By Drew Modjeski
The baseball world got some good news the other day when Bob Nightengale reported that the MLB was looking to return toward the end of June/early July. Any baseball would be welcomed at this point, but they’re a few changes that would have to be made for games to be played. The major change that was proposed was division realignment into three 10-team divisions based on geographic location. The teams in the East, West and Central division would only play teams within their own region. This could lead to new rivalries that the fans have never even dreamed of. With that being said, let’s do a power ranking for each proposed division starting with the Central.
10. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are trash. Finishing with the worst record in the MLB last season, the Tigers didn’t do too much in the off-season to make this roster any better. Jonathan Schoop was their big free-agent signing, and while he is a good player, the Tigers have deeper issues than 2B. The pitching staff was awful last season, and they didn’t do too much to bolster only adding a few veteran pitchers like Ivan Nova and Hector Santiago. If I were a Tigers fan I would secretly hope that no baseball would be played in 2020 so you wouldn’t have to watch this dumpster fire of a team.
9. Kansas City Royals
The Royals are glad that the Tigers exist. After a dismal 2019 season, which saw the Royals lose, 103 games, this team is entering another long rebuild. New owners and a new manager see the Royals enter a new chapter as most of the pieces from the 2015 World Series team are gone. They still have some elite talent on the team, like Whit Merrifield, but the pitching staff is highly questionable and the lineup has plenty of holes in it.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
In a relatively weak NL Central, the Cardinals were looking to finish somewhere in the middle. Now, in what is slating to be a tough Central division, the Cardinals seem to be getting lost in the pack. The roster is getting old, the pitching staff leaves a lot to be desired and they don’t have too many great prospects in the pipeline. Last year may have been the last time we see the Cards in the playoffs in a while.
7. Cincinnati Reds
The Central division is stacked as the Reds would not be this low if they were in any of the other divisions. I like what the Reds are doing, but they are still a year or two away from seriously contending. With that being said, the pitching staff for the Reds is stacked with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer leading the charge. Signing Nicholas Castellanos was a big blow to the division rival Chicago Cubs, and should bolster this offense that had trouble last year. The Reds are on the up and up, but it is not their time yet.
6. Cleveland Indians
The Indians seem to be in that weird limbo period where they’re not really contenders, but still have enough talent to not tear it all down. The pitching staff lost Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber, and is lacking the depth they need. Francisco Lindor is still a superstar, but if this team starts losing too many games expect them to try and flip him.
5. Chicago Cubs
It is a new era on the northside as David Ross takes over the managerial duties from World Series winning manager Joe Maddon. This team is still loaded with superstars, but things are getting dicey with their biggest star. The Cubs still have two years of control over Kris Bryant, but it is clear that he is not happy with Cubs management. The turmoil was the main story of the Cubs off-season and it is sure to bleed into the regular season. Ultimately, the Cubs will only go as far as their pitching takes them. The bullpen was a disaster last season, and the starting staff had its ups and downs last season. If the pitching does not improve then it is going to be a long season for the Cubs.
4. Chicago White Sox
Sox fans have it rough. Right when the team was supposed to be good for the first time in over a decade, Coronavirus had to come and ruin everything. If they do get to play games at all in 2020, expect this White Sox team to be a lot better than they have been in the past. Signing Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez add a much needed veteran presence to a young pitching staff, Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal should add some much needed power to the lineup and the White Sox signed top prospect Luis Robert to a long-term contract. It may finally be the White Sox time.
3. Minnesota Twins
The breakout team of last year, the Twins broke records with the most high powered offense in MLB history hitting a record 307 homeruns as a team. Adding Josh Donaldson was huge for this team as he will be one of the leaders of the locker room, as well as being an amazing baseball player. The starting rotation is deep after Homer Bailey was signed in free agency and Kenta Maeda through a trade. The Twins got stomped last year in the playoffs, and through their off-seasons moves they are gearing up to make another run at it.
2. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers were one error away from eliminating the eventual World Series champs Washington Nationals in the wild card round. If Christian Yelich doesn’t get hurt before the playoffs would have looked a lot different. Speaking of Yelich, he got his due during the offseason getting paid to a long-term deal that sees him getting paid for a long time. The pitching staff is a little weak at the bottom, but it still should hold up for the Brewers.
1. Atlanta Braves
This team is so damn good. Some of the best young talent in the games, great veteran talent like Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna and a good starting rotation and bullpen should make this team great. Ronald Acuna Jr. is a star and is developing into one of the best all-around players in the game today. The games between the Braves and Brewers or White Sox would be amazing.