MLB rosters will undoubtedly change from now to October when the matchups are set. But I’m going to try to predict who will win the divisions, wild card, LCS’s and the World Series. This will undoubtedly be wrong but if it isn’t, I’m going to go try the lottery.
AL east: Orioles. They exist. They’ll exist in last place for the 2019 season. The new look Blue Jays will probably settle into 4th place, with a top minor league system and some potential trade chips the Blue Jays future may be looking bright. The 2018 Tampa Bay Rays won 90 games and still missed the playoffs. They got better this offseason and still will probably settle into 3rd but they could make it to October this season led by a revamped offense and 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell. The Yankees made some moves this offseason and are predicted to be better than the Red Sox for the second straight year. I disagree for the second straight year. I am not high on James Paxton after a lackluster year in Seattle now moving to a little league sized ballpark. Ottavino wasn’t that much better than David Robertson. DJ LeMahieu will try to fill Didi’s offensive hole. They’ll make the playoffs but not by winning the division. The reigning champs boast on of the best starting pitching staffs and offenses, but it still has room to grow. The bullpen isn’t the best, but it’ll be better than expected and I wouldn’t cancel out a potential midseason move once teams have a good idea of how the rest of their season will go.
AL central: The Indians are still the clear-cut favorites in this division. With a great starting rotation and a capable offense, now featuring Hanley Ramirez the best Ramirez on the team. The Twins are the second-best team in the division. They revamped their offense with sluggers Nelson Cruz and CJ Cron then Jonathan Schoop and utility man Marwin Gonzalez. I am struggling to settle on who gets third and fourth between the White Sox and Tigers. Fulmer’s Tommy John surgery leaves them with even less pitching on what is set to be a scarce pitching team. I think Chicago finishes third, Detroit 4th and the Royals last. The royals will be really fun to watch with all the speed and base stealers on that team, but they really aren’t going to be winning a whole comparatively.
AL West: The Astros will probably win the division again losing Charlie Morton to Tampa and Lance McCullers to injury but adding Michael Brantley makes them close to net neutral, but the Athletics can definitely make some noise and make it hard on them. They may need to acquire another starter, but that offense and bullpen are great and can keep them a float in the wild card race. Mike Trout can only carry the Angels so far and until the rest of the roster steps it up I can’t believe otherwise. They have the pieces to make a push for the wild card assuming they can get/stay healthy, but they’ll probably settle into third. The Mariners sold off their top-tier parts this offseason (Edwin Diaz and Cano to the Mets, Paxton to the Yankees, Segura to Philly, and Zunino to the Rays) and are probably nowhere near done trading knowing Jerry Dipoto’s history. That said they should beat out the Rangers who’ll will finish last in the post Beltre era year one. I will tune into a few games to see if Joey Gallo can hit a ball to the moon or 500+ feet; either will suffice. But at least they’re getting a nice new stadium in 2020!
NL east: What an overhaul this division has had this offseason. The only one I will lock in is the Miami Marlins finishing in dead last. None of these teams will probably have the best record in the NL because the division got so strong, but this will be a great, competitive race. The Nationals lost Harper but look stronger by plugging holes elsewhere (signing Corbin, Dozier, Anibal Sanchez after a 2018 revival and Kurt Suzuki, trading for Yan Gomes, and promoting top prospect Victor Robles). The Phillies said they would spend stupid and oh boy did they improve. Signing David Robertson, Andrew McCutchen and that Bryce Harper guy. Trading for JT Realmuto and Jean Segura. The Phillies stumbled down the stretch last year and took themselves out of postseason contention but now are primed to make the season long push. The Braves bought low on a healthy Josh Donaldson and he’ll slide into a great Braves lineup. Their pitching injuries may get them off to a slow start but can definitely make a good push for the playoffs. The Mets signed Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie, they traded for the aforementioned Cano and Diaz and top prospects Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith. The revamped offense and hopefully healthy pitching staff can lead the Mets back to the playoffs. Nationals in first followed by the Phillies, Braves and Mets (oh gosh that was hard).
NL Central: Oh my god this division is going to be absolutely crazy. The healthy Cubs look to reassert themselves after a disappointing end to their 2018 season. Healthy Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish, a full year of Cole Hamels and hopefully a more consistent Rizzo and Contreras hope to lead what is a very talented roster. The reigning division champion Brewers made a great signing in Yasmani Grandal, they get a full year of Mike Moustakas, and hopefully Jimmy Nelson is coming back healthy soon. With a great bullpen and stellar offense, they look primed to compete to repeat in the division. The Cardinal landed big fish, perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and now with a healthier Ozuna, a full year of Bader hope to lead what promises to be a great offense. The top two of Flaherty and Mikolas hope to lead a pitching staff with promise to get back to the playoffs. The Cincinnati Reds were as active as anyone this offseason. Acquiring Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood from the Dodgers, reunite Sonny Gray with his old pitching coach and lost the offensive black hole that was Billy Hamilton. Losing Gennett for 2ish months hurts but with Votto, Suarez, Peraza and the aforementioned Kemp and Puig the offense seems ready to keep this team afloat. Also, Michael Lorenzen becoming an outfield and pitcher is really fun. The Pirates have good pitching will Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams then Felipe Vazquez and Keona Kela in the back of the bullpen. The offense isn’t extremely promising especially with the offenses and pitching in the division. Brewers come out on top, Cubs then Cardinals followed by the Reds and Pirates.
NL West: The Dodgers should continue to be the winners of this division going for what would be their 7th straight. Adding AJ Pollock and Joe Kelly, getting Corey Seager back soon and not losing too much from their 2018 NL champion team. The Colorado Rockies off back to back playoff appearances added Daniel Murphy to a good lineup and hope to continue to see pitching improvements. With a weakened Diamondbacks team maybe the Rockies can pick up some more wins but will probably have second place on lock. Speaking of Arizona, losing Pollock, Goldschmidt, and Corbin really hurts and the outfield isn’t looking great now that Steven Souza is down for the year. But they should hang around third. The Padres have Tatis Jr (screwed up an article I posted an hour before the announcement) Mejia and Paddack on the big-league roster which should help, Having Machado should really improve the lineup and the Padres have a chance to take the next step towards contention. May steal third but probably get 4th. The Giants have a good bullpen (which will probably see some pieces traded midyear to unofficially start new GM Farhan Zaidi’s rebuild) but an aging offensive (with no real satisfactory outfielders) and starting pitching core the Giants aren’t going to give Bruce Bochy the sendoff he probably deserves.
AL Playoff picture: I got the Red Sox, Indians, and Astros winning their respective divisions with the Yankees easily taking the first wild card spot and the Rays edge out Oakland and the Twins for the other wild card spot right now with the better starting pitching and no drastic difference between offenses and bullpens. The Red Sox barely get the top spot in the AL. We get a repeat of last years ALDS’s with Astros over Indians in 4 and Sox over wild card winning Yankees in 4 again. The Red Sox v Astros ALCS goes 6 or 7 this year with a similar result a bit of a slugfest but the Red Sox starter depth hold out.
NL playoff picture: The Dodgers, Brewers and Nationals take their divisions with the Phillies and Rockies taking to 1st and 2nd wildcard spots respectively. I think their will be a tie for at least one wildcard spot which will require some one game playoffs. The Dodgers get the top spot, so they face the wild card winner Phillies and I think the Dodgers outlast the Phillies in a 5-game slugfest. The Brewers and Nationals also go 5 but it’ll be a lower scoring series and the Brewers bullpen is the difference for the Brew Crew. Repeating the 2018 NLCS, it goes down to game 7 this year as well but the Brewers outlast the Dodgers.
World Series: What a World Series this would be. Two high octane offenses going head to head, but their pitching philosophies are seemingly polar opposites. The Red Sox will seemingly rely heavily on their starting pitching staff and the Brewers will go to the bullpen early and often and it worked last year, getting them within a game of the World Series. Maybe moves will be made midseason who knows, but this is how it seems right now. I think this would be a 6 or 7 game battle but Red Sox homefield advantage may be the tipping point. Repeat season.