Al East – Yankees
After losing in Game 7 of the ALCS to the powerful Astros team last season, the Yankees have added the biggest bat in the league in Giancarlo Stanton. Adding him to a lineup that already has Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez is the definition of a POWER move. Tanaka, Severino, and Gray will be the top three pitchers and Sabathia, Montgomery, and Green will fill out the 4 & 5 spots throughout the year. When you have a lineup as good as the Yankees do for this season, you don’t need your starting pitching to be as strong, until you get to the post season. I think the powerful lineup leads the Yanks to an A.L. East Division title in 2018.
AL Central – Indians
The team that won this division last season by 17 games is back and lost a few pieces of the bullpen but the lineup and starting pitching is basically the same. I don’t see anyone else in the AL Central stepping up and competing with the Indians for this division. They have a great lineup put together and the starting pitching will be great as long as they stay healthy. I think the Indians could win 100 games again and a big part of that will be how bad the White Sox, Tigers, and Royals will be this season.
AL West – Astros
I know, really going out on a limb with this prediction. This young, dominant Astros team is back for more after winning the World Series last season. The lineup has remained the same and they were able to add Gerrit Cole to the pitching rotation that was already one of if not the best in baseball. The Astros 4-6 starters are better than a lot of team’s 1-3 starters. The Astros won this division by 21 games last season and I don’t see anyone catching them this year. The team with the best chance is the Angels who were able to re-sing Justin Upton and add Ian Kinsler/Zack Cozart to solidify the middle infield.
AL Wild Card Teams:
Red Sox – The Red Sox won 93 games last season and the AL East regardless of the fact that they lost David Ortiz and did not replace his big bat in the lineup. The team didn’t have the power that they had in 2016 but they were still able to win ball games. New manager in town and it’s looking like J.D. Martinez will have no other option than to take the 5 year contract that the Red Sox are offering him. That will put some more pop back into this lineup and will lead them to a Wild Card birth.
Angels – Kinsler, Trout, Upton, Pujols. Calhoun, Simmons, Cron, Cozart, Maldonado – that projected lineup sounds pretty damn good 1-5 and if the bottom half of the order can come through every now and then, this Angels team is equipped to make an appearance in the Wild Card game. We will need to see how the pitching plays out and what they do with Ohtani aka Babe Ruth on the days that he doesn’t pitch. Adding his bat to the lineup will only increase the offensive output. I think the Angels will be a lot of fun to watch this season.
NL East – Nationals
The Nats have won four NL East titles in the last six years and I’m expecting them to make it five out of seven this year. The problem for them is once they get into the post season, they aren’t making a deep run. Their All-Star – Bryce Harper will be hitting the free agent market after this season so it will be a make or break year for the Nats. In the meantime, we will be getting plenty of action in when Max Scherzer is on the mound. If the Mets pitching staff can stay healthy this season, I expect them to have a solid year but I don’t see them winning the division.
NL Central – Brewers
This Brewers team finished 6 games behind the Cubs last season but I think that they are going to take the leap forward this year and take the NL Central. The additions of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich will insert two great pieces into the top of this lineup and get guys on base for the big bats Thames, Braun, and Shaw. The question will be if the starting pitching can be good enough. I think the pitching will be good enough in the regular season due to how good this offense will be, but once they get into the playoffs, I think they will have an early exit. We will see.
NL West – Dodgers
The Dodgers are still the team to beat in the NL period. They won 104 games last year and lost to the Astros in Game 7 of the World Series. I’m excited to see if Cody Bellinger puts up the power numbers again this year. This Dodger’s lineup is still in tact after last years run and the pitching staff is still anchored by Clayton Kershaw. Expect the Dodgers to win the NL West and I’m expecting them to make another deep post season run.
NL Wild Card Teams:
Cubs – Yes, I picked the Brew Crew to take the NL Central but there’s no way we don’t see the Cubs taking a Wild Card spot. Their lineup is still in tact and although it’s looking like they won’t be bringing back Jake Arrieta, they added Yu Darvish to the rotation which should be solid 1-5.
Mets – You probably didn’t see this one coming but let me tell you how the Mets make their way into the Wild Card game this season. Obviously the biggest key to this is for Syndergaard, deGrom, and Harvey to all stay healthy. That alone will be a huge step towards getting in. I like the additions of some older vets in Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez who will be able to add some pop to the lineup in Citi Field. If the starting pitching stays healthy, the Mets take a Wild Card spot.