The Reds lineup has a number of bright spots. Puig and Kemp will mash alongside Joey Votto, Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez. That’s a nice core four in the middle of a lineup. Nick Senzel should start producing at the Major League level this season. He is one of the top prospects in all of the baseball. Their offense is good enough to hit with anyone. If the rotation can stay consistent, mainly from Rorark and Gray, the Reds could be a threat when September rolls around.
As mentioned in the above breakdown of the Minnesota Twins, the Indians lost a ton of talent this offseason. Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Josh Tomlin, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lonnie Chisenhall all found new homes this offseason. The Indians rotation is still one of the best in the league. Corey Kluber should compete for another Cy Young award, Carlos Carrasco will continue to be great under the radar, and Trevor Bauer will remain insufferable. Losing Miller will be a huge hit in the bullpen
Despite having one of the worst outfields in the MLB (Leonys Martin, Tyler Naquin, and Jordan Luplow) the Indians should still skate into the postseason. Again, the division is just THAT bad, and the Indians have future MVP Francisco Lindor, partnered with Jose Ramirez, who finished third in MVP voting in 2018. The Indians won 91 games last season and got much worse over the offseason. They were 13 games ahead of the Twins, in the worst division by far. The Indians could drop that win total down to 85 and drop the division to the Twins. Cleveland will then have to outpace the Boston Red Sox/New York Yankees/Tampa Bay Rays, the Oakland Athletics, and the Los Angeles Angels for that Wild Card spot.The Indians will most likely make the playoffs and lose in the first round again, but +475 to miss the playoffs seems like a really good bet.
Make the Playoffs +200 / Miss the Playoffs -260
The A’s were one of the hottest teams during the 2nd half of last season. They won an astounding 97 games, and continue to churn talent despite their minuscule pay role. Unfortunately, they ran into the New York Yankees in the wild-card game, which didn’t end well for Oakland.
The A’s don’t bolster a talented rotation. They don’t have the luxury of doling massive contracts to aces. They signed crafty veterans Marco Estrada and Brett Anderson to help solidify their rotation. Oakland’s game plan seems to plug a player in and get the absolute most out of that guy. For the payroll they possess, it’s shocking to see how successful the A’s are year in and year out. Even though Oakland lost Jed Lowrie to the Mets, but still retain Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Khris Davis, Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien. This is an ultra-powerful lineup that can slug 150 home runs for sure. This offensive production will keep Oakland in contention
The A’s employ one of the best bullpens in the league. They lost Jeurys Familia to the Mets but got Joakim Soria onto the staff. Blake Trenien was amazing last year, recording historic numbers. Fernando Rodney is somehow still good at pitching, and Lou Trivino should continue to throw gas. The A’s should compete for a wild card spot and the division as the Astros lost 3 of their starters. Either way Oakland’s looking good for a playoff run.
My Pick: Make the Playoffs +200
The rotation is great as well. Aaron Nola is the ace of the rotation, and if he can improve upon a season where he posted 10.0 wins above replacement, the Phillies will be extremely hard to beat. The rest of the rotation consists of Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Zack Eflin and Vince Velasquez, making their rotation more than serviceable. David Robertson was added to the bullpen. Pat Neshek, Hector Neris, and Seranthony Dominguez will sure up that part of Philadelphia’s rotation. The NL East crown will be a battle all season, but the Phillies amazing moves this offseason immediately puts them in the playoff conversation
The Cubs didn’t make any huge moves in the offseason and are just hoping to get consistent production from their internal players. Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish will have bounce-back seasons, as injuries ravaged their campaigns. The Cubs offense struggled in the second half of the season, as two of their outfielders are downright unusable at the plate. Albert Amora Jr. and Jason Heyward are both great fielders, but for this team to succeed, these two guys need to contribute more at the dish. Heyward might be too late to get true offense out of, but Amora Jr. still has time to develop. The lack of additions to the rotation and bullpen for Chicago is a cause for concern. Their rotation is ancient, and the bullpen is inconsistent at best. Closer Brandon Morrow will make more appearances this season, as he only pitched in 35 games. The Cubs are unfortunately in the hardest division in baseball, they didn’t get better and there’s a ton of question marks on the roster.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have other great bats in the lineup. Matt Carpenter was a fringe MVP candidate last season as he mashed during the beginning part of the 2nd half of the season. The rotation boasts Michael Wacha, Miles Mikolas, and Carlos Martinez. These are the for sure contributors, they also have top prospect Alex Reyes who will soon be an ace. St. Louis front office didn’t stop there, they added Andrew Miller, who is a beast in any situation that he is pitching in. He dealt with some injuries last season but should bounce back to full power this campaign. Jordan Hicks is the anchor in the bullpen and he can throw baseballs very fast. He projects to be one of the best closers in the league for years to come. The Cardinals are simply too good to miss the postseason.
My Pick:Make the Playoffs -115
Make the Playoffs +120 / Miss the Playoffs -150
The Nationals did their best to fill the Bryce Harper void this offseason. First off, they signed Patrick Corbin, the best pitcher on the market. He will join Max Scherzer, the best pitcher of our generation, and Stephen Strasburg as probably the best 1-2-3 rotation in the league. Anibel Sanchez was also brought on to help solidify the back end of the rotation.The lineup obviously takes a hit when a player of Harper’s magnitude leaves the organization. Anthony Rendon has quietly been a top-5 player in the National League, posting a combined 13.0 wins above replacement over the last two years. Trea Turner and Juan Soto should continue to progress as young studs, who will both steal a ton of bases. Washington also added Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes, both backstops give the Nationals some consistency behind the plate.
The bullpen looks good as well led by Closer, Sean Doolittle. Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal both can set-up at a high level and Koda Glover has shown he can produce. The rotation is going to propel this team all season. If the other team cannot score, it will be easy for the Nationals to win.
My Pick: Make the Playoffs +120