with wins, while if both lose, one of four teams with 11 losses will grab the final playoff position.
Playoff Series to Air on ESPN, FS1
The Players League playoffs begin on Friday with two of the four quarterfinal matchups on FS1. On Saturday, ESPN 2 will show the final two quarterfinals along with the first semifinal. The second semifinal will be shown on FS1 that evening while Sunday’s championship series will air on ESPN.
The first two rounds of the playoffs are best-of-three series, while the championship will be a best-of-five affair.
The @MLBTheShow Players League has been a blast.
Here are some of our favorite reactions so far. 😂 🔊 pic.twitter.com/7ChlSKCC18
— MLB (@MLB) April 27, 2020
The MLB The Show Players League has proven successful. Most players say they’ve enjoyed the regular season and would participate again if they get the opportunity. The three-inning format has led to plenty of drama and walk-off wins. Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants says the game even reinforces pitch recognition and timing at the plate – though it’s the comradery that has made the league particularly fun.
“It makes you feel like you’re playing baseball,” Pence said during MLB’s Monday night stream of the league. “The game’s amazing, and there’s a connection and a bond that we’ve built with all the players in this league. It’s just really cool to be a part of.”
The league will also benefit charity. MLB, the MLB Players’ Association, and Sony Interactive Entertainment are donating $5,000 to each team’s local Boys and Girls Club. The player who wins the championship will earn an additional $25,000 for his community’s Boys and Girls Club.
While sportsbooks don’t currently have odds posted for the Players League, Bovada initially installed Snell as a +550 favorite to win the event – a status he should retain given his regular-season success. Amir Garrett (+600) and Trevor May (+600) were the next choices, but both appear destined to narrowly miss the playoffs.