MLB Power Rankings: Who Is Best Set Up to Win in Short Season?

Tim Kelly
June 24, 2020 - 12:39 pm
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After MLB confirmed that they intend to move forward with a 60-game schedule for the 2020 season, the defending World Series Champion Washington Nationals tweeted out a GIF of Juan Soto holding up the Commissioner's Trophy with the caption "Come and get it."

It's funny, the Nationals were famously 27-33 after 60 games a season ago, good for fourth place in the National League East. Under this year's rules, the eventual World Series Champions wouldn't have sniffed the playoffs. However, the 2020 Nationals may actually be set up as well as any team to benefit from a shortened schedule.

Reigning World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg pitched 245.1 innings in 2019 when you count the postseason. The oft-injured righty pitched just 130.0 innings the prior season. By the time the 2020 season begins, it will have been nearly nine months since he pitched in a major league game, and even if the Nationals return to the World Series, his workload will be greatly reduced from what it was a season ago.

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer also stands to benefit from a shortened season. The soon-to-be 36-year-old was still elite when he took the mound in 2019, but he did have two injured list stints after the All-Star Break and had to be scratched from a scheduled start in Game 5 of the World Series. Certainly, he would seem to be someone that will appreciate a lighter lift in 2020.

For the Nationals to repeat, not only will their bullpen have to be better than it was a season ago, but the team will have to make up at least some portion of World Series hero Anthony Rendon's production, as the third baseman left in free agency to join the Los Angeles Angels.

Still, the 2020 Nationals probably have a better chance to return to the postseason (and maybe more) over a 60-game campaign than they would have over a normal 162-game slate.

Here's a look at where the Nationals and the 29 other teams fit into the landscape of baseball in the latest RADIO.COM Sports MLB Power Rankings:

Ron Gardenhire is the manager of the Detroit Tigers Photo credit (Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio are two the Blue Jays' young stars. Photo credit (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Mike Trout is a three-time AL MVP. Photo credit (C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper will hit in the middle of the Phillies lineup. Photo credit (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The Twins and Indians will be competing for the AL Central title. Photo credit (Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees will have their work cut out in the American League East. Photo credit (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

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