The 2020 MLB season is going to be unlike any other we have seen before. Will one or more of these five teams shock us all?
With a 60-game schedule on tap for the 2020 MLB season, we’re bound to see the weird, wacky, and downright shocking as the season unfolds.
It’s safe to assume teams like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Atlanta Braves are going to be World Series contenders. Regardless of how many games are played, each of these teams has the major league firepower, minor league assets, and financial backing to make a run each year.
More from Call to the Pen
- New York Mets backing up Steve Cohen’s vow with Trevor May
- Atlanta Braves: Robbie Erlin leaves for Japan, several could follow
- San Francisco Giants: Mike Yastrzemski wants to spend career with Giants
- San Diego Padres looking overseas for needed pitching depth
- Atlanta Braves: Nick Markakis falls short once again
But what under-the-radar teams may surprise us and find themselves in the playoffs this year? Without having to go through a grueling 162 games schedule and some teams having a bit of an easier schedule this year, a few up-and-coming teams come to mind.
The on-going COVID-19 pandemic is sure to lead to even more high-profile names sitting out and the risk for spread as the season begins increases. It’s going to be the true wild card of 2020, but here are five teams primed for a Wild Card run this year, maybe even a deeper run if all goes right.
The Cincinnati Reds are built to make a run in 2020.
The National League Central is sure to be a competitive division once again, but the Cincinnati Reds look like a team poised to make a run in a shortened campaign, led by their starting rotation that doesn’t get talked about enough.
Cincinnati’s starting rotation finished within the top ten of combined fWAR (18.6) and finished fourth in strikeout rate (25.6%), paced by a potential Cy Young candidate in Luis Castillo who is entering his age-27 season after going 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA, 28.9% strikeout rate, and a .200 batting average against.
Sonny Gray is coming off a career year in which he was worth a team-leading 4.4 fWAR, Trevor Bauer is ready to go every four days this year, and they added Wade Miley to anchor the backend of the rotation. Miley went 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA and was worth 2.0 fWAR with Houston in 2019. Pretty good for your number five pitcher in the rotation.
Offensively, the Reds added two solid pieces in Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos to the lineup. That’s a combined 154 extra-base hits joining the Reds roster to go along with a healthy Nick Senzel and Eugenio Suarez.
Adding these veteran pieces, along with outfielder Shogo Akiyama out Japan (.829 career OPS in 9 NPB seasons), gives Cincinnati a deep lineup and pool of hitters to choose from to fill out the DH spot.
Chicago and Milwaukee are still good teams who will be very tough to beat, but they have a few questions to answer in 2020, leaving the NL Central open for just about anyone (except Pittsburgh). If the rotation performs as expected and the lineup gels together, Cincinnati will be a real threat.