MLB 2019 predictions: SN’s experts pick World Series, award winners

first_imgMORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whip-around show on DAZNBefore you get your fill of Opening Day action, take a gander at Sporting News’ staff predictions for the 2019 MLB season. MLB 2019 season predictionsRyan FaganStorylines I’m following: The National League playoff race will be fascinating. In the East, the Phillies, Nationals, Braves and Mets are all very capable of winning the division title, and in the Central, the Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals are all talented enough to make a World Series push. So that’s seven playoff-worthy teams fighting for, at most, four postseason spots (two titles, two wild-cards). And then you have the Dodgers as the West favorites, with the Rockies bringing most of their primary pieces from last year’s NL wild-card club. So that’s nine worthy teams vying for six spots, and teams like the Reds and Padres could/should be significantly better this year. Cannot wait to see how it plays out. … The AL, on the other hand, isn’t quite as compelling. Barring catastrophic injury issues, the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros and Indians feel like playoff locks, and the only real question is which team will jump up to 91-ish wins and grab the second wild-card spot. … There are few things I enjoy more than watching young players become stars at the big-league level. Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna Jr. last year were great examples. This year, we’re promised extended looks at Eloy Jimenez, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Fernando Tatis Jr., to name just a few. … And, of course, all eyes will be on Bryce Harper. How does Year 1 of 13 in Philly play out? It’ll be fun to see. American League racesEast: Red SoxCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosWild cards: Yankees, AngelsAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, Angels (dark horse: Byron Buxton, Twins)Cy Young: Trevor Bauer, Indians (dark horse: Mike Clevinger, Indians)Rookie: Eloy Jimenez, White Sox (dark horse: Christin Stewart, Tigers)FAGAN: 19 storylines to follow for the 2019 seasonNational League racesEast: PhilliesCentral: Cardinals    West: DodgersWild cards: Cubs, BrewersNL awardsMVP: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (dark horse: Josh Donaldson, Braves)Cy Young: Max Scherzer, Nationals (dark horse: Jack Flaherty, Cardinals)Rookie: Nick Senzel, Reds (dark horse: Chris Paddack, Padres)PostseasonAL champ: Red SoxNL champ: CardinalsWorld Series champ: Red Sox♦♦♦♦♦Jason FosterStorylines I’m following: The NL East will be the division to watch this season. Realistically, any one of the Phillies, Nationals, Braves or Mets could take the division crown (sorry, Marlins). Each team is stacked with young talent, and each one improved to varying degrees this offseason. … When will Shohei Ohtani return, how much will he play, and how will he perform in a DH-only role? He’s an exciting player at the plate, and I hope we get to see him build on what he started in his rookie year. … Will Craig Kimbrel pitch this season? The best closer in the game doesn’t have a home. Literally any team would benefit from having him. … How big of a season will Mike Trout have after signing that giant extension? We know it’ll be big, but Trout Big isn’t the same as Normal MLB Big. American League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosWild cards: Red Sox, AngelsAL awardsMVP: Aaron Judge, YankeesCy Young: Corey Kluber, IndiansRookie: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue JaysFOSTER: 27 very specific predictions for 2019National League racesEast: PhilliesCentral: CardinalsWest: DodgersWild cards: Braves, CubsNL awardsMVP: Ronald Acuña Jr., BravesCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsRookie: Pete Alonso, MetsPostseasonAL champ: YankeesNL champ: CardinalsWorld Series champ: Yankees ♦♦♦♦♦Joe RiveraStorylines I’m following: Can the Rockies’ bullpen rebound after an atrocious 2018? Three guys got paid big bucks — Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw — to be baseball’s next super bullpen, and it went up in flames like the Jedi texts. Can Boston repeat their 2018 greatness? Can Oakland keep it together and secure a wild card? Who’s the next to get extended? Mike Trout, Chris Sale and countless others have gotten big paydays from their teams before they’re set to hit free agency, some well before. American League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosWild cards: Red Sox, A’sAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, AngelsCy Young: Chris Sale, Red SoxRookie: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue JaysRIVERA: 19 questions to ponder for the 2019 seasonNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: BrewersWest: DodgersWild cards: Phillies, CubsNL awardsMVP: Bryce Harper, PhilliesCy Young: Jacob deGrom, MetsRookie: Victor Robles, NationalsPostseasonAL champ: YankeesNL champ: CubsWorld Series champ: Yankees♦♦♦♦♦Tom GattoStorylines I’m following: Will the new big-money stars (Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado) suffer letdowns now that they have gotten paid? When will the next generation of MLB stars (Eloy Jimenez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) begin their takeover? Will more teams become sellers with just one trade deadline in July? Can the Red Sox find a bullpen combination that works?American League racesEast: YankeesCentral: TwinsWest: AstrosWild cards: Red Sox, RaysAL awardsMVP: Aaron Judge, YankeesCy Young: Gerrit Cole, AstrosRookie: Eloy Jimenez, White SoxMORE: Opening Day schedule for all 30 MLB teamsNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: CubsWest: DodgersWild cards: Rockies, PhilliesNL awardsMVP: Kris Bryant, CubsCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsRookie: Fernando Tatis Jr., PadresPostseasonAL champ: YankeesNL champ: NationalsWorld Series champ: Nationals♦♦♦♦♦Bill BenderStorylines I’m following: The Astros and Red Sox have won the past two World Series. Is it the Yankees turn? Will Aaron Judge lead that World Series run with an MVP season? The health of Luis Severino will be something to monitor if his absence stretches past May. … The Indians are the best team in the AL Central but it has not been the best offseason. Will an upstart team take advantage? … Bryce Harper and Mike Trout signed for ridiculous money. Can they lead their teams to the postseason? … San Diego and Cincinnati made some high-profile offseason signings. It will be interesting to see whether one (or both) challenge for wild-card berths. … As a super-fan of his father, I can’t wait for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to hit his first MLB home run.American League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosWild cards: Red Sox, A’sAL awardsMVP: Aaron Judge, YankeesCy Young: Justin Verlander, AstrosRookie: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue JaysMORE: Adnan Virk on “ChangeUp” show, how to make baseball coverage funNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: CubsWest: DodgersWild cards: Cardinals, PhilliesNL awardsMVP: Bryce Harper, PhilliesCy Young: Jacob deGrom, Mets Rookie: Victor Robles, NationalsPostseasonAL champ: YankeesNL champ: CubsWorld Series champ: Yankees♦♦♦♦♦Jacob JanowerStorylines I’m following: How will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado fare with their new teams? Will Harper see improved stats playing in a hitters’ park, and will Machado struggle more at Petco Park? When and where will Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel sign? They will provide a boost to whoever adds them, but it might take some time before they’re ready to pitch. Will the Rays and/or A’s prove that 2018 wasn’t a fluke? Both teams overachieved last year, but neither got signifcantly better over the offseason. Can they take advantage of a wide-open American League wild card race? How legitimate are the Reds and Mets, who both had big offseasons?American League racesEast: Red SoxCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosWild cards: Yankees, AngelsAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, AngelsCy Young: Chris Sale, Red SoxRookie: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue JaysNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: CardinalsWest: DodgersWild cards: Cubs, PhilliesNL awardsMVP: Paul Goldschmidt, CardinalsCy Young: Aaron Nola, PhilliesRookie: Pete Alonso, MetsPostseasonAL champ: AstrosNL champ: CardinalsWorld Series champ: Astros♦♦♦♦♦Thomas SchlarpStorylines I’m following: The American League playoff teams were decided with seemingly weeks to spare last season. Can the Twins at least challenge the Indians in the Central? Do the Angels have enough to challenge for a wild card? … The Giants didn’t do much this offseason. Who will Madison Bumgarner be pitching for in August?… The NL East may be the most competitive division in baseball. Does all the talent Philadelphia acquired translate to wins? With Bryce Harper gone, the Nationals may have one of the best young outfields with Juan Soto and Victor Robles. … Will the Dodgers lose the World Series in LA for a third straight year? It may come down to Clayton Kershaw’s ability to stay healthy.American League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosWild cards: Red Sox, RaysAL awardsMVP: Alex Bregman, AstrosCy Young: Chris Sale, Red SoxRookie: Yusei Kikuchi, MarinersNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: Cardinals    West: DodgersWild cards: Phillies, BrewersNL awardsMVP: Paul Goldschmidt, CardinalsCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsRookie: Chris Paddack, PadresPostseasonAL champ: AstrosNL champ: NationalsWorld Series champ: Astros♦♦♦♦♦David SteeleStorylines I’m following: Is Bryce Harper really the key to the Phillies becoming a dynasty, and is his going to the Phillies the key to him becoming the superstar he was destined to be? Could the Nationals really be as good, or better, without Harper and with the help of their years of drafting and development? Are the best division races going to be in the East in both leagues, and how many playoff teams will that produce (or not)? Does the heat on the Angels to make the most out of Mike Trout’s prime (in production and earnings) turn into an inferno? How will the Yankees do after missing the World Series last year and not grabbing any of the marquee free agents this offseason? How much, or how little, will baseball embrace the “opener”? The new reliever three-batter minimum rule … whaaaa?American League racesEast: YankeesCentral: Indians    West: AstrosWild cards: Red Sox, RaysAL awardsMVP: Aaron Judge, YankeesCy Young: Chris Sale, Red SoxRookie: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue JaysNational League racesEast: PhilliesCentral: BrewersWest: DodgersWild cards: Nationals, BravesNL awardsMVP: Ronald Acuna Jr., BravesCy Young: Noah Syndergaard, MetsRookie: Victor Robles, NationalsPostseasonAL champ: YankeesNL champ: PhilliesWorld Series champ: Phillies♦♦♦♦♦Sporting News also asked hosts of DAZN’s new MLB show “ChangeUp” for their predictions. DAZN is the parent company of Sporting News.Adnan VirkAmerican League racesEast: Red SoxCentral: TwinsWest: AstrosAL awardsMVP: José Ramirez, IndiansCy Young: Justin Verlander, AstrosRookie: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.National League racesEast: PhilliesCentral: BrewersWest: DodgersNL awardsMVP: Jesus Aguilar, BrewersCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsPostseasonAL champ: YankeesNL champ: BrewersWorld Series champ: Yankees♦♦♦♦♦Lauren GardnerAmerican League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: CardinalsWest: DodgersAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, AngelsCy Young: Gerritt Cole, AstrosHome run leader: Aaron Judge, YankeesNL awardsMVP: Nolan Arenado, RockiesCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsHome run leader: Daniel Murphy, RockiesPostseasonAL champ: AstrosNL champ: Nationals♦♦♦♦♦Scott RogowskyAmerican League racesEast: Red SoxCentral: TwinsWest: AstrosAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, AngelsCy Young: Chris Sale, Red SoxNational League racesMVP: Rhys Hoskins, PhilliesCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsPostseasonAL champ: Red SoxNL champ: BrewersWorld Series champ: Brewers♦♦♦♦♦Jordan ShustermanAmerican League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, AngelsCy Young: Chris Sale, Red SoxNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: CardinalsWest: DodgersNL awardsMVP: Juan Soto, NationalsCy Young: Max Scherzer, NationalsPostseasonAL champ: AstrosNL champ: NationalsWorld Series champ: Nationals♦♦♦♦♦Jake MintzAmerican League racesEast: YankeesCentral: IndiansWest: AstrosAL awardsMVP: Mike Trout, AngelsCy Young: Gerritt Cole, AstrosNational League racesEast: NationalsCentral: CardinalsWest: DodgersNL awards MVP: Bryce Harper, NationalsCy Young: Jack Flaherty, CardinalsPostseasonAL champ: IndiansNL champ: DodgersWorld Series champ: Dodgers Another baseball season is upon us, and we can’t wait to see how it turns out. We always think we have an idea of how things will go between now and October, but baseball often has a way of writing its own script.Sure, there will be some things that go as expected. But there will also be surprises. Finding out which teams and players fall into which category is part of the fun of a 162-game season.last_img

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