With the new season starting today, it is the perfect time to give predictions for the season. So here are my predictions for team success this upcoming year
1st Seed: Los Angeles Dodgers
Yes, they just lost Trea Turner and will be without Walker Buhler for the entire season, but they are still the Dodgers and have two top-10 position players (Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman), in my opinion. Sure, they probably will not be the runaway favorites like they usually are, but they will still probably win the NL West and have the best record in the National League
2nd Seed: New York Mets
The NL East is probably the most stacked division in the league. Obviously, the loss of Edwin Diaz and Jacob deGrom will sting, but the additions of Justin Verlander, Kodai Senga, David Robertson, and potential prospects later in the year might make up for the losses. They will have to compete with both the Braves and the Phillies for the division, but if Scherzer and Verlander stay healthy, it will be tough to win more games than that team.
3rd Seed: St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are coming off a decent season with two top-three vote-getters in MVP voting (Paul Goldschmidt 1st, Nolan Arenado 3rd) and won the NL Central. Their one big offseason move was signing Willson Contreras to replace Yadier Molina, who was with the Cardinals since 2004. Their main competition will be the Brewers, who have one of the best overall pitching staffs in the league but do not have nearly the bats that St. Louis does.
4th Seed: Atlanta Braves
While this team certainly has the talent to be the best in the National League, they are also in the toughest division. Their biggest offseason move was trading for catcher Sean Murphy, who is debatably a top-five catcher in today’s game. It will be interesting to see how Spencer Strider and Michael Harris II capitalize on their fantastic rookie seasons. Regardless, the race for the NL East will be awesome to see, assuming both teams stay healthy.
5th Seed: San Diego Padres
The sky’s the limit for this team. Once Tatis returns, they will probably have the best top 4 lineups in the league. Manny Machado is coming off a season where he finished 2nd in MVP voting, Juan Soto is one of the best players in the league, and Xander Bogaerts is coming off a great season too. Their main concern is staying healthy and consistent. They have the potential to win the NL West, but things will have to go their way if they want it to happen.
6th Seed: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies can either repeat their World Series run or they can miss the playoffs. The signing of Trea Turner will, without a doubt, be huge for them, as he is one of if not the best shortstop in the league. However, the thing they are most concerned about is Bryce Harper‘s health. Harper had elbow surgery over the offseason and is expected to miss at least half the season. If he comes back healthy with no regression, the combination of Turner and Harper will be nearly unstoppable and certainly good enough to go on another World Series run.
1st Seed: New York Yankees
The Yankees had one productive offseason. People are on them for not improving their offense, but when you already have a solid offense and you beef up your starting rotation by adding a borderline Top 10 pitcher, you are in pretty good shape. They are concerned about their starting rotation because Carlos Rodon and Luis Severino will not start the season on the Opening Day roster due to injury concerns. However, if the Yankees can stay healthy and Judge does not regress too much, they can easily win the American league.
2nd Seed: Houston Astros
Many people think Houston should be the overwhelming favorite, which is completely valid. They signed Jose Abreu over the offseason, and he will make their lineup even more dominant than it already is. With this being said, Justin Verlander just walked in free agency. It will be pretty tough to make up for his absence. Even though they have the roster and personnel to win the American League, it will take guys in their rotation stepping it up.
3rd Seed: Cleveland Guardians
The AL Central is probably the worst division in baseball, and the Guardians will be the team to beat in that division. They were very well last year and did not lose many free agents. The Guardians also signed Josh Bell, who will fit in very well with that lineup. They still have a very good, just not great, team. It will be interesting to see what this team’s ceiling is.
4th Seed: Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays will be an interesting team this year. Though they do not have the best pitching, they still have the potential to be one of the best-hitting teams in the National League. Between Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Daulton Varsho, Alejandro Kirk, and Brandon Belt, it is a super solid lineup. If this lineup plays to its fullest potential, it can be one of the best lineups in the league.
5th Seed: Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are the closest thing to real-life Moneyball. They are not the most attractive place for free agents, but they have developed many great players and know how to make the most of everyone on their roster. Other than Shane McClanahan and Brandon Lowe, there are not too many big names on their roster. However, it would shock no one if the Rays came out of nowhere and became one of the best teams in the AL this year.
6th Seed: Los Angeles Angels
This will be the year that the Angels finally break through and make the playoffs (it will probably take the expanded playoffs for them to do so, but they will for sure take it). So they need to play this season with urgency. Because this is Shohei Ohtani‘s last year on his contract, and he will be looking for big money next year and to play for a winning team. They can afford him, but so can other teams who win more. So this will be one interesting season for the Angels.
Wild Card Round:
(3) Cardinals over (6) Phillies in 3
(4) Braves over (5) Padres in 2
(6) Angels over (3) Guardians in 3
(4) Blue Jays over (5) Rays in 2
(4) Braves over (1) Dodgers in 6
(2) Mets over (3) Cardinals in 6
(1)Yankees over (4) Blue Jays in 5
(2) Astros over (6) Angels in 5
(2) Mets over (4) Braves in 7
(1) Yankees over Astros in 7
Mets over Yankees in 7
This MLB Season is the start of a new era. Between the pitch clock, the banning of the shift, and bigger bases, it is going to be played in a brand new way.
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