Thursday, March 29, 2018

Opening Day predictions

I do this every year. They're usually not very good but they're fun. The off-season was so sleepy that most teams' fortunes have not changed much; I picked the same six division winner that I did last year. So I'll use the same photos I used last year, as a reminder that I still have hundreds of cards from 2002 Fleer Maximum to trade.

AL East
1. Yankees
I'll always pick the Yankees and there is a lot of optimism because they picked up one big hitter, though I'm still nervous because the starting rotation is kind of creaky and the rookie manager does not inspire confidence.

2. Red Sox
The Red Sox picked up a slugger almost as good as Stanton, and their rookie manager is probably more well regarded, though their starting staff has lots of question marks too. This division is going to be a real dogfight.

3. Blue Jays
Hard to believe no-one wanted Jose Bautista. If the Yankees have early outfield injuries he would make a lot of sense for them. Blue Jays still have a lot of big bats in their lineup.

4. Orioles
Biggest intrigue this season will be if they trade Manny Machado.

5. Rays
Go ahead, try to name a Tampa Bay Ray other than Chris Archer.

AL Central
1. Indians
They won't win the division by 17 games again this year, but they should still repeat as AL Central champs.

2. Royals
There is still most of the core of a team that won the World Series just three years ago. I wouldn't count them out yet.

3. Twins
They've been scrappy overacheivers for a couple of years now, but will come back to Earth this year.

4. White Sox
Picked them fourth because they are a little farther along the rebuilding process than Detroit.

5. Tigers
Rebuilding team in a surprisingly tough division, could lose 100 games.

AL West
1. Astros
They were the best team in baseball early on, never really stumbled and won the World Series with a young team that could be even better this year. 110 wins in a weak division where no-one else had a winning record is not an unreasonable prediction.

2. Rangers
There is some good talent, though not a lot of depth, on this team. Will challenge for a wild card.

3. Angels
I'm not buying the Ohtani hype.

4. Mariners
One aspect of having such a quiet off-season is that teams haven't changed their trajectory that much. Usually there will be a handful of teams that make major upgrades in the off-season but that really wasn't the case this year. A team like the Mariners that might have make a couple of big free-agent signings and a trade instead did almost nothing to improve on their 78-win season.

5. Athletics
The A's didn't make moves either, but then they rarely do.

NL East
1. Nationals
What will Bryce Harper be like in a free agent year?

2. Braves
There is a lot of young talent on this team; they could take a weak division.

3. Phillies
The above comment for the Braves could apply to the Phillies too, though their talent is a little farther along and some of it has performed below expectations.

4. Mets
Hard to believe they won the pennant three years ago. Even if the pitchers stay healthy there is not a lot of offense here.

5. Marlins
They won't be as bad as everyone seems to think; they won't be very good either.

NL Central
1. Cardinals
Cardinals are my National League team; I'll always pick them.

2. Brewers
The Brewers did revamp their outfield; pitching staff still looks shaky but if they come around they could sneak past the Cubs.

3. Cubs
The Cubs went from 103 wins to 92 last year; a similar slide puts them at a .500 team. Lots of pitching questions here.

4. Reds
This is a team like the Mariners that are standing pat with a mediocre team.

5. Pirates
They traded their best player to the Giants for peanuts. They deserve to be last.

NL West
1. Dodgers
Sometimes a team that loses a very close postseason series comes back the next season extremely locked in an blows everyone away. We'll see if the Dodgers are one of those team.

2. Diamondbacks
They will be a formidable opponent to LA, but they have more pitching question marks, plus have to replace the production JD Martinez brought to them.

3. Rockies
They spent a lot of money on their bullpen, but is the rest of the team good enough to improve on last year's 87-win team? This is a surprisingly good division.

4. Giants
Longoria and McCutchen still have plenty of gas in the tank, enough to make this team interesting.

5. Padres
Hosmer is good but he's not that good. In a different division they might be more competitive but here they don't stand a chance.


  1. I haven't seen one prediction that doesn't list my A's and Padres representing the last place spots in the West. Worst thing about this is that I can't even argue everyone's predictions.

    1. I'm predicting a World Series matchup of A's vs. Padres!

    2. If that ever happens... I'll go to every game and die a happy man.