Before I get into the article, I just want to let you know that Baseball News Now is back for good for the 2020 baseball season!
Of course, before every season you ALWAYS have to pick who you think will win the playoffs! Here's my picks! Let me know your picks my commenting!
The Bubble (Which teams are the closest to being in the playoffs that aren't and which teams that are in the playoffs that are on the brink of getting knocked out): Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals, Brewers, Mets, Diamondbacks
This bubble has a LOT of teams in contention. Coming in on the low side of the bubble are going to be the Cubs, Phillies, and Brewers. All of these teams have big, obvious question marks. The Mets and the Diamondbacks are the next tier, and those two teams could be in contention although they both have smaller questions. The Braves are going to catch a few unlucky breaks before having a mega hot streak at the end of the season to propel them into the number one spot, while the Cardinals will have a quiet season and fall into number 2.
National League Wild Card: Cardinals vs Braves
Oh, how I wanted to include about 3 other teams in this game. It will be a very interesting race to see which two teams ultimately end up with the wild card spots, but the key here is pitching. The Braves and the Cardinals have two young aces in Jack Flaherty and Mike Soroka, but with two aces like this, it comes down to hitting and the Braves certainly can hit. I have the Braves winning here, but expect it to be a close game.
National League Divisional Series: Reds vs Nationals
The Reds have certainly made a turnaround over the offseason, and the Nationals have two super aces on one team. This series has the potential to be a classic, but at the end of the day the Nationals can just get it done with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. I trust the Nationals' pitching in this situation.
National League Divisional Series: Dodgers vs Braves
One of the best teams in baseball got even more scary when the Dodgers traded for Mookie Betts. You KNOW that this team is amazing because Betts, a 4x Gold Glove RF, will play CF. The Braves will be straight up overmatched against a far superior team in the Dodgers. The Braves would be lucky if this even got to 4 games.
National League Conference Series: Nationals vs Dodgers
Like I said before, the Dodgers are scary. That's not going to prevent the Nationals from putting up a fight, although I think that it's uncertain who is going to step up for the Nationals in a big situation. I love the Dodgers this year, and I think that they're going to take this series in 6 in front of their home crowd.
The Bubble: White Sox, Indians, Rays, A's, Blue Jays, Angels
These are the six teams in the American League who all have legitimate shots to make the playoffs -- and just as good of a chance to collapse. The Blue Jays and the Angels are barely hanging on to the bubble, and a slow start could prove fatal to their playoff chances. The Indians are going to come in at the fourth best team on the bubble, but that's only because of their questions and holes around the team. The A's, the White Sox, and the A's all have cases and scenarios where they wind up in the playoffs, but I think that the A's will get off to a slow start. The White Sox will end up in the 2nd Wild Card spot while the Rays will get Number 1 -- with the A's finishing a game or two behind.
American League Wild Card: Rays vs White Sox
This game will be a tale of two pitchers -- Lucas Giolito and Charlie Morton -- who will do very well. So that leads offense, fielding, and strategy. The Rays best the White Sox or tie with them in every single category, so expect the Rays to take this one at home. Expect it to be close though and don't get too surprised if the White Sox win. They certainly have the tools to upset the Rays.
American League Divisional Series: Twins vs Astros
These are two teams who can hit exceptionally well. In fact, last year the Twins' starting lineup had ZERO below average hitters and the Astros had TWO below average hitters. So it comes down to pitching, and that's where the Astros regressed and the Twins added. The Astros have a scary one-two combo but after that there's really no one who can take number 3. Meanwhile, the Twins added Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill to a staff that already has Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi. Because of this, I am going to take the Twins to win this series, but expect it to go to 5 games.
American League Divisional Series: Yankees vs Rays
No matter how good the Rays may be, the Yankees are just better. No matter how you slice it, the Yankees have a Top 3 pitcher, Top 3 lineup, and a Top 3 bullpen. They were such a scary team last year and this year they get Giancarlo Stanton back? It's a no brainer -- the Yankees win this one in 5. The Rays will be completely overmatched.
American League Conference Series: Yankees vs Twins
Even though the Twins have a case for the best lineup in the MLB, I still think that the Yankees have the best lineup. That, and with the Twins having no true ace, I think that the Yankees will come out on top. Now with that being said, expect the Twins to put up a fight with Nelson Cruz going nuts with 5 HR. This series will go to 6, but again the Yankees are just so powerful.
World Series: Yankees vs Dodgers
This is what everyone has in the World Series, right? Correct, but there's a reason for that. These teams are just so GOOD. Their offenses are overpowering. Their pitching is outstanding. And they have the right manager for their squad. This could be a World Series for the ages. Both of these teams could sweep the other team or get swept in the same realm of existence. Now, who will actually win between the two? I think that the Dodgers will win with Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, and Walker Buehler all winning major awards. This WILL GO TO SEVEN GAMES.
3 Blue Jays
4 Red Sox
2 White Sox
NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr
NL CY YOUNG: Walker Buehler
AL MVP: Alex Bregman
AL CY YOUNG: Gerrit Cole
5 Bold Predictions
5. Justin Verlander will get off to a bad start
This is possible with any pitcher, although with Verlander he's getting older and the teams in the AL West are getting better.
4. Eugenio Suarez will have an MVP like season
If he gets off to a good start, Suarez can really wreck pitchers. And he only needs to play 60 games? I like his chances.
3. The Cubs will be legitimately not good
The Cubs can be streaky, and they have to actually play the AL Central and the White Sox this year. That, and questions at 2B, CF, RF, and their WHOLE PITCHING LINEUP, will make for a bad year.
2. One Top 5 player is going to get off to a bad start
My prediction for this player would be a hitter, and that hitter would be Anthony Rendon. I know that sounds crazy, but a change in scenery across leagues doesn't exactly spell success in the first 60 games.
1. The Tigers will be a LOT better than anyone predicted
That's right, the worst team last year will finish close to .500 this year! Why? Jonathan Schoop and CJ Cron will be huge additions to a lineup that might have breakout players in Niko Goodrum and Miguel Cabrera (again).
Thanks for reading!