Baltimore - A big bounce-back year for the O’s who mash their way to an AL East crown to give us our fourth different AL East champion in five years
Boston* - The Beards shake up superstition by shaving their beards and heads (and everything else) in mid-July and the Sox nab the first wild card behind the best/deepest pitching staff in the bigs.
Tampa Bay - Some hitters get old (Zobrist) or crash back to earth (Loney), and the Rays decide to move David Price by the trade deadline.
NY Yankees - the Yanks start hot, but injuries and ineffectiveness pile up as the summer goes along. Tanaka starts hot, but is getting crushed by late July. Jetes makes his farewell by missing the postseason two years in a row. Joe Girardi gets canned.
Toronto - I’ve picked the Jays to make the playoffs two years in a row and I’m tired of getting duped. This year I’m picking them to have the fourth-worst record in the AL and have a new manager by the end of August. Make your Vegas bets accordingly.
Detroit - They still have the best hitter on the planet in Miggy and one of the best/most durable pitchers in the AL in Verlander (as long as Kate Upton doesn’t weaken his legs), plus a bunch of talent and winning experience. It’s close until the end, but the Tigers take the Central again.
Kansas City** - Two of the worst players in the entire AL were whoever the Royals started at 2B and RF last year. Upgrades at those two positions plus a deadline deal for one more pitcher leads KC into the playoffs for the first time since the Reagan administration.
Cleveland - the Indians stay in the wild card race until the very end but come up short. They need another hitter or two.
Minnesota - Nolasco and Hughes give them two pitchers who actually deserve to be in a big league rotation, their lineup is a little better than you think, and Buxton is on the way. More fun in the twin cities this summer.
White Sox - Too many old, slow, white dudes (Konerko, Dunn) and not enough Chris Sale to save this dismal team. Abreu mashes, but can’t hit a curve ball. He gives Jobu cigar, rum. He doesn’t come.
LA Angels - I like this team heading into 2014 with lowered expectations, a healthy Jered Weaver, and a year in LA to settle in for Pujols/Hamilton. Having the best baseball player in the world doesn’t hurt, either.
Oakland - The A’s stay in a crowded wild card race until the very end, but come up a little short. They have been maximizing their talent for years now, one of these years they have to come up short, right?
Texas - The injuries are already piling up and they don’t have a ton of depth behind them. Behind Darvish nobody on their staff scares me. I see one of those seasons where everybody is hurt, everything goes wrong, and they finish well out of the playoff picture.
Seattle - I so badly want to pick them to make the playoffs, or at least finish in the top three in the AL West. Then I look at my 2013 Blue Jays pick, and look at their starting rotation and realize they’re not getting higher than fourth. Although getting rid of Eric Wedge was their best transaction of the winter.
Houston - this will be a good team.....for me to poop on (timely Conan O’Brien reference)
Wildcard - Boston over Kansas City
Divisional Series - Baltimore over LA Angels
Boston over Detroit
ALCS - Baltimore over Boston
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Rookie of the Year - Xander Bogaerts
AL Manager of the Year - Ned Yost
Washington - lower expectations and another year of experience for Harper/Strasburg lead D.C. to the best regular season record in baseball in 2014.
NY Mets - The Mets make a surprise run at the NL wild card before coming up just short. All Big Fat Bartolo Colon does is win. And take 'roids.
Atlanta - The Braves are dealing with injuries to their rotation and underperforming mashers (B. Upton, Heyward). They fall to 3rd in the division.
Philadelphia - Hey they have Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley in the middle of their lineup, which is really good.....if this were 2008.
Miami - At least they have a hideous park to play in.
St. Louis - they have a solid lineup and electric arms all through their staff. They make an easy run through the NL Central again.
Cincinnati** - the Reds get back to the playoffs by beating out the Mets, Braves, and Padres for the second wildcard. Votto and Bruce mash. Hamilton runs like Hayes, but he hits like shit. Much like the Mariners, their best off-season move was firing Dusty Baker.
Milwaukee - Fear the Beer is back as the Brew Crew sticks around in the wild card hunt until the end. Pretty solid top of the rotation. One of the best hitters alive added to breakout 2013 star Carlos Gomez at the top of the order. Bratwurst. Yum.
Pittsburgh - A big tumble for the Pirates after making the playoffs in 2013. No Burnett, Liriano can’t repeat success, and the Pirates start a new streak of incompetence.
Cubbies - “No, really, Theo is building this thing from the ground up. You just wait until these prospects start coming up - it’s going to be great! Buy your 2017 season tickets now!”
LA Dodgers - The best pitcher alive anchors a solid rotation, which includes Big Fat Ryu. Puig is electric. Kemp could have a bounce-back season. If they have a hole, they can always throw another $10-50 million at it.
San Francisco* - The Giants get back to the playoffs with a very good pitching staff, a slimmed-down Kung Fu Panda, and a big bounce back year from Buster Posey.
San Diego - the Fathers stay in the wild card hunt until the last week of the season. A surprise team of the NL (along with the Mets and the Brew Crew) wins with pitching and defense.
Arizona - The Diamondbacks have been up to a lot of stuff over the last year or so. It seems like you always hear their name mentioned at winter meetings and they are always wheeling and dealing....so, why is their team so bad? And how long will the tough guy act last from Kirk Gibson before it becomes grating? I wanted to find a way to get this team into the playoffs, but I just don’t see it.
Colorado - third-worst team in the NL above the Marlins and Cubs. Honest question: if they sell beer at Coors field, will they also sell marijuana? I can see the promotional nights now (not to mention sales of peanuts and Cracker Jacks).
Wildcard - Giants over Reds
Divisional Series - Cardinals over Giants
Nationals over Dodgers
NLCS - Nationals over Cardinals
NL MVP - Joey Votto
NL Cy Young - Stephen Strasburg
NL Rookie of the Year - Travis d’Arnaud
NL Manager of the Year - Mike Matheny
World Series - Nationals over Orioles in the Battle of the Beltway