The long and stormy winter is finally coming to a close...it's time for some Major League Baseball! I love making season predictions, the only problem is I'm absolutely terrible at them. The last four years I didn't picked the eventual World Series champion to even make the playoffs! Lets try to change that this year as I make my 2014 MLB season predictions!
Seth's 2014 MLB Season Predictions
Regular Season Standings:
1. Tampa Bay Rays: 94-68 - Since 2008 no team has been as consistent. One of the best rotations in baseball.
2. New York Yankees: (Wild Card) 92-70 - Plenty of new faces. Health will dictate how far this team can go.
3. Boston Red Sox: 86-76 - Everything went right last year, have to expect the pitching will come down to earth.
4. Baltimore Orioles: 84-78 - Offense is very good but the rotation is still missing an anchor and the bullpen is missing a shutdown closer.
5. Toronto Blue Jays: 73-89 - Not the Blue Jays fault they are in arguably the toughest division in baseball.
1. Kansas City Royals: 90-72 - Haven't been to the playoffs since 1985. That could very well change this year!
2. Detroit Tigers: 87-75 - No more Leyland, Fielder, Fister, Peralta, or Iglesias could spell some trouble for the Tigers.
3. Chicago White Sox: 71-91 - One of the best offseasons in baseball. Will surprise some people with young talent.
4. Cleveland Indians: 71-91 - The rotation needs to be just as good as last year which may be asking for too much without Ubaldo or Kazmir.
5. Minnesota Twins: 63-99 - Still a few years away from contention.
1. Oakland Athletics: 97-65 - Billy Beane and Bob Melvin have won the West two straight years and with their depth they look to do it again.
2. Los Angeles Angels: (Wild Card) 90-72 - Can this team really underachieve three straight years? Hard to believe.
3. Texas Rangers: 84-78 - Injuries have killed the Rangers this spring and this rotation should not scare anyone.
4. Seattle Mariners: 74-88 - Went above and beyond to sign Cano but didn't go above and beyond to support him.
5. Houston Astros 59-103 - May be the only time where 103 losses would be a major improvement.
1. Washington Nationals: 92-70 - I still think the Nationals are an overrated team but they win this division by default.
2. New York Mets: 78-84 - The rotation should be solid but will they score enough runs? I have my doubts.
3. Atlanta Braves: 77-85 - Uncharacteristic lack of pitching depth and a lineup that strikes out way too much.
4. Miami Marlins: 73-89 - Jose Fernandez is the only player that can single handily sell tickets to a Marlins game
5. Philadelphia Phillies: 71-91 - A group of over the hill veterans that really needs to blow the team up and rebuild
1. St. Louis Cardinals: 98-64 - Offense? Check. Pitching? Check. Depth? Check. 4th straight NLCS in their future.
2. Milwaukee Brewers: (Wild Card) 90-72 - An offense that will score plenty of runs, can the pitching live up to its potential?
3. Pittsburgh Pirates: 87-75 - Hasn't done anything this offseason. Will need Polanco and Taillon to dominate to have a chance.
4. Cincinnati Reds: 84-78 - Billy Hamilton better be a star and Cueto needs to stay healthy if they are going to make the playoffs again.
5. Chicago Cubs: 58-104 - Unless their top prospects come up, worst roster in baseball.
1. San Francisco Giants: 95-67 - Underrated offense, very good rotation, one of the best bullpens. People are sleeping on the Giants!
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: (Wild Card) 94-68 - Can they live up to the hype? Kershaw can't have anymore stints on the DL.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks: 80-82 - The rotation is just not good enough.
4. Colorado Rockies: 72-90 - Jonathan Gray and Eddie Butler will eventually try to turn the Rockies' pitching fortunes around.
5. San Diego Padres: 66-96 - A very injury prone team with a limited amount of talent.
2014 MLB Awards:
AL MVP: Mike Trout (LAA) - After finishing 2nd fiddle to Miguel Cabrera the last two years, Trout finally captures his 1st MVP.
Runner-Up: Josh Donaldson (Oak), Eric Hosmer (KC)
NL MVP: Yadier Molina (Stl) - Best all-around catcher in baseball will help lead the Cardinals to the best record in baseball.
Runner-Up: Buster Posey (SF), Ryan Braun (Mil)
AL Cy Young: Yu Darvish (Tex) - The king of the strikeouts, Darvish will dominate again.
Runner-Up: Chris Sale (ChW), Felix Hernandez (Sea)
NL Cy Young: Jose Fernandez (Mia) - Finished 3rd in this race last year at age 21 while never pitching in a level higher than Single-A.
Runner-Up: Adam Wainwright (Stl), Madison Bumgarner (SF)
AL Rookie of the Year: Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) - The hype and his splitter should give Tanaka the edge in a tough Rookie of the Year field.
Runner-Up: Xander Boegarts (Bos), Jose Abreu (ChW)
NL Rookie of the Year: Gregory Polanco (Pit) - As long as the Pirates call him up soon, could give them another five tool star in the outfield.
Runner-Up: Billy Hamilton (Cin), Matt Wisler (SD)
AL Manager of the Year: Ned Yost (KC) - Leading a team to the playoffs for the first time since 1985 should be enough for this award.
Runner-Up: Joe Maddon (TB), Bob Melvin (Oak)
NL Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke (Mil) - No one is picking the Brewers, so if Ron leads them to October he should get this award.
Runner-Up: Matt Williams (Was), Bruce Bochy (SF)
AL Comeback Player of the Year: Michael Pineada (NYY) - The two year wait is over and Pineda is ready to carve up hitters again.
Runner-Up: Grady Sizemore (Bos), Mark Teixeira (NYY)
NL Comeback Player of the Year: Curtis Granderson (NYM) - The Mets desperately need the Grandyman to hit 30+ home runs
Runner-Up: Tim Hudson (SF), Matt Kemp (LAD)
Seth's All American League Breakout Team:
C: Yan Gomes (Cle), 1B: Jose Abreu (ChW), 2B: Marcus Semien (ChW), SS: Brad Miller (Sea), 3B: Mike Moustakas (KC), OF: Adam Eaton (ChW), OF: Kole Calhoun (LAA), SP: Alex Cobb (TB), SP: Sonny Gray (Oak), SP: Drew Hutchison (Tor), RP: Cody Allen (Cle)
Seth's All National League Breakout Team:
C: Devin Mesoraco (Cin), 1B: Brandon Belt (SF), 2B: Tommy La Stella (Atl), SS: Chris Owings (Ari), 3B: Nolan Arenado (Col), OF: Khris Davis (Mil), OF: Gregory Polanco (Pit), SP: Tony Cingrani (Cin), SP: Michael Wacha (Stl), SP: Zach Wheeler (NYM), RP: Rex Brothers (Col)
Seth's World Series Pick:
Oakland Athletics over San Francisco Giants - 25 years ago these two teams met up in the fall classic. It is most remembered for an earthquake that occurred right before the start of game three, delaying the series for a week.
The A's come into this season having surprised the baseball world and winning the American League West two straight years. This time they aren't sneaking up on anyone. With a lineup featuring MVP candidate Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Moss, and Coco Crisp, they will use their spacious ballpark to their advantage. A prospective late season call-up of top prospect Addison Russell could only help their chances. The biggest question becomes the rotation, as they already lost Jarrod Parker for the season but I trust Billy Beane in putting the best product on the field. Sonny Gray is bound for a breakout season, Scott Kazmir is the solid pitcher of old, and once A.J. Griffin gets healthy he can rack up some strikeouts. The best attribute of the team is an absolutely stacked bullpen lead by offseason acquisition Jim Johnson. There are still some tweaks to be made, but I think this is finally the year Oakland gets over the playoff hump.
The San Francisco Giants have an odd pattern the last four years of winning the World Series and coming up flat the year after. Now a team that nobody is picking to succeed, the Giants thrive when nobody believes in them. The Giants' offense is one of the most underrated groups in baseball. Buster Posey will definitely need to improve on his disappointing 2013 season, Hunter Pence must repeat his career year in 2014, Pablo Sandoval is in a contract year, Angel Pagan must stay healthy all season long, and Brandon Belt must blossom into the star that some people think he can be. The rotation can only improve from last year. Madison Bumgarner had a flawless spring and will be the ace of the Giants this season. Matt Cain, who had an uncharacteristic bad season in 2013, improved in the 2nd half and will look to rebound this year. Tim Hudson was brought in to give the Giants a reliable 200 innings pitcher and take some of the pressure off Tim Lincecum. If Lincecum and Vogelsong can just pitch a little better than they did last year, you are talking about one of the best rotations in baseball. Just like the Athletics, the Giants have a very good bullpen. Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, Javier Lopez, and Santiago Casilla will preserve almost any late game lead.
My name is Seth Guttman and I'm a baseball writer for First and Ten Sports. Thanks for reading! If you want to hear my instant reactions from everything around the MLB you can follow me on twitter @RavenNation21. Enjoy the season everyone!