Happy first week of the season everybody! This past week I laid out my division previews for the American League predictions of where each team will finish.
All odds provided by Oddschecker as of 3/29/19
1. Washington Nationals (+250)
Best staff in the NL, and it’ll carry them to a division crown. Expect another Cy Young-caliber season from Mad Max, and hopefully similar turns from Strasburg & the newly acquired Patrick Corbin. The offense won’t suffer without Bryce Harper nearly as much as you think.
2. Philadelphia Phillies (+175)
Speaking of Bryce Harper, this Phillies lineup is going to RAKE. They’ll slide into a Wild Card spot after neck-and-neck run with the Nats for the division crown. Adding a starter via the Trade Deadline (or a FA Dallas Keuchel) could turn the tide here.
3. Atlanta Braves (+300)
So much exciting youth in Atlanta, starting with Albies & Acuna. They arrived a year early, but won’t be taking anyone in this division by surprise. Tons of electric arms in Atlanta, but with Folty and Soroka already hurting, this might not be Atlanta’s year to repeat as division champs.
4. New York Mets (+350)
They’ll be a lot better in what could end up being the tightest division race in baseball. Their rotation stacks up with anyone, as long as they stay healthy, and adding Robinson Cano & Pete Alonso should lead to an improved offense. Unfortunately, it’s just a tough decision.
5. Miami Marlins (+15000)
Another year in the rebuild. Curtis Granderson made this team out of Spring Training. That’s great for the clubhouse, not so great when you think about what that means for the on-field talent.
1. Chicago Cubs (+210)
If Kris Bryant bounces back to his MVP form the Cubs could actually run away with what initially looks like a really tight race. Their starting pitching is what to watch here, as a bounceback from Quintana & Darvish puts them in the playoffs, regression or health woes leaves them in 3rd.
2. Milwaukee Brewers (+250)
I picked the Brew Crew to get in as a Wild Card team but win the World Series, and I’m sticking with it. The lineup can really hit (at the potential expense of some defense initially, as Moustakas at 2B isn’t ideal) with more coming from Keston Huira when he gets the call.
Even with the Knebel injury, the Brewers bullpen is solid, and a starter added at the Deadline could push them over the top.
3. St. Louis Cardinals (+200)
The Cards could win 95 games or 75 games, I’m honestly not too sure about them. The Goldy acquisition is great, but there’s a few question marks with the lineup. Which Marcell Ozuna shows up? Does Matt Carpenter regress? And will Wong/Fowler produce above big league average?
That, along with rotation questions after Mikolas/Flaherty make me feel comfortable about a 3rd place Cards finish.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates (+1400)
I’ve got a mountain of Chris Archer stock still sitting around, just waiting for him to be a top-five pitcher in baseball.
That doesn’t happen for him this year, but it might for former #2 overall pick Jameson Taillon, who’s an absolute stud. There’s some exciting pieces on this team, but probably not a contender at any point.
5. Cincinnati Reds (+900)
Joey Votto is the most underappreciated player in baseball. Just so, so good, and worth every dollar he’s been paid. Use your MLB TV subscription to watch a ton of Joey Votto this year.
The rest of the Reds should be a least somewhat interesting to watch too. Suarez & Gennett (when he returns from injury) are fun, and Nick Senzel will be up hopefully sooner rather than later. They’ll be in the cellar but not too shabby.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (-357)
Is the Kershaw injury concerning? Yeah. Does that mean I don’t think they’ll win this division? Nope. Corey Seager is back from TJ, Julio Urias looks great, and they’ll get some potential prospect help this year from Will Smith, Alex Verdugo, & potentially Dustin May. Still like the Dodgers here.
2. Colorado Rockies (+450)
Maybe Nolan Arenado wins the MVP, and Brendan Rodgers comes up early and mashes, and the Rockies just lead baseball in hitting (With a Kyle Freeland Cy Young run mixed in) and slug their way to an NL West crown. But doubtful.
3. San Diego Padres (+1200)
This isn’t an overreaction to the Machado deal. No, this is a bet on a bunch of young talent combining with productive vets leading to a surprise season.
The Padres likely won’t claim a division crown, but there’s a lot to like, aside from vets like Machado, Hosmer, & Myers. They’re playing to win now, with phenom Fernando Tatis Jr. starting the year in the show, along with Chris Paddack & Francisco Mejia. Next year is a bigger year, but this one will be a decent surprise.
4. San Francisco Giants (+3300)
How the mighty have fallen. The Giants might easily find their way into the cellar if they choose to move Madison Bumgarner at the Trade Deadline. There’s not a whole lot to dream on here; just a bunch of vets that you know what they are, and what they are isn’t playoff worthy.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks (+2800)
Hard to compete when your two best players depart your franchise. They’ll be able to pitch a little bit with Greinke & Ray at the top of the rotation, but even in Arizona runs might be hard to come by for this club.
By Kyle Bandujo