|New York Mets||84||78|
Discussion: The Nats win this division easily due to the ridiculous starting rotation and their above-average line-up. The Marlins take a leap forward as Jose Fernandez returns from his Tommy John surgery to put forth a solid second-half of the season. The Mets improve over last year with the solid addition of Michael Cuddyer and improvements to the bullpen as well. The Braves stay around the same as they finished last year because their key gains match their key losses. They are very similar to how they were last year. And the Phillies are just going to be really, really bad and that’s that. Their rotation, lineup, and bullpen are all terrible. They will be the worst team in baseball.
|St. Louis Cardinals||87||75|
Discussion: The Pirates bring back many of the same players from last year, but the addition of Francisco Cervelli behind the plate will help its pitching staff take the next step. Pedro Alvarez rebounds from a poor season in 2014, leading the Bucs to their first division title since 1992. The Cardinals will be there; they always are. They haven’t gotten much better, however, and the division around them has. They will fall slightly. The Cubs had a very solid offseason, and look for prospects Jorge Soler and Kris Bryant (when he comes up) to have good campaigns. The Brewers stay where they were last season, and Jonathan Lucroy has an MVP-caliber season. Finally, the Reds have a poor season, suffering as the division pushes forward around them.
|San Diego Padres||88||74|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||84||78|
|San Francisco Giants||81||81|
Discussion: The Padres take a leap forward this season, as the additions of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, James Shields and others catapult the Pods to the division pennant. The Dodgers take a step back with the losses of Hanley Ramirez and Dan Haren. The Giants, in an odd-numbered year, take a step back as they lose Pablo Sandoval and, for the beginning of the season, Hunter Pence. The Rockies and Diamondbacks, two rebuilding teams, round out the division basement, each losing at least 90 games.
|New York Yankees||82||80|
|Toronto Blue Jays||81||81|
|Boston Red Sox||80||82|
|Tampa Bay Rays||69||93|
Discussion: This division only features one sure-fire basement team (the Rays). The Red Sox improve off of last year, but weaknesses at pitcher and catcher will serve to hold them back. The Blue Jays, besides the addition of Russell Martin, are not as strong as last year with the losses of Juan Francisco and Melky Cabrera. The Yankees; who knows? They could be anywhere from 60 to 90 wins, but on paper, they are an around .500 team. And the Orioles, this year’s weakest division winner, will have just enough to win the division, along with the comeback of Manny Machado.
|Kansas City Royals||83||79|
|Chicago White Sox||81||81|
Discussion: The Twins carry the bottom of this division, as they are still awaiting the development of Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, who are starting the season at class AA. The White Sox improve off of last year’s showing with additions of Melky Cabrera, David Robertson and Jeff Samardzija help improve the team, but they are still weak at second base, right field and in the bullpen. The Royals lose pieces from last year’s team, namely DH Billy Butler and ace James Shields; they take a small step back. Finally, the Indians take a leap of faith to the top of the division, needing all-around solid seasons from Michael Brantley and Michael Bourn to do so. The Tigers finish second, and have to be concerned over the plight of Justin Verlander.
|Los Angeles Angels||84||78|
Discussion: The Mariners lead this division, as the addition of Nelson Cruz helps alleviate the pressure of Robinson Cano to produce. Also, Felix Hernandez wins his second Cy Young leading one of baseball’s best pitching staffs. The A’s are a mystery, but they will most likely be good enough for second in this division. The Angels are also a mystery, but I have them behind the A’s because it remains to be seen if Josh Hamilton can figure himself out and if Albert Pujols can have another good season. The Astros will be a surprise; they take a leap forward this year with the additions of Jed Lowrie and Evan Gattis. Finally, the Rangers will easily finish last in the division after the season-ending injury to Yu Darvish.
Wild Card Game: Cardinals over Marlins
Wild Card Game: Tigers over A’s
(2)Pirates vs (3)Padres: Pirates in 5
(1)Nationals vs (4)Cardinals: Nationals in 4
(1)Nationals) vs (2)Pirates: Pirates in 7
Explanation: The Nationals easily dispose of the Cardinals in the first round, and the Pirates and Padres play a tightly contested series that goes the distance. In a 7-game series, the pitching of the Pirates catches up to that of the Nats. Also, their outfield (Marte, Polanco, and McCutchen) will be this year’s version of the Royals’ outfield last year. The Pirates win the NL.
(1)Mariners vs (4)Tigers: Mariners in 4
(2)Indians vs (3)Orioles: Orioles in 5
(1)Mariners vs (3)Orioles: Mariners in 6
Explanation: The Mariners’ pitching coupled with enough offense gets them past the experienced Tigers. The experience of the Orioles, along with the return of Manny Machado, leads them past the Indians. Then, the Mariners defeat the Orioles in a solid championship series. They take the pennant.
World Series: (2)Pirates vs (1)Mariners: This series will be tight. However, the Mariners’ pitching, especially in a three or four-man rotation, allows few runs. Also, Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano have sold series, and the talent on each side in too much for the Bucs. Mariners win in 6.
Most importantly, this season will be fun. Your guess is as good as mine as to who wins.