Major League Baseball is on the way back. There is still a global pandemic to navigate, but commissioner Rob Manfred imposed a 60-game season last month, and spring training -- "summer camp" -- opened last week. Opening Day is two weeks away. Hopefully the season can be completed safely and a World Series champion can be crowned.
Between now and Opening Day my fellow CBS Sports MLB scribes and I will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down, well, pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated which contender is most vulnerable during the 60-game season. This week we're going to discuss teams that are built to thrive during a shortened 2020 season.
Which team is build best for the 60-game season?
R.J. Anderson: You have to go with the Dodgers or Yankees, right? Those teams appeared to be the best on paper for 162 for a reason: they have the most talent, in terms of stars and (particularly in the Dodgers' case) depth. I'm open to the idea that some kinds of teams benefit more than others from a shorter season, but I think those teams are equipped the best no matter how long the year runs (or doesn't).
Mike Axisa: We're already starting to see the importance of depth given the number of positive COVID-19 tests and opt-outs around the league. I don't want to overthink this -- the teams best built for a short season are the teams best built for a long 162-game season, meaning the teams with the most depth and high-end talent. The Astros, Dodgers, Rays, and Yankees stand out in that regard, and I'd put Los Angeles and New York ever so slightly ahead of the other two. It's a boring answer, I know, but the best teams are the best teams for a reason, no matter how long the season. They're in the best position to survive what might be a 60-game war of attrition.
Matt Snyder: I'm giving bumps to teams with deep pitching pools and two in particular have been proven the last few years to be really adept at using bullpen games and openers: The Athletics and Rays. I'll go with the A's here because positional depth has less importance and the stars will probably play every single game. With Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman, they get a boost over the Rays. The A's have more power, too, and that is also a big deal.
There's a lot of merit by answering Dodgers and Yankees, too. The best are very likely still going to be the best.
Katherine Acquavella: I'm also going to take the Dodgers. The club has one of the deepest lineups in baseball and positional flexibility among many of their players. When you also take into consideration the Dodgers' strength of schedule for 2020, they're going to be playing a lot of below-average clubs; the average win percentage for their opponents in this abbreviated season is .482. Honestly, 60 games is probably going to allow a less-talented club or two sneak into the playoffs because of a hot start. But I see the Dodgers dominating for the majority of the 2020 season sprint.