- Tampa Bay - With a full season of Evan Longoria, the addition of Wil Myers, and a pitching staff full of young studs David Price, Matt Moore, Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb and eventually Chris Archer, they are the best in the AL East.
- Toronto - Chemistry will be an issue, as will their bullpen and the puzzling re-hire of John Gibbons. However, they have amassed such a plethora of talent they can’t help but win 88-90 games. Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion are the two biggest keys to contention.
- Boston - Fueled by a pitching staff that eats innings, keeps games close, and nails down leads, the Sox contend for the playoffs all year long before coming up just short at the end. Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley Jr, Jose Iglesias, and Allen Webster lead a youthful, energetic, fun team to watch.
- New York Yankees - Despite all the age and injuries, they still have a lot of talent on this roster. Problem is, they won’t get to assemble it until June. I think they start slow and pick up steam late in the year, but can’t climb above 4th in the loaded AL East.
- Baltimore - I don’t completely buy the “they got insanely lucky last year so they’ll go back to being bad this year” argument, but I also don’t buy that they’ll be the second-best team in this division again. They may win 80 games and still finish last.
- Detroit - the best hitter alive, the best pitcher alive, the best first baseman in the AL and the best butt-smoking manager alive. Hint: they’re good.
- * Kansas City - I’m buying the hype. I’m drinking the Kool-Aid. I’m pushing my chips into the middle. Shields will be good and the kids all produce. Playoff baseball in Kansas City!
- Chicago - They always seem to win more games than they are projected to. Guys like Konerko, Rios, and Ramirez seem like they should stop being good, but never do.
- Cleveland - The Tribe makes some strides and with Tito and Swish on board they have the loosest clubhouse in the majors, but with that craptastic pitching staff it doesn’t matter.
- Minnesota - Their lineup is sneaky good. Their pitching staff is pretty good...if they were a high school team.
- LA Angels - Mike “Trouser” Trout, Pujols, Hamilton, and an underrated pitching staff leads to an AL West victory by a comfortable margin
- *Oakland - A solid rotation, the continued emergence of Yoenis, and playing Houston leads to back-to-back playoff appearances
- Seattle - A bit of a surprise team in the AL stays in the wildcard hunt until the end. They’ve added enough offense to be taken seriously.
- Texas - The Rangers backslide in a big way. They lost too many guys and replaced them with too many question marks.
- Houston - Yikes.
Kansas City over Oakland in wildcard round
Detroit over Kansas City
Tampa Bay over Anaheim
Tampa Bay over Detroit in 6
AL MVP - Miguel Cabrera
AL Cy Young - David Price
AL ROY - Jurickson Profar
AL Manager of the Year - Jim Leyland
- Atlanta - The Braves out-perform the darlings of every MLB prediction page I saw (see below) and win the NL East behind the Uptons (when are they going to acquire Kate to complete the Upton trifecta?), Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, and a better than average pitching rotation.
- *Washington - The Nationals are everybody’s pick to win the NL East, and most people’s pick to win the World Series. I say they hit a few road bumps that keep them from winning their division, but they get into the playoffs by easily capturing the first wild card. Harper, Strausburg, and company are too good to keep out of the postseason.
- Philadelphia - The aging Phillies make one more run at the post-season, but come up just short of a wild card after being in the race all year. The front office then laments not blowing the team up at the trade deadline.
- NY Mets - The Mets’ starting rotation is better than people think, even without Johan Santana, but their lineup stinks. At least they’re not the...
- Miami - Will fight all season long to stay in the hunt...for worst team in the majors.
- Cincinnati - The Reds have everything you want in a winning ballclub: they hit for average and power, they have stars, they have speed, they have a solid rotation (Johnny Cueto is better than anybody realizes), and a lights-out closer in Aroldis Chapman. I say the Reds win the NL Central by the biggest margin of any division champ.
- Pittsburgh - The Pirates finally finish above .500 for the first time since George H.W. Bush was president. However, they come up short in both the playoff race and the MVP race as McCutcheon comes up just short.
- St. Louis - They have perhaps the best crop of rookies ready to enter the bigs of any team in the majors. This crop will help the Cards contend all year long, but they fall short of the playoffs.
- Milwaukee - If Ryan Braun ends up getting suspended for PEDs, then they could fall to dead last in a hurry. If Yovani Gallardo steps up his game a notch, they could compete for the playoffs. Low floor, high ceiling team.
- Chicago Cubs - Jeff Samardzija is legit. Anthony Rizzo is, too. Starlin Castro is as well. Everybody else, meh.
- LA Dodgers - Their roster is not deep, and they have spots filled with downright bad players (Juan Uribe? Luis Cruz?), but they also have the best pitcher in the NL (Clayton Kershaw) and perhaps the best position player (Matt Kemp). Kemp struggled with injuries last year, but when he is healthy he is one of the best three players in all of baseball.
- *San Francisco - Essentially the same team that won it all a year ago. It would take a crippling injury or two for them to not make it back to the postseason this year. If they stay healthy, they get in again.
- Colorado - I picked them to win the division last year and they bombed horribly. I’ll go ahead and pick them 3rd this year, and pray that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez stay healthy all year and rake in Coors Field.
- Arizona - They supposedly wanted to build a “grittier” roster this offseason to make the mentality of manager Kirk Gibson. They got grittier, but they also got worse.
- San Diego - One of these years, their kids might vault them back to the top of the NL West. It won’t be this year. San Diego fights tooth and nail for the most losses in the majors with Miami and Houston. Stay classy, San Diego.
NL MVP - Joey Votto (Freddie Freeman finishes in the top 4 in voting)
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
NL Manager of the Year - Dusty Baker
NL Rookie of the Year - Shelby Miller
Wild Card Game - Washington over San Francisco
Atlanta over Los Angeles
Cincinnati over Washington
Atlanta over Cincinnati in 7
World Series - Tampa Bay over Atlanta in 7