MLB 2020 Predictions

Christopher Molinari '23

It’s finally happening. Recently, MLB teams have reported to spring training. With this comes the speculations and predictions from the MLB community. So, I decided to do the same thing. Throughout the  course of this article I will be going over my predictions based on players and statistics for the 2020 MLB playoffs including division winners and their records as well as each round of the playoffs and the amount of games each will take. 

 

Starting with the AL, we come over to the East. Considering how last year ended, you can obviously eliminate the Orioles. While they did acquire the best player out of college Adley Ruschtman, one extra piece can’t help a team as bad as them. The Red Sox will also have a down year, as they just traded away their best player Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers. There will, however, be three teams that have legitimate shots at PLAYOFF CONTENTION. Focus on the key word, playoff contention. While the Rays are coming off a strong 2019 campaign and the Blue Jays showing some surprising strength in their young talent (ie. Bo Bichette and Vlad Gurrero Jr.) they don’t stand a chance against the Yankees. The Yankees are far and away the best team in the division, even without the newly acquired Gerrit Cole. Now, with the shutdown ace, they will be practically unstoppable. So, I predict the Yankees will end with a record of 105-57, two games better than last year where they went 103-59. They really haven’t lost anyone too important except for Didi Gregorious, and they just got arguably the best free agent on the market in Gerrit Cole, so the strength of the overall team has improved. 

 

Moving over to the AL Central, it should be fairly interesting to see how this division plays out. The Tigers are arguably the worst team in the MLB and are an obvious choice for last place in the division, but the Indians, White Sox and Twins are all fairly good teams. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect the Indians to go anywhere, not without a decent outfield, but they should make things a little interesting for the Twins and the White Sox, who should both have strong squads this year and make good runs for the division title. While the White Sox do have Tim Anderson, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Abreu, and Yasmani Grandal, that just won’t be enough to vanquish the Twins, who are coming off a strong 2019 campaign and a regular season record of 101-61. They even set the single season home-run record for a team with 307(via Baseball Reference). I predict the Twins will end with a final record of 99-63, two games worse than last years record considering the increase in strength of the White Sox. 

 

To wrap up the AL, in the West, the Angels have definitely made what was formerly a two team division a three team division. In a trade that definitely took me by surprise, they snatched up Anthony Rendon, one of the best third basemen in the league last year. With Tommy LaStella having a breakout year  last year, clearly, they’re pushing all the chips into the pot. They will attempt to beat out the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics for the division. Even with the Angels strengthening this off-season and the Athletics coming off a strong year, I predict the Astros will still end up taking the division. Yes, they had the whole cheating scandal and believe me I was just as annoyed as anyone about that, considering they beat out the Yankees in two of the last three AL Championships. That being said, I think they still have the best shot at taking the division, as their lineup is still much better than everyone else’s in that division. So, the Astros will once again take the West with a record of 98-64.

 

So, for the AL Division winners we have the Yankees in the East, the Twins in the Central, and the Astros in the West. We still have two wildcards to go. So far, this list has been pretty boring, but these next two picks should spice things up a bit. For the first wild card spot, I have a pretty standard pick with the Tampa Bay Rays. They were really good last year, surprising a lot of people by taking the Astros to Game 5 of the ALDS. They will take the top wildcard spot with a record of 90-72. The second wildcard spot is a bit more interesting. Most people you ask will probably go on a whole spiel and drone on about how the A’s have superior pitching and Matt Chapman and whatever, but I pick the Angels for the second wildcard spot. Yes, I agree, the Angels are short on pitching. BUT, there is still a lot of time before the trade deadline and they will almost definitely pick up some pitching. Couple that with an offence that’s pretty dirty, you have a team that should not be slept on. The Angels will finish at 88-74, snatching up the second wildcard in the AL.

 

Now, for what is admittedly the more interesting league, the NL. In the NL East we have last seasons champs, the Washington Nationals. Their main competitors this year will most likely be Ronald Acuna and the Atlanta Braves, who battled the St. Louis Cardinals in five games last year in the NLDS. The Nationals are stacked, but I think their going to have a bad case of championship hangover. The Mets could also count this year but they still just don’t have the bullpen to win. Their offense is stacked and don’t even get me started on their ridiculous starting pitching, but that pesky bullpen blew way to many games last year. I shouldn’t talk about the Marlins because they suck and add nothing to this article, but it’s fun to bully them so here goes. They are soooo bad. If the Marlins win more than 50 games I will come to school in a spandex and a cape. The Phillies are are like cold black coffee, bland and boring. They bore me more than any team in the MLB. Not nearly good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to make fun of. Anyway, I predict the Nationals will repeat, stealing the division with a regular season record of 98-64. Even with the threat of championship hangover looming, Juan Soto will carry that team on his back like a fireman. He is an absolute stud and I have nothing but praise for him. Their starting pitching will be just as good with Mad Max Scherzer, Strasberg, and Corbin all returning to the mound. So yea, Nats take the division. 

 

Last year, in the central, the Cards took the division. They’re…interesting, to say the least. I’m extremely wishy washy on this division. The Cards are just…I don’t think they’re gonna cut it this year. They impressed me in one game last year and that was game five of the NLDS, but this year they won’t have enough to beat the Brewers. I love Paul Goldshmit I love Jack Flaherty, but I don’t see them beating the Brewers. Christian Yelich will carry that team to a division championship. He is an absolute stud he can hit for power and contact he can field he can run he can throw he is a five tool player and I can’t wait to see how his career blossoms in the future. As for the Cubs, I think they’ll just kinda’ be there this year. Just right smack in the middle of the road. I’m a hug Javy Baez fan I love the swagger and energy he brings to the game but they just don’t have a strong enough team to do much. So, the Brewers take the division with a record of 89-73.

 

Finally, for the NL West, if you can’t guess this pick then you need to read some more sports articles because it’s obvious. It is definitely, without a doubt, indubitably the Los Angeles Dodgers. Okay, Cody Bellinger? You know, that skinny guy with the really loopy swing and, oh yeah, last years NL MVP. Yeah, he’s amazing. He is so good I think every manager will consider intentionally walking him with the bases loaded. If you don’t, he will punish you. More accurately, he will punish the baseball. Probably will punish it about 450 feet. If I talked about every X factor on their roster this article would be about 20 pages, but I need to talk about Mookie Betts. Recently acquired from the Boston Red Sox, he will light up the field this year. I’m calling 40 home runs, 90 extra base hits, and an above .300 batting average. Next level play. Him and Bellinger will scare the living crap out of every opposing pitcher. Which leads me to Walker Beauler. Chika Chika. He’s lockdown, nothing else about it. Hitters, be scared. That’s my advice. So, I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Dodgers will take the division at 110-52. That’s right, best team in the MLB. 110 wins. Outstanding. Indubitably.

 

Now, for the wildcard. Boy, oh boy, how I loooove the wildcard. Two teams hanging on a thread of hope, both climbing, reaching towards the ledge that is the playoffs, dangling one thousand feet over the pit of lava that is regular season mediocrity. Only one can make it, but who? Well, there will be two teams on this rope, and one of those teams will be the Atlanta Braves. Let me just throw out a couple of names. Ronald Acuna. Freddie Freeman. Ozzie Albies. Need I continue? The second team is gonna be the St. Louis Cardinals. I know I said they don’t have it and I don’t think they do. Not enough to get the top spot, to be sure. But they’re still a good baseball team, and I think they’ll beat out the Arizona Diamondbacks for that wildcard spot. So, with the game set to be played at Suntrust Park out in Atlanta, we will be entertained with a slugfest of two giants. Two even teams battling it out.