My 2015 MLB Season Predictions
By Steve Ungrey
And the wait is over.
Later tonight at the ballpark formerly known as Wrigley Field — I just can’t bring myself to call the Chicago Cubs stadium by its true name anymore — the St. Louis Cardinals will begin the 2015 season with the opener of a three-game series against the Cubs.
This is the nationally-televised opener, one day before the remainder of the schedule gets underway on Monday with a packed slate of games.
With the season just around the corner, I thought I would use this spot to make my predictions for each of the six divisions and offer up my thoughts on how the MLB pennant races will go. You might be surprised by a few of these predictions, while others should sound familiar.
Let’s look at the divisions, one by one:
American League East: The Baltimore Orioles should win the division once again thanks to a strong pitching staff led by Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and others. Others may pick the Boston Red Sox, but I can’t help believing Hanley Ramirez will stay healthy for a full season and Pablo Sandoval may struggle in his new surroundings. Toronto, Boston, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay round out the field.
AL Central: The Detroit Tigers’ run atop the division will be stopped by the Chicago White Sox. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf opened up the pocketbook to sign key players like Adam LaRoche, David Robertson and Melky Cabrera, and then he traded for Jeff Samardzija. The result is a much improved club. Detroit should finish second, followed in order by Cleveland, Kansas City and Minnesota. This division will be tough. Minnesota may finish last and still end up with between 75 and 80 wins.
AL West: The Oakland Athletics tinkered too much with their lineup in the offseason, and as a result the Seattle Mariners will blow by Oakland and win the division. The Mariners brought in home-run threat Nelson Cruz and a solid pitching staff, led by Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, will bolster the Mariners. The Los Angeles Angels will finish in second, followed by Oakland, Texas and Houston.
Wild cards: Detroit will win one of the two wild cards, and I think Toronto will break its 22-year playoff drought. The Blue Jays have a solid pitching staff, boosted by Drew Hutchison and R.A. Dickey.
National League East: The Washington Nationals have one of the most impressive pitching rotations in quite some time, and that will help this team win the division title. Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer make an intimidating 1-2 punch. An exciting Miami Marlins squad should take second, followed in order by Atlanta, the New York Mets and Philadelphia.
NL Central: The St. Louis Cardinals again take a division championship, as the Cardinals ride the hot arms of Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn to the Central title. The Pittsburgh Pirates will make it close, but the Pirates will fall just a bit short. The Chicago Cubs will take third but show some improvement, followed by Cincinnati and Milwaukee.
NL West: I think the Los Angeles Dodgers will win the title one more time, but don’t be surprised if the San Diego Padres put on a furious charge and battle for the top spot. The San Francisco Giants slip to third in the division and miss the playoffs. Arizona and Colorado bring up the rear.
Wild cards: Look for Miami to end its short playoff drought. That lineup is more powerful than people think. Pittsburgh reaches the playoffs once again.
Ready, baseball fans? Let’s hear your predictions!