Last Tuesday, the Major League Baseball fanbase was presented with the fantastic news of the Arizona Plan. Long story short, this plan will have players playing in (fan-less) stadiums in May in Arizona (thus, the name, the “Arizona Plan”).
To further add to the fantastic news of the baseball season potentially returning, Major League Baseball has realigned the divisions for this truncated season. These altered divisions are based on the distance of teams to each other which saving them travel time.
If there is baseball in 2020, fans won’t see the “American League” or “National League”, but instead divisions will be called the “Cactus League” and “Grapefruit League”.
Let’s take a look at the divisions:
Grapefruit League Predictions:
The Grapefruit League would have the most competitive and least competitive division within the North and the South.
The North, hands down, would be dominated by the Yankees who should have some smooth sailing. There is very little competition for the Bronx Bombers except possibly the Phillies.
When I look at the South Division, this is where things get tough. The division has two non-competitive teams and three teams that will be top ten in the league. The Twins, Braves and Rays are all powerhouses and can win this division. It’s a tough call, but my gut says the Braves are the favorite.
The East is a toss up between the Cardinals and the Nationals. The reigning World Series Champion Nationals lost slugger third baseman Anthony Rendon in free agency which should cost them dearly. The Cardinals can give the Nationals a run for their money with their young phenom ace, Jack Flaherty. When it’s all set and done, the Nationals will be the winners of this division.
Cactus League Predictions:
The Cactus League, generally speaking, has one weak division and two mediocre divisions.
In the end, the Northeast will ultimately be a battle between the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s. By a slight margin, the odds favor the Oakland A’s taking this division.
No doubt, the Dodgers are the clear favorite in the West division. Last season, the Dodgers fell short in the World Series. To re-equip and hopefully make it back, they added MVP Outfielder Mookie Betts in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. After the Dodgers, there is a large gap in talent to the other teams. Second place in this division will be a close battle between the Reds and the White Sox.
Lastly, we move on to the Northwest Division. You can count the Royals and Rangers out of winning this division. The competition will be between the Brewers, Padres and Mariners, with the safe pick being the Brewers.
If Commissioner Rob Manfred manages to pull this off, it will be a huge success for everyone, including fans. While it isn’t perfect and I’m sure there will be some wrinkles to the plan. Manfred should be commended for trying to salvage this season, especially during this difficult time period.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the plan goes off smoothly and fans can enjoy our nation’s pastime once again.
Photo: The Athletic