Predicting the MLB Season: How each division will shape up - Pro Sports Extra | Pro Sports Extra

Predicting the MLB Season: How each division will shape up

by Conor Frederick | Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Now that the free agent market has taken some shape and big money free agents now have new homes and other big names have moved via trade, it’s time to take a look at how each division will shape up.

AL East:

Predicted Standings:1.) NY Yankees 97-65

2.) Boston Red Sox 95-67

3.) Tampa Bay Rays 89-73

4.) Baltimore Orioles 77-85

5.) Toronto Blue Jays 69-93

The Red Sox and Yankees could be interchangeable and a lot of it will come down to the two high profile guys the Yankees brought in – McCann and Ellsbury. If Ellsbury provides the spark at the top of the Yankees lineup and McCann can be a power threat in the middle of the order, then the Yankees will most likely win the division. A lot will come down to the play of Brian Roberts at second as well, since he has a huge void to fill, as the Yankees couldn’t get a deal done for Robinson Cano. For the Red Sox, Jon Lester is in a contract year, so it’ll be up to him to repeat the 2nd half he had in 2013 throughout the season. Dustin Pedroia got his money last year, and he’ll need to earn it and prove that he is the heart and soul of the team, but that shouldn’t be a problem. I also think Jackie Bradley Jr. will be key, because the Sox will be looking to him to fill the void left by Jacoby Ellsbury. Tampa also could have an outside shot at winning the division. They’ll certainty be right in the thick of things for the Wild Card, and a lot will come down to their pitching staff led by David Price, and star player Evan Longoria.

AL Central:

1.) Detroit Tigers 92-70

2.) Kansas City Royals 90-72

3.) Cleveland Indians: 87-75

4.) Chicago White Sox 80-82

5.) Minnesota Twins 68-94

I don’t see the Tigers breaking their grip on this division, mainly due to their pitching and Miguel Cabrera. But this division will be a lot more competitive, as Kansas City and Chicago have been making good moves this offseason, and the Indians were in the Wild Card hunt last year. The Indians lost out to the Rays in the 1 game playoff, and with Tito Francona at the helm, expect them to stay competitive this year.

AL West:

1.) Texas Rangers 93-69

2.) Oakland A’s 91-71

3.) Seattle Mariners 85-77

4.) Anaheim Angels 75-87

5.) Houston Astro’s 60-102

This one is interesting to call. Oakland won the division last year, but Texas has made a lot of noise in the offseason, adding Prince Fielder via trade and signing Shin Soo Choo. They may not be done as they could still make a serious pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka. You also can’t sleep on the Mariners, as they could also be in the mix for Tanaka, and they’ve already shown they are willing to spend money, as they signed Robinson Cano from New York. That definitely makes them better, but does it make them instant contenders? Well, they have an outside shot, but a long shot at that. There is no shortage of talent in this division.

Predicted Wild Card Standings:

1.) Boston Red Sox

2.) Oakland A’s

3.) KC Royals

4.) Tampa Bay Rays

5.) Cleveland Indians

 

NL East:

1.) Washington Nationals 91-71

2.) Atlanta Braves 89-73

3.) New York Mets 81-81

4.) Philadelphia Phillies 75-87

5.) Miami Marlins 70-92

I think a healthy Nationals team could overtake the Atlanta Braves, as the Braves lost their star player to the New York Yankees. Key word for the Nationals? Healthy. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are both having surgery, according to SB Nation, so a lot will depend on their health. The Mets were able to sign Curtis Granderson from their Bronx neighbors, but I don’t see that making much of an impact. As for the Phillies, they’ll be on the outside looking in if they can’t improve their starting rotation. As for the Marlins, even with ex-Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, they don’t have much of a chance.

NL Central:

1.) St. Louis Cardinals 97-65

2.) Pittsburgh Pirates 93-69

3.) Cincinnati Reds 84-78

4.) Milwaukee Brewers: 78-84

5.) Chicago Cubs 68-94

This was the toughest division by far in the National League last year, with both teams in the Wild Card playoff being from this division. I see the Reds falling off a little with the loss of Shin Soo Choo, but not by much. This division will be more of a 2-horse race this year, with Pittsburgh and St. Louis retaining much of their cores from last year.

NL West:

1.) LA Dodgers 96-66

2.) SF Giants  90-72

3.) Arizona Diamondbacks 85-77

4.) San Diego Padres 70-92

5.) Colorado Rockies 69-93

Last year, the Dodgers ran away with the division, finishing 11 games above Arizona. This year, I don’t see that happening – I still have the Dodgers winning, but I think it’ll be tighter. The Giants especially I expect to come out swinging – they won’t want a repeat of last year when they finished 10 games under .500 after winning 2 titles in 3 years, but they won’t overcome a Dodger team loaded with talent. The D-Backs could be an outside contenders, maybe more if they go after and get Tanaka – they are one of the teams being linked with him, but I mostly expect this division to be a 2-horse race.

Wild Card Standings

1.) Pittsburgh Pirates

2.) SF Giants

3.) Atlanta Braves

4.) Arizona D-Backs

5.) Cincinnati Reds

- Conor Frederick is a Staff Writer for ProSportsExtra.com 

- Like what you read? Follow him on Twitter @ConorJF1016 for a complete archive of his work! 


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