With spring training right around the corner, get ready for the 2020 MLB season with headlines, predictions and more.
The MLB world is packing for Florida and Arizona as spring training is less than two weeks away.
Heading into the new MLB season, there is high anticipation as several teams have playoff-caliber rosters, familiar faces are in new places and the fall out from a major scandal will play out on the field rather than the tabloids.
In this preview, we will look at the five biggest headlines entering the season, make record predictions for each team, postseason predictions and player award predictions.
A first look at new rule changes
There will be a handful of new look rules when teams’ take the field this season, starting with a change in the size of rosters.
MLB has expanded the 25-man roster to 26 with a rule limiting teams’ to only carry 13 pitchers. There also will be no 40-man roster expansion in September as instead rosters will increase to just 28.
While these rules seem to be universally agreed on, one new rule not as popular is forcing relief pitchers to face three batters.
This will eliminate each teams’ left-handed specialist or ability to mix and match.
Gerrit Cole in Pinstripes
Arguably the most dominant pitcher in all of baseball will be wearing a new uniform this season as Gerrit Cole inked a record setting nine-year $324 million deal with the Yankees this offseason.
With Cole leaving the Houston Astros for New York, the Yankees will enter 2020 as favorites in the American League instead of Houston, who has won 100 or more games each of the last three seasons.
Watching Cole in the pinstripes he’s dreamed of wearing since his childhood days, will be a storyline each time he takes the mound as the baseball world looks to asses whether not he will be worthy of his massive contract.
The loaded NL Central
On paper, there’s no better division in baseball than the National League Central.
The Cardinals are the defending division champions and reached the NLCS last season, Milwaukee is fresh off back to back playoff appearances, the Cubs still have Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo and the Reds went out and added Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas to an already loaded lineup.
With four teams having a legitimate chance to win the division, it should be a fascinating race all summer long.
How will the Astros respond to sign stealing scandal?
Despite several free agent signings, the biggest offseason storyline was the fall out from the 2017 Astros sign stealing scandal. This led Houston to move on from manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. It also saw former Astro bench coach and Red Sox manager Alex Cora to lose his job in Boston.
Now, the Astros will look to pick up the pieces and prove their 2017 world series title and recent success wasn’t all due to cheating. They’ll also likely have to deal with teams taking the business into their own hands with pitchers potentially throwing at hitters often.
When the Astros play, it’ll be must see T.V. in 2020 as crowds, opposing teams and the Houston players themselves continue to react to the fallout of the scandal.
What teams can shock the world?
Nearly every season, there’s a surprise team that takes the MLB by storm. In 2019 it was the Minnesota Twins who came out of seemingly nowhere to win 101 regular season games and take the American League Central from the three-time defending division champion Indians.
Who will it be in 2020? Perhaps the Reds or White Sox who both had busy offseasons or the Blue Jays who have one of baseball’s best young offensive cores and bolstered their rotation during the winter.
Whether it’s these three teams or someone else, it’s almost a guarantee someone will emerge as a surprise team.
- New York Yankees 105-57
- Tampa Bay Rays 96-66 *
- Toronto Blue Jays 81-81
- Boston Red Sox 80-82
- Baltimore Orioles 58-104
- Minnesota Twins 97-65
- Cleveland Indians 88-74
- Chicago White Sox 83-79
- Kansas City Royals 67-95
- Detroit Tigers 54-108
- Houston Astros 100-62
- Oakland A’s 95-67 *
- Los Angeles Angels 83-79
- Texas Rangers 78-84
- Seattle Mariners 70-92
- Washington Nationals 94-68
- Atlanta Braves 93-69 *
- Philadelphia Phillies 88-74
- New York Mets 82-80
- Miami Marlins 62-100
- Milwaukee Brewers 92-70
- St. Louis Cardinals 90-72
- Cincinnati Reds 85-77
- Chicago Cubs 80-82
- Pittsburgh Pirates 70-92
- Los Angeles Dodgers 101-61
- Arizona Diamondbacks 92-70 *
- San Diego Padres 81-81
- Colorado Rockies 77-85
- San Francisco Giants 73-89
AL Wildcard Game
Rays over A’s
NL Wildcard Game
Diamondbacks over Braves
Yankees over Rays in 4
Twins over Astros in 5
Diamondbacks over Dodgers in 5
Nationals over Brewers in 4
Yankees over Twins in 5
Nationals over Diamondbacks in 5
Yankees over Nationals in 7
Getting back to the world series is extremely difficult, but the Nationals have the roster to do it.
They have three of baseball’s best pitchers in their starting rotation, a young lineup led by superstar Juan Soto and an improved bullpen.
The Yankees arguably have baseball’s most complete roster and with the Astros plagued by a scandal should finally to get past them for the pennant.
That would set up an epic world series bound for seven games. Due to the Yankees having a slightly more complete roster, they’re my pick to win it all in 2020.
AL Rookie of the Year: Evan White, Seattle Mariners
NL Rookie of the Year: Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals
AL Cy Young: Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay Rays
NL Cy Young: Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
AL MVP: Matt Chapman, Oakland A’s
NL MVP: Juan Soto, Washington Nationals