Which team will be this year’s San Francisco Giants. The Giants won the World Series last year in seven games against the Kansas City Royals and could very well be forming a dynasty. Will luck be in their favor this year (and will they make the playoffs in an odd-numbered year?) let’s find out.
AL West Champion: Seattle Mariners
The Mariners made huge strides last year, and though they missed the playoffs by a game last year, they are favored by many to go to the World Series and even win it. They have a great foundation in Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez, and they also added Nelson Cruz, the AL leader in home runs. I think this is their year. They will make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
AL Central Champion: Detroit Tigers
While the Royals did go to the World Series last year, the Tigers are still the team to beat in that division, and I can’t shake the feeling that the Royals might be a one-hit wonder. They did lose Max Scherzer to the Nationals, but have longtime ace Justin Verlander and power hitter Miguel Cabrera. Acquiring Yoenis Cespedes from the Red Sox was also a good move as well. I know I’m giving the division to this team because of tenure atop it, but it’s hard to argue given that the Tigers have won it every year since 2011.
AL East Champion: Boston Red Sox
I am giving this division to the Red Sox because they made a lot of great moves this offseason. Signing Pablo Sandoval from the Giants was only the start of things as they also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the LA Dodgers. Not to mention that they also traded for Rick Porcello, a former top prospect from the Detroit Tigers. This team is stacked and is clearly in a win-now mode. Let’s hope for their sake that all those moves pay off and chemistry doesn’t derail this promising team.
AL Wild Cards: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Chicago White Sox
The Angels are my first Wild Card because with Mike Trout and the chemistry the team developed over the course of last season, a return to the postseason is completely reasonable. As for the White Sox, they made a lot of strong additions this offseason. Jeff Samardzija was added from the Oakland Athletics, and Melky Cabrera was added from the Toronto Blue Jays. Not to mention that Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu is there as well after a strong first season. This will be an exciting Wild Card game.
NL West Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Giants are the defending champions, but the Dodgers still are the more talented team. With reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and youth sensation Yasiel Puig, this team is still a contender to make it to the World Series. Don’t be surprised to see them win the division again for the third straight year.
NL Central Champion: Pittsburgh Pirates
I think this is the year the Pirates make it to the next level. After being forced to play in the Wild Card game the last two years, this is the year Pittsburgh finally usurps the St. Louis Cardinals to become the division winner for the first time since 1992. With Andrew McCutchen (who should be MVP this year if you read my previous post), the sky is the limit for this team, which has built a lot of great chemistry over the past few seasons.
NL East Champion: Washington Nationals
The Nationals had the best record in the National League last year, but they fell to the Giants in four games. Washington did add Max Scherzer from Detroit, and with the combination of Stephen Strasburg, as well as the skill of youth phenom Bryce Harper, they should easily take the division once again. Could the Nationals and the Mariners, the only two teams who haven’t made the World Series yet, crash the party this season? Let’s find out.
NL Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs
The Cardinals have been a big part of the postseason for a very long time so I see no reason to leave them out of this one. The Cubs meanwhile, with new energy under Joe Maddon, will return to the postseason. It also helps having Jon Lester in your starting rotation. This also could be one of the first times both Chicago teams have been in the Playoffs. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Now on the Postseason!
2015 AL Wild Card: Angels over White Sox
2015 NL Wild Card: Cardinals over Cubs
2015 AL Division Series: Mariners over Angels in 5; Red Sox over Tigers in 4
2015 NL Division Series: Nationals over Cardinals in 4; Pirates over Dodgers in 5
2015 ALCS: Mariners over Red Sox in 6
2015 NLCS: Pirates over Nationals in 7
2015 World Series: Mariners over Pirates in 5
World Series MVP: Kyle Seager, 3B
The Seattle faithful will get over their Super Bowl 49 loss to the New England Patriots by watching the Mariners claim their first World Series championship. Dreams do come true.
Stay Classy Everyone, and Go Mariners!