How Do the Indians Stack Up in the New Central Division Against Nine Other Squads?
Late June, or by July 2. Either date will be fine by most baseball fans standards, as a report from Bob Nightengale with USA Today states Major League Baseball is looking at two possible dates to finally start the 2020 season.
The plan is to play roughly 100 games, and for games to be played in teams’ home stadiums, and not try to put every team and every game in Florida, Arizona or Texas which has been bantered about for weeks.
The league will look vastly different in the report from Nightengale, as there will be three divisions with 10 teams each.
The divisions will simply be the East, Central and West, with the Indians playing in the Central division.
Here are the divisions of the East and West
East - New York Yankees and Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins
West - Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners
The Indians in the Central will go up against the following teams: Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, and Detroit Tigers
If you go by the 2019 season, here’s how standings would shape up:
Minnesota Twins 101-61
Atlanta Braves 97-65
Cleveland Indians 93-69
St.Louis Cardinals 91-71
Milwaukee Brewers 89-73
Chicago Cubs 84-78
Chicago White Sox 72-89
Cincinnati Reds 75-87
Kansas City Royals 59-103
Detroit Tigers 47-114
The division would boast three divisional winners from 2019, the Twins, Braves and Cardinals.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the division and the teams that the Indians could potentially square up against in 2020.
Minneosta – A team with a loaded lineup got only better with the addition of slugger Josh Donaldson, who comes over from the Atlanta Braves. This team seems like a 1990’s Indians team that could pummel teams to death.
Their starting five boasts Jose Berrios as their ace, and following that it’s Jake Odorizzi and newly acquired Kenta Maeda. This is a solid team that could repeat in this division.
Atlanta – The NL East champs from a year ago are also solid in their one through nine, boasting stars like Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna.
On the mound the team’s ace is Mike Soroka, who las year was an impressive 13-4. Max Fried won 17 games a year ago, losing just four. Mike Melancon saved 11 games last year after coming over from the Giants.
St.Louis – The Cards won 91 games last year and defeated the Braves in five to advance to the NLCS, but were beaten badly and swept by the eventual World Series champion Nationals 4-0. They return most of their squad for 2020, with Paul Goldschmidt (34) and Kolten Wong (30) each leading belting 30 homers or more.
Youngster Dakota Hudson (16-7) and veteran Adam Wainwright (14-10) led the starting five in wins. The Cardinals are a well-balanced team and got hot at the right time last year to fall four games short of the World Series.
Milwaukee - The brew crew didn’t follow up their strong 2018 with a division title, but were a wild card team but fell to the champion Nationals in the wild card game. They won 89 games, but that may be hard to duplicate in 2020 after losing power hitter Mike Moustakas who hit 35 homers, to the Reds.
Their starting five in the rotation doesn’t scare many teams, with the ace of the staff being Brandon Woodruff, who went 11-3 last year. Adrian Houser and Mike Moriatry are slated as the two and three in the current rotation.
Chicago Cubs – After four years of playoff appearances, the well has been dry for the Cubs the last two years, prompting them to go with a new voice as manager. The team will have former player David Ross, who was on the team in the World Series title year of 2016, as the new skipper. He will be counting on power hitter Kyle Schwarber to have another big year, coming off 38 homers in 2019.
Yu Darvish is currently listed as the team’s ace, despite a season in which he went just 6-8 with a 3.98 ERA in 31 starts. Kyle Hendricks (13-10) and Jon Lester (11-10) make up two more spots in the Cubs rotation in 2020.
Cincinnati – After a 75-win season the Reds went out and grabbed a couple big names off the market, including Mike Moustakas (35 homers) and Nicholas Castellanos (.289, 27 homers). Eugenio Suarez slammed 49 homers to lead the offense.
The Reds hope Trevor Bauer can settle in now that he knows where he will pitch in 2020. He went 2-5 with the Reds a year ago after the trade from the Tribe. Luis Castillo went 15-8 and should start 2020 as the ace of the staff. Sonny Gray (11-8) is the number two with Bauer as the third in the rotation.
Kansas City – The Royals hit bottom last year losing 103 games, and also will have a new voice in 2020 as Mike Matheny takes over for Ned Yost. He and this team will have growing pains, and will lean on the likes of Whit Merrifield (.302) to create some offense. Jorge Soler hit 48 homers last year and was a bright spot on offense.
Danny Duffy is listed as the Royals ace at the moment, the rotation will include Brad Keller and Mike Montgomery. The team was 13 in ERA last year at 5.20.
Detroit – Ron Gardenhire returns for the Tigers despite losing 114 games, and 2020 is likely going to be just as bad for the young Tigers. The team did add some needed offense with the pickups of C.J Cron and Jonathan Shoop.
The pitching staff is ugly, led by Matthew Boyd who went 9-12 last season. All the guys in the Tigers rotation were under .500, and the team ranked second last with a 5.24 ERA in the American League. The Indians have no excuse not to beat up the Tigers again in 2020.