MLB Predictions: 2019 Season

Adam Holtzman, R1 Sports Editor

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Baseball is finally back, which means it is time to grab some peanuts and Cracker Jacks because 2019 is primed to be a great season. After an eventful 2018 season, which concluded in October with the Boston Red Sox crowned as champions, all teams and fan bases are excited for a fresh start and a chance to be the next World Series champs.

Baseball fans are especially excited to see how the biggest offseason questions will be answered. Will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado produce for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres respectively after signing lucrative contracts this offseason? Will the New York Yankees leapfrog the Red Sox and be at the top of the AL East? And what can we expect from rising stars Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vlad Guerrero Jr. in the MLB?

Photos courtesy of Google Images

 

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  • AL East - Boston Red Sox: Coming off of their fourth World Series in the 21st century, the Red Sox are still the team to beat in the East. While the Yankees and the Rays are formidable foes, the Red Sox have the offensive firepower, dominated by 2018 MVP Mookie Betts and slugger J.D. Martinez, and an impressive rotation with Chris Sale and David Price. The only uncertain in their bullpen, with Craig Kimbrel leaving the team this offseason. While it is hard to duplicate such a strong regular season last year, I expect a repeat as AL East Champs.

  • AL Central - Cleveland Indians: In a very weak AL Central, it’s going to be a battle between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins, with the Indians ultimately prevailing. While the Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor out with a foot injury and likewise for Jose Ramirez, they still have a deep rotation, granted there are no more injuries. Compared to a young Twins team still trying to rebound after a disappointing season, the Indians should be able to repeats as the king of the AL Central.

  • AL West - Houston Astros: Just when you thought the Astros could not get any better, it seems like they continue to make the right moves. They signed former Indians outfielder Michael Brantley to improve their outfield and signed star Alex Bregman to a $100M extension. Their rotation is still very strong led by Justin Verlander and they have a lot of talent still in their farm system. Bullpen may be an issue later in the season, but the Astros will undoubtedly end the season on top of the AL West.

  • AL Wildcard - New York Yankees: The AL East will be well represented in the playoffs, with the two remaining Wildcard spots being filled by east coast teams. The Yankees will battle with the Red Sox for the whole season, but will fall short and easily fill the first spot.

  • AL Wildcard - Tampa Bay Rays: The second is truly up for grabs, but I have the sneaky Rays squeaking into the final playoff spot. A true moneyball team, the Rays have an underrated rotation and an offense that just manages to produce wins.

  • NL East - Washington Nationals: Even with the departure of Bryce Harper, the Nationals are primed to have a good season. Their rotation, led by Max Scherzer and new-comer Patrick Corbin, is still as strong as ever. They have an outfield duo of Juan Soto and Victor Robles who can help replace the production of Harper and beyond. While their division is going to be very competitive with the Mets, Braves and Phillies, the Nationals seem to be poised to control the division.

  • NL Central - Chicago Cubs: Many would consider the 2018 season as a disappointment for the Cubs, but I predict a bounceback year for the Cubs, who will beat out the Brewers this year after being relegated to a Wildcard spot last year. The Cubs are still led by the members of the World Series squad with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. Jon Lester leads the rotation and while their bullpen is nothing special, the Cubs are primed to rebound this year and lead the NL Central.

  • NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers: Coming off of back-to-back World Series losses, it would be foolish to suspect the Dodgers having a bad season. It is true that they lost Manny Machado, but getting Corey Seager back from injury and newly acquired A.J. Pollock will definitely help replace his production. If Clayton Kershaw comes back from injury anything like his old self, the Dodgers should have no problem being the team to beat in the weak NL West.

  • NL Wildcards - Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies: Compared to the AL, the NL Wildcard picture is absolutely stacked, with about a half-dozen teams eyeing those last two spots. The Brewers are led by 2018 MVP Christian Yelich and did not lose any of their producers from last year. However, their rotation is still iffy, so I expect them to trade for one by August. The Phillies will rise to grab that second wild card spot, led by “multi-multi-multi” millionaire Bryce Harper and ace Aaron Nola.

  • NL Wildcards - Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies: Compared to the AL, the NL Wildcard picture is absolutely stacked, with about a half-dozen teams eyeing those last two spots. The Brewers are led by 2018 MVP Christian Yelich and did not lose any of their producers from last year. However, their rotation is still iffy, so I expect them to trade for one by August. The Phillies will rise to grab that second wild card spot, led by “multi-multi-multi” millionaire Bryce Harper and ace Aaron Nola.

  • AL Awards Predictions: AL MVP: Mookie Betts

  • AL Awards Predictions: AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander

  • AL Awards Predictions: AL Rookie of the Year: Vlad Guerrero Jr.

  • NL Awards Predictions: NL MVP: Bryce Harper

  • NL Awards Predictions: NL Cy Young: Jacob DeGrom

  • NL Awards Predictions: NL Rookie of the Year: Fernando Tatis Jr.

  • World Series - Astros over Dodgers: A rematch of the 2017 World Series, both teams seemed poised to return to the World Series. They both boast dynamic lineups, strong rotations and ball clubs that know how to win. I predict that the Dodgers, for the third straight season, will lose in the World Series, a feat that has never been done before. The Astros on the other hand will win their second World Series in three appearances in the 21st century.

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