Opening Day is fast approaching – this year we’re counting baseball in Australia as the opener – even though this post traditionally rolls out the night before USA’s Opening Day. In honor of the special day which is similar to a second Christmas Eve, we make our picks on all things baseball so we can look back and see how everyone did at season’s end. Here is our 2013 predictions post. Last year was hit and miss, but we feel much more educated for this year. Here’s how I see things in baseball shaking out in 2014:
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox*
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox*
Kansas City Royals
New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
San Diego Padres
* Denotes Wildcard teams
Wild Card Games:
Boston Red Sox over Tampa Bay Rays
Atlanta Braves over Pittsburgh Pirates
Detroit Tigers over Boston Red Sox (in five games)
New York Yankees over Anaheim Angels (in four games)
Los Angeles Dodgers over Atlanta Braves (SWEEP)
Washington Nationals over St. Louis Cardinals (in five games)
ALCS / NLCS:
New York Yankees over Detroit Tigers (in six games)
Los Angeles Dodgers over Washington Nationals (in seven games)
New York Yankees over Los Angeles Dodgers (in five games)
It was a tough pick when it came down to the final four, especially choosing between the Nationals and the Dodgers for National League supremacy. In the end, a chance at playing for the title continues to elude Bryce Harper in Washington and Yasiel Puig and the star-crossed Dodgers take Vin Scully to the grandest stage just in the nick of time. As fate will have it, the New York Yankees and their band of veterans take home a title in Derek Jeter’s final season; a World Championship in the year that my first child is born. A child that my wife will swear is going to be a Yankees fan – that’s not happening.
1. Mike Trout
2. Evan Longoria
3. Miguel Cabrera
Evan Longoria does *just* enough to pull votes away from Cabrera – and Mike Trout does the rest. Trout will be the undisputed ‘most valuable’ for 2014, and he won’t slow down one bit. He might not be able to show us anything that he hasn’t done already, but to do it three seasons in a row – and to have three Hall of Fame caliber seasons by the time you’re 22 is something I’m not sure this generation has seen in itself.
1. Paul Goldschmidt
2. Bryce Harper
3. Yasiel Puig
The MVP Goldschmidt has a team that misses the postseason entirely, but his numbers are so phenomenal that not enough voters can justify giving it to the guys who play for contenders.
AL CY YOUNG
1. Justin Verlander
2. Yu Darvish
3. Masahiro Tanaka
NL CY YOUNG
1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Jose Fernandez
3. Homer Bailey
AL Rookie of the Year
1. Xander Bogaerts
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. George Springer
NL Rookie of the Year
1. Billy Hamilton
2. Oscar Taveras
3. Javier Baez
AL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Derek Jeter
2. Josh Hamilton
3. Neftali Feliz
NL Comeback Player of the Year
1. Chase Utley
2. Curtis Granderson
3. Wilson Ramos
AL Bold Predictions
1. The Boston Red Sox become Xander Bogaerts’ team. The new face of the franchise in Beantown hits .285 with 22 home runs and 85 RBI.
2. Robinson Cano begins his decline phase ever so slightly in Seattle by posting a solid but not spectacular season. No one notices because the Mariners begin to play a bit better and those who notice a small decline in numbers blame the ballpark.
3. Masahiro Tanaka does his best Yu Darvish impression all season long, mystifying hitters with over 200 strikeouts.
4. The kid from Millville, New Jersey posts a 1.011 OPS and hits a career-high 35 home runs. Then adds two more in his first postseason.
5. The Cleveland Indians regress to around .500 but aren’t entirely horrible because of Terry Francona’s leadership. Jason Kipnis takes the next step towards being a star.
NL Bold Predictions
1. Stephen Strasburg finally silences the critics with a 20-win season, winning the NL CY Young going away.
2. The Reds win either 84 or 85 games; wasting the best season of Jay Bruce’s career. Bruce hits 40 home runs and drives in 115 while hitting .275 with an OPS near .900 for the year. He finishes fourth in the MVP vote.
3. Nathan Eovaldi emerges as a secondary ace for the Miami Marlins, helping them to a surprising third-place finish in the division.
4. Yasiel Puig has an up and down regular season that has flashes brilliance and struggles – but explodes in the postseason to get the Dodgers back to the World Series for the first time since 1988. Puig’s hit in the seventh game of the NLCS eliminates Washington.
5. Bryce Harper has no DL stints and plays in 140 games. His final line is .295, 34 home runs, 90 RBI, 90 runs and 15 steals. He wins a gold glove in left field to the surprise of many and finishes second in the MVP vote.