The MLB Season Preview

It’s Opening Day! Well, technically the Seattle Mariners are already up a couple games on the Oakland A’s from last week’s Tokyo games, but for the rest of the league, today’s games mark the beginning. A few things stand out to me on this Opening Day.

  1. Not a single player on an active roster today was playing Major League Baseball in the 20th Century. This means that this season is the first season in which the “steroid era” is officially the past.
  2. Toronto Blue Jays Rule 5 pick Elvis Luciano will become the first player born in the year 2000. Fernando Tatis Jr. made the Padres and is all of 20. Obligatory mention of Acuna and Soto here. Youth is here around baseball.
  3. Bryce Harper’s era in Philadelphia begins today. So does J.T. Realmuto’s, Jean Segura’s, Andrew McCutchen’s, and David Robertson’s. Aaron Nola begins his four year extension. Rhys Hoskins moves back to first base. In short, after their “super team” off-season, the Phillies have their best team since 2011, and are back to contention.
  4. Despite the crazy money that was thrown around this off-season, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel don’t have teams yet. Keuchel who pitched game one of the 2017 World Series, and Kimbrel who was the closer for the 2018 World Series Champions. In a purely baseball world, both could improve literally any roster. But this is a business. We’re seeing that play out here.
  5. Excitement in San Diego! Manny Machado is their’s. Fernando Tatis Jr. is there. They still have the top minor league system in the game.

Overview

Despite the madness of the off-season, what changed in the American League? On paper, Boston and Houston are the best two teams in baseball, still. The New York Yankees line-up and the Cleveland Indians rotation are the best two challenges to those two. Oakland and Tampa Bay have two of the best low-budget squads that one can put together. Those six teams are likely to be the six teams to watch. The Angels could be relevant, and the Twins and White Sox can hope their young talent clicks, but all three are long shots. In Baltimore, Kansas City, Texas, Toronto, Detroit, and Seattle, it’s a rebuilding year at best.

The National League on the other hand is looking pretty wide open. The Dodgers get to enter as favorites, but had a less than inspiring off-season. Watch for the Rockies to give the Dodgers fits. The National League East is looking like a four wide race between Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. The National League Central is a very compelling race that figures to feature the defending champion Brewers, the recent kingpin Cubs, the heavily improved Cardinals and Reds, and last year’s surprising young Pirates (yes, I’m giving every team in that division a shot). You can argue that every NL city has at least some reason for optimism today, which is rare.

So with that in mind, my predictions…

AMERICAN LEAGUE

East

  1. Boston Red Sox 101-61*
  2. New York Yankees 97-65*
  3. Tampa Bay Rays 94-68*
  4. Toronto Blue Jays 70-92
  5. Baltimore Orioles 61-101

Central

  1. Cleveland Indians 86-76*
  2. Chicago White Sox 76-86
  3. Minnesota Twins 74-88
  4. Detroit Tigers 64-98
  5. Kansas City Royals 60-102

West

  1. Houston Astros 100-62*
  2. Oakland A’s 88-74
  3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 82-80
  4. Texas Rangers 72-90
  5. Seattle Mariners 68-94

NATIONAL LEAGUE

East

  1. Washington Nationals 94-68*
  2. Philadelphia Phillies 92-70*
  3. Atlanta Braves 88-74
  4. New York Mets 82-80
  5. Miami Marlins 60-102

Central

  1. Milwaukee Brewers 92-70*
  2. St. Louis Cardinals 90-72
  3. Chicago Cubs 85-77
  4. Cincinnati Reds 78-84
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates 76-86

West

  1. Colorado Rockies 91-71*
  2. Los Angeles Dodgers 90-72*
  3. San Diego Padres 74-88
  4. San Francisco Giants 68-94
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks 64-98

PLAYOFFS

Dodgers over the Cardinals in a one game playoff.

AL Wild Card- Yankees over the Rays

NL Wild Card- Phillies over the Dodgers

ALDS- Yankees over the Red Sox 3-2, Astros over the Indians 3-2

NLDS- Phillies over the Nationals 3-1, Brewers over the Rockies 3-2

ALCS- Astros over the Yankees 4-2

NLCS- Phillies over the Brewers 4-3

WORLD SERIES- Astros over the Phillies 4-2

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

AL MVP- Aaron Judge

NL MVP- Nolan Arrenado

AL Cy Young- Chris Sale

NL Cy Young- Max Scherzer

AL Rookie of the Year- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

NL Rookie of the Year- Fernando Tatis Jr.

AL Manager of the Year- Aaron Boone

NL Manager of the Year- Dave Martinez

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