Cubs: Standings prediction for the 2020 MLB season
There will be some interesting teams in this division, and they will want to take down the shamed front-runner.
1st place: Houston Astros
Shamed for their dark deeds in 2017, the Astros look to prove they can win even without trash cans banging in the dugout under new manager Dusty Baker. The fact of the matter is, they are still a very talented team and a favorite to win the pennant. Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Jose Altuve still hold the lineup together with Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation. They will not have to face the chorus of boos from opposing fans, but teams will not forget what they did.
2nd place: Los Angeles Angels
Now is the chance for the Angels under new manager Joe Maddon to step up. For the sake of baseball, the Angels need to get better and not waste the talents of Mike Trout. If the lineup can stay healthy, they can accomplish more in a short season. The addition of Anthony Rendon this offseason was huge, and they still have Albert Pujols, who in his old age can still hit for decent pop as well as Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton. The pitching is likely not going to be anything special, but the bats can help make them competitive. It seems bold to put them higher, but they can be a surprise candidate.
3rd place: Oakland Athletics
This team has been able to win 97 games the past two seasons and make the postseason. 3rd baseman Matt Chapman has made a name for himself, as has Matt Olsen, who hit 36 homers last year. Marcus Semien and Khris Davis also consistently add power to the lineup. The pitching never looks great on paper, but they have found ways to perform above expectations. If Sean Manaea is healthy and back to form, that is a big help for them. How will they fare in a short season? Time will tell, but they should be in the mix.
4th place: Texas Rangers
This team is interesting. The Rangers have some home run thumpers in the batting order with the likes of Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo and Danny Santana. They also added veteran slugger Todd Frazier to the mix. Biggest acquisition this year was former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber from the Indians. Is there talent on the team? Yes. However, they are still flawed. The team is not going to have a big OBP lineup and the bullpen does not look very strong. They can be somewhat competitive, but doubt they are contenders.
5th place: Seattle Mariners
It has been nearly 20 years since the Mariners have made the postseason. Unless the 60-game season gets weird, then the drought will continue. The team has some decent pieces in starting pitcher Marco Gonzales and former Cubs farmhand Dan Vogelbach, who hit 30 homers and put up a .341 OBP and .780 OPS. Not many other big names outside that. If there is one thing that can give Mariners fans hope, they have a reliable farm system, and maybe they can finally mold that into something in the future.