The 2014 MLB season should be another unforgettable and unpredictable season, and this preview serves as a prediction for team rankings and player awards.
1. Tampa Bay Devil Rays – The Rays possess a young and very talented pitching staff to go along with a highly productive offense, which will earn them the AL East title.
2. New York Yankees – After missing the playoffs last year, the Yanks added a ridiculous amount of talent — along with their hefty price tags — that will aid them in their playoff hunt.
3. Boston Red Sox – Last year’s World Series champs still have a solid team that will keep them in contention, but the loss of Ellsbury and their overall age are causes for concern.
4. Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are a good team led by power hitter Chris Davis, although a tough division will keep them out out the playoffs.
5. Toronto Blue Jays – Toronto will have a disappointing year because of poor pitching, despite having a respectable offense.
1. Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera will once again be an offensive wizard, and Verlander and Scherzer will dominate hitters, as the Tigers win the division.
2. Cleveland Indians – They boast a very good and balanced offense when healthy, and if the pitching staff can keep them in the game, then they can go far.
3. Kansas City Royals – After a breakout season in which they barely missed the playoffs, expect more of the same with a team that lost some key pitching in Santana and Hochevar.
4. Chicago White Sox – Star pitcher Chris Sale and newly acquired Cuban slugger Jose Abreu will lead the White Sox to a slightly improved record.
5. Minnesota Twins – The acquisitions of Nolasco and Hughes was not enough to bolster their rotation, and Minnesota will also struggle in 2014 because of a weak offense.
1. Oakland Athletics – The A’s have once again improved an already great ball club in the off-season, which will get them into the playoffs.
2. Texas Rangers – The off-season moves to get Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo greatly improved the Rangers’ needs, however, their success ultimately lies in their pitching and their health.
3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – In having so much talent, the Angels should be winning more games. They will have a winning record in 2014, but a tough division will keep them out of the playoffs.
4. Seattle Mariners – Robinson Cano was a huge signing for the Mariners that will draw more interest towards them, but they are not balanced well enough as a team to make a playoff run quite yet.
5. Houston Astros – The Astros do have a very good farm system that brightens their future, but the current team will struggle once again with a poor record.
1. Atlanta Braves – Even after the loss of Medlen and Beachy, the Braves still have a talented pitching staff to go with a very solid offense, which will win them the NL East.
2. Washington Nationals – The Nats have one of the best rotations in the majors that will challenge hitters, but their batters will need to be more consistent this year to make the playoffs.
3. New York Mets – With Matt Harvey likely out for the year, the Mets still went out and improved over the off-season, which may reek better rewards next season.
4. Florida Marlins – Jose Fernandez is the next great pitcher in the MLB. However, the Marlins are still a very young team that will be somewhat better than last year’s disaster.
5. Philadelphia Phillies – Age and injuries have been plaguing the Phillies over the past few seasons. Despite having the third highest payroll in the MLB, Philadelphia will struggle again this year.
1. St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals are the most balanced team in the MLB, and they will once again win the central division.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates – The Andrew McCutchen-led Pirates look to follow up the successes of 2013, and they will once again be a good team that barely misses the postseason.
3. Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun will be dangerous again after his suspension, Matt Garza will add to an already solid rotation, and Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez will impress again in 2014. The sleeper pick in the NL.
4. Cincinnati Reds – The loss of Shin Soo Choo will hurt the Red’s offensive production, as the Reds will miss the playoffs, but super speedster Billy Hamilton will excite fans and win Rookie of the Year in the NL.
5. Chicago Cubs – Theo Epstein and the Cubbies are still in their rebuilding stage, so do not expect to see much success out of a still-developing team.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers bring back their overall talented team for a full season, and they could be even better this year because of Kemp being healthy and the signing of Dan Haren.
2. San Francisco Giants – San Francisco boasts an elite pitching staff and above-average offense, which will help the team earn a Wild Card spot.
3. San Diego Padres – Here is an underrated club that is slowly improving, and Chase Headley and company should improve a small amount once again this season.
4. Arizona Diamondbacks – Their offense has improved by the acquisition of Mark Trumbo, but the season-ending surgery to Patrick Corbin leaves only an average pitching staff left for the season.
5. Colorado Rockies – There is not enough depth in their pitching staff, which is disappointing considering the talented bats they have.
AL Wild Cards – New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians
NL Wild Cards – Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants
AL MVP – Mike Trout: After his phenomenal play in his first two complete seasons made him a superstar — he finished second in the MVP to Miguel Cabrera both years –Trout will win it this year. The phenom hits for a high average, has great speed, has very impressive power, and can make some amazing plays on defense. 2014 will be the year of the Trout.
NL MVP – Paul Goldschmidt: Goldschmidt had an amazing 2013 season, and this man can hit the ball with both power and average. Expect big things out of the extremely talented Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman, because he has consistently gotten better each year.
AL Cy Young – Justin Verlander: After a good but not great 2013 campaign, Verlander will return back to his completely dominant self in 2014 to win the Cy Young. He has pitched incredibly well in Spring Training by going 20 innings without allowing a run. When Verlander has great control and startling movement on his pitches, watch out.
NL Cy Young – Adam Wainwright: It is Wainwright’s year to earn his first Cy Young award. He has consistently been one of the best pitchers in the majors when he is healthy, and he features great command of his pitches along with a devastating curveball.
World Series – Tampa Bay Devil Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Champion – Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers’ elite pitching staff led by Kershaw and Grienke will dominate the postseason, and their offense will be productive enough all season long to win it all.
Commentary by Glen Parris
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering the Atlanta Braves