We can’t predict all of the little ways that the 2020 MLB season will be different from a normal season, but with pitchers being given just a few weeks to prepare, it seems like we can expect some offensive fireworks.
Last year, there was plenty of that from the usual suspects — y'know, the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers of the baseball world — but it was the surprising teams like the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics who were also among the top offensive teams in the majors.
Clearly, lots of things have changed after all of the movement during the offseason. But we feel like we have a good handle on what teams will be best at scoring runs in 2020.
Here is our ranking of all 30 MLB lineups ahead of the 2020 season.
30. Baltimore Orioles
Things were bad for Baltimore last year and they could be worse in 2020. The Orioles suffered a major blow this spring when Trey Mancini was lost for the year after being diagnosed with a malignant tumor. There’s little chance of the club being able to replace their best hitter.
Second baseman Hanser Alberto and DH Renato Nunez were both solid last year, but now they will be the central figures in Baltimore’s lineup. First baseman Chris Davis was beyond awful last year and the Orioles have no way of getting rid of him or his contract.
Despite a few promising young players, the Orioles appear to be the worst offensive team in the majors this year.
29. Seattle Mariners
There’s no sugarcoating it, the Mariners are in danger of being the worst offensive team in the majors, especially if Mitch Haniger misses the entire season due to injury. Kyle Seager gives them one established hitter, but that’s about it.
Seattle’s outfield is filled with young players who have proven nothing in the big leagues. The middle infield tandem of Shed Long and J.P. Crawford has potential but neither has produced consistently in the majors.
The Mariners are rebuilding, and it’s likely to show in their offensive output this season.
28. San Francisco Giants
Losing Buster Posey is a serious hit to a San Francisco lineup that already looked like it would have problems. The fact is that Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria just aren’t the hitters they used to be. There’s also no guarantee that Hunter Pence can continue his resurgence from last season.
Adding Wilmer Flores should help a little while Alex Dickerson and Michael Yastrzemski are coming off productive seasons. However, the Giants are lacking in high-end talent and have a few too many holes in their lineup.
27. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers scored the fewest runs in the majors last year, so there’s nowhere to go but up. The problem is that Miguel Cabrera isn’t the same hitter he was a few years ago and can no longer anchor the Tigers' lineup. The club has high hopes for youngsters like JaCoby Jones and Christin Stewart, although both are largely unproven.
The bright side for Detroit is that they signed veteran C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop in free agency. Adding those two should be enough to prevent the Tigers from scoring the fewest runs in the league (again).
26. Miami Marlins
Miami was the worst offensive team in the National League in 2019, although there is optimism that they can avoid that fate this year. For the first time in a while, the Marlins made some offseason moves to actually add established hitters. Jesus Aguilar and Corey Dickerson aren’t high-profile players, but they add a little muscle to the middle of Miami’s lineup alongside Brian Anderson. Meanwhile, Jonathan Villar should be a viable table-setter after a breakout season in Baltimore in 2019. There are also some intriguing youngsters in Miami, including Harold Ramirez and Magneuris Sierra.
It’s not the deepest lineup, but it’ll be an improvement from last year.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirates are starting to rebuild, and that might show in their offensive production this season. If Gregory Polanco can get back on track, he and Josh Bell can anchor the middle of the order. Young hitters Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman flashed potential last season, so all is not lost for Pittsburgh. The likes of Colin Moran and Adam Frazier will also provide a little depth.
The Pirates probably won’t be terrible offensively, but they have some clear limitations compared to other teams.
24. Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay made a concerted effort this winter to add more power to its lineup. The Rays know that Austin Meadows will anchor the lineup after a sensational 2019 season. Meanwhile, Jose Martinez and Hunter Renfroe should add a little extra pop while Japanese import Yoshitomo Tsutsugo is a wild card.
The Rays figure to get something out of infielders like Willy Adames, Brandon Loew, and Yandy Diaz. They also have a fair amount of depth. However, the Rays could still be short on impact offensive players outside of Meadows.
23. Kansas City Royals
Kansas City’s lineup offers some intriguing potential, although the Royals are short on sure things. Whit Merrifield, of course, is one of those sure things. The Royals also feel good about Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier after last season, Getting catcher Salvador Perez back should also add some pop to the middle of the order. However, the Royals becoming an average offensive team is dependent on young players like Ryan O’Hearn, Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips establishing themselves as consistent hitters.
Kansas City is also hoping Maikel Franco and Adalberto Mondesi can get back on track and fulfill their potential, giving the Royals two intriguing X-factors in 2019.
22. Toronto Blue Jays
No team in baseball has more exciting young position players than the Blue Jays. The question is whether or not Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette are ready for the spotlight.
Veterans Randal Grichuk, Travis Shaw and Brandon Drury should help a little. But it’s all about whether that trio of MLB legacies can show consistency over 60 games. If so, Toronto has a fair amount of upside offensively.
21. St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis had trouble scoring runs at times last season, and then they saw Marcell Ozuna sign elsewhere over the winter. That leaves the outfield a huge question mark for the Cardinals despite some promising young players like Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson. That group has potential but offers few guarantees.
The good news is that Paul Goldschmidt is still around to anchor the lineup, although he took a slight step back last season. All is not lost with Paul DeJong, Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman, who looks like a blossoming star. However, few pitchers will be shaking in their boots when it comes to facing the St. Louis lineup.
20. Milwaukee Brewers
Milwaukee’s lineup will look a lot different in 2020 than it did a year ago. Yasmani Grandal, Mike Moustakas and Eric Thames are all gone. However, Christian Yelich is still around and the former MVP can still carry a team on his back for long stretches.
That being said, the Brewers still need to get some help around Yelich. Adding Avisail Garcia will help while the club has high hopes for young second baseman Keston Hiura. But Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun aren’t the players they used to be. It’ll be up to role players like Eric Sogard and Justin Smoak to give Milwaukee’s lineup a lift to help make up for the production they’re losing with Grandal and Moustakas out of town.
19. Cleveland Indians
The heart of Cleveland’s lineup is as good as any in baseball. The key will be Jose Ramirez bouncing back after a slight drop in his production last year. But with him, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana, the Indians have tons of star power in their lineup.
However, it’s a mystery what Cleveland can expect from its contingent of outfielders and DH candidates. The likes of Franmil Reyes, Domingo Santana and Jake Bauers have plenty of power and potential. Jordan Luplow, Oscar Mercado, Delino DeShields and Greg Allen are also in the mix for playing time. It remains to be seen how many of those players will be consistent offensive players. There’s a chance Cleveland will have several holes in the back half of its lineup behind the trio of Ramirez, Lindor, and Santana.
18. Texas Rangers
The Rangers' offense could hinge on how the team’s veteran hitters hold up or bounce-back from a down season. The middle infield tandem of Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus struggled last year, and the Rangers need both to return to form in 2020.
Texas is also counting on Shin-Soo Choo to have at least one more productive season in him while also hoping that the addition of veterans Todd Frazier and Robinson Chirinos can add some power to their lineup.
Joey Gallo will anchor the lineup despite an injury-plagued 2019 campaign. The club is also high on Willie Calhoun, who has been slowed by injury during summer camp but shined during the second half of the 2019 season.
17. Washington Nationals
The Nats were fine without Bryce Harper last year, but now they have to replace Anthony Rendon, who was critical during their World Series run. Fortunately for Washington, Juan Soto looks capable of being the big bat in the middle of the order. The Nationals also have Trea Turner and Adam Eaton to serve as pesky table-setters at the top of the lineup.
The club also brought in Eric Thames and Starlin Castro to join Asdrubal Cabrera, Howie Kendrick and rookie Carter Kieboom in filling out their infield. It’ll be up to that group to replace Rendon and veteran Ryan Zimmerman, who has opted-out of the 2020 season.
Even with an emerging star like Soto, there are serious questions about Washington’s lineup ahead of the season.
16. San Diego Padres
The Padres' batters deeply disappointed a starving fan base a year ago, but the ceiling remains high for the lineup in 2020. If Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Will Myers can realize their potential, the Padres could have something special.
Tommy Pham has come aboard as well to give San Diego another proven hitter. Blossoming star Fernando Tatis Jr. will also be in the middle of the lineup, giving the Padres considerable depth. The Padres also have some promising youngsters like Trent Grisham, Josh Naylor and Francisco Mejia who could make a difference, especially with a DH in the National League. The enigmatic Jurickson Profar also gives San Diego an X-factor with plenty of potential.
15. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are poised to make one of the biggest leaps of any team with regard to offensive output. In the offseason, Cincinnati added Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas, taking some of the pressure off Joey Votto and Eugenio Suarez. Together, that could be one of the most potent quartets in the majors.
The Reds also have an abundance of capable outfielders who will fight it out for playing time. It’s still unclear who will come to the forefront, but there are so many options that a couple should emerge as reliable contributors. Plus, the Reds' depth should make them one of the National League teams that benefits the most from having a DH in 2020.
14. Colorado Rockies
It’s a safe bet that scoring runs won’t be a problem for the Rockies. Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon are poised to do some serious damage yet again. It’s just a matter of getting consistent production from other players.
With Ian Desmond sitting out and Daniel Murphy starting to show his age, there are some serious questions about the Colorado lineup. Ultimately, the Rockies will need young players like Ryan McMahon, David Dahl and Sam Hilliard to become reliable hitters.
There’s no doubt that the Rockies have the potential to be a top-10 offensive team, especially at Coors Field. But there are other teams that look a lot more formidable coming into the season.
13. Philadelphia Phillies
On paper, the Phillies could be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in baseball this season. Bryce Harper didn’t quite live up to his hefty contract, but it’s still too early to doubt his ability to bounce back and post MVP-caliber numbers. Having Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto alongside him makes the middle part of Philadelphia’s lineup look rather dangerous, especially with Didi Gregorius joining the team.
To be fair, there are some questions after that, especially with Jean Segura’s numbers on the decline. But with Andrew McCutchen available after the season was delayed and Jay Bruce still around to provide some pop from the DH spot, the Phillies have an impressive amount of established hitters who could do a lot of damage at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
12. Atlanta Braves
There could be a big hole in the Atlanta lineup where Josh Donaldson used to be, but the Braves may be equipped to handle it. Assuming he recovers from COVID-19, Freddie Freeman is still the focal point of Atlanta’s lineup. He’ll have plenty of help around him with Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Marcell Ozuna. Even with some uncertainty about third base, the Braves have a decent amount of offensive firepower, especially with catcher Travis d’Arnaud added to the mix.
There are still questions about the production that Dansby Swanson and Ender Inciarte will provide. If those two can contribute, the Braves should be in good shape offensively.
11. Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona’s lineup could be something to see in 2020. Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar were both sensational last season while Christian Walker helped to fill the shoes of Paul Goldschmidt as much as possible. Over the winter, the D-Backs added Starling Marte and Kole Calhoun to help solidify the outfield and move Marte back to the infield.
The key is veteran David Peralta, who was held back by injuries last year. If he can come back healthy, the Arizona lineup will start to look very scary. Catcher Carson Kelly and the injury-prone Jake Lamb provide two more players with high upside who could make the Diamondbacks one of the top offensive teams in the National League.
10. New York Mets
It’s amazing what Pete Alonso’s rookie season has done for the Mets. Thanks to him, they have one of the most formidable lineups in baseball. Of course, it’s not just Alonso who has the team from Queens moving in the right direction. Jeff McNeil is an all-around great hitter and Michael Conforto hit 33 home runs last year, a paltry sum compared to Alonso.
Opposing teams should also be aware of J.D. Davis, who had a breakout season in 2019, and Amed Rosario, who came on strong during the second half of last season. Just for good measure, the Mets still have veterans Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos, giving them two veterans who know how to drive in runs and should get plenty of chances to do so with all of the young talent around them.
9. Chicago Cubs
When everybody is healthy, few teams have more depth than the Cubs. They also get plenty of power from the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez. Let’s not forget Willson Contreras or even Jason Heyward, who had a productive 2019 season.
There is some uncertainty at second base and in center field. But the Cubs have no shortage of options at those spots, so they should find answers somewhere. As long as the core of the lineup is intact, the Cubs will be just fine offensively.
8. Boston Red Sox
Trading away Mookie Betts doesn’t mean the Red Sox are going to struggle offensively. Keep in mind that J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers all posted an OPS over .900 last season, so Boston’s lineup still has plenty of firepower. There’s also a good chance that Andrew Benintendi will have a bounce-back season, giving the Red Sox a formidable quartet in the middle of the order.
Alex Verdugo isn’t such a bad replacement for Betts in right field, either. Boston’s supporting cast of Mitch Moreland, Michael Chavis, and Christian Vasquez are all poised to contribute as well.
With or without Betts, this is still one of the deepest lineups in baseball.
7. Chicago White Sox
Few teams did more to improve themselves over the winter than the White Sox. The South Siders brought in Yasmani Grandal and Edwin Encarnacion to help out Jose Abreu. That trio is poised to do some serious damage.
On top of that, the White Sox have a great collection of young talent that is starting to come around. Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jimenez all had breakout seasons in 2019, and if all three keep it up in 2020, Chicago’s lineup is going to be scary.
Chicago also has a star in Cuban sensation Luis Robert. If he comes anywhere close to living up to the hype, look out for the White Sox.
6. Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have a chance to be something special offensively this year. Los Angeles added Anthony Rendon over the winter, giving them two of the best hitters in baseball.
The Angels also have Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons and Justin Upton lurking down in the lineup. It’s important not to forget Albert Pujols or Tommy La Stella, who was an All-Star last season before getting hurt.
The Angels also have top prospect Jo Adell, who could make an impact in 2020.
5. Oakland Athletics
After back-to-back trips to the Wild Card Game, folks are finally catching on to Oakland’s treacherous lineup. The trio of Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien is as good as any in baseball. Last year, those three combined for 105 home runs.
If Khris Davis can recapture the form he had a couple of years ago, the middle of the order will be almost impossible to traverse. Meanwhile, center fielder Ramon Laureano started to make the leap last season while left fielder Mark Canha might be the most underrated player in baseball right now.
4. Houston Astros
Fair or not, the Astros are going to lose some points here because of their cheating scandal. That being said, when everybody is healthy, this lineup is as deep as it gets.
Alex Bregman was a serious MVP candidate last season while George Springer and Jose Altuve weren’t far behind. When you add Yuli Gurriel, Michael Brantley and a healthy Carlos Correa to the mix, it’s enough to give pitchers nightmares.
At this point, Yordan Alvarez is just icing on the cake, giving the Astros another big bat who can mash like nobody’s business.
3. New York Yankees
It’s seriously insane how many runs the Yankees scored last season considering all of the injuries that they suffered. If the Bronx Bombers can stay anywhere close to healthy in 2020, it’ll be scary what they’re capable of doing.
Everybody knows that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton can hit the ball a mile. But keep in mind Gleyber Torres led the team with 38 home runs last year. Gary Sanchez chipped in 34 home runs while D.J. LeMahieu was one of the best hitters in baseball.
The Yanks miss Didi Gregorius a little bit, but having Luke Voit at first base and Miguel Andujar at the DH spot will help make up for it. Even if Gio Urshela doesn’t replicate his breakout season, the Yankees are still loaded.
2. Minnesota Twins
Minnesota scored the second-most runs in the majors last season, and then on a whim decided they need to sign third baseman Josh Donaldson. Keep in mind that Donaldson is joining a lineup that had five players who hit over 30 home runs last year, including veteran DH Nelson Cruz, who slugged 41 long balls.
Granted, C.J. Cron, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop are elsewhere after combining for 60 home runs last season, the heart of Minnesota’s lineup remains intact.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Let’s do the math, the Dodgers scored the fifth-most runs in baseball last season and then added Mookie Betts to the lineup. Los Angeles has an embarrassment of riches offensively. It starts with having both Betts and Cody Bellinger, who are arguably the two best position players in the National League.
As a supporting cast, the Dodgers have Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, A.J. Pollock and Joc Pederson. The club also has high hopes for youngsters Gavin Lux and Will Smith. Obviously, Los Angeles doesn’t need a DH, but they’ll gladly take one and become even more potent offensively because of how much depth they have on their roster.
In fairness, the Astros, Yankees and Twins are all great, but the Dodgers have the best lineup in baseball heading into the 2020 season.
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