The 2020 Major League Baseball season is still in question. Commissioner Rob Manfred has yet to come to an agreement with the players.
While I could rant some more about how I am frustrated about this, I want to talk about how the season may play out if it in fact happens. Fans should be frustrated about how the current process has played out, but should be optimistic about what the 2020 MLB season could hold if and hopefully when an agreement is reached.
Washington Nationals Will Have Fresh Pitchers Coming Off World Series Championship
The Nationals were able to re-sign World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg. Along with Strasburg, they return a pitching rotation that includes 3-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin. With no wear-and-tear from a normal 162-game season, all three of these pitchers could have excellent seasons. It would not be a stretch to predict at least one no-hitter from Max Scherzer this season.
They lost third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was an integral part of the team in 2019. Rendon departing leaves a void, but now outfielder Juan Soto will be the face of the franchise. If the season is to be played, it will be interesting to see how Soto does coming off of an excellent playoff run in 2019.
Rendon, Mookie Betts Will Both Have Great Seasons In Los Angeles
Anthony Rendon and Mookie Betts, two of the MLB’s more popular players, relocated to Los Angeles during the offseason. Rendon signed a 7-year, $245 million contract with the Angels, while Mookie Betts was traded to the Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox. With tempered expectations due to the pandemic, it would not be surprising to see both players put up impressive first years for their new teams.
Still, the Dodgers will have an easier time being successful than their Los Angeles counterparts. The Dodgers are basically a shoe-in to win the NL West yet again this season, while the Angels will have to get past the Houston Astros. The Angels also have a new manager in Joe Maddon.
Houston Astros Will Not Be Booed In Empty Stadiums
One of the main offseason stories in the MLB was the handling of the sign-stealing scandal involving the Houston Astros. Many have more of a negative view of the franchise now, and the players would not have been treated with cheers at opposing ballparks. Because of COVID-19, that factor goes away for the Astros. It may be easier for them to focus on winning games and not have to worry about the fans.
New Chicago Cubs Manager David Ross Has Less Pressure on Him in 2020 MLB Season
The Chicago Cubs parted ways with Joe Maddon after the 2019 season, and hired former player David Ross as their new manager. Ross has never been a manager before, but he has plenty of talent at his disposal. If the Cubs had a down year in a normal MLB season, Ross could have faced quite a bit of criticism. Now, Ross will get a chance to feel out being a manager during a shortened 2020 MLB Season, and possibly be more successful because of it. The Cubs are one of the teams that could get hot at any point during the season.
Colorado Rockies are a Dark Horse Team That Could Benefit From Shortened MLB Season
The Rockies have been notorious for being a very streaky team in past seasons. They have four 2019 All-Stars in their lineup with Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and David Dahl. Pitching is always a question with the Rockies, and the Coors Field effect is always a factor with what some think the Rockies’ floor and ceiling may be as a team.
However, because of the firepower the Rockies have on their team, they could make the playoffs simply by going on one decent winning streak. Their four All-Stars are very streaky hitters, and their pitching is also inconsistent.
The sheer unpredictability of baseball makes it so a shortened season may help teams with less overall firepower. That is why any team could make the 2020 MLB Playoffs. If and hopefully when the MLB finally agrees to a deal with the players, the 2020 MLB Season will be one of the most interesting and fun seasons to watch in a long time.