aNewDomain — After a winter filled with the usual flurry of activity, baseball’s regular season is just a month away. The inevitable questions are hanging in the air: Who’s going to win it all? Where will my team finish? How about the MVP awards?
The answers are all here, from the World Series champs (Washington) to the American League Manager of the Year (Seattle’s Lloyd McClendon).
Read on and become educated about Major League Baseball 2015.
American League Central
Chicago’s bold moves during the offseason mean that any of four teams could make a run at the division title. In all likelihood, only one team will reach the playoffs since these clubs will beat up each other all season. Sorry, Twins.
American League East
Baseball’s most evenly matched (did someone say mediocre?) division could be won by any of these five teams. Chances are, though, the Red Sox and Orioles will be the last teams standing at the end of the season.
- Baltimore (wild card)
- New York Yankees
- Tampa Bay
American League West
The Angels and Mariners will have a pitched battle for the AL West title all season. Seattle is looking to break a playoff drought that has lasted since 2001. While Oakland appears to be retooling again, it’s tough to dismiss the A’s.
- Los Angeles Angels
- Seattle (wild card)
National League Central
The hype has centered around the Cubs this offseason, but reality is that the Cardinals are still the class of the division. Chicago hasn’t been to the playoffs in five years and the Pirates could slip up from behind and grab that opportunity.
- St. Louis
- Chicago Cubs (wild card)
National League East
No one stands a chance of catching the Nationals, who figure to win the division by at least a dozen games. Miami is getting better but is probably a year or so away from truly competing. The Mets are improving and it will always be strange seeing the Braves near the bottom of the pack.
National League West
The Dodgers have baseball’s biggest payroll while the Giants have traditionally put their teams together in a more steady and thoughtful way. Still, the Dodgers appear to be the class of the division. The Padres need another year to percolate and figure out what they have.
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco (wild card)
- San Diego
Wild Card: Seattle over Baltimore
Division Series: Seattle over Boston
Los Angeles Angels over Detroit
Championship Series: Los Angeles Angels over Seattle
Wild Card: Chicago Cubs over San Francisco
Division Series: Washington over Chicago Cubs
St. Louis over Los Angeles
Championship Series: Washington over St. Louis
Washington over Los Angeles Angels
American League award winners
Mike Trout, Angels
Trout is the ultimate five-tool guy and baseball’s best everyday player.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
King Felix put up a microscopic 2.14 ERA last season and finished second in Cy Young balloting.
Rookie of the Year
Rusney Castillo, Red Sox
Castillo was an impressive September call-up and is entrenched as Boston’s right fielder to start the season.
Manager of the Year
Lloyd McClendon, Mariners
A strong playoff run will be enough to give McClendon the nod.
National League award winners
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Stanton was well on his way to an MVP season when he was beaned in Milwaukee last September. He will finish the job in 2015.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Like Mike Trout in the American League, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking this award from Kershaw. This would be his fourth Cy Young, all by the age of 27.
Rookie of the Year
Joc Pederson, Dodgers
A risky call here since Pederson will need to keep the center field job during spring training.
Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon, Cubs
We’ll go along with the masses and take Maddon, who made a winner of the Tampa Bay Rays. That was quite an accomplishment.
For aNewDomain, I’m Rodney Campbell.
Photo of Mike Trout courtesy Wikimedia. Photo of Giancarlo Stanton from jornadadiaria.com. All rights reserved.