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Goog’s 2014 MLB Predictions

We missed the first Opening Day, but that one was in Australia so it doesn’t count. Tonight *barely* counts, I guess, so as my colleague did before me I will now go on the record and humiliate myself.

AL East
Tampa Bay
Boston
New York
Baltimore
Toronto

Sportspun predicted that the Red Sox wouldn’t win the World Series, but I can do him one better in the “just because we won the World Series doesn’t mean I have to be satisfied” department: I don’t even think they’re going to make the playoffs. They didn’t improve at any position over the winter, and in fact got worse at several, and I just don’t think that 2013’s success–built on the backs of career years from roughly everyone–will repeat itself. Going from an All-Star centerfielder to a lottery ticket and a lottery ticket that was fished out of the trash made me remember why I hate billionaires acting like they desperately need to pinch their pennies. Of course, that mentality cost the Yankees Robinson Cano; if they had kept him, while also adding Ellsbury, McCann, Beltran, Tanaka, and everything else they did, I’d probably pick them to win the World Series.

AL Central
Detroit
Cleveland
Kansas City
Chicago
Minnesota

As much as I disliked the Fielder and Fister trades for the Tigers, the rest of this division just doesn’t do anything for me. Cleveland lost a couple of nice starters and didn’t add anyone to replace them, Kansas City still wants to win now without paying for the guys they need to actually win now, and Chicago and Minnesota can’t get out of their own way. Detroit, meanwhile, will be improved for the absence of Jose Iglesias, and if playing first base allows Miguel Cabrera to stay healthy into October, his bat and their three remaining excellent starters could make them a formidable opponent.

AL West
Oakland
Texas (WC)
Los Angeles (WC)
Seattle
Houston

This is probably the best division in the American League, and it might be the best in baseball if Seattle overperforms. The Rangers have to hope that Yu Darvish is healthy and effective almost immediately, because without him their rotation could be in for a world of trouble. Still, I think they’ve got the offense to carry themselves to a playoff spot; the thought of Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder playing in that ballpark should terrify opposing pitchers. I went back and forth between Texas and wherever the Angels play now for second place; I think Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton are both going to have big years, and when you put them together with the best player alive and two pretty darn good starters, I think good things can happen. As for Seattle, they made one big splash and then did nothing, and that isn’t good enough.

NL East
Washington
Atlanta
New York
Philadelphia
Miami

I have no idea what happened to the Nationals last year, but I think they’re going to play much more like their second-half selves than their first this season. Atlanta will be much worse, to the point where I don’t even have them making the playoffs; on top of all their injuries, I just don’t think their McCann replacements will be able to get the job done. The Mets are still a year away, more if they never spend real money; the Phillies are just too damn old; the Marlins are a crime.

NL Central
St. Louis
Cincinnati (WC)
Pittsburgh
Milwaukee
Chicago

The Cardinals are the best, deepest team in baseball, even after losing Carlos Beltran. They’ve got everything you could ask for, except perhaps a dominant #1 starter; on the other hand, if Michael Wacha comes on quicker than expected, they might even have that. The Reds will be better without Dusty Baker, even if they still insist on putting a speedster that can’t get on base atop their lineup; the Pirates didn’t do enough to keep in contention; the Brewers are trapped in the zone where they’re just good/stubborn enough to not completely bottom out; the Cubs are coming, eventually, maybe, but definitely not this year.

NL West
Los Angeles
San Francisco (WC)
Arizona
San Diego
Colorado

One of these days the Dodgers are going to roll out an innovative new defense that features four outfielders and no second baseman; on that day, they will become the greatest team the world has ever seen. In the meantime, they’ll have to content themselves with having the best pitcher on Earth, along with one of the better supporting casts behind him. The Giants also have a very good rotation, despite their puzzling decision to pay Tim Lincecum like he’s still good, but whatever. They’ve got Posey, and Sandoval, and Brandon Belt is really good…I like them. Plus they aren’t the Diamondbacks, Padres or Rockies, so they’ve got that going for them.

Playoffs
Texas (WC) over Tampa Bay
Detroit over Oakland
St. Louis over San Francisco (WC)
Los Angeles over Washington

Detroit over Texas
Los Angeles over St. Louis

Los Angeles over Detroit

If this happens, I get to go back to complaining about the Soxpocalypse, so you can all look forward to that.

MVP
AL: Mike Trout
NL: Bryce Harper

Cy Young
AL: Anibal Sanchez
NL: Clayton Kershaw

Rookie of the Year
AL: Xander Bogaerts
NL: Billy Hamilton

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