MLB teams that could from worst-to-first in 2021 By Ryan Kanne
MLB teams that could from worst-to-first in 2021
By Ryan Kanne
The 2020 MLB season was unlike any other. From surprise team like the Miami Marlins making the postseason, to the Boston Red Sox bottoming out in the AL East. With the hopeful return of a 162-game season in 2021, there could be some big changes in the standings.
While going from last place in your division to the top is incredibly difficult. The era of bad teams tanking has made even minimal progress hard to notice on the MLB level. The Baltimore Orioles are the best example of this by finishing last in the AL East from 2017-2019 and finishing one game above last place in 2020.
Despite this trend, big offseasons or coveted prospects can turn an organization around in an instant. So, who could land themselves a division title after a disappointing 2020?
The New York Mets
This choice is one of the more obvious additions. After finishing 2020 tied for last in the NL East with a 26-34 record, the Mets made a massive trade for superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor. The trade solidifies a lineup that includes slugging first baseman Pete Alonso and skilled contact hitter Jeff McNeil.
Offseason rumors aren’t done swirling around Citi Field as the Mets are reportedly one of the finalists in the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes. The Mets starting rotation would be formidable without Bauer after trades for Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto, but Bauer would complete a rotation to rival the best in MLB.
While a starting rotation still held down by Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard will be hard to beat, the Mets bullpen could be what holds them back. Headlined by closer Edwin Diaz, the Mets bullpen has struggled in recent years. With only the addition of Trevor May to help the relief pitching, the Mets could look to upgrade this aspect of the roster during the season.
Without any major additions the NL East could be within the Mets grasp Their biggest competition will be the Atlanta Braves. After winning the AL East the past three seasons the Braves aren’t looking to slow down but could find themselves in one of the most competitive divisions in MLB.
Speaking of the NL East, it wasn’t all that long ago that the Nationals won the World Series. The 2019 World Series champions took a step back in 2020 by tying for last in the NL East with the Mets. Their dominant starting rotation struggled, and their offense couldn’t keep up.
Injury to World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg pushed an overachieving 2019 rotation to its limit. After being MLB’s second- best starting rotation, the Nationals plummeted to the third worst starting rotation ERA. Their infamous bullpen reared its head again as 2019 standouts Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson had a 5.87 ERA and 6.10 ERA respectively. The best pitching highlight for the Nationals was probably Strasburg being ejected while in the stands.
Overall, the Nationals looked not just hungover from their World Series but belligerently drunk.
Optimism for the Nationals comes from the possibility of a full 162-game season and a healthy starting rotation. The lineup still has plenty of potential with Trea Turner and Juan Soto continuing their success.
The 2020 season changed a lot for MLB, but a return to their original season length and routine could be enough to change the fortune of teams that struggled in 2020. Offseason additions and the return of health could mean big changes in the NL East, but we won’t know until we finally play ball!