Sammy Sosa. There’s a name not a lot of people hear anymore. He completely fell off the face of the planet and is basically living in a permanent baseball purgatory. It’s sad for me to see since he was one of the brightest stars of my childhood, juiced, corked, or otherwise. It’s a sad story.
It’s that time of year again! Yay baseball!! Oh my goodness, I cannot even begin to describe how insanely happy I am that baseball is back and that we are only about 40 days from Opening Day!
This is also the time of the year when I like predicting how I think the teams are going to do. I’m doing this a little earlier this year than I did last year, partially so I can challenge myself a little more, but also because I won’t be able to watch as many spring training games as I did last year. So, I will be making my 2015 final standing positions based purely off how teams operated in the off-season. These are based off who teams acquired, who they lost, and what players should have bounce-back years. I’m not going to go in-depth with my analysis of every team because I have homework that actually needs to be finished…dumb college. Kidding. Kind of.
I am all about accountability and not all of my predictions panned out last year. I went 7/10 in my predictions, but I will note that I correctly predicted the all of the winners of the NL Divisions and wild cards. Obviously the AL was way crazier than everyone thought and showed no real predictability. I mean, I had the Rays winning the AL East, the A’s winning the West, and the Red Sox making wild card. Hahahaha we can’t all be perfect…but! I did correctly pick the Giants and Royals to make wild card, so I’m pretty proud of that!
Ok, let’s do this! Here are my post-season predictions for 2015:
AL East: Boston Red Sox.
This one is really hard because no team is really, really strong. Each team in the AL East is capable of a 90 win season or a 65 win season. Yes, the Red Sox made the splashiest moves in the off-season and I think they will be the best team offensively. I do wish they had not handed out so much money to the bats, but bolstered their rotation instead. The Orioles did not do much this off-season and lost key players, but if they can have healthy season from their younger players, they can repeat as division champs. The Orioles also have a bangin’ rotation, but they go about that quietly, so they sneak up on you! The Yankees will be great if their aging veterans have better seasons. If the Yankees can stay healthy, they will kick some serious ass. As for the Rays, they made some decent trades and got a new manager, but I don’t see them as a huge threat this year, but they are the Rays and you can’t bet against them. Now, the Blue Jays will be an interesting team to watch because they got some good bats in their line up and made some good signings. It seems with this team that there is always a lot of excitement about them early on, but we just haven’t heard the buzz surrounding them this year that has followed them in spring trainings past. I think the Jays will be really good, but maybe not win-the-division good.
AL Central: Tigers.
This is a safe choice because in all honesty, I have no freaking clue who will take this division. All the teams are basically rockstars. However, for the Tigers to win, they will need Justin Verlander to have a better year, especially since they lost Max Scherzer to free agency. They also lost Rick Porcello, but if their offense can produce at the level they are paid to, the Tigers should be just fine. One team that got insanely better is the White Sox, who stole my man David Robertson and claimed The Shark Jeff Samardzija. They added a lot of great players and are primed to do some exciting things. The Indians are my AL Central sleeper team because they were so close last year and I feel like many of the pieces are in place for them this year. The Royals made it to the World Series last year, but I felt their off-season was a little disappointing. To me, they did not do much to try and improve, but they did lock up some of their great young players, which is always a plus. And those poor Twins should be better this year, but I thought that last year. Who knows, maybe they will surprise us a little bit!
AL West: Mariners.
Whoa! Wait a minute, the Mariners?? I know. I’m stepping out on a limb here, but I think they have a chance to have a breakout season. The talent is there, but they need to mesh quickly and stay that way the whole season. If the offense can out-duel the cavernous Safeco Field and the rotation can be as strong as it was last year, watch out. I think the Angels will be a strong team and once their rotation gets healthy, it will be good. They had the best record in baseball last year, and that was no fluke. The Oakland A’s positively puzzled me during the off-season, getting rid of players, making strange additions, and acting not at all like the A’s we have grown to love. I have learned not to bet against Billy Beane, but this was a very strange winter for them. The Houston Astros have a lot to be excited about, but I don’t think 2015 will be the year they break out. They should have a better 2015 than 2014 and they have quite a bit of talent. Time will tell if the self-proclaimed “2017 World Champions” will get there, but perhaps 2015 will be a good stair-step in achieving that dream. The poor Rangers are just not catching a whole lot of breaks, seeing as they were decimated by injuries last year. Now, with the news of Jurickson Profar missing the whole 2015 season, well, let’s just say that’s not a bright note to start out with. They were in the cellar of the American League and I hope they are a lot better this year, but only time will tell.
NL East: Nationals.
If anything, the Nationals only got better this off-season with the addition of Max Scherzer and are blessed with the problem of having three aces and six starting pitchers. I can’t foresee any team really giving them any trouble, except maybe the Marlins. The Marlins will be a gloriously fun team to watch this year. Their offense will be bangin’ and once Jose Fernandez comes back from Tommy John, this team will kill it. The Mets are an interesting team because I can just feel that they are going to have a good season. They added some decent pieces and Matt Harvey is going be rearing an ready to go. They have a stellar rotation, too. But they are the Mets, so I can’t get my hopes up too high. The Braves have clearly set themselves up for success – just not for this year. It’s obvious they are building for a great 2016, so this year they seem to have set the bar low for themselves, which is probably not a bad idea at this point in time. Now the Phillies are just a big hot mess. Many of their players want to be be traded, have been in trade rumors, or are just plain unhappy with the organization. The internal chaos of this team is going to make 2015 a grind. They can be good, but I just don’t see these issues taking a backseat and they could have a nuclear blow up if something doesn’t change.
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
Surprise! Just kidding, this is not a shock to anyone. HOWEVER! This division is stacked from top to bottom. The Cardinals are going to be strong again and make it to the post-season. It’s kind of old hat, isn’t it? The Pirates have so much fire in them this year and I like what they did in the off-season. I hope they can make it further into the post-season because this is a special team. And how about them Cubbies? They snagged the coolest manager in baseball (Joe Maddon), one of the best lefties in the game (Jon Lester), and whole satchel of talented catchers, hitters, and young players. I love this Cubs team and I want them to do well. I’m rooting for them the hardest (except for the Yankees and the D-Backs, ’cause they’re my boys!). The Reds are a solid team, but they are starting to have some internal trouble, as brought to light by former pitcher Mat Latos. Perhaps it was just sour grapes from being traded, but not all is well in Cincy. The Reds also need to keep their best players healthy and under contract (cough cough Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto, respectively). The Brewers did not live up to expectations last year, but I think this year will be a lot better for them. Their defense is their strength and hopefully they can get another big offense year out of Jonathan Lucroy and bouce-back seasons from their other veterans. I don’t think they will be good enough to win the division, but this is a team that can potentially play spoiler.
NL West: Dodgers.
It seems like none of my NL team picks are a surprise, but that is for good reason. The Dodgers are primed for yet another monster year, but maybe this is the year they finally make it to the World Series. They did not lose many players and they made some smart signings. It would take a complete meltdown for them to lose the NL West. The other team that could potentially win the division is the Giants. The reigning world champs did not add many pieces and lost out on some key free agents, but they are still a very good team. However, I can safely say they will not win the World Series because it is an odd-numbered year. I think the most interesting team in the division is the Padres and for good reason: they SLAYED the off-season. Like, I couldn’t keep pace with the all of new additions they made. I am really excited to see if their new additions can click and they can finally have a winning season. Sadly, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks look disappointing yet again. The D-Backs are building for the future and I think they will be a contending team next year, but this year will have to settle for a .500 record (we hope). The Rockies are always a puzzling team because they have really good players, but can never get them to work together well. Their rotation is dreadful, so they better hope the offense turns things around.
AL Wild Cards: Angels and Royals.
These two are really strong, but the AL is really tough this year. I would love to see them kill it like they did last year. Selfishly, I am also gonna say the Yankees, but only if everyone hits and Tanaka doesn’t need Tommy John surgery.
NL Wild Cards: Giants and Marlins.
This one was a lot harder. The Giants are a really good team and as long as they don’t suffer injuries, I think they will make the post-season again. I am also picking the Marlins because they a better team than their record last year would indicate. I think this a young, vibrant, and exciting team who will have a really good season.
Alright, so there you have it! My predictions for the 2015 season are here and I feel really good about them. Okay, no I don’t, but I don’t think they are that bad! Let’s hope I can go 7/10 again, because in baseball, hitting .700 will get you a guaranteed PED test. Is there such a thing as a blogger PED test? Well, if there is, I’m sure I’d ace that thing.
I am choosing to talk about my home-slice Alex Rodriguez instead of writing an essay that really needs to get done, which show everyone how high college is on my list of priorities. Yes, senior-itis has really taken a grip on my soul…Ok. Back to A-Rod!
Earlier today, Alex Rodriguez sent a hand-written note (he has fantastic cursive, grammar, and spelling, BTW) to ESPN:New York and MLB expressing how sorry he was for everything. Yes folks, he apologized for what he did and admitted that he made everything a lot harder than it had to be. So, we get this note instead of a press conference, which might be the best choice A-Rod could have made. I like that it was hand-written because it is a little more personal than an e-mail, memo, or telegram (because that’s still a thing, right?!). He got to say what he needed to say without reporters peppering him with questions he doesn’t want to answer. And yes, there are still plenty of questions he needs to answer.
In my mind, a press conference would not have made a difference. He would get painted to look like an ass no matter what happened. Legally, there are things he cannot answer right now (as in, he still might have to testify at trials, so he must keep quiet). Prosecutors were listening to him hard when he testified for immunity last January, so it makes sense that A-Rod MUST control the environment when talking about the Biogenesis scandal. After all, he probably would rather not go to jail for perjury. By sending out a note, he is really expressing that he only wants to focus on the game. A press conference would not allow him that opportunity. Not to mention people would be hyper-focused on his body language and phrasing.
This apology doesn’t mean the circus will be over. There will still be swarms of reporters all year long and distractions galore. Heck, we don’t know if he can still play! But, he only wants to be judged by what he does on the field, so my guess is he will only answer baseball-related questions. The Yankees are still super pissed off at him, as are the fans. I’m one of probably ten people who will take the apology at face value and will be excited to see him back on the field. He is, after all, one of the best players of my generation. His teammates seem to harbor no ill-will towards him, and A-Rod might actually get to be a mentor to the younger Yanks this year. My philosophy is this: if the players are ok with him, I am ok with him.
A-Rod is still a turd burger, but at least he is taking a step in the right direction. Like he said, the Commissioner is putting this behind him, the MLBPA is putting it behind them, and we should, too (at least for now). Because guess what? Pitchers and catchers start reporting TOMORROW, which means baseball season is officially upon us!!!!!!!!!!
And isn’t baseball what we all want to focus on, anyway?
Ok, Matt Harvey seems like a better person than I originally thought he was. I can’t wait to see him pitch again this year.