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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MLB Division Predictions

Jose+Altuve+of+the+Houston+Astros.

Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros.

As we approach the heart of Spring Training, each roster looks pretty much set as most of the free agents have found new places to call home. Although a lot can change in the 162-game marathon that is the MLB season, it’s still always nice to have an idea of what to expect throughout the year. Let’s take a look at each of the six divisions and see who’s in good shape to come out on top.
We’ll start with the American League (AL) East, which of course has a few new faces. The New York Yankees, who didn’t win the division last year but still ended up within a game of the World Series, have now added Giancarlo Stanton to an already potent offense. With Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and now Stanton, the Yankees are going to be a tough team to beat. With that said, last year’s division winner, the Boston Red Sox, have kept virtually the same exact team while signing all-star J.D. Martinez. As long as Chris Sale, David Price, and the rest of the rotation stay healthy, the Sox will be right there contending for another division title. It will almost definitely come down to these two teams, but as of now, it’s the Yankees’ division to lose.
The AL Central doesn’t have as much parity as the East does, as they have perhaps the best team in the entire AL: the Cleveland Indians. Not only do they have one of the best managers around, Terry Francona, but their pitching staff has been excellent for two straight years. With Corey Kluber at the helm, it’s very tough to score runs off this team. As long as their offense can produce, it appears that the AL Central won’t be much of a race in 2018.
The AL West could be very interesting throughout the season, which is surprising, considering the Houston Astros ran away with it last year and went on to win the World Series. The Los Angeles Angels won the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes this past offseason, a Japanese player who can both pitch and hit. If he lives up to the hype, he will be a complete stud and cause problems for a lot of teams. Even with him, they still have the best player in the sport, Mike Trout. Trout was sidelined for a couple months last year with a thumb injury causing the Angels to somewhat struggle. With a healthy Trout and an improved pitching staff, they could give the Astros a run for their money. With that said, there’s no signs of AL MVP Jose Altuve or World Series MVP George Springer slowing down at all. For that reason, Houston still has to be the favorite for the division, but watch out for the Angels.
On paper, the National League (NL) East looks like it will be by far the least competitive division in the entire league. With multiple teams rebuilding such as the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals will have an even easier time winning the NL East yet again. Maybe the New York Mets could present a decent team, but the combination of power on offense with Bryce Harper and pitching with Max Scherzer will be too much for the Nationals not to win.
The NL Central is always a race for the better half of each season. This year should be no different. The Milwaukee Brewers were a surprise last year and had a chance up until the last month of the year. If they stay healthy, they could have a chance once again. However, the Chicago Cubs have been the team to beat in the NL the last few seasons, and that won’t change this year. With the addition of Yu Darvish, their pitching staff looks as good as it ever has. After a disappointing loss in the National League Championship series to the Dodgers last year, the Cubs will be ready to redeem themselves.
Saving the best for last—literally—the NL West will once again be the best division in baseball in 2018. The Colorado Rockies have as good of an offense as anyone with Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon; not to mention they have a hitter’s friendly ballpark. The Arizona Diamondbacks saw a great improvement with new manager Torey Lovullo last season. They have a better shot at the division title than the Rockies do, but ultimately this will still end up being the Los Angeles Dodgers’ division. The reigning pennant winners are still a juggernaut and will come back hungry this year following a crushing game seven defeat in the World Series.