Wednesday, April 1, 2015

MLB Predictions: 2015

April 1st means only one thing. No not is back! Opening Night is right around the corner, as the new look Cubs take on the raining NL Central reigning champion St. Louis Cardinals. Monday, Opening Day festivities begin across the country as the 2015 season "officially" gets underway.

Last season, I did a pretty good job. I got all six division winners correct! However, I failed to pick any of the four wildcard teams, and whiffed on my Baltimore over Washington World Series pick.

Feel free to send me your picks: Include division winners, wildcards, WS pick. Also MVP Cy Young and Rookie of the year (both leagues for these three).

Time to make some predictions: Without further ado....

American League:

East: Baltimore Orioles
Central: Cleveland Indians
West: Los Angeles Angels
Wildcards: Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox

AL Champ: Baltimore Orioles

National League:

East: Washington Nationals
Central: Pittsburgh Pirates
West: San Diego Padres
Wildcards: Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets

NL Champ: San Diego Padres

World Series: Baltimore Orioles over San Diego Padres

MVP: (AL) Robinson Cano, (NL) Andrew McCutchen
Cy Young: (AL) Felix Hernandez, (NL) Matt Harvey
Rookie of the Year: (AL) Daniel Norris, (NL) Joc Pederson

Reasoning: Let's start in the American League, and why I chose the Orioles to win it all (SURPRISE). The Birds lost some big names, mainly Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller. Miller will likely hurt the most, as he is regarded by many as one of the top five relievers in all of baseball. He was lights out in Baltimore after the Orioles acquired him from Boston at the trade deadline. While those losses hurt, a healthy Manny Machado and Matt Wieters are more than enough to offset that missing production. Wieters is a top five catcher, Machado a budding super star and elite defender. Both missed almost all of last season. The Bullpen should be one of the top five in the AL once again.

The rotation will be even better this season, and it was pretty strong last year. Chris Tillman has become an ace, and there is great depth behind him. Baltimore is one of few teams that can survive an injury (or even two) to the pitching staff. Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez (should bounce back, nowhere to go but up?), and Kevin Gausman are all solid. Gausman and prospect Dylan Bundy are two of the better young arms in all of baseball.

Bullpen remains strong, the best manager in baseball --Buck Showalter-- remains in charge, and the Orioles have some nice young pieces to make a trade at the deadline if they need to.

I love the moves Boston made this offseason. The lineup is loaded, and they have a hungry team filled with guys that want to prove last year was simply a one year hangover, and not a sign of things to come. The pitching staff isn't great, but the farm system is stacked. If Boston wants to get Hamels or another high end pitcher, they can. The Yankees are still old, lack starting pitching depth, and are already battling some injuries at key positions. The A-Rod saga will linger on the first few weeks, and that could be something that blows up in the pinstripes face if they lose games early.

The AL Central will be the best race in baseball. The Indians are stacked with pitching and some great players that the casual fan may not know too well just yet. Michael Brantley is a star, and the staff is deep. (I think the Indians will make the ALCS and fall in seven games to the Orioles.) Chicago made some big moves, the Tigers remain strong, the Royals are coming off a run to the World Series. Sheesh. The Twins don't stand much of a chance.

Out West Seattle, LA, and Oakland are pretty even. The addition of Nelson Cruz, along with some really good young players coming through the minors, is the reason I chose Seattle to beat out Oakland for the Wild Card spot. The Angels, led by Mike Trout, still have the deepest lineup, and a very good rotation. But if you were to tell me they come in third, I wouldn't be shocked.

In the NL, a few things may standout. Number one, I'm drinking the Padres Kool-Aid. Kemp, Myers, Upton, Shields, Middlebrooks. What an offseason. The rotation is really good, and should thrive in that stadium. Obviously, the Dodgers are going to pretty damn good, but this is my bold pick. The Padres beat them out by a game. The Giants -who won the whole damn thing last year-- lost a few key pieces including the Panda. Can Matt Cain bounce back? They will need him too, because they feasted on a bad division last year. That won't be the case this year.

Pittsburgh finally gets over the hump that is the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards lack depth in their rotation, and I question the Shelby Miller deal. They have a lot of guys coming of injuries, and their rotation cannot afford to lose anyone for any decent length of time. In Pittsburgh, Gregory Polanco will need to become a reliable everyday player. I think he will, and that gives the Buccos one of the better outfields in all of baseball. McCutchen is my MVP, and a top three player in the game, according to ESPN. The Cubs have a very good young team, but too young to contend just yet.

Expect the Nationals to once again dominate the East. You would be almost crazy to think anything else. The staff is loaded. The lineup is powerful and deep, the bullpen is very good, and the defense is improved (about time they moved Zimmerman to first). They should win the most games in the regular season (I'll say 105). But can they finally get it done in the postseason? Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez is about as good as it gets.

The Mets, who I have stealing the final Wild Card, are going to be an extremely interesting team to follow. Matt Harvey might be the best pitcher in baseball. There are no numbers to back this, and he missed a whole season last year, so no I wouldn't take him over, say Kershaw. But his stuff? Lights out. Will the Mets allow him to pitch enough innings to warrant Cy Young consideration? That's another question. I really like the rest of the rotation too. Michael Cuddyer will hit like .700 at Citi Field with that massive outfield. The Mets will battle the Marlins for second place and that last wildcard, and pitching depth is the reason I'm picking them. The Braves will be a pest, but I can't see them breaking into the top three. The Phillies will be atrocious.

Matt Heiland: 

American League:

East: Baltimore
Central: Chicago
West: Seattle
Wildcards: Cleveland, Toronto

AL Champ: Baltimore

National League:

East: Washington
Central: St. Louis
West: LA Dodgers
Wildcards: Pittsburgh, Miami

NL Champ: Washington

World Series: Baltimore over Washington

MVP: (AL) Mike Trout, (NL) Giancarlo Stanton
Cy Young: (AL) Chris Sale, (NL) Clayton Kershaw
Rookie of the Year: (AL) Rusney Castillo, (NL) Joc Pederson

Ethan Woy: 

American League:

East: Baltimore Orioles
Central: Cleveland Indians
West: Los Angeles Angels
Wildcards: Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox

AL Champ: Angels

National League:

East: Washington
Central: St. Louis
West: LA Dodgers
Wildcards: Chicago Cubs, Miami Marlins

NL Champ: Dodgers

World Series: Dodgers over Angels

MVP: (AL) Trout, (NL) Harper
Cy Young: (AL) Hernandez, (NL) Kershaw
Rookie of the Year: (AL) Carlos Rodon, (NL) Kris Bryant

Shae Hess: 


East - Boston Red Sox
Central - Detroit Tigers
West - Oakland Athletics
Wildcards - Kansas City Royals & Seattle Mariners 


East - Washington Nationals
Central - Pittsburgh Pirates
West - LA Dodgers 
Wild Cards - St. Louis Cardinals & San Diego Padres

AL Champ: Boston Red Sox
NL Champ: Washington Nationals 

World Series Champs: Boston Red Sox

AL MVP: Trout
AL CY YOUNG: Hernandez 
AL ROY: Carlos Rodon

NL MVP: Stanton
NL CY YOUNG: Kershaw
NL ROY: Kris Bryant

Andrew Heiland:

American League:
East – Baltimore Orioles
Central – Cleveland Indians      
West – Seattle Mariners
Wildcards – Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels

AL Champ – Baltimore Orioles

National League:
East – Washington Nationals
Central – St. Louis Cardinals
West – Los Angeles Dodgers
Wildcards – Pittsburgh Pirates, Miami Marlins

NL Champ – Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series – Baltimore over LA

MVP: (AL) Trout, (NL) Stanton
Cy Young: (AL) Hernandez, (NL) Kershaw
ROY: (AL) Dalton Pompey, (NL) Joc Pederson

Zach Lash:

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Mariners
Wildcard: Tigers, Angels

NL East: Nationals
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Dodgers
Wildcard: Padres, Marlins

World Series: Dodgers over Mariners

AL Cy Young: King Felix
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

AL MVP: Jose Abreu
NL MVP: Yasiel Puig

AL ROY: Micah Johnson
NL ROY: Jorge Soler

Andre Frye:

American League:

East: Toronto
Central: Cleveland
West: Seattle
Wild Cards: Chicago, Baltimore

AL Champ: Chicago

National League:

East: Washington
Central: Pittsburgh
West: Los Angeles

Wild Cards: St. Louis, Miami

NL Champ: Pittsburgh

World Series: Pittsburgh over Chicago

MVP: (AL) Mike Trout, (NL) Andrew McCutchen
Cy Young: (AL) Chris Sale, (NL) Stephen Strasburg
ROY: (AL) Aaron Sanchez, (NL) Kris Bryant
Comeback POY: (AL) Prince Fielder, (NL) Matt Harvey
Manager of the Year: (AL) Lloyd McClendon, (NL) Mike Redmond

Joey Haefner

AL WEST Mariners
WILD CARD 2 Angels

NL EAST Nationals
NL CENTRAL Cardinals
NL WEST Dodgers
WILD CARD 1 Pirates
WILD CARD 2 Padres
WINNER Pirates

Mariners Over Indians
NL DIVISION SERIES Pirates Over Nationals
Cardinals Over Dodgers
Al Championship Series Mariners Over Red Sox
NL Championship Series Pirates Over Cardinals
WORLD SERIES Pirates Over Mariners

AL MVP Mike Trout
NL MVP Andrew McCutchen
AL CY YOUNG King Felix
NL CY YOUNG Gerrit Cole