2018 Major League Baseball Predictions (American League Edition)

Matt Butler, Columnist

Baseball season is upon us. Spring Training is over and all 30 teams have their lineups set and are ready to roll for the 2018 season. 30 teams and one goal: becoming World Series champions. Opening weekend has come and gone, and we are in the full swing of the season. Although it’s the first week of the season, predictions are always a fun thing to do to see at the end of the season, after the last pitch is thrown, after the champions raise the commissioner’s trophy, to see how your predictions withstood against reality.

American League:

A.L. East:

  1. Yankees (98-64)
    1. The Bronx Bombers are turning into the team they once were. The Yankees have stars in the making in Luis Severino and Aaron Judge, who proved last season to be talents at a young age. With the addition in the offseason of the reigning N.L. Most Valuable Player, Giancarlo Stanton, look for the Yankees to make a deep postseason presence and be the team no one wants to face.
  2. Red Sox (89-73)
    1. The Boston Red Sox, a cured team which recently broke the curse by winning the world series in the 2013 season, has fallen into a one and done team in the playoffs. This year it could change with the young talents Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts, also with their aces on the mound, David Price and Chris Sale. The Red Sox will most likely be the one seeded wild card team.
  3. Blue Jays (75-87)
    1. With the loss of Joey Bats (Jose Bautista), the Blue Jays are rebuilding and have a solid team, but the loss of Bautista is a bit of a blow. The emergence of Justin Smoak early in the season as the team’s heavy hitter is a relief to some Blue Jays fans and young pitching talent Marcus Stroman is a shimmer of hope for the Jays. The Blue Jays could possibly be the second seed in the wild card race, but I highly doubt it.
  4. Baltimore Orioles (70-92)
    1. The Orioles are a team that’s just kind of there. But you definitely don’t want to face them towards the end of the season; they have a history of knocking teams out of the playoffs by one or two games by beating them around the last couple games. Also, my prediction is that Manny Machado will be gone by the All Star break. He’s an amazing player that will most likely demand a trade. Good players deserve to win, and being in Baltimore won’t allow him to have that winning feeling.
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (64-98)
    1. Chris Archer is one of the only solid consistent players on this team and his slider is just straight filth. The rest of the team has lost their mojo after losing Evan Longoria and Steven Souza Jr. The Rays are in a pure rebuilding state that will most likely be focused around Chris Archer.

Courtesy of: MLB.com

A.L. Central:

  1. Cleveland Indians (96-66)
    1. The Indians have so many weapons from Francisco Lindor, the young stud shortstop; to Jason Kipnis, the all around 2nd baseball; to heavy hitter Edwin Encarnacion. The Indians are a scary team to play because there is nowhere in their line up that they are weak in. Trevor Bauer leads their pitching staff as the strong veteran that can throw like no other. The only slight weakness is their bullpen depth; they get that rounded out, they could make a surge to claim the title.
  2. Minnesota Twins (90-72)
    1. The Minnesota Twins have been one of those teams over the years that have been hot and cold quite often. But with this coming season and the emergence of centerfield speedster phenom, Byron Buxton and veteran first baseman Logan Morrison, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Twins in a tight race for the second seed in the A.L.
  3. Kansas City Royals (76-90)
    1. The Kansas City Royals lost a good sized chunk of their main core of players. Losing the likes of Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain is really going to take a toll on this once-strong K.C. team. One of the few positives going into this season: at least they have Mike Moustakas.
  4. Detroit Tigers (70-92)
    1. The Detroit Tigers were once a powerhouse in the baseball world, a team you did not want to face; alas they are here today in a state of rebuilding. Rebuilding is one of those things that is the aftermath of the saying, “all good things come to an end.” The loss of Verlander and the descent of Miguel Cabrera left the Tigers in a rut, so this season for this Detroit Tigers team will be that of a rebuilding period.
  5. Chicago White Sox (64-98)
    1. Well, what can you say? There will always be your below average teams in sports and I hate to say it, but the White Sox are one of them. The loss of Chris Sale, their ace, truly took a toll on them. Just a team with multiple weak links  leads to sloppy play, which is the White Sox’s forte at times. Look for the White Sox to go after a big name player before the All Star game break to be able to help solidify this team together.

A.L. West:

  1. Houston Astros (103-59)
    1. Reigning MLB champs with no signs of slowing down, these Houston Astros are a force to be reckoned with. There is no shortage of sheer power and strength in this Houston lineup. From last year’s A.L MVP Jose Altuve, to one of the most dangerous shortstops in the game, Carlos Correa, to hot corner mystro, Alex Bregman, to the lead off hitter of all lead off hitters, George Springer, their line up is insane and their pitching is full of aces. Justin Verlander is yet still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game alongside Dallas Keuchel and Gerrit Cole this Astros pitching core produces night in night out. I am predicting this Astros team making it to the ALCS (American League Championship Series) if not further. With this sort of line up watch out because the Astros are scary.
  2. Los Angeles Angels (98-64)
    1. Mike Trout is long overdue for a good season run. This year may be his year. The Angels are chalked full of pure talent not to mention the addition of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani. In the first start pitching he allowed three runs on three hits in six innings pitched, that’s not that bad saying it was his MLB debut. On the other side of the plate, Ohtani is proving to be a beast. In 14 at-bats Shohei has six hits, three runs, two home runs, five RBI’s is batting at a .429 average. It’s insane! These stats are likely to help surge the Angles into the 2 seed in the A.L. WIld Card and possibly the 1 seed.
  3. Oakland Athletics (89-73)
    1. Oakland has been another one of those teams ,just like the Twins, that has been hot and cold. When they are hot, they are hot and hard to beat, but when they’re cold, those are the days they just can’t get anything going. Their bullpen is a bit weak and lacks depth, but have great all around players such as Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty, and Jed Lowrie. Also, the athletics have Matt Chapman, a younger guy that has possibly one of the best arms at third base in the league, and as long as he’s healthy is predicted to have an awesome season. Look for the Athletics to be a possible second wild card presence, but for me that is doubtful.
  4. Texas Rangers (79-84)
    1. The Texas Rangers are another hot and cold team. Although they are more hot than not, they are in a arguably one of the toughest divisions in baseball. The Rangers have great players to fill the holes in their defense but they are mostly seasoned veterans. Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus are two of their younger players but Odor loves to pick fights and Andrus is a bit injury prone, but if the Rangers can all stay healthy, hopefully they will have an over 500 year.
  5. Seattle Mariners (75-87)
    1. They have been in a big rut for the last couple of seasons. King Felix isn’t getting younger. Ichiro only has a few more season left in him; Robinson Cano has been a little cold since leaving New York. One of their young players, Kyle Seager, has the most potential out of all the players on their squad. This is going to be a rebuilding season for the Mariners, this season and the next and the next. And the next, for good measure.

This year’s title is way up in the air as to which league will take the dub. Each division puts forth their best team with the best record to compete against others divisions, each with hopes to advance to the World Series.