Projections For 2020 Are Too Safe For What Is Certain To Be An Unusual Season
Losing Gerrit Cole Is Expected To Decrease Houston's Cushion in the West
Not only will the playoff format be identical to last year's but, according to the projections of a national daily newspaper, so will the exact ten teams that qualified in 2019. In the July 1 issue of USA Today baseball reporter Gabe Laques offered what are anything but surprising predictions of how the season will end, even though 2020 is bound to be drastically different from any in history.
For some reason Laques, instead of stirring up a little interest in the abbreviated sixty game season by venturing out on a limb, has decided to offer us the status quo. The three division winners he projects for 2020 are, ho hum, the same trio who finished in first last year. He has the St. Louis Cardinals atop the central, the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the west, and the Atlanta Braves taking the east.
Likewise his projections of the division championships in the junior circuit are far from earth-shattering, but rather the exact same three that won it in 2019. He expects the east to go to the New York Yankees,the central to be taken by the Minnesota Twins, and the west to be represented by the Houston Astros.
Laques has, however, taken into consideration that this last team will likely be weaker, having lost free agent starter Garrit Cole to the Yankees. That single acquisition is the rationale for the reporter's belief in New York winning more games than the Astros, who boasted the best record in 2019.
Lost confidence in Houston is also reflected in the projections for the final standings, which shows the Astros finishing a mere one game above second place Oakland. As they did last year, the Athletics are expected to qualify in the Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Also predicted to repeat in the N.L.'s Wild Card round are the Washington Nationals, who eventually went on claim the World Series Championship. Just as they did last year, they are projected to meet the Milwaukee Brewers in that one game face-off.
Finishing right along with the Brew Crew are the Reds, Phillies, Mets, Diamondbacks, and Padres. All six teams, just about half of the entire National League, are projected to get 31 wins.
"The line between good and great is extremely blurred," Laques admits in the article. " MLB might want to dust off its contingency plans for multiteam tiebreaker games. "
Since he has clearly stated that some of the playoff spots are up for grabs, it would have been refreshing had Laques taken a risk by suggesting at least one different qualifier from last year. After all, a sixty game season is almost certain to end in a much different way that the most recent that spanned 162.