I though that with the calendar flipping to February and being in the deep freeze, I would be early out of the gate with some predictions on the upcoming 2015 baseball season. We can look back in October and have a laugh on how terribly off the mark these predictions were.
Let’s start with the American League:
|Blue Jays||92||70||Solid pitching with Stroman showing that he has arrived. Joey Bats will lead the AL in HRs|
|Red Sox||90||72||Close rivalry between Red Sox and Jays right down to the final week-end. Team chemistry uncertain.|
|Orioles||80||82||Bizarre off-season. Orioles did nothing to keep up with their AL East oppoments’ improvements|
|Yankees||80||82||Hamstrung by huge salaries, uncertain where pitching and hitting will come from|
|Rays||70||92||Top quartile quality pitching and no offense to speak of. Too many off the field distractions.|
|Tigers||89||73||David Price is in a contract year, Miggy wants another Triple Crown. Others will follow the leaders.|
|Royals||84||78||Royals will be riding high but no match for the Tigers. Ned Yost is a master of doing more with less.|
|White Sox||84||78||Great improvement from last year. Sox will contend for most of 2015. Lots to cheer about on the south side|
|Indians||77||85||Too many improvements among other teams and not enough on the Tribe. Tito will earn his pay scratching out wins|
|Twins||70||92||Before the Twins become relavant, they need to spend money on pitching.|
|Mariners||91||71||The time has come for the M’s. King Felix and robust offense will propel them to a WS berth.|
|Angels||90||72||Questions on Pujols, Hamilton. Young pitchers and timely hitting will carry the team to a wild card spot.|
|Athletics||81||81||No idea what to think of Beane’s many off-season moves. I am still dizzy.|
|Astros||74||88||Some interesting acquisitions, up and coming stars in the system will make the Astros a team to contend with in a few years|
|Rangers||63||99||Definitely no pitching. If Choo and Fielder don’t produce, it will be a long long season in the Texas heat|
Yes, I pick the Blue Jays to win the AL East over the Red Sox. It’s now or never for the Jays as a number of their key players will be in their final contract year. Dalton Pompey is also my early pick for AL Rookie of the year. I am also not certain how all the additions in Boston add up to extra wins and I question team chemistry with all the big stars added. In particular, Hanley Ramirez has proven to be a distraction when he played in Miami and his soft defensive play in Los Angeles cost his team some wins.
David Price will win the AL Cy Young, and together with Miggy, will propel the Tigers to an AL Central title. Price will be dominant in his contract year and Miguel Cabrera will return to Triple Crown form. The Royals and the White Sox should hang around in contention for most of the year.
I pick the Mariners to win the AL West, the AL Pennant and the World Series title. Cano will win the batting title and King Felix will be his usual self. All other players surrounding Cano will perform to their highest level of ability. I did not feel that the addition of Nelson Cruz was necessary, the Mariners will win regardless.
Now, the National League Predictions:
|Nationals||93||69||Pitching, timely hitting, and a great manager in Matt Williams: that’s how you spell Champs!|
|Marlins||86||76||Good enough for a wild-card! Marlins’ outfield is the best in baseball. Will be fun to watch.|
|Mets||79||83||Mets fans will be crying for more offense. Starting rotation will shine.|
|Braves||75||87||Like many teams, Braves stocked up on pitching. Who’s swinging a bat besides Freeman?|
|Phillies||66||96||Chase Utley can’t do it alone. Basement dwellers, Phillies will lead the league in home town boo’s.|
|Cardinals||92||70||Majors’ best run organization. Matt Holiday will be contending for the batting title.|
|Pirates||82||80||Aggressive in my prediction of Polanco and young pitching. Losing Russell Martin was a big blow.|
|Brewers||80||82||Ryan Braun will have a Nelson Cruz like year. Pitching is a question mark.|
|Cubs||79||83||Wow! Here come the Cubbies. More excited about youngsters like Kris Bryant and Soler than the signing of Lester|
|Reds||74||88||Votto is a huge question mark. Can Cueto sustain Cy Young like stats? Reds retooling|
|Giants||95||67||No Sandoval? No problem! Will dominate but since 2015 is an odd-year, Giants will not advance to World Series.|
|Dodgers||91||71||Puig will show that he is the face of the future. Ho Hum, another Cy Young for Kershaw|
|Padres||79||83||Lots of off-season sizzle, I don’t see the steak. Kashner will have a break out year|
|Rockies||75||87||If and when the Rockies get pitching, watch out. Arenado will win a Gold Glove|
|Diamondbacks||69||93||I don’t understand Tony LaRussa’s role on the D’Backs. Team will be oversahdowed by Big Unit’s HOF inducton.|
In the NL East, no surprise, the Nationals will finish first. As I write this, their starting rotation will feature Scherzer, Zimmermann, Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. The Nats also have some nice offensive pieces, but I feel will come up short again in the post-season.
I really like what the Marlins did over the offseason. They added key players like Mat Latos, Ichiro, and Dee Gordon without breaking up the best outfield in baseball. They would have been a more serious contender to win the NL East if Jose Fernandez was available on Opening Day.
The Cardinals will win the NL Central and move on to the World Series only to lose to the Seattle Mariners. Mike Metheny and the front office have built a great team with the perfect balance of team chemistry and budget. The best moves they made were the ones they did not make: not going after Jon Lester or not resigning Albert Pujols.
The Chicago Cubs will be a fun team to watch and likely occupy most of my time mlb.tv. Kris Bryant, the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year, and Jorge Soler are the real deals. The additions of manager Joe Maddon and ace Lester will teach the youngsters a winning attitude. Watch out for the Cubbies in 2016!
In the AL West, the San Francisco Giants should win over the Dodgers. The difference will be the number of games Bruce Bochy will out-manage Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. With a $265 million payroll, if the Dodgers are not in first place by the All-Star Break, look for Tim Wallach to replace a fired Mattingly.
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