Baseball kicks in for real in the next day or two, and rumor has it spring may arrive someday as well. As is the annual tradition around RSM I will take a shot at predicting how each division and league playoffs will turn out. As I tell you who will the 2017 World Series, please try to forget last year I had the Giants winning over Texas.
As always each team will have its own one line comment, followed by some other league predictions. I'll wrap with some random MLB and Red Sox thoughts/predictions. Let's go.
American League ( * first wild card ** second wild card)
1. Boston- Boston's B Boys Bring a Banner to Beantown.
2. Baltimore- Birds Nest in Second, but Closer to Fifth than First
3. Toronto- Justin- Jays Only Have Third Place Talent- Harsh but Trudeau.
4. New York- Flip or Flop
5. Tampa Bay- Another Group of Immigrants Canada Will Take Eventually
1. Kansas City- Royals Avoid July Fire Sale, Then Thrive
2. Cleveland- Tired Twirlers Take Down Tito's Team
3. Detroit- Post Illitch Era Decline Begins
4. Minnesota- Mayday, Mayday
5. Chicago- Chisox Clearance Continues
1. Seattle- Mariners Build Wall Around Texas Teams
2.* Houston- Better Team on Paper than M's- Except for Paper Mache Pitching
3. **Texas- Gotta Root for a Team That has a Nomar
4. Los Angeles- Another Serving of Spoiled Trout
5. Oakland- Hey Raiders, Got Room for us in Vegas
AL Post Season
Houston tops Texas 11-9 in the wild card game on a walk off Alex Bregman grand slam.
Boston takes down Houston in four with Chris Sale winning games one and four.
Kansas City's free agents to be sweep Seattle.
KC's post season experience from 2014-15 only goes so far and the Red Sox win their fourth AL pennant in the 2000's in six games. Xander Bogaerts in the ALCS MVP.
AL MVP & Rookie of Year: Andrew Benintendi in a remake of Fred Lynn 1975.
AL Cy Chris Sale ( 24 wins make it a landslide)
Manager of the Year: Scott Servais, Seattle
Home Run Champ: Nelson Cruz 44
Comeback: Felix Hernandez ( joins Sale as only AL 20 game winners)
1. Washington- Nats Won't be the Only Thing Not Passed in DC This Year.
2. Miami- Mattingly's Marlins Mature
3. New York- They're Still Citi
4. Atlanta- Good at Stockpiling Young Pitchers, Like Bartolo Colon & RA Dickey.
5. Philadelphia- Best Philly Pitcher Could Be Clay Buchholz...Fake News
1. Pittsburgh- Sometimes the Best Deals are Those You Don't Make (see A. McCutchen)
2.* Chicago- Looked Unbeatable Throughout Campaign Until Hacked by Russians
3. St. Louis- Shoulda Grabbed a Better Cubbie Than Dexter Fowler
4. Milwaukee-Rebuild Yet to Come to a Head
5.Cincinnati- This Dick Williams Team Will Not "Win More Than We'll Lose"
1. Colorado- The National's League's Best Story
2.** Los Angeles- The winner is ...La La Land!.......No Wait
3. San Francisco- Odd/Even Year Lock Blown All to Hell, Who Knows Now
4. Arizona- The DBacks Hazen of the NL West Comes Soon
5. San Diego- At Least They Have Don Orsillo
NL Post Season
Cubs beat LA 4-3 when Jon Lester picks potential tying run off first base to end the game
Cubs over Nationals in five: Trump tweets he will throw out first pitch for NLDS Game Six
Pirates sweep Rockies
Despite the Cubs outscoring the Pirates by ten runs in the series, the Pirates win 4 games to 3.
NLCS MVP is Gerrit Cole.
NL MVP Andrew McCutchen
NL CY Gerrit Cole
Manager Bud Black, Colorado
Rookie Dansby Swanson, Braves edges out Josh Bell of Pittsburgh
Home Run Giancarlo Stanton 55
In a replay of the first Series ever in 1903 (although this time not a best of nine) the Pirates and Boston meet in Game One at Fenway Park. Boston with 96 regular season wins gained the home field advantage over the 92 win Pirates.
The Red Sox win Games One and Two at home behind Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. The Pirates go home to win the next two to tie the series. In Game Five the Sox explode on the highly touted Buccos pitching to win 14-4 with five home runs from their outfielders, two apiece for Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley, Jr, and a three run blast from Andrew Benintendi. The Red Sox return to Fenway and put away their fourth World Championship of the 21st century. The 3-1 win was paced by a three run double by Jackie Bradley, Jr. and David Price coming out of the bullpen to get the last six outs. JBJ is the World Series MVP, not only for his bat, but for making a back to plate Game Six saving catch reminiscent of Willie Mays in 1954( yeah, I wasn't alive then either, look it up on You Tube for chrissakes).
Other Random MLB Predictions
The All Star Game no longer "matters" in determining World Series home field advantage, so who the hell cares. (AL wins 4-3, Francisco Lindor is MVP).
Both the Cubs and Indians suffer from the hangover of going through a testing 2016 post season run all the way to Game Seven of the World Series. Cory Kluber and Andrew Miller especially suffer from their usage last fall.
Only one manager is fired during the season: Paul Molitor of Minnesota. But one day after the season ends Molly is joined by John Gibbons and Brad Ausmus. Both New York managers retire, Terry Collins replaced by Maine's Dick Scott and Joe Girardi leaves the Yanks to join ESPN.
Giancarlo Stanton finally has a healthy season and his 55 home runs lead the Marlins to second place finish in the East, but they lose out on a wild card spot to LA on the last day of the season.
Yankees unload Bret Gardner, Chase Headley, and MIchael Pineda at the trade deadline. Brian Cashman tries very hard to find a taker for Jacoby Ellsbury, but cannot. Yanks don't get much for this trio, but the 2016 deadline haul including Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier will make New York fans very happy, very soon (if the Yanks don't trade Frazier because his hair is too long).
Red Sox Predictions
The Bosox will go 96-66 and win the division by a dozen games or more.
Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr. all continue an upward trajectory to their careers. Along with superstar rookie Andrew Benintendi the Sox are able to make up for the loss of David Ortiz in the lineup.
The first base/DH axis will have its ups and downs, but between Hanley Ramirez, newcomer Mitch Moreland, and importantly rookie Sam Travis, the Sox will get sufficient offense from both spots.
David Price will not pitch until July due to his injured left arm. Despite that the Red Sox rotation will be stronger than 2016. Chris Sale will have no issues adjusting to Boston (the Sox will cancel all throwback uniform nights). Rick Porcello does not win 20+ games, but will nearly replicate his 2016. Stephen Wright will pitch in a similar, all star level manner as he did before John Farrell mistook him for Quentin Berry. A key cog to the rotation will be the emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez as a full fledged top level big league starter. Eduardo will go 16-8 with an ERA of under 3.50.
The back of the rotation will fluctuate due to injuries to Drew Pomeranz. Kyle Kendrick will make more than a dozen starts and Brian Johnson will deliver ten more. Henry Owens will be traded by July.
Criag Kimbrel will have a better second season in Boston. Tyler Thornburg scheduled to be the 8th inning guy, like Pomeranz, will be injury riddled. But 2016's key bullpen acquisition, Carson Smith, will return from Tommy John surgery around Memorial Day and will shine as Kimbrel's running mate.
By July 1st, Blake Swihart will become the Sox starting catcher after hitting.330 at Pawtucket and catching regularly to hone his defensive skills. Christian Vazquez will be a dependable back up to Blake. Sandy Leon goes back into the mist of all third string/AAAA catchers.
Rafael Devers after a slow April, tears up the Eastern League for the Portland Sea Dogs, After a brief AAA cameo, Devers makes his big league debut in late August on a road trip to Cleveland. Pablo Sandoval will have a comeback season that is good enough to allow Dave Dombrowski to trade him next winter and turn the keys to third base over to Devers.
There you have my look at the upcoming baseball season. I hope you enjoy them and please no betting based on anything you read here. Unless you win, then send my 10% in care of Red Sox Maineiacs.