MLB: Division Predictions

It may be early in the season, but it's never to early to predict who will win each division in baseball and who will punch their tickets to the Postseason. As of now, you have four of the five AL teams from last Postseason that if the season were to end today, they would all be in including the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, and Indians. The only other exception would be the Seattle Mariners who are looking for their first Postseason berth in 17 years. As for the NL, it is a lot more messy. In fact, if the season were to end today, three out of the five NL Postseason teams from last year would not make it this year (Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks) and instead, they would be replaced by the Brewers, Braves, and Phillies. So with that said, let's see who is projected to make the 2018 MLB Postseason.

AL East:

Champion: Yankees (101-61)

AL Wild Card: Red Sox (93-69)

I expect both of the AL East rivals to not only be in the Postseason, but also possibly be in this year's ALDS. You've got Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Judge versus AL home run leader Mookie Betts and Boston's ace David Price against Yankee pitchers Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, and Masahiro Tanaka. Currently, the Yankees are a half a game behind the Red Sox in this AL East race. But with many more meetings in and out of the Big Apple to come, this division crown should come down to the final games of the season. This would be Aaron Boone's first Postseason trip as manager of the Yankees plus, the last time New York won a Postseason series in Boston, the "future" skipper hit a walk off home run into deep left that sent the Yankees to their final World Series appearance in the Joe Torre era. Coincidence that Boone will do the same but actually win a World Series for the Yankees and the first one in 9 years with that being Judge and Stanton's first? I don't think so.

 

AL Central:

Champion: Indians (97-65)

AL Wild Card: None

I will tell you one thing about why the AL Central will not have two teams in the Postseason like it did last year. The division leading Indians are only a game above .500 with the next closest team on their tail being the Tigers with a 23-29 record and 3.5 games back of first place. Now Francisco Lindor will lead Cleveland to another AL Central title, but the problem is that after that, the Indians won't have much Postseason success after they win the division by claiming a mid nineties amount of wins on their record. I also would not be surprised if they ended winning the AL Central with a losing record. My projection is that the Indians will get to the ALDS, win the first game and then blow the next three games to either the Yankees or the Astros. Speaking of which...

AL West: 

Champion: Astros (105-57)

AL Wild Card: Mariners (99-63)

Well it's about time! The last time the Mariners were in the Postseason, they tied the Major League record for most wins by any team in a season with the 1906 Cubs and broke the record for most wins in a season by an AL team with a whopping 116-46 record. But ever since they lost the 2001 ALCS to the Yankees, Seattle has not found any Postseason hope. This year that might change. But in order for the Mariners to do so, they will have to get past the aces of the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros in Justin Verlander, Gerritt Cole, Charlie Morton, and Dallas Keuchel. along with Carlos Correa, AL MVP candidate Jose Altuve, and Right Fielder George Springer. Now I will predict that the Astros will have the best record in the AL, but I would love to see a matchup of Houston and Seattle in the ALDS for a possible chance at the pennant against the hard hitting big 3 of the Yankees. Good things come to those who wait, and the Mariners have waited for this moment long enough. Shut up and take my money!

NL East:

Champion: Nationals (98-64)

NL Wild Card: Phillies (97-65)

Now I know that the team currently leading the NL East is the Atlanta Braves, but you better believe that Washington's ace Max Scherzer and NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper will come back stronger than ever after creating an early season slump. And this can be proven by the division standings as the Nationals are only a game back of Atlanta for the NL East title. Now I am predicting a late season screw up for the Braves as they will be in third place in the division and out of the NL East race. As for the Phillies, they come just short of their first division title in 7 years but are fortunate enough to snatch the first NL Wild Card spot and home field advantage in the NL Wild Card Game. The next Wild Card team comes from the NL Central and you may be surprised about who it is,

NL Central:

Champion: Brewers (102-60)

NL Wild Card: Cubs (95-67)

Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers started the season 8 games ahead in the NL Central at the All Star Break. After that however, Craig Counsell and Co. didn't do so well, but their Postseason hopes were still alive. But they lost their final game in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Had they won that game, the Brewers would have forced a tiebreaker in Coors Field against the Rockies with the winner going to Arizona for the NLDS. This year, things have changed. The Brewers now are the best team in the NL with a record of 34-20. They have been on a recent hot streak, winning 9 of their last 11 games. As for the standings, they are 4 games ahead of the Cardinals for first place in the division. This is thanks to the bullpen of NL Cy Young candidate Josh Hader and this year's acquisition of Lorenzo Cain. Along with All-Star reliever Corey Knebel and Ryan Braun, the Brew Crew is bound for success in the upcoming Postseason if they keep doing what they're doing. And if Milwaukee does have the NL's best record at the end of the season, they will host the NLDS at Miller park against either the Phillies or division rival Chicago Cubs. I would prefer to see this matchup because, one they're division rivals, and two, who doesn't want to see Ryan Braun, Travis, Shaw and Lorenzo Cain go up against the Cubbies' big hitters in Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Kyle Schwarber? But thanks to home field advantage, the Brewers will win it in a deciding Game 5 and go to the NLCS for the first time in 7 years. With that said, the winner of the NL East will have to meet the winner of the NL West in the second division series.

NL West:

Champion: Rockies (96-66)

NL Wild Card: None

The Rockies made it to the Postseason last year for the first time in a decade, but would got beat by the Diamondbacks in the Wild Card and they would ultimately get beat by the NL Champion Dodgers. This year however is a whole lot different. The Dodgers lost Corey Seager for the season due to Tommy John surgery and All Star pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been on the DL many times this season for multiple various injuries. And it shows as the Dodgers are 4 games under .500 with a 24-28 record. As for the Rockies, they are currently 1.5 games ahead of the D-Backs for the NL West title thanks to Colorado's trio of stars in Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, and pitchers Chad Bettis and Jon Gray. It will be close, but the Diamondbacks won't have enough depth and strength to beat the Rockies for the division, even with Paul Goldschmidt.

Some of the division leaders right now might not be winning the division come October and some of the division leaders listed in this blog might not be going to the Postseason. But for those who win their respective divisions, the Postseason is a chance to prove to all the other 14 clubs in their league that they want it more because they feel like they are determined to win the pennant.

30 teams enter, but only 10 will move on to the best month in baseball. October. 

 

Martin HoweComment