For the first time since 1995, the MLB season will be delayed with fans and teams having to wait for Opening Day to the coronavirus. Now with spring training abruptly in the books, MLB teams will spend the next several weeks preparing and waiting for the league to let the new season begin.
While we don’t know when the MLB season begin, we know what the teams will look like when they take the field. A busy offseason that saw plenty of movement shook up the league and will provide plenty of excitement when Opening Day arrives. Of course, injuries from spring training will also play a part in shaping the standings.
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Now let’s jump into our latest MLB power rankings and a quick outlook on how the 2020 MLB season will unfold for each team when the season begins.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers entered spring training as World Series favorites even before the Yankees went through a rash of injuries. Now with their closest competition taking some serious hits, the odds of a World Series parade being held in Los Angeles are even higher.
A promising sign early in spring training for the Dodgers is their bullpen. Pedro Baez and Brusdar Graterol have combined to allow just four hits 10 strikeouts across seven innings. Meanwhile, Kenley Jansen seems to be discovering his elite form and Blake Treinen is back on the mound. The lineup, rotation and bench are already loaded and ready to win 100-plus games this season. If the bullpen can be consistent with dominant arms in the late innings, it could be a historically great year.
2. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays boast one of MLB’s best rotations and the front office spent the offseason building a unique lineup. While there isn’t much star power in the batting order outside of outfielder Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay will spend the entire season platooning players and putting guys in the perfect matchups based off splits and the pitcher they face each day.
We’re also keeping our eye on Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, who signed to a two-year deal this winter, and is already putting his incredible power on display. As long as Blake Snell avoids any alarming setbacks with the soreness in his pitching elbow, the Rays can head into the regular season on a high note. If that happens, they’ll have some needed time to create early distance from themselves and the injury-riddled Yankees.
3. Minnesota Twins
This is going to be an entertaining team in the upcoming season. Many talked about the Yankees’ lineup being a frightening bunch throughout the order in 2019 and Minnesota’s batting order might offer the same punch this season. Even when you get past the All-Star talent in the first six spots, Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton offer incredible potential at the bottom of the order.
Admittedly, we had plenty of questions about Minnesota’s rotation for much of the offseason. It knocked them out of the playoffs, but the additions of Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey and Jhoulys Chacinshould be enough for a few weeks. Once the summer arrives, Michael Pineda will be back from suspension and Rich Hill will be healthy. While it could be great to see the Twins add a front-line starter, there’s still enough here to compete for a World Series this season.
4. Atlanta Braves
Credit to Atlanta for taking a gamble on Felix Hernandez. The 33-year-old hurler is one of the biggest surprises in spring training and is closing in spot in the Opening Day rotation. The Braves need him since Cole Hamels hasn’t been cleared to start throwing from his shoulder injury.
While Atlanta’s rotation carries a few slight concerns, the top of their lineup doesn’t. Ozzie Albies and Marcell Ozuna could be All-Star candidates this season. Meanwhile, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr. will compete for the NL MVP honors. The Braves would greatly benefit from trading for Nolan Arenado, but the current pieces in place can still win the division in 2020 and make fans in Atlanta happy.
5. New York Yankees
The Yankees might be cursed. Preparation for the 2020 season started poorly when James Paxton underwent back surgery, which will sideline him until May. Shortly after spring training began, Luis Severino learned he needed Tommy John surgery. Meanwhile, the Yankees will need to monitor the status of Aaron Judge (stress fracture in a rib) and Giancarlo Stanton (calf strain) while they are away from the facilities. Even when they do get healthy, the long-term concerns regarding their durability will remain.
A rotation that could have been dominant, now has major questions. New York’s impressive depth will once again be tested and this club desperately needs Clint Frazier to take advantage of his opportunities. The Yankees are a World Series contender when healthy, but it’s hard to see this team ever staying healthy for a full season.
6. Washington Nationals
The reigning World Series champions will be looking to prove themselves once again. While one might assume the defending champions have the target on their back, the Nationals seem to have fallen off the national radar.
Losing Anthony Rendon is a significant blow for this lineup. However, the organization is very confident in top prospect Carter Kieboom at third base. If that doesn’t work out, perhaps the Nationals can explore a trade for Nolan Arenado. Of course, Washington’s dominant pitching staff will be the workhorse for this team. Our concern, will a heavy workload in October for Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin have consequences late in 2020?
7. Houston Astros
Just when you start to think things are going well for the Astros, Justin Verlander suffers a lat strain that could sideline him to begin the season. We had questions about the back of this rotation with an unproven Josh James and Jose Urquidy needing to prove himself, now the Astros have to throw Austin Pruitt into their rotation.
This will still be an excellent lineup, even if they don’t get to benefit from stealing signs. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and George Springer are star talents. Meanwhile, Kyle Tucker is poised to start and could live up to his billing as a top prospect. We even like what James has shown this spring working as a starter and his potential is through the roof. But even if James pitches well and Verlander comes back healthy, this rotation isn’t good enough to be near the top teams.
8. Oakland Athletics
Oakland didn’t make a notable addition this winter. Instead, the A’s are counting on their core of young, emerging stars to make significant strides this year. A full season from Sean Manaea, Jesús Luzardo, A.J. Puk and Sean Murphy in 2020 – that might be even better than a big trade. We’re especially excited for Luzardo, who is dominating hitters early this spring and has the making of an ace.
Marcus Semien is coming off an MVP-caliber season and is joined by Ramon Laureano, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson. The Athletics have the rotation and lineup to compete for the AL West crown, even if others are sleeping on them. If a few big in-season additions could be made, we wouldn’t be shocked if the Athletics won the pennant.
9. Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati made excellent strides in 2019 to address its rotation, landing Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer. Entering the 2020 offseason, the Reds needed to provide their rotation with a deeper lineup that provided more run support.
Mission accomplished. The Reds signed three-time All-Star Mike Moustakas to give this lineup another slugger alongside Eugenio Suarez. Cincinnati also added a leadoff hitter with outfielder Shogo Akiyama. Now, paired with one of MLB’s best rotations, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Reds win the division this season.
10. St. Louis Cardinals
This isn’t a team that is loaded with MLB talent. The lineup will likely finish in the middle of the pack and the pitching staff will carry the Cardinals once again. The division is winnable and this team continues to prove it can win under almost any circumstances. We’ve also been impressed by Paul DeJong this spring and outfielder Dylan Carlson is tearing the cover of the ball in spring training.
There’s a path to St. Louis competing for the division crown once more and they are a strong bet to at least take a wild-card spot. Ultimately, though, this team’s ceiling stops at a first-round playoff exit. Unless a blockbuster trade comes during the season, October will likely be disappointing for St. Louis.
11. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks entered the offseason with needs in the outfield and rotation. They quickly signed Madison Bumgarner to lead their rotation, then acquired All-Star outfielder Starling Marte before spring training.
Bumgarner is a reliable No. 1 starter and Robbie Ray has shown he can be a front-line starter at his peak form. Paired with Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver behind them, this rotation pairs well with a balanced lineup. Arizona will have an excellent team in 2020 and a return to the postseason is likely.
12. New York Mets
It’s hard not to think about what could have been if the Mets landed Mookie Betts or Francisco Lindor. One more star bat would have lifted this lineup into a new tier and when paired with their pitching, fans could enjoy one of the best teams in baseball. Ownership refused to make the big move, though, which leaves them in this spot.
The Mets will be a good team in 2020. The rotation is going to be an outstanding group and there’s enough talent in the bullpen to shut opposing lineups down in the late innings. Ultimately, it’s the lineup that we have the most concerns about relative to other top contenders. This team’s ceiling could feature a World Series run, but absolutely everything must go right in 2020. Given the history of this team, we’re not expecting it
13. Chicago White Sox
Credit to the White Sox front office for taking an aggressive approach this offseason. Chicago brought in a ton of talent and the lineup is loaded with All-Star bats. Not only do the White Sox have a lot of exciting, young talent in their lineup, but the front office also made sure sure they stay with the organization. Yoan Moncada just signed a six-year extension to join teammates Eloy Jimenez and top outfield prospect Luis Robert with multi-year deals. The front office is committing to its future stars and it will pay off this season for a team that could be the best in Chicago.
14. Chicago Cubs
Just a few years from a World Series title, the end of an era is nearing for the Cubs. The young core that led this team to break the title drought will soon be separated. This team could have one more run in it, but ownership’s focus on cutting payroll isn’t helping that happen. Let’s just hope for the sanity of the fans that Javier Báez gets an extension before hitting free agency, Wrigley Field might not be standing if the Cubs let him and Kris Bryant leave.
15. Philadelphia Phillies
After falling short of everyone’s expectations in 2019, Philadelphia’s front office attacked the offseason with a vengeance. The additions of manager Joe Girardi, shortstop Didi Gregorius and pitcher Zack Wheeler will help significantly. However, there are still some lingering questions about the back of Philadelphia’s rotation and the lineup could use a player like Kris Bryant. As the 26-man roster currently stands, the Phillies have a solid shot at making the playoffs this season.
16. Cleveland Indians
Cleveland prioritized lowering its payroll this offseason, which led to the Corey Kluber trade. Losing Kluber looks even more painful now that Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger will start the season on the injured list. The good news, both hurlers should be cleared to return to the mound by May. The bad news is that while there are a few All-Star pieces in the lineup and rotation, there isn’t enough to make up for the holes all around it. The consequences of ownership being tight with spending are real and unfortunate for the fans.
17. Milwaukee Brewers
Brewers fans should be prepared for disappointment in 2020. While some are confident that Milwaukee will overcome some of the holes on its roster, history suggests that’s unlikely to happen. A team that finished with a +3 run differential in 2019 is destined for regression, which likely means a .500-plus record without a trip to October.
18. Texas Rangers
The Rangers would benefit tremendously by trading for Kris Bryant, but for now, it’s pure speculation. Texas will be a competitive club in 2020, especially after adding Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to the rotation. The lineup will be even better once Willie Calhoun returns from a fractured jaw. The Rangers are going to be a fun team during the 2020 season, but they need another impact bat to become a real contender.
19. San Diego Padres
This team might be a year away from contending for the division. For the time being, with a few holes remaining in San Diego’s rotation, it will stay in the wild-card race but fall short. Fortunately, the future is bright with top outfielder prospect Taylor Trammell and pitchers MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patiño closing in on their MLB debuts. Once the trio reaches the show and settles in, the real fun will begin in San Diego.
20. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels certainly would have benefitted from adding Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling, but they pulled out of the deal. We’d also think that signing Yasiel Puig, who remains a free agent with Opening Day closing in, would strengthen the lineup. This is a much better team than this past season, but it’s still not remotely ready to contend for a playoff spot. It’s very unfortunate for Mike Trout, who will have a great shot at winning his fourth AL MVP award.
21. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are a young team on the rise with more exciting arms on the way to help support this lineup. Of course, Toronto’s fans would have even more reason to be excited if the club let Nate Pearson make his MLB debut to begin the season. Instead, he’ll start the year in the minors with an electric fastball and his service time being manipulated. The Blue Jays will be a treat to watch this season, especially when Pearson arrives, but they aren’t ready to win consistently.
22. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox will head into the season without Chris Sale, who remains at risk to undergo Tommy John surgery. Now without Sale and David Price, Boston’s rotation will likely be one of the worst in baseball and the bullpen isn’t much better. The top of the batting order is strong, but even that could change if the Red Sox decide to retool and trade J.D. Martinez. It’s hard to believe this team won a World Series two years ago, but that’s where we are and how far this team has fallen.
23. Colorado Rockies
After winning 91 games in 2018, the Rockies collapsed this past season and the relationship with their biggest star is deteriorating. Oh, the rotation is also a question mark and ownership doesn’t want to spend money to address the outfield. All is not well in Colorado.
24. Kansas City Royals
Just a few seasons removed from winning a World Series ring, the Royals should be prepared for another season of mediocrity. Kansas City’s rotation is a liability and it will ultimately drag down what could be a surprisingly productive lineup this season.
25. Miami Marlins
We’ll give credit to Derek Jeter for showing a willingness to improve this team in the offseason. However, the rotation is still a disaster and we still lack faith in Jeter to make this team a contender within the next four seasons. At least the Marlins’ Twitter account can make the fans happy.
26. Seattle Mariners
Seattle can enjoy thinking about its future outfield with Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez, two of the best prospects in baseball, expected to make their MLB debuts in 2020. There are exciting pitching prospects too, but this will not be a good team this season. We’ll admit, though, it would be great if they signed Ichiro and let him pitch in a few games.
27. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have built a collection of exciting arms in their farm system with Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal likely to join the rotation by 2021. Oh, the Tigers also have the No. 1 pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. It will get better Tigers fans, we promise.
28. San Francisco Giants
Farhan Zaidi is slowly piecing together one of the best farm systems in baseball, a project that took significant work and still faces challenges ahead. As for the Giants in 2020, let’s just say it won’t be pretty to watch.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates
Pirates’ general manager Ben Cherington impressed us by acquiring some intriguing talent in exchange for Starling Marte. It’s the first of many deals coming from Pittsburgh this year as the organization begins a desperately needed rebuild. It might only be a matter of months before Chris Archer, Josh Bell and Adam Frazier are traded.
30. Baltimore Orioles
There’s not much for the fans to look forward to this upcoming season for the Orioles. Fortunately, this team’s future is bright with No. 1 pick Adley Rutschman likely to become the team’s starting catcher by 2021 and the Orioles will have more top prospects, too. ON a serious note, keep Trey Mancini in your thoughts and send him the best wishes for his health.