In the words of The Young Bucks, “Woah, woah wait a minute, wait a minute”, I am coming at you today with some divisional previews. I pick my winners and maybe some who will compete with them. I slightly also take a stab at the World Series and who wins and who loses.
AL East- The bias in me is picking the Red Sox to win the AL East this season. I think the big 3 pitchers will combine to win close to 45-50 games and will give them over 200 innings pitched. I also think we could see the emergence of the superstars that are Mookie Betts and Xander Boegarts. The fourth and fifth starter (Steven Wright, Brandon Workman, Brian Johnson, etc) will become a big factor as well, and prove to be a big piece of the big picture. I lastly think we will see Andrew Bientendi become one of the big names in baseball; he is poised to breakthrough and really pushes the envelope. Toronto is the team I think will give them the most competition, and I think Buck Showalter could coach Baltimore out of the playoffs. The Yankees could surprise people, but I think they’re still a year away and will welcome a new coach after this season.
AL Central- The easy pick is the Cleveland Indians. It really is, when you look at the names coming back this season, it will be shocking to see them not win the Central. Michael Brantley could win AL MVP this year; he was a candidate at the beginning of last year. They also bring back Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco to the pitching staff. Oh and they added Edwin Encarnacion to the lineup too. The Indians also added Boone Logan (sneaky great name in baseball) who could work as Andrew Millers tag team partner in that bullpen. I do not count out KC and Detroit, but with the weapons that Cleveland has I cannot see them losing this division. In the words of the opening of The Drew Carey Show, “all the little chicks with the crimson lips singing Cleveland Rocks”, they will be screaming that all the way till October.
AL West- I really have no idea with this division, it’s wide-open. But I am going to go with my gut and take the Seattle Mariners. For years now I have been hoping for the Mariners to run the table and get into the postseason. I think with the addition of Yovani Gallardo and Drew Smyly, the M’s has two really good names to help out King Felix. I think Texas and the Astros are the best threat to them, but I cannot help but pick the Mariners.
NL East- I like Washington to repeat in the NL East. Washington missed on Sale, but added Adam Eaton to the outfield depth. I liked that move a lot, as he will join the best player in the game in Bryce Harper out there. Trea Turner will once again turn heads for this team; I think we are seeing the something special in this kid. With the duo of Scherzer and Strasburg, especially in that division teams will struggle. I think the best competition will come from the Mets. But I think Washington inches them out. I think a story to watch is Dansby Swanson at SS for Atlanta, I like him to win the ROTY in the NL this season, he is a truly one of a kind young gun.
NL Central- The Cubs repeat as division champs. There is really no way the Cubs cannot win this division, if they play to their truest potential they win 100 games, maybe even more. I think with Schwarber for a full season will push them from great to unstoppable. I think they make a bigger move at the deadline too, and it could come from in the division or from Florida.
NL West- Even though it’s an odd year, I am picking the San Francisco Giants. The Giants added a much need closer in Mark Melancon, and should get full seasons out of Hunter Pence and Joe Panik this year. I think the Giants will ride the theme of revenge from last season’s crushing defeat to the Cubs. I think a name to watch Tyler Beede for those from Massachussetts . I think they will mix old and new with their rosters and form something we possibly haven’t seen in years, actually since their World Series wins. LA will be their toughest competition, and for Sox fans it will be interesting to see how Torey Lovullo works out in Arizona
World Series- I like the Red Sox over the Nationals in 6 games. We see Bryce Harper evolve into this postseason monster. He ends up crushing the Cubs in 7 games, and becomes this unstoppable force that the Cubs just cannot figure out. For Boston, they ride the big 3 pitchers and get a much needed spark from Rafael Devers whose added to the roster by the break. The Red Sox jump out to a 2-0 series lead, with Sale and Porcello starting games 1 and 2. A tough loss in game 3 with the 4 starter (my guess is that will be Brian Johnson), a comeback win in game 4 with Price on the mound. A loss in game 5, and then a lights out pitching performance by Porcello to close it out in game 6.