2014 MLB Season Predictions
AL East: New York Yankees
The last time the Yankees had a big offseason was 2009 with the big signings of CC Sabathia, A. J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. They also traded for Nick Swisher which paid off greatly. This offseason was another busy one for the Yankees. They’ve added Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, and Carlos Beltran. They still have some weaknesses in the infield with losing Robinson Cano, but I think they’ll manage to get by. A skinny CC should be the ace of the rotation, but if not…Tanaka, Nova, Kuroka, and Pineda should be more than fine.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers
They managed to unload the contract of Prince Fielder and received Ian Kinsler in return. MVP Miguel Cabrera will return back to 1st base. They lost Jose Iglesias which will hurt them greatly, but I’m sure they’ll figure something out. With the move of Cabrera to 1st, Nick Castellanos will get his shot at 3rd base and should prove to be a nice offensive contributor. Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson should handle their positions and contribute nicely to the offense. New addition Rajai Davis will add some speed to the lineup, however he’ll most likely sit versus righties with
Andy Dirks Don Kelly manning the other side of that platoon. I love their offense and they have some really good pitching (Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez). They also added Joe Nathan to be their closer which was one of their weaknesses in 2013. I’d expect the Indians, White Sox, and Royals to be competitive, but just not enough to unseat the Tigers.
AL West: Oakland Athletics
If the Texas Rangers didn’t have as many starting pitching problems as they’re going to open the season with they would have been my pick. Oakland has their own starting pitching problems but I believe in Billy Beane and his ability to find efficient starting pitching. I would expect a big breakout from Sonny Gray after he showed what he was capable of in the 2013 playoffs. Scott Kazmir should hopefully be able to replicate his comeback numbers of 2013. After those two there’s a lot of question marks, but pitching in the O.co Coliseum will help any pitcher out. Oh yeah, they have an awesome offense also. Yoenis Cespedes struggled in the spring with his shortened swing, however I’m a believer in him and this could be his breakout year. Josh Donaldson seems legit. Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Jed Lowrie, and Brandon Moss will be solid contributors to the lineup. Texas will threaten with their dangerous lineup, but I think injuries will do them in this year. The Angels will be there also, but I don’t think Mike Trout will be able to carry that team by himself. You would look to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton but I wouldn’t trust it.
AL Wild Cards: Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays
The AL East is always a dangerous division. I’d expect Boston to continue their success after a World Series victory. It would be great for Grady Sizemore to make the ultimate comeback, but even if he doesn’t, that lineup will be tough for any opposing pitching staff to get through. Tampa Bay has one of the greatest managers in baseball (Joe Maddon). He’ll change his lineup every day to get the most out of his players and sneak in to the 2nd Wild Card spot. A healthy David Price and Evan Longoria will anchor this team, along with a full season of AL Rookie of the Year, Wil Myers I feel like the Baltimore Orioles will be right there challenging for the last Wild Card spot, but to just fall short.
NL East: Washington Nationals
Everyone seems to believe this will be the year Bryce Harper will fulfill his potential and put up the numbers that everyone has been expecting him to. I’m all on board. With Harper leading the offense and one of the best pitching rotations in baseball (Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister) I’d expect this team to dominate. Atlanta will be the 2nd strongest team in this division but like the Rangers in the AL, they’ve seen a couple of their pitchers go down to injury already. That rotation is going to be a mess after losing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy for the season. Ervin Santana will help, but just won’t be enough. The offense should be good, but who knows what you’ll get with the Upton brothers.
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds
This is going to be a fun year for the Reds. Everyone was teased with the speed of the dangerous Billy Hamilton last September. They’re giving him the starting center fielder job and the lead off spot. I’m excited to see what he can do. The haters will attack his lack of ability to get on base, but they’ll be proven wrong when he gets on base and ends up at 3rd base every time. I’m expecting an easy 100 stolen bases from him. The pitching rotation performed as good as you can hope for last season. I’m expecting Homer Bailey to improve on his long awaited breakout season he had last year and be a contender for the Cy Young. Aroldis Chapman suffered a scary injury but it seems like he’ll be able to come back, and lets hope he does after a frightening injury of being hit with a line drive right in the face.
NL West: Colorado Rockies
Everyone would pick the Dodgers here, right? Perhaps I’m just pulling for them to fail. Puig can’t be controlled, Kemp is too big of a question mark, and how long until Hanley Ramirez gets hurt? The starting rotation is good, but if anything happens to Clayton Kershaw they’re in a load of trouble. Troy Tulowitzki will have a healthy season! I swear, it’s going to happen. A healthy Tulo and CarGo and you’ll have success. Pitching will always be their weakness with playing half of their games at Coors Field but I’m hopeful. We’ll see what adding former MVP Justin Morneau will lead to. Adding anyone to play in the offensive environment of Coors Field usually lands to big things. I figure that the Giants, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers will take each other out and the Rockies will get their shot to have a magical year.
NL Wild Cards: St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers
The St. Louis Cardinals are really good on handling their entire system. If they lose a player, another 3 pop up from the minors to replace them. I’m expecting a really close battle between the Reds and Cardinals with the Reds getting the slight edge. The Cardinals will have a more than good enough record to make it in the playoffs on a Wild Card spot. As mentioned in the previous blog, I really like the Brewers chances in competing this season. I’ve gushed about the offense already. After signing Matt Garza I liked this rotation a lot more. If he can stay healthy, I’d expect to see nice results. Yovani Gallardo will have a bounce back year. Kyle Lohse will get to start the season on time after signing late last offseason and put up 2012 numbers. Marco Estrada will have a breakout year and impress a lot of people. Wily Peralta will capitalize on his rookie campaign. The bullpen will perform effectively and will have an all-star closer in Jim Henderson. Of course, any of these things not happening will hurt the Brewers in a big way which is why I have them as the 2nd Wild Card team. Without being a homer, I’d expect the Brewers to be a winning team and be a threat in the playoffs.
I’ll be getting my first bit of a real baseball game on Friday between the Royals and Brewers. It might be an exhibition game, but it will have to do.