May 29, 2019
There have been some surprise teams so far that have division leads. While other World Series contenders have stumbled in the early going. Here are my predictions on how the rest of the season will play out based on the 1st month and a half of baseball.
New York Yankees (30-17)
Considering that the Yankees could field a team of injured players, 30-18 is pretty good when you’re missing a lot of key players. Having the entire starting outfield on the IL isn’t always good. Especially when 2 of the 3 are superstars, Sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are the Bronx Bombers the Yankees need to make a run at the title. But having these young players step up is a good sign of the future.
Key Player: James Paxton (SP)
Acquired in the offseason for 3 prospects, Paxton is looking to prove that he is the piece the Yankees need for a World Series ring. In 7 starts this year, he has an ERA of 3.11 with 52 K’s through 37.2 innings of work. If they want to make a deep run in the postseason, he needs to settle in and make hitters miss.
Injuries: Miguel Andujar (3B), Dellin Betances (RP), Greg Bird (1B), Jacoby Ellsbury (OF), Didi Gregorius (SS), Aaron Judge (OF), Jordan Montgomery (SP/RP), James Paxton (SP), Luis Severino (SP), Giancarlo Stanton (OF), Troy Tulowitzki (SS)
The injury bug found the Yankees this year. With all of this talent on the IL, the Yankees have a lot to look forward too later in the season. Considering that they are 8 games above .500, when healthy this team can easily win the World Series. It’s just a matter if they all return to their former selves and play like they never were hurt.
Tampa Bay Rays (27-18)
With one of the best rotations in the Majors right now, Tampa is looking to prove that they aren’t just a hot April team. With a good 1-2-3 punch in Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton. One more above average pitcher will elevate this team and take them over the top. But with Glasnow out, Snell and Morton will have to step up in his absence. They may be able to pitch well but hitting is what’s going to make or break this team.
Key Players: Infielders
The outfield is solid and the Pitching rotation is one of the best in the league. But what about the infield? With everyone in the infield being younger than 30 years old, they have no veteran leadership to show them the way. They’ll have to figure out how to play with one another and learn lessons as they go.
Injuries: Matt Duffy (3B), Tyler Glasnow (SP), Joey Wendle (2B)
Duffy and Wendle are players who are needed to be healthy in order for the team to be complete. Hitting is the weakness of the team and getting them back can be a boost to the lineup. One of the best starters so far this year just got hurt and it’s not looking good for the Rays. With Glasnow sidelined, other starters will have to step up in his absence.
Boston Red Sox (25-23)
The defending World Series Champions haven’t had the best start to the year, but there’s a lot of baseball left to be played. Loaded with talent, don’t expect the Red Sox to fade away while others keep winning. With possibly the best outfield in baseball, these boys can hit lots of bombs to produce runs. Losing closer Craig Kimbrel has shown significantly for the bullpen as that’s there weakest part on the team. Kimbrel’s still a free agent and if the Red Sox want to improve there team, signing Kimbrel would be the move to do.
Key Players: Mookie Betts (OF) and JD Martinez (OF)
The duo of Betts and Martinez back to back gives pitchers nightmares on the mound as they don’t want to face either. The two hit a total of 75 home runs last year as they look to top that this year. If each of them hit around .320 this year, the team will just be fine throughout the year.
Injuries: Nathan Eovaldi (SP), Brock Holt (Utility), Dustin Pedroia (2B)
With these guys slated to come back before the end of May, the Red Sox have nothing to worry about. Eovaldi is the one to be worried about. I’m not sold on him having dominating performances after surgery on his right elbow, his pitching arm.
Toronto Blue Jays (20-28)
A team that has made the playoffs twice in the last 25 years isn’t going to make it 3 trips in 26 years this year. In the next few years, the Blue Jays can contend for an AL East title with lots of young prospects. Vlad Jr. already up is going to be pivotal for the Blue Jays just on how well he can perform at the big league level.
Key Player: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3B)
Even with the Blue Jays not going to compete this year, the long-awaited arrival of Vlad Jr. is here. So far, he’s 18 for 73 at the plate this year, a .247 batting average. Not the numbers you’d expect from the number 1 prospect in baseball. He’s heating up now, give him some time and he will be a legitimate candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Injuries: Matt Shoemaker (SP) and Devon Travis (2B)
Shoemaker was dominating on the mound this year but unfortunately tore his ACL. This year in 5 starts, Shoemaker will finish with an ERA of 1.57 with 28.2 IP and 3 wins under his name as well. He and other starters Marcus Stroman showed some hope for the Blue Jays this year, but with him out they have a slim chance of making the playoffs.
Baltimore Orioles (15-33)
The Orioles might well end up being the worst team in baseball in 2019. Letting all of there talent from 2018’s team walk in free agency and trading players away was a sign that they are rebuilding for the next few years. Expect the Orioles to win around 50-60 games this year.
Key Player: Trey Mancini (OF)
Being the only bright spot of the Orioles this year, Mancini has been tearing it up so far. With a .309 batting average, Mancini is looking to continue his hot start throughout the whole year. To win more than 50 games this year, the Orioles will need Mancini to produce day in and day out.
Injuries: Alex Cobb (SP), Nate Karns (SP), Mark Trumbo (OF)
Losing two starting pitchers to injury at the beginning of the year isn’t a good way to start the year. Already being one of the worst teams in baseball, the Orioles couldn’t afford to lose anyone. Especially Mark Trumbo, being a great hitter in the middle of the lineup, missing his bat is going to hurt until he fully recovers from knee surgery he had in 2018.
New York Yankees (101-61)
Tampa Bay Rays (99-63)
Boston Red Sox (95-67)
Toronto Blue Jays (77-85)
Baltimore Orioles (62-100)
The Yankees will prevail from the AL East but just barely squeak past both the Rays and Red Sox. All 3 of these teams will make it to the postseason with records well above .500.
Minnesota Twins (32-16)
Leading the division isn’t a surprise to me. With lots of hitters who can get on base any way possible, the Twins are producing run after run. With tons of quick guys on the roster, stealing bases is easy to them. With tons of speed and On-Base-Percentage being high, expect the Twins to keep winning games.
Key Player: Jose Berríos (SP)
Through 10 starts this year, the Twins ace has a 3.39 ERA and 60 K’s through 63.2 IP. Dominating on the mound, Berríos is building off a strong 2018 campaign and hasn’t missed a beat. With him pitching so well, the Twins have a legit chance to win the division.
Injuries: Nelson Cruz (DH) and Mitch Garver (C)
With 2 starting hitters out, the twins still have a good core to produce even with these two out. Cruz was the power for the Twins but now with Miguel Sano back, they should be fine.
Cleveland Indians (25-22)
A team that didn’t make any noise in the offseason, they look to win a 4th consecutive division title. They will need to be buyers at the trade deadline if they want to continue the streak. With a strong rotation and great hitters, the Indians have a good shot at the division.
Key Player: Shane Bieber (SP)
Everyone that talks about the Indians pitching rotation talks about either Corey Kluber or Mike Clevinger. Shane Bieber deserves to be in the conversation going into this year and throughout the year. With Kluber and Clevinger on the shelf, Bieber has to step up and be the ace until those two get back. He’s ready for the challenge and expects him to do great in their absences.
Injuries: Mike Clevinger (SP), Corey Kluber (SP), Danny Salazar (SP)
With 3 out of the 5 main starters on the IL, the Indians record is a lot better than expected. With all of these players not sure on a return, the Indians will have to stay around .500 without there main starters in order to compete in the division. Getting them back is pivotal to making a title run this year. Trying to end title drought of 70 years without a World Series trophy.
Chicago White Sox (21-26)
One of the youngest teams in baseball, the Chicago White Sox are looking to prove that experience doesn’t matter. With young players come times where it can get hard to play some games. But the White Sox are looking to turn some heads this year and let others know that there ahead of schedule on the rebuild.
Key Player: Yoan Moncada
Last year Moncada showed the potential of what is to come. This year he has developed into a better player and already it’s starting to show. Hitting 9 HR already this year, he’s already halfway to last years total of 17 HR. This year he’s focused on putting the ball in play more and reducing strikeouts. A whopping 217 strikeouts from last year isn’t good. If he can lower his strikeout rate and put more balls in play, Moncada will have an excellent year.
Injuries: Nate Jones (RP), Michael Kopech (SP), Carlos Rodon (SP)
Pitching for the White Sox isn’t looking good at the moment. Going into the year, the White Sox needed their staff to be average or better to have a shot at the playoffs. When 2 of your 5 main starters are hurt, it’s hard to have a rotation to perform at it’s best. Jones luckily may come back this year while Kopech and Rondon needed Tommy John Surgery. If the team wants to compete, they need to go out and get some pitching.
Detroit Tigers (18-27)
Losing star pitcher Michael Fulmer before the year started, hurt the Tigers in every way possible. Being the only proven dominant pitcher for the Tigers, they needed him to do well this year for them to even have a chance to break even this year with an 81-81 record. After the announcement that he needed Tommy John surgery, the Tigers have been trending downhill.
Key Player: Miguel Cabrera (1B)
With Cabrera getting hurt in recent years, him staying healthy is key for the Tigers this year. Teaching the rookies and helping the veterans is what Cabrera’s good at. His bat always puts fear into a pitchers eyes but as of recent, he’s getting older and easy to pitch too. Expect Cabrera to have a comeback this year and put himself in the running for Comeback Player of the Year.
Injuries: Michael Fulmer (SP), Matt Moore (SP), Tyson Ross (SP), Jordan Zimmerman (SP)
With Fulmer and Moore done for the year and Ross and Zimmerman out till June, the Tigers need the young bucks to step up in the rotation. So far their replacements haven’t done terrible but some are exceeding expectations. Spencer Turnbull has registered two straight Quality Starts and looks to build off of that for the rest of the season. Having to get thrown into the rotation due to injuries, Turnbull has been the spark the Tigers needed.
Kansas City Royals (16-31)
Being one of the worst teams in baseball this year, the Royals have a lot to look forward to next year. This year, however, their record is deceiving. With loads of talent in the infield, the bats are single-handedly carrying this team to victories. All of there starters can hit but pitching is a disaster. The rotation is a mess and isn’t going to get better any time this season.
Key Player: Alex Gordon (OF)
The reassurance of Alex Gordon is here. Unfortunately for the Royals, this comes in a year where they won’t be competitive. It’s great to see Gordon be able to have a hot start and make it look like he’s back to his old self. He will have the leadership role for the Royals to help teach the young players every day.
Injuries: Salvador Perez (C)
Having an all-star catcher on your team is rare, not having him on the field hurts. With Perez out for all of this year, missing his leadership and play on and off the field hurts everyone on the team. Most times in baseball, the catcher is the leader of the team and not having your leader on the field can wreak havoc on the team. Having him back next year is going to be great as he tries to lead this Royals team from a different role this year.
Cleveland Indians (84-78)
Minnesota Twins (79-83)
Detroit Tigers (70-92)
Chicago White Sox (68-94)
Kansas City Royals (64-98)
I think that with the Indians potential rotation, they will get healthy, return; and be the push the team needs. With these guys back at the end of the year, expect them to run away with the division crown. Winning for the 4th year in a row.
Houston Astros (33-16)
After winning the World Series in 2017, they didn’t miss a beat in 2018. Even though the didn’t reach the World Series in 2018, the Astros are a team that could still do so. If they perform like they have the last two years, the Astros are poised to make a championship run.
Key Players: Catching and 1B
With every other position filled with all-stars, Catcher and 1st base are the only legitimate concerns for the Astros. So far, Robinson Chirinos has been the better Catcher by far and at first base, it’s a whirlwind. If they can get a better first baseman at the trade deadline, this team will have no weak spots heading into the final stretch of the year.
Injuries: Lance McCullers (SP)
With only McCullers out, the Astros are poised to make a run this year. It seems like McCullers is always hurt and the team performs well without him. While he is helping when healthy, expect the Astros to do just fine until his return next year.
Texas Rangers (23-23)
This year the Rangers are still in a rebuild as they look ahead to a decent future. With stars Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo, they can provide leadership to those who will be making debuts in the next few years. This year expect the Rangers to sit around .500 the whole year.
Key Player: Joey Gallo (1B, OF)
Joey Gallo just reached the milestone of hitting 100 career home runs before hitting 100 singles. When your job is to hit nukes, Joey does not disappoint. Currently tearing it up with 15 HR and 35 RBI’s through 42 games, he’s on pace to hit around 60 HR this year. Expect him to cool off a little bit, but the power will never go away.
Injuries: Elvis Andrus (SS)
A key part of this team being so good this year. Andrus was powering the team to multiple runs and hits. With him out of the lineup, the team is going to slide.
Oakland A’s (24-25)
Having a young but experienced team can help the A’s this year. With Matt Chapman at the hot corner, his glove can save lots of runs and his bat to produce them. Mike Fiers recently just threw a no-hitter and maybe that will elevate the whole teams play moving forward. If so, this A’s team is a heavy sleeper to make the playoffs.
Key Player: Matt Chapman (3B)
Possibly one of the best young players in the game, Chapman is already having a breakout year and it’s only the middle of May. With an absolute cannon of an arm, Chapman is a favorite to win the gold glove over at 3rd. Having his bat as well makes the A’s a dangerous team to hit lots of homers off of an opposing pitcher.
Injuries: Jharel Cotton (SP), Marco Estrada (SP), Sean Manaea (SP)
3 of the 5 starters injured, never a good sign. Cotton and Manaea’s injuries date back to the 2018 season and hopefully get them both back in 2019 back and better. They will get some help back in a few weeks with Estrada due back. With the starters not healthy at the beginning of the year, this hurts their chances of making the playoffs right from opening day.
Los Angeles Angels (22-26)
When you have the best player in the game on your team, it’s hard not to be a competitive team every year. Mike Trout is hands down the best player in baseball right now but needs one or two more pieces to become a serious playoff team. They all have experience and this could be the year where everything based on this year, is a sign of the future.
Key Player: Mike Trout (OF)
The best player in the MLB right now happens to be on a team where if they didn’t have him, they would be rebuilding. With Trout on the team, the Angels will lean on him the most when a game is within a grasp. If Trout has an MVP season, the Angels still won’t make the playoffs.
Injuries: Andrelton Simmons (SS) and Justin Upton (OF)
With a key piece to the puzzle missing, the Angels need to stay around .500 without Upton to have even a chance to make a run to the playoffs. Missing one of your best run producers is never good, especially on a team where it’s hard to score runs as-is. When Upton gets back, the Angels need him to produce right away and for the rest of the year.
Seattle Mariners (23-28)
Bringing in the foreign arm of Yusei Kikuchi was a perfect addition to a team in need of pitching. But right now they need to worry about getting past the Astros. It’s been 18 years since they last won the AL West, this could possibly be the year they hang up a banner in the stadium.
Key Players: Hitters
This team can hit, score lots of runs, and steal lots of bases. They will have to single-handedly carry this team this year. With pitching being below average, scoring lots of runs is going to be a must for the Mariners.
Injuries: Dee Gordon (2B), Ryon Healy (1B), Felix Hernandez (SP), Kyle Seager (3B), Hunter Strickland (RP)
Missing possibly your best hitter always sucks. When 3rd baseman Kyle Seager gets back, the Mariners will score even more runs than they do now. Hunter Strickland is needed back ASAP!!! This bullpen is a mess and needs a steady arm to help them late in games.
Houston Astros (91-71)
Seattle Mariners (86-76)
Oakland A’s (80-82)
Los Angeles Angels (77-85)
Texas Rangers (76-86)
The Astros will reign supreme again this year in the AL West. Loaded with talent, the Mariners are the only team I could see giving them a run for their money, but the Astros will pull away in the month of September.
Philadelphia Phillies (28-20)
Adding one of the best free agents in free agency, Bryce Harper is looking to tear it up in a Phillies uniform. He and partner Rhys Hoskins are going to hit tons of bombs this year to produce tons of runs. The rotation is good enough to lead them to the postseason, but winning in the postseason could be a stretch with this rotation.
Key Players: Starting Pitching
With Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta being the two-star starters, they’ll need more production from the other 3. So far, Zach Eflin has produced but where are the other two starters. They’ve been getting lit up almost every start and can’t happen in the future starts if they want to finish top of the division.
Injuries: David Robertson (RP)
Missing your best reliever early in the season is better than losing him later in the season. Robinson wasn’t having a good year in any means this season, hopefully, when he gets back he can right the ship and get back to his old self. They will need him for sure later in the year so it’s okay if he takes a little longer to get back just to be safe.
Atlanta Braves (26-23)
Loaded with young talent, the Braves will pick up there play and dominate in the middle of the season. With every single position player being able to hit for power, this Braves team can put up a lot on you quick. Limiting this team to 3 runs or fewer will be a challenge. This team’s only weakness is the bullpen and that’s something you can always get at the trade deadline. Expect them to be buyers then and make moves to potentially get them to a World Series.
Key Player: Josh Donaldson (3B)
Signing him later in the year in 2018 was a signing that didn’t pay off. This year he looks to be a pivotal piece to this Braves team that needs some veteran leadership. If Donaldson can have a year as he did for the Blue Jays, this Braves team will be almost unstoppable to get out.
The bullpen took a hit with injuries with 4 guys from the pen getting hurt this year. They need all of the bullpen arms they can get this year as that is clearly the weakness this year. If they can get a reliever like Shane Greene from the Tigers, this team should run away with the division.
New York Mets (22-25)
Having to begin the season with a few stars on the IL, currently, almost all of them are back. The Mets are looking to prove to those that this team can compete. Loaded with underrated players, this team is looking to fly under the radar and steal a playoff spot.
Key Player: Pete Alonzo (1B)
A potential candidate for Rookie of the Year, Alonzo is looking to make a name for himself in the Big Apple. Already crushing bombs for this Mets, he expects to be a key piece moving forward. Having him in the lineup every day will only help him in the upcoming future.
Injuries: Yoenis Cespedes (OF), Jeurys Familia (RP), Jason Vargas (SP)
Missing players needed to win a division in the early stages of the season isn’t a good sign for a team known for players getting hurt. Céspedes is the only player expected to be out awhile which is bad news for all Mets fans. Having this team healthy is a successful season in itself.
Washington Nationals (19-29)
Losing your best hitter in free agency is tough already, but signing in the same division is even worse. Even though they signed Patrick Corbin, the nationals will have to rely on young outfielders to get the job done in Harper’s absence. If these young bucks can step up to the plate, the Nats could possibly be a sleeper team to win the NL East.
Key Players: Outfielders
Without Harper, the Nats leave a gap open for an outfielder. Insert Victor Robles, Robles has gotten off to a decent start, but no Bryce Harper numbers. If he can continue to play well and have help from Juan Soto and Michael Taylor, the Nationals should do just fine without Harper.
Injuries: Matt Adams (1B), Trevor Rosenthal (RP), Ryan Zimmerman (1B)
All of the season vets on the Nationals end up on the IL. Not having them in the game helping the youngins isn’t always best, but helping them from a different perspective on the bench can help too. Maybe we are going to see a resurgence of these 3 players when they get off the IL. If we do, watch out NL East.
Miami Marlins (14-31)
Coming into the year with absolutely no positive expectations, the Marlins only good thing going for them is their new logo and color schemes. With Derek Jeter at the helm, the Marlins can be contenders in a few years if everything goes well. But history with the Marlins would say that it won’t turn out so hot.
Key Player: Caleb Smith (SP)
The only bright spot for the Marlins this year has been Smith. With a 3-1 record and an ERA of 2.38, he should be on all teams radars at the trade deadline. If he continues on the pace he is at, he should be on a competing team in August.
Injuries: No key injuries
For a team with no injuries and still having a bad record, Marlins fans should just turn away and wait it out a few more years.
Atlanta Braves (89-73)
Philadelphia Phillies (87-75)
New York Mets (82-80)
Washington Nationals (80-82)
Miami Marlins (56-126)
A tight race down the stretch is going to determine this division. With the Braves and Phillies being the only clear contenders, expect games between the two to be really competitive.
Chicago Cubs (28-18)
Showing no signs of slowing down from last year, the Cubs look like a real threat already to win the World Series. With hitters that could put up 10 runs with ease and starters to hold up to under 2 runs, this team is dangerous. The only way to beat this Cubs team is to capitalize on their mistakes and not make any of your own.
Key Players: The bullpen
Eyebrows are to be raised when looking at the Cubs bullpen. The bullpen with the most potential is for sure the Cubs, but 1st they have to get through each game to make names for themselves. Expect the bullpen to struggle in the next few months, after a few moves at the trade deadline to improve the bullpen, the Cubs should be hitting on all cylinders barring no injuries.
Injuries: Brandon Morrow (RP) and Pedro Strop (RP)
Two key factors to a bullpen in need of arms. These two men need to heal quickly and help this Cubs team out. Getting them back would for sure improve the bullpen and give manager Joe Maddon better options when going to the bullpen.
Milwaukee Brewers (28-22)
With the reigning MVP on your team, guaranteeing a playoff spot on an elite baseball team is a lock. Christian Yelich has elevated his performance and is making his teammates do the same. With him leading the way, this Brewers team isn’t going to slow down for anyone this year.
Key Player: Christian Yelich (OF)
Putting up video game numbers in April, Yelich isn’t going to stop there. Being a leader of the team on and off the field, Yelich has worked even harder to reach the ultimate goal of winning a World Series. If he can play like this all year and have his teammates do the same, expect the Brewers to cruise to the playoffs with ease.
Injuries: Corey Knebel (RP)
With your best reliever not named Josh Hader out for the year and possibly some of next year, sign Craig Kimbrel now!!! Adding another top bullpen arm would be a smart move for the Brewers moving forward. If they choose to wait, the trade deadline will be their friend this year. Arms like Shane Greene and Will Smith should be available to a team like the Brewers.
Pittsburgh Pirates (24-21)
Starting off opening day with not your normal starting lineup is signs of warning. Luckily for the Pirates, almost everyone is healthy now. Having outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco back in the lineup is huge for this team moving forward.
Key Player: Josh Bell (1B)
This man hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down this year. Just dominating almost every pitcher he sees, Bell just keeps getting better and better with every at-bat he takes. Having him hot at the start is what has the Pirates 3 games above .500.
Injuries: Corey Dickerson (OF)
A pivotal player on the IL that should be back by the middle of June is a good sign for the Pirates. Having Dickerson’s bat will be a key factor if this team wants to compete in the NL Central.
St. Louis Cardinals (24-23)
Adding Paul Goldschmidt to an already talented roster was a big move for the Cardinals and so far it’s paid off. The rotation hasn’t lived up to the expectations that were set at the beginning of the year. If they can start having quality starts, this NL Central can get competitive real quick.
Key Players: Starting Pitching
With a rotation that has shown success before, expect them to add an arm around the trade deadline. Needing one more arm to lock the rotation down is exactly what the Cardinals need. If they get one, the Cardinals are for sure the sleeper team in this division.
Injuries: No key injuries
Having no key injuries and being in 3rd place isn’t good. Fortunately for the Cardinals, it’s only May and a lot of baseball still has to be played.
Cincinnati Reds (22-26)
The unluckiest team of them all in the NL Central is for sure the Cincinnati Reds. A good team for sure, but no possibility of making the playoffs. If they were in any other division in baseball this team would have a shot.
Key Player: Luis Castillo (SP)
Having 10 starts under his belt, Castillo has been dominant throughout. With a 1.90 ERA and 76 K’s through 61.2 innings of work, he looks to continue his dominant start to the year. Hopefully, his other starters can pick up the slack as he is single-handedly carrying the Reds rotation.
Injuries: Scooter Gennett (2B) and Alex Wood (SP)
A key player from last year, Scooter Gennett is a player needed for this Reds team to not finish in last place. Looking to get back soon, starter Alex Wood is looking to be the starter the Reds need. If he can come out and perform well, the Reds still will finish last but make it a close finish.
Chicago Cubs (96-66)
Milwaukee Brewers (93-69)
St. Louis Cardinals (91-71)
Pittsburgh Pirates (82-80)
Cincinnati Reds (79-83)
The NL Central will be sending three teams to the playoffs this year. With the Cubs, Cardinals, and the Brewers all going to the playoffs, whoever wins the division will have an advantage going into the playoffs. The other two will have to duel it out in the Wildcard game.
Los Angeles Dodgers (32-17)
Is this the year the Dodgers can finally win a World Series? If they even want to get there they will have to strengthen the team. All signs point to them making the playoffs by winning the NL West and maybe prove some people wrong.
Key Player: Clayton Kershaw (SP)
As Kershaw gets older, his prime years are starting to fade. If they want him to still dominate and win a World Series with him they will need to do it either this year or next. With him leading the way this year they should be poised for another run at a World Series.
Injuries: A.J. Pollock (OF)
Now with Pollock out, the outfield will still be able to perform well. Now they will all get more playing time and make the most out of the opportunity. If all of these players perform well in his absence, Pollock will have to earn his playing time back.
Arizona Diamondbacks (25-24)
Losing your star player in free agency hurts the whole organization. Surprisingly the D-backs are having a good year. With an ok rotation, the D-backs could shock some people and maybe win the NL West. A lot of things will have to go right for them to win.
Key Player: Adam Jones (OF)
Leaving a franchise after 11 years is tough, but putting up these stats is something to be happy about. So far, Jones has a .271 batting average with 9 HR. A resurgence from Jones could have him moving at the deadline if the team starts to fade.
Injuries: Jake Lamb (3B), Steven Souza Jr. (OF), Taijuan Walker (SP)
Losing top hitters on the team for a long time can take tolls on a team. With Souza Jr. out for the year and Lamb to miss almost 2 months, another injury for the year and the D-backs would go into sell mode at the trade deadline.
San Diego Padres (25-24)
Adding Manny Machado a week before the season began was a great move for the Padres. Not just for the team but for everyone involved. Machado brings his game west as he can elevate a teams play as soon as he steps on the field. With him on the team and all the young prospects, the Padres can be a dangerous team in the last weeks of baseball.
Key Player: Fernando Tatis (SS)
The franchises highest prospect, Tatis can take this team to another level when he returns from injury. He and Machado on the left side of the infield is a dangerous place to hit the ball. Then in the batting order, these two can do damage. Tatis will be the ultimate factor if they want to win the division and even some games in the playoffs.
Injuries: Francisco Mejia (C), Jose Pirela (OF), Garrett Richards (SP)
With the starting catcher on the IL, you would think the team is in shambles. Luckily Mejia will be back in a week and look to get back on track. This team has a lot of other players injured that don’t have a key role on the field. Having all of them healthy will be a boost for a team in need of one heading into the summer months.
Colorado Rockies (21-25)
With well-known superstars in the MLB on one team, the Rockies are here to let others know they have a good supporting cast as well. They have hitters to do some damage, but what about the pitching rotation? This years team will determine what the franchise should do moving forward into the next few years.
Key Player: Trevor Story (SS)
He’s the forgotten player because almost everyone is either talking about Charlie Blackmon or Nolan Arenado. Give this man some attention people! He’s currently hitting .265 with 11 HR on the season. Having him dominate at the plate is great for the Rockies.
Injuries: No key injuries
With minor injuries for a team around .500, they are just barely staying afloat. If they can stay healthy the whole year and other teams have injuries, that will be the only chance of the Rockies winning the NL West
San Francisco Giants (21-25)
This is the year that Madison Bumgarner will get traded from the Giants and start the rebuild. They had a good run with Bumgarner and now it’s time to move on. Unless this Giants team starts winning a lot of games, expect them to deal MadBum at the trade deadline.
Key Players: Infield
With the average age of the infield over 30, the experience is something they have. Don’t expect these men to make lots of errors in the field. But in the batter’s box is where they will struggle. Having all this experience is great, but when it comes to hitting, almost all of these hitters are past their prime.
Injuries: Johnny Cueto (SP)
Missing Cueto is why their record is what it is. Not having a solid starter after Madison Bumgarner hurts. The Giants will more than likely take there time bringing him back because there will be no need to rush him when you’re in last.
San Diego Padres (87-75)
Arizona D-backs (85-77)
Los Angeles Dodgers (84-78)
Colorado Rockies (81-81)
San Francisco Giants (74-88)
The NL West will have a surprise winner in the San Diego Padres. Adding Machado and with tons of young prospects, this team figures out how to play with one another and dominates at the end of the year. If they add a starting pitcher at the deadline, they will win a few more games than projected.
In the AL, we have the 1 seeded New York Yankees, 2 seed Houston Astros, 3 seed Cleveland Indians, 4 seed Tampa Bay Rays, and 5 seed Boston Red Sox. The AL East sent three teams to the postseason this year with a good chance one of them will make it to the World Series.
In the NL, we have the 1 seeded Chicago Cubs, 2 seed Atlanta Braves, 3 seed San Diego Padres, 4 seed Milwaukee Brewers, and 5 seed St. Louis Cardinals. The NL Central will send three teams as well. Hoping that one of the three can win the World Series for the NL Central.
AL/NL Wild Card:
4 seed Tampa Bay Rays vs 5 seed Boston Red Sox
Chris Sale vs Blake Snell, two dominant lefties on the mound for a low scoring affair. Whoever gets pulled first, that team will lose the game and be eliminated from the playoffs. I think Chris Sale will last longer than Snell and the Red Sox will advance to face arch-rival New York Yankees.
4 seed Milwaukee Brewers 5 seed St. Louis Cardinals
Madison Bumgarner vs Miles Mikolas, the Brew Crew’s new arm, and the Cardinals ace. Bumgarner will shut down the Cardinals bats while the Brewers will rip Mikolas. The Brewers hitters will put up runs early and never look back to win and face 1 seed division rival, Chicago Cubs.
AL/NL Divisional Series:
1 seed New York Yankees vs 5 seed Boston Red Sox
Another matchup that will forever go down into history. The series will go to a win or go home game 5 with the Yankees dethroning the defending the World Series champions. With everyone back and healthy for the Yankees, there is no stopping them in route to a trip to the AL Championship.
2 seed Houston Astros vs 3 seed Cleveland Indians
This series will only take three games with the Astros sweeping the Indians. The Indians will once again coast to another playoff berth with their division being the worst in baseball. Houston’s big 3 of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and newly added Chris Archer will be a lot to handle in the playoffs.
1 seed Chicago Cubs vs 4 seed Milwaukee Brewers
The series will go only 4 games with the Cubs winning the series 3-1. With a great starting rotation, that will be the key to Chicago’s wins in the series. Depth all around for the Cubs will be too much to handle for the Brewers as they will move on to the NL Championship face the winner of Atlanta and San Diego.
2 seed Atlanta Braves vs 3 seed San Diego Padres
A battle of the two youngest teams in baseball. The Braves with tons of star-studded talent and the Padres being the sleeper team of the year. This series will for sure go 5 games and come down to who has a home-field advantage; the Braves do and just because of that will go on to win the series in dramatic fashion.
AL/NL Championship Series:
1 seed New York Yankees vs 2 seed Houston Astros
The most anticipated series of the playoffs this year with both teams having excellent starting pitching and great bullpens. The key to winning this series will be who can score runs in any way possible. Being a low scoring series, the Yankees will have more valuable arms and better hitters that can create runs to win the series in 6.
1 seed Chicago Cubs vs 2 seed Atlanta Braves
The Cubs and Braves have tons of young hitters with lots of potential. Hitting home runs is there forte and lots will be hit in this series. With Rizzo, Bryant, Baez, and Contreras at the top of the lineup, expect them to score at least a run every time through the lineup. The Braves will do the same with Donalson, Acuna Jr., Freeman, and Albies. With such high scoring games, it will come down to who has the best bullpen. With some additions at the deadline, the Cubs will have a better bullpen and win the series sending them to the World Series.
What we all waited for, the World Series. This year’s World Series is between the best records in baseball for both leagues, the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees. Both teams will be matched up well as these games will all be decided by less than 3 runs. The Cubs have an advantage because they were here just 3 years ago when they won it all in 2016 ending the 108-year drought. With ending the drought and back again I just can’t see them losing with so much experience. The Cubs will win the World Series in 6 games and claim the throne once again.