Posted by Jimmy Boyd on
The MLB regular season is fast approaching and it’s time to unleash our predictions on how we see things playing out in 2015. A new season brings new hope to several franchises. Last year just 5 of the 10 teams who made the playoffs in 2013 returned to the postseason, while the Boston Red Sox went from World Series winners to last place to the 4th worst record in the American League.
The Kansas City Royals snapped a 28-year playoff drought and made it all the way to the World Series before eventually losing to the San Francisco Giants in a thrilling 7-game series. The Giants, who failed to make the playoffs the previous year, won their third championship in the last 5 years. Here’s a look at how I see each division playing out in 2015. For a more in-depth look at each team, just click on the link over their name.
While the Red Sox and Blue Jays have made some big offseason moves that have many calling for them to finish 1-2 in the standings, my money is on Buck Showalter and the Orioles to defend their AL East title. Baltimore has one of the more underrated pitching staffs in the game and an offense that put up runs in bunches. While Boston and Toronto also figure to be scoring plenty of runs, I have concerns with both starting rotations. As for the Yankees and Rays, neither looks to be a serious threat. New York exceeded expectations in Jeter’s final season in 2014 and the Rays must overcome the loss of manager Joe Maddon.
- Baltimore Orioles (90-72)
- Boston Red Sox (84-78)
- Toronto Blue Jays (82-80)
- New York Yankees (79-83)
- Tampa Bay Rays (75-87)
This was one of the hardest divisions to predict and I’m sure there are going to be plenty who disagree with how I rank the top four teams. Most will look to peg the Tigers or Royals at the top, as the Royals are coming off that magical postseason run and Tigers have won the division each of the last four years. While it wouldn’t come as a surprise if either of those team took down the AL Central, keep in mind that both teams loss their ace in the offseason. My money is on the Indians, who were just 5-games out of first, despite leading all of baseball with 118 errors. I’m also expecting a big jump up in the standings from the White Sox, who I have sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card.
- Cleveland Indians (89-73)
- Chicago White Sox (86-76) *Wild Card*
- Detroit Tigers (84-78)
- Kansas City Royals (78-84)
- Minnesota Twins (66-96)
While I don’t think the AL West is as strong as the AL Central, this is another division that could a lot of different ways. The Angels had the best record in all of baseball last year with 98-wins and finished a full 10-games clear of the next best team. I could have easily pegged them to defend their title, but I really like what Seattle has done and I give them the slight edge. Most believe it’s a two-team race and for the most part I agree, but Texas figures to be much improved, Oakland has a history of coming out of nowhere and the Astros are on the rise. I have just 12-games separating first from last, which is the smallest margin of any division.
- Seattle Mariners (88-74)
- Los Angeles Angels (87-75) *Wild Card*
- Texas Rangers (82-80)
- Oakland Athletics (80-82)
- Houston Astros (76-86)
I know nothing is certain and the Nationals failed to deliver on their hype after winning the division in 2012, but I’m confident that Washington will remain on top the NL East in 2015. The Nationals have the best starting rotation in baseball and one that rivals with some of the best staffs of all-time. I don’t see any of the other four teams posing a threat. Miami and New York figure to be in the hunt for a Wild Card spot down to the wire, but I have both coming up short. While Atlanta doesn’t figure to be down for long and could easily exceed my expectations, I’m not really sure what the Phillies are doing.
- Washington Nationals (97-64)
- Miami Marlins (84-78)
- New York Mets (82-80)
- Atlanta Braves (75-87)
- Philadelphia Phillies (68-98)
The NL Central has had a lot of great teams over the last few years, which is evident by the fact that they have sent at least 2 teams to the playoffs in each of the last 4 seasons, including 3 in 2013. With the Cubs finally looking like they are ready to contend, you could make a strong case for any one of the five teams to win the division. With that said, I don’t think the Reds or Brewers have the starting pitching on paper to deliver on their potential, leaving it up to the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates to battle it out. I give the slight edge to St Louis based on their track record, but Pittsburgh and Chicago are more than capable of dethroning St Louis.
- St. Louis Cardinals (88-74)
- Chicago Cubs (85-77) *Wild Card*
- Pittsburgh Pirates (83-79)
- Cincinnati Reds (79-83)
- Milwaukee Brewers (74-88)
While the Giants won the World Series last year and the Padres made a bunch of big offseason splashes, the Dodgers are still the team to beat in the NL West. Los Angeles arguably has the best pitcher in the game in Clayton Kershaw and arguably the second best rotation behind that of the Nationals. They also have the highest payroll ($240 million). With San Francisco on and off every other year, I don’t see them being a serious threat, but I do think the Padres have done enough to at least sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card. As for the Diamondbacks and Rockies, expect minimal improvement at best.
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