The New York Yankees are projected as the top AL team while the Mets should take the NL East in the 2020 MLB season.
The New York Yankees entered the offseason with one big goal: sign Gerrit Cole. Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner felt he was the one major piece missing from an already dominant team. He’s given the Yankees the best rotation in baseball and made the Yankees one of the most complete teams.
A club that won 103 games got better, but exactly how many are they projected to win?
Projections are Conservative
I did my projections for 2020 based on estimated team WAR and made adjustments where I saw necessary. Projections in baseball standings are always going to be conservative. Winning 100 games is very difficult. It’s rare for a season to have two teams win 100 games. Four teams win 100-plus games last year, which seems unlikely to happen again.
I projected the Yankees to win 101 games in 2020 within a five-win variation either way. How did a team that got better win fewer games? Well like I said, projections are conservative. Yankees had a monumental amount of injuries last season. It’s unlikely they face that much trouble again; however, counting on great performances from Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, Brett Gardner, Mike Ford and others to repeat comes with a great deal of risk.
Things happen throughout the season that teams can’t control. Yes, the Yankees got better. They can do a lot of really great things this year and should be expected to.
They could win more games than last year. Is it likely? I don’t know. Projections and predictions are fun, but nobody has seen the teams play yet. A lot could change between now and Opening Day. James Paxton is already expected to miss the first month of the season. Being conservative in estimates is important to tamper expectations.
Best Record in the AL
Even with conservative estimates, the Yankees are the best team in the American League. I have the Houston Astros with 97 wins as the second-best team. The Yankees would also win their division by nine games. That’s a two-win improvement from 2019.
Boston lost its best player and one of its front-end starters. The team should be good enough to fight for a wild-card spot, but will likely come up short. That gives the Yankees a clearer path to the division title.
Other notable teams are the Minnesota Twins winning the division over the Cleveland Indians for the second-straight year. The Chicago White Sox will improve, but their offseason moves have been overhyped. The team isn’t nearly as good as the Twins or Indians.
The Oakland A’s are relying on a lot of young talent to produce in the upcoming year, but still have a very good offensive core. I also have the same five playoff teams from the American League a year ago making the postseason again.
Those are the five best teams on paper entering the season. Since we have no other information to go off of, the best teams on paper will project the best.
The Mets win the NL East
In my projections, the New York Mets win the NL East by two games. The Mets underperformed last year in my opinion mainly due to their lackluster bullpen. Edwin Diaz will rebound and be the dominant reliever he was in the years prior. Seth Lugo and Dellin Betances give Diaz great protection in the bullpen. Add in Justin Wilson, Brad Brach and a potential rebound for Jeurys Familia, and it’s obvious the Mets (finally) have a good bullpen.
Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil should be staples in the Mets lineup, with a strong supporting cast behind them. The Mets offense has the highest potential out of any team in the NL East. I’ll take my chances with that in comparison to the other teams in the division.
The Atlanta Braves lost out on Josh Donaldson and didn’t do a lot to improve the rotation; that provides concerns. The Washington Nationals just won the World Series and still have a great rotation. They are difficult to project because they signed a lot of depth pieces so it will be interesting to see if those pieces play up to fill the void left by Anthony Rendon.
The Philadelphia Phillies made some good moves, but not enough to entice me to believe in them. The NL East is up for grabs and that leads me to believe the Mets have the best shot at winning the division.
World Series Potential
I have no thoughts on which teams are going to win the pennant. The Yankees have the best record so they will be the favorite to represent the American League in the World Series. The MLB Postseason is random and trying to predict what’s going to happen eight months before it happens is a waste of time.
Nobody knows what’ll happen; you can make estimated guesses, but it can still be wrong. Yankees are the favorites to win the pennant and that should be enough for the fans.
The argument goes the same for the Los Angeles Dodgers; they are the best team in baseball, but they were the best team in the National League last year. A Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon, Howie Kendrick combination later, they are out of the playoffs.
It wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if neither of the Yankees or Dodgers made the World Series. I believe there is a famous quote that goes, “That’s Baseball Suzyn.”