Trying to remain positive, the premise of this will be exploring how schedules could affect early performance in fantasy if games resume in June. This feels like a best case scenario at this point, but one which may allow for competitive advantages in fantasy as a result. As alluded to in the American League version of this, a quote from Jayson Stark of The Athletic: 

Again, our own Jim Bodwen shared if games indeed start in June, the major leagues could try to put the games in May in October prolonging the regular season. For the purposes of this exercise, projected winning percentages using the work of Dan Szymborki of Fangraphs were applied to each team in the National League then factored in for each month and an overall strength of schedule for all 15 teams. Unlike the American League, the senior circuit only features five teams with a win percentage below .500 due to the wider range of teams forecast to finish at or near .500 in the standings. Here’s the five teams with the easiest schedules in a potential 101 game sprint from June forward: 

  • Los Angeles Dodgers .4911

  • St. Louis .4947

  • Chicago Cubs .4974

  • Washington .4984

  • New York Mets .4991

As a frame of reference, all but four American League teams own a cumulative win percentage of opponents with a .500 record or higher whereas 11 teams in the National League do. This could be worth noting. This sets up for a rough shortened season for Miami (.5207), Atlanta (.5148), Colorado (.5132) and San Francisco (.5124) in regards to quality of competition. Of course, Los Angeles skews the National League West teams opponent quality but keep in mind 11 of the 15 teams in the National League project to finish or above .500 using Szymborski’s data. Each team’s schedule and notes of interest will be explored. 

National League East

Atlanta Braves

  • Projected 101 game record: 56 - 45

  • Strength of schedule rank: Second toughest (.5148)

  • Points of interest: Atlanta would face Washington all 19 times from June forward, loses 10 games versus the Marlins but benefits from 54 percent of his prorated games at home

More time off from games allows Cole Hamels to get healthy providing more depth to Atlanta’s rotation. With Kyle Wright and Ian Anderson waiting in the wings along with a resurgent Félix Hernández this spring, perhaps the team can weather the storm of a tough schedule in this scenario. How Mike Foltenewicz, Mike Soroka and Max Fried fare may decide Atlanta’s fate. Any sort of injury to the top half of this lineup could be scary and fantasy owners should be intrigued by where Dansby Swanson hits in the lineup. He continues to fly well below the radar at a deep position. 

Miami Marlins

  • Projected 101 game record: 43 - 58

  • Strength of schedule rank: Toughest in NL (.5207)

  • Points of interest: A less than ideal schedule for a young team trying to compete. Miami would only face Washington and Atlanta nine teams each. But only gets one month (June) with match-ups below .500 with both July and August at .537 or higher. Yikes.

An abbreviated season may help Miami if adding younger players to its roster, but two of their spring standouts shifted to the minors in order to protect control years: 

Fantasy owners will track Monte Harrison for cheap stolen bases once he’s promoted or benefits from potential expanded rosters. However, for those mining for cheap saves, it could be tough sledding after June due to how things align for Miami depressing what little upside Brandon Kintzler offered. Hope lies in the extra arms the Marlins could deploy if using a six-man rotation in an evolving baseball environment in any sort of compacted schedule. 

New York Mets

  • Projected 101 game record: 54 - 47

  • Strength of schedule rank: 11th toughest (.4991)

  • Points of interest: If games pick up in June, New York loses six games against Washington, Philadelphia and Miami but 10 versus Atlanta. Representing one of five teams with a cumulative record below .500, Mets players get a bump in this exercise

Losing Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery only reinforces there’s no such thing as too much starting pitching depth. Suddenly, the rumors of trading Steven Matz subsided and this moved up Marcus Stroman in the rotation. A rebound by Rick Porcello remains below the radar at a depressed price and Mets fans can focus on Jacob deGrom hitting 99 MPH with his fastball this spring while hoping he gets positive migration to the mean in wins. He deserves them. 

Philadelphia Phillies

  • Projected 101 game record: 51 - 50

  • Strength of schedule: Fifth toughest (.5112)

  • Points of interest: Part of the skewed record against, Philadelphia would face Atlanta and Washington 16 more times from June on making for tough sledding in the division standings. Only August presents a record of opponents below .500 over the last four months

Newly added Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius will need to step up to keep the Phillies in the periphery of the playoffs in a truncated season. Gaining recent steam, keep tabs on Spencer Howard possibly winning the last spot in the rotation if Philadelphia’s pushing the chips in for a playoff run. Especially given Vince Velasquez may be most effective as a reliever. 

Washington Nationals 

  • Projected 101 game record: 57 - 44

  • Strength of schedule: 12th toughest

  • Points of interest: Although Washington would play Atlanta all 19 times from June on, the defending champions could fare well over the last two months with easier match-ups buoyed by games versus Baltimore and Miami. 

Not only can Max Scherzer get healthy with this delayed start, the Nationals also own pitching depth with Austin Voth potentially starting the season in the bullpen. How teams handle starting pitchers could vary but a shortened season helps Scherzer and Strasburg log more innings coming off a deep postseason run. On offense, the lineup remains in flux and could be fluid during the year. Fantasy owners hope Carter Kieboom can play third base well enough to be a post-hype breakout candidate. Pump the brakes on Victor Robles . Prior to the delay of spring games, he lost his candidacy to hit leadoff, depressing his stolen base upside a bit. 

National League Central

Chicago Cubs

  • Projected 101 game record: 53 - 48

  • Strength of schedule: 13th toughest (.4974)

  • Points of interest: Despite possibly losing out on 13 games with Pittsburgh, the Cubs schedule really opens up with a heavy dose of weak opponents with a home heavy match-ups in September

There’s not too much to debate with the Cubs roster. We know Kris Bryant will hit first in the lineup boosting his run totals but resulting in a loss of RBI in his projections. Can Kyle Schwarber carry over his second half surge from last year? Will the real Ian Happ please stand up? For Happ, how he handles fastballs will determine if he can rebound or if he’s a Quad-A player. In a division separating four teams by a combined five games, the schedule could be a determining factor. Last but not least, Craig Kimbrel could decide the Cubs fate. 

Cincinnati Reds

  • Projected 101 game record: 51 - 50

  • Strength of schedule: Sixth toughest (.5073)

  • Points of interest: Cincinnati opens with two tough months then August and September provide a chance for the team to surge. Keep this in mind with their projections making them worthy targets as the season progresses. 

A delayed start to the season allows Eugenio Suárez and Nick Senzel to rehab their shoulder injuries. If the Reds rotation improves weathering the early storm of tough scheduling, this team could set up for a run in the playoffs. A fluid outfield and deep bullpen will be strengths in a shortened season. Shogo Akiyama will hit leadoff against right-handed pitching plus additions of Mike Moustakas and Nick Castellanos make for a long lineup. My dark horse in this division. 

Milwaukee Brewers

  • Projected 101 game schedule: 52 - 49

  • Strength of schedule: Eighth toughest (.5027)

  • Points of interest: Milwaukee gets the weakest team in the division for 13 contests from June forward. Akin to the Reds above, the Brewers get an easier finish with both August and September facing cumulative match-ups of teams with a below .500 record

Milwaukee gets extra time to set its rotation but Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes possess upside in a shortened schedule. Lost in the shuffle, Corey Knebel could be ready once the season actually resumes adding much needed depth to this bullpen. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Projected 101 game schedule: 44 - 57

  • Strength of schedule: 10th toughest

  • Points of interest: Would miss 13 games with the Cubs, but face Milwaukee 16 times over the last four months. Needs a season to continue the rebuild

As currently constructed, no team would lose a chance to trade veterans more than Pittsburgh: 


A key part of this tweet, Keone Kela , He gets early hype in drafts for saves upside but his volatile personality and spotty track record of health makes him a risky proposition. Knowing he’s a trade chip means taking Nick Burdi on any team with Kela on it. In fact, Burdi represents a favorite stash target for saves based on his spring (8:1 K:BB, 4.2 IP). Although the team disappointed fans demoting Ke’Bryan Hayes, it may not be long for him to overtake Colin Moran at the hot corner. Patience and pray for a season Pirates faithful. 

St. Louis Cardinals

  • Projected 101 game record: 51 - 50

  • Strength of schedule: Second easiest (.4947)

  • Points of interest: With three of the four remaining months presenting a cumulative record below .500, the Cardinals benefit greatly from June forward. 

Buoyed by the strong springs of Kwang-Hyun Kim and Daniel Ponce de Leon , the Cardinals could benefit from the schedule along with a fluid rotation. If the season resumes in June, the ninth inning remains in potential flux but it allows more time for Jordan Hicks to rehab with an eye on a return in August. Alex Reyes did get demoted late in camp and how he’s used in the minors will foreshadow his role when back in the majors. As time drifts in his development, perhaps he will shift to the bullpen especially given how things transpire with the rotation. 

National League West

Arizona Diamondbacks

  • Projected 101 game record: 51 - 50

  • Strength of schedule: Seventh toughest (.5072)

  • Points of interest: Would face the Dodgers all 19 times from June first on with three of four months projected to face teams with a .500 cumulative record or better

A more open playoff system could help Arizona along with the furthered development of Zac Gallen. Of course, a delayed start could affect Gallen’s spot in the rotation with Mike Leake rehabbing but expanded rosters should keep Gallen in the majors. It makes zero sense to keep one of the team’s best arms out of a starting spot in a shortened season where every game matters. Adding Starling Marte atop the lineup fuels this offense and a healthy Ketel Marte enhances it. Lost in most drafts, David Peralta could provide batting average upside for those seeking insulation in the category. 

Colorado Rockies

  • Projected 101 game record: 45 - 56

  • Strength of schedule: Third toughest (.5132)

  • Points of interest: More detrimental to the Rockies losing seven games to the Dodgers, potentially missing playing the Giants 10 times from June on. More worrisome, Colorado gets 15 home games of 23 in September, but versus a cumulative .552 winning percentage against

Not much will get better for the Rockies sidled with questionable contracts and a frayed rotation. Yes, Kyle Freeland could bounce back and German Márquez looks great on the road, but an unfavorable potential schedule and stacked division work against Colorado. Sam Hilliard survived cuts, but will he be in a platoon or fall victim to the Rockies using veterans over rookies as past practice warns? Also, can Wade Davis justify his contract or will this team use him too many times as the closer over Scott Oberg

Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Projected 101 game record: 63 - 38

  • Strength of schedule: Easiest (.4911)

  • Points of interest: Representing a microcosm of the rich getting richer, Los Angeles not only projects for the best record, but also gets the easiest schedule to achieve it. 

If there’s one franchise in the National League primed to take advantage of a fractured season, it’s the Dodgers. Armed with a bevy of arms to fill rotational spots, Mookie Betts atop the lineup and a rejuvenated closer (Kenley Jansen ), Los Angeles could thrive in a sprint. While many try to discern how Gavin Lux will be valued, as time drifts like his average draft spot, he could be a bargain at his present price point. Not sure if Will Smith will carry a high enough batting average to justify his spot in drafts, tread with some caution. Another overlooked aspect, representing a ratio eraser, Clayton Kershaw gets a boost in production if inning totals become depressed across the landscape pushing him into the top-10 with a more level playing field. 

San Diego Padres

  • Projected 101 game record: 54 - 47

  • Strength of schedule: Ninth toughest (.5023)

  • Points of interest: Stand to lose 10 games versus the Rockies if starting on June first but get 16 against the Giants

Despite losing Andres Muñoz to Tommy John surgery, the Padres bullpen remains loaded with talent to shorten games. Especially important in a shortened season. San Diego also could man a six-man rotation if they choose with Cal Quantrill battling Joey Lucchesi for the last spot in a five-man staff but opening the door for adaptability due to expanded rosters. Especially if Luis Patino or MacKenzie Gore take over rotation spots as the season ensues. Wil Myers showing signs of life in the spring also fuel late round speculation on a player with power and speed upside in his skill set. Last, Trent Grisham emerging as a center field option could be beneficial on the right side of a platoon hitting lead-off for San Diego. 

San Francisco Giants

  • Projected 101 game record: 43 - 58

  • Strength of schedule: Fourth toughest (.5126)

  • Points of interest: Only one month (August) with opponents owning a cumulative record below .500 for the Giants and its toughest month looks like September

So many questions surround the playing time for San Francisco with its top spring hitter being non-roster invitee Darin Ruf (.429 average 12-for-28, nine extra-base hits, three home runs). Mauricio Dubon represents an under the radar flier at middle infield projected for double digits in home runs and stolen bases. No word on the health of Tony Watson entering the season in a shared closer role but keep tabs on Tyler Rogers, lesser known brother of Twins closer Taylor. Could expanded rosters get Joey Bart to the majors sooner? Time will tell. 

This proves to be a fun exercise seeing what could be on tap in a condensed season with hope for games happening in June. Our own Howard Bender mused about the impact of rosters potentially expanding at the start of the season to protect starting pitchers:

Until any announcement happens, it’s all speculation. Use the data above in the event things pick up in June. Personally thankful for this platform and be sure to stay ahead of the competition on Fantasy Alarm. Be well and be safe. 

Statistical Credits: