No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference. Tommy Lasorda
Four days ago we gave you our wild card predictions and told you the division winners were wrapped up separately. Well today we opened the Division Winners box; unfortunately we forgot to buy batteries so you’ll have to wait a little longer. That was the worst, opening up that toy on Christmas morning you desperately longed for only to find out Santa didn’t leave you any batteries (and nobody has extra C size batteries in their junk drawer). That won’ t be an issue here today as no batteries or assembly is required. So who will the winner be of each division battle? It’s time to put on our Nostradamus hats and find out.
AL Central: Detroit Tigers – The Tigers run away with the division and have the best record in the majors as Verlander bounces back to form and Scherzer continues his dominant ways.
AL West: Texas Rangers – Fielder bounces back and provides a shot in the arm. Profar makes everyone in Texas forget about Kinsler.
NL East: Atlanta Braves – The Braves win a tight race as their young staff allows Braves fans to reminisce about the 90’s.
NL Central: The Pirates young pitching staff continues to get better and they win a brutally close division.
NL West: LA Dodgers – $ can buy a division title when you play in the NL West.
AL East: Red Sox. Gotta give the edge to the team that won last year. Only big loss is Ellsbury, and they have several months left to find a decent replacement. Full season of Bogaerts should help offset Ellsbury leaving.
AL Central: Tigers. Got Cabrera back to the safer, healthier position, plus adding Castellanos and Kinsler. Expect Verlander, Scherzer, and Sanchez to be around in 2014 for another playoff run.
AL West: Rangers. Made room for Profar, finally got an impact bat at 1B. Rotation is solid, and Feliz and Soria are both formerly great closers; one is bound to be healthy for 2014.
NL East: Nationals. With Fister, one of my favorite top-4 SP rotation. Need a few steps forward from some players, but I think it’s entirely possible Harper stays healthy and hits 30 HR.
NL Central: Cardinals. Can’t argue with how they run their team. Stacked in starting pitching, solid offense and defense. They’ll rival the Yankees run from 1995-2007, making the playoffs every year.
NL West: Dodgers. They spent a lot of money, but they’ve also got young talent to add to the veterans. A brute force money juggernaut can usually make playoffs, but maybe not win.
AL East: Boston Red Sox. Despite some of the Yankees signings, Boston has added enough power, has good enough pitching and a solid bullpen that they should be able to repeat (this will come down to the final days).
AL Central: Kansas City Royals. They won’t have the struggles they had like in the beginning of 2013, and the hitting and bullpen will carry their patchwork pitching staff to a title.
AL West: Los Angeles Angels. They still need some bullpen help and another arm in the rotation, but this team isn’t as bad as the one we saw last year. Texas will get the attention but the Angels will get the crown.
NL East: Washington Nationals. The addition of Fister gives them a scary good rotation, and their bats are too bad either. This will be a close race with Atlanta.
NL Central: St.Louis Cardinals. Some of the young pitchers have been able to mature another year, Allen Craig’s power should bounce back, Matt Adams will make up for the Beltran loss and Rosenthal is an improvement of Wacha at closer.
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers. The team will remain healthy for the year (for the most part) and will fulfill the fans wishes hundreds of millions of dollars later.
AL East: Red Sox – Complete team with a payroll and minor league system that they can utilize to ensure they end up in this spot.
AL Central: Tigers – The pitching is tremendous even sans Fister. I think we will see a bounce back from Verlander. The improved fielding will be evident over an entire season.
AL West: Athletics – Great fielding position depth. While the starting pitching depth is not what it has been in past years, the bullpen is a scary collection of talent that will significantly shorten games.
NL East: Washington – I think the bats regress (positively) and the rotation has become my favorite in baseball. Detroit was my favorite rotation going into last season; I’ll leave it to you to spot the pattern.
NL Central: Cardinals – The Red Sox of the NL with less payroll, but (maybe) more organizational ingenuity. It will be interesting to see if they are willing to unload some of their minor league talent to make a push for another ring. The crazy thing is that they might not need to do so in order to achieve that goal.
NL West: Dodgers – Arms and cash for days. More pool jumping in their future.
AL East: Tampa Bay – The addition of Wil Myers to the lineup gives the Rays some added pop, but this is a team that wins with pitching and defense. A tough AL East battle should come down to the very end of the season.
AL Central: Detroit – Don’t let the departure of Doug Fister and Prince Fielder scare you away. The Tigers will be a better defensive team, and still have Miguel Cabrera in that lineup.
AL West: Texas – There is a new Prince in Texas, and Jurickson Profar will be a fun rookie to watch. The pitching is better than many people think, so in a balanced AL West, the Rangers will prevail.
NL East: Washington – Some off seasons, good teams just get better. The addition of Fister to a rotation with Strasburg, Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez give the Nationals perhaps the best 1-4 in baseball. Add in a very solid offense (I like the addition of Nate McLouth a lot), and this team is set to win for a long time.
NL Central: St Louis – You count them out every year, and every year they are there in the end. Many of those young fireball arms will make an impact this year, and this offense always seems to find a way to score a lot of runs.
NL West: LA Dodgers – The most talented rosters don’t always win, but in the NL West they will. For much of 2013 the Dodgers were the hottest team in baseball. A better start to 2014 will mean they can look in the rearview for a little while, and a full season of Yasiel Puig should be very entertaining.
AL East: Red Sox. I’m not buying the repeat, but they’re good enough to win the AL East. Starting pitching is shaky and they lost a key player in Ellsbury, but I’m counting on Bogaerts contributing and them acquiring a big bat.
AL Central: Tigers. I think they’ve taken a step, but KC isn’t ready and there’s little other competition. The Tigers still have the best rotation in the division and enough pop at the plate to win handily.
AL West: Rangers. It must feel good for Daniels and company not to be shut out this off-season. The Fielder acquisition is huge for the Rangers as they missed Hamilton (when he was good) in the lineup. Profar will likely out-perform Kinsler going forward anyway. Add in likely the best pitcher in the AL and this team will cruise.
NL East: Nationals. Rotation is way too good and there is more than enough offense to run away with the East.
NL Central: Cardinals. There’s very little question that the Cards will continue to dominate the Central for the next few years.
NL West: Dodgers. Talent and boat loads of cash = lots of wins. There won’t be a lot of competition for any of the division winners in 2014. The wild card race; that’s a different story.
With so many diverse opinions and views it’s a rare thing to find almost all of us in agreement on something. We may not place the same value on a player or believe as highly in their abilities, but when it comes to the best team we are almost unanimous. The Dodgers cash machine will finally pay out as Los Angeles takes the crown in the NL West. The Cardinals and Nationals round out the National league winning their respective leagues. Pittsburgh & Atlanta received a mention as well, but they are both destined to be two of the teams in the wild card race we covered the other day.
As for the American League, Boston should take the AL East despite the Yankees best efforts. The Tigers will take the central division regardless of their shoddy relief pitchers and the Rangers more than likely take the West. Oakland & Tampa will each challenge for their divisions and while each will fall short, they both received support when picking the wild card games so they should be in the mix as well. Now you know all of these can’t be right as if they were, we would all be working in Vegas. Expect one of our favorites to suffer a complete colapse, or at least fall short of expectations.