MLB Daily Dish Staff Predictions

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

The MLB Daily Dish staff tries to predict the outcomes of the 2014 season.

Now that baseball's back, it's time for the annual "make a farce out of yourself" exercise. Predictions are anything but a precise science, but they sure are a whole lot of fun to make, and if you actually hit on a few, you will always have something to come back to when a fellow fan questions your knowledge. Anyways, here are our staff predictions for the 2014 season.

Joshua Ward (@JoshuaKWard)

AL East - Boston Red Sox
AL Central - Detroit Tigers
AL West - Oakland Athletics
AL Wild Cards - Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - Felix Hernandez
AL Rookie of the Year - Yordano Ventura

NL East - Washington Nationals
NL Central - Cincinnati Reds
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Cards - San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates
NL MVP - Yasiel Puig
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
NL Rookie of the Year - Billy Hamilton

ALCS - Detroit Tigers over the Tampa Bay Rays
NLCS - Washington Nationals over the Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series - Washington Nationals over the Detroit Tigers


I have been pretty sold on Detroit being my odds-on favorite to win the World Series this season, but after recollecting everything that has transpired (Fielder > Kinsler, Fister > Krol, et al, no more Peralta, no more Iglesias, Castellanos trying to play third again, Andy Dirks' back, Benoit is gone, Rondon is out, Torii Hunter will be 39) I started to think that perhaps I was merely too close to the sun to see the spots. I still think they are the best team in the division (and easily in the top tier of the American League), but if I'm going to discount the Braves because of the mess of an off-season they seem to be having, it is hard to look at Detroit and not say the same thing.

The Dodgers are clearly the best team in the National League, and might very well be the best team in baseball. However, my aversion to the high-glamor halcyon that is Dodger white and blue still leaves me wondering whether or not this can actually work. Presumably, the Dodgers have enough talent to easily win 100 games, if not 110. They've got a fourth outfielder (Kemp) who will make more money than any starter for the Kansas City Royals. They have a rotation featuring Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, and a cavalcade of guys who were once great and are probably still pretty good (Beckett, Billingsley, Haren, etc.). And with all of this money and all of this ego and expectation floating around, I wonder whether or not this house of cards can have its inhabitants coexist long enough to make it through the next seven months. There is no question, though; the 2014 Dodgers are one of the most talented teams in Major League history.

But, baseball is a fickle beast, it often cares not for the better of two equals. Also, I love the poetic justice of Doug Fister starting a clinching game 5 of the World Series against his former team. Washington also happens to have one of the best rotations in baseball and an offense that thoroughly underperformed last season. And they have Bryce Harper, who, by the way, is still only twenty-one years old. So, I take the Nationals to win a seven-game NLCS and then move to the World Series, where Bryce Harper gets his first of what will presumably be six or seven World Series rings (after he signs as a free agent with the Yankees/Dodgers in 2020).

Other notes:
-Would not be at all surprised if the Angels made some noise in the AL West, but I think they are still clearly behind Oakland and Texas.
-Kansas City loses the Wild Card game to Tampa, completing the consolation prize in the Wil Myers-for-James Shields sweepstakes.
-I think I like the idea of St. Louis falling flat on their face more than I think it will actually happen. They still seem to be pretty good.

Tyler Drenon (@TylerDrenon)

AL East - Tampa Bay Rays
AL Central - Kansas City Royals
AL West - Oakland Athletics
AL Wild Cards - Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - Yu Darvish
AL Rookie of the Year - Jose Dariel Abreu

NL East - Washington Nationals
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Cards - Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers
NL MVP - Hanley Ramirez
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
NL Rookie of the Year - Christian Yelich

World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers over the Tampa Bay Rays

Justin Millar (@Justinmillar1)

AL East - Tampa Bay Rays
AL Central - Detroit Tigers
AL West - Oakland Athletics
AL Wild Cards - Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - Chris Sale
AL Rookie of the Year - Erik Johnson

NL East - Washington Nationals
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Cards - Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds
NL MVP - Joey Votto
NL Cy Young - Jose Fernandez
NL Rookie of the Year - Kolten Wong

World Series - Washington Nationals over Tampa Bay Rays

Picking the American league this year is like trying to decide which kind of pie to buy: they're all fantastic (I'm admittedly not a pumpkin fan. Its the San Francisco Giants of pies; just "meh"). For me the AL East is a pretty clear-cut race between the Red Sox and Rays, and I'd be relatively surprised if one of them didn't win the division. The AL West is similar in that the top tier is really tight-knit with the Rangers, A's, and Angels all potential World Series challengers. The AL Central is where things really get interesting. The Indians are coming off a 92-win season where they made the playoffs for the first time since 2007, however, they lost two-fifths of their rotation this winter, and there are some question marks in the bullpen. The Tigers have 95-win upside, but they also have the biggest bust potential in baseball, with no rotation depth after their tremendous quintet, and the bottom third of their lineup could be terrible. The bullpen also has a decent chance of imploding. Meanwhile, the Royals look better than they have in decades, but they're lacking in the star power department. Ultimately, I went with the Tigers because of the raw talent, but I would not be shocked to see either Cleveland or Kansas City beat them out this season.

So, if you're counting at home, there's basically 8 teams in the AL with a decent chance of winning their division, and another three or four (the Yankees, Orioles, Mariners, and possibly the Blue Jays) who could make strong playoff pushes.

Compared to the AL, the NL playoff race is much less of a crapshoot. Each division has a clear top team and then a huge dropoff. As recently as a few weeks ago, you could've made the case that the tightest division race in baseball was going to be in the NL East, but with Atlanta's recent rash of injuries, the Nationals have emerged as the clear best team in that division, and possibly all of baseball. The NL West is incredibly similar to the East in terms of structure. There's one elite team (the Dodgers), one "good, not great" team (Giants), and a trio of teams that don't figure to have too much of an impact on the playoff picture (Diamondbacks, Padres, Rockies). While the Cardinals are an easy favorite in the NL Central, they're not alone in terms of potential 90-win teams. Both the Pirates and Reds should be in contention this season, and even the Brewers have a legitimate shot at a Wild Card Spot. The division races probably won't be too competitive in the National League, but the competition for the two Wild Card spots should be interesting.

For my World Series selection, I'll go with the two teams I picked last year (though they didn't turn out so well) in the Nationals and the Rays. I feel that they are probably the two best teams in baseball. The Red Sox, A's, Cardinals, and Dodgers are also in the upper-tier for me, but I just feel that the Nats and Rays are the more complete teams. Ultimately, I chose Washington to triumph due to their outstanding rotation.

As for awards, the MVPs were pretty easy. Almost everyone has Trout taking the award this year, and it's tough to bet against the best player in baseball. The NL race is a bit murkier, but I really like Votto to be his usual self though with an increase in RBIs that will stir the voters' hearts. I leaned towards youth when it came to picking the Cy winners, and ultimately went with two of the best pitchers on the planet in Sale and Fernandez. The Fernandez choice was pretty simple once Kershaw went down, and I have an abnormal affection towards Sale that made his selection easy. The Rookie of the Year awards are complete rolls of the dice for me. I just went with two high-floor guys guaranteed playing time in Wong and Johnson. The AL seems to be particularly flush in terms of rookies this year, with big names such as Xander Bogaerts, George Springer, Yordano Ventura, and Nick Castellanos all slated to spend most of the season at the big league level.

Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo)

AL East - Tampa Bay Rays
AL Central - Cleveland Indians
AL West - Oakland Athletics
AL Wild Cards - Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - David Price
AL Rookie of the Year - Xander Bogaerts

NL East - Washington Nationals
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Cards - San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds
NL MVP - Bryce Harper
NL Cy Young - Jose Fernandez
NL Rookie of the Year - Billy Hamilton

World Series - Washington Nationals over the Tampa Bay Rays

For Chris' full 2014 predictions, click here.

Matt Sullivan (@MattSullivan79)

AL East - Boston Red Sox
AL Central - Detroit Tigers
AL West - Oakland Athletics
AL Wild Cards - Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Angels
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - David Price
AL Rookie of the Year - Xander Bogaerts

NL East - Washington Nationals
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Cards - San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds
NL MVP - Buster Posey
NL Cy Young - Stephen Strasburg
NL Rookie of the Year - Noah Syndergaard

World Series - Washington Nationals over the Boston Red Sox

The AL East remains too close to call, but with the depth the Red Sox have, I think they will hang onto their division title, with a good deal of help from rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts. The Tigers have taken a step back thanks to injuries and the Fister trade, but the Indians and the Royals both had underwhelming offseasons as well, so that division remains a lock for Detroit. The Angels improved their starting pitching over the winter and I think this will finally be the season Trout gets his overdue nod from MPV voters, but I still see Oakland's youth and superior front office winning out in the West.

In the National League, the Dodgers and the Nationals really separate themselves from the pack and I believe both teams will have an easy time taking their divisions. The NL Central should be a battleground once again, but like the Red Sox, I think the depth of the Cardinals organization will be enough to keep them on top. The Giants are a good bet to bounce back this season and take a Wild Card spot and I think the Reds still have enough to hold onto the final playoff spot even after losing Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Hanigan, and Bronson Arroyo. With few strong Rookie of the Year candidates in the National League, I think Syndergaard takes the award and helps make the Mets surprisingly competitive this season. Posey wins his second MVP and Stephen Strasburg beats out Clayton Kershaw for the Cy Young.

Josh Duggan (@oldmanduggan)

AL East - Tampa Bay Rays
AL Central - Detroit Tigers
AL West - Oakland Athletics
AL Wild Cards - Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers
AL MVP - Mike Trout
AL Cy Young - Yu Darvish
AL Rookie of the Year - Yordano Ventura

NL East - Washington Nationals
NL Central - St. Louis Cardinals
NL West - Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Cards - San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates
NL MVP - Buster Posey
NL Cy Young - Clayton Kershaw
NL Rookie of the Year - Noah Syndergaard

World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers over the Detroit Tigers

The only division that seems to have a clear favorite is the AL Central, where the Fister-less Tigers still look to be of a different class than the rest of their "competitors." After all, they did underperform their third order win total by 11.5 wins. Given the calamitous Spring Training that the Braves went through following an offseason that saw them lose Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, and Paul Maholm to free agency, the Nationals could open up a wide gap in the standings if they actually play to their potential this season. Even though the second wild card could come out of the NL Central, the Pirates and the Reds probably won't be close enough to the Cardinals to have them sweating in late September. The rest of the divisions look to be a dogfight. Maybe it's the unbridled man-love I've got for Greinke, Kershaw, and Puig, but it just seems like the Dodgers will do what they should have done last year and take that flagged trophy.

So, what do you think will happen this season?
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