“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical like money. They can’t be bought, borrowed, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
– Alfred Pennyworth, “The Dark Knight” (2008)
I apologize to all ten of my readers (if I’m lucky) for my recent hiatus from my blog. I finally had the time to write something just in time for the MLB season. For those that don’t know, the MLB season begins today. Which means it’s time for my season predictions.
American League award winners:
MVP: OF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Cy Young: Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Rookie of the Year: SS Ketel Marte, Seattle Mariners
AL division winners:
AL East: Boston Red Sox
Despite a disappointing season in 2015, Boston did perform much better in the later months of the season. In the offseason, Boston signed former Cy Young-winner David Price to fix the starting-pitching rotation, and signed four-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel to shape up the bullpen. The Red Sox also have some great young players like Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Travis Shaw. Not to mention veterans like Ryan Hanigan, Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, and David Ortiz. Lastly, the team will get John Farrell back as manager after his battle with cancer last year, and this will be Ortiz’s last season for the Red Sox. So, at the very least, win games this season for Big Papi.
AL Central: Kansas City Royals
It’s hard to see the defending world champions taking a step back this season. Besides losing Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, the Royals return just about everyone else in a lineup that had five All-Stars in it last year. While the starting pitching isn’t great in Kansas City, the bullpen is stellar. With the Royals’ ability to hit the ball, they should be able to score runs and the bullpen should be able to retain leads. Plus, the Royals play in relatively weak division. I’m not sure I see anyone else in the AL Central giving Kansas City much of a fight.
AL West: Houston Astros
The Astros have good starting pitching led by last year’s Cy Young-winner Dallas Keuchel, and the new addition Doug Fister. They also traded for closer Ken Giles in the offseason who has a career ERA of 1.56. I’ll be shocked if there’s a team with better talent in the middle of its field (Carlos Correa at shortstop, Jose Altuve at second base, and Carlos Gomez at center field) than Houston. Last year’s AL West division winner only won 88 games. I think the Astros will be able to win the division this year after their young, talented roster will have another year under its belt.
AL wild cards: Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners
Toronto has an insanely good offense. The Blue Jays ranked No. 2 in team batting average last year. They also led the league in on base percentage, runs, home runs, and total bases. The Blue Jays return the meat of its lineup: Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Jose Bautista, and Kevin Pillar. The pitching isn’t great in Toronto – which is why I didn’t pick the Blue Jays to win the AL East – but with that offense, it almost doesn’t matter.
Seattle has built a talented roster. It underperformed last year, but the organization brought in some veterans during the offseason: Chris Ianetta, Adam Lind, Nori Aoki, and Leonys Martin. Plus, Ketel Marte performed very well after getting called up last season. Seattle has a pretty good pitching rotation led by Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. The Mariners’ roster is unproven which is what’s preventing me from picking them to win the AL West, but I like them to get the last wild card spot.
National League award winners:
MVP: 1B Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Rookie of the Year: P Steven Matz, New York Mets
NL East: New York Mets
I’m not sure anyone can argue that the Mets don’t have the best starting-pitching rotation. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zach Wheeler would be aces for a lot of team’s rotations. The Mets were able to retain Yoenis Cespedes, traded for Neil Walker, and signed Asdrubal Cabrera in the offseason. The Mets’ batting lineup used to be laughable, but is now much improved. It’ll be a tight race with the Washington Nationals in the NL East, but I think the Mets will get it done.
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
The Cubs were the most improved team last year. They won 73 games in 2014, then the front office decided to bring in Joe Maddon as manager, and it finished last year with 97 wins. After getting swept by the Mets in the NLCS, the Cubs made some impressive moves in the offseason by signing Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward. If Jake Arrieta can repeat his Cy Young performance from last year, then this team has great chance to being special. Regardless, I like the Cubs’ lineup and I expect them to win the NL Central.
NL West: San Francisco Giants
San Francisco fans are rejoicing because it’s an even-numbered year. For those that don’t understand that reference, the Giants have won three of the last six World Series – and each of those titles came in even-numbered years (2010, 2012, and 2014). The Giants are a lot like the Mets. They aren’t known for hitting the ball, but the starting pitching should be phenomenal led by former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. The front office also added Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzjia. I know it’s stupid, but I’ve learned to never count out the Giants in an even-numbered year.
NL wild cards: Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates
I like Washington because it has Bryce Harper, who I think is the best player in baseball, and what should be good starting pitching with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals also added Ben Revere and Daniel Murphy to help their batting. The Nationals have the best hitting in the NL East, but I don’t think they have near the pitching that the Mets do. However, I don’t think Dusty Baker is much of a manager and that will prevent this team from being a contender.
I’m not too confident in Pittsburgh. There’s not too many people taking the Pirates to make the postseason, so I’m in the minority. I think people are forgetting that this team won 98 games last year. They did lose some pieces, but they still have Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, and they added solid veterans like Jon Niese and David Freese. Pittsburgh’s season will depend on if Jung-ho Kang can bounce back from his injury, and perform as well as he did last year. I think Clint Hurdle is a good manager, and I think he’ll have this team ready.
Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs
Winner: Chicago Cubs
That’s right. I know it’s an even-numbered year and I know that the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in over 100 years, but I think it’s their year. Theo Epstein worked his magic in Boston and has brought his style to Chicago, and guess what, it’s working. Joe Maddon is one of the best managers in the league, and the Cubs have a great mix of veterans and young talent. Barring any injuries, I think the curse will be broken this season.
Thanks for reading
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