Cubs: Standings prediction for the 2020 MLB season
Can the Chicago Cubs get back to the MLB postseason this year? They should at least be in the mix.
1st place: St. Louis Cardinals
This team’s greatest asset is their young electrifying pitching staff. Jack Flaherty looks like one of the best young pitchers in baseball, with Dakota Hudson looking very promising as well. The back end of the bullpen seems solid with Andrew Miller at closer. Jordan Hicks has opted out this year, but they still have enough arm talent to win games. Most significant bats in the lineup include All-Star slugger Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong. The offense will not be incredible, but it will not be bad by any means. This team always seems to find a way, and they can never be counted out.
2nd place: Milwaukee Brewers
This team has had a great run under Craig Counsell the past two years, making the back-to-back postseason years in 2018 and 2019. Christian Yelich has developed into one of baseball’s biggest stars and is supported by veterans Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun. There is also a lot of hope in young infielder Keston Hiura. They lost Yasmani Grandal, Eric Thames, and Mike Moustakas and added outfielder Avisail Garcia, catcher Omar Narvaez and Justin Smoak. Their pitching staff again does not look fantastic on paper overall, but they always seem to find ways to be successful. Brandon Woodruff will be the ace and Josh Hader will still be closing.
3rd place: Chicago Cubs
There is a lot of “what ifs” and “hopefully they” surrounding the Cubs. One could still argue the core of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber is still the most talented core in the division. However, the supporting cast has holes and questions. The top of the rotation looks good in the Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish, but the rest is questionable, especially with Jose Quintana’s thumb injury and Jon Lester’s age. The bullpen is also worrisome after a poor year last year and the likes Craig Kimbrel and Jeremy Jeffress looking to bounce back. If the pitching can improve and guys like Ian Happ, Albert Almora, David Bote and Nico Hoerner can perform to the expected level, that can make a big difference in them contending or not.
4th place: Cincinnati Reds
Optimism is relatively high among many regarding the Redlegs in 2020. This makes sense considering their rotation of Luis Castillo, Trevor Baurer and Sonny Gray look pretty dang good. They also added Nicholas Castellanos, Mike Moustakas and Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. This is a team that already has Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. On paper, they look much better. It just has to mesh together, and it very well can. They just feel like a “they need to prove it” type of team. While the prediction is not high, there is room for them to either disappoint or finish much higher.
5th place: Pittsburgh Pirates
The Buccos struggled last season. Their pitching in 2019 put up the fifth-worst ERA in baseball last season, and not much was added to improve it as they are trying to fix guys like Joe Musgrove and Trevor Williams. The lineup does not have a lot of power outside All-Star Josh Bell. They hit the fourth-fewest home runs last year, and they traded away their other power hitter Starling Marte to Arizona. Pirates can be a pesky team with a lot of slappy hitters, but they are not expected to be contenders.