With the stateside version of Opening Day coming up this Sunday, Major League Baseball (MLB) is sure to be rife with drama and intrigue in both leagues. Can Boston do the unthinkable and dominate the American League East again? Will Anaheim reap any benefits from the millions of dollars the club is purging to its aging veterans out west? Will the up and coming Reds and Pirates finally be able to dethrone the mighty Cardinals in the NL Central? Only time will tell.
Here are this season’s predictions:
NL East: 1. Atlanta Braves, 2. Washington Nationals, 3. New York Mets, 4. Philadelphia Phillies, 5. Miami Marlins
Despite a proven starting rotation led by the healthy Stephen Strausburg, the Nationals still will not be able to catch the hard hitting Braves this season. Look for Washington to make a strong wild card push, however, and look for the Mets to finally bring some stability (and wins) into their time in the MLB. The Phillies will fall apart physically, and Miami will continue to be a dumpster fire.
NL Central: 1. St. Louis Cardinals, 2. Pittsburgh Pirates, 3. Cincinnati Reds, 4. Chicago Cubs, 5. Milwaukee Brewers
Manager Mike Matheny has the Cardinals playing like a well-oiled machine. Now that Pittsburgh has some experience winning, look for the Pirates to pose a tougher challenge to the Cardinals down the stretch this time. Cincinnati looks poised to take a step back while the Cubs keep talking about patience.
NL West: 1. Los Angeles Dodgers, 2. Arizona Diamondbacks, 3. San Francisco Giants, 4. San Diego Padres, 5. ColoradoRockies
If not for the injury to young stud pitcher Bryan Corbin, Arizona would have a great chance to overtake MLB’s new moneybags. As it turns out, however, the Dodgers and their massive payroll should win the NL West. The Giants have to many question marks on the mound and the Padres simply cannot hit.
AL East: 1. Boston Red Sox, 2. Baltimore Orioles, 3. New York Yankees, 4. Tampa Bay Rays, 5. Toronto Blue Jays
For all the money that New York spent again this past off-season, the Yankees roster is still too old, and too unreliable to contend for a playoff spot. Boston will continue to roll, even without Jacoby Ellsbury, and the young Orioles will make a strong push for one of the wild card spots
AL Central: 1. Detroit Tigers, 2. Cleveland Indians, 3. Kansas City Royals, 4. Chicago White Sox, 5. Minnesota Twins
Yes, they paid Miguel Cabrera more than the GDP of most small countries, but with their outstanding starting rotation no one will be able to touch the Tigers in the AL Central. The Indians could have done more in the offseason, but they should be able to carry momentum from a great turnaround year in 2013. The Royals have a host of young talent, but they are not ready for the big boys just yet.
AL West: 1. Texas Rangers, 2. Seattle Mariners, 3. Los Angeles Angels, 4. Seattle Mariners, 5. Houston Astros
The Rangers have one of the most dangerous lineups in MLB with the additions of Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo. If manager Ron Washington can keep the team focused into the fall they should have no problem making the post season. With Felix Hernandez knocking them down and Robinson Cano lighting it up in Seattle, look for the Mariners to finally break through in the west. The Oakland Athletics are very talented, but with the loss of ace pitcher Jarrod Parker for the season they will not have the pitching to withstand the firestorm that traditionally comes from the Rangers and Angels.
The Cardinals will defeat the Tigers in six games to bring another championship to St. Louis
NL MVP: Bryce Harper
AL MVP: Robinson Cano
NL Cy Young Award: Madison Bumgarner
AL Cy Young Award: Felix Hernandez
Commentary by Jeremy Mika
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox