Can your team contend for the World Series next season?
No team’s fans were more evenly divided than the Diamondbacks in response to that question. “Yes” came out on top, but only by the narrowest of margins, with 51% of the vote. That was the closest to an equal split among any of the 30 teams, with the White Sox (44% Yes) being the next nearest to 50/50. It’s probably understandable. The keyword for me in the question is “can”, which is rather different from “will”. Right now, the possibility would seem to require some more smart moves from GM Mike Hazen, Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver developing as we hope, and no major injuries. It’s certainly possible to imagine Arizona getting the wild-card and, as Washington showed, anything can happen thereafter.
But it’s far from a foregone conclusion. It’d certainly be a lot easier if we weren’t in the same division as the Dodgers, but you play the hand you are dealt. Understandably, around the NL West, the Los Angeles fans are far and away the most optimistic, 93% of them feeling the Dodgers can contend again in 2020. I look forward to 93% of them being disappointed, for a thirty-second consecutive season. Despite finshing in the cellar of the division this year, Padres’ fans were third-most optimistic, no doubt buoyed from their strong farm system, led by a full (health permitting) season of Fernando Tatis Jr. Optimism was significantly harder to find in San Francisco and Denver.
Most teams tended to gather at the two ends of the spectrum. Nine teams came in with their fans expressing better than 90% confidence, while five more were at 10% or lower. So that’s almost half of all franchises occupying the extreme ten percent. Interestingly, the top five were all in the American League, including the Twins and Astros, who both were unanimous in their optimism. On the other hand, the American League also gave us the only two teams to return “nul points” in this poll, fans of Detroit and Seattle not exactly eagerly anticipating the return of baseball in 2020. Below, you’ll find the numbers for all 30, in descending order.