Now that the 2015 baseball season is just right around the corner, it’s time to once again take a look at which teams will be the pretenders, and which will be the contenders this year.
I normally have no idea how my predictions turn out from year to year, because I typically forget all about them by about April Fool’s Day. So I decided to go back and take a look at last season’s predictions, and, strangely enough, I did pretty well. Of the ten teams that made the playoffs last season, I correctly forecast eight of them: Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, Anaheim, Washington, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles.
The ones I got wrong? I picked Tampa Bay to win the A.L. East, and they turned out to be terrible. Instead, the A’s made the playoffs as a Wild Card team. In the N.L., I somehow thought the Reds looked strong enough to capture a Wild Card slot, but the Giants once again assembled just the right mix of players to vaunt all the way to the World Series, where Madison Bumgarner took things into his own hands.
With the Red Sox alternating horrible years with World Championship seasons, it’s always a challenge to predict where they will finish in the A.L. East, which then makes it difficult to slot the other divisional teams around them, but we’ll have a go at it anyway.
To begin with, I don’t think there’s a 90-win team in this division. Whichever team wins this division will probably finish with around 87-89 victories.
1) Red Sox (they finished last in 2014, so….)
2) Tampa Bay (may win anywhere from 78-85 games. I’ll go with 83 wins.)
3) Toronto (will one win fewer games than the Rays.)
4) Orioles (will finish right at .500.)
5) Yankees (will win around 80 games.)
The primary question here is whether or not the Tigers have enough left in the gas tank to pull out yet another divisional title.
1) White Sox (Some nice moves over the winter, and a division ripe for the taking.)
2) Tigers (Still enough left to win up to 85 games, but no longer the favorites to win.)
3) Indians (Will look more or less like last year, a competitive team without enough horses.)
4) Royals (Significant regression here. Perhaps not even a .500 club.)
5) Twins (Not quite a minor league team; we’ll call them a Four-A club.)
Baseball’s best division. The A’s might still have enough to steal a Wild Card, and the Astros will make a significant leap forward this year.
1) Angels (Still the deepest team, and Garret Richards is coming back mid-April. My early choice for A.L. Cy Young winner.)
2) Mariners (Wild Card, but consider: Only twice in his career has Nelson Cruz ever topped 130 games played. Yes, he’ll mostly D.H., but guys like him find ways to get hurt.)
3) A’s (One of two teams in the Bay Area it is foolish to completely rule out. More wins than losses again this year.)
4) Astros (Could push 80 wins, but I’ll call it 79, nine more than last year.)
5) Rangers (Seem to have declined in a hurry. Sub-.500.)
Next time, my N.L. Predictions.