Over the past week and a half, 500 Level Fan has posted a preview of each of MLB’s six divisions. Now it’s time to up the ante. No more “previewing”. It’s now time to “predict”.
As always, my predictions should not be wagered upon by anybody, because they will likely all be wrong.
Like last year, the 500 Level Fan predictions column will be split over two days. Today I’m going to cover MLB predictions, including final standings, playoff results, award winners, and some miscellaneous categories. Next, I’ll put my focus on the Blue Jays, with some individual and team predictions.
So sit back, read on, try not to laugh, and get ready to comment.
American League Predictions
1. Tampa Bay
3. New York
Thoughts: A full season of Wil Myers, David Price in a contract year, and Evan Longoria make the Rays the team to beat. Expect big things from the starting rotation…..Boston still has the pieces, but a lot will depend on whether Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. are ready for the big leagues. They might miss Ellsbury more than they thought…..Huge offseason spending spree, but the Yanks forgot about 2B and 3B. The season is all about Derek Jeter’s farewell…..Not convinced that Ubaldo will be a difference maker, but the Orioles will fight deep into the summer…..The pressure is off, and if they can stay healthy the Jays can contend – but that’s a big if.
2. Kansas City
Thoughts: Even with the early season injuries the Tigers will still have enough, with Miggy, Verlander, Kinsler, and Scherzer…..Kansas City should take another step forward, but will likely fall just short of both the Tigers and of a Wild Card…..After making the playoffs last year the Indians still have what it takes to contend. It should be a three way battle to the end…..The White Sox have a legitimate Cy candidate in Sale and a rookie of the year candidate in Cuban Jose Abreu, but not a whole lot else…..Minny rebuilt their starting rotation but this season is all about getting ready for Buxton.
3. Los Angeles
Thoughts: Yes the injury bug has struck early, but I think the addition of Prince Fielder is a difference maker. As long as Darvish doesn’t miss much time I like the Rangers…..They are two-time defending champions, but the A’s rotation is a huge question mark, especially after the injury to Jarrod Parker…..Is this finally the year the Angels put it together? Maybe, but it will be a battle for a Wild Card…..Robinson Cano won’t disappoint in Seattle, but there are still too many holes to be a true contender…..If they avoid 100 losses, 2014 will be a major success in Houston.
Red Sox and A’s
HR – Miguel Cabrera, DET
RBI – Prince Fielder, TEX
Average – Mike Trout, LAA
SB – Leonys Martin, TEX
Wins – Justin Verlander, DET
ERA – Felix Hernandez, SEA
K – Justin Verlander, DET
Sv – Joe Nathan, DET
Awards & Miscellany
MVP – Mike Trout, LAA
Cy Young – Justin Verlander, DET
Rookie – Jose Abreu, CHI
Manager – Brad Ausmus, DET
Bounceback Player – Albert Pujols, LAA
Most Disappointing Player – Carlos Beltran, NYY
First Major Player Traded – Colby Rasmus, TOR
National League Predictions
4. N.Y. Mets
Thoughts: With Harper another year more mature, and Fister joining a formidable rotation, Washington should prove last year was a blip and storm to a division title…..The Braves have already been decimated by injuries and the season hasn’t even started yet. They should still battle for a Wild Card…..Tempted to drop the Phillies even lower, but Lee and Hamels are still better than most other team’s top-2, so they stay in third…..The future looks incredibly bright in New York, but with Matt Harvey injured and the prospects still a year away, the present may be rough…..Miami might be building something special with Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, but will they stick around to see it come to fruition?
1. St. Louis
Thoughts: Cardinals seemingly have the perfect mix of everything: speed, power, offense, defense, pitching, youth, veterans, stars, and depth. They are the most complete team in league…..The Pirates are a prime regression candidate, but can’t imagine MVP McCutchen letting them slip too far back. Another Wild Card spot is a real possibility…..I think the Reds end up missing Choo much more than they expected, unless Hamilton learns how to get on base with regularity…..Could be a fun year in Milwaukee, with Braun back and Garza in the fold. Wouldn’t at all be surprised if they finish second. Carlos Gomez is the real deal…..The Cubs have some nice pieces, but are still a year or two (or three or four) away.
1. Los Angeles
2. San Francisco
5. San Diego
Thoughts: The Dodgers seem to be stacked with both talent and cash. Can’t see anybody stopping them in this division…..San Fran was awful last year, but let’s call that a mulligan. Cain, Lincecum, Posey and co. should be right back in the mix…..The loss of Corbin really hurts the D-Backs, but with Goldschmidt they are never out of it…..If Tulowitzki and Gonzalez both stay healthy, the Rockies could be a force – but we’ve been saying that for years now…..Not buying the “Padres as contenders” line. San Diego fans are already figuring out what Jays fans learned last year – you can never trust Josh Johnson.
Pirates and Giants
HR – Carlos Gonzalez, COL
RBI – Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
Average – Freddie Freeman, ATL
SB – Starling Marte, PIT
Wins – Clayton Kershaw, LAD
ERA – Jose Fernandez, MIA
K – Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Sv – Craig Kimbrel, ATL
MVP – Bryce Harper, WAS
Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Rookie – Archie Bradley, ARI
Manager – Matt Williams, WAS
Bounceback Player – Justin Morneau, COL
Most Disappointing Player – Ryan Howard, PHI
First Major Player Traded – Cliff Lee, PHI
Wildcard Round – A’s over Red Sox
ALDS – Tigers over A’s, Rays over Rangers
ALCS – Rays over Tigers
Wild Card Round – Giants over Pirates
NLDS – Nationals over Giants, Cardinals over Dodgers
NLCS – Cardinals over Nationals
The World Series stays in the AL East, as Tampa Bay upsets St. Louis, sending the Cardinals to their second straight Series defeat.