*Teams with a "WC" are Wild Card winners
World Series: Dodgers vs Red Sox
World Series Champions: Red Sox
For the NL, there's a few teams I'm curious to see how they do for the year and they are the Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Cubs, and Mets. The Dodgers, coming off a loss to the Cardinals in last year's NLDS, will look to capture their first World Series berth since 1988 when they last won it. With the Padres making some big moves over the offseason, they will look to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and win their first World Series title in team history. Since the Giants win the World Series every two years, they won't win again until 2016 (joking, of course....or am I?).
The most intriguing division might be the Central. With the Cubs looking to contend with their young stars we've heard so much about, it'll add more competition to a division that has seen the Cardinals and Pirates have the recent success. As a baseball fan, it'd be nice to see the Cubbies reach the playoffs, but I think it'll be just out of their reach.
The most difficult division for me to predict was the East. We all know the Nationals will win it, and the Phillies will finish last, BUT the other three teams brought out my curiosity. The Marlins definitely got better in the offseason, the Braves sold some value and got younger talent we'll see in the next 1-3 years, and the Mets pretty much stayed the same (Harvey's back but Wheeler is now lost for the season). Considering the Marlins only needed three more wins to move into second place last year, I'm putting them second for this season; they made some good moves. Normally I'd probably put the Mets as fourth, but with the Braves' outlook, the Mets will probably take third in the division (moving in the outfield fence yet again should help, after all).
The Royals had a great run last season but fell just a little short. If their team can stay healthy I believe they can make another run for a title with the young group of players they have. The East division won't be all that great, and you could probably flip-flop the Orioles and Blue Jays, so that was debatable.
I wanted to put the Indians in at least a Wild Card spot, but I just wasn't feelin' it to be honest. I believe the Royals can at least get a Wild Card spot. The Tigers have owned the division over the past few years so seeing them finish second (or even worse) would be surprising. I was hesitant giving the Mariners a Wild Card spot, though they finished last season with an 87-75 record so they could repeat that again and make the playoffs. I wanted to go with the Orioles or possibly the Indians for a Wild Card, but we'll see what happens. My overall feeling is that the AL will probably be a little more unpredictable than the NL, as there's a few teams that I'll have my eyes on (mostly the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Indians as potential playoff teams). I'm banking on a few teams to overachieve or underachieve, so although anything can happen, it's sort of a way to predict a surprise or two. The Indians seem to be a World Series favorite so who knows, maybe they'll finally win it.
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You may have noticed the differences in this year's post as opposed to last year's standings predictions post (I also realized I was a little too generous for total wins). I'm not the best when it comes to making graphic layouts (or else you'd be seeing fancier graphics more often) but we'll settle with this jaw-dropping design I made on Microsoft Paint. I'm actually surprised it worked as well as it did, nice and simple. The hardest thing was probably lining everything up the best I could. At least the picture is clearer and since it's not stray text it won't bunch together if you read from a mobile device. So those are some positives, for sure.
I hope you all enjoyed reading over these predictions (and the better picture quality) as much as I did. We are only a few days away from Opening Day so the wait is almost over. Baseball is back!