2014 MLB Season Predictions

Crystal Ball

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

East

1. Tampa Bay

2. Boston

3. New York

4. Baltimore

5. Toronto

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.

Central

1. Detroit

2. Kansas City

3. Cleveland

4. Chicago

5. Minnesota

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.

West

1. Texas

2. Oakland

3. Los Angeles

4. Seattle

5. Houston

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.

Wildcards

Red Sox and A’s

Stat Leaders

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

East

1. Washington

2. Atlanta

3. Philadelphia

4. N.Y. Mets

5. Miami

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?

Central

1. St. Louis

2. Pittsburgh

3. Cincinnati

4. Milwaukee

5. Chicago

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.

West

1. Los Angeles

2. San Francisco

3. Arizona

4. Colorado

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.

Wildcards

Pirates and Giants

Stat Leaders

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

Awards

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

Playoffs

American League

Wildcard Round – A’s over Red Sox

ALDS – Tigers over A’s, Rays over Rangers

ALCS – Rays over Tigers

National League

Wild Card Round – Giants over Pirates

NLDS – Nationals over Giants, Cardinals over Dodgers

NLCS – Cardinals over Nationals

World Series

The World Series stays in the AL East, as Tampa Bay upsets St. Louis, sending the Cardinals to their second straight Series defeat.

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