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2020 MLB Predictions: Eastern Divisions

There may be no MLB season that will ever be more difficult to predict than the 2020 season.

With just over two weeks until games kick off, TWSN’s Tom Seipp and Michael Seitz go team-by-team predicting how the 2020 season will turn out. 

We start with the MLB’s Eastern Divisions:

National League East:

Atlanta Braves:

Seipp: In the last two seasons, the Braves have been able to put everything together in the regular season, but come October, they completely choke. The Braves team is one that definitely benefits from a longer season, as they are one of the most consistent teams in all of baseball. A lineup led by Ronald Acuna and Freddie Freeman could lead you to the promise land, but like most teams in this division, it’s the pitching staff where the question arise. Record Prediction: 34-26.

Seitz: The NL East might be the most intriguing division in all of baseball. The Braves are going to be good, but are one of the teams hurt by the shortened season. The Braves have a star studded lineup, but their pitching staff is questionable at best. Atlanta should be a playoff team and if their pitching can do just enough they can be extremely dangerous come October. Record Prediction: 37-23

Philadelphia Phillies:

Seipp: After an incredibly disappointing 2019 season, the Phillies went and picked up Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius while returning Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson to their ballclub. The lineup seems to be there, but issues with their pitching staff and team chemistry could hold this team back in a shortened season sprint. Record Prediction: 28-32.

Seitz: The Phillies are the definition of a .500 ball club. Just one year removed from signing Bryce Harper, the Phillies were expected to be contenders for a championship but that is not the case. With reports of low team chemistry and a new manager, Philadelphia will need to overcome some serious hurdles to make it back to October. One thing to watch for is the Phillies capability to spoil a team’s season in the last week. Record Prediction: 30-30.

Miami Marlins:

Seipp: For a ballclub who finished with a lowly record of 57-105 a year ago, the 2020 season could work to their benefit. All ten of their Top 10 Prospects could appear in the majors this season, including top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, 2020 3rd Overall Draft Selection Max Meyer, and outfielder J.J. Bleday. Although manager Don Mattingly doesn’t have the pieces yet, he gets his team to perform incredibly hard. Record Prediction: 21-39.

Seitz: Miami is a team who could have benefitted from a normal season. 162 games would have been used as a rebuilding year, but Miami is now stuck with 60-games to see what young talent they are working with. The Marlins young prospects should be fun to watch as they make their MLB debuts this season, but the team simply does not have the pieces to do anything special. Record Prediction: 20-40. 

New York Mets:

Seipp: There is no team that is trending upward as quickly as the New York Mets. In the final 60 games of the 2019 season, the Mets finished with the best record in the National League (39-21). Thanks to the implementation of the DH in the NL, Yoenis Cespedes is going to have the chance to play everyday. With the Mets putting together their most talented and complete lineup since 2006, they’re set to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Record Prediction: 37-23.

Seitz: The New York Mets lineup was made for the use of the designated hitter. That hitter is veteran outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Having Cespedes as the DH means the injury plagued outfielder doesn’t have to play the field as much (or at all). The Mets have a solid lineup and a pitching staff headlined by Jacob deGrom. Even with Noah Syndergaard out for the season, New York should make the Postseason and contend for the NL East crown. Record Prediction: 36-24

Washington Nationals:

Seipp: After a 2019 season not many predicted, the Nationals have been given a long layoff after their improbable postseason run. With extra time given off for Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, the Nationals rotation will be lethal again. The bullpen remains a huge question for the Nationals while an Anthony Rendon-less lineup doesn’t help tremendously. Expect the Nationals to be competitive all year long. Record Prediction: 31-29.

Seitz: The defending World Champs have some work to do if they want to get back into the Postseason this year. The loss of MVP-candidate Anthony Rendon hurts a Washington lineup that will need someone to step up and fill that hole. The shortened season does benefit the Nationals strong rotation as Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer had more time to rest following their World Series run. The Nats are once again unlikely cantidates to win it all, but anything can happen in baseball. Record Prediction: 33-27

Divisional/Playoff Picks:

Seipp: Division: New York Mets (37-23), Wild Card: Atlanta Braves (34-26).

Seitz: Division: Atlanta Braves (37-23), Wild Card: New York Mets (36-24).

American League East:

Baltimore Orioles:

Seipp: There are legitimate concerns this season that the Baltimore Orioles may not reach double-digit wins this season. With 40 in-division games and 20 against the NL East, the O’s are going to need to get hotter than ever before to win one three-game series. Let’s just hope we can see Adley Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad in the majors this season. Record Prediction: 12-48.

Seitz: Oh boy. The Orioles are going to be awful yet again and there is even the chance they lose 50 games. Baltimore is so bad that their last two first round picks (Adley Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad) might get MLB playing time when the season is all set and done. Hey, start ‘em young I guess! Record Prediction: 10-50.

Boston Red Sox: 

Seipp: No Mookie Betts, no Chris Sale, no Postseason return for the Boston Red Sox in 2020. Nathan Eovaldi and his 5.99 ERA from 2019 is going to have to be the Red Sox ace if they want a chance at the postseason. It’s a rebuilding year for Boston, which if they handle correctly, they could easily bounce back in 2021 to be competitive again. One name to watch for in 2020: Bobby Dalbec. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not he could appear in games with the Sox this season. Record Prediction: 24-36.

Seitz: The Red Sox have had a rough offseason with the news breaking of their own cheating scandal in 2018, their star outfielder heading west, and the loss of their ace to Tommy John surgery. Boston is not going to be anything special this season, but are primed to bounce back as soon as next season. It will be interesting to see what moves the Sox make as the season moves along. Record Prediction: 25-35

New York Yankees:

Seipp: With the best roster in the MLB, the Yankees will have no problems returning to the playoffs, even while having one of the most difficult schedules in all of baseball. With Gerritt Cole joining the team, the Yankees fill a much needed void in their rotation. If Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, and James Paxton are all healthy come July 23rd, the Yankees should be set to walk right back into the Postseason. Record Prediction: 41-19.

Seitz: The Yankees are the best team in baseball…on paper. New York has once again bought their way into being the favorites to win it all this year, but there are a few things holding them back. First, the Yanks need to stay healthy as they have been plagued by injuries the past few years. Second, manager Aaron Boone needs to properly manage games down the stretch well, which he has failed to do in the past. Third, the team needs to gel together quickly to have success in a shortened season. Record Prediction: 39-21.

Tampa Bay Rays:

Seipp: Like the Atlanta Braves, the Tampa Bay Rays were one of the most consistent teams in all of baseball last season. If they could get a healthy bounce-back season from Cy Young winner Blake Snell, their top-half of their rotation (including Charlie Morton, legitimate 2020 AL Cy Young Candidate, and Tyler Glasnow) could be the best in all of baseball. If the Rays could continue to get the best out of their lineup, they’ll have no issues returning to the postseason with their lethal bullpen. Record Prediction: 36-24.

Seitz: I am 100 percent all-in on the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020. The Rays have the rotation, bullpen, and lineup to be the best team in baseball over a 60 game stretch. With a loaded rotation that includes Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton along with young studs at the plate such as Austin Meadows, the Rays are primed to take the league by storm. This is finally the year that the Rays get over that playoff hump. Record Prediction: 41-19.

Toronto Blue Jays:

Seipp: Many believe the Blue Jays are “a year away from being a year away,” which is just too many years away for a team who could be competitive now (TWSN’s Shaun Chornobroof touched upon the Blue Jays more here). In a shortened season, Hyun-jin Ryu and Tanner Roark could go up north to Canada and be aces for the club. Their lineup is one of the scariest in the league, which included Bo Bichette, who is an underrated AL MVP candidate (yes, I mean that), Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio. Expect Toronto to be competitive until the very last game, as they could very well sneak into the Postseason. Record Prediction: 33-27.

Seitz: The Jays are the most exciting young team in the league. A shortened season is huge for Toronto as this means a boom or bust year. Worst case scenario is that the young Blue Jays struggle and get a high pick in next year’s draft. Best case scenario is a playoff berth and loads of experience for the future. In reality I think the Jays will fall in around .500, but the young core of Biggio, Bichette, and Guerrero Jr. should be exciting to watch develop this year. Record Prediction: 31-29. 

Divisional/Playoff Picks:

Seipp: Division: New York Yankees (41-19), Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays (36-24).

Seitz: Division: Tampa Bay Rays (41-19), Wild Card: New York Yankees (39-21).

Up next: MLB’s Central Divisions.

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