6 Bold Predictions for MLB’s Return
Mar 4, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts (50) bats against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning of a spring training game at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The MLB has announced its intent to move forward with a 60-game regular season under the terms of their March 26 agreement with the MLBPA after the union rejected the owners’ latest proposal in resounding fashion on Monday night.
The season is set to start the weekend of July 24-26, providing that the players agree to report by July 1 and agree to the health and safety protocols.
There have been plenty of what-ifs throughout this negotiation process, but here are six bold predictions for the season.
Mike Trout and the Angels get into the playoffs
The Los Angeles Angels’ star is widely regarded as the best player in the league and has put up astronomical numbers over the past few seasons, yet he only has one postseason appearance (2014).
Los Angeles also added 2019 NL MVP candidate Anthony Rendon to protect Trout in the lineup.
The problem that has plagued the Angels over the past decade has been pitching, and during this shortened season, a rotation of Shohei Ohtani, Julio Teheran, Dylan Bundy, Griffin Canning, and Patrick Sandoval will help lead Joe Maddon‘s Angels to the playoffs in Maddon’s first season at the helm.
The Detroit Tigers will finish in the top half of the AL Central
Much of this will depend on whether or not Al Avila decides to bring up the Tigers’ young talent for a potential postseason run or continue to let them develop, but if the minor league system isn’t playing, it makes sense to bring them up. The Tigers could potentially have a scary, young lineup.
C: Austin Romine
1B: C.J. Cron
2B: Jonathan Schoop
SS: Isaac Paredes
3B: Spencer Torkelson
LF: Cameron Maybin
CF: Daz Cameron
RF: Riley Greene
DH: Miguel Cabrera
SP1: Matt Boyd
SP2: Casey Mize
SP3: Matt Manning
SP4: Jordan Zimmermann
SP5: Tarik Skubal
That’s a lineup that could potentially make a push and contend for at least a Wild Card spot, with former Rookie of the Year starter Michael Fulmer also on the mend.
The Twins repeat as AL Central champs
Minnesota took the league by storm last season, shattering the previous record for most home runs in a season with 307. They won’t hit 300 homers in the shortened season, but they will repeat as AL Central champions. The White Sox should be much-improved, and the Tigers could be much better as previously mentioned, but Minnesota will hold their position at the top.
This isn’t that bold of a prediction, as they both have solid arguments to be the second-best player in baseball, and together, they will be very hard to deal with in the middle of the Dodgers’ lineup.
Bellinger will have the better numbers of the two, but they will each reap the benefits of their partnership. The question remains whether or not that will be enough to keep Betts in Los Angeles for years to come.
The entire season and postseason will be played
This is a pretty bold prediction due to the recent spike in cases of COVID-19, but the league and the players have lost too much money over the past few months for them to risk losing more. The pandemic is a big deal, and something that must be prepared for and expected, it’s doubtful MLB will decide to shut down again unless it is forced because of truly large numbers of cases.
The Dodgers finally win a World Series
The Los Angeles Dodgers have the most loaded roster in the MLB by a long way, and they are the clear team to beat. They will dominate in a short season format and are able to break through to finally capture that elusive World Series title, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays. Clayton Kershaw will come up as the hero and finally put to bed his reputation of postseason failure.