There’s still far too many unknowns – regarding a pandemic, the fragile state of relations between Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association and other concerns – to lay out with any certainty how the 2021 season will unfold.
We do know that 162 games will be played (hopefully).
That the designated hitter won’t be used in the National League (until it is).
That the playoffs won’t be expanded (but sleep with one eye open until April 1 on that one).
Nonetheless, USA TODAY Sports is ready to boldly go forth with its annual ritual and project records for all 30 teams, an exercise rendered moot in barely a month last year.
Ultimately, 162 games gave way to 60, a season was completed and plenty was learned about navigating the coronavirus while playing baseball. This time, the advantage of experience and the hope of vaccine distribution frame the season far more than any winter transaction.
With that, a look at how our six-person panel sees the season playing out – at least between the white lines: