Major League Baseball has hit it's toughest challenge yet, playing during a pandemic and making it seem like a normal 162-game season. With teams getting back into the mix for the season their have been several big name players dropping off and deciding that they will not be active participants in the upcoming season. Minor issues like these will provide the explanations for the remainder of this article in which we examine each division and predict who will be the champions of the divisions, wild card, and of course the World Series. Coming of a 2019 hot streak, will the Nationals retain the crown they were so desperate to achieve in 2019? Will Tim Anderson of the White Sox conquer and own the title he so deserves as the best shortstop in baseball? Where will the 2020 Blue Jays fair against baseball’s best in the American League East as they will have to contend with the Red Sox and Yankees. All of this and more coming directly to you in the next few paragraphs.
AL West: Astros
The Houston Astros despite being the residential cheaters of Major League Baseball are still one of the better teams in the American League. Their division consisting of the Mariners, Angels, Rangers, and the Athletics presents minor obstacles. The Athletics placed themselves in a good position last season making the Wild Card but they were unable to advance as they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Angels are enjoying the signing of Anthony Rendon from the Nationals but they still need more than this to simply compete for a World Series. However, I am looking forward to seeing more of Shohei Ohtani who will become an All-Star this year. The Rangers and Mariners will not be anything to write home about aside from the Rangers’ Joey Gallo continuing to play at a high level and what the Mariners rotation will do without Felix Hernandez who signed with the Braves. However, the fact remains that despite the cheating scandal that the Astros are still the team to beat in the division. Expect big things from Carlos Corea and Alex Bregman this year. Although, it is not appropriate to neglect Jose Altuve into this mix either. The Astros will most likely win this division by 7 plus games and none of the other teams in this division will post a wild card spot either.
AL East: Yankees
Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Giancarlo Stanton, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, need I say more. The Yankees will finally do it this year with the addition of Gerrit Cole. Cole, formally a member of the Astros, arrives in New York where it has been said that a struggling starting rotation is what has been keeping them away from the Fall Classic. Gerrit Cole who signed with the Yankees this offseason could be the answer. The Boston Red Sox will struggle this year without question. Losing Mookie Betts and David Price is going to hurt the Red Sox big time this year. However, in replacing Betts Alex Verdugo is something to look forward to. Being the next great Red Sox outfielder is a goal that Verdugo should strive to achieve. The Rays will be one of the teams that the Yankees will need to contend with but they too cannot compete with the star power of the Yankees. Losing Evan Longoria last season was huge blow to the Rays however they are still a team that could make a splash. The Baltimore Orioles will stay the same this season, Chris Davis needs to step his game up and the Orioles need to address issues all across the field on defense this season if they want to contend especially in this division. The Blue Jays are a team to watch out for, but not in the sense that they are competing for a World Series or a division title. Youth is what the Blue Jays have more than any other team in Major League Baseball. Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavin Biggio are probably one of the better youthful programs in the game where they will make fine All-Stars in the near future. This may or may not lead them to the playoffs this year but the goal should be to look for a playoff spot and then eventually grow into a World Series roster, they need to achieve what Jose Bautista’s Blue Jays could not complete.
AL Central: White Sox
The North Side Cubs present an obstacle that many need to contend with. The focus though on who will win the battle of Chicago will in fact go to the White Sox this year. The White Sox possess youth and one of the best infielders in the game. Tim Anderson is a leader in a loaded roster that the White Sox added to with pitcher Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel under produced with his short Braves tenure but with an extended stay with the White Sox Keuchel may be in his prime and become one of the best players in game. Another player that will definitely step up this year is first base dynamo José Abreau. Abreau had 33 Home Runs and a solid .284 batting average that sent him to his third All-Star appearance. As for the team that could challenge the White Sox for a title, the Indians present a large obstacle especially for Anderson as the Cleveland Indians have another great shortstop in Francisco Lindor. However, without Trevor Bauer and Yasiel Puig their will no doubt be an effect. Lindor may or may not be returning after this season. The Twins unfortunately will not repeat as division champions but as far as individual achievers they have Miguel Sanó at 3rd and Jorge Polanco at Shortstop each notable players in the American League. The Twins have a strong veteran rotation as well, but unfortunately this will not be their year to dominate the AL Central. The Royals will not be a contender either as they need more than Salvador Pérez to be a contender for a playoff spot. The Tigers are still in a rebuilding but possess strong veterans in Cameron Maybin and Miguel Cabrera. They will not however have a “Major League” worst to first resurrection.
Wild Card: Blue Jays-Indians
Toronto with the shortened season will do some good this year as we have previously mentioned with a youthful feel across the field. Vlad Jr. and Bo Bichette will be the All-Stars on this team that will play a role in a potential playoff run. As for the Indians, they will provide a powerful opening round matchup for the Blue Jays with Lindor. The Indians who will place second in the AL Central will face the Blue Jays in a winner takes all matchup that will have the winner collide with one of the other three teams in the playoffs.
NL West: Dodgers
This will probably be the shortest paragraph in this article. If the Dodgers do not win this division something was fixed within baseball. Cody Bellinger will play for the best team in baseball this season and provide himself with an MVP Award. The Dodgers will come out with the best record in baseball. If their was a year to prove that they belong in the conversation this is it because the previous two World Series that the Dodgers ended up in where terrible for them along with losing to the underdog Nationals in the Division Series. The Dodgers will need to finish the job this year. The Diamondbacks and Giants will not provide much excitement in this division as each will not be seeing the postseason anytime soon. The Colorado Rockies present a positive contender for the Dodgers, but Nolan Arenado’s potential final season with the Rockies will need to be special. The Rockies will have a winning record but will not be enough to win the West or attain a World Series. However, a Wild Card Spot is a realistic position. The Padres will not make any new surprises or splashes despite deep offensive production with Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer. They will improve on their 2019 record but again it will not be enough to win it into the playoffs.
NL East: Phillies
Bryce Harper will begin his quest to win the World Series with his new team. Philadelphia presents many expectations with the lineup featuring Andrew McCutchen, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto and they will not disappoint. The Phillies need to secure a playoff spot this year in order to make the Bryce Harper investment worth every penny. Harper needs to achieve the ultimate crown of baseball supremacy just as he did briefly with the Nationals. As for the World Series champions, the Nationals will remain just that the 2019 Champions, not the 2020 Champions. In adding, Patrick Corbin to the rotation last season the Nationals proved that they did not need Bryce Harper to win it all. Also, the Nationals hitting core led by Juan Soto and Trey Turner will be what keeps the Nationals in the conversation but not for a division title. The Braves will not improve this season despite Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuna Jr all prepping for an incredible 2020 season. The Braves were division champions by a mile last season and when it came to the playoffs they were knocked off by the Cardinals. Don’t look any further though because the Braves winning a division title is not their issue, winning a World Series is the issue for the Braves, they have more division titles in the AL East but one World Series title in the last 25 years. The Mets will be a team to watch but nothing to brag on as they added Marcus Stroman to their rotation but an aging Robinson Cano may be more of a problem than a solution. The Marlins will have nothing to offer in this conversation, at all, simple as that. The Marlins need to rebuild a lot quicker if they want to stand in this division.
NL Central: Brewers
Let’s be honest, the team that needs to be shamed for how they ended up in 2019. The Brewers expectations have never been higher with the hitting power of Christian Yelich and the pitching of Josh Hader. They massively underachieved as their Wild Card debacle ruined what was to be one of the most exciting seasons for the team in over a decade. Yelich signed a long-term extension in the offseason and the Brewers with his help will capitalize on his addition. The Cardinals are also a team that grossly underachieved in 2019. Winning the Division in 2019 was the highlight as the playoffs caused them to get swept by the eventual champions in the World Series. The Cardinals will need to provide Paul Goldschmidt with better postseason than his initial one. The Cardinals have large expectations ahead of them this season and their problem in the playoffs was not hitting, but fielding errors. The Cubs, Reds, and Pirates will be underachievers in this division as well as the division last season going into the All-Star break that the team in last place had just as much of a chance to win as the team in front. The Central will be a division that will be closely paid attention to as the division on a larger scale is extremely competitive.
Wild card: Nationals-Rockies
Nationals-Rockies will be the matchup to watch in the postseason as each team will present a worthy opponent to the Dodgers. The Rockies will need to play much better down the stretch leading to the playoffs as opposed to last season and the Nationals need to learn about life without Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals will most likely win this matchup and give themselves a strong chance to repeat.
World Series: Yankees-Dodgers
At the end of the season, the Yankees will play the Dodgers in the World Series for the 2020 championship rights. Gerrit Cole will get his chance to dominate unlike with the Astros in the 2019 series. The Dodgers will continue their winning ways into the playoffs and finish strong. The Yankees though will be too much for the Dodgers though who will lose in 7 games and a third World Series loss. The Yankees will capture their 28th title this year look forward to it.