I wasn’t going to do my MLB predictions piece this year, but after writing my AL East preview and predictions, the juices were flowing and I figured, what the hell? So here it is, my MLB predictions, 2019 edition.
New York Yankees (100-62)
The best lineup in baseball. The best bullpen in baseball. A solid rotation. The Yankees have turned baseball games into five-inning affairs in 2019. Good luck to everybody else.
Boston Red Sox (98-64)
A good rotation and a great lineup will give way to a mediocre bullpen, unseating the defending World Champs from their AL East throne in the process.
Tampa Bay Rays (85-77)
Three-to-four starters, an opener, and a stout bullpen is the key to success for Tampa Bay in 2019. In the AL East, it won’t matter.
Toronto Blue Jays (69-93)
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and Bo Bichette should debut sometime this year. Until then, not much to watch in Toronto.
Baltimore Orioles (60-102)
When you’re at rock bottom, the only way to go is up. I mean, they can’t lose 115 games again, can they? This is the worst team in baseball.
Cleveland Indians (92-70)
Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are nursing injuries and probably won’t start the year on Opening Day. Still, the rotation is the best in the division and should be able to stave off a re-loaded Twins ballclub.
Minnesota Twins (89-73)
Byron Buxton is on the comeback trail, and new additions Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and C.J. Cron will help pace the offense. New manager Rocco Baldelli could lead this team back to prominence.
Chicago White Sox (74-88)
Lucas Giolito and Yoan Moncada need to finally take that next step, and Tim Anderson needs to earn that contract he signed a couple of years ago. Eloy Jimenez will debut on Opening Day and challenge for Rookie of the Year honors.
Detroit Tigers (72-90)
Nick Castellanos can flat-out hit, and Miguel Cabrera is still Miguel Cabrera. Nick Goodrum is a star in the making. The injury to Michael Fulmer is devastating as the rest of the rotation, save for Tyson Ross, is garbage.
Kansas City Royals (65-97)
Adalberto Mondesi is primed to take that next big step towards stardom, and Ryan O’Hearn could infuse some power into the lineup. Alex Gordon is old, but between he, Billy Hamilton, and Jorge Soler, not many balls will find the outfield grass. This team has very little in proven starting pitching.
Houston Astros (99-63)
Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole make up arguably the best starting duo in the majors. The lineup, when healthy, can hit with anyone, and should be firing on all cylinders come May.
Los Angeles Angels (86-76)
The offense will be formidable, but the rotation is filled with fours and fives, and the bullpen is just okay. I don’t believe the A’s are as good as 2018 suggested and the Mariners unloaded some good players, so I expect the Angels to leap-frog into second.
Seattle Mariners (82-80)
The rotation could be stronger than many expect, and a lineup anchored by Mitch Haniger, who is catapulting towards super-stardom, will score some runs. But it’s the Mariners, so something will inevitably go wrong.
Oakland Athletics (76-86)
This team will hit a lot of home runs, but with Sean Manaea out until after the All-Star break, they have no rotational help and the bullpen, while strong, will be taxed before too long.
Texas Rangers (70-92)
If the year was 2015, the Rangers would have the best rotation in the division. Unfortunately, it’s 2019 and the rotation is filled with a bunch of has-beens, though Lance Lynn is a bounce-back candidate. The lineup is very boom-or-bust, and a lot would need to go right for the Rangers to be prominent this season.
WC: Red Sox d. Twins
ALDS: Yankees d. Red Sox
ALDS: Astros d. Indians
ALCS: Astros d. Yankees
MVP: Mike Trout
Cy Young: Chris Sale
Rookie of the Year: Eloy Jimenez
Manager of the Year: Rocco Baldelli
Comeback Player of the Year: Byron Buxton
Philadelphia Phillies (92-70)
A team that faded down the stretch added Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, and David Robertson. The problem is, after Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, who is going to pitch for them? The offense, however, will be good enough to take the division
Atlanta Braves (91-71)
The reigning division champs added Josh Donaldson to a young and talented roster. The rotation is young and talented. Honestly, with these top two teams, flip a coin.
Washington Nationals (88-74)
Max Scherzer and Steven Strasburg are joined by Patrick Corbin to form a staunch rotation, though after them it’s a crapshoot. The offense will miss Bryce Harper, but the clubhouse won’t. The Nationals are known underachievers, and I expect more of the same in 2019.
New York Mets (86-76)
Anchored by Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergard, the pitching is fantastic. The offense is reloaded with Robinson Cano, and Michael Conforto is an All-Star caliber player. It’s unfortunate for the Mets that they play in this division. Also, Yoenis Cespedes will go down as the worst contract in franchise history as he is injured for the third consecutive year after signing that monster contract.
Florida Marlins (60-102)
The Marlins will battle it out with the Orioles for the worst record in baseball. Seriously, after trading Realmuto, they have nobody worth mentioning (that includes you, Starlin Castro).
St. Louis Cardinals (95-67)
A healthy Adam Wainwright is their fifth starter. Let that sink in. The rotation is filthy, and there is incredible talent up and down the lineup. Paul Goldschmidt will finally be front and center where he belongs, and the Cards will finally be back where they belong, in the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Chicago Cubs (92-70)
Kris Bryant will return to MVP form and a solid rotation featuring a healthy Yu Darvish will keep the Cubs in the thick of things all season long.
Milwaukee Brewers (90-72)
So many things went right for the Brewers in 2018 that it’s hard to imagine that happening again. They’ll be good because they’re a good baseball team. Unfortunately, they’re just not as good as the Cubs and Cardinals.
Pittsburgh Pirates (82-80)
Chris Archer is the most overrated pitcher in baseball, but pitching in the National League will keep him prominent. The pitching is good, the hitting is average with below average power.
Cincinnati Reds (74-88)
Yasiel Puig is a good player, but not good enough to bring the Reds back from futility. Joey Votto, even at 35, is one of the purest hitters in the game, and Eugenio Suarez is a stud. Losing Scooter Gennett for the first 2-3 months hurts big time. Plus, the Reds have no pitching.
Colorado Rockies (93-69)
Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon, Daniel Murphy. This team can mash, and their pitching is finally starting to turn the corner. If Jon Gray can get back to his 2017 form, they will be a force to be reckoned with.
Los Angeles Dodgers (90-72)
Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill are hurt, and Corey Seager is coming back from Tommy John surgery. Max Muncy has one-year-wonder written all over his face. The Dodgers will be good, but their run of division titles, and postseason appearances, will end at six.
San Diego Padres (83-79)
Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis, Jr., Wil Myers, and Eric Hosmer will help the Padres take the first step back towards contention. They don’t have the pitching yet, but Chris Paddack is the first of seven top-100 prospect pitchers to crack the rotation. The Padres are coming, folks. Just not in 2019.
Arizona Diamondbacks (79-83)
They lost Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, and A.J. Pollock. Adam Jones is good but not great, while David Peralta and Jake Lamb should be strong in the heart of the order. Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray will hold down the rotation, but the D-Backs were cut this offseason and the bleeding will last all year.
San Francisco Giants (64-98)
Buster Posey and Evan Longoria got old fast. This is a team that should be rebuilding. Look for them to trade Bumgarner, Longoria, and anybody else having a halfway decent year at the deadline. Except for Posey. He’s a lifer in this organization.
WC: Braves d. Cubs
NLDS: Cardinals d. Braves
NLDS: Rockies d. Phillies
NLCS: Cardinals d. Rockies
WS: Astros d. Cardinals
MVP: Nolan Arenado
Cy Young: Max Scherzer
Rookie of the Year: Fernando Tatis, Jr.
Manager of the Year: Mike Matheny
Comeback Player of the Year: Tie: Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish
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