The Pre-Season Predictions: 2014 Edition
I’ve been terrible at these but regardless, I shall continue. I am going to be a lot more concise than I’ve been in the past. So without further adieu, the predictions:
American League West
1. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – It has to work out for these guys eventually. There is too much talent to really continue to perform so far below expectations. This division is very close but I think the Halos squeak through.
2. Texas Rangers – Late season swoon after late season swoon the Rangers promise to be very interesting with the addition of Prince Fielder. The pitching is a mess and a half but this team can score runs and I expect them to do so.
3. Oakland A’s – The loss of Jarrod Parker really dampened my expectations from first to third. Why because if he is a four win pitcher that very well could be the difference. Too little room for error with a weak second rotation and little pitching depth, the bullpen can’t always pitch.
4. Seattle Mariners – Robinson Cano is a fine ballplayer, the Mariners are not a fine team.
5. Houston Astros – They will continue to test the prowess of super fans with tantalizing trivia questions like “can you name more than six people on the Astros?”
American League Central
1. Despite their best efforts at giving away this division – I don’t like the Fielder trade, Miguel Cabrera lost some serious lineup protection, and Doug Fister was given away for nothing – they will win it.
3. Cleveland Indians – I believe in Terry Francona and many argue that Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher will have bounce back years. I don’t see it. I see decline. The team sinks in the standings with them.
4. Minnesota Twins – Some nice additions. Phil Hughes will be a nice pickup and make the Twinkies brass look very smart. Some interesting pieces here to watch going forward, this division may soon be theirs.
5. Chicago White Sox – Outside of Chris Sale is there really a reason to watch this team?
American League East
1. Tampa Bay Rays – Last year I said something to the effect that anyone could win this division – though I can’t find where I said that. I feel the same is true this year when it will be the always steady Tampa Bay.
2. Boston Red Sox – The returning champs bring back a good squad, but they have a few holes and need a bit of luck. Still like them to do well.
3. New York Yankees – They added a billion some odd dollars in payroll, it won’t turn into a billion wins, or even enough to win the division. They are playing a losing game, buying free agents instead of developing stars. With guys being locked up young this game doesn’t work anymore and won’t in 2014.
4. Baltimore Orioles – I think this team has played over their head. Then again I’ve felt that way for a while now and maybe it is time for me to adjust my expectations.
5. Toronto Blue Jays – They added a lot of pieces, many of them the pieces Miami added two seasons ago. Now their added pieces look pretty pathetic.
National League West
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – The Yankees of the National League/West Coast. They are too good to fail.
2. San Francisco Giants – You can’t count out the Giants, they figure crap out when they shouldn’t.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks – The best player in the NL lives here, Paul Goldschmidt won’t propel Arizona to a championship.
4. Colorado Rockies – If things went really well I think Colorado could be a surprise team. It means a lot of things go really well, I don’t see the stars aligning that well.
5. San Diego Padres – The thought processes of this front office completely baffle me.
National League Central
1. St. Louis Cardinals – The addition of Peter Bourjos was great as it frees up the infield logjam. The Cardinals have so much talent in the minors too it is conceivable they could play at an elite level for the next five years plus.
2. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds stood pat and didn’t do much this offseason while losing a big piece in Shin Soo Choo. I don’t like the Reds but I dislike the other teams in this division more.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates also stood relatively pat. Their failure to sign A.J. Burnett will haunt them and it will haunt them by finishing in third and out of the playoff picture.
4. Chicago Cubs – I like this team. I don’t know why exactly but I do.
5. Milwaukee Brewers – It’ll be interesting to see how Ryan Braun does. Nothing else about the Brew Crew ought to be interesting.
National League East
1. Washington Nationals – They are good. They had a bad year last year where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. See Red Sox, 2013 for their storyline.
2. Atlanta Braves – The pitching injuries hurt, but Ervin Santana is a nice pickup late in the game. This team is very good.
3. New York Mets – Third place? Why not?
4. Miami Marlins – This team will be very good very soon. They will win a World Series title then all the champs will be playing for the Yankees or Red Sox within six months.
5. Philadelphia Phillies – There is no team I’d rather not watch than the Phillies. They make the Yankees look youthful.
American League Most Valuable Player
Mike Trout. He is amazing and Cabrera’s numbers will sink without Prince.
American League Cy Young Award
Justin Verlander. He is good. He is on a good team. He wins.
American League Rookie of the Year Award
Masahiro Tanaka. He won’t deserve it. He really isn’t a rookie even. But I expect he’ll put enough numbers up to justify it.
American League Surprise and Bust Players
Mike Moustakas will get back on track while Carlos Beltran will look his age and wither in the bright lights of New York – again (though he really wasn’t bad at all with the Mets, but narratives are narratives).
National League Most Valuable Player
Paul Goldschmidt gets better and better. He wins it.
National League Cy Young Award
Can you really go against Clayton Kershaw? No. No you cannot.
National League Rookie of the Year
Kolten Wong. Does a Rookie of the Year award wipe out the game ending pick off? We may get to find out.
National League Surprise and Bust Players
Wild cards from the American League will be Boston and Texas. From the National League the entrants will be the Giants and Braves. I like Texas to come out of the American League – realizing the folly of picking a game 163 before a game one – and San Francisco to succeed in the senior circuit contest. The Divisional Series will feature Tampa Bay against Texas with the Rays advancing while the Angels and Tigers will see Detroit move on. In the National League, it’ll be a great divisional series with the Giants and Dodgers tangoing, Los Angeles advancing, and then the Cardinals getting past the Nats. The ALCS will see the Tigers get past the Rays, while in the NLCS the Dodgers will slip past the Cards.
The World Series
Don’t see how the Dodgers can’t win this. The Tigers will make it pretty tough on them but ultimately the Dodgers are your 2014 World Series Champions.