A full week into the season, we’ve had a chance to see what everyone’s got, and so here are the benspn baseball predictions for 2015:
American League (the cooler one)
AL East (The toughest division in history with the best rivalries and fans in history)
- Boston Red Sox – This pick needs no explaining. The Red Sox are the dominant team in the AL East and with a rejuvenated lineup including free-agent acquisitions Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval and the steady Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, the Red Sox have arguably the best lineup in the league. Along with solid pitching, they are a dangerous opponent and title contender.
- Baltimore Orioles – This is a difficult pick because the Rays and Blue Jays could arguably make a run for second in the division, but the Orioles will ultimately prevail due to steady pitching and bating from all of their players and a very dangerous combination of Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Manny Machado right in the heart of their lineup. The O’s also have a strong but underrated bullpen with Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter, and Darren O’Day, who all know how to close out games if need be.
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Tampa Bay
- New York Yankees
AL Central (Welcome to the home of good teams with no fans)
- Kansas City Royals – The Royals are coming off a strong 2014 when they reached the World Seriesand haven’t slowed down. They started the season 7-0 and with largely the same team from last year they are almost a lock for the playoffs and just have to beat out a less powerful but still dangerous Tigers team to make another run at a championship.
- Detroit Tigers – If the Royals beat out the Tigers for the division championship, Detroit will still easily secure second place because the AL Central is one of the worst divisions. But ultimately it won’t be enough to reach the wild-card round and they will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
- Cleveland Indians
- Chicago White Sox
- Minnesota Twins
AL West (the division I, and probably you, could not care less about)
- Oakland Athletics – The Oakland A’s are always in the hunt and this year is no exception. With weakened competition in the AL West, the A’s will probably win the division and certainly make the playoffs.
- Houston Astros – The Astros are finally out of their dark ages and their talented prospects could put them in a close race for first in the division. The Astros will end up as the most dangerous wild card because they have the all the tools but not the needed experience. Even if the Astros don’t make the playoffs, this year is the start of a new dynasty rising in Texas. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” The Astros have waited long enough and are entering the first year of a baseball renaissance.
- Seattle Mariners
- Anaheim Angels
- Texas Rangers
National League (the other one)
NL East (the division where pitching wins, or, at least, it should)
- New York Mets – Finally! The Mets will finally make the playoffs with an insanely good pitching staff (Harvey, deGrom, Wheeler), which is too bad because I love teasing their fans. The only thing that could hold back the Mets is their lineup, which needs to step up,
I’m looking at you David Wright, or else all that great pitching may go to waste.
- Washington Nationals – I’m not going to talk about this one here. Just open any other baseball preview to read about “just how good” the Nationals are this year.
- Miami Marlins
- Atlanta Braves
- Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central (Welcome to some of the oldest teams in the history of baseball and an expansion team to make it seem fair)
- Chicago Cubs – The Cubs are on the rise with the team fully remade by brilliant GM Theo Epstein. The Cubs look dangerous with an offense led by baseball’s newest star prospect, Kris Bryant, and ace John Lester. The Cubs shouldn’t have much trouble winning this division and we should expect to see them in the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
- *Team name here* – The second spot is up for grabs for all the other teams in the division (Pirates, Cardinals, Reds, and Brewers). Each has their own strengths and weaknesses but it ultimately won’t matter, as the Central will only send one team to the playoffs.
NL West (We always have at least one great team)
- Colorado Rockies – The Rockies have one of the best offenses in the league and as long as Cargo and Tulo stay healthy, not even their bad pitching can stop them. Except for their bad pitching. OK, I lied.
- San Diego Padres – The Padres can’t afford to miss the playoffs this year after their GIGANTIC offseason. There is just so much to write about here. The Padres now have an amazing pitching staff led by James Shields and Andrew Cashner. The fifth pitcher in their rotation is Brandon Morrow, one of my favorites. The Padres also have a stacked bullpen where Joaquin Benoit, who usually closes, is actually the set-up man for the amazing Craig Kimbrel. Their lineup is also newly stacked with sluggers like Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. The Rockies and Padres are two of the best teams in baseball and it will be fun to watch them play.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco Giants
- Arizona Diamondbacks
Baltimore Orioles (4) over Houston Astros (5) – Baltimore will prevail due to their experience and the Astros’ lack of it.
San Diego Padres (5) over the Washington Nationals (4) – This may be the best wild card game in history but the Padres will ultimately prevail.
Boston (1) over Baltimore (4) in 4 – This series will not be close, with the Red Sox demonstrating the experience of a World Series-winning team along with better batting and pitching.
Kansas City (2) over Oakland (3) in 5 – This series is another close call but Kansas City’s run at another World Series appearance will continue.
Colorado (1) over San Diego (5) in 5 – The Padres have both hitting and pitching but nothing will stop the Colorado offense from advancing to the NLCS.
Mets (3) over the Cubs (2) in 3 – The Mets have what might be the best three-man rotation in baseball and they should dominate the Cubs.
Boston (1) over Kansas City (2) in 5 – The Red Sox offense will knock around the Royals early and leave no room for a comeback in the series between the past two AL champions.
Colorado (1) over the Mets (3) in 7 – The Mets’ amazing three-man rotation will keep them in the series but their lack of offense and the excess of the Rockies’ offense will be the deciding factor.
Boston over Colorado in 6 – In a rematch of the 2007 World Series, the result will be the same: The Red Sox have a lineup on par with the Rockies and Colorado’s lack of pitching will do them in.