AL East - Yankees
AL Central - Indians
AL West - Astros
Wildcard 1 - Red Sox
Wildcard 2 - Mariners
Best Record in the AL - Yankees . . . This may be the year in which the number of Topps Now Yankees cards produced reaches the 20% plateau of the entire set. Thus, infuriating many collectors while also driving The Lost Collector to file for bankruptcy.
ALCS - Indians . . . I like their starting pitching, but I wonder if their offense will provide enough of a punch.
NL East - Nationals . . . I believe the Nats will be the first team to clinch their division. The NL East, at least right now, isn't very strong. Although, I think the Phillies and Braves are on the upswing.
NL Central - Cubs
NL West - Dodgers
Okay. So maybe I'm still not over the Dodgers steamrolling the Cubs in the NLCS last year?
Wildcard 1 - Diamondbacks . . . I do believe in the Dbacks, but I don't think they have enough to overtake the Dodgers. Plus, who knows how the new humidor in Arizona will change things?
Wildcard 2 - Brewers . . . They are a young group who showed much during the first half of 2017. Now a year older and more experienced I wonder if they can challenge the Cubs?
Best Record in the NL - Nationals
NLCS - Nationals . . . it appears I'm "all in" on the Nats. If Scherzer and Strasburg can stay healthy, then they have enough pitching to get through the playoffs. Plus, what kind of crazy numbers is Bryce Harper going to put up in his walk year?
World Series - Indians over Nationals . . . The Indians end their title drought and Harper leaves the Nats just short of giving DC its first World Series title since 1924.
AL MVP - Mike Trout . . . He'll turn 27 in August, which generally means he's entering his prime. Scary.
NL MVP - Bryce Harper
AL Cy Young - Chris Sale
NL Cy Young - Noah Syndergaard
AL ROY - Dan Vogelbach
NL ROY - Ryan McMahon
Well, that was a fun exercise. I struggled with the Cy Young winners and NL ROY of the year. I figure Chris Sale is upset after losing to Corey Kluber last year. He'll come out this year and strike out the world.
Syndergaard? I don't think the Mets will be very good this year, but Syndergaard didn't throw a ton last year and that may work to his advantage in 2018. King Felix has shown in the past that you don't need a ton of wins to capture the Cy Young Award.
Ryan McMahon? I'm not sure I believe all the hype surrounding Ronald Acuna. Scott Kingery was given consideration, too. I like McMahon's bat, but I wonder if he'll get enough plate appearances?
I know. I know. Vogelbach was a total homer pick for Rookie of the Year. Yet, he made the Opening Day roster after an off-season in which the Mariners traded for Ryon Healy to play first base.
Healy only drew 23 walks in 600+ plate appearances last year, while posting a 0.754 OPS. He's not taking a free pass and he isn't crushing the ball. A 0.754 OPS from first base is very meh. If the Mariners truly give Vogelbach a chance, then I think they'll be kicking themselves for making the Healy deal.
So, yeah. Everyone is calling for some two-way star on the west coast to be the ROY in the AL, but I think the Vogelmonster will give him a legitimate run for his money. #VogelmonsterFanBoy
I'm glad baseball's back and I look forward to watching the 2018 season unfold, even if most of my predictions prove to be way off target. Thanks for reading.