We’re actually going to have real, honest-to-goodness sports this week!
So here are my predictions for the 60-game season Major League Baseball is about to embark upon. Rather than give you only the winner, I’m offering some names to consider if you’re the inclined to wager in the coming hours/days. These are ranked in order of how I think they’ll finish this season.
- Mike Trout, OF, LA Angels
- Yoan Moncada, 3B, Chicago White Sox
- Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians
- Aaron Judge, OF, NY Yankees
- Austin Meadows, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Trout’s the easy call here, and he’ll have the best offense behind him in years with the addition of Anthony Rendon (who is currently questionable for Opening Day). The wild card in these rankings is Moncada, who appears set to bat second for the White Sox in front of an incredibly potent lineup. Moncada could sneak up and steal this award if Trout misses any time.
Cy Young Award
- Gerrit Cole, NY Yankees
- Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
- Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays
- Frankie Montas, Oakland A’s
- Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox
Like Trout, Cole is the easy pick here. He’s on a big market team with a huge offense and a solid bullpen. Everyone is going to be watching Cole this year because of his huge contract. However, Berrios and Montas are sleepers on likely division winning teams. Montas was on the cusp of getting votes last year until his season ended in suspension. Berrios is ready to take the next step as the ace of a terrific team in Minnesota.
Rookie of the Year
- Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
- Jesus Luzardo, P, Oakland A’s
- Nate Pearson, P, Toronto Blue Jays
- AJ Puk, P, Oakland A’s
Robert is the no-brainer here. Puk is hurt but appears to be ready to be at the end of the A’s rotation and Luzardo, who may ultimately be the ace of the staff in Oakland, is headed to the bullpen. Pearson could be an impact arm in the Toronto/Pittsburgh Blue Jays’ rotation.
- Blue Jays
- Red Sox
- White Sox
- White Sox*
I think the White Sox offense and improved starting rotation in a weak division with minimal travel gets them a surprise wild card berth this year. The Astros getting upset by the A’s in the west will make them a good bet for a wild card. Both eastern divisions are loaded with great pitching and tremendous offense, which could hurt the chances of the Rays to win enough games to get a wild card spot if they can’t top the Yankees.
- Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs
- Ronald Acuna Jr, OF, Atlanta Braves
- Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
- Mookie Betts, OF, LA Dodgers
- Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
This is the deepest award to consider in the game this year. Yelich is going before Trout in many fantasy drafts, but he’ll be in a lineup without Mike Moustakas in Milwaukee this year. I’m putting Betts and not Cody Bellinger in my top five from the Dodgers because I think they’ll split votes and Betts, headed to free agency in three months, has more to prove. My pick for the award is El Mago, who will now be the run producer in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup with Kris Bryant moved to the leadoff spot. If the Cubs win the division, Baez may win his first MVP.
Cy Young Award
- Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals
- Jacob DeGrom, NY Mets
- Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
- Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves
- Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
As much as it kills a Chicagoan to admit it, Flaherty is on the cusp of becoming the next great ace in the National League. Missing from these rankings is Walker Buehler, who may get overshadowed by the offense in LA. The Central Divisions are weak offensively at the bottom (KC, Detroit, Pittsburgh and even Milwaukee) so Flaherty will benefit from less travel and a few potential layups in his dozen starts.
Rookie of the Year
- Carter Kieboom, 3B, Washington Nationals
- Gavin Lux, 2B, LA Dodgers
- Brendan Rodgers, 2B, Colorado Rockies
- Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
The easy pick for everyone here is Lux, the budding star in LA. But the Dodgers optioned Lux earlier this week; he may start the season watching. Kieboom, a natural shortstop, is moving to third base to replace Rendon. He’ll get the job from Day One, a huge differentiator against the other three on this list battling to get onto the major league roster.
Picking a division winner in the east was almost impossible because of how many good bats and arms there are just in that one division; and facing only the AL division makes it even more important to win that division. The best 1-2 battle will be between the Cubs and Reds in my opinion; the Reds offense is greatly improved and their pitching is legit. Because of the limited travel and weak bottoms of the central divisions, I like the second place team in the central to be the top wild card team in the National League. I’m betting on the Phillies to be the second wild card in the NL because I think Aaron Nola makes a big step into becoming a dominant ace at the top of a solid rotation and their bats are good enough to do damage in a deep division.