Last week, MLB owners and the MLBPA agreed to expand the 2020 playoffs from 10 teams that traditionally have made the postseason to 16 teams following the conclusion of the abbreviated 60-game regular season.
The new expanded postseason will allow all first- and second-place teams from all six divisions make the playoffs in addition to the two additional teams from each league with the best record that finished third or lower in their division standings.
Based on many preseason rankings and personal opinion, here are the six teams that will benefit the most from the expanded playoffs.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are loaded with young talent and have added some veterans in Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, and Garrett Richards to give the club a very good chance at making a playoff run. The challenge is that the Los Angeles Dodgers are still one of the strongest offensive clubs in baseball and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ starting rotation depth is insanely deep. The additional two Wild Card spots could be within reach of the Padres especially if they can beat up on division opponents in Colorado and San Francisco.
Cincinnati is getting a lot of attention as postseason contenders this season and it’s not out of the question they make a run for the division title. Still, the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are strong candidates for first- and second-place runs for the National League Central and the added playoff spots could give the Reds enough for a postseason berth in 2020. Additions of Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, and Shogo Akiyama to their lineup with All-Stars Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray leading their rotation give the Reds a serious threat in short post-season series.
New York Mets
The National League East has been extremely competitive in recent seasons and that should be no different this season. Defending World Series champion Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves are poised to make playoff runs during this quick regular season. The Mets have a strong rotation and a good young core of position players, and the expanded playoffs put them in the conversation for a second- or third-place finish. With enough wins, they could find themselves in the playoffs.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have missed the postseason the past five seasons and finished behind the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics several time. An improved starting rotation, the addition of Anthony Rendon, and the fact they still have the one and only Mike Trout in their lineup gives the Angels a good chance at finding their way into one of the expanded playoff spots.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have been developing and acquiring some of the top young talent in the game the past several seasons and now they are all blossoming into regular contributors for the Southsiders. Rookie Luis Robert is joined by acquisitions Dallas Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal, and Edwin Encarnacion to give the White Sox just enough potential thump to make a run for October baseball.
Toronto Blue Jays
Last season, the Blue Jays began to introduce prospects Vladimir Guerrero, Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio to their MLB roster. Now, the sophomore talent has a revamped starting rotation led by Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Matt Shoemaker, and soon-to-debut prospect Nate Pearson. The young Jays talent will continue to grow and flourish as they all improve at the MLB level and could get a glimpse of their first postseason as soon as this coming October.