A PEEK INTO MY CRYSTAL BALL, PREDICTING THE MAJOR LEAGUE STANDINGS

As a baseball scout and analyst, I really don’t pride myself on making predictions.  So, be warned. I wouldn’t run to Vegas with what you read below.

I do, however, have my thoughts on every team. So for what it’s worth, here are the official BERNIE’S BASEBALL WORLD major league standings predictions for this coming season.

I have also taken a stab at some of the award winners. That is really subjective. But I did my best.

For me, most everything in these standings predictions is based up pitching. Some teams can pitch. Very few, indeed. Some teams are going to spend the season searching for pitching. They’ll look in their own organization and they’ll look in other club’s organizations. They will look under every rock and shake every tree to find………there is little to no pitching to find.

AMERICAN LEAGUE STANDINGS

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

 

NEW YORK YANKEES-95 wins

The loss of Greg Bird hurts because there really is no true first baseman to replace him. That’s a fundamental flaw in the team’s roster construction. But the offense is mighty.  I am a believer in their pitching as well. This is a nicely balanced club.

BOSTON RED SOX-92 wins

J D Martinez is a huge addition-not quite David Ortiz, but still big. I still question the pitching depth and the fact the rotation is heavily left-handed. Can David Price stay healthy? They have to out-pitch the Yankees. I don’t think they can out-slug them.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES-80 wins

Alex Cobb really helps. The thunder in the offense is real. I think they will surprise. Machado and Schoop could have huge years. Austin Hays can’t break into the lineup. Can they pitch?

If they can pitch, they can survive in a very tough division.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS-73 wins

Like others in the division, the rotation is shaky and lacks depth. There are some good arms. If Sanchez is healthy it sure helps. The outfield still concerns me. Not enough thunder to compete. Just wait until they promote Guerrero and Bichette.

TAMPA BAY RAYS-70 wins

Their 4-man pitching experiment makes no sense to me. The bullpen may be burned out by July. The offense leaves a great deal to be desired. Yankees and Red Sox could feast on them.

The Rays have a long way to go before becoming competitive.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

CLEVELAND INDIANS- 95 wins

The rotation remains strong, but if one of the horses falters or gets hurt, the depth is minimal. I think they’ll miss Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce. But they’re still solid in the division.

Don’t look for another 22-game winning streak this year.

MINNESOTA TWINS-89 wins

The additions of Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi provide the finishing touches to a better rotation. The offense can be lethal with Sano, Dozier, Buxton, Rosario, Mauer and Morrison.

This is a team that is getting the taste of winning. Watch out!

CHICAGO WHITE SOX-70 wins

The prospects are getting closer and closer and next year they move up in the standings. For now, they let the kids gain more experience and get a taste of major-league baseball. This is a team that is in the midst of a well-planned rebuild. Progressing.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS-69 wins

Signing Moose has helped. I think Whitt Merrifield is a solid major-league player and they may score runs. Like many clubs, I think their pitching will keep them looking up in the standings. This team will have a long haul until it competes.

DETROIT TIGERS-64 wins

Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are both showing that they are a year older. I am now a believer in Nicholas Castellanos.

But oh my, the pitching is nowhere to be found. I don’t see much hope that they can crawl out of the AL Central basement.

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

HOUSTON ASTROS-102 wins

I didn’t think it was possible, but I think the Astros are even better than last year. Why? Garret Cole. He will unlock his inner self with his new team. And man, can this team hit.

The balance on the team is scary good. I see no flaws.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS-82 wins

The offense and defense are both much improved with Justin Upton there all year, plus Ian Kinsler and Zack Cozart help. Pitching remains an issue, even with Shohei Ohtani. The team has to pitch to stay competitive and I’m not sure they can.

SEATTLE MARINERS-80 wins

I look for a big year from James Paxton.  And any team with the combination of Robbie Cano and Nelson Cruz is dangerous. They’ve made lots of moves, but have they improved? Uh, no.

I don’t think mixing up the roster has provided any upgrades.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS- 80 wins

This team could become very good once their pitching matures. Their corner infielders, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson form a fine dynamic duo of building blocks. They’re fun to watch. If the pitching and prospects mature they can compete.

TEXAS RANGERS-78 wins

Pitching? Where’s the pitching? I can’t find it. They can hit, but like most of the teams in this article, they are woeful on the mound. Joey Gallo and company can slug. Who’ll pitch? The rotation still seeks quality arms and I see no upgrades in sight.

NATIONAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

WASHINGTON NATIONALS-96 wins

I really don’t see a flaw in this club. They have Bryce Harper. They have an excellent rotation. They have depth everywhere.

The only thing that can bring them down could be injuries.

The team is still good, but can they advance in the postseason?

NEW YORK METS-87 wins

If their pitching stays healthy, they win. That’s a Big If. While Syndergaard, deGrom and company have the talent. Do they have the health? The offense is stable and capable if healthy.

This could be a ten-game increase based on pitching health.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES-81 wins

I really believe this team can break even and build for a huge breakout in 2019. Why? They added Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana, two veterans to help their prospects learn the game.

A fun team to watch, the Phillies may surprise and win big.

ATLANTA BRAVES-75 wins

This is another young team with a chance to get better once they get more experience. Their pitching is still coming together.  I do think Ronald Acuna is the real deal. Holes remain and the pitching has to stabilize, but they’re improving.

MIAMI MARLINS-63 wins

I think there are probably better minor league teams out there and the good fans of Miami deserve better. I feel badly for J.T. Realmuto and several veterans left behind in the salary dump.

I think it will be a long season and more veterans will be dealt.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

CHICAGO CUBS-97 wins

They aren’t quite the Astros, but I believe they are close. They added Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood to the rotation. Those are big additions. The team pounds the ball and scores runs. Huge stars shine on the North Side of Chicago. They thrive.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS-89 wins

I thought this team would add a starting pitcher during the offseason. They added great offense and defense with Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. But no starter. That hurt them overall.

If they can improve their starting pitching, I like their chances.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS-87 wins

This team picked up one of the best pure hitters in the game in Marcell Ozuna. The lack of rotation depth and true closer may hurt them overall, but they will hang in all season and compete.

I don’t ever count out the Cardinals and this year isn’t different.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES-71 wins

Adios Gerritt Cole and Andrew McCutchen and adios contending in the National League East. The Pirates clearly didn’t get enough for Cole. What they’ll get is losses that mount in 2018.

This team is no better than last year and is probably worse.

CINCINNATI REDS-70 wins

The rotation in the outfield with Schebler, Duvall, Hamilton and Winker may work well. The team can hit. Eugenio Suarez is underrated.  Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but -they can’t pitch. They will really scuffle by yielding runs in bunches.

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

LOS ANGELES DODGERS-99 wins

They have Clayton Kershaw and nobody else does. And they have Kenley Jansen not to mention terrific pitching in the rotation and bullpen. And, oh by the way, they can hit. The loss of Justin Turner hurts them due to a lack of position depth.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS-87 wins

They can’t pitch with the Dodgers, but their rotation is mighty good. I don’t buy that the new humidor will hurt their offense that much. Some, yes. Dramatically? No. They lack depth. One major injury could hurt them more than it would most clubs.

COLORADO ROCKIES-86 wins

Unfortunately, David Dahl, and Raimel Tapia have to wait now that Carlos Gonzalez is back. The rotation can pitch and Coors Field doesn’t intimidate them. This is a solid club on both sides of the ball. They need to win on the road while rolling at home.

SAN DIEGO PADRES-72 wins

I like Manny Margot and some of their young prospects that are waiting in the wings. The injury to pitcher Dinelson Lamet is a big blow to a young and inexperienced rotation. They are improved year over year, but they are still not competitive.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS-69 wins

The aging team didn’t get younger with the additions of McCutchen and Evan Longoria. Losing Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija could be devastating. Who replaces them? They had high hopes but I think they can’t recover from the injuries.

PLAYOFFS-AMERICAN LEAGUE

YANKEES, INDIANS, ASTROS,

WILD CARDS: RED SOX, TWINS

AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPION: ASTROS

PLAYOFFS-NATIONAL LEAGUE

NATIONALS, CUBS, DODGERS,

WILD CARDS: METS, BREWERS

NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPION-CUBS

WORLD SERIES CHAMPION:

ASTROS

MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS:

NATIONAL LEAGUE: BRYCE HARPER

AMERICAN LEAGUE: GIANCARLO STANTON

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:

NATIONAL LEAGUE: RONALD ACUNA

AMERICAN LEAGUE: FRANKLIN BARRETO

MANAGER OF THE YEAR:

NATIONAL LEAGUE: CRAIG COUNSELL

AMERICAN LEAGUE: ALEX CORA

COMEBACK PLAYERS OF THE YEAR:

NATIONAL LEAGUE: MAIKEL FRANCO

AMERICAN LEAGUE: MICHAEL BRANTLEY

So there you have it. The teams that can pitch find the wins. The teams that search for pitching all season will search for wins.  Pitching is King.

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff

About The Author

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Bernie's work has been featured on MLB Pipeline, MLB.com and FanRag Sports, among others. You can follow Bernie Pleskoff on Twitter @BerniePleskoff