UNITED STATES—The Major League Baseball season was one of many major sporting events put on hold throughout spring and summer 2020. Spring training was cancelled, and the start of the season delayed, initially by two weeks and later indefinitely as CDC recommendations were announced to restrict large gatherings. On June 23, the 60-game 2020 season was unilaterally announced by commissioner Rob Manfred, with a start date of July 23. Players reported to training camps from July 1 to resume their training prior to Opening Day.
The Los Angeles Dodgers stated the season as joint favorites with bookmakers alongside the New York Yankees, with odds of +450 apiece as of July 23. The Dodgers have the best record of all 30 MLB teams, the highest playoff and World Series odds on FanGraphs, and the joint largest divisional lead. Across a regular season with 162 games, the Dodgers would almost certainly be looking to win about 116 games, based on their current win percentage. However, 2020 is not a regular season, with the shortened length meaning there are less than half the amount of games to be played. The Dodgers enter the new season with what looks to be one of the strongest teams in the league, with several new key acquisitions bolstering what was already a top team, they are certainly the pick of the teams for those betting in Colorado.
The biggest off-season move made by the Dodgers was the acquisition of David Price and Mookie Betts from the Red Sox. Betts in particular has a solid reputation for immediately enhancing whichever team he plays for and is coming off the back of a 10.4 win season followed by a 6.6 win season. The star right fielder became the first MLB player ever to take home the World Series, Most Valuable Player, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and batting title all in the same season in 2018. Aged 27, Betts began at the Red Sox in 2011 and debuted in MLB in the 2014 season.
The Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts seems almost spoiled for choice at the start of 2020, with enough quality players on the roster to be able to ride out any injuries or let players have a rest without compromising the rest of the team. Betts is joined in outfield by Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, all three of whom have broken records and solidified their places as baseball all-stars. The young Bellinger was named Rookie of the Year in 2017 and Most Valuable Player in the National League in 2019. Pederson set a record in 2017 for a hit and run in every one of his first six consecutive World Series games has been named Player of the Year by Baseball America’s AAA.
While the 2020 MLB season may not be as long as a regular season, that does not change the fact that the Dodgers achieved their tied best for a 40-game start in the history of the franchise, winning 30 of their first 40 games and scoring 228 runs. Sportswriter Tom Verducci called the 2020 Dodgers a “superteam” in an evaluation of the season at the halfway point, at which point the team were 22-8 and has a +79 run differential.
At the beginning of September, the LA Dodgers became the first team of the season to win 30 games, after beating the Colorado Rockies with a 10 – 6 come-back, including five home runs from Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, AJ Pollock, Max Muncy and Will Smith. This game placed them 4 – 0 against Colorado for the year and took them to a streak of 11 home game wins. Post-season roster tryouts for the Dodgers are scheduled to begin in September, which will include rookie starter Dustin May, who played impressively with the team against Colorado, competing for the position of third starter.
Sports channel ESPN broadcast projections for the 2020 season based on 32 voters. Of these, 24 predicted the Dodgers to win the national League pennant and all 32 chose them as division champions. While the New York Yankees also look good, popular opinion has it that the addition of Betts to an already All-Star outfield left the Dodgers looking like the strongest team, not only in 2020 but possibly throughout MLB history.
Predictions and forecasts all agreed at the start of the 2020 MLB season that the Dodgers were the most likely candidates to win the World Series. Over two-thirds of the way through the shortened season, there is nothing at all to suggest that these predictions will not come true.