Baseball

AL predictions

I made my NL predictions on Tuesday so today will be my AL predictions. Just like Tuesday this will be who I think will win each division and some of my little notes on stuff. I’m going to start in the east and end in the west just like with the NL.

In the AL east there is really no question as to who I (and everybody else) pick to win the division. The Red Sox are probably an early World Series pick for most. With the addition of Chris Sale this offseason Boston went from a very good team to a possible World Series favorite. With David Price dealing with elbow problems (Tommy John isn’t necessary so good news) in spring training, probably going to miss most of April, adding Sale looks like it was much needed. With an outfield that already consists of Mookie Betts and JBJ it gets a full year of Andrew Benintendi in left field. Benintendi might not be the biggest guy in the world and might not hit 40 homers but he has a very quick and fluid swing, that will translate into a good batting average and some homers. As long as he doesn’t get injured he should easily win the AL ROY. Doesn’t look like they’ll miss David Ortiz too much.

Now onto the central. Again I think this pick is fairly obvious too, it’s the Cleveland Indians. Their rotation is just as good as last year but that’s not why I’m picking them, I’m picking them because even without Michael Brantley (MVP candidate and their 3 hole hitter) they made it all the way to the World Series eventually losing to the Cubs in extra innings of game 7. They might be a little cautious with Brantley but he’s been playing in spring training games for about a week now and so far looking fine, so with Brantley on the comeback road they still go out and sign the 1b/DH Edwin Encarnacion. Bringing the 35-40 homer power of EE makes this a very deep and fearful lineup.

Now the west is a little more interesting and not as clear cut as the other two. I like the Houston Astros, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers, I think it’ll be a 3 team battle to win the division for sure. My favorite of the 3 is probably the Astros, they added three big bats this offseason in Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, and Brian McCann. With the addition of a good right fielder in Reddick they’re going to shift George Springer over to center and Beltran will slide into left field duties. And then McCann and Evan Gattis will both rotate between catcher and DH. With a full year of Alex Bergman at third, that’s a pretty deep and well rounded lineup if you ask me.

I honestly believe that there will be 3 playoff teams coming out of the west this year. I think the first wildcard team will be the Rangers. A full (and hopefully healthy) year of Yu Darvish to go along with Cole Hamels makes the Rangers rotation a force to be reckoned with. When the Rangers got ahold of Carlos Gomez something just seemed to click for him, he definitely looked like the Carlos Gomez that played for the Brewers. A full year of him should more than make up for the loss of Ian Desmond. The second wild card I think will go to Seattle. Adding Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura brings a much needed speed factor to this team. With a 3-4-5 of Cano-Cruz-Seager the Mariners are going to hit plenty of homers that’s a given. Bringing speed into the equation should make this offense a little more balanced and less all or nothing.

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Baseball

NL predictions

Baseball season is one short week away so it’s time for me to start writing the blog again. This is my first post of the 2017 season and it’ll be on who will win the divisions in the national league. Last year I also made predictions on who will win what award but I was so awful I didn’t want to embarrass myself like that again. This year all I’m going to do is write my predictions for the NL today and then the AL will be Thursday.

Let’s start in the east and work our way to the west coast. Anybody who knows me already knows that I pick the Nationals to win the NL east. From what I’ve seen in spring training Bryce Harper looks to be back to his MVP form, last year he clearly got injured after the first month even though he won’t admit it because he’s a competitor. After his swing he was off balance and looked to be over compensating for a injury, but this spring he’s staying balanced and looks healthy like the guy who could hit 40 homers without breaking a sweat. Trea Turner is looking great as well, a whole year of his ridiculous speed atop the Nats lineup should make this one of the better offenses in baseball, totally forgot that Turner also has 20+ home run power. The people who question if he can make the transition to shortstop must not watch much Nats baseball, he was always a shortstop in the minors even played a few games there in the majors he just played center last year because Ben Revere was struggling and the Nats needed a lead off hitter. I’m not even mentioning the acquisitions of Adam Eaton and Matt Wieters, to say the least I have faith in this offense. Not to mention a rotation that consists of the 2016 NL Cy Young winner, Max Scherzer, Strasburg, and Roark, the rotation is pretty impressive too. Yes, there is a closer question but other than that the bullpen was one of the best in baseball. The people who pick the Mets to win are just looking at the rotation on paper, it’s an impressive rotation but every single one is injury prone and the rest of their team is just eh.

And now onto the NL central. And how can I not pick the World Series champs? Even though I do not think the Cubs are as good as people think, the pitching got really lucky last year, and I don’t think they’ll repeat you can’t count that offense out. I still think the Pirates are well rounded and a very athletic team but the Cubs have the better lineup. But don’t think Kyle Hendricks will perform as well as he did in ’16, it was a career year for him not the first of many. Still Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta are a very potent 1-2 punch.

To the west coast. On paper the Dodgers are one of the best teams in the NL with Kershaw, Seager, Hill, and the consistent Agon. They are a solid team but I see absolutely no team speed, the fastest player on the team is probably Joc Pederson. I’m just saying that because in the minors he was a 30 stolen base guy but in the majors he rarely steals bases. When it comes to offense, I think LA is pretty good but if you’re looking for team speed you should look elsewhere. With the addition of Logan Forsythe hopefully should improve the offense against left handers, which was absolutely the worst last year. Speaking of left handers I think their rotation is pretty left handed heavy as well. Kershaw, Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir, and Julio Urias, might all be left handed and might be 4/5ths of the rotation but it’s still good enough to get the job done and win a division.

Now the two wild card teams. The first should be the Giants. The weak spot for San Fran was the bullpen no question, they blew the most save opportunities in baseball last year. So obviously a closer was the number 1 priority this offseason, and they won the sweepstakes’s for Mark Melancon. He might not throw 105 mph like Aroldis Chapman but he is a top notch closer and you can count on him. The Giants are still weak in left field, if they signed or traded for a left fielder this offseason I probably would’ve picked them to win the west. I think the Cardinals, the Pirates, or the Mets could win this second wild card but my favorite is the Diamondbacks. I know they finished horribly last year and there’s really no reason for me to pick them. But I can’t help it I like the players on this team. Their pitching is very deep, they have a MVP candidate at first, and a Cy Young winner leading that deep staff. They only lost last year because A.J. Pollock was injured almost all year after breaking his arm in spring training. If they have the lead off hitter/catalyst that Pollock is then the should win enough to get this second wild card.

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