clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2019 Major League Baseball predictions

New, 87 comments

In which I go out on the usual limb to pick this year’s order of finish and playoff results.

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Today I will join thousands of other bloggers, websites, pundits, etc. in making my so-called “expert” predictions for the upcoming season. If you have been here for the last 14 years, you’ll find this prediction format familiar — and yes, you’ll find most of this text familiar too (copy/paste being a useful tool). For those of you new to BCB, read on.

I started this format more than 25 years ago, when I was passing out my annual predictions to any of my friends who were willing to read them either with or without scoffing, because I found this method both more interesting and challenging to do than traditional predictions. Even more so, if you’re here I don’t need to insult your intelligence by telling you who the ballclubs’ best hitters, pitchers, etc. are. You already know. Instead, you’ll find a pithy word or phrase describing the hitting, pitching, defense and intangibles of the 30 contenders for October glory.

I’m also not going to “predict” award winners. How hard would it be for me to sit here clacking away on a keyboard and be master of the obvious by telling you that Mike Trout is a top choice to win another A.L. MVP Award, that Kris Bryant could contend for another N.L. MVP (he will, you know) or that Jacob deGrom has an excellent chance to take the N.L. Cy Young? Just before the 2018 season started, would you have predicted that Brian Snitker would be N.L. Manager of the Year? Last March, did you predict Blake Snell would win the 2018 A.L. Cy Young Award? (No. No, you did not. Neither did MLB.com, USA Today, Sporting News or ESPN. Not a single mention of Snell anywhere in those.)

And in any case, anyone using the search function here, or Google, can come back here in October and tell me how wrong I was. I got seven of the 10 postseason teams right last year, but I whiffed on the Red Sox, having them as a wild card instead of the 108-win juggernaut they were, and I had the Twins and Diamondbacks as wild-card teams. Uh, nope on those. But then, almost no one had the 2018 Athletics and Braves as postseason teams, but there they were, and there likely will be a surprise team or two this year as well. (I missed badly on the 2018 A’s, picking them for last place in the A.L. West, but I wasn’t the only one to do that, either.)

I did call for Rays righthander Chris Archer to be traded at the deadline, and that happened even though the Rays were still in wild-card contention.

Without further ado, my picks for 2019!

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1) PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Hitting: Bryce Harper! (And others)
Pitching: Solid
Defense: Uh...
Intangibles: Bryce Harper!

2) ATLANTA BRAVES (1st wild card)

Hitting: Young, but really good
Pitching: Injured
Defense: Excellent
Intangibles: Can they defend their surprise division title?

3) WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Hitting: Better than you think
Pitching: Maybe the best in the division
Defense: Next question?
Intangibles: What does Harper leaving do to them?

4) NEW YORK METS

Hitting: Questionable
Pitching: Excellent
Defense: Good
Intangibles: Fourth place could be over .500 in this division

5) MIAMI MARLINS

Hitting: Who...
Pitching: ... are ...
Defense: ... these guys?
Intangibles: 100 losses, here they come

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

1) CHICAGO CUBS

Hitting: Returning ...
Pitching: ... from injury and ...
Defense: ... solid
Intangibles: Have a chip on their shoulder after last year

2) MILWAUKEE BREWERS (2nd wild card)

Hitting: Good, but not THAT good
Pitching: Good, but not THAT good
Defense: Good, but... well, no, not really that good
Intangibles: Will be hard to replicate last year’s perfect storm

3) ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Hitting: Terrifying (to Cubs pitchers, at least)
Pitching: Revamped
Defense: Iffy
Intangibles: Mike Shildt gets a full year to put his stamp on this team

4) CINCINNATI REDS

Hitting: Puig your Reds friend!
Pitching: Much improved
Defense: Average
Intangibles: They either contend, or there will be lots of trades in July

5) PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Hitting: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Pitching: Decent
Defense: Okay
Intangibles: Can you figure this team out? I can’t

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

1) LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Hitting: Returning
Pitching: The 10-day IL is their friend
Defense: Good enough
Intangibles: They’ll need some luck to hold off the Rox

2) COLORADO ROCKIES

Hitting: Always good in that park
Pitching: Better than you think
Defense: Average
Intangibles: The pitching, oddly enough, will carry them

3) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Hitting: New
Pitching: New
Defense: New
Intangibles: They think they’re a contender. (Hint: No, especially after losing Steven Souza Jr. for the year with an unnecessary injury.)

4) SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Hitting: Infield, old. Outfield, young
Pitching: Perhaps about to be traded
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: Bruce Bochy’s last year

5) SAN DIEGO PADRES

Hitting: Manny Machado!
Pitching: Who ARE these guys?
Defense: Manny Machado!
Intangibles: Manny Machado!

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

1) NEW YORK YANKEES

Hitting: Solid everywhere
Pitching: Still some question marks
Defense: Decent
Intangibles: They’re the Yankees

2) BOSTON RED SOX (1st wild card)

Hitting: Outstanding
Pitching: Excellent
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: They could win 100 games and finish second

3) TAMPA BAY RAYS

Hitting: Much better...
Pitching: ... than ...
Defense: ... you think!
Intangibles: Somehow, always seem to find a way to win

4) TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Hitting: Miscellaneous
Pitching: Likely traded at the deadline
Defense: Solid
Intangibles: They need a rebuild

5) BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Hitting: Awful
Pitching: Awful
Defense: Not awful, but it doesn’t matter
Intangibles: Cannot possibly be worse than last year

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

1) CLEVELAND INDIANS

Hitting: Revamped
Pitching: New
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: They now have Bauer and Bauers. Confusing!

2) MINNESOTA TWINS

Hitting: Revised
Pitching: Better than you think
Defense: Yes
Intangibles: Moving on from Mauer

3) CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Hitting: Pretty decent
Pitching: Middling
Defense: Very good
Intangibles: Eloy‘s coming

4) KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Hitting: Rebuilding
Pitching: Rebuilding
Defense: Rebuilding
Intangibles: Fighting it out with the Tigers for last place

5) DETROIT TIGERS

Hitting: Rebuilding
Pitching: Rebuilding
Defense: Rebuilding
Intangibles: Fighting it out with the Royals for last place

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

1) HOUSTON ASTROS

Hitting: Outstanding
Pitching: Outstanding
Defense: Outstanding
Intangibles: If not for the A’s, would win this division by 20 games

2) OAKLAND ATHLETICS (2nd wild card)

Hitting: Lots of home runs! Fun!
Pitching: Up in the air
Defense: Yes, they have one
Intangibles: Surprise team of 2018. Can they do it again?

3) SEATTLE MARINERS

Hitting: A bunch of guys who weren’t there last year
Pitching: Revamped
Defense: Good
Intangibles: Ichiro’s farewell might be their high point

4) LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Hitting: Mike Trout is an Angel for life
Pitching: Next question?
Defense: Excellent
Intangibles: Three more years of Albert Pujols drag them down

5) TEXAS RANGERS

Hitting: OMG the strikeouts
Pitching: Well, they have some
Defense: Good enough
Intangibles: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Postseason predictions

Wild-card games: Braves over Brewers (NL), Red Sox over Athletics (AL)

Division series: Cubs over Braves, Phillies over Dodgers (NL). Red Sox over Yankees, Astros over Indians (AL)

Championship series: Cubs over Phillies (NL), Red Sox over Astros (AL)

World Series: The Cubs win their second WS title in four seasons over Theo Epstein’s old team in six games.