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2015 MLB Predictions

Updated on March 28, 2015

How They'll Finish

We are just eight days away from Opening Day. Can you believe it? One of my absolute favorite times of the year. Say goodbye to winter (hopefully) and enjoy some games played outside. Fire up that grill and throw on some burgers, hot dogs, brats or whatever tickles your fancy. Time to crack open a cold one and enjoy the first of 162 games. After a long offseason it's just about time for that first pitch. Hope springs eternal for all 30 clubs as Spring Training winds down. Unfortunately, only a third of those teams will sniff the postseason. Here is who I believe will make it to the promised land.

(Note ~ An asterisk signifies a Wild Card berth)

National League

East

1. Washington Nationals

2. Miami Marlins*

3. New York Mets

4. Atlanta Braves

5. Philadelphia Phillies

Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals

2. Pittsburgh Pirates*

3. Chicago Cubs

4. Milwaukee Brewers

5. Cincinnati Reds

West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

2. San Diego Padres

3. San Francisco Giants

4. Colorado Rockies

5. Arizona Diamondbacks

First and foremost we need to discuss the Washington Nationals who appear to be the class of the National League. They added perhaps the years biggest free agent in Max Scherzer which only makes an imposing rotation that much better. Imagine having to square off against Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in a five game series. They boast one of the best lineups top to bottom with no glaring weaknesses. If Anthony Rendon can build on his breakout 2014 campaign and Ryan Zimmerman can stay healthy and productive following his shift across the diamond this Nationals team looks poised to playing deep into October.

I do expect another team from the NL East to continue playing once the regular season ends and that is the Miami Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton is the face of the franchise (and maybe all of MLB) and he figures to be around a long time after signing a record 13-year $325 million dollar deal. He boasts perhaps the most raw power of any player in baseball and looked like an MVP candidate until he took a Mike Fiers fastball to the face that ended his season prematurely. He is back and sporting a new helmet to help prevent such an injury in the future. Also due back is pitching phenom Jose Fernandez who is coming off of Tommy John surgery. One of the most exciting pitchers in the game Fernandez will eventually join a revamped rotation that includes Mat Latos and Dan Haren who were acquired in trades. This team could challenge the Nationals with a full year of Fernandez but for now they look ready to lock down a Wild Card spot.

Is there any team in baseball more consistent than the St. Louis Cardinals? I think not. Four straight years in the NLCS and the Cards look ready to contend once again. A lot will be riding on the pitching staff including ace Adam Wainwright who is coming off a season in which he posted a career-best 2.38 ERA and finished in third place in Cy Young voting. Also of note will be if 2013 postseason stud Michael Wacha can return to form after missing time due to injury. The lineup stays mostly the same except for the addition of Gold Glove rightfielder Jason Heyward who was acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves. He will slide in to the spot that was vacated during the offseason due to the tragic death of top prospect Oscar Tavares. Many wonder if Heyward's bat will live up to expectations and this Atlanta Braves fan thinks it will as St. Louis rolls to another division title.

For most of the past two decades the Pittsburgh Pirates had been a punchline due to their futility. Now they are poised to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year. Andrew McCutchen is one of the best players in all of baseball and even though he recently cut off his famous dreadlocks I expect him to contend for a 2nd MVP award in the Steel City. Cutch stands out in what is expected to be one of the better outfields in the game with Starling Marte and Gregory Polonco flanking him in centerfield. Though they did lose catcher Russell Martin to a lucrative free agent deal in Toronto the Buccos brought in Francisco Cervelli, late of the New York Yankees, to be the primary catcher. He isn't Martin but the dropoff shouldn't be too great. With the Brewers and Reds in decline and the Cubs another year away I believe Pittsburgh does in fact punch their postseason ticket for that third straight year.

Rounding out the NL playoff picture are the new look Los Angeles Dodgers. Ned Colleti is out as general manager as the Dodgers were able to woo Andrew Friedman away from the low budget Tampa Bay Rays. Highly regarded as one of the best in the game imagine what he can do with a seemingly unlimited budget in L.A. Well, he's already started reshaping the team. He traded away star centerfielder Matt Kemp and acquired a new starting catcher in Yasmani Grandal, second baseman in Howie Kendrick and shortstop in Jimmy Rollins. The rotation also has new faces with the arrivals of free agents Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. While a lot has changed a lot has also stayed the same. Clayton Kershaw, who is the best pitcher on the planet, still heads the rotation followed by Zack Greinke who would be the staff ace on almost any other team. Kenley Jansen, though he is hurt right now, is still lights out at the back of the bullpen. I expect this team to run away with the NL West.

American League

East

1. Baltimore Orioles

2. Toronto Blue Jays

3. Boston Red Sox

4. New York Yankees

5. Tampa Bay Rays

Central

1. Detroit Tigers

2. Chicago White Sox*

3. Kansas City Royals

4. Cleveland Indians

5. Minnesota Twins

West

1. Seattle Mariners

2. Los Angeles Angels*

3. Oakland Athletics

4. Houston Astros

5. Texas Rangers

Unless the Rays take the AL East I won't be surprised with who walks away with the crown. I'm that torn. That said, this isn't a column in which I am going to push. Nobody likes that. So I'm going with the Baltimore Orioles. Yes they lost slugger Nelson Cruz to Seattle. Yes they lost Andrew Miller from their bullpen. Yes it appears that catcher Matt Wieters will begin the season on the disabled list. All of those things aside let's try to take a look at the positive. The O's ran away with the division last year and get back a healthy Manny Machado and potentially a better Chris Davis. Their rotation is solid if not spectacular and that kind of consistency should propel them once again to the top of the division.

Miguel Cabrera, David Price and Victor Martinez are enough for me to think that the Detroit Tigers will once again win the AL Central title. Cabrera and Martinez may be coming off injuries and Max Scherzer may be in D.C. but the window is still open for this team to capture a title. That window, however, is beginning to close. Division rival Kansas City just narrowly missed winning it all in a close Game Seven loss to the champion San Francisco Giants. The Chicago White Sox have improved their club and for some reason there is a lot of optimism around the Cleveland Indians. While those teams may be on the upswing they will still be looking up at the Tigers when all is said and done this season.

While they won't win the division the Chicago White Sox will return to the postseason for the first time since 2008. They had quite the offseason that brought Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Samardzija and David Robertston into the fold. Add that to the core that includes ace Chris Sale and reigning AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu and the Sox should be able to make some noise this year. While all the attention went to their crosstown Cubs the Sox have managed to stay under the radar. Don't expect that to last long. I only wish longtime first baseman Paul Konerko could be there for one last postseason run.

It's official. I am drunk on the Seattle Mariners kool-aid. A year after they narrowly missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001 I feel like this year they break through. Everyone knows Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano. Now they have added the right-handed power bat they have lacked in Nelson Cruz. Add to that a full year from Austin Jackson in the leadoff spot and Hisashi Iwakuma as the number two starter and this team is ready for the postseason. Taijuan Walker has thrown 18 scoreless innings and looks set to contribute after an injury-plagued 2014 and James Paxton has the makings of an ace. The dominant bullpen returns almost in tact from last year with Fernando Rodney closing things down and firing imaginary arrow into the sky. I imagine one of those will signify the M's locking up the division.

Last but not least are the Los Angeles Angels. Last year they finally put it all together to take the division title only to be swept in the ALDS. The big name signings of C.J. Wilson, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols have not quite worked out as the Angels have hoped but they do have the reigning AL MVP in Mike Trout. He is the leader of this club and the big money veterans don't need to carry the whole load. While the offense should be fine the big question marks lie with the rotation. Jered Weaver's velocity has been in a steady decline for years and presumed ace Garrett Richards is coming back from a knee injury. Though rookie Andrew Heaney has promise there isn't much depth to this pitching staff which could be their downfall. They should still snag a Wild Card spot but that is why they will cede the division to Seattle.

So there you have it. Those are my picks for the playoffs. I guess that only leaves one question: Who will win it all? Well, let's play it safe with one pick and go crazy with the other. Shall we? Bryce Harper will get the ring he asked for when the Nationals signed Scherzer as they topple the Mariners in a battle of first timers in the World Series.

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    • Josh Ruga profile image

      Joshua Ruga 2 years ago from New Jersey

      I believe the Nationals and Mariners have the most talent in their leagues, so I think this was pretty good analysis of why they will be there in the end.

    • Rich White profile image
      Author

      Rich 2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the read and reply Josh. I hope those predictions come true. It would be good for baseball to see those two long suffering franchises make it to the big stage.

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