As we approach the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season, a theme is apparent when it comes to judging who the contenders are: The American League is unbelievably top heavy while the National League has mostly teams looking to contend.
On the AL side, the Yankees and Red Sox appear to me to be the two best teams in baseball while the Astros aren't far behind, if they are behind at all. Those three, for me, are far and away the best AL teams. Projection systems agree. SportsLine has all three winning at least 100 games with the next-best team being the Indians at 92-70 and, let's be frank here, a lot of those wins are going to be coming against the rest of the worst division in baseball.
Can the A's repeat their magical run? Can the Rays build on last year's 90 wins? I'm not particularly bullish on either of those things. Maybe the Twins bounce back or the Angels finally play well around Mike Trout.
Still, I keep coming back to the thought that it would be an utter shock to see the AL champion this season not come from the Astros-Red Sox-Yankees trio. Saying that on March 4 seems a bit depressing, no?
Fear not, we have the NL. Sure, the Dodgers are the favorites to repeat, but there are plenty of question marks. Every team in the league has question marks and lots of them have the potential to contend.
Do you prefer true greatness? If so, the AL is probably your thing. Competitive balance? Hop on over to the NL.
Really, though, both things can be good. They are good! It's all baseball and that's beautiful.
|I still have a few weeks, but I think I'm going to pick the Yankees to take the East and the AL. The Red Sox are still loaded, though, and have earned a stay at the top.||--||0-0|
|In fact, I think I'm going to pick the Yankees to win the World Series.||--||0-0|
|You know what I'm excited to see? Jose Altuve being able to move like Jose Altuve again!||1||0-0|
|Six straight playoff seasons, two straight pennants and zero rings. They should have pushed all of their chips into the center of the table in the offseason. Instead they did a lot of shuffling. It was odd. They still have so much roster depth and tons of talent, of course.||1||0-0|
|Terrible offseason. They are going to have to hope new hitting and pitching coaches along with better health is all they need to make people forget about the winter.||--||0-0|
|Good lord, imagine all the nonsensical hot takes about Bryce Harper if the Nationals make the playoffs and the Phillies don't.||2||0-0|
|Paul Goldschmidt has finished second in NL MVP voting twice and third once. It says here that he hits the top three again and he's a very good prediction to win it.||2||0-0|
|Now that's how you win the offseason. The Phillies might not be a playoff team yet, but they are way better than last equipped for a postseason push this time around.||5||0-0|
|I'm still not totally sold on a repeat playoff run, but I was a bit harsh last time. Course correction here. I love the Yasmani Grandal signing, too.||5||0-0|
|A team that plays in the largest media market in the league is sitting over $50 million away from the luxury tax and just watched one of its biggest rivals sign Bryce Harper. Embarrassing.||1||0-0|
|I liked their early offseason moves, specifically getting Josh Donaldson, but then they sat idly by while the rest of the contenders in the division got better. Fourth place is a possibility.||4||0-0|
|Their third-best position player is a guy they didn't even try to re-sign after the 2017 season, the bullpen is no longer strong -- and definitely isn't deep -- and the rest of their division is awful. What a bad offseason. Fans should be outraged at ownership. They'll win more games than a handful of teams ranked above them, but that doesn't make them better.||6||0-0|
|Billy Beane's A's have a penchant to string playoff runs together and it's entirely possible with this group. I do think the rotation is worrisome and it's hard to see a repeat from Blake Treinen.||1||0-0|
|I'm a big Charlie Morton fan, but why didn't they try and do more to improve? The payroll is under $55 million! Jeez. Do more to get Paul Goldschmidt or Nelson Cruz or something. I know, I know ... I "just don't get it," but there aren't parades for third place.||4||0-0|
|Since 1998, the Rockies have had 11 batting titles from eight different players. Due to the thin air, the fences are deep which makes the outfield huge. Daniel Murphy this season takes advantage and makes it 12 batting titles from nine different Rockies.||--||0-0|
|A lot of things have to break right, but seeing the Angels as the second wild card wouldn't be shocking.||--||0-0|
|The Indians are sitting on their hands. Time to pounce, Twins. Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still out there!||--||0-0|
|Jesse Winker hit .299 with a .405 on-base percentage last season. Carry that over and lead him off in front of Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett and Yasiel Puig. That's fun. Strong order. Winker's a good bet to score over 100 runs.||2||0-0|
|They're not there yet, but it's going to be fun to watch this group come together and keep growing.||--||0-0|
|Hopefully Bob Nutting puts the team up for sale soon. Yinzers deserve better.||2||0-0|
|Brace yourself for nonstop Madison Bumgarner trade rumors starting about the middle of May.||--||0-0|
|Mostly a boring mix here, no? I love David Peralta's story and all, but he's their best hitter.||--||0-0|
|You know what would really help this quick rebuild? Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez pitching well enough to be traded.||--||0-0|
|They actually don't appear to be one of those dreadful 60-ish wins rebuilding teams. The offense has some thump and there are some decent arms.||2||0-0|
|It's about time for a Nomar Mazara breakout, right? He's 24 and his previous three seasons he's posted a 93, 90 and 94 OPS+, respectively.||--||0-0|
|What an utterly pathetic offseason. They owe their fans a lot more than this.||2||0-0|
|I'm excited for a full season of Adalberto Mondesi.||--||0-0|
|Who's up for a Miguel Cabrera bounce back season? Me!||--||0-0|
|This ownership group bought a team that could have entered 2019 with the best outfield (Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna) and catcher (J.T. Realmuto) in baseball. If they are so poor, they shouldn't have bought the damn thing.||--||0-0|
|Cedric Mullins could be a fun player!||--||0-0|