Baseball Is Sort-Of Back

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Baseball is back.  The 2020 season is scheduled to start on July 23rd.  Every win and loss will be significant to each team, since each will play only 60 games this year. 

In previous articles I’ve stated my expectation that the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees will be playing in the 2020 World Series.  I haven’t, however, discussed any other teams’ chances of achieving success in the regular season and in the subsequent playoffs. 

The Minnesota Twins.  While many sports fans expect the Chicago White Sox or the Cleveland Indians to win the American League’s Central Division, my take is that the Twins will take the divisional title.  In 2019, Minnesota was the Central Division champion by a wide margin, having finished 101-61. 

Last year the Twins posted the second-best team batting average in all of Major League Baseball.  Their team Earned Run Average, ERA, was 9th best in MLB as well.  Fielding was not Minnesota’s strong point, having ranked 25th out of 30 teams in fielding percentage.  This ranking must improve if the Twins expect to win their division.  I predict the Twins will finish 33-27 in 2020. 

The Anaheim Angels.  This team’s roster features one of the most outstanding players of all time, 28-year-old Mike Trout.  The remarkably talented and versatile Shohei Ohtani, a pitcher who often hits home runs, is also a star for the Angels.  Even though his career is nearing its productive end, Albert Pujols will continue to be a relevant force in the Angels’ roster. 

Anaheim has also added pitcher Dylan Bundy, formerly with the Baltimore Orioles to their roster.  Third baseman Anthony Rendon joined the team this year, following a brilliant career with the World Champions Washington Nationals. 

The Angels posted a mediocre 72-90 record in 2019, thanks to a number of devastating injuries throughout the season.  If this team remains healthy in 2020, it could conceivably earn a trip to the World Series.  My prediction:  Anaheim finishes this season 35-25, and should move on to the playoffs as the American League wildcard team. 

The New York Mets.  Known as “the little brothers” of the Yankees in New York, the Mets have often been regarded as “a second thought” in NY sports.  It would be wrong, however, to count out the Mets in 2020. 

One of the most effective pitchers in Major League Baseball is the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.  The hitting of Pete Alonso, Yoenis Cespedes, and Robinson Cano make the Mets an outstanding offensive team. 

For the New York Mets to advance to the World Series, they would need for the other starring starter, Noah Syndergaard, to play in 2020.  Unfortunately, Syndergaard won’t be available to pitch until 2021.  Marcus Stroman, in my view, is too inconsistent to be reliable as part of the pitching rotation. 

The Mets, however, do have the talent to earn a spot in the playoffs.  Historically, though, they have a history of cold starts followed by winning streaks.  In a shortened season with only 60 games, this inconsistency may become their downfall in 2020. 

My prediction:  The Mets will be the National League’s wildcard team in the playoffs, finishing 32-28. 

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