As we get closer and closer to spring training – pitchers and catchers report in ONE WEEK – we are starting to see some outlets come up with their predictions for how the 2020 season will play out. Earlier this week USA Today had their 6-person panel come up with the record for every team in baseball.
Unfortunately for Cincinnati Reds fans, they didn’t have the organization at the top of the division. USA Today’s crew had the St. Louis Cardinals at the top of the National League Central division. In the East it’s the Atlanta Braves, and out on the west coast, the Dodgers lead the way. Fortunately for the Reds, there’s a wild card or two. And it’s that second wild card that could see Cincinnati land according to this one.
The Nationals would grab that first one with an 88-74 record. But sitting there in a 3-way tie for the next best record in the National League is the Cincinnati Reds at 85-77. That would tie them with both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Mets for the final wild card spot. That would certainly make the two days after the regular season a wild ride, wouldn’t it? Surgeon Generals Warning: Don’t reminisce about the last time Cincinnati had to play additional games to reach the postseason. Or the last time they had to play in a wild card game.
Here’s how the USA Today staff broke down the National League Central division for the 2020 season.
|St. Louis Cardinals||88||74|
The division, with the exception of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who currently have a payroll of $50,000,000, looks competitive and close. What is interesting here is that despite the division being rather close in the 1-4 spots, each of the six members of the staff who made predictions all had the exact same order of finish, though with some having different records for the teams.
Between now and the start of the season, plenty can change. There could be some acquisitions that could be made for any of the teams in the division. And injuries can always pop up that alter how things could play out, too. And then, of course, there’s also the way that rosters could play out – which at the back end of the roster, both on the bench and in the bullpen, could go in about three hundred different directions.
After years of low expectations during “The Rebuild (TM)”, the Cincinnati Reds are actually being expected to compete in 2020. Hope springs eternal every February, and while there’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and the end of the season, but it’s not just the Reds and their fans that seem to think that Cincinnati has a shot this year.