For the New York Yankees and the 29 other MLB teams, this has been a bizarre but exciting 2020 season so far. Some things have been expected and some not. Like everyone knew that there would be teams that would have positive coronavirus tests. Another example is who you have thought that with 25% of the season played that the lowly Miami Marlins would be tied on top of the American League East? Here are my top 10 surprises of the 2020 baseball season.
1. Miami Marlins leading AL East
Last year the Derek Jeter’s lowly Marlins lost 105 games. Their winning percentage was just .352. This year they looked like they would be as bad or even worse. Then the coronavirus struck the team big time. Two crew and 17 players tested positive for the coronavirus. The team was shut down by MLB. As they prepared to play they picked up a couple of players and brought some up from their minor league affiliates. The result is a team that has played 7-3 in their last ten games.
2. Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox are in a big mess. During the offseason, they lost superstar Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pitcher Chris Sale is on the IL, their best pitcher from last year was Eduardo Rodriguez, he has been shut down for heart inflammation due to the coronavirus and will be out the rest of the season. That leaves the Red Sox with just Nathan Eovaldi from the 2018 winning season. Also since then, Rick Porcello has gone the World Champion Nationals. However, with their pitching rotation in shambles, they still have a potent lineup even without Mookie Betts. The Red Sox are second to the worst team in all of baseball. Only the 3-13 Pittsburgh Pirates are worse.
3. Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles will be in the postseason.
The Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers that sat at the bottom of baseball last year, are playing a bit better this year. Both teams are playing over .500 ball. In this short season and the expanded postseason setup of 16 games, both teams seem headed to berths in the postseason.
4. What happened to the Met’s expectations?
Before the beginning of the 2020 baseball season, the New York Mets had great expectations this year. So what happened? Noah Syndergaard is out for the season after having Tommy John surgery. Jacob deGrom has been dealing with back issues and pitcher Marcus Stroman has just decided to opt-out of the season, leaving the Mets with few pitching options. Yoenis Cespedes also opted out. With the Met’s mediocre hitting they really need some pitching help.
5. The struggling Houston Astros
The Houston Astros seemed to gain some as the season would start without fans in the stands to boo them at every city they visited. However, that became a secondary thought as the Astros lost ace Gerrit Cole to the Yankees in the offseason. Then they lost the other starting ace in Justin Verlander when he became injured. With there two best pitchers gone, their outlook was bleak. Now we have drama with huge fights on the field. The Astros that have been at the top of their game for the last three seasons, now find themselves playing .444 baseball.
6. The Cleveland Indians are batting just .195
The traditionally good Cleveland Indians are batting just .195 this season, the worst record in all of baseball. To find a team batting average that low across a full season at the highest level, you must go all the way back to the 1884 St. Paul White Caps of the Union Association. Given that modern baseball dates back to the American League and National League agreement prior to the 1903 season, you can say Cleveland is on pace to register the worst team batting average in MLB history.
7. The Yankees Aaron Judge set to be the 2020 MVP?
Although presently suffering from some minor lower body tightness, Aaron Judge is off to a fast start this year, and it appears he may eclipse his 2017 season when he was voted second as MVP. In his last fourteen games, he has 9 home runs leading all of baseball and has 19 RBI’s. In 2017 Judge hit 52 home runs. With each stat being worth a factor of 2.7 he would be on pace to hit over 60 home runs if this were are regular 162 game season. Even in this short season, he could hit 30 or more home runs, as long as he stays healthy.
8. The St. Louis Cardinals have played only 5 games
Earlier in the season, the Maimi Marlins were struck with the coronavirus. But they have since for the most part recovered from the disaster. The Saint Lous Cardinals have not been that lucky. St. Louis hasn’t played a game since July 29, and it’s not certain when the Cards will be able to take the field again. Maybe it’s by Friday, but nothing’s certain. Each time the Cards were set to play a series it was canceled when even more players had positive tests. The Cards have now had 13 games postponed making it likely that they won’t even be able to play 50 games this year. Commissioner Manfred has already said that if several teams are unable to play the schedule that season winners would be decided by percentages.
9. The season hasn’t been canceled
With at least four teams having major outbreaks of the coronavirus, and the lack of health protocols being followed by all teams, its a miracle that the season hasn’t already been canceled. Commissioner Manfred has issued strong warnings about not following the rules, but it didn’t seem to have much effect. Players still don’t wear masks and don’t social distance in the dugout. Add to that, the spitting and high fives are ramped. Manfred seems to be set on getting this season done at any cost.
10. Will the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies be a surprise this year?
Although the Angels are now fourth in the AL West, can new Daddy Mike Trout and newly acquired Anthony Rendon lift the Angels to a postseason berth. The answer is probably. The Colorado Rockies presently sit tied for second in all of the NL behind the Chicago Cubs. Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies is poised to give it a go in 2020. To be sure, a .400 season across just 60 games prorated to beat Ted William record, from 1941. With the Rockies and the Cubs playing as well as they are, the Dodgers better keep looking over their collective shoulders.