With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training this weekend, its time to predict how successfully Major League Baseball teams will play this year…and for Palshaw to get over the Red Sox 2013 World Series win.
AL East: Due to their heavy off-season spending, the Yankees are favorites in this division—no bias here—and I predict they win the division, and the Orioles will take the Wild Card. Every year it seems the Blue Jays are the team on the rise, but I think they’ll be in last place again. The Red Sox will have a typical defending champ season, a rebuilding one, and with World Series pieces like Salty and Stephen Drew leaving, expect them to struggle.
AL Central: The Tigers are the favorite in this division, but the Indians are very close to challenging the best thing in Detroit right now. Especially now that Justin Verlander is rumored to be back with Kate Upton, expect him to have a better year than last year and make the one-two punch between him and Cy Young winner Max Scherzer more dangerous. With the Royals, Twins and White Sox stuck in a rebuilding phase, it will come down to these two teams yet again.
AL West: The headliner for this division is the ex-Yankee and now Seattle Mariner second baseman Robinson Cano. He’s now stuck for 10 years in the rain, and baseball in Seattle is now overshadowed by the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. I see the Texas Rangers taking this division behind the bats of offseason pickups Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo.
NL East: The Braves are the obvious pick here. Sorry, Marlins fans: another drama-filled season for you. As for the Phillies, now with a team average age of 60 with the addition of Bobby Abreu, it’s time to finally break up the World Series team from 2008 because, let’s face it, you aren’t winning.
NL Central: Definitely the most watched division in baseball, and rightfully so with three great teams competing for the division between the Pirates, Cardinals, and Reds. The return of NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, along with other pieces like Justin Morneau from the Pirates’ great season last year, makes them the favorite with the departure of Carlos Beltran from the Cardinals.
NL West: The Yankees of the west coast definitely showed their spending power when locking up 2013 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to a record-breaking seven-year $215 million contract through the 2020 season. With the Dodgers keeping Matt Kemp, who has now become an injury problem and a walking trade rumor, they are the obvious favorite in this division with the return of Yasiel Puig, who has more speeding tickets now than league awards.
Postseason: Call me crazy, but I say that this year’s baseball “final four” will be the Yankees vs. Tigers, and the Pirates vs. Dodgers. Now for the World Series. For the first time since 1981, and the 12th time dating back to 1941, the Yankees will face the Dodgers in the World Series. It will come down to a seven-game series, in which the team still in New York will win.
Now these predictions may be far from how it actually plays out, but I always love a season when the Yankees are heavily favored to win the East. Best of luck to your favorite team this year, especially Cubs fans—this year, like any year, could be the one.