Suprise Teams of 2020
What is going on ball boys and girls? I hope you guys are doing super well today. I wanted to review one of my prediction pieces for 2020, and it was of 6 teams who would surprise us in 2020. Take a trip back down memory lane, and let's see how I did at predicting the season for these teams. I will also do a review of where they are now after closing out 2020. Thank you for reading today; I hope you enjoy the post. Please come on over to Facebook and help me get my Great-Great-Grandfather Fay Young into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Read the full post here.
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The first team I want to look at is none of the Toronto Blue Jays. This team is loaded with young talent in Vald Jr, Bichette, Biggio, and more talent oozing out. The off-season additions of Chase Anderson, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Shun Yamaguchi. Don't forget Nate Pearson waiting in the wings to throw some smoke as well. This team's weakness isn't pitching by any means, seeing how the young talent of position players performs in their second year. The AL East is tight with the Yankees and Rays on the top. But don't sleep on the Blue Jays for much longer. Where did the Blue Jay's end-up? The Jay's ended up coming in 3rd place in the AL East and earned a playoff berth; however, they were eliminated after the Wild card round. Jay's manager Charlie Montoyo finished in 3rd in Manager of the Year voting. The Jay's are primed for a busy off-season and are looking to keep moving up in the AL East.
For the second team, I am not even sold on myself. But I had to look at the data and track record to convince myself they should be here. They play in the adamant A.L. West, and no, it's not my beloved Mariners. It's the Texas Rangers. This division is so tight; the Astros should be on top, followed by the Athletics and Angels. But the Rangers rotation is much improved with Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles, and Kyle Gibson adding those three along with Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. You have five excellent guys who can be well more than they are awful. They should get full seasons from Joey Gallo, the master of swinging for it all, all the time. Also, give them a full year of Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor, who will be the most ejected and fined player this season. Where did the Rangers end-up? The Rangers ended up being a complete and total bust from where they could have been. The Rangers finished dead last in the AL West and was not competitive. The only good thing that came out of the Rangers in 2020 was Gold Glove 3B Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Other than that, the Rangers could be moving on from Andrus and Odor as soon as possible. Gallo and Lynn are trade targets, and the Rangers are working on cutting payroll and going full rebuild.
I love this 3rd team as much as the Blue Jays. The San Diego Padres. When you have as many young arms as the Padres with high upside, you don't have to manage the workloads. You can let them play. So expect to see plenty of Mackenzie Gore, Luis Patino, Adrian Morejon to a pitching group led by Garrett Richards. He is coming from T.J. surgery, expected to be healthy. They added Tommy Pham to the middle of the lineup, another great year from Fernando Tatis Jr. This team already has Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer as well. Look out, Dodgers and the rest of the West; this team is off to win! Where did the Padres end-up? The Padres ended up becoming Slamdiego. Machado ended up being an MVP finalist, and Tatis Jr. made his name known as El Nino. The Padres fought all the way up to the Divisional Round of the playoffs and lost to the Dodgers in the end. The Padres will be chasing the Dodgers for some time still but are in a prime position to keep making the playoffs.
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This next team missed the playoffs for the first time since 2014; they could have blown it up. But they didn't. Instead, they hired David Ross as a manager. Yes, the Chicago Cubs. The road woes were awful for the Cubs last season, 33-48, and in 1 run games, they finished with a 19-27 record. These are just some bad runs. This team still has a great lineup headlined by Baez, Rizzo, Bryant. The defense and fielding have no weakness. They even have a solid rotation with Darvish and Lester, and Kimbrel, stabilizing the pen's back end. This team doesn't have a lot of weaknesses. This division is pretty balanced, in my opinion, so the Cubs have a great shot at getting right back into contention this season. Where did the Cubs end-up? The Cubs ended up back in the playoffs. They ended with Yu Darvish getting snubbed for the CY Young. The Cubs now are without Theo Epstein in the front office. They face a crossroads with Baez, Bryant, Schwarber, and Rizzo, each not helping the team go further in 2020 than they should have. Where the Cubs go in 2021, no one knows.
5th team we are going to talk about is N.Y. Mets. Yes, Pete Alonso is going into year two. I do not see any form of a sophomore slump for him, especially getting some Cespedes protection into the lineup and Conforto. The team also has Thor on the DL, BUT they still have DeGrom, who has stated he is winning the CY Young this year, and it's going to be his 3rd. Add in Stroman and Procello to the mix. You have three guys who have all been ace caliber players. Mix that with an expected rebound from Edwin Diaz and a stable pen. The NL East, I believe, is going to be between the Mets and Phillies this season. It should be a fun time watching the mix of NL/AL East Ball. Where did the Mets end-up? The Mets saw their season go down before their eyes early as Cespedes left the team without notice. Thor and Stroman didn't pitch in 2020. Now the Met's are owned by Steve Cohen and are primed to make a splash in FA with their rotation coming back together, and the offense needs improvements. The future is bright for the Mets!
The Atlanta Braves. Yes, you thought about the Braves in the East. Yes, I did that on purpose. I genuinely believe the Braves are incredibly underrated going into a shortened season. They have probably the 2nd best OF in baseball in Acuna. They have a great mix of vet talent and young talent in their rotation. Throw in Swanson, the ever solid Freeman getting the big bag of Ozuna. Don't be surprised when the Braves are making headlines and breaking hearts in the East this season. Where did the Braves end-up? The Braves had their struggles early in 2020 when Freeman and their catchers went down to Covid. Freeman worked his way back to health and dominated in 2020, and won the MVP. Ozuna was fantastic for the Braves, and the Braves have loaded up the pitching staff to get back to the NLCS with the Dodgers and win in those 7 games.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the winners as much as I have. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.