MLB 2020: Grapefruit/Cactus League Divisions – Winners And Losers

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MLB has announced the teams that will form the three divisions in both the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. Let’s take a look – who wins and who loses?

MLB’s plan to restart the 2020 season is coming together. The actual start date for live games will depend on recommendations from the Center For Disease Control (CDC) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). Safety first, baseball later.

Yesterday, we focused on innovations that MLB is considering. Each is aimed at taking advantage of an already disjointed 2020 season – with a what the hell attitude to boost fan interest.

MLB And The Proposed Divisions

Today, let’s turn out attention to the divisions that will form the Florida Grapefruit League and the Arizona Cactus League.

Presumably, team standings will form the basis of a postseason, the format of which has yet to be announced.

MLB established the teams in each division based solely on geography and the location of a team’s Spring Training facility.

MLB’s Geography Calculator – Who Wins, Who Loses

MLB’s sound decision is based on player and team personnel safety – less travel means less chance of exposure to COVID-19.

Players can opt, for example, to travel separately in their own vehicle or a rental to and from games.

In a way, though, it’s the luck of the geography draw that puts teams in the same division. Thus, there are bound to be winners with a smoother draw and losers with a more competitive draw.

Here’s a rundown of teams within each division in the Grapefruit League.

The Grapefruit North Division belongs to the Yankees and Phillies. The Tigers and Pirates should be patsies for both teams, with the Blue Jays acting as the mystery team that can surprise everyone.

Gerrit Cole (right) as a young Yankees fan (Photo: Newsday)

The matchups between the Yankees and Phillies will feature good frontline starting pitching with question marks to fill out the rotations.

On paper, the Yankees have the edge with Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton over the Phillies Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Jake Arrieta.

The bullpen goes to New York as do the bats.

Prediction In Order Of Finish: Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, Tigers, Pirates

The Grapefruit South Division, minus the hapless Orioles, could prove to be one of the most interesting in MLB this year. The Twins and Braves are reliable, but competitiveness within the division will depend on what the Red Sox and Rays bring to the table.

Chris Sale: Gone And Yes – Forgotten (bostonherald.com)

Playing in their backyard makes the Rays especially noteworthy, and somehow they always seem to be in the thick of things despite a woeful ballpark and bottom-feeding payroll.

The Red Sox are already wounded by the loss of Chris Sale and Mookie Betts. And remember, we still are awaiting the cheating report from Rob Manfred.

JD Martinez and Andrew Benintendi already have one foot out the door, and Xander Bogaerts isn’t getting any younger. They dive – big time.

Prediction In Order Of Finish: Braves, Twins, Rays, Orioles, Red Sox

The Grapefruit East Division is packed solid with some of the best teams in MLB. Toss out the Marlins, and any of the remaining teams are good enough to win the division and set the postseason on fire.

Yoenis Cespedes: Can’t Do Much Else Except Hit (New York Post)

With the anticipated inclusion of the universal Designated Hitter (DH) by MLB, the Mets are dealt an ace in the hole by having Yoenis Cespedes in their lineup every day.

On the negative side, the Mets will be facing the Astros and Cardinals regularly.

The Nationals would seem to be the team least affected as they are fresh off a World Series win against the Astros.

But this one is anyone’s trophy, and I’m putting it down as must-see TV. What the hell – here goes…

Predictions In Order Of Finish: Mets, Nationals, Cardinals, Astros, Marlins

Tomorrow, we’ll be previewing the Arizona Cactus League Divisions

Here’s the way the teams break down. Let’s see how close we are in our predictions.

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.