The 2020 MLB season will be much different than any other. First, every team only plays 60 games; 40 inter-division and 20 against their National or American League counterparts (i.e. the East divisions play each other, the Central divisions play each other, and the West divisions play each other). Secondly, this season takes place during the largest pandemic since the early 20th century. Players will miss games if they get sick or injured, and those absences could be at least 15-20% of the regular season. Thirdly, this season takes place after a long-winded debate between players and the MLB/owners on a 2020 agreement in the current situation, which could cause shockwaves in the negotiations of the 2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement. Finally, there will be no fans. Queue the Cubs fan jokes to White Sox fans. This series of events will lead to an interesting outcome for the season and playoffs. Will some people label this champion with an asterisk? I would think this season would be a bit more valid than the Astros championship in 2017, but that's just me. Let's get to the predictions.
- Tampa Bay Rays
- New York Yankees
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Boston Red Sox
- Baltimore Orioles
Everyone is touting the Yankees to make a World Series run this year with the addition of Gerrit Cole. I believe they will make the playoffs, but with the management of Kevin Cash and the Rays' front office, I think Tampa Bay takes the division title. The Blue Jays have enough young bats to offset an otherwise weak rotation. The Red Sox have just announced that Eduardo Rodriguez will be out for the first part of the season. Couple that loss with Chris Sale undergoing Tommy John surgery and the Red Sox will fall. The Orioles have a bit of talent in the organization, but still expect them to finish at the bottom of the division.
- Minnesota Twins
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
- Kansas City Royals
- Detroit Tigers
The Minnesota Twins fortified an already strong rotation with Kenta Maeda this offseason, in case people forgot. Expect them to take the Central, but the up-and-coming White Sox should follow shortly after due to the progression of Luis Robert, Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal, and Reynaldo Lopez. Michael Kopech opted out of the 2020 season, but the Sox have enough firepower to finish toward the top of the division standings. Cleveland has not lost much over the past year. The Royals and Tigers are going to have rough seasons yet again. In due time, their farm systems will grow stronger due to landing higher draft picks in the past few years.
- Oakland Athletics
- Houston Astros
- Los Angeles Angels
- Texas Rangers
- Seattle Mariners
The wild wild west is unbearably tough. You could see both AL Wild Card teams come from this division due to a bolstered Rangers' pitching rotation and a dangerous Angels' lineup. The A's have a youthful, exuberant rotation. That should work in a shortened season with Jesus Luzardo. A.J. Puk will begin the season on the Injured List but could hopefully be back for them. The Astros are still strong, even without the trash cans. Outside of the Mariners, this division is truthfully up for grabs, and baseball fans should rejoice for the parity.
- Atlanta Braves
- Washington Nationals
- Philadelphia Phillies
- New York Mets
- Miami Marlins
The reigning champion Nationals lose a bit of steam with Anthony Rendon going to the AL, but their rotation is still fantastic. Look for the young Braves, led by Ronald Acuna, Jr., to take the cake over the Nationals this season (yes, I've seen the videos all over the internet). The Phillies are a solid group as well. They have the best catcher in the game, but the back-end of the rotation is a bit flawed. The Mets have the arms, but I do not see them overtaking the throne in the East. The Marlins are young, but they are not there yet.
- Cincinnati Reds
- St. Louis Cardinals
- Chicago Cubs
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Pittsburgh Pirates
The Reds had the best offseason in the MLB. They gained Nick Castellanos, Wade Miley, Mike Moustakas, Travis Jankowski, Pedro Strop, Shogo Akiyama, and Freddy Galvis. This team should steal the crown in the Central. The Cardinals have a solid rotation, but the loss of closer Jordan Hicks, who opted out of the 2020 season, might hinder their chances later in games. The Cubs have enough left in the tank, but that tank is pointing closer and closer to the "E" sign with the front office indicating a rebuild may be in order in the next year or so. The Brewers are over-the-hill. They still have Christian Yelich and the lineup is decent, but that rotation is brutal. In a shortened season, however, the Brewers more than likely will employ the opener to make up for their shortcomings. The Pirates will have a tough time with the rest of the opponents here. The outfield, needless to say, looks like it could be that of a AAA team.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- San Diego Padres
- Colorado Rockies
- San Francisco Giants
The Dodgers could win the World Series. They have no holes, but David Price opted out of the 2020 season. Mookie Betts is one of the best players in the league and he'll make this already great team even better. The Diamondbacks have a solid rotation for a hitter-friendly park, which will be critical. Ketel Marte is sneakily one of the best players in the MLB. Adding Kole Calhoun and Starling Marte to the outfield was a great move. If Starling Marte does not return in 2020 due to the passing of his wife, that would be understandable, though. The Padres have depth. Chris Paddack is phenomenal and Manny Machado and Tommy Pham will be great. The Rockies and the Giants round off a tough bottom of the division. They both have their bright spots, but neither are leaping over the other three teams in the division.
AL MVP – Mike Trout
Mike Trout is possibly the greatest player ever. I expect him to continue shining in the shortened season and perhaps lead the Halos to their first postseason appearance since 2014.
NL MVP – Juan Soto
I was going to ride with a surprise Ketel Marte selection here. But after watching Juan Soto burst onto the scene, especially in the 2019 playoffs, I believe the Nationals' young star will bring home MVP honors. He's renowned as one of the youngest, most clutch athletes around, and it could very well come full circle in 2020. Soto will mash yet again and earn proper recognition in the process.
AL Cy Young – Tyler Glasnow
This fireballer is going to propel the Rays into the 2020 playoffs after an injury-dampened 2019 campaign. Glasnow was fantastic during the time he was healthy.
NL Cy Young – Jacob deGrom
deGrom is the best pitcher in the MLB and deserves all of the attention he can get with how much Mets fans have gone through in recent years.
AL Rookie of the Year – Luis Robert
Robert will burst onto the scene with the White Sox this season. He is a true 5-tool player who will make an impact at the MLB level right away.
NL Rookie of the Year – Gavin Lux
The Dodgers are the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series, and Lux will be a big part of that. He's the Dodgers' top prospect for a reason.
AL Manager of the Year – Rick Renteria
The White Sox have a good chance of making the playoffs as they will only be playing teams in the AL and NL Central. They have a notably weaker schedule than most of the league. Renteria has a strong lineup to back this, and if the rotation is healthy, the Sox will gain him recognition.
NL Manager of the Year – David Bell
Bell is a calm manager, comparable to Aaron Boone for the Yankees. In his second season, he will finally have the artillery to make a run through the playoffs. The Reds are good. Bell will get his credit if they prove they are good.
AL Breakout Player – Willie Calhoun
The Rangers have a nice rotation, so that could help Calhoun get a bit more exposure. Calhoun was great in 2019, but he only played in 83 games. He hit 21 home runs, however, and that power will flash in a condensed 60-game season.
NL Breakout Player – Johan Camargo
Camargo was of negative value to the Braves last year, but he only logged 248 plate appearances. He was abysmal, but he is only 25 years old and has plenty of room to grow with the starting job.
AL Comeback Player – Chris Davis
If you recall in 2019, Davis went 0-for-54 at the beginning of the season. I expect a bounce-back for this guy, much like Adam Dunn from 2011 to 2012. They are both similar players: home run or strikeout, but I'd expect a bit more production from Davis.
NL Comeback Player – Wade Davis
Davis was always a consistent arm until he went up to the mountains. I expect him to bounce back with a tough team at least for a season.
2020 MLB Postseason
With the MLB pivoting to a 16-team playoff for the 2020 season, here are my revised postseason predictions.
Predicted winners are in bold.
AL First Round
- 1 Tampa Bay vs. 8 Cleveland
- 4 New York vs. 5 Houston
- 2 Minnesota vs. 7 Los Angeles
- 3 Oakland vs. 6 Chicago
NL First Round
- 1 Los Angeles vs. 8 Chicago
- 4 Washington vs. 5 Arizona
- 2 Atlanta vs. 7 Philadelphia
- 3 Cincinnati vs. 6 St. Louis
AL Second Round
- 1 Tampa Bay vs. 4 New York
- 2 Minnesota vs. 6 Chicago
NL Second Round
- 1 Los Angeles vs. 4 Washington
- 2 Atlanta vs. 6 St. Louis
- 2 Minnesota vs. 4 New York
- 1Los Angeles vs. 2 Atlanta
- Los Angeles vs. New York
There it is, folks. Baseball will finally be back on Thursday, July 23rd. Watch every game you can and soak it in because it has been too long. That is... if the MLB blackout restrictions allow.