It is FINALLY that time of the year again and man am I personally excited for the upcoming 2021 MLB season. Again, it won’t be a normal season with COVID-19 unfortunately still playing a large part in the sports world. These are my projections, thoughts, and predictions for the upcoming season including standings, playoffs, World Series winner, as well as award winners, and potential sleeper teams and bust teams. Let’s swing into it.
First up, the AL East. The AL East is led by the AL favorite New York Yankees. Followed up with the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees brought in former Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber, as well as Jameson Tallion via trade from the Pirates. That lineup is LOADED, and they added the pitching they needed to be able to maintain the #1 spot in the AL East.
2 Blue Jays
The Blue Jays added some veteran star power into a very youthful club house adding CF George Springer and 2B/SS Marcus Siemen to the team, as well as adding Closer Kirby Yates to a fairly weak bullpen. With those additions combined with the rise of Vlad Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette, the Jays are starting to get their wings under them.
3 Red Sox
Boston is a team with a great lineup, but lacks pitching, and they didn’t go out and get any big names to help out the rotation, but managed to add Adam Ottavino to their bullpen which should be a big lift.
The Rays were in the World Series last year, but that was with former Cy Young Blake Snell, and Charlie Morton. The loss of those 2 I feel will prove to be massive in a disappointing season for the Rays.
Lastly, the Orioles. The pitching as a whole is bad and the lineup is bad so that isn’t going to contribute to winning baseball. However they are getting 1B/OF Trey Mancini back after recovering from Colon Cancer last season. The big goal for this team is to get C Adley Rutchsman called up in a spot where he can perform well.
Next up we got the AL Central, including the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and the Minnesota Twins
The Twins lineup is loaded, and they always play well in the regular season but have had more than struggles in the post season. The lineup is going to carry this team, and for them to truly emerge as contenders this season they’re going to need Jose Berrios to finally take that next step we’ve been hearing about for years.
Adding Lance Lynn this off season was a big addition to the Sox rotation. Liam Hendriks is a top 5 reliever in the game and was brought in to an already LOADED bullpen. And we all know what that lineup can do, but Eloy Jiminez going down is going to be a tough spot to fill.
This team traded away Francisco Lindor in the off season, and they’re still a the playoff hunt. The loss of Lindor and Santana will be big to a lineup that already wasn’t great, but are still capable. Bieber, Plesac, and McKenzie are going to be filthy are carry the load for this team, the only question is if they’ll score enough runs for them to win games.
The Tigers are a tough team for me to rank, and I think they could be as high as 3rd in the division, or finish 5th. If Skubal and Mize can pitch to their potential early this team MIGHT be in the hunt for a wild card spot. The offensive additions of Mazara and Wilson Ramos will prove to be significant for this team and will need them to breakout in order to have a shot at winning anything this season.
Another team I could see in 3rd, or in 5th but I decided to put them 5th. The lineup has potential led by Whit Merrifield and Jorge Soler. Off Season additions of Benentendi and Santana will definitely help this team up, but it’s the pitching I’m worried about.
The Final AL Division, the AL West. Headlined by the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, LA Angels, Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers.
1 Astros *
In a weak division, I still think this team will be the best in it, despite not having Verlander or Valdez, as well as losing Springer in the off season. Yordan Alvarez will be back. Alex Bregman is going to be in the MVP Conversation. They still have Zach Grienke. The ‘Srtos will be fine.
The A’s are an interesting team. They have their MVP type guy in Matt Chapman, surrounded by other stars in Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano. They have a great bullpen that added Trevor Rosenthal. The rotation is what will hold the team back, that and being a small market team which is why they lost Semien in the off season. If Luzardo can connect the dots and become the pitcher we know he can be, the A’s have a shot at stealing the #1 spot in the AL West.
I’m really high on this team. Getting Mitch Haniger back. The offense is going to be great, and if they pitching can be DECENT then the Mariners will be right in the thick of the AL West race. They also have OF prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez that should be called up during this season, hopefully in a spot to help the Mariners make a playoff push.
People think this is the year we FINALLY get to see Mike Trout in the playoffs, but I think this team is too far away. Trout, Rendon, Ohtani, and Fletcher will be great. Outside of those few, I’m not sure how confident I am in that team, especially the pitching. Adding Jose Quintana to the rotation shouldn’t be too bad, if he’s used correctly. The bullpen is awful, and even Raisel Iglesias won’t change that. This team is still a year, if not two years away from playoff contention in my eyes.
The Rangers might be the worst team in baseball. When your teams ace is Kyle Gibson, you’re in trouble. The only thing I’m looking forward to is how far Joey Gallo will hit a baseball this season.
AL Playoff Seeding
1 Yankees 2 Twins 3 Astros 4 A’s 5 White Sox
AL Award Predictions
MVP – Mike Trout. I mean, c’mon there’s no debate this guy in the best in the game and he’s going to be the MVP favorite for years to come. Dude’s a stud.
Runner up – Aaron Judge
CY Young – Lucas Giolito. Giolito threw a no hitter last year, and has been progressing into a great pitcher. I think he takes another step to greatness by winning his 1st CY Young of his career.
Runner up – Gerritt Cole
Rookie of the Year – Jarred Kelenic. Provided he’s called up with enough time to make an impact, this should be his award to lose.
Runner up – Casey Mize
Time for the National League!
First up, the NL East. The New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Miami Marlins.
The Braves are going to be scary. The lineup led by Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Marcell Ozuna is going to scare any opposing pitcher. Bringing in Vet Charlie Morton will be a big help, while still having the youth. This team is scary now, and will be 5 years from now.
Yes, the Mets are 2nd. Until this team shows what we know they’re capable of, this is where they belong. The additions of Lindor and Carrasco headlined their off season while they also brought in C James McCann to replace Wilson Ramos. The lineup is lethal, and with Jacob Degrom pitching once every 5 days, the Mets should be in great shape for a post season berth.
The Phillies are often called “The 4th place team” but I have them doing 1 better than that. The lineup is good led by Bryce Harper. The pitching is there with Nola and Wheeler holding it down. What holds this team back is a lack of a bullpen. If they can get some bullpen arms around the deadline they could make a run at the 2nd wild card spot.
The Nats aren’t as good as they were 2 seasons ago when they hoisted the World Series trophy. They lost Rendon last season. The pitching is going to be good enough for the team to be consistently in games, but I’m not sure how many they’ll win with no offense after Soto and Turner.
The Marlins were a surprise team in the shortened 60 game season last season, and even made the divisional series after beating the Cubs. This team will compete, but I don’t see them doing much in this loaded division. In the future, expect the Marlins to pass the Nats and the Phils.
Now onto the worst division in baseball, the NL Central. The Milawaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are a very good pitching duo in the rotation, which is the X factor for them. They still have Christian Yelich and Keston Huira. They added JBJ and Wong. Still have Josh Hader and Devin Williams. This team is set up to win, especially in this weak division.
The Cardinals got Nolan Arenado, sorry STOLE Nolan Arenado from the Rockies in the off season in hopes of boosting their lineup. However, no matter how good that lineup might be it won’t be enough to cover up the 4 days Jack Flaherty isn’t pitching.
Ahhh, the Cubs. The Cubs are a team that gave up Darvish for nothing, let Lester and Schwarber walk, and are content with Kyle Hendricks being their ace. The bullpen still sucks. The lineup is going to be fine with Bryant, Rizzo, Baez, and Pederson. However it’s just another example of pitching letting a team down.
The lost of Trevor Bauer is going to be huge to this team. The pitching staff can’t give up any runs if they want to win games. The offense was terrible last year, and if it’s anymore of the same they’ll be lucky to win 80 games. Honestly, there’s an outside shot this team goes crazy offensively just because of how much potential is in that lineup, and they find themselves atop the NL Central.
Ke’Bryan Hayes is very good at baseball. Ke’Bryan Hayes IS the Pirates organization. He himself won’t be enough for the Pirates to win games. This team is arguably worse than the Rangers.
Finally, the NL West. LA Dodgers, SD Padres, SF Giants, Colorado Rockies, and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
I mean, anyone but the Dodgers in wrong. 1-9 they are great. 1-5 in the rotation is phenomenal. 2 top 10 players in Betts and Bellinger. Kershaw, Bauer, and Buehler. Oh still have Seager and Turner? This might be the best team ever assembled.
The Padres aren’t a slouch, and in my opinion are the 3rd best team in baseball. They have Tatis and Manny. Darvish, Snell, and Lamet. If they were in the NL Central, this would be the #1 team there.
I think 3 and 4 are inter changeable, but I went with the Dbacks. There’s no way Bumgarner can be worse than he was last season. Marte is a top 50 player in the game. Eduardo Escobar is a solid hitter. This team is stuck in mediocracy, and either needs a blow up or needs to make a big splash.
This team 5 years ago might’ve been considered a contender, but now there are a lot of guys past their primes. Mike Yastzremski is the only bright spot in the lineup, besides the old dudes from the Giants glory days. Another team that needs to blow it up, or make a splash for a big name in order to choose the direction of their franchise.
Traded Arenado for nothing. Terrible offense despite playing half their season at Coors Field. At least they still have Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon.
NL Playoff Seeding
1 Dodgers 2 Braves 3 Brewers 4 Padres 5 Mets
NL Award Predictions
MVP – Christian Yelich. The BrewCrew is going to need a big year from Yelich in order to win that division, and I think he does just that as he leads them into the playoffs.
Runner up – Mookie Betts
CY Young – Jacob DeGrom. Dude is the best pitcher in baseball and there’s not even a debate. He had won back to back CY Youngs before Bauer won in the 60 game season where DeGrom finished 3rd.
Runner up – Max Scherzer
Rookie of the Year – Ke’Bryan Hayes. The only bright spot on the Pirates, and from what we saw last year this kid is going to be special.
Runner up – Sixto Sanchez
Playoff Time !
In the AL it’s the A’s taking on the White Sox in a rematch of last seasons WCS matchup. I have the White Sox winning and moving on to face the Yankees. It’s Mets Padres in the NL, and I have the Mets moving on behind a dominant performance from DeGrom as they face the Dodgers.
Yankees over White sox 3-1
Astros over Twins 3-2
Dodgers over Mets 3-1
Braves over Brewers 3-0
Yankees over Astros 4-1
Dodgers over Braves 4-3
Dodgers over Yankees 4-2
A boring playoff picture, but there is nobody that is going to beat the Dodgers provided they stay healthy. That team is too stacked. Let me know down in the comments if you agree or disagree with any of my predictions. I will try to respond as best I can !