Baseball is BACK! It will have its differences from a normal MLB Season, but we have been waiting for our game to return for months. This revised season will take its toll on the 2020 Atlanta Braves, and I will be looking at the positives and the negatives of this season and whether it will make a hit in our World Series odds or improve them.
One of the revised rules for this season and the 2021 season is that for the first time in MLB history, the National League will use a DH in all games, not just interleague games. The Braves have a loaded bench, which could give us one of the best DHs in the NL. One option for a Braves DH is Austin Riley. Riley popped off straight out of the minors when he was called up in May. He fell off a lot though as the season progressed. He was awful against off-speed pitches. Riley did put work in the offseason and if he can put up the power numbers and hit off-speed, he will be a big win at DH. Another DH Candidate is Nick Markakis. A veteran hitter with decent fielding might take the DH role. The last guy I think might take the DH role is Adam Duvall. Duvall came up clutch during the NLDS vs the Cardinals. He hit a homer to put the game out of reach in Game 2 and brought in 2 runs in the 9th inning of Game 3. All in all, I think that all 3 of these guys and some others will share the DH role in 2020.
Expanded Rosters/Taxi Squad
The Opening Day rosters in 2020 will start off at 30 players. This will give the Braves an opportunity to bring along a couple bullpen arms or a extra bench bat on Opening Day. This gives us an advantage as we get to experiment with which bullpen arms will work better than others.
The shortened 60 game will be 100 games less than a normal season, and without an extended postseason, the season goes from a marathon into a sprint. If a team were to start off slow this year, they will have almost no time to make that up if they want to get into the postseason. Even with a powerhouse like the Braves, you concern that the team will spend the early part of the season knocking off rust. By the time they're ready to go, its halfway through the season. If this happens to the Braves, it might be all but done for the season.
1 Year Deals
During the offseason, the Braves gave one year deals to LF Marcell Ozuna, SP Cole Hamels, and SP Felix Hernandez. With a 60 game season, the Braves will get a limited sample size from all 3, and even if they do well, we would have to give them another deal to see how they would perform in a 162 game season. The player I've mentioned that concerns me the most is Cole Hamels. He is entering his age 36 season, coming off a average season with a 7-7 record and a 3.81 ERA. It will be interesting if the Braves bring him back for 2021. I personally think we wouldn't because of our pitching depth in the Minors.
Cancelled Minor League Season
Minor League teams and their players have taken a big hit in 2020, with minor league teams getting cut completely and the majority of major league teams cutting minor league players. In terms of the Braves standpoint in this, top prospects such as Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, and Ian Anderson were supposed to spend 2020 in the minors for one more year and be ready to make their major league debuts sometime in 2021. Unfortunately, they will have to spend most of 2021, if not all of it, in the minors and make their debuts in 2022. This will also apply all minor leaguers across the country.
The 2020 MLB season will look different this year, and it will have its positives and negatives. Hopefully our 2020 Atlanta Braves will defy the odds and be World Series contenders in October.
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