Spring time people! NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs, NFL draft, the Masters, and of course the start of the MLB season. Best time of the year to be a sports fan, tied with October. So I’m not going to spend too much time on the opening, just a little preview on what I see going down in Major League Baseball this season, which I will regret making public about one month in. One thing that makes me know I’m wrong: I have all 2014 division champs repeating.
1. Baltimore Orioles
Defending division champs don’t have great starting pitching but their defense, bats, bullpen and manager more than make up for that shortcoming.
2. Boston Red Sox
They definitely spent a lot to improve, but I still don’t believe it is enough to take back the AL East crown.
3. Toronto Blue Jays
I’m in the minority, but I felt like this club hardly improved this off season, and now are without Marcus Stroman for the season. Bullpen is a question mark too.
4. Tampa Bay Rays
Everyone is counting them out. I’m not so sure about this. This is a club that underachieved last season and still have a ton of great young talent.
5. New York Yankees
They would need a lot of grizzled vets to stay healthy all year, and I just can’t see it happening. Swapping out the Captain for the A-hole doesn’t help either.
1. Detroit Tigers
This is likely the year they fall back, but until they do I just can’t pick against them. Still have an incredible staff, still have the most feared hitter in the game.
2. Cleveland Indians
This year’s “sexy pick”. Sports Illustrated has them winning it all. For whatever reason, the “sexy pick” never meets expectations, so I can’t have them higher.
3. Kansas City Royals
The defending AL champs I believe will be hard pressed to have a repeat performance. Ned Yost is a seemingly awful manager, but it works.
4. Chicago White Sox
Product of an improving division, the Chi Sox could easily finish 2nd in this division and should be in the playoff hunt. Best off season in baseball.
5. Minnesota Twins
Ron Gardenhire is out as manager after 13 seasons. Paul Molitor is in. I loved Paul Molitor, but this is going to be a rough year for him.
1. L.A. Angels
All that money spent finally started to pay off last season. Great pitching, great hitters, best player in the game. I might be
2. Seattle Mariners
Hasn’t “this is the year the M’s break through” been the slogan for like 5 seasons now? Talent is there but I’m still not sold despite an amazing 2nd half last year.
3. Oakland Athletics
Tough to pick them to finish 3rd basically because Billy Beane seemingly works miracles every year. Lost a lot, but I love what they still have.
4. Houston Astros
A lot of young talent has been amassed, and now is time to begin progressing. I believe most Astros fans would be good with 75-80 wins.
5. Texas Rangers
No Yu Darvish this season…YIKES! In 2012 it was looking like this was the elite franchise in all of baseball. Now, they look like the AL version of the Phillies.
AL Wildcard Winners
Boston Red Sox
MVP: Adam Jones, Baltimore
The guy puts up MVP numbers pretty much every year, and will again this season.
Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle
He’s due for one. The guy is insanely good and has been now for nearly 10 seasons.
Rookie of the Year: Daniel Norris, Toronto
I’m bias, sue me. Unreal season for the Jays developing pitchers last year after it looked like the 2012 trades left the cupboard bare. Norris is a stud.
Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay
This award always goes to the surprise teams manager. I don’t believe they’ll have a big year, but the talent is there for it to happen.
1. Washington Nationals
So much talent, but 2 early postseason exits in 3 seasons has some people wondering whether or not they can get it done when it matters.
2. Miami Marlins
Another sexy pick of many this season, but I’m on board with this one because the division is so weak. I loved the Mat Latos trade for them.
3. N.Y. Mets
A lot of people really like this team, I think they’re a year away. For their sake hopefully next season Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard will be ready to go.
4. Atlanta Braves
Rebuild time for the Braves. No more Upton brothers, no more Craig Kimbrel, no more Kris Medlin, no more Jason Hayward. It’ll be a rough season.
5. Philadelphia Phillies
There just seems to be no hope for this franchise in the near future. Too many bad contracts that are unmovable, and now Cliff Lee could be done for good.
1. St. Louis Cardinals
Same old, same old here. The best organization in baseball just keeps doing their thing year in, year out. It’s boring, and it wins.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates
Best young outfield in the game, really solid young pitching staff, and I think we can officially declare they’ve established a winning culture after years of losing.
3. Chicago Cubs
They’re probably going to take a big step this season, but they’re still likely a year or two away from contending. Insane amount of high end talent coming though.
4. Milwaukee Brewers
I really don’t know what to make of the Brew crew. One thing I know is they need to move back to their old symbol ASAP. No World Series until then.
5. Cincinnati Reds
Rebuild mode for the Reds after a few years of contending. Votto is wearing down, Phillips is old, Bruce has peaked, Cueto might be on the way out.
1. L.A. Dodgers
Don’t have much doubt they’ll take this division again. Biggest payroll and big talent still in the system. One of the best organizations in the sport.
2. San Francisco Giants
Every 2nd year they miss the playoffs. Everyone as caught on to this trend, so maybe this is the year they buck it and go back to back?
3. San Diego Padres
Vastly improved and added to that Sunday with the trade for Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton. They have the talent to compete with the Dodgers and Giants.
4. Colorado Rockies
This team just seems to be going nowhere after some successful seasons in 07 and 09. But that was 6 years ago….#math.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks
Talk about a franchise going nowhere. New leadership is great, but they have a lot of work to do to get back to where they were in 2001.
NL Wildcard Winners
San Francisco Giants
MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington
One of these years he’s going to break out in a big way. This was my pick last year, and if he doesn’t do it this year he might be my pick NEXT year!
Cy Young: Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Now that he’s got the money, maybe he’ll take it easy. But I doubt it, and going to the NL Central could be Christmas for this hardened AL East vet.
Rookie of the Year: Kris Bryant, Cubs
Why fight it. The kid is ridiculous. He’ll be there in 2 weeks and with the way his spring went he may hit 30 out this season.
Manager of the Year: Mike Redmond, Marlins
They aren’t going to be a big surprise should they make the playoffs, but my thinking here is that he wins this if they win the NL East, which is possible.
Seattle Mariners vs St.Louis Cardinals
In the Post Season I would love the Mariners pitching, and another trend that runs with the Giants winning every other year is that the Cards make the World Series in those other years. Something else I like about this pick…nobody else is making it.
World Series Champions
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