Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cousin Jason's 2018 Predictions

AL East
Boston- Two-time defending AL East Champs will make it three in a row, Cora, Cora, Cora!
*New York- The next chapter in the storied rivalry is here, paper champs can’t catch Sox though
Tampa Bay- D’Rays play feisty ball in hopes of getting support to build a new ballpark, if you can call the Trop a ballpark
Toronto- The Jays avoid the cellar thanks to strong 2nd half once they turn to their youth
Baltimore- Bad baseball played at Camden Yards, but hey kids under 9 get to watch for free

AL Central
Cleveland- Indians are as fine as Lindor Chocolate’s
Minnesota- Twins are improved on paper, pitching staff unfortunately folds like it too
Chicago- Watch out for the South 2020
Detroit- Tigers grow under Gardenhire’s leadership
Kansas City- Royals will regret not selling in 2017

AL West
Houston- Defending Champs showing no signs of being a one and done
**Los Angeles- Angels swim upstream in hopes of getting Trout to the post-season
Seattle- Mariners are 6th best team in AL, too bad only 5 go to the playoffs
Oakland- A’s plan to build a roster a la the Indians hits a snag, when they realize it was the team in Major League
Texas- Rangers wither in the Texas heat

Post Season
Wildcard Game: Yankees win slugfest in the Bronx over the Angels
ALDS: Red Sox sweep Indians, Astros over Yankees in 6
ALCS: Red Sox over Astros in 7

AL Awards
MVP Francisco Lindor, Cleveland
Manager AJ Hinch, Houston
ROY Willie Calhoun, Texas
HR Champion Khris Davis, Oakland 47
Comeback Matt Duffy, Tampa Bay

NL East
Washington- Nationals are so much better than the rest of the division, they might wrap up title by trade deadline
New York- Mets arms thrive under Mickey Callaway
Philadelphia- Phillies are going to be good again, not good enough in 2018
Atlanta- Braves youth movement challenges Phillies and Mets but falls short
Miami- Marlins reminiscent of Yankees pre-Jeter
NL Central
Milwaukee- Brewers Lite up division with great taste and less filling
**Chicago- Cubs use Maddon-ing push to get back to October
St. Louis- Cards are a model of consistency, but it’s not enough in 2018
Cincinnati- Reds find a way to beat out the Pirates
Pittsburgh- Pirates scuffle to basement

NL West
Arizona- D’Backs are Lovullo-ing it!
*Los Angeles- Dodgers experience garners Wild Card
San Francisco- Giants improved offense moves them out of the cellar
Colorado- Rockies succumb to thin air
San Diego- It could be worse for Eric Hosmer, he could still be in KC

Post Season
Wildcard Game Jon Lester pitches Cubs over Dodgers
NLDS: Nationals over Cubs in 6, Arizona sweeps Milwaukee
NLCS: Arizona over Nationals in 7

NL Awards
MVP Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
Cy Young Max Scherzer, Washington
Manager Craig Counsell, Milwaukee
ROY Lewis Brinson, Miami
HR Champion Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia 43
Comeback Matt Harvey, New York

World Series: Red Sox new regime faces off against the Diamondbacks and the former heir to the throne, in a 7 game series the Boston 9 comes out victorious

Brandon's MLB Predictions 2018

AL East -
1. NY Yankees - In recent years, teams that have had praise heaped on them and anointed pennants before the first pitches are thrown have not faired very well. I enjoy seeing every pundit picking the Yanks as a shoo-in for October, so I’ll join them here. Why not? It’s not like their stud acquisition has only played 125 games 3 of the 8 years of his career. Or have a first time manager who might have charisma, but when he looks at Aroldis Chapman on the mound in a tight September game, will Chapman listen to him? Will Aaron Judge be hitting .175 on May 1? Tanaka’s elbow ligament definitely won’t stop hanging by a thread for three years and come flying off his body. There’s no way this could go wrong. 
2. Boston - The Sox beat out the Twins, Jays, Orioles, Mariners, and Angels to host the wild card game. Remember just how good Chris Sale was last season. An improved young and hungry offense. It’s going to be a fun summer battling the other best teams in the AL. 
3. Toronto - The Jays are in it right down to the last day of the regular season, losing out to the Twins by a game. The Blue Jays have underperformed high expectations for years, but now those expectations are coming down while most of their exceptional talent still remains. They will be a tough out.
4. Baltimore - It’s hard to imagine Buck Showalter managing a team that is going to start a full on tank job and rebuild in a post Manny Machado world. So I think the Orioles either fire him and Dan Duquette and really start over, or they go all in on one last ride in 2018 and try to get Manny to resign in a free agency market that is suddenly unstable. Their bullpen is still the second best in the AL east, and that Machado, Scoop, Davis, Jones, Mancini, Trumbo core is still a tough lineup to get through. If Bundy and Gausman finally have a good year together, why not the birds? 
5. Tampa Bay - They find ways to win and outperform their projections every year down in Tampa. So it feels weird predicting them to crater to the bottom of the league, but their roster just doesn’t stack up to the rest of the East. I see them losing 100+ games and trading every one they can.

AL Central -
1. Cleveland - The class of the AL Central by far.
2. Minnesota - They get the 2nd AL wild card on the last day of the season over the Blue Jays
3. Chicago - The team that has a bad record but is fun to watch play all season long. Look out in 2019-2020
4. Kansas City - With one hot streak or two there’s still enough here to hang on for a while in a weak Central, but they could also have a fire sale
5. Detroit - speaking of fire sale, the Tigers have a strong case as the worst roster situation in the AL

AL West -
1. Houston - WS champs add a full season of Verlander and another year of maturity for the Altuve, Correa, Springer, Bregman core. 100+ wins.
2. Seattle - One of these years the Mariners are going to put it together and make the playoffs. Not this year. Miss out on 2nd wild card by a game or two.
3. LA Angels - As fearsome as their lineup is, and no matter how stout their infield defense is, their rotation will fall completely apart by Memorial Day and their bullpen is subpar to boot.
4. Oakland - Led by Olson & Chapman (good law firm name, or maybe a leather jacket company?), they stick around in the WC race until the deadline, then deal and play for 2019
5. Texas - Their rotation is awful, they got old in a hurry, and their prospects have consistently underperformed.

AL Playoffs
Wildcard game -  Boston over Minnesota
Divisional Series -  Boston over Houston
Cleveland over NY Yankees

ALCS - Cleveland over Boston

AL Manager of the Year - Paul Molitor

AL Rookie of the Year - Willie Calhoun

AL Cy Young - Chris Sale

AL MVP - Mike Trout

NL East 
1. Washington - replacing Dusty Baker with Dave Martinez is the biggest replacement in Washington since Rex Tillerson was replaced with Mike Pompeo. Luckily for Nats fans, the manager swap will work out much better.
2. NY Mets - Those pitchers!
3. Philadelphia - They’re a year away
4. Atlanta - They’re two years away
5. Miami - They’re a decade away

NL Central
1. Chicago - The Cubs’ pitching isn’t quite what it once was, but they’re still loaded
2. Brewers - The Brew Crew can rake. If their rotation comes along, look out. I’ve got them winning the 2nd NL wildcard
3. St. Louis - Don’t know much about the Cardinals, but I still like this Nelly song
4. Pittsburgh - This is what happens when your run of can’t-miss prospects end up missing
5. Cincinnati - The ghost of Marge Schott sends this team to the cellar

NL West
1. Los Angeles - A boring pick, but hard to go against all that talent. And Dave Roberts
2. Arizona - Our old friend Torey Lovullo goes two-for-two in making the playoffs as a manager
3. Colorado - The Rox compete but come up short of a wildcard
4. San Francisco - Their run of even year dominance is all overweigh
5. San Diego - Hey, they have Eric Hosmer now. 

NL Playoffs
Wildcard game - Brewers over Diamondbacks

NLDS - Brewers over Dodgers
Nationals over Cubs

NLCS - Nationals over Brewers

NL Manager of the Year - Dave Martinez

NL Rookie of the Year - Ronald Acuna

NL Cy Young - Noah Syndergaard

NL MVP - Bryce Harper

WORLD SERIES - Nationals over Indians - The Nationals bring a title home to D.C. while the Indians come up just short again.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Deacon Art's 2018 MLB Predictons

We are days away from another MLB season and more importantly to us here at RSM another Boston Red Sox season.  With the opener on this Thursday we will fire up our somewhat dormant site with the annual predictions for MLB. Here are my predictions for the order of finish in each division, as well as playoff predictions including the World Series winner and several of the postseason awards.  Also included will be some random predictions and a few more in depth paragraphs about the outlook on the Red Sox.
Here we go:
1.       Boston           Sox Hunt First Pitches- Bag First Place
2. **  New York      Aaron Boone Can't Beat Bosox This Time
3.       Baltimore      So You're Saying There's a Chance
4.       Toronto         Canada Continues Trade Deficit in Victories
5.       Tampa Bay   They Deserve to Play at Tropicana Field

1.      Minnesota         Buxton, Sano Lead Mollyknockers to Title
2.*    Cleveland          Chief Wahoo Steps Aside in Second
3.      Chicago             Best of AL Central Rebuilding Teams
4.      Kansas City       Why did Moose return for this?
5.      Detroit               Put the Tigers in the Tank

1.      Houston             Tanking Turns to Title 2.0
2.      Los Angeles       Shohei-In for Second
3.      Oakland             But No Longer Door Matts
4.      Seattle               The Team That Loved Dee Gordon
5.      Texas                 Rangers Ride Bannister to the Basement
*= 1st Wild Card     **= 2nd Wild Card

Cleveland over Yankees in Wild Card Game 1-0

ALDS Houston over Cleveland and Boston over Twins each in four games.

ALCS Houston over Sox 4 games to 3. ( more on this later).

AL MVP :           Carlos Correa. Astro shortstop edges Andrew Benintendi.
AL Cy     :            Chris Sale
AL ROY  :           Eloy Jimenez, White Sox OF
AL Mgr. of Year: Alex Cora

1. Washington      Only Russian Collusion Could Keep Nats from Top
2. Philadelphia     Phillies Kids and $ Movin' On Up
3. Atlanta             GM Banned for Life, But Braves Fortunes Survive
4. New York        Same Cast--New Episodes
5. Miami              Owner Jeter has Even Less Range than Shortstop Jeter

1. Chicago          Theo's Hall of Fame Career Continues
2. St. Louis         Best of the Rest in NL Central
3. Milwaukee      Pitching Woes Leave Brew Crew in the Middle
4. Pittsburgh       Trading Stars Makes .500 Too Much of a Hurdle
5. Cincinnati       Last Even if Scooter Hits Five Homers in a Game

1.     Los Angeles    A Million(s) Reasons
2.*   Arizona           Goldschmidt's Club Settles for Silver
3.** Colorado         Typical Rocky Mountain Offense & Unfortunately Pitching
4.    San Diego        Hosmer's Veteran Intangibles  Lead to ....Fourth
5.    San Francisco  But Players Do Get AARP discount at Fine Bay Area Eateries.

Colorado over Dbacks in Wild Card Game  14-12.

NLDS Cubs sweep Colorado, Nationals over Dodgers in five, after falling behind 0-2 in games.

NLCS More heartbreak in DC as Cubs take the series in six games.

WORLD SERIES Houston repeats as World Champions by winning a seven games series.  George Springer is the WS MVP.

NL MVP:     Bryce Harper, Nats
NL Cy    :     Carlos Martinez, Cards
NL ROY      Ronald Acuna, Braves
NL Mgr.:      Gabe Kapler, Phillies

Other Random Predictions
1. The AL wins the All Star Game held at Nationals Park in DC ( the fourth consecutive All Star game held in a NL park).  Yoan Moncada follows a Rafael Devers double with one of his own to give the AL a 7-6 win.
2. Only one MLB batter breaks the fifty home run mark this year.  Miguel Sano of the Twins hits 52.  The NL co-leaders are Harper and Kris Bryant with 47. Speaking of Harper, he does get a $400 million ten year contract as free agent, but he does not leave town and gets the $ from the Nationals.  Manny Machado also his $400 million deal by moving the the NL and signing with Philadelphia.
3. First manager to be fired is the Reds'  Bryan Price and he is replaced by Cincy pitching consultant/ESPN contributor John Farrell.
4. The Red Sox will hit more home runs than the Yankees.

Let me start by saying I really, really wanted to pick the Red Sox over the Cubs in the World Series.  Houston seems so strong on paper, and with everyone blowing smoke up the Yankees' behinds, it just seemed so Red Sox biased (which I am) to pick Boston to win it all. So I went with Houston, but here are a dozen reasons I really believe the Sox will win it all , after winning 98 games in the regular season.
1. Alex Cora.  I get that Cora is a first time big league manager, and I am not trying to lay all of the 2017 blame at John Farrell's feet.  And when I say Alex Cora, I am including his new staff as well.  Two things Cora and staff will change in this team; the atmosphere on and off the field. And more importantly a new hitting philosophy that will have the Sox hitters looking for a pitch to drive right from the first pitch of an at bat.  This hitting approach will directly effect reasons 2 through 5.

2. Mookie Betts.  Betts could have a legitimate claim to be the best player in baseball.  2017 was a year many players would die for, but for Betts it was a step back.  Mookie will not only thrive under Cora, he will become a team leader.

3. Xander Bogaerts.  Like Betts, Bogaerts reportedly is very hard on himself when he encounters on the field failure.  Xander had also become very passive at the plate.  The new regime will directly influence both of these situations.  From the day Alex Cora was hired I fully expected a revival of Bogaerts' career.

4. Jackie Bradley, Jr.  JBJ also could benefit from the new ideas and attitudes, but the best thing Boston did for Jackie was keep him in center field after a winter of trade rumors.  Look for at least a return to 2016's offensive output.

5. Andrew Benintendi.  If Betts is not the best player on this team, it will be because Benintendi is. Andrew has added about twenty pounds of muscle this winter, and looks primed for a monster season.

6. JD Martinez.  JD is even a better addition to this club than many fans realize.  Martinez was second to Mike Trout in OPS last year.  JD has been in the MLB top ten in OPS in each of his four full time seasons.  For every 162 games played, JD has averaged just under 40 home runs per.  JD Martinez is a great hitter.

7. David Price. 2017 was pretty much a lost season for the former Cy Young Award winner.  With arm woes and off the field controversies, Price was written off by many Sox fans.  That would be a mistake. Price, who was the best Sox hurler in the post season, seems healthy this spring and motivated to prove '17 was an aberration.

8. Starting Rotation.  With the possible exception of Houston, Boston has the makings of the best AL rotation. A one-two of Chris Sale and David Price outdoes any other rotation.  Rick Porcello needs to return to a semblance of the 2016 version and Drew Pomeranz  is coming off a 2016 NL All-star status and a 17-6 2017.  Drew is free agent after this year and should be highly motivated.  And with Eduardo Rodriquez having surgery to stabilize his chronic knee issues, he could blossom.  He turns only 25 in April.

9. Craig Kimbrel.  Kimbrel had one of the best seasons by any closer in history in 2017.  Kimbrel can also be a free agent after 2018 and again has every reason to be an elite closer again.

10. Rafael Devers.  At age 20, last season Devers broke in the big leagues and hit ten home runs in 222 at bats. It is very easy to see Devers hit 25-30 in a full season.

11. Depth.  If anything goes wrong in the line-up (injuries, etc.) the Sox have players like Eduardo Nunez (who will be the second baseman for the first month or two while Dustin Pedroia recovers from major knee surgery), Brock Holt, and especially Blake Swihart. The Sox hope to turn Blake into a catcher/utility player.  Wherever he plays Swihart will hit. A lot.  Also if the Hanley Ramirez/Mitch Moreland first base platoon springs any leaks watch for Sam Travis to come up and contribute.

12. 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the one time much mentioned 1918. So in summary, yes I believe the Sox win 98 games (about a 5 % increase of 2017) and win the east and get to the ALCS (at least). They will finish a half dozen games ahead of the team in the Bronx.

Enjoy the predictions and most of all enjoy the season.