Three dark horse teams for Major League Baseball’s shortened 2020 season

Whatever we’re calling the next few weeks in Major League Baseball – spring training or “summer camp” – the resumption of on-field activities signals the beginning of what might be the strangest season in the history of the game.

The condensed schedule will surely produce some unexpected outcomes and there are a number of talented teams who might be better suited for a 60-game sprint than a 162-game marathon.

Here’s a look at three teams who could make the most of the short season:

Chicago White Sox: Minnesota is a big favorite in the AL Central, but the White Sox could crash the party. They had a great offseason adding veterans Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal to a young core that is expected to start the season with super-prospect Luis Robert in the lineup. This is a team that could get hot and they’ll have reinforcements on the way in prospects Michael Kopech and Nick Madrigal.

Toronto Blue Jays: There’s not much room for error in one of baseball’s most competitive divisions, but this is a team capable of catching fire for a few weeks with young sluggers like Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Prized free agent Hyun-jin Ryu is Toronto’s new ace and top prospect Nate Pearson could arrive in the majors in short order, bolstering a rotation that also includes veterans Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson.

San Diego Padres: The NL West isn’t very deep and the Dodgers have stumbled out of the gate on a few occasions during their seven-year reign as division champions. San Diego upgraded over the winter by adding outfielder Tommy Pham, infielder Jurickson Profar and starter Zach Davies, and you have to expect Manny Machado will bounce back in his second season with the team. Also consider that 21-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. (.317/.379/.590, 22 homers in 84 games) will only need to stay healthy for two months.

Sports video of the day

On this day 10 years ago, Germany thrashed Argentina 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, reaching the semis for the third tournament in a row. They would go on to lose 1-0 to eventual champion Spain, but win the World Cup four years later in Brazil.

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Sports on TV

Baseball: MLB Network is airing a six-hour "Team Workout Special" starting at 11 a.m. ET.

College football (classic):Tennessee edges Virginia in a 1991 Sugar Bowl classic, 6 p.m. ET, ESPNU. 

NHL (classic): The Edmonton Oilers defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 2 of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final, 5 p.m. ET, NFL Network.

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