2020 Major League Baseball Preview – Updated For Expanded Playoffs

After nearly a four month delay, the Major League Baseball season finally starts this coming Thursday July 23rd with a 60-game season. I feel with a shortened season, teams with the best starting pitching staffs will rise to top quickly since it always takes time for hitting to catch up to the pitching. I think the World Series champion will likely be the team that gets the hottest in the final 20 game stretch.

Overall, I think we will see many of the same faces in the playoffs this year as we saw last year. Inevitably, there will a surprise or two in a shortened season but it is difficult to predict who those teams might be. Take the Minnesota Twins as an example last year. It took the league half of a season to sort of figure them out and by that time, they had pretty much ran away with the AL Central. That is what will make this season so much more interesting than those 162 game “test of endurance” seasons in the past. Every game will be important.

If I had to pick one surprise team in each league, I’d go with the Toronto Blue Jays in the American and the Cincinnati Reds in the National.

Since the schedules are set up for the East Division teams to play all the games against the AL and NL East teams, Central Division teams to play exclusively AL and NL Central teams, etc, this will affect who makes the playoffs. Right now, I think the West Division teams will have the easiest schedules and the East Division teams will have the toughest.

So below are my predictions for the 2020 final standings. I think the #1 seed in the American League will be the Houston Astros and the #1 seed in the National League will be the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Updated 7/23/20: MLB announced July 23rd that they will expand the 2020 playoffs to 16 teams, 8 in each league. In each league, the division winners will be seeded 1-3, the second-place teams 4-6 and the teams with the next two best records 7-8. The first-round pairings will be 1 versus 8, 2-7, 3-6 and 4-5.

American League

East Division

  1. New York Yankees – #2 seed
  2. Tampa Bay Rays – #5 seed
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Toronto Blue Jays
  5. Baltimore Orioles

Central Division

  1. Minnesota Twins – #3 seed
  2. Cleveland Indians – #6 seed
  3. Chicago White Sox – #8 seed
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Detroit Tigers

West Division

  1. Houston Astros – #1 seed
  2. Oakland A’s – #4 seed
  3. Texas Rangers – #7 seed
  4. Los Angeles Angels
  5. Seattle Mariners

National League

East Division

  1. Washington Nationals – #2 seed
  2. Atlanta Braves -#4 seed
  3. New York Mets – #8 seed
  4. Philadelphia Phillies
  5. Miami Marlins

Central Division

  1. St Louis Cardinals – # seed
  2. Chicago Cubs – #5 seed
  3. Cincinnati Reds – #7 seed
  4. Milwaukee Brewers
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates

West Division

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – #1 seed
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks- #6 seed
  3. San Diego Padres
  4. Colorado Rockies
  5. San Francisco Giants

Playoff Predicitions

American League

  • #8 Chicago White Sox vs # Houston Astros – #1 Houston advances
  • #7 Texas Rangers vs #2 New York Yankees – #2 New York advances
  • #6 Cleveland Indians vs #3 Minnesota Twins – #6 Cleveland advances
  • #5 Tampa Bay Rays vs #4 Oakland A’s – #4 Oakland advances
  • #6 Cleveland Indians vs #1 Houston Astros – #1 Houston advances
  • #4 Oakland A’s vs #2 New York Yankees – #2 New York advances
  • #2 New York Yankees vs #1 Houston Astros – #1 Houston advances

National League

  • #8 New York Mets vs #1 Los Angeles Dodgers – #1 Los Angeles advances
  • #7 Cincinnati Reds vs #2 Washington Senators – #2 Washington advances
  • #6 Arizona Diamondbacks vs #3 St Louis Cardinals – #3 St Louis advances
  • #5 Chicago Cubs vs #4 Atlanta Braves – #4 Atlanta advances
  • #4 Atlanta Braves vs #1 Los Angeles Dodgers – #1 Los Angeles advances
  • #3 St Louis Cardinals vs #2 Washington Senators – #3 St Louis advances
  • #3 St Louis Cardinals vs #1 Los Angeles Dodgers – #1 Los Angeles advances

World Series Prediction

I think the Houston Astros have a chip on their shoulder this year to prove that they can win a World Series without any sign-stealing scandal. So I think the Astros will avenge their World Series loss last year and beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in six or seven games.

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