Opening Day for the MLB season will begin next Thursday afternoon. The Boston Red Sox are looking to repeat as World Series Champions. There has not been a back-to-back winner since the New York Yankees three-peated in 1998,1999, and 2000.
Boston will be one of the favorites to win it all again this season. The Houston Astros, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves, the Chicago Cubs, and the St. Louis Cardinals will be some other favorites to win it all again this season.
NL East: 1. Philadelphia Phillies: They upgraded the roster this offseason by trading for J.T. Realmuto and signing Bryce Harper. Philadelphia won 80 games last season without a true superstar. They also have a very good starting rotation. The bullpen could be a problem, but this team could very well win over 90 games this season.
2. Atlanta Braves: The breakout of Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies last season will have this team contending for a long time. They have one of the best prospects pools in baseball and their starting rotation is underrated. Atlanta has a good mix of youth and veterans. The Braves could very well be back in the postseason for the second consecutive season.
3. New York Mets: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler could be a dominant one,two, three punch this season in the starting rotation. Peter Alonso has the potential to be a breakout player in his rookie season. New York will be better this season. They might have enough to end a two-year playoff drought, but they have to stay focused. Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Amed Rosario will have the potential to have breakout seasons. Robinson Cano needs to live up to his contract.
4. Washington Nationals: The Nationals took a dive last season. They only won 82 games and they lost Bryce Harper in the offseason. Washington will still have some good players on the roster, but it is quite possible they won’t win more than 75 games.
5. Miami Marlins: This is the only team in the NL East that doesn’t have a chance to win the division this season. Miami is going through a rebuild and they also have one of the worst rosters in baseball. The Marlins also had one of the better rosters in baseball a couple of years ago.
NL Central: 1. St. Louis Cardinals: It is rare for this baseball club to miss the postseason three years in a row. St. Louis doesn’t want to make it four years in a row and that is why they decided to trade for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason. Jake Martinez and Mike Mikolas has the potential to be a very good 1-2 punch in the starting rotation.
2. Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers were one win away from heading to the World Series last season. They needed game 163 last season on the road against the Chicago Cubs to win the NL Central. Milwaukee will have a ton of power back this season. They also had a very good bullpen last season. Manager Craig Counsell will use analytics to his advantage once again this season.
3. Chicago Cubs: It is very possible the Cubs miss the postseason for the first time since 2014. They don’t have the starting pitching they used to and Chicago also doesn’t have a very good farm system. The division has also gotten better and they have stood pat. The Chicago Cubs still have Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Javier Baez, but what else do they have after that?
4. Cincinnati Reds: The Reds upgraded the roster this offseason by trading for Yasiel Puig and Sonny Gray. Cincinnati will have a very good offense, but it is quite possible they will have a tough time getting anybody out. They won’t be the worst team in the NL Central this season because the Cincinnati Reds have a better roster than the Pittsburgh Pirates.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates: This could be the first time in a long time that Pittsburgh finishes in last in the NL Central. The Pirates have Jameson Tallion and Josh Bell, but that’s all they really have. This division is too tough for them to compete in.
NL West: 1. Colorado Rockies: The Rockies have a very lethal offense. Nolan Arenado was signed to a 8-year contract extension before the start of the season. He is one of the best players in baseball. Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon are also very good offensively. Colorado will have one of the better pitching staffs in baseball this season. They will the division because the Los Angeles Dodgers will take a step back, the San Diego Padres are not ready to be contenders yet, and the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks won’t be very good.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers have been in the World Series for two consecutive seasons, but they are about to hit a wall this season. Clayton Kershaw will most likely not start the season healthy. It is very possible Walker Bueheler will be the ace of this staff. This team does have talent, but those long playoff runs will catch up to them.
3. San Diego Padres: The Padres are one of the teams in baseball that could surprise some people this season. Manny Machado signed an 8-year contract with them in the offseason. They also have the best prospect pool in baseball and San Diego is waiting for them to come up to the big leagues and start to dominate. This won’t be the year they make the playoffs, but 2020 is very possible.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks: Arizona lost three key players in the offseason in Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, and A.J. Pollock. They won’t be one of the better teams in baseball this season. The Diamondbacks actually had a chance to make the playoffs last season, but they fell off a cliff in September.
5. San Francisco Giants: San Francisco could very well be one of the worst teams in baseball this season and because of it, they could very well trade Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey if the price is right.
AL East: 1. Boston Red Sox: The Boston Red Sox were the best team in baseball last season and they will look to win another World Series title this season. Boston had one of the most lethal offenses in baseball last season. They might have the best outfield in baseball in Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. David Price stepped up big time in the postseason last year. Chris Sale was also a beast on the mound. Alex Cora was an excellent manager last year as well. Not having Craig Kimbrel around to start the season could hurt them in the bullpen.
2. New York Yankees: The New York Yankees won over 100 games last season, but they didn’t win the division because of the Boston Red Sox. New York will most likely be a playoff team again this season. Aaron Boone enters his second season as the Yankees manager. Starting pitching will be a weakness especially since Luis Severino will be out until May and maybe longer. Aaron Judge is the leader of this ball club. Gleyber Torres has the potential to have a breakout season.
3. Tampa Bay Rays: Kevin Cash’s ball club won 90 games last season. They have the potential to be a playoff team this season and Tampa Bay has not reached the playoffs since 2013. The Rays have a very young baseball team and they are also unselfish. Willy Adames is also very unselfish and he also has the potential to have a breakout season. Blake Snell will also need to lead this pitching staff again this season after winning the AL Cy Young Award last season.
4. Toronto Blue Jays: It is very possible for the Toronto Blue Jays to get off to a slow start this season. Once Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gets called up from the minor leagues, they could very well take off in a tough division. Toronto also doesn’t have a very good pitching staff, but Marcus Stroman is very good. Clay Bucholtz was actually very good last season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and maybe he will be good again this season.
5. Baltimore Orioles: Baltimore is in a full rebuild. They hired a new general manager and manager in the offseason. David Hess will be the new manager and he knows this is a rebuilding process. The Orioles will have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball and they also have one of the worst rosters in baseball.
AL Central: 1. Cleveland Indians: Cleveland will most likely walk away with the division because of how weak it is. They are still one of the most talented teams in baseball. The Indians have a stacked starting rotation. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Santana will be the power supply on this team. Brad Hand will be the closer, but they also need some bullpen help.
2. Minnesota Twins: Minnesota could challenge for the AL Central Title, but it is a very slim chance that happens. They made a couple of roster moves in the offseason, including signing outfielder Marwin Gonzales. Jose Berrios is a dark horse candidate to win the AL Cy Young Award this season.
3. Chicago White Sox: This is another team in baseball that is almost ready to pop, but they aren’t their just yet. In a couple of years, the White Sox could be better than the Cubs. The 2019 baseball season could be filled with growing pains.
4. Detroit Tigers: Detroit is still a couple of years from being relevant. If Miguel Cabrera can stay healthy for an entire season, it is a reason why Tigers fans will want to come to baseball games. Nick Castellanos is also one of their better players. They will also have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball.
5. Kansas City Royals: Adalberto Mondesi and Whit Merrifield will be fun to watch in a Royals uniform this season. The Royals will be going through a rebuilding phase, but they play hard. Kansas City doesn’t play in a tough division.
AL West: 1.Houston Astros: Houston will be on a mission to win the World Series for the second time in three season. The Astros are loaded once again this season. Alex Bregman, George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa is the core of this squad. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole will lead this pitching staff. A.J. Hinch is a terrific manager. This team can beat you in so many different ways. This team understands a lot about fundamental baseball.
2. Oakland Athletics: I don’t expect Oakland to make noise like they did last season. The A’s have some nice pieces on the roster in Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson. They also didn’t rely on a strong starting pitcher last season and the Oakland Athletics relied on the bullpen a lot.
3. Texas Rangers: For some strange reason, I don’t see the Texas Rangers finishing in last this season in the AL West. They will be a different team in a good way with Chris Woodward as the new manager. Texas has a couple of good players on the roster including Joey Gallo. He was a beast last season with the bat and Gallo will provide a source of power this season. Edinson Volquez will be the top starting pitcher on this team.
4. Seattle Mariners: The Mariners had a really good record last season, but they failed to reach the postseason once again. Seattle traded away key players in the offseason like Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, and, Edwin Diaz. They also lost Nelson Cruz in free agency. This will hurt this ball club a lot. Yusei Kikuchi could have a potential breakout season for the Mariners this season. It would be a big help for Felix Hernandez.
5. Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout just signed a big contract extension with the Angels. He is about to enter the prime of his career. What is bad for him is that Trout is on one of the worst teams in baseball. Shoehi Othani will most likely not pitch in 2019 due to an elbow issue, but he could very well sit bat and be effective. Othani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award last season.
Wild Card Round: NL: (4) Milwaukee Brewers over (5) Atlanta Braves.
AL: (4) New York Yankees over (5) Tampa Bay Rays.
Divisional Round: AL: (1) Houston Astros over (4) New York Yankees and (2) Boston Red Sox over (3) Cleveland Indians.
NL: (1) Philadelphia Phillies over (4) Milwaukee Brewers and (2) St. Louis Cardinals over (3) Colorado Rockies.
Championship Round: AL: (1) Houston Astros over (2) Boston Red Sox.
NL: (2) St. Louis Cardinals over (1) Philadelphia Phillies.
World Series: (1) Houston Astros over (2) St. Louis Cardinals.