Your 2020 MLB predictions (UPDATED FOLLOWING ANGELS-DODGERS-RED SOX-TWINS DEAL)

Photo: Anthony Moretti 28May2016

UPDATED (Feb. 5, 2020) following Boston-Los Angeles (times two)-Minnesota trade

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST: Atlanta, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Miami: The monster trade has no direct effect on this quintet of teams and the order in which they are predicted to finish. The top four teams might be separated by fewer than 10 games when the regular season is over. The guess here is Atlanta remains the most complete team despite losing third baseman Josh Donaldson to free agency.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL: St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh: The other division not directly involved in the deal. Another quartet of teams that seem incapable of gaining too much of a lead on the others. Perhaps a significant deal in July makes the difference? If Chicago trades third baseman Kris Bryant, this division takes on a different complexion.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST: Los Angeles, San Diego, Arizona, Colorado, San Francisco: If the Dodgers were capable of winning more than 100 games in the regular season and the World Series after that, imagine how many games they might win now. Joc Pederson became spare parts; that’s how good this team is. By 2021 the two best clubs in the National League might be roughly 120 miles apart.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST: New York, Tampa Bay, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore: Boston goes from an outside-chance-of-grabbing-a-wild-card-spot team to one that will struggle to win more than 85 games with Mookie Betts and David Price in Los Angeles. New York was a beast before adding pitcher Gerrit Cole. Tampa Bay always seems to play second fiddle to a division rival; this year will be no different.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL: Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit: Minnesota picked up a quality starter, with experience in the post season as a reliever, for someone who might be a back end starter. Not bad. The Twins are eager to prove 2019 was no fluke, while the Indians are regressing little by little. The White Sox are lurking, but might be one season away from breaking out.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST: Houston, Oakland, Los Angeles, Texas, Seattle: The LA-area might wind up with two playoff teams after all. Pederson alone does not vault the Angels into the playoffs, but the front office has positioned this team to contend in a challenging division. Houston remains the class of this division, and bringing in Dusty Baker to manage for one year was a brilliant move.

NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:

WILD CARD: Washington over New York. The champs are not quite ready to surrender their crown, while the Mets replace the Padres from my original predictions. San Diego must face Betts perhaps as many as 18 times during the regular season; and with a handful of teams bunched as tightly as expected for the wild cards, Betts contributes to which team gets in.

DIVISIONAL ROUND: Los Angeles over Washington; Atlanta over St. Louis. More like the revenge round, as last year’s losers become this year’s winners.

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: Los Angeles over Atlanta. No how, no chance, no way the Dodgers don’t get back to the World Series in 2020. They were already the class of the National League before acquiring one of the top three outfielders in the game. The Braves are in a pack of about 5 teams that don’t appear good enough to beat Los Angeles.

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:

WILD CARD: Tampa Bay over Oakland. In a one-game playoff series, any one play can make the difference. Tampa Bay makes it. Betts out of the East improves the Rays chances of hosting this game.

DIVISIONAL ROUND: New York over Tampa Bay; Houston over Minnesota. The Yankees’ front office didn’t invest $1.3-gazillion to lose to the Rays. Houston denies Minnesota another playoff run, but the Twins won’t get crushed like they have in the recent past.

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: New York over Houston. Admit it: You want this. These are the two most hated teams in all of baseball. You want a 7-game series in which each game goes about 20 innings so that the winner has nothing left for the World Series.

WORLD SERIES

Los Angeles over New York. For once, Clayton Kershaw doesn’t choke. For once, a Dodger batter becomes a hero, and, who knows, it might be Betts. For once, Dave Roberts doesn’t get second guessed. And 1988 is banished from the city’s memory once and for all. The Yankees immediately plot their 2021 revenge by offering Betts about $400-million to join them, but there is no trash can banging in Houston.

<><><><>

ORIGINAL POST (Feb 1, 2020):

It’s February, which means a man’s thoughts turn to…

BASEBALL!

(Not sure what you were thinking, so we’ll move on.)

Here are my 2020 Major League Baseball predictions*. (Yes, there’s an asterisk; because if one team makes a major trade or a top-line player goes down with an injury in spring training, then I might need to reassess what I have here.

Photo: Anthony Moretti 28May2016

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST: Atlanta, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Miami: The top four teams might be separated by fewer than 10 games when the regular season is over. The guess here is Atlanta remains the most complete team despite losing third baseman Josh Donaldson to free agency.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL: St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh: Another quartet of teams that seem incapable of gaining too much of a lead on the others. Perhaps a significant deal in July makes the difference? If Chicago trades third baseman Kris Bryant, this division takes on a different complexion.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST: Los Angeles, San Diego, Arizona, Colorado, San Francisco: The National League’s best team continues to reside in Southern California (yes, I know what happened last October), and by 2021 the two best clubs in this league might be roughly 120 miles apart.

Photo: Anthony Moretti, 09Aug2017

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST: New York, Tampa Bay, Boston, Toronto, Baltimore: This might be the easiest division to pick from top to bottom. New York was a beast before adding pitcher Gerrit Cole. Tampa Bay always seems to play second fiddle to a division rival; this year will be no different.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL: Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit: The Twins are eager to prove 2019 was no fluke (and perhaps they can avoid New York in the playoffs for once?), while the Indians are regressing little by little. The White Sox ought to be more than respectable this year.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST: Houston, Oakland, Texas, Los Angeles, Seattle: Houston remains the class of this division, and bringing in Dusty Baker to manage for one year was a brilliant move. Oakland and Texas have legitimate playoff aspirations in part because the Angels can’t seem to put all the pieces together.

Photo: Anthony Moretti, 20Jun2018

NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:

WILD CARD: Washington over San Diego. The champs are not quite ready to surrender their crown, while the Padres move one year closer to being a really dangerous team.

DIVISIONAL ROUND: Los Angeles over Washington; Atlanta over St. Louis. More like the revenge round, as last year’s losers become this year’s winners.

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: Los Angeles over Atlanta. No how, no chance, no way the Dodgers don’t get back to the World Series in 2020. They might not have progressed that much in the off season, but the other elite teams took at least one step backward.

Photo: Anthony Moretti, 09Aug2017

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS:

WILD CARD: Tampa Bay over Oakland. In a one-game playoff series, any one play can make the difference. Tampa Bay makes it. Oh, and there are about 10,000 people in the stadium to watch it.

DIVISIONAL ROUND: New York over Tampa Bay; Houston over Minnesota. The Yankees’ front office didn’t invest $1.3-gazillion just to lose to the Rays. Houston hands Minnesota another quick October exit.

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES: New York over Houston. Admit it: You want this. These are the two most hated teams in all of baseball. You want a 7-game series in which each game goes about 20 innings so that the winner has nothing left for the World Series.

Photo: Anthony Moretti 28May2016

WORLD SERIES: Los Angeles over New York. For once, Clayton Kershaw doesn’t choke. For once, a Dodger batter becomes a hero. For once, Dave Roberts doesn’t get second guessed. And 1988 is banished from the city’s memory once and for all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.