MLB 2014 Predictions
Washington may be healthier this year, but beyond that they also have more depth to make up for injuries which do arise. I had them ahead of Atlanta even before the Braves lost two of their key starters for the year. Miami will surprise some people with respectability, while New York sorts out the offense while waiting for pitching to arrive. The Phillies will be the league's shopping center before the trade deadline.
Cincinnati (Wild Card)
This Cardinals team has no weaknesses. Cincinnati's pitching staff should be among the best in baseball, though Billy Hamilton will have to get on base before he can run. Pittsburgh is taking a step back, though not a large or permanent one. Milwaukee is interesting, and their number of quality starters should keep them in plenty of games, and perhaps even as trade deadline buyers. Only the Cubs are sure to have a losing record in this division.
San Diego (Wild Card)
Los Angeles has the best team money can buy, though they remind me a bit of the Cubs of a few years ago in perhaps not having the right make-up to win in October. Lots of people are picking San Francisco to rebound, but I'm going to be daring and pick the Padres to keep climbing the standings. Arizona's desperation to win now will bite them, while Colorado is still developing and may contend in 2015.
New York (Wild Card)
This is the best Rays team ever, and doesn't really have any weaknesses. Pineda will be an underrated cog in the Yankees rotation, but their infield and bullpen depth will keep them in second in what I expect to be a great race. Boston will have trouble repeating from the starters and outfield, while Baltimore needs all their starters to be atypically in form to compete for the wild card. Toronto needs an ace or two.
Detroit (Wild Card)
Detroit is the best team on paper, but as they always underachieve, I'm going to go ahead and pick Kansas City to win the division with steady starting pitching, a breakout offense, and lights-out bullpen. Cleveland will miss Jimenez and Kazmir, while Chicago and Minnesota are still in rebuilding mode.
This was the toughest division for me to conjure, but I'm saying Oakland has the depth to sort out their rotation before Texas does. Texas can finish second, though for the start of the season it may be like the bashing Texas teams of my early graduate school years. Los Angeles's rotation could be much better than everyone expects, and Pujols at least will be back in star form, though I still have questions about the offense. Seattle needs another bat or two in the line-up, and Houston is Houston.