2015 Idiot Predictions: Final Standings, Playoffs & Awards

I have every intention of finishing my season preview series over the course of the next week. But I wanted to get my final predictions out in time for the start of the season, and so I’ll put those up now.

AL East
Boston Red Sox 92-70**
Baltimore Orioles 88-74*
Toronto Blue Jays 84-78
New York Yankees 77-85
Tampa Bay Rays 75-88

AL Central
Cleveland Indians 90-72**
Detroit Tigers 87-75*
Chicago White Sox 84-78
Kansas City Royals 77-85
Minnesota Twins 70-92

AL West
Seattle Mariners 89-73**
Oakland Athletics 87-75*
Los Angeles Angels 84-78
Houston Astros 76-86
Texas Rangers 74-88

NL East
Washington Nationals 95-67**
New York Mets 84-78
Miami Marlins 79-83
Atlanta Braves 68-94
Philadelphia Phillies 60-102

NL Central
Pittsburgh Pirates 90-72**
St. Louis Cardinals 89-73*
Chicago Cubs 81-81
Cincinnati Reds 76-86
Milwaukee Brewers 76-86

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers 93-69**
San Diego Padres 86-76*
San Francisco Giants 82-80
Colorado Rockies 70-92
Arizona Diamondbacks 67-95

I’ve revised my AL East standings since publishing that division preview. The Rays rotation is currently decimated, with Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Alex Colome starting the year on the DL. If they were to all come back strong then they could conceivably push the Rays into the low-mid 80s win-range I initially predicted them for. At this point the risk is just too great, especially with an offense that looks to be just as anemic as it was last season. The Yankees pick up an extra win in the revised standings and move into fourth place. I still don’t like their chances this year, especially with recent news that Masahiro Tanaka is already admitting he’s going to intentionally change his pitching style to try to preserve his arm. Baltimore also steals a few more wins and sneaks into the playoff picture, hosting the AL wild card game.

With Detroit and Oakland both finishing with 87 wins, they tie for the second wild card spot. We’ve already seen a one-game playoff leading to the one-game playoff under the current format, when Tampa Bay defeated Texas to win the second wild card spot in 2013 and then beat Cleveland in the wild card game a few days later. You just know there’s a wacky year on the horizon when we’ll get four or five extra one-game playoffs and baseball will turn into March Madness for a week. In 2015 I say we get at least one.

One-Game Playoff:
Oakland Athletics def. Detroit Tigers 

Wildcard Round:
Oakland Athletics def. Baltimore Orioles
St. Louis Cardinals def. San Diego Padres

Divisional Series:
Boston Red Sox def. Oakland Athletics
Cleveland Indians def. Seattle Mariners
Washington Nationals def. St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers def. Pittsburgh Pirates

League Championship Series:
Cleveland Indians def. Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers def. Washington Nationals

I picked the Red Sox and Indians as my top regular season teams in the AL and the Nationals and Dodgers as my top NL squads. The chances that the two best teams in each league actually advance to square off in the LCS in this day and age are slim. But trying to predict what Cinderella team is going to get hot for a bunch of hypothetical short series six months from now? Not even I am going to try to predict that. Plus it would be very fun to see Terry Francona square off against his old team with the American League pennant on the line. It would be even more fun to see him beat them and give Cleveland a shot at their first championship since 1948. Unless you’re a Boston fan, that is.

It pains me to pick against the Nats. I do think they’re the best team in baseball and clearly have the best shot of anyone at winning it all. But I cannot shake the feeling that Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers will make whatever moves are necessary to put themselves in a position to win October for the first time since 1988, and begin their reign as the scariest force in baseball for the next decade. I’m going with my gut. The Dodgers take down the Nationals and beat Cleveland in the fall classic.

World Series:
Los Angeles Dodgers def. Cleveland Indians

 

Awards:
AL MVP:
Mike Trout (Don’t get cute.)
NL MVP: Yasiel Puig
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (See Mike Trout.)
AL Rookie of the Year: Steven Souza
NL Rookie of the Year: Jorge Soler

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