My 2018 MLB Season Predictions for the American League
The 2018 MLB season is just around the corner! In two days, a new season of baseball will start and 30 teams will all have the hope of playing deep into October and win a world championship. The offseason was made with some significant moves and some teams come into the new season with big aspirations. Who will come on top this year? Who will disappoint? It's now time for my 2018 MLB season predictions. I will start today with the American League.
American League East:
It's the World Series or failure for the NY Yankees in 2018. The Yankees made a big splash during the offseason by acquiring one of the most dangerous hitters in the game in Giancarlo Stanton. With a team already packed in star power with players like Aaron Judge, who just come back from a sensational rookie season, and Gary Sanchez, the Yankees are now destined to dominate at least the East division in 2018. Still, there are some questions left. With no experience as a manager, will Aaron Boone will be able to lead the Yankees to the promised land in 2018?2. Boston Red Sox
The only team in the East division that could challenge the Yankees is the Boston Red Sox. This team ranked dead last for home runs last season, but they tried to improve their lot by signing free agent JD Martinez at the start of training camp. Sure, the addition of Martinez should help the Red Sox score more runs and hit more home runs than last season, but would it be enough to really challenge the Yankees for first place? They now have a really good hitting lineup with players like Hanley Ramirez, JD Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Mookie Betts. They have also a great starting rotation with Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Drew Pomeranz. Oh! They are also very good in the bullpen with Craig Kimbrel as the closer and great arms in Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes. I see a close race between the two teams for first, but I gave the advantage to the Yankees because of their power.3. Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays are a very hard team to figure out this season. They lose a great hitter in Jose Bautista and I am not sure that they really replace him. They will gamble again on veterans like Josh Donaldson, Kendrys Morales, and Justin Smoak to drive in runs. Speaking of Donaldson, will he be able to stay healthy this season? If the Jays are not in the race at the trade deadline, expect them to try to move him because he will become a free agent at the end of the season. The big strength of this team should be the starting rotation. They have some great young arms with Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez and good veterans like newcomer Jamie Garcia, J.A Happ, and Marco Estrada. Their team is not as good that the Yankees and Red Sox and they don't have enough depth if some key players are injured long-term. I expect the Jays to be better than last season, but not enough to make the postseason again this year.4. Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles should have the same kind of season as last year because they have practically the same team. The addition of Alex Cobb in the starting rotation should help, but this is in the rotation where biggest question marks are. We know that this team will be able to score runs with guys like Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Adam Jones, but the starting pitchers will give up too many runs again, just like last year. Will this be the final season of Manny Machado in Maryland?5. Tampa Bay Rays
It's looked like the Tampa Bay Rays have done everything that they could do to in the offseason to be the worst team in the division again in 2018. They trade their franchise star player Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants and now, they are more than ever in rebuilding mode. This will be a very long season for the (couple) of fans going to the games this year. The Rays will have to be patient and let their young players play and learn. I expect them to have one of the worst records in the league this season.
American League Central:
1. Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians will be dominating this division again this season, but not as much than last year. The Minnesota Twins are a young, exciting team who is coming for them really soon. Still, the Indians are great everywhere. They have a well-balanced lineup, a good starting rotation lead by the 2017 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and a great bullpen. Expect a lot of the same from last year for the Indians.
2. Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins really surprised the baseball world last year by putting together a really interesting season. Now, with the addition of Logan Morrison, Jake Odorizzi, and Lance Lynn, this team should be even better this season. They have some great young players like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler. I love the mix between the young and veterans players and the Twins should be an exciting team to follow this season. They are not better than Cleveland, but they are coming fast and furious. They will be in the postseason as a wild card team.
3. Kansas City Royals
What happens with the Kansas City Royals? Not so long ago, this team was going to consecutive World Series and they were a very talented team with a lot of young stars players. Now three years later, it's almost like this team is back in rebuilding mode again. Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer are gone and they have question marks everywhere. The starting rotation is not really good and neither is the bullpen. At least they still have Mike Moustakas, who is coming back from a 38 home-run season.
4. Chicago White Sox
It's coming very slowly but the Chicago White Sox are on the verge of becoming a really good team for a lot of years. Maybe even next year! For now, in 2018, the White Sox should still struggle but there is hope at least for the fans. They will have to be patient with young players like Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Aaron Bummer, and Adam Engel who are all the future of this organization. Patience is the keyword for this season.
5. Detroit Tigers
What else is there to say about the Detroit Tigers other than that they are in a complete rebuilding mode? They struggled big time in 2017 and this should be even worse in 2018. I expect them to finish with the worst record in the entire league. Just like the White Sox, patience is really just what the Tigers should think about in 2018.
American League West:
Shohei Ohtani. This guy will be the entire reason why the Los Angeles Angels will finish in first place in 2018. I really think that this special guy will dazzle everyone around the majors this year. I know! He didn't even play a single game yet, but this guy can do everything. Pitching and hitting. It will be interesting to see how the Angels will be balancing his time between being a starting pitcher and probably a DH hitting role. Otherwise, the Angels are good everywhere and they are led by star players Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols.2. Houston Astros
Don't get me wrong. I still think that the defending World Series Champions will be very good again this year. However, I think that just like the Chicago Cubs in 2017, they will have some trouble finding their rhythm back for the first half of the season at least. This team returns with the exact same lineup and star pitcher Justin Verlander will be there on opening day this time. The Houston Astros will make the postseason again, but they will be one of the wild card teams this season.3. Seattle Mariners
This should be the same as usual for the Mariners in 2018. Every year we have higher expectations for this team, but they always finish around third place and they miss the playoffs. The song will remain the same again this year. They have good players like Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano, and Felix Hernandez, but I don't think this will be enough for them to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. I don't believe in their starting rotation and they don't have a lot of depth.4. Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers will live or die with the health of their starting rotation and their star players. If everyone stays healthy this season, this team could surprise. If they are not healthy again just like last season, they will have a catastrophic year. They don't have a lot of young players in the lineup beside Joey Gallo and the starting rotation is not good enough after Cole Hamels. Who will be driving runs for this team in 2018? Adrian Beltre? He's 39 years old!5. Oakland Athletics
This team will finish dead last in the division in 2018. They have a couple of interesting players, but the starting rotation is very not good enough to think that they could surprise. Jorge Mateo could be the one who saves the A's soon.