On Monday night we got the schedule for the 2020 revised season. The Cincinnati Reds are starting out the year by hosting the Detroit Tigers. And for the 2020 season it’s the Tigers, not Cleveland, who is considered the Reds “rival”, which means that Cincinnati gets to play Detroit six times instead of Cleveland, who they will only play four times. In a shortened season where every game is that much more valuable, playing a team expected to be a bottom dweller instead of a team like Cleveland that’s expected to compete for the playoffs is huge.

That may be a part of the reason why the Reds are the National League Central favorites according to the PECOTA Projections over at Baseball Prospectus. The division is still a tight race, except for the Pirates – but Cincinnati is atop with 33 wins. The Cubs follow up in second with 32, while the Cardinals have 31, and Milwaukee sits in 4th with 30.

The PECOTA Projections give the Reds strong playoff odds, with a 63.8% chance of making the playoffs in 2020, with a 43.8% chance of winning the division. The Cubs only have a 24.6% chance of taking the division title according to the projections. Cincinnati’s 33 wins would give them the second best record in the league, tied with the Nationals, but well behind the Dodgers.

Projections are just that, though – projections. It’s based on past performance and likely outcomes. But in 2020, there’s no such thing as a likely outcome. Perhaps the most likely outcome is that chaos will reign supreme. A hot streak or a cold streak in a 60-game season may win or lose the division. An injury or illness that costs a player 2-3 weeks could do the same thing. Having a player go off like Aristides Aquino in August of last year could truly carry a team in a way that baseball players usually can’t do given the length of a year. The 2020 season will be a sprint rather than a marathon, but no one spent the offseason training for a sprint.

6 Responses

  1. Jefferson J Reed

    The Reds have the pitching and offense to win it all. As has been said by many, getting off to a fast start is a key. Also, with a short season, managerial moves will play an important role.

  2. Gonzo Reds

    Still good to see even tho a projection.

    With players in camp do we see anyone missing that might be C-19 positive at this point?

    • Stock

      This is not a complete list because a team needs a players permission to put him on this list since this is not a baseball related disablement but from CBS sports here are some notable players known to have tested positive for COVID-19:

      Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
      Charlie Blackmon, OF, COL
      DJ LeMahieu, 1B/2B/3B, NYY
      Joey Gallo, 1B, TEX
      Miguel Sano, 3B, MIN
      Tommy Pham, OF, SD
      Salvador Perez, C, KC
      Will Smith, RP, ATL
      Luis Urias, 2B/SS, MIL
      Delino DeShields, OF, CLE
      Willians Astudillo, C, MIN

  3. Stock

    I don’t see the Cubs competing this year. Their bullpen has 3 pitchers who had an ERA < 4.98 last year. Their closer had an ERA of 6.53 after posting an ERA of 4.67 in the second half of 2018. You want to play them early (the Reds do).

    The teams with the pitching depth (Reds, Cardinals) will compete for the divisional crown.

  4. Doc

    Hope the Reds figure out a way to beat the Pirates this year.

  5. Tom Reeves

    Sonny Grey
    Gonna brush the batter away
    On my way to where the whiffs are sweet
    Can you tell me how to get
    How to get to Strike-em-Out Street

    Come and play baseball, everything’s a-okay
    Friendly strike zones, yes that’s where we meet
    Can you tell me how to get
    how to get to Strike-em-Out Street