Thursday, March 19, 2015
Sportz' 2015 MLB Predictions
The 2015 baseball is nearly upon us, so it is time again to make my futile picks for the season. So here it goes, division by division:
What once was a strong division now looks like it is Washington and everyone else. Both the Phillies and Braves are embracing some rebuilding while the Mets and Marlins have been in that camp for a few years now. The Nats have been among the best in baseball the last three years but cannot make that translate in October. So we'll have seven months to break that down. After the Nats, who knows what will happen? Miami failed at just buying wins before and instead have built a nice club that can contend now. The Mets will need all that pitching to lead the way.
St. Louis has a mini dynasty going on right now. In last 15 seasons, they've won the division 9 times and finished 2nd three times. All that includes 11 playoff berths. The Cards are a bit older and there's injury issues with Alan Wainwright. Still, it is hard to bet against their success. That is, unless you are a Back To The Future Fan and do believe that the Cubs will win the World Series. I don't think they're there yet, but this team has taken a major upswing in hope. The Pirates are still right there, as usual, but will have some more teams battling them for wildcard spots. At the bottom, the Reds seem to have the better roster than the Brewers, but Milwaukee tends to exceed expectations while the Reds underperform.
The big spending Dodgers are again looking like the class of the West. They'll be a better defensive ballclub and that pitching is still damn good. San Diego decided to go for it this year which should make the Pads a really fun team to keep track of. Not only did they buy a new, more offensive-minded outfield, but they also snagged James Shields. If the Dodgers or Giants slip up, San Diego is in the mix. Speaking of San Fran, it is an odd numbered season. As good as the three teams at the top of this division are, the bottom is that bad.
Why not the Blue Jays? They currently hold the longest playoff drought but they have a nice young staff. It all comes down to if the offense can hold up. Boston will hit, but can they pitch? This is a very subpar pitching staff that may not survive in this division. The Orioles have been baseball's darlings, but losing Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis could damage their playoff hopes. Drama will be the keyword for the Yankees this year as long as A-Rod is on the roster. Tampa is rebuilding mode.
Is this the Tigers' crossroads? They've won this division four straight years but is that greatness decaying? The once dominant pitching staff is showing signs of wear (Justin Verlander) and defections (Max Scherzer). This is an expensive team that may not be able to plug in the holes like they've been able to do in recent years. The Indians were pretty good last year despite some injuries. If they can all get on the page, they could topple Detroit. Chicago? The White Sox are a true wild card. They have nice pieces but do they all fit together? They've gotten better in some spots. We all loved the Royals last season, but the small ball they played worked when the pitching was dominant. No Shields could bring them back down the ladder. This division is tough. To put it another way, Kansas City could win the AL East if they were in that division.
Seattle, who has laid in the weeds for most of this decade, looks to break out and back to the division titles. Nelson Cruz joins Robinson Cano as mashers who will up the M's sometimes sluggish offense. The pitching staff is nice and uses their defensive infield wisely. The Angels will try to keep Seattle in their place as they return another great roster, albeit with some issues with Josh Hamilton. The A's can mash, but will all that tinkering the last few years cost them? Texas is coming off a injury ravaged season. Houston is still rebuilding.
NL: Nationals, Cardinals, Dodgers, Padres, Marlins
AL: Tigers, Mariners, Blue Jays, Angels, Indians
Nationals over Mariners