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.
The 500 Level Fan predictions will be split over two columns. The first covers MLB predictions, including final standings, playoff results, award winners, and some miscellaneous categories. The second will 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
2. New York
4. Tampa Bay
Thoughts: The addition of J.D. Martinez plugs a huge hole in Boston’s lineup, and a health(ier) Price stabilizes the rotation (which still has concerns)…..New York looks stacked on paper, but there’s no guarantee Judge doesn’t regress, Bird is injured again, and the rotation could be hit or miss…..Would not be surprised to see Toronto win 95 games or lose 95 games. The added depth and versatility, along with the return of Sanchez, should have the team thinking Wild Card…..Rays had a strange offseason, but still have enough interesting pieces in the rotation to stay out of the cellar…..Britton is out and Machado could be dealt. Might be a long year for Blanche Showalter and crew.
3. Kansas City
Thoughts: Cleveland looks a bit weaker on paper, but they still have a huge rotation, Lindor and Edwin, and a breakout candidate in Zimmer. The class of the division…..Byron Buxton continues his breakout and several of the nice additions to the pitching staff pan out enough to keep Minny in contention for a return to October…..They somehow got Moustakas back, but losing Cain and Hosmer spells doom for KC…..Chicago is a year ahead of Detroit in the rebuilding process, and has a bunch of great prospects (Moncada, Kopech, etc.) ready to contribute…..Tigers need Miggy to rebound or else there might not be a lot to get excited about in Detroit.
2. Los Angeles
Thoughts: There is a shot the Astros have the division wrapped up by early August. That’s how good they look…..Trout will once again be Trout, but there are serious concerns with Ohtani after his brutal Spring…..The battle for the second Wild Card spot should be year-long and intense but the Mariners will fall just short once again, extending the longest drought in sports…..Oakland is about as big of a wild card as there is. They might stay in contention all year, or they might lose over 100…..The veterans (Beltre and Hamels) are another year older, and Odor doesn’t bounce back from an awful 2017. Could be time to change things around in Texas.
Yankees and Blue Jays
HR – Giancarlo Stanton, NYY
RBI – Giancarlo Stanton, NYY
Average – Jose Altuve, HOU
SB – Dee Gordon, SEA
Wins – Corey Kluber, CLE
ERA – Corey Kluber, CLE
K – Chris Sale, BOS
Sv – Roberto Osuna, TOR
Awards & Miscellany
MVP – Mike Trout, LAA
Cy Young – Corey Kluber, CLE
Rookie – Willie Calhoun, TEX
Manager – Terry Francona, CLE
Bounceback Player – Aaron Sanchez, TOR
Most Disappointing Player – Shohei Ohtani, LAA
First Major Player Traded – Cole Hamels, TEX
National League Predictions
4. NY Mets
Thoughts: There’s no slowing down Max Scherzer; Trea Turner and Adam Eaton stay healthy for an entire season; Harper has a big year in his walk year…..Hard not to be excited about the Phillies, and the addition of Arrieta at the front of the rotation makes them that much closer to legitimate contention…..Anthopoulos is now in charge, and Atlanta is about one year away from making a move…..Unless Syndergaard, Matz, and Harvey can prove they can stay healthy, the Mets don’t have a chance…..Not much else to say about Miami. Laughingstock.
3. St. Louis
Thoughts: The Cubs struggled mightily last year and still won the division. There’s no World Series hangover to deal with in 2018…..Cain and Yelich give Milwaukee a scary good outfield, but can the pitching staff keep things together?…..St. Louis always seems to be a model of consistency, but injuries are already decimating their pitching…..Expect a different year in Pittsburgh, with conversation surrounding who’s next to be dealt…..Cincy has some nice young pieces and could have an electric rotation if the arms stay healthy. At the end of the day, there’s always Joey Votto.
1. Los Angeles
4. San Francisco
5. San Diego
Thoughts: Hopefully Kershaw stays healthy and makes a run at a historical season. LA remains the class of the NL West…..Huge step forward last year for Colorado, and that continues in 2018. Arenado is just too good…..The loss of J.D. Martinez will hurt Arizona but they still have enough to stay in Wild Card contention for much of the season…..The Giants needed everything to go right in order to contend and so much has gone wrong already…and we’re still in March…..With the the game’s best farm system, and a legitimate free agent in Hosmer, for the first time in a while there is hope in San Diego.
Rockies and Brewers
HR – Nolan Arenado, COL
RBI – Nolan Arenado, COL
Average – Joey Votto, CIN
SB – Trea Turner, WAS
Wins – Max Scherzer, WAS
ERA – Clayton Kershaw, LAD
K – Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Sv – Kenley Jansen, LAD
MVP – Anthony Rizzo, CHC
Cy Young – Clayton Kershaw, LAD
Rookie – Ronald Acuna, ATL
Manager – Dave Martinez, WAS
Bounceback Player – Starling Marte, PIT
Most Disappointing Player – Brandon Morrow, CHC
First Major Player Traded – J.T. Realmuto, MIA
Wildcard Round – Blue Jays over Yankees
ALDS – Astros over Blue Jays, Indians over Red Sox
ALCS – Indians over Astros
Wild Card Round – Rockies over Brewers
NLDS – Nationals over Rockies, Dodgers over Cubs
NLCS – Dodgers over Nationals
In what could be the final year for Kershaw in LA, he leads the Dodgers to redemption in a classic 7-game series win over Cleveland.