*So, last week we took at look at the individual divisions in baseball.
Now, we get into the really interesting projections – the individual awards and the playoff picks. These are the fun ones.
In the American League, let’s take the Tampa Bay Rays as the A.L. East champions, the Detroit Tigers to win the A.L. Central, and the Anaheim Angels to win a dogfight for the A.L. West. The two Wild Card spots should go to the retooled Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers, with the Jays taking the play-in game (we love that little edit to the playoff structure). We love the flame-throwing pitchers in Detroit (Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander) in the best-of-five first-round series over Toronto, and the young bats of Tampa to defeat Anaheim in their match-up. The Tampa-Detroit ALCS should be a great one – plenty of great arms and impact bats throughout – but again, the sterling starting rotation and Miguel Cabrera’s fearsome bat ought to be enough to bring the Tigers back to the World Series.
For the individual awards, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria should stay healthy and take home his first MVP; Toronto’s Jose Bautista and Anaheim’s Mike Trout should be right behind him. The Cy Young will go back to Detroit’s Justin Verlander, and the Rookie of the Year should go to either Boston’s impressive young outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., or Detroit’s fireballing closer-in-waiting Bruce Rondon.
In the National League, Atlanta should finish first in a close race with Washington for the N.L. East; the Nationals should take a Wild Card spot. Cincinnati will take the N.L. Central, with St. Louis right behind them for the second Wild Card. The defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants will take the West, just ahead of the Dodgers. We’ll take Washington over St. Louis in the play-in game (too many great pitchers on the Nationals), and then keep it with the Nationals over the Braves in a tense seven-game series and Cincinnati getting their revenge over San Francisco in four. In the NLCS, we love the stacked Reds team to beat the
As far as the individual awards in the National League, let’s go with Atlanta’s new acquisition Justin Upton to shame his former team Arizona by winning the MVP, and his division opponent Stephen Strasburg to win the Cy Young (no pitching restrictions here). It’s not all bad for the Diamondbacks, though – we’ll pick young, talented Arizona starter Tyler Skaggs to win the NL Rookie of the Year award.
Oh, and in the World Series? Cincinnati over Detroit in six. It’ll be a good one.