Major League Baseball opened camp on Wednesday as they prepare for the 60-game season that will commence on July 23.
Because the season was shut down amid spring training in March, we are still waiting to see how the new faces on new teams will perform.
It was a busy winter around baseball this past offseason, with stars such as Gerrit Cole, Mookie Betts, Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson all joining new teams.
With many of these debuts highly anticipated, we take a look at who will boom and who will bust in their new cities:
Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
This winter’s most coveted prize went to MLB’s richest franchise on a record deal of nine year, $324 million. With that contract comes enormous expectations that will be difficult to live up to for any pitcher.
But Cole is in the prime of his career and could have arguably won the AL Cy Young over his teammate Justin Verlander last season. He is battle-tested in the postseason with a 2.60 ERA in 10 appearances in his career, including a 1.72 ERA and an opponent slash line of .165/.232/.283 in five postseason starts last year, which included a performance of seven shutout innings against the Bombers in Yankee Stadium.
The postseason is the only thing that matters for the Yankees. While Cole may be limited in a 60-game regular season, he should have free rein in the postseason and is the ace the Yankees have lacked over the last few years.
2020 Prediction: Boom - 5-3, 3.11 ERA, 77 IP, 101 K, 1.06 WHIP
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
After failing to work out a contract extension with the Red Sox, Boston traded the 2018 AL MVP across the country to a Los Angeles Dodgers team that led the National League with 106 wins last year.
Betts is now paired alongside reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger and should be a sparkplug atop a gaudy Dodgers lineup which may steamroll its way to the NL pennant in a 60-game season.
2020 Prediction: Boom - 7 HR, 27 RBI, .299/.402/.453
Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels
Rendon was a World Series hero for the Washington Nationals last year, always seeming to hit a big home run when the club needed it most. He has emerged as one of the most feared third basemen in the league with both his bat and his glove, and his production at the plate has improved each year.
Rendon now joins an Angels team desperate for help around Mike Trout and Shoehei Ohtani. Rendon won’t solve all the Angels’ problems, but he does make their lineup much better.
2020 Prediction: Boom - 15 HR, 53 RBI, .308/.418/.616
Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies
Wheeler has tons of upside and certainly showed improvement his last two seasons after an abysmal 2017 campaign. But the right-hander heads to the bandbox that is Citizens Bank Park and will be limited in his amount of starts in 2020. To make matters worse, the NL just added the DH and his interleague games will come against the AL East, which boasts some daunting lineups to face.
Wheeler may work out for the Phillies in the long run, but looking ahead to a 60-game, abbreviated season he could see some struggles.
2020 Prediction: Bust - 5-5, 4.29 ERA, 70 IP, 81 K, 1.21 WHIP
Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins
Donaldson was thought to be on the decline after a 2018 season in which he played just 52 games due to injuries, but he proved last year with the Braves that as long as he is healthy, he is still an elite power hitting in the majors. The right-handed hitting slugger put up similar numbers to his last All-Star season – 2016 – last year and while he turns 34, he joins a potent Twins lineup that led the majors in home runs last season and should offer him plenty of protection.
The length of Donaldson’s four-year deal with a fifth year option may not work out in the long run, but he could always transition to a full-time DH in the latter half of his contract. With a 60-game season to work with in 2020, Donaldson ought to wreak havoc in the AL Central.
2020 Prediction: Boom - 14 HR, 51 RBI, .264/.371/.551
Dallas Keuchel, White Sox
Keuchel is a reliable and consistent arm that the White Sox added this offseason to complement ace Lucas Giolito, but the veteran southpaw is a far cry from his Cy Young season in 2015.
The 32-year-old fits more as a middle-of-the-rotation type of guy as he is more finesse than power, leading all MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings with a 60 percent groundball rate. But his groundball tendencies don’t bode well with a Chicago team that has some question marks on its infield defense. Tim Anderson is shaky with the glove at shortstop and the team non-tendered Gold Glove second baseman Yolmer Sanchez.
It is not to say a groundball pitcher cannot be effective in the current MLB, but Keuchel may not be best suited to be a No. 2 pitcher in the rotation at this point.
2020 Prediction: Bust - 4-4, 4.24 ERA, 68.2 IP, 57 K, 1.25 WHIP
Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves
Ozuna has been a tough player to figure out. He had two All-Star seasons in Miami, incuding an incredible 2017 season in which he hit 37 home runs, drove in 124 runs and had a .376 on-base percentage – but he hasn’t shown he is that player since being traded to St. Louis.
Now in Atlanta on a one-year deal and for a short, 60-game season, Ozuna may be set up to succeed. Looking at his first 60 games last season, Ozuna hit 17 home runs with 54 RBI, but left a little more to be desired with a .323 on-base percentage.
Plus, there is no indication that Ozuna cannot return to his All-Star form. His hard-hit rate last season was 48.4 percent, good for sixth in the majors behind NL MVP Cody Bellinger and ahead of Phillies slugger Bryce Harper.
If Ozuna can do anything to resemble the 60-game stretch to open last season for the Braves, then Atlanta should be in good hands.
2020 Prediction: Boom - 13 HR, 49 RBI, .273/.329/.549
Corey Kluber, Texas Rangers
Kluber could be a prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, finishing as a top-three Cy Young candidate from 2016-18, and winning the award in 2017. So, he's not far removed from that success.
However, Kluber is 34 and is coming back from a fractured arm coupled with an oblique injury. He'll have just 12 starts maximum in a short season with Texas to show he is fully recovered from his injuries. That's a lot of variables for an aging pitcher coming off injuries, and while the trade for the right-hander could certainly be categorized as low-risk, high-reward, the Rangers may not see the payoff they were hoping for -- at least not in 2020.
Prediction: Bust - 3-6, 4.14 ERA, 64.2 IP, 71 K, 1.19 WHIP