MLB has some pretty stacked teams this year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any surprises. Here are my predictions for the 2018 season. I’ll go division by division and at the end my World Series Champs will be revealed.
Los Angeles Dodgers
This one is pretty easy. They’ve run away with the West for the last 5 years, and there’s nothing to show they’ll differ from that this year. Yes, the Dodgers have stars are their roster, but what really gets them over the top is their depth at every position. Their roster allows for everyone to stay fresh while keeping a similar level of production. The Rockies and Diamondbacks both got worse over the off season. Rockies are going to be counting on their pitchers continuing to develop, but have questions in their roster as far as who’s going to produce in the lineup. Nolan Arenado is going to be an MVP candidate again, but other than him, there really isn’t anybody in that lineup that scares me. The Diamondbacks didn’t resign JD Martinez who was the key piece in getting to the playoffs. Their staff is good, but they’re relying on too much production from a couple of key guys. The Giants got better, but they aren’t as deep of a team as you need to win the west. I have serious questions about their pitching. Don’t really see it as one of the top rotations in the game anymore. Need bullpen help also. The Padres are on their way up, but they’re at least a year away from making any kind of noise.
The Central may be the most interesting division to watch in baseball this year. I have the Cubs winning strictly because of their pitching. They’re still a really young team who have guys that still haven’t hit their full potential. Wouldn’t be surprised if sometime this season you see them acquire Machado from Baltimore to slide into Shortstop. The Brewers are coming off a good year, but I don’t think they are as close as everybody else says. Yeah, they’ve made significant improvements, but they still have an awkward lineup and an unproven pitching staff. Signing someone like Arrieta could help them take another step, but I don’t see them hanging with the Cubs for the entire season. The real team to watch for me is the Cardinals. They have a decent rotation with more help on the way. I believe the Cardinals are still a batter or two away. Ozuna is going to add a different dimension to that lineup, but not as complete of a team as the Cubs. The Reds are still a year away from being serious. They have great prospects in place, but they’re not ready yet. They’ll be competitive this year, but they’re closer to the bottom of the division than to the top. The Pirates are beginning the rebuild of their team. Look for some of their players to continue to get traded throughout the year. Would be surprised if Marte and Cervelli are there till the end of the year. Not a team that’s going to compete.
This is the last year that I see the Nationals winning the East. Their team is still stacked with Talent, but with expiring contracts their window is coming to a close. The Nats are the veteran team of the NL east. This division really shouldn’t even be close. They have 2 and a half aces with a group of position players that are probably each at the top 5 of their position in some aspect or another. Coming in at a distant second I have the Braves. The Braves have great youth coming up this year and they should be an exciting team to watch. They still need better starting pitching if they want to compete in the next couple of seasons. The Braves could sneakily have a top 10 lineup in the MLB this year. They don’t have a pure power guy, but that’s something I can see changing through free agency next year. I have the Mets coming in third. They still have a stud pitching staff when their healthy. They have Wheeler finally returning which is a prospect they’ve been waiting on for years seemingly. A lot will depend on how Adrian Gonzalez bounces back from a year of injuries and if he can be a high average hitter at Citi Field. Conforto will also be looking to take a next step into superstardom. I have the Phillies coming in 4th but not by many games. I see 2,3,4 being very close in this division. The Phillies are another young team with their own group of studs ready to step into the limelight this season. The Phillies have a group of really good young pitchers. They might need help offensively right now, but their lineup got better as the season went on last year. Look for them to continue to take steps forward. The Marlins probably won’t be competitive this year. They’re going to trade any player that they can get value for.
Not only are they the best team in baseball, but they’re also the deepest. They still have prospects in the Minors ready to come up and contribute at a really high level. They could use some more bullpen help, but even that is nitpicking right now. They have 3 of the top 15 players in the game right now, and that’s without mentioning their pitching. Don’t see them having problems winning the west again. Coming in second I actually have the Oakland Athletics. Oakland might be the most under the radar team this season. After the all-star break, last year, Oakland was tied for the most homeruns hit. They’ll have questions about their pitching, but they also have young help on the way. I have the Angels just barely finishing in 3rd. Their lineup got considerably better from last year. The left side of the infield might be impossible to get a ball through. They have 2 of this generations greatest players, but what they don’t have is consistent pitching. The pitching for the Angels last season was pretty good for the guys they were working with. That being said those guys might have performed as well as they could. They have a couple of young arms that surprised people last year, but that’s not something they should be relying on. A healthy Richards would be ideal, but that’s just not the way things usually work for him. I think the Angels are an arm away in both the bullpen and the rotation to be considered legitimate. Mariners are taking a step back this year. Not really much to be excited for there. Not many changes this offseason. Dee Gordon is a nice pick up, but they have holes in their rotation and bullpen. The King is no Longer as dominant as he once was, so it’s looking downhill as of right now for the Mariners. The Rangers have a sneaky good team and I could see them finishing anywhere from 2nd to last in this division. A lot is going to hinge on their pitching and whether those guys can stay healthy. Offensively they’re a pretty balanced team. They lack the star power and consistency that some of these other teams have, but on the field their team matches up well within this division.
I think they have the best built team in the Central. I don’t see many balls dropping in their outfield. Offensively they have multiple power threats in the names of Sanu and newly signed Logan Morrison. Their rotation doesn’t have any studs, but it has a lot of 2’s and 3’hes. I could see them being the best defensive team in baseball. At 2 I’m taking the Cleveland Indians. I feel like they lost a big guy when they didn’t resign Santana. Alonso is going to fit in just fine, but he’s not as big of a threat in my mind. I don’t like their outfield. Brantley is always hurt, and Chisenhall is naturally an infielder. I like their rotation, but it has a couple of boom or bust guys. Their infield will be solid so I’m not worried about that. I’m just higher on the Twins. I know the Indians won the Division by 17 games last season, but that was also cause of an unreal stretch at the end of the season. Don’t see that happening again. In third I have the White Sox taking a step towards relevancy. It’s about time to watch their young prospects hit the field. There’s a lot to be excited for, but unfortunately I don’t think that excitement will translate to wins. Look for a big trade in the middle of the season. Either dishing Abreu or getting a big-name form somebody. The Royals are going to be bad this year. They’re back to rebuilding, and probably will be the worst team in the MLB next to maybe the Pirates. Detroit is in the same position except they have a couple of veteran players with long contracts that will at least keep them winning some games. You likely won’t see a Miggy or V Mart trade because their contracts are so big and have a lot left on them, but they’re probably going to try to get value out of anyone else on their current roster.
Boston Red Sox
Nobody is more excited about the Yankees this season than I am, but the Yankees still have holes in their team that the Red Sox don’t. I still believe the Red Sox have a top 3 rotation in baseball. They have David Price coming back, and they addressed their power need with signing JD Martinez. They have so many players on their roster that they’re going to have to get creative with playing time. Right now, they’re my favorite to get Machado. The Yankees still need another starter if they plan on winning the east. They have the deepest lineup in baseball, and the best bullpen in baseball, but they still have things they need to figure out. Chapman needs to be consistent this year. So far this spring he looked like he had the same mechanical problems he did last season which is concerning for Yankee fans. The Blue Jays are going to come in a distant third. They have an underrated pitching staff and a decent lineup, but they’re lacking another big bat to go along with Donaldson. They’ll win games and be in the mix come August, but they just don’t have the same level of team as the Red Sox or the Yankees right now. The Orioles are in an awkward place because they’re still too good to tank but they know they’re not winning the division. Their team will likely look a lot different after the trade deadline. The main stories are going to be how Machado handles short stop and whether he gets dealt in the middle of the season. The Rays are going to be irrelevant. Archer is the last player they have of any substantial value. He’ll likely get dealt sometime this season. The Rays are in complete rebuild mode.
Yankees beat the Indians
Kluber has shown he can’t handle the Yankees, but Baur might be able to. Still the Yankee lineup is too deep and Baur would have to make too many pitches to get deep into that game. CC would likely go for the Yankees. He’ll make it till the 4th where his bullpen will allow 1 earned run for the rest of the game. Yankees in a 6-2 win.
Cardinals beat the Brewers
I think Cardinals are going to be a sneaky team this year. I see the Brewers adding starting pitcher sometime throughout the season. I think the experience and the power arm of Carlos Martinez are too much for the Brew Crew and the Cardinals go on to win 7-1.
Astros beat Red Sox
Just like the season prior I see the Astros being the Red Sox in the series. This time 3 games to 2. Astros offense will be too much for the big arms of the Red Sox. Correa owns Red Sox pitching and his team advances.
Yankees beat Twins
Yankees are going to sweep the Twins. Having a rotation of 2’s does well for you in the regular season, but when it comes to the postseason you need aces, and that’s something the Twins lack. The Yanks lineup is too much and they take every game of the series.
Dodgers beat Cardinals
Dodgers win the series 3-1. Cardinals just don’t have enough arms to compete with the dodgers for an entire series. Bellinger destroys the Cardinals rotation.
Nationals beat Cubs
In a 3-2 series win Scherzer comes up clutch coming in from the bullpen in game 5 to keep the Cubs bat at bay. Schwarber earns a spot as Subway’s new national sponsor after hitting for 5 homeruns in the series with his new weight. Not enough Nationals take it.
Astros beat Yankees
The Astros are still the best team in baseball. Unless the Yankees can pick up another high end starting pitcher, then they’re still not on the Astros Level. Comes down to game 7 again where this time Dallas Keuchel beats the Yankees by using their over aggressiveness to get weakly hit balls into his outfield. Gincarlo breaks a cooler.
Nationals beat the Dodgers
Stephen Strasburg continues his CY young year and holds the dodgers to under 2 runs in each game he starts. Harper and Murphy have a post season for the history books and hammer Dodger pitching. Kershaw reverts back to his old ways and struggles. Nationals win the series 4-2.
Nationals Beat the Astros
Good pitching beats good hitting. The Nationals have 3 guys that have Cy Young stuff every year. The Astros pitching is very good, but Verlander was coming in off momentum last year. Cole is an injury risk, and let’s face it the Nationals lineup is very very good. This series has 2 low scoring games and 2 games where both teams mash. Nationals win the world series 4 games to 3.