Some people prefer to play exhibition games and others like to build franchises and control the operational side of things, but any way you slice it, player ratings in sports video games are a fun topic for debate.
Skill and talent level are completely subjective measures. Balancing statistics with personal observations isn’t an easy task, and we can’t really fault 2K Sports for any ratings we dislike in MLB 2K13. Still, ratings have a widespread effect on overall gameplay in every game mode, so there are going to be some strong opinions on the matter.
Let’s take a look at some of the players with questionably low ratings. Some will agree and others will disagree, but like 2K Sports, we’re all entitled to our own opinions on player evaluation.
*Ratings courtesy of OperationSports.com.
Hanley Ramirez: Los Angeles Dodgers (83)
Ramirez didn’t hit better than .257 either of the last two seasons, but prior to that span, the 29-year-old shortstop hadn’t batted under .300 since 2006 (.292). In 2009, Ramirez compiled a .342/24/106 season, and I don’t think his talent level has declined so much that he can’t at least match those home run and RBI totals this season.
Now that the turmoil in Miami is behind him, Ramirez is in a position to put together a strong campaign this year. One of the best five-tool players in the league, MLB 2K13’s 83 rating for the infielder is a little confounding.
It’s understandable that a lot of ratings are reliant on statistics from prior seasons, but Ramirez hasn’t declined enough to warrant such a low rating. He’s still one of the top shortstops in the league, and it seems like a 90-plus rating would be much more appropriate.
Josh Johnson: Toronto Blue Jays (83)
Another victim of Miami’s terrible front-office management, Johnson was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays this offseason in a package that included Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle. In return, Toronto sent the Marlins a box of baseballs and a thank-you card.
Almost no one played well in Miami last season, and Johnson’s 8-14 record surely played a part in his subpar rating in the game. Still, he won 26 games in 2009 and 2010 combined, and his ERA (2.30) and WHIP (1.11) in 2010 are nothing to sneeze at.
With a strong rotation and a ton of firepower in its lineup, Toronto looks like one of the best teams in the majors this year. Johnson won’t have to be “the guy” at the front end of the rotation, and I don’t expect him to tally anything less than 15 wins in 2013. A sub-3.00 ERA isn’t out of the question, either.
Jason Kipnis: Cleveland Indians (78)
It’s not so much that Kipnis deserves a 90-plus rating, but 78 is a little low. His rating also proves how off-base Ramirez’s grade is.
The Indians’ second baseman broke onto the scene in 2012, putting together one of the best first halves of any middle infielder in baseball. Kipnis tailed off considerably in the second half, but his finals stats don’t accurately represent his talent.
With only one full season at the MLB level, there’s reason to believe Kipnis can be a perennial All Star at his position.
The 25-year-old didn’t finish the 2012 season with a high average (.257), but 14 home runs, 76 RBI, 22 doubles and 31 stolen bases are quality stats from a middle infielder who also gets it done with his glove.
I can’t fault 2K Sports for rating Kipnis based on his one season in the majors, but his stats didn’t accurately represent his talent. A rating in the mid-80s would have been more appropriate.
Albert Pujols: Los Angeles Angels (93)
Call me crazy, but there’s no way Pujols should be rated anything less than a 97.
After moving to Los Angeles prior to last season, Pujols struggled to find his rhythm in the American League. One slow start and a quality finish later, Pujols ended the year with a .285/30/105 stat line.
Excluding 2012 and 2011 (.299), the best right-handed hitter in baseball never hit less than .312, and he never drove in fewer than 103 runs. At 33 years old, it’s hard to believe Pujols is anywhere close to declining.
This seems like an overreaction to a couple down years, but down years for Pujols are All Star-caliber seasons for anyone else. He’ll bounce back in 2013 and prove once again he is the best first baseman in the game. There’s a good chance at least one midseason update will hold a major ratings increase for Pujols.