2018 Major League Baseball Season Preview

NBC 7's Derek Togerson takes a shot at predicting this year's baseball season

Astros WS Trophy

We are less than a week away from the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season. Rosters look basically how they’re going to look (barring any major injuries in the next few exhibition games) and I’m inherently impatient and want baseball NOW NOW NOW!!!

So, let’s take a run at predicting what’s going to happen this year. We’ll go with the teams who will win their divisions, Wild Card spots, and each postseason round then make a run at who’s going to take home the major awards. Without further delay, here is the 2018 NBC 7 Major League Baseball season preview!

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1)    Los Angeles Dodgers 100-62
2)    Arizona Diamondbacks 90-72 (Wild Card)
3)    Colorado Rockies 84-78
4)    San Francisco Giants 80-82
5)    San Diego Padres 77-85

The Dodgers are easily the class of this division again and should cruise to a 6th straight title, even without Justin Turner for a while. With his sweet swing it’s hard to imagine Cody Bellinger having a sophomore slump, Corey Seager is a stud, and as long as Clayton Kershaw is alive the Dodgers will have a stopper in the rotation. The Diamondbacks lost J.D. Martinez and don’t have a whole lot in the rotation after Zack Greinke (who’s been a little dinged up this spring) and Robbie Ray but they still have a deep lineup and an improving bullpen. The Rockies, for all their Coors Field pop, have concerns in the lineup that I don’t know they can cover up this year. The Giants added a lot of right-handed-hitting veterans and cannot possibly be worse than last year but I don’t see them being a contender. With the additions of Eric Hosmer, Freddy Galvis and Chase Headley (as long as he’s there) the Padres will be improved and they’ll get a little better after the All-Star break when some of the kids start coming up but they’re not ready to have a winning record quite yet, especially not in a division this tough (we’ll have a more extended look at the Padres after they solidify their Opening Day roster).

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1)    Chicago Cubs 99-63
2)    St. Louis Cardinals 93-69 (Wild Card)
3)    Milwaukee Brewers 85-77
4)    Pittsburgh Pirates 79-83
5)    Cincinnati Reds 73-89

The Cubs are loaded. It’s not easy to let Jake Arrieta walk as a free agent and have your starting rotation arguably be better than it was but it looks like they did just that by adding Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood (they’ll also have Jose Quintana for a full season and parted ways with John Lackey). The Cardinals are always going to be the Cardinals, meaning solid, deep, and in contention. The Brewers made a big splash with their off-season additions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain but that starting rotation is still, at best, thin. They’ll score a lot of runs but that will only take them so far. The Pirates are in rebuild mode again but they have a trio of San Diegans on the pitching staff in Joe Musgrove, Steven Brault, and Trevor Williams so that will at least make them fun to watch. The Reds have Joey Votto and … the Reds have Joey Votto. They lost 94 games last year and will likely be only slightly better.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1)    Washington Nationals 105-57
2)    New York Mets 81-81
3)    Philadelphia Phillies 80-82
4)    Atlanta Braves 75-87
5)    Miami Marlins 55-107

The Nats are really really good and they’ll end up with the best record in baseball simply because the rest of the division is really really bad. Washington might have the NL East title wrapped up by Labor Day, and I’m not exaggerating. Last year the Mets suffered one of the most amazing rashes of injuries I’ve ever seen. Rookie manager Mickey Callaway will have his work cut out for him and just getting to .500 will be a successful season. The Phillies and Braves are trying what the Padres are trying and in the next few years should be really good. Philadelphia is a little accelerated with the additions of Arrieta and Carlos Santana. The Braves are doing the Kris Bryant thing with top prospect Ronald Acuna but when that kid comes up from the minors he’s never going back down. The Marlins are as atrocious as that thing in the outfield that moves when home runs are hit. It’s going to be a loooooong rebuild for them.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1)    Houston Astros 101-61
2)    Los Angeles Angels 89-73 (Wild Card)
3)    Oakland A’s 84-78
4)    Texas Rangers 81-81
5)    Seattle Mariners 79-83

Baseball has not had repeat World Series champions since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000 but Houston is positioned to end the back-to-back drought. The lineup is loaded, they’ll have Justin Verlander for an entire season, they added Gerrit Cole (who this spring has looked like the All-Star he was in 2015), and they found out Brad Peacock is a heck of a relief pitcher. They’re on the short list of WS favorites. The thing with the Angels is, again, keeping the starting pitchers healthy. If they can do that they have enough to contend for the post-season because the lineup is improved and Mike Trout cannot be killed by conventional weapons. I have a hunch the A’s will surprise people with a cobbled together lineup that just might be more potent than expected. The Rangers have a bunch of guys who can be either really good or really bad (Joey Gallo, anyone?). My guess is they’re hoping Cole Hamels has another great start so they can deal him for prospects at the deadline. The Mariners are getting older and that’s not a good thing in this case.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1)    Cleveland Indians 95-67
2)    Minnesota Twins 88-74
3)    Chicago White Sox 79-83
4)    Kansas City Royals 77-85
5)    Detroit Tigers 70-92

If the Indians don’t this division it will be one of the biggest stories of the 2018 baseball season. They have a pair of studs at the top of the rotation in Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco and an MVP candidate in Francisco Lindor. But they didn’t do much to improve in the off-season so don’t be surprised to see them, barring a major deadline deal, make a quick playoff exit again. The Twins will be a factor with their young core of very good players like Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, and they made some interesting bullpen additions in SDSU Aztec Addison Reed and closer Fernando Rodney. There’s a good chance Cathedral Catholic H.S. alum Stephen Gonsalves, one of the top left-handed pitching prospects in the game, gets a call-up this year, too. After that this division is a lot of teams rebuilding.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1)    New York Yankees 96-66
2)    Boston Red Sox 91-71 (Wild Card)
3)    Toronto Blue Jays 82-80
4)    Tampa Bay Rays 78-84
5)    Baltimore Orioles 74-88

The Yankees are going to club teams to death. The MLB record for most home runs in a season is 264 by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. Last year the Yankees hit 241 and then they added Giancarlo Stanton, who might join with Aaron Judge to hit 110 on their own. The Red Sox have more in the starting rotation than the Yankees do and added pop in J.D Martinez and although they probably can’t hang with New York’s offensive onslaught they’ll be a Wild Card team. If the Blue Jays fall out fast like they did last year this is the team I see as a potential fire sale candidate and with chips like Josh Donaldson (who is a free agent after this season) and Marcus Stroman to dangle they might jump into the rebuild pool. Tampa Bay has some nice pieces in the starting rotation but isn’t going to score a lot of runs. I honestly have no idea what the Orioles are doing but I hope they send San Diego native Adam Jones out of town to a contender because that dude is so fun to watch on a big stage.

NATIONAL LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

Wild Card: Cardinals over Diamondbacks
NLDS: Nationals over Cardinals
NLDS: Cubs over Dodgers
NLCS: Nationals over Cubs

AMERICAN LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

Wild Card: Red Sox over Angels
ALDS: Astros over Red Sox
ALDS: Yankees over Indians
ALCS: Astros over Yankees

WORLD SERIES

Astros over Nationals

POSTSEASON AWARDS

NL MVP: Corey Seager, Dodgers
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels (I know, easy pick, but he’s MIKE FREAKING TROUT)
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (ditto Kershaw)
AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, Red Sox
NL Rookie of the Year: Ronald Acuna, Braves
AL Rookie of the Year: Franklin Barreto, A’s
NL Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny, Cardinals
AL Manager of the Year: Alex Cora, Red Sox

Contact Us