With Opening Day Approaching Quickly, It’s Time To Predict The Outcome Of The 2015 Season

Sports and Bets — March 31, 2015 at 1:19 pm by

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With the beginning of the 2015 baseball season less than a week away, it seems only appropriate to predict the outcome of the upcoming season. Along with guest blogger Romanell, I’ll be picking division and wild card winners, as well as league MVPs, Cy Young winners, and give you World Series picks.

AL East: 

Zach: Baltimore– The Orioles won this division by a dozen games last year, and in my mind no one has done enough to dethrone them. With Machado, Wieters, and Davis coming back, they should be able to make up for the losses via free agency.

Romanell: Baltimore– Despite all the free agent signings and trades made by the other teams in the division, the Orioles have the best roster from top to bottom and should be the favorites to win the division.  Adam Jones, Chris Davis, JJ Hardy, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado are the best players at their position in the division and the Orioles starting pitching and bullpen is the deepest from top to bottom; Look for Kevin Gausman to be a major factor. I think the Yankees and Rays will not compete and this division will be a 3 horse race with the Orioles coming out on top.

AL Central:

Zach: Chicago– You have to love the additions the White Sox have made this offseason. Picking them as a division winner may be a little bit of a stretch in a tough AL Central, but I think because of their great offseason, along with having a great front end of the rotation featuring Chris Sale and Jeff Samardzija, the White Sox could be a solid contender. Jose Abreu is primed for another big season.

Romanell: Cleveland- This division is completely wide open with every team except for the Twins having a legitimate shot at winning. I love what the White Sox did in the offseason and with Terry Francona and a talented roster the Indians should not be counted out, so this will likely be a 4 team battle to the finish. It is hard to picture anyone other than the Tigers winning the division since they have seemingly won it every year for the last decade, but their reign as division champions is over. Cleveland has a talented lineup and the reigning Cy Young award winner and a talented young starting staff with a solid bullpen. The Indians will be the new kings of the Central while the Tigers will be left out of the playoffs all together.

AL West:

Zach: Seattle- The A’s lost far too much talent to actually contend, and the Angels’ players seem to always fall short of expectations, and never live up to their contracts. Seattle added some power this offseason by adding Nelson Cruz, and have a nice core group of players with Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano. Plus, any team that has Endy Chavez in their minor league system is a force to be reckoned with.

Romanell: Seattle– Mike Trout is the best player in the division by far and he alone makes the Angels contenders, however I believe they caught some “lightning in a bottle” last year with their pitching and that will take a big step back this year. Somehow the A’s will find a way to contend but ultimately I think this is the Mariners time to step up and they will. They now have a formidable lineup to go with their great pitching and that will be the difference from previous years where they came up just short.

AL Wild Cards:

Zach: Cleveland, Los Angeles- I like what Terry Francona has done with the Indians since he arrived, and with the addition of some power from Brandon Moss, I think they’re a solid Wild Card team. The Angels always seem to be overrated going into every season, but I think they still have enough talent to do enough this year to get into the playoffs. But expect them to be one-and-done to the Indians in the WC playoff game.

Romanell: Chicago, Boston– There is usually that team that just comes out of nowhere to make the playoffs and despite being in a tough division and being terrible last year, and the White Sox are that team. They have power and speed offensively and a top of the rotation (Sale and Samardzija) that may be the best in the league.  I am back and forth the likes of the Angels, Royals, Tigers, Red Sox and Blue Jays for the Wild Card but decided to go with Boston because they will likely make a move at the trade deadline to get over the piece they need to return to the playoffs.

AL MVP:

Zach: Adam Jones- Maybe this is a homer pick, but Jones has gotten better every single year he’s been in the majors, and I think this is the year he finally hits over .300, and adds about 35 homers. The heart and soul of a World Series contender is always a quality choice for most valuable player.

Romanell: Jose Abreu– Look, Mike Trout is the best player, but he can’t MVP can he? I think Trout is the favorite but I am going against the easy pick and going with Abreu.  Despite missing a month of the season last year, he still hit .317 with 36 home runs and 107 RBI’s and I don’t expect a “sophomore slump” from him. Similar numbers this season plus team success will help Abreu dethrone Trout as AL MVP and put him in the conversation as one of the superstars in the game.

AL Cy Young:

Zach: Chris Sale– Anyone who has watched this guy pitch knows his stuff is as dirty as dirty gets. He finished third in the voting last year despite spending some time on the DL. If the White Sox make the playoffs this year it should help sway some of the voters.

Romanell: Felix Hernandez– King Felix was a bad start against the Blue Jays away last season from winning the Cy Young and an improved Mariners offense should help his run  support thus leading to a better win loss record (although he has proven that doesn’t matter). He has won the Cy Young before while pitching for a team that had a losing record, so the Mariners winning this season should put him in the spotlight even more. A 2nd Cy Young firmly puts King Felix as one of the best arms in the game. 

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NL East:

Zach: Washington– Clearly the pick here, as they have five aces on their staff. This could be the year the Nats actually make a playoff run after being a total Peyton Manning the last few seasons.

Romanell: Washington– The acquisition of Max Scherzer makes the Nats the clear favorite in the division however I think the Marlins and Mets will compete and not make things easy for them. This is the Nats year to “go for it all” as they will have some big time players becoming free agents next season. There was some talk about them trading a big offensive piece in the off season so it will be interesting to see if they trade a player like and Ian Desmond during the season. The Mets don’t have quite enough offense to win the division and the Marlins have to go the first couple of months without Jose Fernandez but they will contend once he comes back.

NL Central:

Zach: St. Louis– It’s just too hard to pick anyone else here. The Cardinals are the model franchise of the MLB, and are in it year in and year out, and I expect this year to be no different.

Romanell: St. Louis– This is a situation much like the American League Central where there are a lot of good teams and a team that has been the one that seems to win the division every year and that is the Cardinals. It doesn’t seem to matter who is on their roster the Cardinals always seem to be in the playoffs. The Pirates should be right there and I believe the Cubs are a year away, however if their young bats can produce and they pitch like they did last year the Cubs could win this division. The Reds also have talent and underachieved last season, they could be a sleeper team to watch, however, I think the Cardinals come out on top, although I don’t see them winning 90 games.

NL West:

Zach: Los Angeles– The Dodgers will be very impressive in the regular season again, and then let everyone down in the playoffs, again, in typical LA Dodgers fashion. The Padres are this year’s 2013 Toronto Blue Jays. Winners of the offseason, piss poor on the field.

Romanell: Los Angeles– The Padres were the clear “winners” of the offseason and they now just may be the team to beat in the division, but will they? The Giants are the defending World Series champions yet their lack of offense disturbs me but they can obviously not be counted out. The Dodgers have the MVP in Clayton Kershaw but lost Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez so their offense will take a step back. On paper the Padres look like the most complete team but I am curious to see if they “believe” they can win. The culture of losing concerns and while I think the Padres will make the playoffs, it will be the Dodgers who find a way to win this division that should go down to the wire.

NL Wild Cards:

Zach: San Francisco, Pittsburgh– You just can’t count out the Giants. There’s just too much talent on this team for the league to sleep on them, again. The Pirates will benefit from there not being another clear cut Wild Card caliber team, but will get eliminated in the first game of the playoffs at the hands of the defending champs.

Romanell: San Diego, Miami– There are certainly a lot of good but not great teams in the league and there will be likely 5 or 6 with contending for the Wild Card. I may be higher on the Marlins than most but a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and the return of Jose Fernandez make them a very good team. The Padres have the most talent of the rest of the contenders and a change of scenery for Upton and Kemp should do wonders, while James Shields will prove to me he is not overrated (he was in the American League) and thrive in the NL. There will be playoff baseball in San Diego.

NL MVP:

Zach: Bryce Harper– Bryce will break out once and for all this year (assuming he can stay off the DL). This won’t be a popular pick, but I just have a feeling Bryce and the Nats dominate the regular season and go into the playoffs as the favorite to win it all. I don’t think he’ll have the best season statistically, but he will be the most valuable player.

Romanell: Giancarlo Stanton This guy is my non Oriole baseball man crush (we all have them), and he hits baseball’s further than anyone I have seen. Stanton emerged as a superstar last season before getting hit in the face with a pitch and ending his season. Provided he is not “gun shy”, which I don’t think he will, Stanton should put up better numbers given the better talent he has around him. Had he not gotten hurt last season, he would have won it, so this year, it his award to lose not only will he win it, he will take his team to the playoffs.

NL Cy Young: 

Zach: Jordan Zimmermann– It’s probably going to be Clayton Kershaw, but I’m picking Zimmermann here because he was the Nat’s ace last year, and I think he’ll play with a chip on his shoulder after they brought in Sherzer and gave him Opening Day duties.

Romanell: Clayton Kershaw– I know I said previously that Mike Trout can’t win every MVP but I am contradicting myself here and picking Kershaw to win the Cy Young. He is head and shoulders the best pitcher in the National League and his dominance will be too much to ignore. Bumgarner, Lester, Scherzer and Wainwright will make an argument to win it but Kershaw will be the one, and hopefully for the Dodgers sake, he doesn’t flame out in the postseason.

ALCS:

Zach: Baltimore over Chicago in 6– It’ll be tough to get the White Sox out of the playoffs with Sale and Samardzija as a great one-two punch, but the O’s are ready, and know this might be their last chance at serious contention for a couple years.

Romanell: Baltimore over Seattle– These may be the two best teams top to bottom when it comes to offense and depth of starting pitching and the bullpen. The Orioles reached the ALCS last season and are flying under the radar despite all the talent they have. The Mariners may not be ready to ascend to this high level of the playoffs but their pitching and Cano and Cruz will make them a tough out. Ultimately the Orioles get over the hump and reach the World Series.

NLCS:

Zach: Washington over San Francisco– It’s hard to pick against the Giants, because they always get it done in the playoffs, and the Nats are a postseason let down every year, but they just have way too much pitching to not get it done this year. This is the year the Nationals finally break out of their postseason slump.

Romanell: Washington over St. Louis– The Nats have been historic chokers in the playoffs, failing to win a playoff series despite being the World Series favorite the last two times they reached the playoffs. If they end up playing the Cardinals they will have their hands full despite being more talented. I believe Max Scherzer is the difference maker and the Nats offense will step up and support the pitching and get this team far in October. They may be the best team on paper in all of Major League Baseball, and if they final figure out and cure what ails them in the post season they will prove that.

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World Series:

Zach: Washington over Baltimore in 6– If you can’t tell, I’m all in on the Nationals this year. I’m going to hate it if the beat the Orioles, but I just don’t see how this team doesn’t get it done this year. They’re pitching is just way too good.

Romanell: Baltimore over Washington in 7– I think the Nats are the better team here but I need to be contrarian so I will go with the hometown Birds to win the World Series. They have improved on level each of the last season of the playoffs so the next step is the World Series, so why not pick the O’s?


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