2021 MLB Predictions

It’s really hard to predict the MLB season, especially in the COVID world as we saw a team like the Marlins can face adverse conditions. I will try my best today though.

ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 18: Members of the Los Angeles Dodgers pose for a team photo on the mound after defeating the Atlanta Brave in Game 7 of the NLCS at Globe Life Field on Sunday, October 18, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

AL EAST

  1. New York Yankees
  2. Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Tampa Bay Rays
  4. Boston Red Sox
  5. Baltimore Orioles

The Yankees are probably the favorites in the AL. Their lineup is stacked and they just brough back Brett Gardner for one more run at it all, though I think Clint Frazier deserves the starting job. Their rotation is good too and getting Luis Severino back near the end of the season is like a built in trade deadline acquisition. The scariest thing is if Judge and Stanton can both eclipse 550 plate appearances. The Blue Jays line-up could rival the Yankees though. Springer and Semien were huge acquisitions and guys like Rowdy Tellez offer extreme upside even though their big league career is so-so right now. That line-up is great, the biggest question is if the cast-off veteran group and Nate Pearson and combine for something behind Hyun-jin Ryu in the starting rotation. I like their postseason chances though. The Rays are taking a step back, I trust their front office and player development but they lost Charlie Morton and Blake Snell and that’s huge. Glasnow is good and he is a borderline ace pitcher though he could still make some improvements to his game but they lack as much punch as they had last year. Austin Meadows will need to have a comeback season for them. They are still a winning team but they are likely taking a step back after the off-season they had. The Red Sox might not be as bad as everyone thinks but they lack any kind of pitching whatsoever without Sale. They need some pitching before they can start competing again and leave the 70-something win territory. They are at 13.9 projected pitching WAR but 2.3 of that is Chris Sale when we don’t really know how many starts he will really make. The Orioles are still rebuilding but it will be exciting to see Trey Mancini come back and Ryan Mountcastle start to develop.

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins
  2. Cleveland Indians
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Kansas City Royals
  5. Detroit Tigers

The Twins really should’ve re-signed Odorizzi because their starting pitching and bullpen might come up a little short but I think they are de facto favorites right now. Their offense is still really strong and Alex Kirilloff is a ROY candidate that isn’t getting enough attention. Simmons was a huge pick-up and overall I like the Twins chances despite losing some pitching, Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios will have to lead the way. Also, this is Buxton’s breakout year. The Indians still have one of the top rotations in the AL. Trading your best (or second best) hitter though is not going to help when you’ve struggled to score runs. I still think they will have a winning record but they need an offensive boost. Josh Naylor, Jake Bauers, and Bobby Bradley. A few of those guys need to break out. The White Sox are a popular pick but I need to see Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech do an above average job if they want to beat the Twins. Their offense is probably the best in the divison along with Minnesota though. Their bullpen is also a secret weapon. Liam Hendricks isn’t a secret but guys like Codi Heuer and Aaron Bummer are really strong back end relievers. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Lance Lynn trade though. The Royals are a sleeper team but they need Soler and Dozier to be the 2019 version of themselves and Benintendi to find himself again. Their pitching is young but Singer and Bubic could take a step forward and Brad Keller has proven he is a solid starter. The bullpen also has some good weapons like Scott Barlow and Josh Stautmont. They have a higher ceiling if they can get things going. The Tigers should try and break 70 wins this year. They have a chance to make one more huge draft selection but they will need guys to start stepping up to supplement the top prospects they have. JaCoby Jones, Christin Stewart, Willi Castro and Jeimer Candelario need to keep going. Spencer Turnbull needs to keep striding forward and Matt Boyd needs to step up. They have a chance at 70 wins if things roll in their favor.

AL West

  1. Houston Astros
  2. Oakland A’s
  3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  4. Seattle Mariners
  5. Texas Rangers

The Astros scandal and 29-31 record lead some to believe decline. They also lost some of the key players in their last WS with Verlander shelved and Springer gone. I do not think Houston is the 100 win juggernaut they once were but they are still really good. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker and Michael Brantley is still a difficult lineup to make your way through. Their starting staff is led by young arms they’ve developed too but the depth takes a hit with Framber Valdez and Forrest Whitley injuries. McCullers and Greinke are a great top 2 and Odorizzi was a great signing too. I think they have enough under the radar arms to do well: Urquidy, Parades, Garcia, and Javier will all play roles. The Athletics are a solid team. They’ve recently had the tradeoff of good hitting contributors leaving like Khris Davis and Marcus Semien but have some starting pitching coming through with Jesus Luzardo and Chris Bassitt breaking out. Trevor Rosenthal completely changed his release point and found huge success so the downgrade of losing Hendricks to him might be mitigated. The Angels rotation doesn’t really bring confidence and their bullpen isn’t good either. Without Trout and Ohtani I think they are right with the Tigers and Orioles but those guys along with Jo Adell, Dylan Bundy, and David Fletcher being solid contributors make them a 75-80 win team. The Mariners are coming. Logan Gilbert and Jared Kelenic will be debuting in 2021 and that’s the start. I expect some regression from Kyle Lewis but they have some exciting pieces and I thought they did well in their recent trades last year. Justin Dunn could really bring that rotation forward as well. The Rangers are a mismatch of positions. They are trying everyone out somewhere new. They lost their “Big 3” of Kluber, Minor and Lynn from last year, they are trending in the wrong direction.

NL East

  1. Atlanta Braves
  2. New York Mets
  3. Philadelphia Phillies
  4. Washington Nationals
  5. Miami Marlins

The Braves keep getting a lot of flak for their pitching but they have Ian Anderson, Max Fried and Charlie Morton leading the way with Mike Soroka making a comeback. That reminds me of the Rays teams of the last two seasons. Combine that with brining Ozuna back and Christian Pache debuting on an offense that was already right with the Dodgers last season and they are the most slept on star team in baseball. They should go out and re-sign Shane Greene but their bullpen is solid too. The Mets and Phillies are closer than I think most people think but the Mets get the edge with their rotation. There’s no doubt the Mets improved this offseason and I actually liked the McCann signing along with the Carrasco/Lindor trade but what worries me is that their defense could be really bad. Overall, I think the Mets are about an 88 win team and Phillies are 84-85 going into the season. They have shored up the bullpen a bit too and I think they are a really good team. The Nationals are a top heavy team: Scherzer, Strasburg, Turner and Soto are among the best players in the game but the rest of the team is weak or has question marks. The Marlins have a team to work with but there’s no denying they greatly benefitted from a 60 game season and expanded playoffs. I do like their starting rotation to grow into one of the best in the game but that probably won’t come together this season.
 

NL Central

  1. Milwaukee Brewers
  2. St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Chicago Cubs
  4. Cincinnati Reds
  5. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Brewers offseason strategy was good, improvement on defense behind their young starters they have high hopes for again this season with Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. Christian Yelich will need to play like an MVP again to compete and a combination of breakouts from Hiura and Urias. The bullpen is loaded with Hader, Williams, Suter and Peralta though and in a weak division that may be enough. The Cardinals made the huge splash of getting Nolan Arenado but they need some more offesne even on top of him and Jack Flaherty needs to be in 2019 form. Their defense is also strong but I’m not sure they have enough to win the division even with Arenado and Goldschmidt leading the way. The Cubs still have some really good players but they have underperformed due to the bullpen, and inconsistency from both pitchers and hitters over the years. If they have more guys perform on their higher percentile projections then they could win the division. The Reds still have no shortstop. They may have the most power in the division and Gray-Castillo leading the rotation is good along with some promising arms Mahle, Antone and Lorenzen behind but they don’t strike me as any better than they were last season. Any four of these teams could win the division. The Pirates are the worst team in abseball. There are some good players there but they’ll be lucky to win more than 60 games.

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Diego Padres
  3. San Francisco Giants
  4. Arizona Diamondbacks
  5. Colorado Rockies

The Dodgers still have the potential to be a dynasty, they are the defending champions and best team going into the season. They have 3 previous Cy Young winners and Walker Buehler. Gavin Lux is going to be huge and their line-up is still stacked, normally a team like the Padres would win this division but they just aren’t as good. The Padres stacked up on pitching depth and have Machado and Tatis and in the postseason they are built to win short series so they will be dangerous. Two of the best teams in baseball will play each other 19 times this year and that’ll be fun. The Giants are good at outperforming expectations and they are neck and neck with Arizona. Arizona has more talent to work with and Zac Gallen could win the Cy Young but don’t underestimate how solid San Francisco is. They are both .500 teams in the end. Colorado is trending in the wrong direction, they still have some solid pieces but they might as well tear it down and rebuild at this point and they are even messing that up.

Playoffs:

Wild Card Round

Padres over Mets

Jays over A’s

Yankees over Jays in 5
Astros over Twins in 4

Dodgers over Padres in 5
Braves over Brewers in 4

Astros over Yankees in 7

Dodgers over Braves in 6

Dodgers over Astros in 5

AL MVP: OF Mike Trout
NL MVP: OF Juan Soto

AL Cy Young: SP Lucas Giolito
NL Cy Young: SP Walker Buehler

AL ROY: SS Wander Franco
NL ROY: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes

AL Manager of the Year: Charlie Montoyo
NL Manager of the Year: Craig Counsell

Surprise Team: Kansas City Royals

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