Where All 30 MLB Teams Stand Entering 2021


Tommy Kelson, Staff Writer

With the new year right around the corner, it’s time to see the direction all 30 MLB teams are heading in. Organizations all across the league are in the midst of attempting to put a team on the field that they feel will serve them best for the 2021 season. The 2020 season was an unforgettable one, not just because of the shortened 60 game year, but also because of the new introductions that commissioner Rob Manfred brought to light. Most notably was the expanded playoffs. It was the first time in baseball history where sixteen teams made the postseason. It is also a popular belief around the baseball industry that a type of expanded playoffs will remain for the future. Until it is promptly announced, let’s take a look at where all 30 teams stand breaking into the new year.

AL East

Tampa Bay Rays
2020 season record: 40-20

The Rays are coming off a terrific season where they were so close to winning it all in the World Series but were ultimately outplayed by the Dodgers. They’re a team unlike any other in the sense that they are not afraid to trade away their big-name players compared to most other clubs that are reluctant to. For example, 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell has been discussed this offseason as someone who could be moved despite being a top pitcher for the Rays. However, the Rays have a good front office and are successful more often than not when making trades so it’s hard to go against their methods. They should be a contending team once again in the upcoming season, looking to repeat as American League Champions.

Baltimore Orioles
2020 season record: 25-35

The Orioles are, plain and simple, in the midst of a rebuild for their organization and are a team that is starting to look better but not quite to the point of contention. They’ve got a good number of players in the farm system that shouldn’t be too far away from the Majors. Adley Rutschman is the best known, being the first overall pick in the MLB’s 2019 draft. Their time will come but until then they will look at ways to build on their future rather than their present.

New York Yankees
2020 season record: 33-27

The Yankees had a very strange season last year due to injuries, covid, and, at some points, underperformance. Nonetheless, they still made the playoffs despite all of their problems and pushed the eventual American League champion Rays to their limit in game five of the American League Division Series. The Yankees, who have won 27 World Series, have not been able to reach their usual success since 2009. They will contend once again with a good team on the field for the 2021 season hoping to beat out the Rays and the rest of their division for yet another AL East title.

Boston Red Sox
2020 season record: 24-36

The Red Sox are difficult to assess on what to expect from their team in the new year as they are coming off a dreadful season. After winning the World Series in 2018, and failing to make the playoffs in 2019, the Red Sox, along with the Houston Astros, were reported to be cheating the MLB system. They were penalized not as severely as the Astros but still enough to leave them in a hole where they lost their manager Alex Cora. (Cora was suspended one year and was released from the Red Sox as their manager due to his involvement in the sign-stealing scandal.) The team appeared to not be the same at all without their manager and finished last in the division. They have rehired Cora to be their manager once again and look to get back to their winning ways next season.

Toronto Blue Jays
2020 season record: 32-28

The Blue Jays, after missing the playoffs for the last 4 years, finally were able to reach October baseball once again in the 2020 season. Although they didn’t make it far, their team outperformed many people’s expectations and showed that they have a quality club that can compete. They look to prove it once again next season and are looking forward to what their team can accomplish with a young core along with bringing in some new faces.

AL Central

Kansas City Royals
2020 season record: 26-34

The Royals, after winning the World Series in 2015, have been trying to figure out a way to get back to the playoffs ever since. Despite not being close to an AL Central title, the Royals have gone out and done more than many other teams this offseason. They signed pitcher Mike Minor and first basemen Carlos Santana to two-year deals that will benefit their club. However, the Royals aren’t at the point where they can contend with the rest of the teams in their division just yet.

Cleveland Indians
2020 season record: 35-25

The Indians have had no trouble making the playoffs for the last few years but it’s been a struggle for them to win it all. They had a very successful run in 2016 and were able to make the World Series for the first time since 1997. Although they lost to the Cubs, a lot of people expected that the Indians were a team that could come back and repeat as American League champions. The Indians haven’t been able to get back to that point but are certainly going to put a team out on the field that they hope can contend with the rest of the AL Central for a division title.

Chicago White Sox
2020 season record: 35-35

The White Sox went out in the 2019 offseason and spent big to bring postseason baseball back to the southside of Chicago. It certainly worked as they made the playoffs and although they didn’t make it far, they put the rest of the MLB on notice that their team is for real. They have gone out and traded for another top pitcher, Lance Lynn, this offseason and are looking to fill out any lasting needs for their team to get to their World Series goal.

Minnesota Twins
2020 season record: 36-24

The Twins are another team who have made the postseason for the last couple of years but have had serious trouble winning a playoff series. They have lost 16 playoff games in a row now and it’s almost hard to believe when hearing it. They still do have a talented team that will look to repeat as AL Central champions and hopes to finally win a playoff game for the first time in 15 years.

Detroit Tigers
2020 season record: 23-35

The Tigers haven’t been to the postseason since 2013 and will most likely continue this drought into next year. They certainly do have potential in the likes of Casey Mize (first overall pick in 2018’s MLB draft) and Tarik Skubal. Both made their debuts last season and are hopeful to progress as major league pitchers and be part of the future of the Tigers. They also hired AJ Hinch (manager of the Astros during their sign-stealing scandal in 2017) to lead their team back to a position where they can contend with the rest of the AL Central division.

AL West

Texas Rangers
2020 season record: 22-38

The Rangers haven’t had the best of luck when it comes to regular-season success for the past 4 years. Their recent signings and trades haven’t gone their way and is a big reason why their playoff drought is the way it is. Compared to the rest of the AL West, it is hard to see the Rangers competing with their division rivals in their goal to make it back to the postseason. They will most likely have another season where building for the future is their priority.

Houston Astros
2020 season record: 29-31

The Astros have been a difficult team to assess ever since their sign-stealing scandal back in 2017. It is hard to determine the legitimacy of their players’ performance in years past and therefore difficult to say what to expect from them in 2021. They are losing a star player George Springer this offseason and will miss future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander to injury as well. Their team should still compete and battle for a division title but their success will depend on what the rest of the AL West will do in the 2021 season.

Oakland Athletics
2020 season record: 36-24

The A’s have been in the playoffs for the last three years and don’t look to stop that streak next year either. They always somehow go under the radar when people think of the best teams in baseball and it’s because of the way that the A’s are constructed. They don’t have any huge star players that you could find in New York or in Los Angeles, but they do have a team that plays smart baseball and finds ways to win. They hope entering the 2021 season that not only will they repeat as AL West champions, but also that they will go far into the playoffs and bring back a World Series title to Oakland.

Seattle Mariners
2020 season record: 27-33

The Mariners have one of the most interesting histories in baseball but not for good reasoning. Their team has the longest playoff drought in all of the MLB, not making the postseason since 2001. Entering into 2021, the Mariners are a team who should be about done with rebuilding and start to compete in the coming few years. They do have talent on their team it’s just a matter of when they could put it all together along with signing or trading for a player that could bring back October baseball to Seattle.

Los Angeles Angels
2020 season record: 26-34

The Angels have had the best player in baseball Mike Trout on their team since 2011 and have only been able to make it with him in the postseason once. That was all the way back in 2014 and it has been frustrating for them to spend big on players such as Anthony Rendon and Albert Pujols but still not make the playoffs. They are heading in the right direction although and perhaps 2021 could be the year where they can surprise people and make a run for the AL West.

NL East

Miami Marlins
2020 season record: 31-29

The Marlins shocked all of baseball from the 2020 season that they had. Finishing last in the NL East the past two years, many people didn’t have the Marlins beating out the Mets, Nationals, and Phillies for second place in the division. They were also shut down for over a week when almost their whole team was exposed to COVID. They have a young core that has proven that they can compete with just about anyone and are looking to do the same in 2021.

Washington Nationals
2020 season record: 26-34

The Nationals, after winning the World Series in 2019, failed to make the playoffs last season. In 2020 not a lot went right for them, and they just couldn’t get on track at any point during the season. They do still have a talented team with most notably young outfielder Juan Soto returning for the 2021 season. It will be interesting to see if they can add on to their team during the offseason in order to find the success they once had not so long ago.

New York Mets
2020 season record: 26-34

The Mets are headed into a new era for this upcoming season. It will be the first year the team will go out and compete under new owner Steve Cohen. Mets fans have been excited with new ownership taking over and they have the right to. They have been active this offseason and are expected to spend big on one of the top free agents; George Springer or Trevor Bauer. The Mets, after having a miraculous season in 2015 in which they appeared in the World Series, have had a rough road ever since. They have the best pitcher in baseball Jacob deGrom and a young core that can be a real superstar team if everything comes together correctly. New times are ahead for the Mets and owner Steve Cohen coming out to say that he wants to win a World Series in the next 3-5 years makes them a team to watch in 2021.

Atlanta Braves
2020 season record: 35-25

The Braves, after winning the NL East division once again and making it to the National League Championship Series, look to go farther in the postseason. They have a talented team that can match up against just about anyone and are a threat next year to win four consecutive NL East titles. It will not come easy for them due to the problems they had last year, such as starting pitching, that they are trying to address through free agency this offseason. The Braves are going to compete next year and are preparing to battle a stacked division where everyone is in the hunt.

Philadelphia Phillies
2020 season record: 28-32

The Phillies’ signing of star outfielder Bryce Harper to a massive contract was the beginning of what was thought to be a series of big contracts to get their club back in the postseason. They got other valuable pieces to help build on their team but they have ran into several problems along the way. In 2019, they were struggling with pitching and just overall competing with the rest of the NL East. In 2020, their bullpen was horrible and there is no easier way to say that since every game would end with someone blowing the lead after the starting pitcher left. They have serious needs that have to be addressed this offseason if they want to contend with the rest of the division.

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers
2020 season record: 29-31

The Brewers, after making a run in the 2018 playoffs, have not made it past the first series in the postseason for the last two years. They have former MVP Christian Yelich, along with outfielder Lorenzo Cain to lead their team but are missing several players that could help them become a serious threat. Their goal of not only going far in the playoffs but making the postseason in general depends on the offseason that they have entering the 2021 season.

Chicago Cubs
2020 season record: 34-26

The Cubs, after winning the NL Central in 2020, are at a crossroads as to what team they’ll be in 2021. The NL Central is one of the weaker divisions in baseball in the aspect of how their teams match up against other divisions. In the 60 game season, teams played their division rivals alone 40 out of the 60 games. Four NL Central teams made the postseason and all lost in the first series they faced. The Cubs have several players who have played big roles for their team for a while and are close to free agency. Chicago is trying to decide if they should go all-in for another big run in 2021 or if it’s time to trade away and get something for the players that had helped them win a World Series in 2016.

Cincinnati Reds
2020 season record: 31-29

The Reds, after making the playoffs for the first time in 6 years, are another team who have to make a decision for the 2021 season. They are most likely going to lose reigning Cy Young award winner Trevor Bauer to free agency and are questionable with the team they have right now. The belief is that they want to contend; it’s just a matter of if they believe they can compete with the rest of the division. It’s been rumored they are looking for trade offers for pitcher Sonny Gray which would go against them contending in the 2021 season. They have to determine what is best for their organization right now with the new year coming soon.

St. Louis Cardinals
2020 season record: 30-28

The Cardinals are a team that has their sights on regaining the division title in 2021. They have a group of guys that can certainly make a good team if everything comes together correctly. The Cardinals compete almost every single season with the division title in their minds and that is not going to change now.

Pittsburgh Pirates
2020 season record: 19-41

The Pirates had the worst record in all of baseball in the 2020 season as they look to keep on building towards the future. There isn’t too much to say about them except that they will most likely find ways to trade away current players on their team for prospects. They are a team that is not expected to compete for the NL Central but instead work towards bringing October baseball back to Pittsburgh in the forthcoming seasons.

NL West

San Diego Padres
2020 season record: 37-23

The Padres were one of the most exciting teams to watch in the 2020 season. They have a young team highlighted by shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and third baseman Manny Machado. They earned the nickname Slam Diego due to the number of grand slams that they hit during the 60 game season. They made it back to the playoffs and are going to want to continue that momentum from last season into the new year.

Arizona Diamondbacks
2020 season record: 25-35

The Diamondbacks, after going out into the 2019 offseason and signing pitcher Madison Bumgarner, were expected to be in playoff contention for the 60 game season. However, they were affected by a number of injuries and got to the point where they wanted to forget about 2020 and work towards next year. It is difficult to say what team they will have for 2021 and if they are able to compete in a division that includes the reigning World Series champions.

Los Angeles Dodgers
2020 season record: 43-17

The Dodgers, after making the playoffs 7 years in a row and losing in two World Series, finally put it all together in 2020. Many analysts and baseball fans were predicting them to win the World Series for so long, and in a shortened 60 game season they were able to win for the first time since 1988. 2021 will be no different for them in the amount of talent that is on their team as they set out to repeat as world champions.

Colorado Rockies
2020 season record: 26-34

The Rockies have had a difficult time in the last couple of years in finding success with their organization. They have two All-Star infielders in Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story but haven’t been able to stay consistent through a full season. For 2021 it is up in the air as to what they can accomplish and fans will have to wait and see what is in store for Colorado.

San Francisco Giants
2020 season record: 29-31

The Giants, after having the best decade in MLB and winning three World Series, are looking to get back to the postseason in 2021. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016 and have struggled to get back to their winning ways. The offseason will be their ultimate test if they can put together a team that can compete with the rest of the division.

With the holidays coming up and a new year upon us, MLB teams look to the possibilities that will improve their clubs in 2021.