MLB 2019: Early Favorites and Predictions

With the 2019 MLB season starting on March 28th, it is time to look at the field and make some predictions on who will be standing on the podium with the 2019 World Series trophy.

At the moment, the three big contenders in the American League (Houston, Boston and the Yankees) are all 6-1 favorites to bring home the title.

In the National League, the Dodgers are 7-1, while the Bryce Harper-led Phillies have closed the gap and currently stand at 8.5-1 to win.

Here’s a few predictions of what teams we expect to be on top of their division come October.

American League

AL East

In the East, expect the Yankees, Red Sox and Tampa Bay to be at the head of the division. With their exciting bullpen and dangerous lineup, the Yankees should pull ahead and win the East.

With Boston’s bullpen missing closer Craig Kimbrel, I think the Red Sox could see stretches of the season where they struggle, and that weakness will result in a Wild Card spot rather than a division title.

Behind 2018 Cy Young winner Blake Snell and the innovative managing of Kevin Cash, look for the Rays to clip the Oakland A’s for the second Wild Card spot.

AL Central

Despite the early injury to shortstop Francisco Lindor and the revamped lineup, the Indians still have three aces in their rotation with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco. Barring a meltdown, Cleveland will win their fourth straight AL Central title.

If you are looking for a darkhorse in this division, the Twins have added solid depth to their lineup and bullpen and could create problems for teams in August and September.

AL West

Even though Oakland pushed the Astros all season in 2018, don’t expect a repeat in 2019.

Houston will overcome the losses of Charlie Morton and Dallas Keuchel from the rotation by seeing a healthy 2B Jose Altuve and SS Carlos Correa return to the lineup.

Houston will put together their third straight 100-win season and win the AL West.

Those hoping Oakland will repeat their 97-win season in 2018 will be disappointed as the A’s rotation is thin and in need of help.

The Oakland offense will continue to be potent behind DH Khris Davis and 1B Matt Olson, but the starting rotation will hold this team back and leave them in the cold come playoff time.

National League

NL East

Philadelphia had the best offseason of any MLB team with the star-studded additions of outfielders Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen and the acquisition of All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto via a trade with Miami.

Even though the Mets have a much better rotation and improved lineup, look for Philly to win 95 games and take the NL East comfortably.

Although they lost Bryce Harper, don’t sleep on the potential of the Washington Nationals.

With a young lineup and a rotation featuring Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasberg, and offseason signing Patrick Corbin, Washington will keep teams in check and score runs.

Look for the Nats to clinch a Wild Card spot.

NL Central

Even with a quiet offseason, the Cubs are still Vegas favorites to win the NL Central.

But my money is on the Milwaukee Brewers to repeat. Falling one game short of going to the World Series for the first time since 1982.

2018 NL MVP outfielder Christian Yelich should excel once again inside the cozy confines of Miller Park.

St. Louis will grab the second Wild Card spot despite the injury to ace Carlos Martinez.

New first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will anchor an exciting and deep lineup that will give pitchers fits all season.

NL West

Although the injuries to starting pitchers Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw terrify me, I expect the Dodgers to win their seventh straight NL West title.

I don’t think they’ll reach the 104 win total of 2017, but look for Los Angeles to take the West with 92-94 victories.

Colorado will see their two-year postseason appearance streak end in 2019 as the Rockies will once again struggle with a rotation and bullpen that didn’t receive much attention from the Colorado front office this offseason.

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