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Pick tracker and analysis for every team



Follow the entire 2020 NHL draft through all seven rounds. We have all 217 picks as they happen, starting with Tuesday night’s first overall selection by the New York Rangers and ending with Wednesday afternoon’s final pick.

Additionally, Chris Peters, Greg Wyshynski and Emily Kaplan provide detailed breakdowns of each first-rounder’s skill set, as well as how he will fit with his new NHL team. And be sure to check out all of our draft-prep content to learn more about this talented class.

See more: Rankings


Team: Rimouski (QMJHL)
Ranking: 1 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 193 | Shot: L
Stats: 52 GP, 35 G, 77 A

Scouting report: Over the past 20 years, only two players 18 years old or younger had a points-per-game average higher than Lafreniere’s 2.15 this season: Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Drouin. Lafreniere thinks the game at a high level, with elite anticipation and an understanding of what to do with the puck immediately after he gets it. He has a physical edge and initiates contact more than most top picks of recent years. — Peters

Team fit: The Rangers already have two excellent left wingers in Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider, which relieves some pressure on Lafreniere. The top prospect can transition to the NHL in a middle- or bottom-six role, similar to the way 2019 No. 2 pick Kaapo Kakko did this past season. More importantly, as New York finishes out its rebuild, Lafreniere becomes a key piece of the new 27-and-under core, which includes Mika Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Ryan Strome, Kakko, Filip Chytil, Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox, Tony DeAngelo and Igor Shesterkin. — Kaplan

Where Lafreniere is most likely to play in 2020-21: NHL



Check out the best of Alexis Lafreniere representing Team Canada, showing why he is the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL draft.

Team: Sudbury (OHL)
Ranking: 2 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 215 | Shot: L
Stats: 45 GP, 32 G, 50 A

Scouting report: Byfield has game-to-game consistency concerns but was fifth in the OHL in terms of points per game (1.82). At his best, he is a dominant force with elite-level speed, especially considering his size. He thinks the game extremely well, with good vision and a playmaker’s touch. Byfield’s defensive game needs maturation, but his instincts with the puck are very strong. If everything goes right in his development, he has a chance to be special. — Peters

Team fit: Byfield is a little farther away from the NHL than Tim Stutzle. But the Kings have been playing the long game with their rebuild, so they can wait. He’s a franchise center, an understudy for and successor to Anze Kopitar. And let’s not discount this point: This is the highest a Black player has ever been selected in the NHL draft. That, plus his personality, could be huge in one of the key NHL markets in the U.S. — Wyshynski

Where Byfield is most likely to play in 2020-21: NHL

Team: Mannheim (Germany)
Ranking: 3 | Nationality: GER
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 187 | Shot: L
Stats: 41 GP, 7 G, 27 A

Scouting report: There is a sense of ease in Stutzle’s game. He has high-end puckhandling and skating abilities along with elite vision and hockey sense. He has a nice release and good shot, but his hands work best when he’s snapping passes, especially down low. He uses the ice that’s given to him and often makes the play, but he doesn’t force things. — Peters

Team fit: GM Pierre Dorion didn’t overthink this; Stutzle was the best player available. Ottawa — which no longer has any players from its team that made the 2017 Eastern Conference final — desperately needs playmakers. Stutzle, who has been compared to Patrick Kane, is just that. He’ll hopefully create chemistry with Brady Tkachuk on the Senators’ top line, but there’s no rush for Stutzle’s development, considering Ottawa is still in rebuild mode. — Kaplan

Where Stutzle is most likely to play in 2020-21: AHL

Team: Frolunda (Sweden)
Ranking: 5 | Nationality: SWE
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 170 | Shot: R
Stats: 33 GP, 4 G, 6 A

Scouting report: Raymond had 14 points in nine games in Sweden’s under-20 league. His one-on-one skills, skating and willingness to battle for his ice are plus traits. — Peters

Team fit: The Red Wings are in a deep rebuild, from the foundation up. Raymond can easily be a pillar in that reconstruction. An enormously talented winger who has drawn comparisons to Mitch Marner and Artemi Panarin, he is the kind of offensive player GM Steve Yzerman had in his core with the Lightning and clearly wants in his Detroit nucleus. Plus, let’s face it: Yzerman and draft general Kris Draper know their way around a talented Swedish player or two. — Wyshynski

Where Raymond is most likely to play in 2020-21: SHL

Team: USA U18 (NTDP)
Ranking: 8 | Nationality: USA
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 185 | Shot: L
Stats: 47 GP, 7 G, 22 A

Scouting report: An incredible skater and pure two-way defender, Sanderson has risen up the charts this season. His offensive skills are not necessarily the strongest points of his game, but he has a great understanding of how to make plays when they’re available to him. And defensively, Sanderson is one of the more gifted blueliners in this class with good physical strength and a propensity to initiate contact. — Peters

Team fit: When the Senators realized how deep this draft class was, they stockpiled picks and kept both No. 3 and No. 5. They ended up with two excellent, albeit different, players. Joining Stutzle is Sanderson, a big physical defenseman — an area of need for the organization. Sanderson is more of a defensive blueliner, compared to the other top defenseman, Jamie Drysdale, who plays a more offensive game. Sanderson’s selection marks the third straight year the Senators have drafted a University of North Dakota player. — Kaplan

Where Sanderson is most likely to play in 2020-21: NCAA

Team: Erie (OHL)
Ranking: 9 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 175 | Shot: R
Stats: 49 GP, 9 G, 38 A

Scouting report: Drysdale is an effortless, deceptive skater who can make a lot of plays with his feet in terms of opening up ice. His defending is adequate, though he still needs to get stronger and have a more consistent detail in his own end. He has excellent offensive tools, with a quick shot and confident puck-moving capabilities. — Peters

Team fit: GM Bob Murray and the Ducks used to reliably select defensemen in the first round. Witness their run of Cam Fowler (2010), Hampus Lindholm (2012), Shea Theodore (2013) and Jacob Larsson (2015). Drysdale is the first one they’ve taken since then, and he’s a great blueliner to lead the next wave for Anaheim, earning some comparisons to Cale Makar. It’s a very strong pick for a position where the franchise needed a blue-chipper. — Wyshynski

Where Drysdale is most likely to play in 2020-21: OHL

Team: Djurgarden (Sweden)
Ranking: 10 | Nationality: SWE
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 192 | Shot: R
Stats: 35 GP, 9 G, 7 A

Scouting report: After tacking on muscle last year, Holtz handled the pro grind pretty well in Sweden. He is a natural offensive talent, with an elite release and quick hands. He has vision and offensive sense that challenge opposing defenses, along with the strength to drive the net. His skating is very good, and there’s power in his stride. — Peters

Team fit: With both of the top defenseman off the board, the Devils went with a scoring winger. GM Tom Fitzgerald has said the timeline for his team’s rebuild is whenever Jack Hughes (No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft) and Nico Hischier (No. 1 in 2017) are ready. Both Hughes and Hischier are natural centers, so it makes sense to add a goal scorer to develop with them. Holtz has the creativity to keep up with a player like Hughes. — Kaplan

Where Holtz is most likely to play in 2020-21: SHL

Team: Ottawa (OHL)
Ranking: 12 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 176 | Shot: R
Stats: 62 GP, 52 G, 37 A

Scouting report: His scoring ability pops, and his skating has improved quite a bit. Quinn also has really good hands and can wire pucks. He has a really strong sense of the offensive zone and knows how to get to good ice to become more dangerous. — Peters

Team fit: This isn’t a big reach for GM Kevyn Adams and the Sabres but a reach nonetheless, as most mock drafts had Quinn going outside the top 10. Thus, he was not the best player available. That said, he’s a fleet skater with one of the better shots among the top dozen prospects. This is good news for a team that really needed to deepen its prospect pool on the wing, and even better news for Jack Eichel, who would certainly like some dynamic scoring talent on his wing sooner rather than later. — Wyshynski

Where Quinn is most likely to play in 2020-21: OHL

Team: Ottawa (OHL)
Ranking: 7 | Nationality: AUT
Age: 19 | Ht: 5-9 | Wt: 183 | Shot: L
Stats: 56 GP, 39 G, 81 A

Scouting report: His 2.14 points per game in the OHL ranks fifth among players 18 years old or younger over the past 20 years. Rossi is good in small areas, engages with defenders and can protect the puck fairly well. His skating doesn’t blow you away, but he’s good on his edges and uses high-end hockey sense to make plays under pressure. The power and strength he generates from his lower half alleviates size concerns for me, too. — Peters

Team fit: Ever since taking over as GM in August 2019, Bill Guerin has commented about the lack of No. 1 centers, both on the current roster and in the pipeline. So with two of the top centers still available, it was an obvious pounce for Minnesota. Rossi is more NHL-ready than Cole Perfetti. That makes more sense for the Wild, which were making their first top-10 pick in eight years and are trying to avoid a full-on rebuild. — Kaplan

Where Rossi is most likely to play in 2020-21: OHL

Team: Saginaw (OHL)
Ranking: 4 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 177 | Shot: L
Stats: 61 GP, 37 G, 74 A

Scouting report: He can score, he can make plays and his skill is elite. His vision and offensive sense are outstanding, too. He can extend plays and seems to always have a plan with the puck on his stick. Perfetti has a pure release on his shot and snaps passes about as well as anyone else in the class. His skating is closer to average. — Peters

Team fit: The Perfetti drop ends with the Jets, who snag one of the draft’s better high-end offensive players. He brings great hockey sense, solid playmaking skills, a quick shot and the ability to end up on the wing or at center, which is nice flexibility for the Jets to have. Tumbling down to No. 10 after many had him projected in the top five should be ample motivation for him, too. — Wyshynski

Where Perfetti is most likely to play in 2020-21: OHL

Team: Neva St. Petersburg (Russia 2)
Ranking: 6 | Nationality: RUS
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 176 | Catch: R
Stats: 18 GP, 0.92 Save Pct., 2.45 GAA

Scouting report: Askarov is among the best goaltending prospects to enter the draft in some time. He is such a monster in the crease, as good as any goalie I’ve seen at his age going post to post. He never quits on plays, and while he can make the big save, he makes a lot of his work look easy. There’s explosiveness and power in the way he plays the position, but he can keep it quiet and simple, too. — Peters

Team fit: A big trend emerging from the 2020 playoffs: The NHL is becoming a two-goaltender league. The Predators have their tandem for now in Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne, but they saw Askarov — considered the best goalie prospect since Carey Price — as too irresistible of a pick sitting at No. 11, despite the organizational need for scorers. Rinne, 37, comes off the books after next season. — Kaplan

Where Askarov is most likely to play in 2020-21: KHL

Team: HIFK (Finland)
Ranking: 11 | Nationality: FIN
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 185 | Shot: L
Stats: 44 GP, 10 G, 18 A

Scouting report: Lundell has two professional seasons under his belt already, showcasing high-end vision and playmaking skills while showing a commitment to play defensively. His defensive value is highest among forwards in this range; there’s detail in his game at both ends of the ice. His puck skills are just average, but he makes things happen. — Peters

Team fit: The Finland connection runs deep for the Panthers. Aleksander Barkov is their No. 1 center and only untouchable player. Florida GM Bill Zito worked under Finnish hockey godfather Jarmo Kekalainen with the Blue Jackets, and one assumes they had a conversation or two about Lundell. The center is not too far away from being NHL ready, which is even better news for a team looking to piece together a contender sooner rather than later. It’s a good fit for Lundell, too, as he can learn under one of the best two-way centers on the planet. — Wyshynski

Where Lundell is most likely to play in 2020-21: Liiga

Team: Portland (WHL)
Ranking: 15 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 175 | Shot: R
Stats: 58 GP, 42 G, 56 A

Scouting report: Quick hands and solid north-south speed contributed to Jarvis improving his WHL scoring total by nearly 60 points over the previous season to finish second overall in the league with 98 points. He doesn’t have great size, but the speed and growth in skill suggest a higher ceiling than I previously thought Jarvis had. — Peters

Team fit: It’s the pick that originally belonged to the Maple Leafs, but Jarvis is headed to Carolina thanks to the Canes taking on Patrick Marleau‘s salary. GM Don Waddell telegraphed that his team needed offense, so it’s not a surprise they bring in a player with a ton of offensive skill. Jarvis has speed, too, and that should translate to the Canes’ style. — Kaplan

Where Jarvis is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL

Team: Wisconsin (Big Ten)
Ranking: 21 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 203 | Shot: L
Stats: 35 GP, 8 G, 9 A

Scouting report: Holloway was one of the most anticipated prospects of this class but struggled to adapt to the college game, albeit with a Wisconsin team that vastly underperformed. He is still one of the better skaters in this draft class and the physical tools are there, but his play away from the puck needs to improve. — Peters

Team fit: The Oilers signaled before the draft that they weren’t keen on taking a defenseman because they have depth at that position. This isn’t always the way it works in the NHL, which is very much a “best player available” draft. Is Holloway better than defenseman Kaiden Guhle? That’s arguable. But he is a strong addition as a power forward, earning some Chris Kreider comparisons — no doubt for his NCAA roots and his ability to get to the net like the Rangers’ wrecking ball. — Wyshynski

Where Holloway is most likely to play in 2020-21: NCAA

Team: Ufa (Russia)
Ranking: 13 | Nationality: RUS
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 167 | Shot: L
Stats: 21 GP, 0 G, 2 A

Scouting report: An especially skilled and crafty winger, Amirov has some of the best skill in this draft. He has remarkably fluid puckhandling abilities and a deceptive, quick release on his shot. Amirov also competes down low and extends plays along the wall with good skating and creative puck work. — Peters

Team fit: On Monday, GM Kyle Dubas told reporters he thought the 2020 draft is “certainly” a deep one, so he’s hoping he found a diamond in the rough in the left winger. Amirov is already playing in the KHL, which means he should be pro ready as soon as he comes over. While forward isn’t the biggest area of need currently (it’s defense), Amirov fits the Leafs’ brand of hockey extremely well. — Kaplan

Where Amirov is most likely to play in 2020-21: KHL

Team: Prince Albert (WHL)
Ranking: 20 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 186 | Shot: L
Stats: 64 GP, 11 G, 29 A

Scouting report: One of the draft’s most athletic players, Guhle is an especially mobile defenseman who packs a punch. The concern is in his overall offensive upside, though he has a nice quick shot from the point. But his full complement of tools — with skating and hockey sense being among his best — gives me reason to believe he can and will progress offensively. — Peters

Team fit: The Canadiens had a chance to draft a French-Canadian kid named Hendrix Lapierre, who earned favorable comparisons to Patrice Bergeron, and they … didn’t? That’s OK. Guhle is a solid choice at No. 16, as the No. 8-ranked North American skater whose acceleration and offensive skill set earned him comparisons to Ducks defender Cam Fowler. He joins Alexander Romanov as blue-chippers on the blue line in a robust Canadiens prospect system. — Wyshynski

Where Guhle is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL

Team: Eisbaren Berlin (Germany)
Ranking: 17 | Nationality: GER
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 170 | Shot: L
Stats: 42 GP, 12 G, 12 A

Scouting report: Reichel has great hands and creativity. He creates space and can extend plays. He also makes really smart reads with the puck on his stick and processes the game quickly. — Peters

Team fit: The Blackhawks would have been in on Yaroslav Askarov had the goalie been available here; Chicago needs to restock its goalie pipeline. Instead, the Blackhawks got a skilled, high-upside forward (Chicago had selected a defenseman with two of its past three first-round picks). Reichel is the second German to be drafted this year. GM Stan Bowman got a first-hand look at scouting the winger when Reichel’s team played against the Blackhawks last fall during the NHL’s Global Series. — Kaplan

Where Reichel is most likely to play in 2020-21: DEL

Team: Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Ranking: 14 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 180 | Shot: R
Stats: 42 GP, 24 G, 36 A

Scouting report: Mercer has great character and work ethic, but don’t sleep on his skill level and hockey sense. He is committed to playing at both ends of the ice and can engage physically despite not being the biggest guy. I like his release and ability to create off the rush, too, and he adapts to situations well. — Peters

Team fit: In the eyes of Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald, the next decade probably looks like this: Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Mercer up the middle. That is if Mercer doesn’t shift over to the wing, where the slippery forward can also be effective. The Devils have a lot of holes to fill, but clearly their general manager, an ex-NHL forward, believes the best options so far have been up front. — Wyshynski

Where Mercer is most likely to play in 2020-21: QMJHL

Team: Brandon (WHL)
Ranking: 18 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 202 | Shot: R
Stats: 60 GP, 7 G, 35 A

Scouting report: Schneider can control the net front both physically and with excellent anticipation. Schneider always seems to find himself in the right position, making good reads in the defensive zone and keeping a good gap on the rush. The offensive elements of his game are more understated, but he jumps into plays and distributes well. — Peters

Team fit: The Rangers gave up a third-round pick to move up three spots, as they clearly fell in love with drafting an in-your-face, rugged defenseman. He is a nice complement to Alexis Lafreniere, who also plays a physical brand of hockey. Schneider, who has cited Shea Weber as his role model, loves to lay out big hits and should endear himself to fans at Madison Square Garden. — Kaplan

Where Schneider is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL

Team: Ufa (Russia)
Ranking: 86 | Nationality: RUS
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 178 | Shot: L
Stats: 27 GP, 0 G, 1 A

Scouting report: Mukhamadullin’s decision-making leaves a lot to be desired at this point. But he has a base of tools with which a team can work, especially with that big frame and solid mobility. He got into KHL games this season but had limited usage. — Peters

Team fit: Right before the Devils’ pick, the Rangers traded up to grab Braden Schneider, a physical defenseman with a high compete level. A source said they thought the Devils wanted to draft him, so they hopped the line. The Devils then had the reach of the first round (at that point) in selecting Mukhamadullin, who wasn’t projected to go in the first round as the 17th-rated non-North American skater and sixth-ranked defenseman on that list. Like Schneider, he’s a stay-at-home type. Unlike Schneider, he has experience playing at the pro level. But knowing what was on the draft board at this point, it’s hard to believe the Devils couldn’t have traded down and still had him there. — Wyshynski

Where Mukhamadullin is most likely to play in 2020-21: KHL

Team: Omsk 2 (Russia Jr.)
Ranking: NR | Nationality: RUS
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 178 | Shot: L
Stats: 56 GP, 27 G, 42 A

Scouting report: The Russian is a second-year draft-eligible player. Those types of players don’t typically get long looks, especially when they don’t even play for the Russian national team at the U20 level. That said, Chinakov is off to a ridiculous start to the KHL season with seven points in 12 games. Prior to that, he was one of the top players in Russia’s U20 league. He has a frame he can grow into more and a high-end shot. His ability to score at the pro level is intriguing, but he’s still a player who has a lot of development time ahead. — Peters

Team fit: GM Jarmo Kekalainen has always acted off conviction, so it feels on-brand to pick off the board, like he did with this pick. (Chinakhov at No. 21 was so unexpected that neither the NBC nor Sportsnet broadcast appeared to have much prepared on the player). The 19-year-old winger has been a riser after a hot start in the KHL and could give the Blue Jackets much-needed scoring. Columbus is hoping this isn’t a reach but rather the team landed on a late-bloomer. — Kaplan

Where Chinakhov is most likely to play in 2020-21: KHL

Team: Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Ranking: 25 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 179 | Shot: L
Stats: 19 GP, 2 G, 15 A

Scouting report: Concussion and neck problems potentially derailed a season that got off to a spectacular start at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Lapierre is a high-end talent with excellent vision and puck skills, though his QMJHL performance when he was healthy — or at least moderately healthy — was not in line with his previously lofty projections. — Peters

Team fit: The Capitals traded up to select Lapierre, and he’ll be worth the third-round pick they anted up if he can stay healthy. Now, that’s asking a lot, considering his three concussions in a 10-month span in 2019. That’s a little scary. But when a young forward has the playmaking puck skills and skating ability that Lapierre does, with favorable comparisons to a player like Jonathan Toews as a two-way center, it’s worth the shot. This could easily be one of those picks for which hockey scholars in the future wonder how one of the NHL’s better centers could have lasted this long in the draft. — Wyshynski

Where Lapierre is most likely to play in 2020-21: QMJHL

Team: Barrie (OHL)
Ranking: 30 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 194 | Shot: R
Stats: 62 GP, 36 G, 44 A

Scouting report: A solid scorer who gets up and down the ice well, Foerster navigates the offensive zone with great awareness. He led Barrie in scoring by 33 points. He has a good variety of release points on his shot and can make plays off the pass. — Peters

Team fit: Heading into the draft, the Flyers needed forward depth, and they had plenty of decent options available. In Foerster, Philadelphia gets one of the best shooters in the draft. Foerster has high-upside production and great size, and plays with grit, but he needs to work on his skating. That said, Foerster has already proven he can make improvements, nearly quadrupling his point total from 23 points as a rookie in the OHL to 80 last season. If the Flyers believe they can fix Foerster’s skating, they found a gem late in the first round. — Kaplan

Where Foerster is most likely to play in 2020-21: OHL

Team: Kamloops (WHL)
Ranking: 16 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 19 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 178 | Shot: L
Stats: 57 GP, 38 G, 48 A

Scouting report: One of the best puck distributors in this class, Zary has high-end vision and is especially decisive with the puck on his stick. He wastes few plays. Zary finished fifth in the WHL with 86 points and was a leader on a resurgent Kamloops team. He has some edge, as well. — Peters

Team fit: The Flames traded down twice before making their first pick of the draft, and it ended up being Zary. The Flames don’t have a ton of quality depth at the position in their system beyond Mathias Emilio Pettersen — if he ends up in the middle — so the addition of Zary here makes sense. He’s a solid two-way forward with a competitive streak at both ends of the ice. He fancies his game like that of Canucks star Bo Horvat, though there is some question if he has that level of skill. — Wyshynski

Where Zary is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL

Team: Halifax (QMJHL)
Ranking: 28 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 195 | Shot: R
Stats: 34 GP, 4 G, 15 A

Scouting report: Barron’s season was derailed by a blood clot. His hockey sense is exceptional, and Barron can get involved at both ends of the ice, although I’d grade his defensive value more favorably than his ability to produce. — Peters

Team fit: Barron might have slipped a bit because of blood clot issues that kept him sidelined for most of last season, but the Avalanche are looking long term here. Barron is a terrific skater and plays a sound game. Colorado has to feel great about the young defensive group it has built. It’s highlighted by Calder Trophy winner Cale Makar, but also includes Bowen Byram, Samuel Girard, Ryan Graves, Drew Helleson and Conor Timmins. The blue line is a huge area of strength for the Avalanche for years to come, which gives GM Joe Sakic plenty of flexibility. — Kaplan

Where Barron is most likely to play in 2020-21: QMJHL

Team: Edmonton (WHL)
Ranking: 31 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 195 | Shot: L
Stats: 64 GP, 23 G, 47 A

Scouting report: Neighbours is a sturdy player who is tough to take off the puck. His skating stride is a bit clunky, but he gets where he needs to be, delivers body checks and makes things more difficult on opposing players in all zones. It’s tougher to project him as a likely top-six player, but he certainly has the versatility to fit into a variety of roles for a team. — Peters

Team fit: The Blues selected a very Blues-esque player in Jake Neighbours. He has a very high compete level, is strong at the net and is tough to take off the puck. GM Doug Armstrong and coach Craig Berube love their sandpaper guys, and Neighbours seems to fit that mold pretty well. A number of the mock drafts had him going early in the second round, so this is a moderate reach but nothing too strenuous. — Wyshynski

Where Neighbours is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL

Team: Sarnia (OHL)
Ranking: 19 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 192 | Shot: R
Stats: 57 GP, 39 G, 31 A

Scouting report: Among the best pure goal scorers in this class, Perreault has an elite shot. His one-timers are deadly, and he changes up his release points on his shot often, which makes him much more deceptive for opposing goalies. Consistency of effort and play away from the puck continue to be areas scouts harp on about Perreault’s overall projection, but the scoring ability kept him in my top 20. — Peters

Team fit: This is a pick that the rebuilding Ducks acquired from the Bruins as part of the Ondrej Kase trade. As they did with their earlier pick, the Ducks went for the best available player. Perrault is the son of former NHL player Yanic Perreault, and was one of the best goal scorers in the OHL. Combined with Jamie Drysdale, this is a nice first-round haul for GM Bob Murray. — Kaplan

Where Perreault is most likely to play in 2020-21: OHL

Team: Brandon (WHL)
Ranking: 33 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 163 | Shot: L
Stats: 56 GP, 26 G, 34 A

Scouting report: Greig has been one of the biggest risers in the draft this season, with a strong finish to his WHL campaign. His vision is high quality, as he makes good decisions with the puck in the offensive zone. He has some grit and commits to playing at both ends of the ice. — Peters

Team fit: It’s an interesting trend in the NHL draft: The later it gets in the first round, the more you hear prospects praised for their grit, jam, sandpaper and overall truculence. Such is the case with Greig, as the Senators selected a versatile forward with a high hockey IQ and a propensity for agitation. NHL Central Scouting evoked the name of Brad Marchand; keep in mind that Marchand is also a terrific player on top of all that extracurricular stuff. — Wyshynski

Where Greig is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL

Team: Chicago (USHL)
Ranking: 23 | Nationality: USA
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 179 | Shot: L
Stats: 45 GP, 24 G, 35 A

Scouting report: It’s hard to pinpoint any one element of his game that registers as elite, though his skill is on an upper tier. Hockey sense is solid. Vision is solid. The skating is fine. Brisson finished second in USHL scoring with 59 points in 45 games, but he still needs to get stronger and a bit more aggressive in the middle of the ice, though. — Peters

Team fit: There was a lot of speculation about where Brisson would land; his father, Pat, is one of the NHL’s super agents, representing Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews — as well as Jonathan Marchessault and Nicolas Roy, two of his son’s future teammates. In his own right, Brendan Brisson is one of the best Americans in this year’s draft, and he’s a player who has been improving at every level. Brisson is more of a developmental pick, as he’ll spend some time at the University of Michigan before jumping to the NHL. — Kaplan

Where Brisson is most likely to play in 2020-21: NCAA

Team: Shawinigan (QMJHL)
Ranking: 22 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 178 | Shot: R
Stats: 49 GP, 29 G, 42 A

Scouting report: Among U18 players in the QMJHL, no player had more points than Bourque’s 71 — and his 1.45 points per game led his age peers by a substantial margin. He has some natural offensive ability, with an excellent shot, especially off the pass. Bourque doesn’t have an imposing frame, but he has quick hands and a good idea of how to spin the wheels offensively for his team. I think his skating could stand to improve, but it’s not a major drawback for him. — Peters

Team fit: A lot of mock drafts had Bourque going a few picks before the Stars got a chance to get him at No. 30. Given his offensive upside, and natural instincts, it could be a big mistake if Dallas develops him as well as they’ve developed some of their other recent prospects such as Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz and Jason Dickinson. — Wyshynski

Where Bourque is most likely to play in 2020-21: QMJHL

Team: Prince Albert (WHL)
Ranking: 40 | Nationality: CAN
Age: 18 | Ht: 5-10 | Wt: 183 | Shot: R
Stats: 64 GP, 25 G, 45 A

Scouting report: Wiesblatt has quick hands and can make plays with a good amount of speed. Despite not being a big body, he gets engaged physically and certainly competes at a high level. His hand skills are in the upper tier of this draft, and he has some creativity. — Peters

Team fit: The Sharks might be looking at a transitional season in 2020-21 before they can really contend again, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they end up using all seven of their picks to help restock the pipeline. In this selection — acquired from Tampa Bay in the Barclay Goodrow trade — the Sharks targeted a playmaking forward. If we’re looking at recency bias, that’s not a surprise for a team that finished last season ranked 27th in the NHL in scoring. — Kaplan

Where Wiesblatt is most likely to play in 2020-21: WHL


Rounds 2-7 will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Check out the full draft order for Rounds 2-7 here, be sure to prep with all of our NHL draft analysis content, and check back at ESPN.com shortly after the final pick for complete draft grades for all 31 teams.


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Way-too-early 2021 MLB Power Rankings: What’s next for Dodgers, Rays and all 30 teams



We can only hope 2021 will be a more normal season, with 162 games and fans in the stands and hot dogs to eat and overpriced beer to drink. We don’t know what the state of things will be come April 1, when the 2021 season is scheduled to begin, but we can speculate on the state of the 30 franchises.

Yes, we’re back with our annual Way-Too-Early Power Rankings. There are a few obvious teams at the top, a handful at the bottom and a whole bunch in the middle. Throw in the difficulty of analyzing a 60-game season and the uncertainty of how the offseason will play out due to the financial losses of this season, and these are the most difficult rankings we have had to do. But we fearlessly move forward.

(Title odds for 2021 from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill)

2020 record: 43-17
Won World Series
2021 title odds: 4-1

They’re reigning champs. They’ve won eight straight division titles. They have Mookie Betts signed for the long term. They have young starters such as Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin to keep the rotation strong for years to come. They have players capable of better seasons (Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux). They have a good farm system. They have financial flexibility, with only Betts signed past 2022 and all those young players to help them keep the payroll in check. Justin Turner is a free agent, but he would be a nice DH option if the NL makes that permanent. We know they will be good. But we know it’s really all about October.

2020 record: 35-25
Lost NLCS to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 12-1

The offense gives them a high floor:Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, even Travis d’Arnaud and Adam Duvall raked in 2020. Marcell Ozuna is a free agent and it would be nice to bring him back, but rookie center fielder Cristian Pache is ready and he looks like he’ll be valuable on both sides of the ball. The rotation will see the return of Mike Soroka from his Achilles injury and a full season of Ian Anderson to back up Max Fried. Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have potential, and Atlanta will probably bring in a veteran starter on a one-year deal the way they did with Dallas Keuchel in 2019 and tried to do with Cole Hamels in 2020. The Braves will be favored to win a fourth straight division title even if they don’t do anything this offseason.

2020 record: 37-23
Lost Division Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 17-2

Sure, an argument can be made to put the Padres ahead of the Braves, but I think we have to first make sure Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger are completely healthy in spring training. San Diego brings back essentially every significant player after running out the youngest lineup in the NL, with Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham looking like foundation additions alongside Fernando Tatis Jr. (All were acquired in trades; good job, A.J. Preller!) We’ll see if Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers can match their 2020 rate of production, but if Luis Patino and MacKenzie Gore become impact starters, the Padres are poised to make a multiyear run in challenging the Dodgers for NL West supremacy.

2020 record: 40-20
Lost World Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 10-1

The Rays won their first division title since 2010 and did it in quite remarkable fashion, with 12 different relievers recording a save and the pitching staff overcoming a slew of injuries along the way. They were able to pull that off because of the depth of their staff, but having expanded rosters over the 60-game season made it possible to rely so heavily on the bullpen. Of course, you can argue that pitching depth will be even more valuable over 162 games. The offense isn’t elite, although we can’t wait to see what Randy Arozarena will do over a full season or if super rookie Wander Franco is ready to make an impact at some point in 2021.

2020 record: 35-25
Lost Wild Card Series to A’s
2021 title odds: 12-1

Much like the Braves, the offensive firepower of the White Sox should give them a high floor. Even if you see some regression coming from Jose Abreu or Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada should improve and a full season of Nick Madrigal will help. Michael Kopech, who opted out of 2020, will hopefully be back, but he hasn’t pitched in two years, so finding another veteran arm to go with ace Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel will be key. Closer Alex Colome is a free agent, but the White Sox have several power arms in their organization, including 2020 first-round pick Garrett Crochet, who could be a dominant reliever right away. Manager Rick Renteria and longtime pitching coach Don Cooper got the boot, with A.J. Hinch a possible replacement for Renteria. That would be an upgrade.

2020 record: 33-27
Lost Division Series to Rays
2021 title odds: 6-1

You can make an argument to put them a couple of spots higher, but not winning the AL East in 2020 points to some flaws. They simply can’t count on Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton being healthy for an entire season, plus DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka are free agents, two important players to re-sign or replace. Of course, we know the Yankees will do something big, perhaps signing J.T. Realmuto and moving on from Gary Sanchez or trading for Francisco Lindor and shifting Gleyber Torres to second. Getting Luis Severino back from Tommy John surgery will be a big boost as well.

2020 record: 36-24
Lost Wild Card Series to Astros
2021 title odds: 14-1

The Twins didn’t do it quite like they did in 2019, when they bashed a record 307 home runs (although their 162-game pace for 2020 was still 259), as their team batting average dropped nearly 30 points, and they fell from second in the AL in runs to 10th. Still, they’ve established a foundation of success with three playoff appearances in four seasons. The big issue is they have a lot of free agents to replace or re-sign, starting with 40-year-old Nelson Cruz, but also Jake Odorizzi, Marwin Gonzalez, Rich Hill, Tyler Clippard, Trevor May and Homer Bailey. Those players were minor contributors, but with Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Taylor Rogers getting more expensive in arbitration, the Twins may not be able to fill out the roster with minor free agents the way they’ve done of late. They need a healthy Josh Donaldson, especially if Cruz leaves, and they will have to discard the emotional baggage of 18 consecutive playoff losses to get revved up for 162 games just to get back to October again.

2020 record: 36-24
Lost Division Series to Houston
2021 title odds: 14-1

The A’s weren’t as impressive as they were in 2019 — Matt Olson morphed into an extreme “three true outcomes” slugger, Matt Chapman‘s OBP dipped to .276 and Marcus Semien declined from his third-place MVP performance. They still coasted to the AL West title though, and the division projects as being pretty soft, at least right now. Semien and closer Liam Hendriks are free agents as are several other key role players, so this ranking is not presented with a high degree of confidence. The A’s always seem to maximize their talent, and I do think the rotation will be much better, making up for some of the likely bullpen regression.

2020 record: 26-34
Tied for fourth in NL East
2021 title odds: 30-1

I feel like we need another National League team here, but let’s be honest: There is a wide gap between the NL’s top three teams and the block of mediocre teams in the middle. Let’s roll the dice on the Mets with new owner Steve Cohen to the rescue (once he gets formally approved). Let’s just say Mets fans are pumped about Cohen’s WAW (wins above Wilpon). There have already been reports about all the money he’ll sink into the franchise, not just on players but things like building out a more robust analytics staff. Aside from any splashy moves Cohen may make — trading for Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor? Signing J.T. Realmuto or Trevor Bauer? — there is a strong base of talent here. They ranked third in the majors in wOBA (behind the Braves and Dodgers) and fifth in the majors in pitcher strikeout rate. They should be better — a familiar refrain for Mets fans, unfortunately.

2020 record: 34-26
Lost Wild Card Series to Marlins
2021 title odds: 25-1

Everyone was down on the Cubs, especially after that sad two-and-out to the Marlins, but we do need to point out Chicago still won the NL Central despite Javier Baez (59 OPS+), Kris Bryant (73) and Kyle Schwarber (88) all producing well below an average major league hitter and Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras performing below their career norms. That continues a downward trend for this once-great offensive core, from second in the NL in runs in 2016 and 2017 to fourth in 2018, fifth in 2019 and 10th in 2020. Baez, Bryant, Schwarber and Rizzo are all free agents after 2021, but frankly, the trade value for Bryant and Schwarber — and even Baez, to a lesser extent — has cratered. Theo Epstein also hinted that 2021 will be his last season with the Cubs. Does this group get one last chance? In a weak division, with some bounce-back potential, the Cubs could be better than everyone believes. Or maybe the front office will just tear it all down.

2020 record: 29-31
Lost ALCS to Rays
2021 title odds: 20-1

It promises to be a busy winter for the Astros. George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are all free agents, while Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke are set to be free agents after 2021, as are Justin Verlander and Roberto Osuna, both of whom will likely miss the season following Tommy John surgery. They’ll need more from Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman (and don’t forget about Yordan Alvarez) but they could have a strong rotation if they keep McCullers and Greinke to go with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy. The outfield free-agent market is thin, so if Springer and Brantley sign elsewhere, the Astros may have to scramble to find help for Kyle Tucker.

2020 record: 35-25
Lost Wild Card Series to Yankees
2021 title odds: 20-1

We start with one of the biggest questions of the entire offseason: Will Cleveland trade Francisco Lindor? It seems weird to say this, but there isn’t an obvious fit, as most of the top teams are set at shortstop. It will be interesting to see if a team tries to pull the Mookie Betts maneuver: trade for Lindor, then sign him to a big extension before he hits free agency after the 2021 season. Aside from the Lindor issue, it’s going to be a similar Cleveland team as we’ve seen the past two years: enough starting pitching to be a playoff team, but an offense that may prevent them from getting there. Please, find some competent outfielders. Cleveland’s outfielders hit .196/.270/.304.

2020 record: 30-28
Lost Wild Card Series to Padres
2021 title odds: 30-1

In one sense, it’s harder to evaluate what the Cardinals did in 2020 than any other team, with them having to play 11 doubleheaders after the team’s COVID-19 outbreak early in the season. On the other hand, they were exactly what we thought they would be: below-average offense with no power, good defense, good bullpen, decent starting pitching. I just don’t how they’re going to get better, especially given that some of their pitching peripheral numbers don’t quite match the ERA figures. Look, as always, you can never discount the Cardinals. They haven’t had a losing season since 2007. The division is wide open. Jack Flaherty will be better. Dylan Carlson could give them an impact outfielder. The bullpen projects as a big strength.

2020 record: 26-34
Tied for fourth in NL East
2021 title odds: 30-1

No team had less incentive in 2020 than the Nationals, and once Stephen Strasburg went down, it kind of felt like the entire team went down with him. Juan Soto played at an MVP level for 47 games, leading the NL in batting average and the majors in OBP and slugging. It wasn’t a full season so I’m not saying it compares, but his 212 OPS+ was the best since Barry Bonds in 2004.

There are concerns in the starting rotation, however, beyond Strasburg’s nerve issue. Anibal Sanchez fell apart, Patrick Corbin got knocked around (85 hits in 65⅔ innings) and even Max Scherzer had his highest ERA since 2012.The real problem may have been the defense: The Nationals ranked last in the majors with minus-43 defensive runs saved. As always, depth is an issue and they need youngsters Carter Kieboom (no home runs in 99 at-bats) and Victor Robles (.608 OPS) to contribute at the plate. If Strasburg is healthy, don’t ignore the 2019 champs.

2020 record: 32-28
Lost Wild Card Series to Rays
2021 title odds: 50-1

The Blue Jays face a very interesting offseason after making the playoffs as a wild card and ranking third in the AL in runs. The offense potentially looks even better if you’re buying the breakouts of Teoscar Hernandez and Rowdy Tellez. Worth noting: The Jays hit much better at their temporary home in Buffalo, so we have to be careful about overrating the offense. Hyun-Jin Ryu was terrific (at least until his playoff start), but the rest of the rotation was so problematic that the Jays acquired Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling for the stretch run. Walker and Ray are free agents, but Nate Pearson will help, and the Jays should have some money to spend in free agency.

2020 record: 28-32
Third in NL East
2021 title odds: 40-1

It’s hard to see the Phillies much better than the .500 team they’ve been the past three seasons, which led to general manager Matt Klentak being reassigned within the organization. They had two great starters in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler and finished fourth in the NL in runs, but the bullpen (6.92 ERA, worst of all time) undermined all the positives. The Phillies allowed a .345 average on balls in play, and maybe that would drop over a full season, but it stands as the highest ever. This has been a multiyear problem. They were middle of the pack in BABIP allowed in 2019, but fifth-worst in 2018 and sixth-worst in 2017. They’ve been unable to fix the defense. Anyway, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius are free agents. The payroll would have been more than $200 million given a full season in 2020, so you wonder if there is room to re-sign Realmuto and fix the bullpen and replace/re-sign Gregorius and maybe add another starter.

2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in AL West
2021 title odds: 40-1

Billy Eppler is out as general manager after a five-year run that included no winning seasons. Yes, he inherited the bad Albert Pujols contract, but he also inherited Mike Trout and was never able to build a successful team around him, despite additions like Andrelton Simmons, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon. Simmons is a free agent, Pujols is finally down to his final season and Jared Walsh (.971 OPS, nine home runs in 99 at-bats, a low 13.9% strikeout rate) has to play. The immediate concerns are trying to turn Jo Adell into a major league hitter (.161, 55 strikeouts, seven walks in 132 PAs), figure out what happened to Ohtani (.190) and Justin Upton (.204) and — as always — address the pitching. Sounds like the same story as the past five years.

2020 record: 29-31
Lost Wild Card Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 50-1

This is a difficult team to read. The Brewers didn’t hit at all in 2020 (I think the NL must have stored its balls in Lake Michigan, because nobody could hit). Two-time batting champ and 2018 MVP Christian Yelich hit just .205, and I know it was just 58 games, but his strikeout rate went from 20.3% to 30.8%. Something doesn’t add up there.

They do have two great one-two combos in Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes in the rotation and Devin Williams and Josh Hader in the bullpen. Does Williams’ stunning breakout (53 K’s in 27 innings) make Hader trade bait? Burnes certainly looked like the real deal with his new cutter, but he’ll have to prove he can do it over 30 starts instead of 10. David Stearns is one of the more creative GMs around, although he’d probably like a do-over on the Trent Grisham/Zach Davies for Luis Urias/Eric Lauer deal.

2020 record: 24-36
Fifth in AL East
2021 title odds: 60-1

This was the hardest team to project. The pitching was so awful — 5.85 runs per game, the most for the franchise since 1932 — that it’s easy to assume it will be bad again in 2021. It was also bad in 2019 (5.11 runs per game), so we have a two-year track record. Maybe they get Chris Sale back at midseason and Eduardo Rodriguez returns from his COVID-related heart issue. There is a nice offensive core with Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez (and J.D. Martinez if he bounces back). I’m not sure what Bobby Dalbec will be. I guess his upside is Joey Gallo, if that’s a good thing. More importantly, is Chaim Bloom playing the long game or will there be pressure to get the Red Sox immediately back into contender status?

2020 record: 31-29
Lost Wild Card Series to Braves
2021 title odds: 25-1

The Reds sneaked into the playoffs as a wild card with a late surge, but the team embarrassingly exited with two shutouts to the Braves, including a 13-inning defeat. The Reds have morphed into the most extreme example of a “three true outcomes” offense we’ve seen in this launch-angle era. They ranked fourth in the NL in home runs and first in walks, but hit a pathetic .212. The entire package added up to ranking just 13th in the NL in runs, then you dig deeper and realize they hit 55 home runs at home and 35 on the road, so much of their power was simply a result of their home park. It’s a bad offense, and I’m not sure it improves much in 2021. Trevor Bauer is a sure bet to sign elsewhere as a free agent, and we still don’t know if Nick Senzel is the solution in center field or an injury-prone role player.

2020 record: 31-29
Lost Division Series to Braves
2021 title odds: 60-1

It was a fun ride to their first postseason trip since 2003, but once you get past the starting trio of Sixto Sanchez, Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, holes remain. The pitching staff was next to last in the majors in strikeout rate, and the team’s top five relievers were all 30-something guys you can’t necessarily count on for 2021. There are no offensive stars as the lineup relied on stopgap veterans, while the young hitters still have trouble controlling the strike zone (and the young hitters aren’t really all that young). The minus-41 run differential is a little misleading as the Marlins had to use more players than any other team due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I’m not sure I see another .500 season unless some of the young hitters suddenly develop into solid regulars.

2020 record: 29-31
Third in NL West
2021 title odds: 80-1

Call me skeptical. They went from the second-worst offense in the NL to a top-five offense — without making any significant additions. Brandon Belt with a 1.000 OPS? Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson over .900? Donovan Solano chasing a batting title? I smell a lot of regression coming on, and the Giants don’t have the rotation to back that up. They also had the oldest lineup in the league: Mauricio Dubon is the only returning regular who won’t be 30 or older in 2021. Maybe catcher Joey Bart makes an impact, but a 41 to 3 strikeout-to-walk rate suggests he’s not ready for prime time. Several of their big contracts come off the books after 2021 if you factor in buyouts, so look for the Giants to wait until that big 2021-22 free-agent class to start flipping over the roster.

2020 record: 27-33
Third in AL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

There were some nice positives in 2020: Kyle Lewis may win Rookie of the Year, Justus Sheffield was much improved, Marco Gonzales solidified himself as one of the most underrated starters in the majors, Dylan Moore turned into one of the best utility players as a power/speed combo. But there is still zero star power here, at least until Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez arrive as potential All-Star outfielders, Kelenic in 2021 and Rodriguez probably in 2022. Jerry Dipoto will have to reconstruct a bullpen that was one of the worst in the league (5.92 ERA). The Mariners are on the rise and have other potential impact prospects, including pitchers Logan Gilbert and Emerson Hancock, but look for them to hold the course in 2021 and push forward in 2022.

2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in AL Central
2021 title odds: 150-1

The Royals have some interesting young pitchers in Brad Keller, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic, with Josh Staumont as a potential closer, but there are still huge gaps across the roster, especially on the offensive side of things. They need to figure out center field, second base and left field, and even Adalberto Mondesi Jr. now looks like just a placeholder at short until Bobby Witt Jr. arrives in a couple of years. This ranking could be selling the Royals a bit short, as young pitching can carry a team if it comes fast (and 2020 top pick Asa Lacy may not need much time in the minors), but they need to find some hitters.

2020 record: 25-35
Fifth in NL West
2021 title odds: 60-1

That was ugly, and the fans are turning on the team after a couple of years of trades (Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke and the deadline deals this season) that don’t appear to have returned any front-line talent. Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar, so good in 2019, fell off, with Marte inexplicably deciding he no longer wanted to walk. Robbie Ray couldn’t throw strikes and was finally traded. Merrill Kelly hurt his shoulder. Madison Bumgarner didn’t win a game. The problem for 2021? The Diamondbacks had the second-oldest lineup in the NL (six of their top eight regulars were 29 or older). Bumgarner now looks like a bad $80 million gamble. They’re only a season removed from going 85-77, so there is rebound potential, but the Snakes are a mess at the moment.

2020 record: 25-35
Fourth in AL East
2021 title odds: 150-1

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of positives in 2020, especially after losing 108 games in 2019 and 115 in 2018. Anthony Santander had a small-sample breakout with the metrics to back it up. Ryan Mountcastle looks ready to join the lineup in 2021 and Trey Mancini will hopefully be back at full strength after finishing his chemo treatment in September. Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer could be arms to watch for the rotation.

They do have financial flexibility, especially as they get closer to the end of Chris Davis‘ deal, and with Adley Rutschman close to the majors and starters D.L. Hall and Grayson Rodriguez perhaps ready in 2022, the farm is better than it’s been in at least 10 years. But the base level of talent here remains pretty low.

2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in NL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

Right now, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are still on the roster. Will they be there come spring training? The relationship between Arenado and the Rockies is strained, making him a trade candidate this winter. He won’t be easy to trade, though: He didn’t have a good 2020 at the plate, ended the season on the IL, has a full no-trade clause and can opt out of his deal after 2021. If Arenado is traded, you could see the Rockies dealing Story as well since he’s a free agent after 2021. Mostly, this team just needs a makeover. They ranked eighth in the NL in runs, and for a Rockies team, that’s horrible. (They had finished below fifth just one other time in franchise history.)

2020 record: 23-35
Fifth in AL Central
2021 title odds: 200-1

Sometimes you just have to point out the obvious: Jeimer Candelario was the team’s best player in 2020 — a 26-year-old first baseman who hit .203 the year before. Look, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal project as good starters at some point, but their struggles in limited action in 2020 suggest that may not be in 2021. Along with Spencer Turnbull and prospect Matt Manning, there is a rotation to dream on, but there is no offense, and Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, their top position player prospects, are more on a 2022 timetable.

2020 record: 22-38
Fifth in AL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

The Rangers continue to go backward. They were bad in 2020 in a year they thought they could contend, they weren’t particularly young and the farm system has struggled to develop pitchers and turn toolsy position players into quality hitters. The offense had a brutal year — and not just because of the new park. They didn’t hit on the road either. It’s time to admit that Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor are never going to be the core of a championship lineup, and if Lance Lynn is traded — he’ll be a free agent after 2021 — the rotation will have a huge hole to fill.

2020 record: 19-41
Fifth in NL Central
2021 title odds: 300-1

Let’s see, a small-market team coming off the worst record in the sport, won’t spend any money in free agency, and whose three best players in 2019 were all terrible in 2020. The first step is to hope Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman rebound, but with most of the organization’s top prospects still a ways off, the short-term outlook looks bleak. Heck, the long-term outlook isn’t exactly full of roses and puppies.


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Bryant, out 2 years, joins Ravens practice squad



OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Dez Bryant is back in the NFL.

The Baltimore Ravens signed the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver to their practice squad, the team announced Tuesday. Bryant has been out of the league for two years.

Bryant appeared to acknowledge the deal in a tweet Tuesday: “My emotions running high right now… I’m thankful…I can’t stop crying”

The biggest question is when Bryant will suit up for the Ravens. Baltimore’s wide receivers rank last in the NFL in receptions (58) and receiving yards (737).

Bryant, 31, could become a physical possession-type receiver for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and can complement the speed of Marquise Brown.

The addition of Bryant might lead to a high-profile reunion on Dec. 3, when the Ravens play host to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Bryant starred for the Cowboys for eight seasons, totaling 531 receptions for 7,459 yards and a franchise-record 73 touchdown catches.

“Obviously, that’s kind of like an ‘OG’-type guy,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said when asked about Bryant on Monday. “He’s been around the league for a long, long time. He actually followed me on Twitter a year or two ago, so I’m excited to meet him, and I’m excited to [be] around him hopefully, and just learn.”

This marked Bryant’s second workout with Baltimore in two months. When Bryant left in August without a contract, he was told to improve his conditioning, a source said.

The Ravens are off to a fast start at 5-1, but their passing game ranks 31st in the NFL. It looks as if Jackson would benefit from another target on the outside because Brown is the only Baltimore wide receiver with more than 11 catches this season.

Bryant is attempting to become the second Pro Bowl wide receiver to miss two full seasons and then return to the NFL since the 1970 merger, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Josh Gordon was the first.

Bryant hasn’t played in a game since December 2017.

In November 2018, Bryant signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. But he tore an Achilles tendon during his first practice with the Saints and has been out of the NFL since.

Bryant’s 531 career receptions would be the most by any wide receiver before missing two full seasons and then returning to the NFL, according to Elias’ data.

To make room for Bryant, the Ravens waived safety Marcus Gilchrist from the practice squad.


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Augusta National to host College GameDay during Masters



ESPN’s College GameDay Built By the Home Depot show has originated from dozens of college campuses across the country since 1993.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the show will combine two of sport’s greatest traditions — college football and the Masters.

ESPN announced on Tuesday that College GameDay will originate from Augusta National Golf Club, which is hosting the postponed Masters Tournament next month, Nov. 12-15.

Top matchups that day are No. 9 Wisconsin at No. 13 Michigan and No. 2 Alabama at LSU.

“Any time College GameDay travels to a new destination, it’s special, and the opportunity to be on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters is extraordinary,” said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “As this iconic event coincides with the college football season for the first time, we look forward to getting fans ready for a football Saturday while also showcasing the Masters and the greatest golfers in the world.”

Longtime ESPN hosts Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and others will broadcast from the par-3 course from 9 a.m. to noon ET.

In its 13th year at the Masters, ESPN will once again televise the first and second rounds, Nov. 12-13, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. There will also be expanded coverage on ESPN+, including exclusive practice-round coverage Nov. 10-11.

Golf fans will also be able to watch featured holes coverage on ESPN+ on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in each of the four rounds of the Masters.


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