We are less than 48 hours removed from the 2019 season and it is already time to look ahead to 2020. The idea of baseball executives and front-office members having time off during the offseason is a common misconception. Teams are already making decisions on Nationals have earned themselves a ).and . It is go time for all 30 clubs (perhaps the
The baseball sun rises just as quickly as it sets.
With the amount of talent available in this year's free agency class, we should be in for an absolute doozy of a winter. For a complete list (i.e. Gerrit Cole), check out .
It's obviously incredibly early, but we have put together 10 predictions for the 2020 season. Things like roster makeup and coaching situations are obviously fluid at the moment, but it's always fun to look ahead and gauge our expectations for next season, regardless of how early it is.
1. Trout finally returns to the postseason
Joe Maddon is now in charge and ready to turn the tide in Anaheim. And with that, the Mike Trout postseason drought will finally come to an end. The player who many consider to be the greatest of this generation has yet to get a taste of what it's like to win a game in October -- his Angels were swept in the 2014 ALDS by the Royals, who went on to win the American League pennant. Expect the Angels to finally provide this team with productive starting pitchers, as they are considered by many Vegas oddsmakers to be front-runners to land Southern California-native Gerrit Cole.
It will be tough in the division yet again with Oakland and Houston both welcoming back many of their stars from 2019, but the Angels can steal one of the wild-card spots among an American League that features a handful of declining teams.
While neither team finished strong in 2019, the amount of young, raw talent on each roster is impossible to ignore.
For Chicago, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson are fresh off major breakout seasons. Eloy Jimenez was quietly one of the better hitters in the the AL during the final two months (.306 BA, 14 HR, 40 RBI in 52 games). Not to mention, they have a handful of prospects who could all play major roles in 2020; Michael Kopech, Luis Robert, and Nick Madrigal just to name a few.
As for San Diego, Fernando Tatis showed he could be the best shortstop in the game one day as evident by his absurd 4.2 WAR in just 84 games, before missing the last six weeks of the season with a back injury. Chris Paddack ranked second in ERA (3.33) among rookie starters. No. 4 overall prospect MacKenzie Gore is expected to start the season in Triple-A, but could be promoted early in the season. And not to mention, Manny Machado is entering the his second year of his 10-year, $300 million contract.
3. Stanton returns to MVP-caliber form
When it comes to Giancarlo Stanton, health is always the biggest concern. Otherwise, he is too strong and talented to underperform in a hitter-friendly park like Yankee Stadium.
The 2017 NL MVP swatted an MLB-best 59 homers that season in a pitcher-friendly ballpark in Miami. It makes no sense for a player of his caliber to be struggling in a lineup with so much protection around him. Don't be surprised if this guy cranks out 50 dingers next season as he should be acclimated to the pressures of playing in New York by now.
4. Boston misses postseason again
Who would have imagined this Boston team being on the verge of starting a rebuild a year after winning the title? It's not guaranteed the Red Sox will trade away some core members in an effort to stay below the luxury tax line, but it's certainly possible under new management.
Chris Sale and David Price set career worsts in ERA. Rick Porcello is heading for free agency. And the four-year, $68 million deal with Nathan Eovaldi is already looking regrettable. The biggest looming question in the lineup this winter is if Mookie Betts will be traded, as he's expected to command a big raise in arbitration and then hit free agency following the 2020 season.
The immediate future in Boston is uncertain, even more so considering the ever-competitive AL East.
5. Tatis Jr. wins NL MVP
Expect next year's MVP race in the National League to be one of the most exciting we've seen in recent memory. Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich will come close but fall short because of the impact Fernando Tatis Jr. will have on the Padres in his sophomore season.
He set a record for most home runs (22) by any shortstop in a season before turning 21 years old and reached 100 career hits faster than any Padre ever. Moreover, San Diego was above .500 at the start of July. This kid has the ability to put the team on his back.
6. Phillies acquire an All-Star starting pitcher
With much of their bank being spent on Bryce Harper last winter, it is uncertain how aggressive they will get this upcoming free agency.
My guess is Philadelphia misses out on top free agents and instead turn its attention to trade options in 2020. Some players who could potentially be available include Robbie Ray, Trevor Bauer and Zack Greinke. With Harper in the midst of his prime, the Phillies have a certain window to compete for a championship. They need to add some impact arms before they can even consider making a championship run.
7. Complete rebuild begins in San Francisco
The Giants reaped the benefits of their three World Series championships for far too long. Now, they must face the challenges of rebuilding with a heap of money owed to players in decline who starred on the title-winning team a few years ago.
GM Farhan Zaidi has a plan, and it should include finding a way to rid the team of the contracts owed to Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria. The two Brandons have combined for a .239 batting average over the past three seasons. Longoria actually showed glimpses of promise last season before it was once again cut short due to injury. San Francisco owes these three players a total of $100 million over the next two years.
Is there any team out there willing to take on these contracts? Well, nobody thought a club would take on Mark Melancon's deal before Atlanta swooped in at last season's deadline.
8. Reds win NL Central
My guess is the front office in Cincy takes an aggressive approach this offseason and it translates to success on the field.
The Reds endured a disappointing campaign in 2019 after being active last offseason and during the season as well. Each of their adds produced at a high level, including a bounce-back All-Star season from Sonny Gray. They will have a three-headed monster leading the staff in Gray, Luis Castillo and Trevor Bauer, while Eugenio Suarez will look to build off his 49 home runs in 2019.
St. Louis should be favored to repeat as division champ, but the Cubs have a new manager, Milwaukee has pitching issues and Pittsburgh is rebuilding. This division is right there for the taking.
9. Lindor headlines blockbuster trade
Cleveland's title window has slowly been closing each of the past three seasons. After losing in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, it lost in the ALDS in consecutive seasons and failed to earn a postseason spot in 2019.
Corey Kluber's health is a concern, though the staff showed much promise with Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger leading the charge. The AL Central is not doing too hot these days, but the American League is dominated by Houston and New York.
10. Yankees finish with best record
There won't be a team in the regular season with more wins than the Bronx Bombers in 2020. Many declared 2019 a disappointment, but I believe the timing was just off with all the injuries.
We already highlighted Luis Severino and Giancarlo Stanton. New York was constantly having to fill voids left by injured stars in 2019. If the Yanks are healthy from top to bottom, they might have the most talented lineup in the league. Their rotation has more than enough to survive a deep run if -- and only if -- Severino and James Paxton can stay healthy., but more important than anything is the health of