Opening Day is tomorrow, and we are wrapping up our picks for the upcoming season. Up first is a look at who we think will win each division, the NL and AL pennants and the World Series. Let us know what you think in the comments.
Who will win the NL East?
Eric: I’ll take the Braves. They won the division basically without a rotation last year. Mets are definitely better than they were and should finish second followed by the Phillies, Nationals, and Marlins.
Daniel: Given that I just predicted Atlanta to win 97 games, I’ll take them to win the division over the Mets by a few games.
Ivan: If the Mets weren’t the Mets, I’d say the Mets (who weren’t the Mets), but since they’re the Mets, I’ll say the Braves. Got it? (Random Mets fact: the last time they outplayed their run differential by more than a single win on the season was 2007.)
Kris: I think it might go down to the final week of the season but the Braves make it four straight division titles.
Brent: There has to be some karmic benefit to jettisoning the Wilpons, right? The Mets finally break through… and lose in the playoffs to the Wild Card Braves.
Shawn: Fueled by a strong record against their NL East rivals, I feel the Braves win the NL East in late September after a close race with the Mets for most of the season.
AB: I will put the Mets to the fire here. The Braves will grab a Wild Card.
Dillon: The division is tight from top to bottom, but the Braves prevail again.
Wayne: Not picking against the Braves until they give us reason to. This is arguably their best team yet.
Demetrius: Braves. They didn’t make huge improvements to the team, but I think they did just enough to ensure that they’re gonna represent the NL East in the bracket for a fourth season in a row.
Gaurav: Braves. Improved rotation, arguably same level of production out of the bullpen, and hopefully a full season of Ronald, Ozzie, Freddie, and Marcell tattooing balls.
Matt: Braves beat the Mets in a fairly tight race with the entire division being tough and keeping the overall win totals down a little bit.
Who will win the NL Central?
Scott: Give me the Brewers in a semi-upset. The Cardinals drew all the offseason headlines, but I’ll take Milwaukee by a nose over St. Louis and Chicago.
Eric: This might be the worst division in baseball. I guess I will pick the Cardinals followed by the Brewers, Cubs, Reds, and Pirates. I expect the Pirates to be one of the absolute worst teams in baseball.
Daniel: This division is a joke, but I’ll take the Brewers over the Cardinals.
Ivan: I think it’d be really funny if the winner of this division finished with a below-.500 record. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’d be funny. I’ll go with the Brewers, though what I really want to see is a three-way tie between them, the Cardinals, and the Cubs, with 78 wins apiece.
Kris: I will take the Brewers in the Central. Someone has to win this division right?
Brent: The Cubbies win and pray they don’t have to face Yu Darvish in a playoff game.
Shawn: I am a bigger believer in the Cardinals in the playoffs, but I think the Brewers pitching depth and overall roster talent allows them to emerge with the NL Central crown.
AB: The Brewers are the only cromulent team here.
Dillon: I’ll take the Brewers only because I hate the rotations in Chicago and St. Louis. Also, I think Yelich has a huge bounceback season.
Wayne: This division is so bad, I’ll use it as my completely absurd pick and go with the Cubs. I have zero reason to explain why, other than not a single team in this division appears to be trying to win ball games.
Gaurav: I’ll go with the Brewers.
Demetrius: The Brewers will probably lead the way for most of the season, only for the Cardinals to win it because they’re the Cardinals.
Matt: The Cardinals always exceed expectations of the on paper product, and after adding Nolan Arenado it feels like they have the best team in the division. The Cubs can surprise if Kris Bryant can prove he isn’t the guy we saw last year and Javy Baez bounces back.
Who will win the NL West?
Scott: The Dodgers. It’s always the Dodgers. I feel bad for the 100-win wild card Padres.
Eric: The Padres will keep things interesting and are heavy favorites for the wild card, but the answer is the Dodgers until someone proves otherwise. I think the Giants, Rockies, and Diamondbacks could all end up being bad.
Daniel: Unfortunately, I’ll go with the Dodgers, although the Padres should be quite good in their own right.
Ivan: I think this question is better framed as, “What are the chances the Dodgers won’t be the best team in baseball?” Those odds aren’t terrible, taking the field is generally a good idea… but that one gives me pause. Sorry, Dads.
Kris: I think the Padres make it interesting but the West is still the Dodgers’ division to lose.
Brent: Another one for the Trolleydodgers.
Shawn: I am going to say the Padres just to go with my heart and also play the role of contrarian (95% sure it is gonna be the Dodgers in my head.)
AB: The Dodgers might win 110 games. Who’s stopping them?
Dillon: It’s hard to build a powerhouse in one offseason. The Padres look great on paper, but the Dodgers have been doing this for too long.
Demetrius: I’m real excited to stay up late and catch some Dodgers/Padres games. Of the two, I think the Dodgers are still the clear favorite but the Padres have shown admirable ambition to close the gap.
Gaurav: Hard not to go with the Dodgers here
Matt: I love what the Padres have done but I just can’t pick against the Dodgers, who have insane depth.
Who will win the National League Pennant?
Scott: I want to be a homer and say the Braves finally break through after getting so close last October, but I’ll say Atlanta falls just short of Los Angeles once again.
Eric: I will go with the Braves. I think they outplayed the Dodgers through the first four games of that series and if there were normal days off in the series, they probably would have won that series. Sadly, Corey Seager and Mookie Betts had other plans...also, Snit out-managed Roberts and I could see that being relevant in a rematch under normal circumstances.
Daniel: I’m going to take Atlanta here because this team was very close last year and I think improved more than the Dodgers did, since I am not a believer in Trevor Bauer being a top 5 pitcher in the league.
Ivan: It should be the Dodgers, but are you on board for the 78-win Brewers carving a bloody swath through the postseason? You should be!
Kris: I have the Dodgers in seven over the Braves again.
Brent: The Atlanta Braves, thanks to the Cubs’ stunning takedown of LA in the NLDS.
Shawn: I am going to go with the Braves. I feel this team knows that it has the best combination of young and veteran talents still in their prime, and will be motivated with how close they were last year.
AB: The Dodgers are too good.
Dillon: Picking the Dodgers and being right would be awfully dissatisfying, so I won’t. The Braves beat LA with late-inning heroics that somehow manage not to rip our hearts out like always.
Wayne: Charlie Morton is the X-factor and gives the Braves the rotation it needs to finally get back to the World Series.
Demetrius: In my unbiased opinion, it’ll probably be the Dodgers again since they are still loaded. As a homer, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Braves continued their postseason ascent and got to the World Series this year.
Gaurav: Dodgers. Nah, it’s our time to shine - Atlanta Braves put in a complete season and head to the World Series.
Matt: I really want to pick the Braves, and even though a less than 100% team nearly took down the Dodgers in the NLCS it isn’t like the Dodgers didn’t go out and pick up the Cy Young winner. The Braves unfortunately have a few more questions right now.
Who will win the AL East?
Eric: I like the Rays a lot and look forward to seeing what guy they have in the org that comes out of nowhere to go wild...plus they can reinforce with Wander Franco who is likely significantly better than the vast majority of trade deadline guys you can get. After that, Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Orioles.
Daniel: I’m going to take the Yankees here because of their on-paper roster, so I look forward to the Rays winning the division on the back of some player we don’t know exists, while 70% of the Yankees roster gets injured.
Ivan: It’ll be fun to see what I’m missing once the season gets going, because the Yankees appear insane and Dodgers-esque to me in 2021. I’m not even sure there’s an AL team that finishes within five wins of them, which might help them run their record up quite a bit.
Kris: Their pitching staff scares me a little, but I think this is the year that the Yankees’ lineup stays reasonably healthy and that will be enough to take the division.
Brent: The Yankees finally break their historic one-year AL East championship drought in what will be the feel good story of the year.
Shawn: I feel the Yankees have a bit more luck with health this season, and if that is the case, I think they have too much talent and will win the AL East.
Dillon: The Yankees win this division handily. The Blue Jays look good, but this New York lineup is too much.
Wayne: The Rays can literally sign Shane Bieber, Jacob deGrom and Yu Darvish and I’d still pick the Yankees.
Demetrius: It’ll be the Yankees, but it’ll still be a fight with the Blue Jays making a serious effort to join the fray, the Red Sox deciding to actually try this season, and the Rays being the Rays.
Gaurav: Pretty improved AL East thanks to the Blue Jays making some noise but I will go with the Rays. Need Stanton/Judge to show they can stay healthy for a majority of the season.
Matt: I have to go with the Yankees, and think as long as they stay healthy they beat out Toronto with the Rays not too far behind in third.
Who will win the AL Central?
Scott: The White Sox are on the same path as the Braves, maybe just a year behind. I’ll take Chicago over Minnesota by a nose, followed by Cleveland, Kansas City and Detroit.
Eric: The White Sox should be able to beat out the Twins for the top spot here, although I admit I am not as high on the Twins as some. The Indians should come in third and I think the Royals and Tigers could both be dreadful although seeing some of the guys the Tigers could call up could make them fun.
Daniel: The White Sox have a young talented roster and I don’t have enough belief in the Twins to pick them, so give me the team from Chicago here.
Ivan: My guess is that this one comes down to the final days of the season, with the Twins winning by a game.
Kris: The White Sox got a taste of the postseason in 2020 and will win the division this time around.
Brent: In a mild upset, I’ll take the Cleveland Baseball Team to ride their pitching to a crown.
Shawn: Though the loss of Eloy Jiminez is unfortunate, I still feel the White Sox are the deepest team in the Al Central, and with better pitching, feel they win the AL Central.
Dillon: The White Sox keep adding veteran talent to a youthful roster full of blue chip prospects. They cash in this season, beating out the Twins in a tight race.
Wayne: Has to be the year of the White Sox, even with Eloy Jimenez down, right? Even if it isn’t, I’m tired of picking the Twins.
Demetrius: I think the White Sox will win the division. On a semi-related note, I think the Twins will get in as a Wild Card and finally break that ghastly postseason game losing streak.
Gaurav: Despite the loss of Eloy, I will take the White Sox.
Matt: The White Sox are simply too good to not win this division over Minnesota.
Who will win the AL West?
Scott: Another difficult one to project. I’ll say the Angels finally get some good mojo and edge out Houston and Oakland.
Eric: Astros should win it, but the door is pretty wide open to challengers after this year. Athletics, Angels, Mariners, and Rangers after that. Mike Trout misses the postseason again and baseball is lesser for it.
Daniel: The Astros lost Springer and the A’s have Chapman coming back from a hip injury as well as a few big losses in free agency, so give me the Angels who may have actually assembled a non-disastrous pitching staff this season, despite the lack of a splashy move.
Ivan: I’ll go with the Astros. They definitely have a lot of downside risk with their pitching and their roster is bordering on very stars-and-scrubs, but those stars are pearlescent, which really just puts the pressure on finding decent role players, not cornerstones. The Angels are in the same boat with fewer stars, and the Athletics are similar, but with even more pressure to pull a rabbit out of their hat.
Shawn: I am going to go with the Angels, as I feel the entire organization will be on board knowing they have to win now with their roster. I also feel they will display a Padres level of aggressiveness to fortify their pitching to support their lineup.
Kris: Perry Minasian pushes all the right buttons and finally gets Mike Trout back to the postseason.
Brent: I glance at the A’s roster, and I’m just not impressed, which was the same evaluation of the A’s I had for each of the last three years when they won 60% of their games. They’ve fooled me thrice, and I’m tired of the shame being on me, so I’ll take the Elephants.
Dillon: Every team in this division feels incomplete, so give me the best player on earth and let’s roll. The Angels still managed to underwhelm with their pitching additions, but Trout and Rendon can rake. That may be enough to take the crown out west.
Wayne: The Mike Trouts. These guys have to get this man to the playoffs, so I’ll project the California Angels of Anaheim in Los Angeles to win the AL West.
Demetrius: I’m done picking the Angels to do anything since they’ve burned me as a prognosticator for many years, now. I’m gonna go ahead and pick the other California team in Oakland.
Gaurav: Despite adding some serious talent the Angels have yet to prove they can put it together for a whole season so I will go with the A’s.
Matt: The Astros just feel like the pick here even though Oakland has a real chance. Too many changes in Oakland from last year to pencil them in here.
Who will win the American League Pennant?
Scott: This looks to be wide open. Give me the White Sox.
Eric: I think this Rays team could end up better than the one that went to the World Series last year, so that’s my bet.
Ivan: Yankees? Why isn’t it the Yankees? Someone tell me!
Kris: I am not excited about it, but I have the Yankees coming out of the AL.
Brent: I’ve got the Braves avoiding the Dodgers en route to the World Series, so it’s only fitting that Atlanta still has to head out west, instead to play the upstart fellow Wild Card Los Angeles Angels.
Shawn: In betting on the Yankees having a bit more luck with health this year, I will choose them to face the Braves.
Dillon: The Yankees reach the World Series, mashing their way through the playoffs despite a relatively thin rotation.
Demetrius: If they can stay healthy, things just seem like they’re finally gonna swing the Yankees’ way again. We’re due for the Evil Empire to return to prominence, aren’t we?
Gaurav: I want to say the Rays but it’s so difficult to go to back-to-back World Series and go through that grind so I will say the Yankees break through after getting Stanton/Judge back from injuries late in the season.
Matt: This isn’t easy because it depends on health. If the Yankees stay healthy unlike the past two years, it’s their pennant. If they can’t the White Sox, who may get Eloy Jimenez back down the stretch, are my favorite.
Who will win the 2021 World Series?
Scott: Dodgers over White Sox. Sigh.
Eric: Braves win convincingly after another bloodbath NLCS against the Dodgers that was the real World Series. I am ready to be hurt again.
Daniel: I fully believed that the 2020 Braves were going to win the World Series when they went up 3-1 in the NLCS, and I think this team is much better with Soroka back and Morton added. Atlanta over...the White Sox, I guess.
Ivan: This is the year the Brew Crew make a mockery of the MLB postseason once and for all, compelling Manfred and Co. to cancel the playoffs rather than expanding them. Or, y’know, those damn Dodgers. Bonus: imagine the hand-wringing when the Dodgers-Yankees World Series doesn’t get good ratings. They’re not just gonna ban the shift after that, they’re gonna ban thinking about the shift.
Kris: Dodgers over the Yankees in the World Series.
Brent: The Braves sweep the Angels, and everyone spends all offseason talking about how the Angels would’ve done if Mike Trout hadn’t suffered a nagging injury legging out a double in Game 1.
Shawn: The Braves take another needed step forward, but I feel the Yankees do all that they can to end their title drought and win the World Series in six.
AB: Dodgers over the Franken-Rays again.
Dillon: Now that Atlanta has shown it can win a playoff series (or two), I’ll say they take the whole thing this year. Someone else knocking off the Dodgers would help, but whatever, the Braves have shown they can beat them. Might as well beat the Yankees too.
Wayne: Yankees in seven.
Demetrius: If my unbiased prediction comes true, the Dodgers go back-to-back. If my biased prediction comes true, we’re having a parade somewhere in the Atlanta metro area this Fall.
Gaurav: Can’t take the homer out of me - really enjoy the team we’ve put together in Atlanta so I will go with the Braves conquering their NL foes the Dodgers before slugging it over the Yankees in the World Series.
Matt: Dodgers beat either Yankees or White Sox. Buehler, Bauer, Kershaw, Urias, a deadly lineup, and tons of pen pieces make them a tough beat.