Baseball and Covid-19 Update: 4/11/20

As Covid continues to make its way though the world, MLB is doing its best to have as many games played as possible this year. MLB finally knows what it’s like to try and hit a Kersh curveball thrown at them and it is not easy. The only guarantee is that MLB and the Dodgers will have a lot of changes this year. Here’s the highlights of the latest.

Highlights:

  • Goodbye NL and AL
  • Hello DH
  • Hello Robots
  • How does the new league affect the Dodgers?

Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues

The newest proposal is that teams will play in their spring training facilities in either Arizona or Florida. The leagues will then be split into divisions based on the least amount of travel. Talking Baseball made a nice graphic here showing the proposed league.

Obviously this would be quite the shake up. Starting with DH’s.

The Beginning of the End for Pitchers Batting

MLB was going to expand rosters this upcoming year to a 26 man roster long before Covid shut down sports. And with teams from both the NL and AL in the same hypothetical division, a universal DH would have to be adopted by all teams this year. But this experiment could just continue past 2020. Manfred has been known for wanting to shake up baseball in multiple ways. He is trying to make baseball more exciting and an extra batter in the lineup usually helps.

Also Robots

It appears that to lower Covid risks, this would be the first year with a robotic strike zone. A change that has been coming since pitch tracking began. While this would be completely robotic, robot umps have been used in other baseball leagues to experiment. They give the ump an earpiece that tells them how the pitch framer saw the pitch. If the Ump disagrees, he has the executive authority to make the call he so chooses. Umps that have used this say they maybe call a pitch differently a few times a game.

How Does this Effect the Dodgers

The Dodgers are by far the best team in this division and should still win it. However, they have stepped into a much better division than the current NL West.

Cactus West: (Power Rankings)

Los Angeles Dodgers, (1),

  • These are all teams trying to climb this year but none are serious World Series contenders separated the Dodger’s from the pack. Not to mention we have plenty of great DH options (Rios would shine) and depth.
  • Maybe Roberts will be better not having to make the extra decisions on pinch hitters and when to pull pitchers.

Cleveland Indians, (12)

  • They still have their Studs like Lindor and Clevinger, but they have thrived in a non-competitive division. The Twins were easily able to overtake them, and the Dodgers should as well. They’re probably the team to worry about the least here due to a low ceiling.

Cincinnati Reds, (15)

  • They made some key acquisitions this year. Most notably Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama, Moustakas, and Wade Miley. They also made a bunch of low radar pitcher signings to sure up some starting and bullpen depth. If Aquino and Senzel are the real deal, Votto bounces back, or their three headed starting pitching monster plays to their potential, the Reds will shoot up in the Power Rankings.

Los Angeles Angels. (19)

  • Mike Trout. Anthony Rendon. Shohei Otahni. We’ll have to pitch to those guys. They don’t have the pitching to truly compete with the Dodgers, but they’re definitely going to steal more games from us than we would like.

Chicago White Sox, (20)

  • The White Sox are only a couple years from being a force to be reckoned with. Their young guns of Gioloto and Lopez are developing along with the addition of highly touted prospect Michael Kopech (who’s hit 105 mph on the gun) expected to make his Mob debut soon. Not to mention #3 overall prospect, OF Luis Robert who signed a massive extension before ever playing at the MLB level. Nick Madrigal is the top ranked 2B prospect who hasn’t played in the majors yet. Oh and lets not forget about the Moncada and Jimenez breakouts. And they added solid veterans to the team like Grandal, Keuchel, Gio Gonzales, Encarnacion, and Mazara.

It should be an interesting race for second in this league, but the Dodgers still reign supreme.

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