(*These predictions were made before the entire nation was paralyzed by the COVID-19 scare. Obviously, with a shorter season, the results may not hold up. But I am presenting the entire 162 game results because we don't know how many games the 2020 schedule will feature, depending on how many games are lost to the mass sequestration.)
New York City is pretty much a hub of human contact, which I think will be a major distraction for the teams playing nearby. The Yankees have had a lot of injuries crop up late in Spring Training as well, which is why I think they will falter and finish a game back of the surprising Rays in the AL East. Boston still has a potent offense despite trading perhaps the best Non-Trout player in MLB, Mookie Betts, but they are historically subject to wild fluctuation in win totals. I feel like they're on a down year. Toronto is still a year away from the Baby Jays being a force to be reckoned with. Baltimore is still Baltimore.
The biggest surprise will be how quickly the Indians fall from grace. The White Sox are primed to jump up in the standings with their fleet of new, young, team-controlled talent, but they still have too little experience to overcome the Bomba Squad Twins (+ Josh Donaldson) in the standings. Royals have few options for potent offense, except for Jorge Soler, who has struggled through Spring Training. At least they still have the Tigers to shield them from the bottom if the division.
The Athletics are ready to take the next step and win the AL West. They will be helped in this endeavor by fans all over MLB, who will bring as much negative energy as possible to games in which the Astros play. The Astros claim they will thrive on it (because they're smug pricks to the end), but it will wear harshly on them as the season goes on, and I can't in good conscience pick them to reach the playoffs this season. The
The defending champs will have a tough road ahead, especially in that they've lost their most potent bat in Anthony Rendon, which is why they'll slip behind the Atlanta Braves come season's end. The Mets are confident, perhaps more than they have a right to be, but they'll do okay, especially in the same division as the
The Reds are the sleeping giants of the Central (as opposed to the Giants, who are the comatose Giants of the National League). They have the right group of guys to take advantage of a chaotic division. The Brewers have not done enough to keep up and lock down the division, and the Cubs have done next to nothing to try and slow the steady decline they find themselves in ('16 World Champs, '17 Central Champs, '18 Wildcard, '19 Nothing). I always pick the Cards to do poorly, and I'm always wrong, so I'm learning my lesson and picking them to have a decent season (if they trade for Arenado, they have a real shot at the Reds). The Pirates are in the beginnings of a dark era of playoff drought. Let's hope it's not another 21 years like the one they ended in 2013.
The Dodgers are mad as Hell, and they're not going to take it any more! They've been denied by the Astros, who cheated their way to a Championship in 2017. They were denied by the Red Sox, who... ALSO cheated their way to a Championship in 2018. They were denied in 2019 by the Washington Nationals, who defied the odds and defeated the cheating Astros in 2019. It's time for the best team in baseball (a status cemented with the trade for Mookie Betts) to finally get the ring they've been chasing. Arizona will erupt out of nowhere to swipe a wildcard spot from one of the struggling NL Central teams, while the Padres still haven't figured out how to turn Manny Machado into 10 wins. The Rockies are going to have to deal with a disgruntled Arenado, who, along with Trevor Story, is like 75% of their offense. The Giants will be sponsored by Zz-Quil this season for all the fans they put to sleep.
The AL Wildcard will feature the upstart Chicago White Sox riding the bats of their young guns and their surprisingly potent pitching rotation to upset the New York Yankees in the Bronx for the AL Wildcard, but will fall short of the surging Athletics in the ALDS. The Rays will knock the Twins out to get to their second ALCS, and slip past the A's to take the AL crown for the first time in a dozen years.
The NL Wildcard will be the last hurrah of the World Champion Nats, who will beat the D'Backs but nevertheless be crushed by the juggernaut Dodgers in a revenge match. The Reds and Braves will go seven, and the Reds will emerge victorious, but be powerless to stop the Dodgers, who are on a mission.
The World Series will feature the dominant Dodgers for the third time in four years, facing off against the Rays who are sneaky good, but not quite good enough to put a halt to the Dodger Blue finally getting their first championship since 1988.