MLB Preview 2019

Spring has sprung and it’s baseball season once again. Cheers to launch angles, starting pitchers lasting no more than 5 innings, and 3+ hour games. In all seriousness, baseball is America’s pastime and could use some more publicity, viewership, and most of all patience. So, without further adieu, here is a preview of this season, divided into three parts.

Standings – Just a quick look at who will win and lose in their divisions.

Playoffs – The playoffs will be fun this year, and, with some luck, my prediction of it will be correct.

Excitement Rankings – This is the fun part. Baseball needs some buzz. The MLB needs some pop. This year, there are teams that are worth paying attention to – and others that aren’t. So, I ranked all 30 teams in terms of excitement.

 

Standings Predictions

 

American League

 

East

  1. New York Yankees – 96-66
  2. Boston Red Sox – 94-68
  3. Tampa Bay Rays – 80-82
  4. Toronto Blue Jays – 75-87
  5. Baltimore Orioles – 67-95

 

Central

  1. Cleveland Indians – 88-74
  2. Minnesota Twins – 83-79
  3. Chicago White Sox – 76-86
  4. Kansas City Royals – 73-89
  5. Detroit Tigers – 68-94

 

West

  1. Houston Astros – 101-61
  2. Oakland Athletics – 87-75
  3. Los Angeles Angels – 81-81
  4. Seattle Mariners – 80-82
  5. Texas Rangers – 78-84

 

National League

 

East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies – 90-72
  2. Atlanta Braves – 88-74
  3. New York Mets – 84-78
  4. Washington Nationals – 82-80
  5. Miami Marlins – 66-96

 

Central

  1. Milwaukee Brewers – 93-69
  2. Chicago Cubs – 91-71
  3. St. Louis Cardinals – 86-76
  4. Pittsburgh Pirates – 78-84
  5. Cincinnati Reds – 72-90

 

West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 95-67
  2. Colorado Rockies – 85-77
  3. San Diego Padres – 79-83
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks – 74-88
  5. San Francisco Giants – 69-93

 

Playoffs

baseball

Excitement Rankings

 

  1. Houston Astros – The Astros have turned into a dynasty. Led by George Springer, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and now Michael Brantley. They have everything, and they’re coming for another World Series crown.

2. Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies were the most active team on the market this year. They acquired Bryce Harper, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and shortstop Jean Segura. Now that the Harper stakes have been settled the next 13 years in Philly will be fun.

3. New York Yankees – The MLB is evolving, with home runs on the rise. The Yanks are a prime reason for this. If Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge stay healthy all year, this team would definitely be the most entertaining.

4. Boston Red Sox – The defending World Series champs are still dangerous as ever. They still have so much potential in 3B Rafael Devers, SS Xander Bogaerts, and outfielder Andrew Benintendi, while they have proven studs in Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, The fun continues.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers have big arms and big bats this year. While Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler take the mound, 1B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, and OF Cody Bellinger will be crushing the ball. Corey Seager also returns from Tommy John surgery after the departure of Machado.

6. Milwaukee Brewers – This team took the Dodger to game 7 of the NLCS, so they’re no joke. Led by reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich, Milwaukee also boasts a deep bullpen. With Josh Hader throwing darts out of the bullpen, this squad is exciting and has real playoff potential.

7. Chicago Cubs – If 3B Kris Bryant and 1B Anthony Rizzo return to form, then this team is absolutely nasty. 2B Javier Baez has a quick bat and a flashy glove. These guys have the means to return to their World Series form from 2016, but will they be able to?

8. Atlanta Braves – They’re young and talented. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit 26 home runs in 111 games last season. 2B Ozzie Albies hit 24 home runs for the Braves last year. Acuna was a rookie, while Albies was in his second year. Imagine the possibilities…

9. Los Angeles Angels – Any team with Mike Trout will be interesting. He signed a new deal that will net him about 35 million dollars a year. Add Shohei Ohtani, the pitching/hitting wonder from Japan (who will probably only hit this year due to injury), and this is a team worth watching.

10. Oakland Athletics – The A’s are an all-around solid team. 3B Matt Chapman is an outstanding fielder with a developing bat. Khris Davis is a prolific power hitter who launched 48 home runs last season. They have a deep bullpen, too, which is always necessary for deep postseason runs.

11. Cleveland Indians – The Indians are an intriguing team. Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber lead their rotation, while SS Francisco Lindor and 3B Jose Ramirez lead the batting order. They may get out to a slow start with Lindor injured, but keep an eye on them nevertheless.

12. St. Louis Cardinals – The power duo of new acquisition Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter is enough to propel this team into the top 15. With these two stars, the Cards are in playoff contention once again.

13. New York Mets – The Mets’ pitching is amazing this year. Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard headline the starting rotation. This offseason, they got star relievers Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia. So, if you watch this Mets team, focus on their pitching.

14. Colorado Rockies – 3B Nolan Arenado can do it all. He has an insane glove at the hot corner and he hit 38 home runs last year. Add that to sluggers SS Trevor Story and OF Charlie Blackmon and you have an exciting team.

15. San Diego Padres – After a dismal season last year, there is hope in San Diego again. They have their star in Manny Machado. They have youth, too in SS Fernando Tatis Jr. If 1B Eric Hosmer lives up to his massive contract, then this team could be dangerous.

16. Washington Nationals – After the Bryce Harper departure, it remains to be soon what the Nationals will be. They still have studs Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg on their pitching staff and Juan Soto is a developing star. However, this team lost a lot of entertainment value when Harper left town.

17. Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays are a solid team, but nothing too special. In a division with the Sox and Yankees, there won’t be too much room for them. Watch pitcher Blake Snell, though as he had a career year last season.

18. Minnesota Twins – Another solid team like the Rays, the Twins will be somewhat fun to watch. They acquired slugger Nelson Cruz, who hit 37 home runs last year. They also have gold glove CF Byron Buxton. They’ll win games, but they’re not a playoff caliber team.

19. Seattle Mariners – They have the longest playoff drought in the MLB, and that’s not about to change. They’ll rely on 1B Jay Bruce, OF Mitch Haniger, and 2B Dee Gordon to lead the lineup. Those aren’t incredibly appealing options, but Seattle should put up a solid season.

20. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds have some pop in the clubhouse this year. They brought in Yasiel Puig from the Dodgers and they still have perennial hitting star 1B Joey Votto. 2B Scooter Gennett also put up a career year last season, but he’ll start the season injured.

21. Toronto Blue Jays – The reason the Blue Jays are this high in the rankings is because of their farm system and the fact that a few stars from the minors could move up to the MLB. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the leader of this group, as he is the top prospect in the eyes of most experts. SS Bo Bichette is another top 10 prospect for the Jays, as well as Cavan Biggio (son of Craig Biggio).

22. Chicago White Sox – Like the Blue Jays, Chicago’s ranking is based on promise. However, a lot of their promise is already in the majors. OF Eloy Jimenez just inked a 6 year, 43 million dollar contract and 2B Yoan Moncada was a top prospect a few years ago. Jose Abreu still bats in the three-hole. This team could make a big improvement over last year.

23. Arizona Diamondbacks – The DBacks lost Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock in the offseason, taking this team from mediocre to below average. The bright side is ace Zack Greinke. He’s really the only worthwhile player on this squad, so when he starts, watch out.

24. San Francisco Giants – The Giants are depleted after their run to a 2014 World Series title. Like Arizona, a pitcher will keep them interesting. Madison Bumgarner, who has been injury-plagued over the past few seasons, will look to return to form this year in S.F.

25. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pittsburgh is yet another lower team where the excitement will be generated by their pitching. They acquired ace Chris Archer last season from the Rays. They also have former second overall pick Jameson Taillon leading the rotation. If Taillon makes a big leap forward, the Pirates could contend in a tough division.

26. Texas Rangers – The Rangers have fallen to the bottom of the AL West and look nothing like their former self. However, there are two players on their roster who may generate some buzz, but won’t be top-tier players. Joey Gallo hits bombs…but not much else. And, 2B Rougned Odor created one of the biggest stories of the 2016 season when he punched Jose Bautista. So, the Rangers may turn some heads, but not in the best ways.

27. Kansas City Royals – Gone are the days of winning championships for the Royals. Only Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon really remain from their championship run, and Perez is out for all of 2019. The only player to pay attention to on this lineup is Jorge Soler, who was hitting well before getting injured last season.

28. Detroit Tigers – Again, gone are the days of Tigers success (for now). The only news here is the return of Miguel Cabrera. Can he return to form at 35 years old? Also, the Tigers selected pitcher Casey Mize with the number 1 pick in 2018, so watch him in a couple years.

29. Miami Marlins – The Miami yard sale continued when they sold J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies. Hopefully, the farm system will yield talent soon.

30. Baltimore Orioles – After a 115 loss season last year, the bright side is…there is no bright side. At least not now. Better luck next year, Baltimore.

 

Now that you have an idea of what this season should look like, kick back and enjoy opening week when you can.

 

-Sam

 

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