The 500’s MLB 2015 Predictions (aka “The Bet Against These” Preview)

MLB 2015

If at first you don’t succeed…you spend 2 hours at work a year later hastily coming back to the same conclusion.

In the 2014 Preview, I tried to pull of a reverse jinx straight from the darkest part of my soul by declaring the Washington Nationals the eventual 2014 World Series Champions.  God chuckled and dialed up the third Giants title in 5 years while Clayton Kershaw (aka the MJ of pitching) melted down twice against the St. Louis Cardinals and their Fox News Fanbase.  Oops.  As always, never mess with the Sports Gods.  But does that mean I learned my lesson?  No! Of course not!

As of 13 March, the Buffalo Bills are coming off their first winning season in over a decade and traded for (on paper) one of football’s top 3 running backs, the Memphis Grizzlies are second in the otherworldly NBA Western Conference and have a title caliber nucleus, and the Buffalo Sabres have Mona Lisa’d the art of tanking and will likely have a shot at a once in a generation player in Connor MacDavid or Jake Eichel.  Oh, and the Dodgers are coming back with a quarter billion dollar roster, stole the best young GM away from Tampa and are on many a WS Winner prediction column, thanks to the aforementioned Pitching Zeus and a lineup that features a mix of solid hitting and defense throughout.  Needless to say, this sports fan is riding high.  Unless you mention the words “Syracuse basketball”, “VfB Stuttgart” or “Ted Cruz 2016”.  Then take cover.

So I’ve decided this crest of sports euphoria needs a dash of cooling off and where best to do that in a read by nobody, meaningless baseball prediction post!  So without further adieu, I present to you my thoughts on the upcoming 2015 MLB Season.  Do I tempt fate with the Sports Gods a second time and reverse jinx my way to a World Series parade in Chavez Ravine/sending anonymous bitter letters to Cardinals fans?  You’ll just have to scroll and see…

REGULAR SEASON PREDICTIONS

AL East

Adam Jones

 

1. Baltimore Orioles – z

2. Toronto Blue Jays

3. Boston Red Sox

4. New York Yankees

5. Tampa Bay Rays

If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs this year, that will be 3 in a row, the longest drought since before that guy Jeter showed up in 1995.  Otherwise, the bizarro 2007 AL East standings comes down to a 2 horse race between the O’s and which of the Jays and Sox is better at being mediocre.  Losing Markakis and Cruz’s power will obviously hurt, but if you are betting on full seasons from Machado and Weiters to make up for that, that’s sounds more like a Plan A, not B.

AL Central

Chris Sale

1. Chicago White Sox – y

2. Cleveland Indians – x

3. Kansas City Royals

4. Detroit Tigers

5. Minnesota Twins

The most difficult division to figure out, in a good way.  Except for Minnesota…at least KG is back up north!  The Other Sox made a ton of hot stove news signing the likes of Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, and Adam LaRoche, to go along with MVP and CY Young caliber talent in Jose Abreau and Chris Sale.  Meanwhile, the Indians have a roster full of B+ to A- talent and are looking like Washington Nationals light.  These two and Kansas City will duke it out for the top spot, with a Wild Card definitely coming out of the Central.  In other news Detroit is due for a nightmare season (aka the 2014 Texas Rangers) after years of veteran splurging, although Nick Castellanos will be guaranteed the “Every Team Gets Represented” All Star spot for the 2019-2022 Tigers.

AL West

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols

1. Anaheim Angels – y

2. Seattle Mariners – x

3. Oakland Athletics

4. Texas Rangers

5. Houston Astros

Coin flip between the Mariners and Angels until you realize that everyone not named Kyle or Robinson couldn’t get 100 hits last year, save Dustin Ackley.  Still, Cruz and that great pitching staff, as well as 50+ games against Oakland, Houston and continued downward spiral that is Texas, will help pad the win column.  Unfortunately, that padding helps Anaheim’s cool side of the pillow too.  Jose Altuve is making a strong run at the Best Under 5’7″ Pro Athlete Title Belt from Philipp Lahm.

NL East

Stanton

1. Washington Nationals – z

2. Miami Marlins – x

3. New York Mets

4. Atlanta Braves

5. Philadelphia Phillies

The Nationals have no holes, except the giant one called a fanbase.  The Mets and Braves will politely tip their hats to each other by mid-June like two dudes walking the same hill, one going up, the other down.  And all media from SI to Fangraphs to CNN’s Malaysian Plane coverage has praised Miami for having the GREATEST YOUNG OUTFIELD EVERRRRR!!!!  But I’ll give you $3 of fantasy baseball auction money to name 2 infielders not named Dee Gordon.  Still, balanced team with wins to be had against the 3 standings bottom feeders means Miami could rack up enough to at least compete for the Wild Card.  Lastly, who moves outta Philly before 2016 first: Cole Hamels or Chip Kelly?

NL Central

Rizzo

1. St. Louis Cardinals – y

2. Chicago Cubs – x

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

4. Milwaukee Brewers

5. Cincinnati Reds

I am ALL IN with these Cubs.  Call them this year’s Royals except on an accelerated timetable with a superior manager and actual Top 20 talent in 1B Anthony Rizzo and freshly signed SP Jon Lester.  If only the 2006 White Sox didn’t exist, we could’ve had a tremendous L-Train Series for a first in a century title bout.  But much like it’s AL cousin, this division was either going to take in depth Fangraphs digging or Russian roulette tactics to guess the order.  I went with neither as this is being written at work where both time and 6 shooter pistols are in short supply, so I went with gut feeling.  And since the St. Louis Cardinals, both their team and their AARP fanbase, are the baseball equivalency as the Walking Dead, why not just throw them in for another division title.  Although it’s worth mentioning that SP Adam Wainwright, uber All Star catcher Yadier Molina, and OF Matt Holliday are entering or are in the twilight of their primes.  Pittsburgh’s “We Are Nobodys” era is probably coming to an end, although McCutchen is still probably the best all around player in the NL.  The real wild cards are Milwaukee and Cincy.  Votto coming back helps, but that lineup is a Jay Bruce and Devin “REGRESS REGRESS” Mesoraco injury away from AAA quality.  The same doesn’t go for Milwaukee where not everything is riding on former NL MVP Ryan Braun’s return as OF Carlos Gomez and C Jonathan Lucroy wrestled the franchise cornerstone conch from Braun last year.  But that pitching staff besides a breakout from Mike Fiers isn’t going to do much.

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – y

2. San Francisco Giants

3. San Diego Padres

4. Colorado Rockies

5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Anything I say in this section will obviously come back to haunt me, so I’m treading softly.  The (actual) Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the 2015 season with paychecks being cut for about $250 million to players both on and not on the team.  And this is before they get Cole Hamels in June.  See!  I did it again!  I can’t control myself, I apologize on behalf of the 2015 World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.  Sh*t! Again!  Well at least Pablo Sandoval isn’t in San Francisco anymore, not that the return of Matt Cain is making Dodgers fans sleep any better.  Bumgarner/Posey/Pence might be a better triple threat than Kershaw/Puig/Gonzalez, but when it comes to the regular season, LA has enough money and talent depth to eek out more wins.  Just as long as the other divisions do their job an prevent a Giants WC berth.  Remember what I said about $3 for naming some Miami infielders?  I’ll up that to $5,805,000 if you can name all 5 on the Padres.  Hell I’ll even help out, Jedd Gyorko.  In the words of Marco from Tropoja, Good Luck.  Finally, Colorado seems to be in need of Obamacare or a shrewd minor league prospect haul for the CarGo and Tulo package while Arizona is rebuilding their reputation slower than SAE’s.

Player Awards

Kris Bryant

NL MVP: Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

AL MVP: Mike Trout (LAA)

NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg (WAS)

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez (SEA)

NL ROY: Kris Bryant (CHC)

AL ROY: Alex Meyer (MIN)

I told you I was on the Cubs Bandwagon.  Plan on crashing it too.

7th Scrolling Stretch

If you’re in to nostalgic time wasting activities, have I got a 500 Section cross promotion for you!  Yes, its the Top 10 Snapbacks from the 90s list you’ve always been waiting for.  Here, check it out.  Oh, and there’s a little 500 contest ritual coming up in about 7 weeks, so please be prepared for another round of “Don’t Get Fired/Divorced” fun.

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

Indians Mariners

NL Wild Card:

Miami over Chicago

AL Wild Card:

Seattle over Cleveland

Dodgers Cardinals

NLDS:

Los Angeles over St. Louis

Washington over Miami

ALDS:

Seattle over Baltimore

Chicago over Anaheim

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox-Game One

NLCS:

Washington over Los Angeles

ALCS:

Seattle over Chicago

World Series

Washington over Seattle

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two

Congratulations Washington, may your victory parade be as long and euphoric as the experience 92% of Nats fans experience in the Bullpen during innings 1 through 7 at home games.

 

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