The 2020 Major League Baseball season is already in the stretch run. There are 11 days remaining in the regular season, then 16 lucky teams will take part in the Wild Card Series. . Let’s hope the regular season and postseason can be completed safely.
Which team has been the biggest disappointment this season?
R.J. Anderson: I suspect the Nationals will be the popular pick here. As such, I’m going with the Diamondbacks to spice things up. I thought Arizona was an 80-something-win team that was likely to make the playoffs when the postseason expansion was announced. Instead, they’re competing for the worst record in the National League with a lifeless Pirates squad. The retooling that they started leading into the deadline figures to continue this winter; I’m just intrigued about whether Mike Hazen and company will tear things down, or if they’ll beef up their squad to avoid consecutive down years.
Matt Snyder: The Nationals and Angels certainly come to mind, but I’ll go with the Astros. They were arguably the best franchise in baseball from 2017-19, coming away with three 100-win seasons, two AL pennants and a World Series title. Then we heard about the sign-stealing scandal and while I’m sure they’d like us to believe it was isolated in 2017 and didn’t really make too much of a difference, they surely haven’t done much to prove otherwise this season.
Now, their pitching has been in shambles thanks to injuries and — let’s face — lack of preparation in replacing Gerrit Cole, but the offense has been below average in lots of respects and the personnel isn’t really much different. All the major bats except Yordan Alvarez (who they only had for 87 games in 2019 during their entire three-year run) are back. Katherine Acquavella: There are actually quite a few to choose from, which is unfortunate. The Nationals and Angels are certainly the most noteworthy. The Mets could qualify. I’d also add the Yankees and Astros, although they’re both likely to still make the postseason. But, my pick is the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds were expected to return to contention this year after the big signings for Mike Moustakas and Nicholas Castellanos. Entering Tuesday, the Reds are currently three games under .500 and sit in third place, five and a half games behind the first-place Cubs. Their underperformance (mostly on the offensive side) this season has been one of the more disappointing outcomes in 2020.
Mike Axisa: I didn’t love the Nationals coming into the season but I didn’t expect them to be this bad. The Angels are a perpetual disappointment and I get anxious and angry over the way they’ve wasted the prime of Mike Trout, the greatest player many of us will ever see. I will pass on Washington and Anaheim though, and second R.J.’s pick of the D-Backs. I thought they were the second best team in the NL West and no worse than the fourth best team in the NL overall coming into the season. Instead, they’re in an absolute free fall and in the race for the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft. Pretty much everyone on the roster other than Zac Gallen has fallen short of expectations. A Murphy’s Law season, through and through. (Shoutout to the Rangers too. I thought they’d at least be competitive. Sheesh.)
Dayn Perry: I’ll go with the Angels. I thought they might be a playoff team coming into the season. If you’d told me that in Joe Maddon’s first year, Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon would be producing close to peak and Dylan Bundy would break out in a major way, then I’d probably guess they’d be within range of the AL West lead. Instead, they’re hopelessly buried in the standings to the extent that GM Billy Eppler might not keep his job. To be worrying about the Mariners for the six seed with less than two weeks left is most certainly not where anyone involved with the organization expected to be.