MLB Midseason Recap/Predictions
With the trade deadline now past us, it's hard to believe the 2020 MLB season is over halfway gone. In what is a season unlike any other we have witnessed, 16 teams will continue to battle it out in hopes of making the postseason. Some teams appear to already be locks, while others will continue to do everything they can to scrape in. Let's take a look at how I believe the season will end, and ultimately which teams will compete for the World Series Trophy.
Starting things off in the NL East the Atlanta are the outright favorites to win their third straight division title. That being said, the only move made at the deadline by the former Blue Jays manager, Alex Anthopolus, was a mediocre pickup of former Oriole, Tommy Milone. The Braves seem to be overcoming their injury bug, but their lack of starting pitching (Outside of Max Fried) will be what keeps them from being a true World Series contender.
After the Braves, there hasn’t really been a team that has cemented themselves as a true number two team. However, that seems to be changing with the Phillies. Currently at the time of writing this, they are tied with the Marlins for 2nd in the East, but both teams appear to be heading in opposite directions. The offense for the Phils seems to finally be clicking, especially with the emergence of Rhys Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen. As long as the Mets and Nationals don’t find their groove, I think the Phillies are a good choice at making the playoffs.
Moving over to the Central Division the Chicago Cubs seem to be in full control there. Currently they are three games up on the Cardinals, and do not appear to be slowing down. Not to mention, they made a few moves at the deadline to aid them down the stretch. They added two lefty bullpen arms and also acquired veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin for additional depth.
After the Cubs, things get somewhat jumbled. The Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds are only separated by 2.5 games and with the new postseason rules, it is very likely two of those teams end up making the playoffs. That being said, I have been high on the Reds since the beginning. They definitely did not start off the way they hoped, but I have faith they will get it going and claim the number two spot.
Out west, things are getting very interesting. The Dodgers are still very much in control and will likely win the division, but do not count the Padres out just yet. The newly named Slam Diego Padres are the hottest team in baseball, and no team did more to better their squad at the deadline than they did. Regardless, it seems to be pretty set that both of these teams will make the playoffs, only the seeding is left to be determined.
Trying to pick the Wildcard teams is like blindly throwing darts at a dartboard. Still, I think I have a grasp on where things might fall. The Cardinals, who are currently in 2nd in the central, are the first team I have penciled into a wildcard spot. After that it gets tougher, but right now I am going to go with the Rockies. A lot can change before the end of the month, but I like what the Rockies bring to the table.
Again, starting things in the Eastern division, the team I originally projected to win the division and even make it to the World Series seems to be faltering a bit. Right now the Rays are on top with a 4.5 game lead. After that the Yankees are hanging on for dear life. The injury bug has ravaged them and their star pitcher Gerritt Cole has allowed 8 ER in his last two starts. The Blue Jays are only a game behind New York right now, and I cannot believe I am going to say this, but I think the Blue Jays will finish 2nd in the division.
The AL Central has been heralded as the worst division in baseball in recent years, but that is not even close to being the case anymore. In fact, this is the only division that has three teams with at least 20 wins. The White Sox, Indians, and Twins all have a legitimate chance at winning the division, but at the very least all three teams will compete in October thanks to the expanded playoffs. Going off my gut right now, if I had to order these teams from how I think they will finish, I have the Twins in first, the White Sox in second, and the Inidians in third.
Next, the AL West might be the easiest division to predict. It is pretty apparent that the A’s and Astros are a few steps ahead of everyone else in the division. Both teams will make the playoffs and I do not see anything standing in their way. Currently the A’s have a 2.5 game lead over the Astros but by the time we get to season’s end I have the Astros retaking their spot atop the division and claiming their fourth division title in a row.
The wildcard teams are much easier to predict in the American League. After taking everything into consideration it looks to be the Yankees and Indians as the last two AL teams to make it in. I like the Yankees at WC1 and the Indians at WC2.
Final Playoff Predictions
Just as a reminder, you can find the most up-to-date playoff standings here.