There will be some random outcomes during this short MLB season, and Tom Verducci has predicted the Tampa Bay Rays will win the World Series.
An MLB season like no other starts this week, with a 60-game sprint defining the idea of small samples for the analytic/sabermetric crowd. There will be random outcomes, and with there only be small samples the season’s results will be affected.
As part of Sports Illustrated’s 2020 season preview, each of their MLB writers gave their predictions. More narrowly, in the interest of space and being concise, each writer gave their division winners and Wild Cards followed by a World Series prediction.
Here are Tom Verducci ‘s predictions.
National League: East-New York Mets, Central-Cincinnati Reds, West-Los Angeles Dodgers, Wild Cards-Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres
American League: East-Tampa Bay Rays, Central-Minnesota Twins, West-Houston Astros, Wild Cards-New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels
World Series: Rays over Dodgers (7 games)
Offense will be down this year. The expanded roster was a mistake. The first month will be a parade of nasty relievers holding down hitters. The two toughest pitching staffs to hit last year belonged to the Dodgers and Rays. Go with depth of pure stuff to find your pennant winners.
As one of the most streamline and outside-the-box thinking organizations in baseball (or any sport, arguably), the Tampa Bay Rays are as good a candidate as any to find advantages in unique margins in this most unique of seasons. Pivoting quickly if necessary will be essential, and the Rays won’t be bound by things other teams might be.
Could the Tampa Bay Rays really win the World Series?
The Rays made their only trip to the World Series in 2008, losing in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve also won at least 90 games seven times in the last 12 seasons, including 96 in 2019.
More than any other year, this is the year bold sports predictions have a great chance to come true. Verducci picking the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series certainly qualifies, though there is some logic behind it.