The Washington Nationals were surprise World Series Champions last season after taking down the Houston Astros . As spring training 2020 is upon us, who are the early favorites to sit on top of the baseball world come season’s end?
New York Yankees
After 203 wins over the last two seasons, the Yankees appear to be the cream of the crop. The top run-scoring offense in the league features the big bats of Gleyber Torres, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge, capable of 120-plus home runs. The return of Giancarlo Stanton would add another 30-plus home run bat to the attack. The key addition of Gerrit Cole brings a legitimate ace to the rotation that includes Masahiro Tanaka, but is full of question marks, from the suspension of Domingo German to the injuries of James Paxton and Luis Severino. Aroldis Chapman (85 strikeouts, 57 IP, 2.21 ERA) will remain reliable at the back of the bullpen. Expect the Yankees to get healthy and barring an unforeseen barrage of injuries late, should be there at the end.
Los Angeles Dodgers
A winner of 106 games last season, the Dodgers led the National League in runs and home runs. They were also first by a wide margin in staff ERA, at 3.37. Adding to the power laded lineup of Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Joc Pederson is Mookie Betts, acquired in a trade with the Red Sox. On the mound, veteran lefty Clayton Kershaw continues to be the ace. Add in Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and David Price (also in the trade with Betts), and the Dodgers rotation is one of the deepest in the game. It would be a shock and probably the demise of manager Dave Roberts if the Dodgers don’t make a World Series appearance.
Also-rans for years, the Astros are now among the yearly favorites in the American League. Winners of 107 games last season, they return a lineup featuring Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Jose Altuve, and George Springer, all capable of launching 30-to-40 home runs. Not only will the Astros beat you with their hitting, their pitching was second in the AL with a 3.66 ERA. The ageless Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke head the rotation with Lance McCullers Jr a powerful number three man. Clearly the recent attention on the team hasn’t been stellar with the sign-stealing scandal, and with former manager AJ Hinch gone, it will be interesting to see how the team responds and moves forward. Should they keep focus, the Astros will be in the mix come October.