Every Spring baseball fans spout cliches like “Hope Springs Eternal. And fans of all teams make bold claims and predictions each new season. Thus that leads to this article, where we make 20 Bold Predictions for the 2020 season. (And check out our 2019 Predictions and 2019 Results pieces to see how accurate (or inaccurate) we were.) (All 2020 predictions are in no particular order.)
1. New York Yankees Win World Series
I begin my list with something that I believe will happen each and every season. And that’s that the New York Yankees will win the World Series. This season, however, that feeling is as strong as it’s ever been. With the signing of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees have finally gotten their long-awaited “White Whale.” And Cole heading up this rotation will afford the other starters an easier path. Sloting in Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton the ability to just pitch. Plus, add in one of the best offensive lineups in baseball. And the Yankees are not only poised to be a World Series contender; they feel almost destined to be the World Series winners.
2. Universal DH Stays for Good
While the 2020 season may be viewed as an anomaly, there will be one aspect that holds over for Major League Baseball…the Universal DH. When it comes to the DH issue, there is a split among fans. Some fans hate the idea of the DH. (And they are wrong, but I digress.) And there are some fans like myself that love the purpose of the Designated Hitter.
We have covered the DH at length here at the Laracuente Ledger, including a Baseball Case Study on the matter over on our YouTube channel. (Should the National League adopt the Designated Hitter Rule. Debating the DH, To DH or Not to DH, That is the Question, Three Reasons the Universal DH Stays after 2020.) So with the 2020 season almost being an experimental type season, we will see the benefits to a DH only league.
3. 16 Playoff Teams
The reports about the expanded playoffs have been announced. And with the 16 teams being included, that means eight teams of fifteen from each league. So my predictions are that the American League will be represented by the Yankees, Rays, Twins, White Sox, Indians, Astros, Athletics, and Angels. While the National League will be represented by Phillies, Nationals, Braves, Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, and Dodgers.
4. Yoenis Céspedes Plays Again, Then Gets Injured Again
At one point, Yoenis Céspedes was one of the most exciting players to watch play. Yoenis had a rocket for a right arm and potent bat that crushed baseballs. But injuries have sidelined Céspedes’ career. Yoenis will be brought along slowly in Mets camp this Spring. And he will ultimately play once again for the New York Mets. But as has seemingly been the case, Yoenis will once again get hurt shortly after returning and souring an incredible comeback story.
5. Kris Bryant Gets Traded
We have previously discussed Kris Bryant and the potential destinations he could be moved to after his grievance. And now that, that’s over, and the free-agent market has cleared teams in need are a bit clearer. The August 31st trading deadline will likely move Kris Bryant because the Cubs aren’t going to be able to resign him. Not because financially they couldn’t afford him. But because Bryant will want to end his relationship with the Cubs.
6. Marlins Record Finishes Near .500
The Miami Marlins are an enigma wrapped up in a parade of baseball sorrows. The team has gone through countless rebuilds and tear-downs with two lone bright spots (1997, 2003). And after the bashing that was the most recent fire-sale by the South Florida team, fans were outraged. But here we are at the precipice of a new era in Florida baseball. Miami is still a few years away from being anywhere near relevant at the top of the NL East. However, they have made strides to improve. And it’s in the “building from the bottom up” mindset that the Marlins will genuinely maintain a respectable level. This season I expect the Marlins to play a solid brand of baseball. And while still finishing under .500 I wholeheartedly believe the team will be in the high 20’s win totals.
7. Yankees & Phillies Take Main Awards (MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year)
The 2020 season will have many layers to it; the first will be all about the Houston Astros and their sign-stealing scandal. The awards chapter of the 2020 regular season will be written about the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. But the Yankees and Phillies will walk away with all three major awards, the MVP, Cy Young, and Manager of the Year.
8. 10 Players Hit 20 Homeruns
In a shortened season, players’ statistics will be smaller than that of a typical season. So with that in mind, the usual 50-60 homeruns prediction must be dropped down to the 20 plus range. Getting player to the 20 homerun mark will come later in the season. But the way the ball jumps off the bats over the last few seasons should allow ten players to hit 20 bombs. Speculating on what players can reach the 20 homerun mark can be difficult. However, that is the premise behind this piece. So the ten players to reach 20 homerun will be Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Pete Alonso, Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Cody Bellinger, Christian Yelich, Mike Trout, and Joey Gallo.
9. 6 Pitchers Reach 100 Strikeout ￼ Plateau
Much like hitter and homeruns, I usually predict pitchers reaching the 300 strikeout mark. But with the shortened season, we must lower the goal. Thus I believe five pitchers will achieve the 100 strikeout plateau. Pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Gerrit Cole, and Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Jose Berrios, and Walker Buehler seem like locks for the pitching goal.
10. Dodgers will 40 Games but Lose the World Series
The 2020 season will provide an exciting conversation piece for baseball fans for years to come. And while many of the usual statistics may not be there, the strongest teams should still well outperform their less than stellar counterparts. The 60 game season will have a lot more teams in the mix until the August 31st trade deadline. But the team expected to be a juggernaut will meet those expectations. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be a powerhouse during the shortened season and will win 40 games this season. However, this success will lead to the ultimate defeat as they will fail to win the World Series losing in seven games to the Yankees.