As the season draws near, projections and predictions come at you daily with what you should believe will happen for the upcoming baseball season based on other people's opinions. Well, stop. Have your own opinion. Most that are read are wrong, but just a fun form of analysis, which is exactly what has been put together here in this article.
Taylor Blake Ward of InsideTheHalos.com gives his opinions based on his knowledge of what he projects to happen over the next campaign of baseball. He doesn't expect you to change any of your opinions based on his, and stands tall by what he's put down in the following article. Be warned, all projections are subject to change at any point of the season due to about a million different volumes of events that may or may not occur.
Once again, the Red Sox put big money towards their team, and this time, it seems like the right money spent. The rotation gained a true "ace" and that should be carrying power, even with their stars of old becoming just that, old in baseball standard. Toronto's offense will once again be incredible, and they'll surge despite a lack luster rotation. The Yankees will be interesting and could leap frog everyone. The Rays will have great pitching but I'm still not sold on the every day lineup. Lastly, the Orioles just don't have the pitching despite having masses upon masses of power and likely will hit the most home runs in all of baseball with ease.
This is the year! They've been saying that in Cleveland for many years, like, A LOT OF YEARS. The rotation matches up with the best in baseball, even to the point of saying Trevor Bauer is likely to begin the year in the bullpen. I almost put the Royals third here because of the improvements of Detroit and decrease in KC's rotation, but the every day lineup is enough to keep them in the picture. Minnesota is worth taking notice, and I feel if I'm wrong on anything, it's them jumping into the picture. Chicago just doesn't do it for me despite a nice amount of young talent.
This is an interesting division. The Astros are very young, the Rangers are beat up, the Angels have so many questions, the Mariners are unproven and the A's are... well, the A's. Houston has too much talent to go unnoticed and Texas is right behind them. The Angels could shock a lot of people which is hard to say because they have the best player in baseball, along with the former best player in baseball, but the rotation's health is enough to scare me. I'm not a believer in Seattle yet, and Oakland just seems set to finish last.
Rangers, Blue Jays
The American League is going to be very competitive throughout the year. I honestly don't see a team that belongs in the "under 75 wins" category, even though there will be teams that fall below that mark. The Rangers are going to be good, even with all the potential injury risks, and I'm pretty dead set that they'll make the playoffs in some way. I think the Toronto pick is strictly because of how fun they were to watch last year in the postseason, and their offense is enough carrying power in my mind. Yes, this means I have the defending champs, Kansas City, out of the playoffs.
This is really a battle of the Nats and Mets. The Marlins are going to improve from last season and drastically. Even two years ago they were a threat to make the playoffs late in the season, but it wasn't enough then and won't be now. The Phillies and Braves won't be good, and once again, it's a battle between the top two. The Mets rotation was enough for me to say, "wow," and put them ahead of the Nats here.
There's not much doubt that the Cubs are going to be grossly good, and flirt with triple digit victories. This may even be "their year" after 118 years of waiting. The Cardinals and Pirates are going to fight all the way to the final few games for second in the central and for a playoff spot. I just can't go away from how good the Pirates actually are, even with the Cardinals consistency. I won't even go into Milwaukee and Cincinnati because, there's not much need to.
It's an even numbered year, so why not? No, that's not my actual reasoning. The Giants added nice rotation depth and their every day lineup is good enough to carry them. The Dodgers obviously spent the money and made the trades to improve, but the Giants just look better on my page. The DBacks will improve again, but miss out, and the Padres and Rockies will fall well behind the other three.
The National League is nowhere as close to competitive as the American League right now, and the teams who finish second or third in each division will be fighting all the way until the last day. The Dodgers have enough desire to maybe win their division and put them into the playoff picture with ease. The Nationals are another strong choice, but I just happen to see the Pirates ahead of them here, as well as ahead of the Cards (see above : NL Central).
AL Most Valuable Player
Mike Trout, Angels
Best player in baseball, that's all (yes, even if I don't have the Angels in the playoffs).
AL Cy Young
Chris Sale, White Sox
This was a flip of the coin, or in this case, multiple coins. With Chris Archer, Dallas Keuchel, Corey Kluber and David Price, to name a few, in the American League, it's hard saying one guy will stay a standout through the season. There's honestly not much to this pick other than he happened to be on my mind more considerably than the others, but any of the other listed would be fine selections.
AL Rookie of the Year
Blake Snell, Rays
The Minor League Pitcher of the Year under multiple outlets is ready to take his spot in the Rays' rotation, and should prove to be just as excellent at the Major League level. Most would likely have Byron Buxton filling this spot, but I really don't see him as more than a fourth outfielder this upcoming season. It's a little bit of an open competition for the American League, but this is the pick I'll gladly stick with.
NL Most Valuable Player
Bryce Harper, Nationals
If Harper even taps into what he did last season, he's an easy selection for MVP. Last season was nothing short of one of the best season's in the long history of baseball, and he's only expected to get better. Even with Mike Trout taking the title of the best player in the game, Harper is a closing in second-place, and is beginning to show signs of Bonds-like power at the plate, and his numbers follow the case. It's scary thinking this kid is only going to get better.
NL Cy Young
Gerrit Cole, Pirates
Another tough decision with Clayton Kershaw rocking the National League for years, along with guys like Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, Jacob deGrom and so many other talented pitchers. I think this is the year Cole breaks out from under the curtain of the others and becomes one of the game's elite pitchers, and gains the recognition he deserves in the form of hardware at season's end.
NL Rookie of the Year
Corey Seager, Dodgers
Last year saw one of the greatest rookie classes in the history of the game, including the debut of Seager who didn't register enough time to technically be considered a "rookie." He falls into a category of the most elite players to emerge from the minors in the last decade and should take baseball by storm in similar form to Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant.
AL Wildcard : Rangers over Blue Jays
NL Wildcard : Dodgers over Pirates
ALDS : Astros over Rangers; Indians over Red Sox
NLDS : Cubs over Dodgers; Mets over Giants
ALCS : Astros over Indians in 5
NLCS : Cubs over Mets in 6
World Series : Cubs over Astros in 6
As a whole, the playoffs are a separate beast that shouldn't even be fathomed with an estimated result. But I'll do it regardless. I have the Cubs winning the World Series, and ending the 118 year drought, Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein go into baseball history as immortals. I'll leave it as being that simple.