OK folks … Prediction time.
The 2015 MLB season is upon us, and I’m a baseball guy, so after looking long and hard at the landscape of the game, here are my picks for division winners and post-season awards. Feel free to start a debate on just how insane (or correct) you think I am!
2) Dodgers (Wild Card)
Yes, I did it! I let my homerism come out just a shade here, but this year it’s not entirely unreasonable. The Padres have undergone the single greatest off-season transformation in sports history. Well, the best one for the better. There have been plenty of good teams that went bad (1999 Padres, anyone?) but never an improvement like this outside of maybe the L.A. Kings adding Wayne Gretzky. Plus, I just don’t think the Dodgers are going to be as good as everybody else does, and the Giants are missing too much offense and have too many question marks in the starting rotation.
2) Pirates (Wild Card)
Until somebody knocks off the Cardinals, who always seem to find a way to be competitive, they’ll be the favorites. Pittsburgh continues to be good enough to reach the post-season, but not to overcome St. Louis. The Cubs are going to bludgeon some folks to death with their offense, but after Jon Lester they have nowhere near the pitching depth to contend yet.
Washington is loaded, and not just in the starting rotation, which could be historically good. They’re the favorites to win the whole thing, although second-year manager Matt Williams is still an unknown commodity. He was handily outplayed by Bruce Bochy in the playoffs last year (then again, who isn’t these days?). The Marlins are getting close and certainly in contention for a Wild Card spot.
1) Los Angeles
2) Seattle (Wild Card)
The Angels and Mariners are 1 and 1A in this division, which should be the tightest race of any division. I give only a slight edge to the guys in Anaheim because of Mike Trout. The A’s will be pesky, as they always are, but this is the season the constant tinkering (and trade of Josh Donaldson) finally catch up to them.
4) White Sox
Not a lot of people realize how good Cleveland is. Terry Francona has one of the most balanced clubs in baseball and a certified ace in reigning Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. The Royals take a step back, mostly due to the loss of James Shields, who really set the tone for that clubhouse and will be sorely missed. The Tigers keep getting older without reinforcements showing up and as good as David Price will be at Comerica Park, they don’t have the horses to run with the Indians this season.
1) Red Sox
2) Blue Jays (Wild Card)
Boston re-loaded again, especially on offense with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval on board. But right behind them are the Blue Jays, who have been close in recent years and finally take that next step to playoff participant this season. Baltimore just doesn’t have the pitching to keep up and simply cannot keep being as good in 1-run games as they’ve been recently. Bad luck finally catches up to them.
National League Wild Card: Dodgers beat the Pirates
American League Wild Card: Mariners beat the Blue Jays
NLDS: Nationals beat the Dodgers, Padres beat the Cardinals
ALDS: Indians beat the Mariners, Angels beat the Red Sox
NLCS: Nationals beat the Padres
ALCS: Indians beat the Angels
WORLD SERIES: Nationals beat the Indians
NL MVP: Matt Kemp (He’s healthy, motivated, and will get a lot of the credit for San Diego’s turnaround)
AL MVP: Mike Trout (Duh)
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (Duh, part 2)
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez (Stuff is still there and now he has help)
NL Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant (He might his 40 HR. Seriously)
AL Rookie of the Year: Daniel Norris (Went 12-2 with a 4-1 K-BB ratio over 3 minor league levels in 2014)
NL Manager of the Year: Bud Black (2010 winner gets his best roster yet)
AL Manager of the Year: Terry Francona (Tito takes another team to the Fall Classic)
That pretty much covers it. So, ladies and gentlemen … Play Ball!
MLB 2015 Season Predictions
Who will win this year's playoffs and post-season awards
OK folks … Prediction time.