Hard to believe another season has rolled around. Here we go again with the annual predictions.
AL East Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, Orioles, Rays
Red Sox look even stronger this year. Yankees are in rebuilding mode and are a year or two off from becoming contenders, but the kids look good enough to take 3rd.
AL Central Indians, Royals, Tigers, White Sox, Twins
Indians are even stronger with Encarnacion on board. Their pitching staff looks awfully strong.They should win regardless of whether Brantley bounces back from his injuries. Tigers are still on the fence as to rebuilding or sticking with their veterans. The veterans are getting old, but the contracts are too bloated to get rid of. The Royals may nose them out for 2nd.
AL West Astros, Mariners, Rangers, Angels, A's
This could be the year the long-suffering Mariners break their playoff drought. The Astros and Rangers will also contend. Mariners for 2nd is sort of a sentimental pick.
NL East Nationals, Mets, Braves, Marlins, Phillies
Hard to choose between Mets and Nationals. My first thought was to pick the Mets, but then I decided that relying on a bunch of young, hard-throwing pitchers simply invites injuries, and the Mets have been plagued by injuries and, I suspect, will continue to be.
NL Central Cubs, Cardinals, Pirates, Brewers, Reds
Cubs are strong again. Reds have pitching injuries starting the season and look woeful.
NL West Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Padres
Dodgers are awfully strong. Padres are thought to be the worst team in MLB.
4/2/17 update. As usual, I have picked some other predictions to compare to mine as the season progresses. This year they include USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and Bleacher Report. What is striking this time is how similar all the predictions are. There are only two teams for which the variation is more than one place in the standings, these being the Orioles and the Braves, each of which ranges from 3rd to 5th in the predictions.
The other variations include Orioles/Yankees for 3rd/4th, Rays/Orioles for 4th/5th, Royals/Tigers for 2nd/3rd, Twins/White Sox for 4th/5th, Rangers/Mariners for 2nd/3rd, Braves/Marlins for 3rd/4th, Reds/Brewers for 4th/5th, and Giants/Dodgers for 1st/2nd.