Thursday, July 23, 2020

2020 MLB Pre-Season Power Rankings

We are FINALLY about to get some baseball!!!  After four months of delay due to the pandemic and a labor dispute, we are getting a crazy season of 60 games, a little over one-third of a normal season.  Every game will count in a way it never has before.  Back in March, I started my yearly pre-season profiles of each team.  Once the season was postponed, I postponed my profiles.  Now that the season is about to start, here is a quick overview of my pre-season rankings, thoughts, and predictions.  A few adjustments have been made since March, but the profiles I already did are locked in.  They are definitely the lower tier of the league this season.










Boston Red Sox
Most Important Hitter: Xander Bogaerts
Most Important Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi
Prospect to Watch: Tanner Houck
2020 Prediction: 4th in AL East

Loss of manager, Mookie, and Sale on the shelf will lead to a disappointing result in Fenway.

Toronto Blue Jays
Most Important Hitter: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Most Important Pitcher: Hyun Jin Ryu
Prospect to Watch: Nate Pearson
2020 Prediction: 3rd in AL East

The Blue Jays are currently homeless, but they have a young core that is almost ready to take another step forward.  Could be a surprise contender.

San Diego Padres
Most Important Hitter: Manny Machado
Most Important Pitcher: Garrett Richards
Prospect to Watch: MacKenzie Gore
2020 Prediction: 3rd in NL West

Another possible surprise contender, the Padres' youth movement needs their veteran leaders to lead the way for them to take the leap in 2020.

Chicago Cubs
Most Important Hitter: Willson Contreras
Most Important Pitcher: Yu Darvish
Prospect to Watch: Nico Hoerner
2020 Prediction: 4th in NL Central

The toughest division in baseball is going to make sure the Cubs and their window of contention with this core might be over.

Cleveland Indians
Most Important Hitter: Francisco Lindor
Most Important Pitcher: Carlos Carrasco
Prospect to Watch: Logan Allen
2020 Prediction: 3rd in AL Central

The 2020 season will be less about if the Indians can compete and more about how it might be the last we see of Francisco Lindor in a Cleveland uniform.

Washington Nationals
Most Important Hitter: Juan Soto
Most Important Pitcher: Patrick Corbin
Prospect to Watch: Carter Kieboom
2020 Prediction: 4th in NL East

The defending champs have one of the best rotations in baseball and could do damage in the playoffs again because of it.  I just don't see the lineup getting them there.

Chicago White Sox
Most Important Hitter: Eloy Jimenez
Most Important Pitcher: Lucas Giolito
Prospect to Watch: Luis Robert
2020 Prediction: 2nd in AL Central

A lot of people are picking the ChiSox to make the playoffs.  They could easily slip into a Wild Card spot, but I think they are still a year or two away.

New York Mets
Most Important Hitter: Robinson Cano
Most Important Pitcher: Edwin Diaz
Prospect to Watch: Kevin Smith
2020 Prediction: 3rd in NL East

This is a roster that could top the division or bottom out.  It all depends if their veterans can stay healthy.

Los Angeles Angels
Most Important Hitter: Anthony Rendon
Most Important Pitcher: Shohei Ohtani
Prospect to Watch: Jo Adell
2020 Prediction: 3rd in AL West

The Angels landed one of the big fish in the offseason, but their pitching is too mediocre to truly get over the top yet.

Milwaukee Brewers
Most Important Hitter: Keston Hiura
Most Important Pitcher: Brandon Woodruff
Prospect to Watch: Drew Rasmussen
2020 Prediction: 3rd in NL Central

The Brewers have an elite lineup build for the new NL DH.  Their pitching is as average as their playoff runs, but their division is getting deeper and tougher.

St. Louis Cardinals
Most Important Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt
Most Important Pitcher: Miles Mikolas
Prospect to Watch: Dylan Carlson
2020 Prediction: 2nd in NL Central

I had the Cards in the playoffs in March, but pulled them out now.  They are always right there, but they are built for the marathon, not the sprint.

Atlanta Braves
Most Important Hitter: Marcell Ozuna
Most Important Pitcher: Cole Hamels
Prospect to Watch: Kyle Wright
2020 Prediction: 2nd in NL East, WILD CARD, lose in Wild Card Game

The Braves have one of the best young cores in baseball.  They will make the playoffs, but they are just a little too young to make a deep run ... yet.

Oakland A's
Most Important Hitter: Marcus Semien
Most Important Pitcher: Liam Hendriks
Prospect to Watch: Jesus Luzardo
2020 Prediction: 2nd in AL West, WILD CARD, lose in Wild Card Game

The A's always seem to be good enough to reach the playoffs every year, but not do anything once they get there.  The shortened season also makes them vulnerable to miss the playoffs in 2020.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Most Important Hitter: Starling Marte
Most Important Pitcher: Robbie Ray
Prospect to Watch: J.B. Bukauskas
2020 Prediction: 2nd in NL West, WILD CARD, lose in NLDS

As weird as it would be to see MadBum in the postseason not in a Giants uniform, I think the D-Backs have the roster to get there.

Cincinnati Reds
Most Important Hitter: Eugenio Suarez
Most Important Pitcher: Raisel Iglesias
Prospect to Watch: Tony Santillan
2020 Prediction: 1st in NL Central, lose in NLDS

If this was a full season, I don't see the Reds making the postseason.  However, in a 60 game season, I see the Reds getting hot and the season ending before they fall back to the rest of the pack.  One of the best rotations in the league.

Houston Astros
Most Important Hitter: Carlos Correa
Most Important Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr.
Prospect to Watch: Forrest Whitley
2020 Prediction: 1st in AL West, lose in ALDS

The Astros might benefit most from having no fans ... banging on trash cans.  They are too talented not to win the division, but the loss of Gerrit Cole will make a deep run tough.

New York Yankees
Most Important Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton
Most Important Pitcher: James Paxton
Prospect to Watch: Clarke Schmidt
2020 Prediction: 2nd in AL East, WILD CARD, lose in ALDS

The Yankees might have the most talented roster in the AL, but I don't think they have the best team.  I see the World Series favorite falling short.

Philadelphia Phillies
Most Important Hitter: Andrew McCutchen
Most Important Pitcher: Zack Wheeler
Prospect to Watch: Alec Bohm
2020 Prediction: 1st in NL East, lose in NLCS

The Phillies have all the makings of a deep run in the postseason.  They have a killer lineup and great pitching.  Too bad there is a superteam they will be running into.

Minnesota Twins
Most Important Hitter: Byron Buxton
Most Important Pitcher: Kenta Maeda
Prospect to Watch: Alex Kirilloff
2020 Prediction: 1st in AL Central, lose in ALCS

If only the Twins could have put some more elite talent in their pitching staff...  They have possibly the best lineup in the league which will carry them this far.

Tampa Bay Rays
Most Important Hitter: Austin Meadows
Most Important Pitcher: Blake Snell
Prospect to Watch: Brendan McKay
2020 Prediction: 1st in AL East, lose in World Series

The Rays have the best bullpen, one of the best rotations (which is funny considering they use the opener so often), and an efficient lineup.  They are set up to dominate, especially in this sprint season.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Most Important Hitter: Corey Seager
Most Important Pitcher: Julio Urias
Prospect to Watch: Dustin May
2020 Prediction: 1st in NL West, win World Series

I think this is the year.  They have the best roster that only got better with Mookie.  Their pitching is strong and deep.  I hate to go with the favorite, but they are just that good.