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The State of Major League Baseball as of August 17, 2020

Saying that the 2020 Major League Baseball Season has been rocky would be an understatement. Two MLB teams have had outbreaks of COVID-19 within their clubhouses, thus causing a domino effect of cancelled games around the league. There has been a total of 10 teams to have games postponed due to the Coronavirus.

The majority of teams have played around 20-25 games but there are a few outliers, like the St. Louis Cardinals, who have only played eight games. Even with all the cancellations and drama over positive COVID tests, there still are baseball games being played around the country. This is the state of Major League Baseball.

The first third of the season has produced some surprise teams. In the American League, the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers have exceeded expectations through their first 19 games. The Orioles have posted an impressive 8-3 road record, which has led them to a 12-9 overall record and possession of the 7th seed in the American League.

The Tigers started out on fire but have lost five straight since then. Although their 9-10 record does not look fantastic, it is much better than how they were supposed to perform, as they sit only one game out of the final American League playoff spot.

In the National League, the Miami Marlins and Colorado Rockies have surprised the league with their hot starts. The Marlins are off to a 9-6 start and are in first place in the NL East after having to overcome the adversity of a club-wide Coronavirus outbreak.

The Rockies might just be the most surprising team in the league as they boast a 13-8 record and sit in second place in the NL West. The Rockies are led at the plate by their elite hitters Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, and Nolan Arenado. Arenado leads the Rockies with six homers, while Blackmon leads Colorado with 22 RBIs and a .446 batting average. 

While some teams have exceeded expectations, others have lived up to the hype. The 2020 New York Yankees have been as advertised so far. The Yanks have a 15-6 record and a 2-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. If New York can overcome a few injuries to their key players, then they will be the favorite to win the 2020 World Series.

The Minnesota Twins are off to a good start themselves and currently hold sole possession of first place in the AL Central with a record of 14-8. The Twins continued right where they left off last season as they are homering at a staggering pace once again.

The Oakland A’s have enjoyed early success as well. Led by a balanced offensive attack, the A’s have jumped out to a 16-6 start and have a 4.5-game lead over the second place Astros. It appears that Oakland has become the new top dog in the AL West and should be taken seriously around the league.

The Los Angeles Dodgers played mediocre baseball during MLB’s Opening Week but are now 7-3 in their last 10. Like the Yankees, the 16-7 Dodgers have lived up to the hype surrounding them entering the 2020 season. The Nation League favorites are led in almost every offensive statistical category by newly acquired (and extended) outfielder, Mookie Betts. 

If the season ended today, the Oakland A’s would be the American League’s top seed, while the Los Angeles Dodgers would be #1 in the National League. The Yankees, Twins, Cubs, and Marlins would round out the other four division winners. The MLB Postseason would also see teams who missed the cut last year as the Orioles, Indians, White Sox, Rockies, Cardinals, and Diamondbacks would all return to October. 

The race for the number one overall draft pick in the 2021 MLB draft is also beginning to heat up. The Pittsburgh Pirates own the right to be called baseball’s worst team as they hold a 4-14 record. The Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners, and Los Angeles Angels are not far behind, though. The Sox have a record of 6-16, while the Mariners are 7-16 with the Angels not far ahead with a record of 7-15. Rounding out the bottom five are the San Francisco Giants with a record of 8-15.

Overall, Major League Baseball is experiencing a rough start to their season and need to find better solutions to the constantly arising problems. Some of these solutions have already been implemented, such as the seven inning double-headers, but there is still work to do. There must be protocols put in place to prevent players from easily contracting the Coronavirus.

Two of these solutions could be restricting player and coach access outside of normal baseball and travel activities and creating a bubble for the Postseason like the NHL and NBA have done. Nevertheless, there is still baseball to be played and the sprint to the finish will go on until it gets the order to shut it down for the season.

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