We finally have an official plan for a 2020 MLB season and the 60 game schedule will come with some unique twists. Here they are summed up by the lovely Rockies Twitter page:
One of the great things about the upcoming, condensed season is the fact that every team has a chance. 60 games is an absolute sprint and a hot start this year could mean an unexpected playoff berth. A skid to kick off the year could mean even more trouble than usual. Take last year’s World Series winning Nationals who went 19-31 through their first 50 last year—needless to say that wouldn’t fly in a 60 game season.
While the Rockies over/under for projected wins this season sits at just 27.5 (23rd overall), the 60 game sprint gives teams with lower expectations, like the Rockies, a better chance to surprise.
Looking at the club’s history, 60 games might actually be a good season length for the Rockies. In 2017, the team had a 37-23 record through 60 and sat first in the NL West. That sort of start this year would put them in a great position to secure a playoff appearance come September.
It is generally agreed upon that a full season of high-altitude pitching causes the Rockies starting staff to get beat up as the season grinds on. With that fatigue factor mostly out of the picture, a Kyle Freeland bounce back year and consistent results from German Marquez and Jon Gray could give the Rockies a powerful top three to the rotation.
On the hitting side of things, Andres Galarraga (2003) and Larry Walker (1997) were hitting above .400 at the 60 game mark. Maybe Arenado or Blackmon could follow suit? Unlikely, but that’s the glory of the 60 game season. Anything can happen.
One of the most notable rule changes for this year will be the universal DH. I’m generally against the DH in the NL but the fact that Rockies pitchers won’t be hitting in 2020 opens up some intriguing possibilities. These rankings from MLB.com only have Daniel Murphy as the 9th best DH option in the NL, but they also highlight some key points that could lead to an offensive boost in Denver:
- Keeping Murphy off the field should keep him healthier and better rested for the plate giving him an improved performance with the bat this year.
- Having Daniel man the DH slot means there’s an opening in the Rockies infield. Any one of Brendan Rodgers, Sam Hilliard, or Garrett Hampson could see increased playing time. That means gaining valuable experience at the major league level.
While Coronavirus remains the greatest enemy to the baseball season and is still a very strong threat, it’s great to be imagining what will happen when the guys get back on the field and not be worrying about failing negotiations. It’s time to have some fun.
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