AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

There are good teams in Minnesota and Cleveland. There are bad teams in Detroit and Kansas City. The White Sox are the one in the middle. A “wild card” both in terms of how they could make the playoffs this year AND how they could completely throw off the AL Central if their young bats put it together all summer. – Brandon Lee

Standings by win total prediction

CHW40-20
MIN39-21
CLE32-28
DET26-34
KC22-38

Sure, Yasmani Grandal Will Be Good, Too
By James Cardis

The White Sox should finish in playoff contention. Luis Robert will be fun to watch, and could contend for Rookie of Baseball’s Strangest Year. What does it mean to win under these circumstances? Will the accompanying asterisk be italicized or in bold? Each day that passes it becomes increasingly difficult to care what occurs on the field. Go White Sox.

Now playing: The Clean – Anything Could Happen

White Sox win total prediction: 40


Things Happen for a Reason, Except When They Don’t
By Lee Pietruszewski

This is typical. We’ve waited since about 2009 for a strong Twins team. We got one that won 101 games last season, and the current roster might be the best on-paper team they’ve had. And instead of a season of fun, we got pandemic and long-overdue social upheaval. Call me selfish, but I am pessimistic. Less than twenty games played.

Now playing: Richie Valens – La Bamba

Twins win total prediction: 39 wins


Power Surge Strikes at Progressive Field
By Marina Bostelman

Some unlikely bats have been making noise in Cleveland’s summer camp: long-injured outfielder Bradley Zimmer and prospect Daniel Johnson are blasting dingers left, right, and center, while rookie utilityman Yu Chang might be Babe Ruth, apparently. The odds are long, but could a has-been and a couple of never-will-be’s become the lineup depth that has eluded the Tribe for years?

Now playing: Panic! At the Disco: High Hopes

Cleveland win total prediction: 32


The Tigers Are Almost Not Embarrassing
By Mark Sands

The Tigers could have a top 10 pitching staff. Don’t laugh! Last year, they were 16th in starting pitcher fWAR. Boyd, Turnbull, and Norris are a solid 2-4 even on a good team. Michael Fulmer is back after injury and they have three near-ready top prospects in Manning, Mize, and Skubal. Alas, the hitting will once again be borderline dreadful.

Now playing: Tomorrow from Annie the musical

Tigers win total prediction: 26


The Worst of Times and the Worst of Times
By Nathan Valentine

Rejoice, Royals fans, the balm of baseball returns to soothe our troubled hearts. Will they be good? No! Fun? Not really! Storylines? New manager! There might be a trade! What is the coolest thing that could happen? The club goes utterly gonzo and just plays their talented young prospects for the second half of the season, that would be interesting!

Now playing: Robbie Fulks – Rock bottom, pop. 1

Royals win total prediction: 22

 


 

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

It’s a great season to be a Reds fan. Or a Cardinals fan. Or a Brewers, Cubs, or…even a Pirates fan? The Central is up for grabs with all five teams clustered together, and a shortened season means a sprint to the finish line. The team with the best health, or the biggest surprise contributor, will win this division. – Brandon Lee

Standings by win total prediction

STL33-27
MIL33-27
CHC32-28
CIN32-28
PIT24-36

Play Ball, I Guess
By Alex Crisafulli

Two reasons why this season matters:

1) If the Cubs finish 32-28, crash the playoffs, and then win the World Series – thereby salvaging their competitive window – I will be furious.

2) The only thing worse than winning a World Series after this 60-game farce is not winning a World Series after this 60-game farce.

So screw it, go Cardinals.

Now playing: Ween – Bananas and Blow

Cardinals win total prediction: 33


What Will the Mad Stein-entist Brew Up in the Pen?
By Ross Bukouricz

Brewers manager Craig Counsell has always been one to aggressively use the bullpen. With a short season, the return of former closer Corey Knebel, and the full time DH in the National League so he does not have to worry about pinch hitting, does he take this to an extreme to squeeze every ounce of value out his pitching staff?

Now playing: The Beastie Boys – The Sounds of Science

Brewers win total prediction: 33


Let’s Play 60
By Ben Bailey

It’ll mostly come down to pitching. Hendricks gets the Opening Day start. Darvish invented a new pitch. Quintana will be delayed. Could this be Bryant’s last dance? How will the Pitch Lab hold up? How will the crosstown games affect both teams? David Ross is up to the task thus far. No positive tests yet; hopefully it stays that way.

Now playing: The Modern Lovers – Astral Plane

Cubs win total prediction: 32


2020 Could Be on the Money
By Mark Norton

The Reds spent money. 2020 really is weird. In this ‘tournament’ season, it may pay off. Good pitching features a strong rotation and a deep pen to keep the ball *in* the Great American Smallpark; plenty of Ks offset a subpar defense. They’ll go as far as their bats – especially the imported ones – take them. PECOTA projects them in first!

Now playing: O’Jays – For the Love of Money

Reds win total prediction: 32


60 Games to Plunder a Wild Card

By Lief Skodnick

Sixty games is a sprint, a chance to beat out a metaphorical throw by a deep-in-the-hole shortstop for a chance to play in October. Chris Archer would’ve been a big help, but he’s hurt. Beyond Joe Musgove, there’s not much starting depth. Maybe they’ll get hot and grab a wild card spot. In a full season, there’d be no chance.

Now playing: Herb Alpert – Rise

Pirates win total prediction: 24

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