COLUMN: What will pro ball look like in 2021?

Mark Spensley
Express Co-Publisher

   Opening day for major league baseball occurred last week without a whole lot of fanfare. At least not for me. I’m still not able to watch much in the way of Cub games as they continue to showcase their games on the Marquee Network. Being a Dish Network customer at home stops that from happening.

So, what will this 2021 season look like? Last year at this time baseball was postponed. Then when it did come back it was a shorter season. I was okay with that, I was just happy to have professional baseball back.

     The first week of the season has already seen its first Covid delays as the Nationals have been hit pretty hard. There was talk about a Monday start but I see that did not happen. Since I haven’t watched any games yet I also have paid any attention to how many fans there are in the stands.

     My team, as you all know, is the Cubs. Expectations for this year’s version are pretty low. The Cubs are in a money pinch, have a new GM and have dismantled parts of their playoff returning team from last season. 

     Gone are their best pitcher, their left fielder and a few other guys. The Cubs also need to resign three key players, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez. Bryant was dangled in front of a few teams this winter as was Willson Contreras. Bryant is my current favorite Cub so I’m hoping they do not trade him. I am also hoping he gets back to being the player everyone expected.

     Contreras is one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Trading him will hurt the team but they have a pretty decent catcher in the minors. Contreras also needs to get back to the level offensively that is expected of him.

     I see the Cubs being a .500 team this year but fortunately, they are playing in a division that they should be able to compete in and possibly even make the playoffs. That’s about as far as they probably go though.

     I always like to take a crack at the playoff with a few predictions. Even though I am not totally sure how many teams will qualify this year, I’m going to take a stab at it anyway. Division champions will be Tampa Bay, Minnesota Twins and the Astros. The three Wild card teams, if there are three, will be the Yankees, White Sox and Angels.

     In the NL the division champs will be the Mets, Cardinals and Dodgers. The wild card picks will be the Padres, Nationals and Cubs. My World Series picks are the Astros and Dodgers again with the Dodgers repeating. Play ball!



Subscriber Login