It’s been a very busy spring for me; so busy in fact, that I haven’t had the time to devote to following major league baseball teams closely enough to make any intelligent predictions as to who will finish first, last, and in-between. I have followed closely enough, however, to make some unintelligent predictions:
American League East
The Baltimore Orioles will break the MLB record of 264 home runs in a season, set by the Seattle Mariners in 1997. They’ll do this on the last day of the season on October 2nd at Yankee Stadium in an 11-10 win. Meanwhile, in Boston on that same day, David Ortiz will retire, and in a post-game ceremony, officially relinquish his crown as Most Self-Absorbed Player in the Game to Jose Bautista, who will then flip his bat over the Green Monster. The Tampa Bay Rays, whose offense has been declining for the entire season, will somehow manage to lose a game in which the other team does not score a single run.
American League Central
The Chicago White Sox will no longer hold a Father & Son Game. No one outside of Cleveland can tell you who their shortstop is, despite the fact that he is one of the best young players in baseball. Detroit’s chances of winning the division are wiped out when Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez make five different trips to the disabled list between them, and Minnesota’s chances disappear when an April blizzard at Target Field results in frostbite for every player except the relievers who have set the bullpen dugout on fire for warmth. The Royals will end up with the division crown again. (Francisco Lindor is the Indian’s shortstop.)
American League West
Houston will break its own MLB mark of 1,513 strikeouts in a season, set in 2013, by striking out 27 times in their final game against Los Angeles where Mike Trout will not recognize a single one of his teammates because of turnover and injury. Seattle will take a talented roster and manage it to mediocrity, while Oakland will trade away what little talent it has left. Texas will win the division.
National League East
As with San Francisco in the West, the Nationals do well in even-numbered years and win this division in 2016. Jonathon Pabelbon will go on the 15 day disabled list in June for the removal of a Bryce Harper model Louisville Slugger from his bench warmer. Despite strong pitching, the Mets will not repeat as division champs. They will break the record for most errors in a single game by committing 13, eight by centerfielder Yeonis Cespedes who will drop three flies, kick four grounders, and take a bite out of a ball that came to rest on the warning track. The Miami Marlins, with Giancarlo Stanton healthy and Don Mattingly at the helm, will actually challenge the Nats and Mets until owner Jeffery Loria trades the entire starting rotation in a cost-cutting measure on July 31st. Phillie fans will have something to cheer about with a young and coming team, but they won’t because, they’re Philly fans. The Braves will be reassigned to the International League.
National League Central
The Chicago Cubs will not live up to the expectations that everyone has for them because for one thing, the Cosmos appears to hate the Cubs and for another, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a better all-around team and possess the motivation to win this division. St. Louis will find a way to hang around, although this could be a down year for them. It’s an even downer year for Cincinnati, but at least they have Joey Votto. Milwaukee is Cincinnati without Joey Votto, which makes the Brewers really bad.
National League West
The most interesting thing that will happen in Colorado this year is the over/under on when Walt Weiss gets fired and when Carlos Gonzalez gets traded. The most interesting thing that will happen in Los Angeles this year is whether Yasiel Puig finally matures. The most interesting thing that will happen in San Francisco is seeing if their pitching is enough to carry them to the playoffs. The most interesting thing in Arizona will be the Diamondbacks actually winning the division, while the most interesting thing in San Diego will be the zoo.
We’re headed to Florida in the next few days for our annual sojourn, and while we are too late for any spring training action, we are looking forward to watching the #1 Florida Gators take on SEC rival Mississippi State University as well as taking in Opening Night for the Lakeland Flying Tigers of the Class A Florida State League. Oh, and the beach. We might go to a beach while we’re in Florida.