MORAN: Some predictions as MLB returns to field
Opinions Column: The Morant
The longest sports season is here, but who will reign supreme in six months? Although it hasn’t felt like it outside, spring has arrived. And with spring comes the best caveat of all, baseball.
Major League Baseball has returned to the diamond. Last season was a season of surprises.
The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers went from 2014 bottom feeders to 2015 playoff teams. The New York Yankees returned to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. The Chicago Cubs flexed their muscles and finally returned back to the playoffs. The season was of great intrigue, and it lived up to the hype.
But on April 3, a new season begins and with it a new season of expectations and teams either meeting them or failing to hit them by a lot. Sorry for the burn, Boston Red Sox fans.
Nonetheless, it’s time to pump out some predictions of divisional winners, wildcard teams, a World Series champion, as well as MVP and Cy Young Awards. Here we go:
A.L. East, New York Yankees: I do not care that the Red Sox signed David Price or added bullpen depth with Craig Kimbrel, among others, because the reality is that they still have no starting pitching. The Orioles, who spent a boatload of money this offseason, face similar problems. And for that reason, I cannot put them in the playoffs. The Rays have the pitching, not the hitting, with the Blue Jays vice versa. I would not be surprised to see either team over take the Yankees. A lot of the Yankees' success will depend on their health. If they’re healthy, they win the division by five games.
A.L. Central, Kansas City Royals: The defending World Series champs are the best team in the division by a mile. The Tigers might find their lost success once again this season with a healthy Miguel Cabrera and free agent signee Jordan Zimmerman as their new number one pitcher. The White Sox are kind of a mess right now with the Adam LaRoache saga and to be honest, I do not see the hype surrounding this team, but Todd Frazier went to Rutgers so that’s cool. The Cleveland Indians are like the Rays in that they bore you to death on paper, but will hang around all season. The Twins are a young team that won’t be in contention this season.
A.L. West, Texas Rangers: This is simple. The Rangers shouldn’t have been in the playoffs last season but a trade for Cole Hamels put them there. Hamels with Yu Darvish is scary. Houston will contend for a wild card with their young nucleus. The Angels continue to disappoint under Mike Scioscia. Seattle disappoints too. Oakland will be one of the worst teams in baseball.
A.L. Wild Card: Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays: The two teams that surprised many last year and made the playoffs return with their excellent cores. The Blue Jays will rely on Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson to take them to the postseason, while the Astros will rely on Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve and George Springer.
A.L. MVP: Miguel Cabrera: After an off year due to injuries last season, Cabrera reestablishes himself as one of the best players in baseball.
A.L. Cy Young: Cole Hamels: If he pitches like he did the second half of the season last year, he should run away with it.
A.L. World Series Representative, Houston Astros: Not the most likely team to make it, but I like their young nucleus a lot and their starting pitching. Their bullpen is solid and ultimately, I think their youth plays in their favor.
National League — or the worst league by a lot
N.L. East, New York Mets: Best pitching in baseball by far, but the biggest question is, can they hit? I bank that they do and cruise to the title. The Braves and Phillies are in complete tank mode, so count them out. The Marlins got a good manager, but it will take a while to develop a successful nucleus down there. The Nationals have the best player in baseball in Bryce Harper, so I won’t count them out.
N.L. Central: Chicago Cubs: Everyone’s World Series favorites deliver early on with a division title. They are by far the most talented team in the National League. The Pirates and Cardinals will be just as good once again this season and give the Cubs a run for their money. The Brewers and Reds will be trampled on.
N.L. West: Arizona Diamondbacks: Whoa, wait what? The winner of the offseason never wins their division. Well, I like what the DBacks did a lot and they’re division is very weak, so I figured why not? Zach Greinke and Shelby Miller are a great one-two punch. The Dodgers are chokers, plain and simple. The Giants are in an even year, so that’s a positive with their success in even years. The Rockies and Padres will be trampled on.
N.L. Wild Card: Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals:The three NL Central return to the playoffs for a second straight season. The NL Central is the only standout division in the National League. Sorry, Giants fans. There will be no even championship season.
N.L. MVP: Paul Goldschmidt: He will no longer fail to be recognized for being on a bad team. His play will be a big part in how far the DBacks go this season.
N.L. Cy Young, Jose Fernandez: The return of the best young pitcher in baseball to full health should scare every opponent.
N.L. World Series Representative, Chicago Cubs: They have just too much talent to not make it to their first World Series in 71 years.
World Series Champion: Chicago Cubs
Ryan Moran is a School of Arts and Sciences junior double majoring in journalism and media studies and economics. His column, "The Morant," runs on alternate Mondays.
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