Dutch Lion’s 2021 MLB Preview
In regards to baseball, I’m both a traditionalist and a visionary. I love baseball, always have since my first visit to Comiskey Park on July 25, 1982. I understand tradition and value it above most other things. However, sometimes tradition needs to be amended, or even scrapped, for the greater good with an eye on the future.
Many of you may recall a column I wrote two years ago in the Spring of 2019 called “If I Were the Commissioner of Baseball”. I detailed my proposal for changes to Major League Baseball. I called it the “Dutch Lion Plan” (DLP). I still feel strongly about those arguments. If MLB ever wants to become the National Pastime again, they need to make changes. Major changes. Without evolution, America’s favorite sport will continue to be football. The National Football League has been on top of America’s fandom for a long time now while most sports fans continue to talk about why baseball is floundering. If something doesn’t happen soon, baseball will continue to get moved towards the back of the sports section.
One of the biggest things that needs to be changed is the schedule. More games need to “matter”. The regular season should be shorter while the postseason needs to be more open to crowning “true champions”. Read my column listed above for full details. For the sake of this year’s Preview, I’ll quickly state my main proposal:
- Revise the schedule: The “DLP” calls for a shorter regular season. Let’s play 140 games instead of 162.
- Change the playoffs to be longer series. How about a best of 9? Believe it or not, there is precedent. In the early 1900s the World Series used to be best-of-9. You’re more likely to crown a “true champion” the longer the series. This new concept of the one game playoff for the two “wild card” teams is a joke. The New York Yankees won 100 games in 2018 and then had to play one game vs the Oakland A’s (97 wins) to determine who would make the playoffs? Unbelievable. Stupid. Inane. Ridiculous. What are we doing!?
- Move the Playoffs up to August. Baseball could OWN August. Their main sports competition would be against what?….. the U.S. Open tennis tournament?, the NFL preseason? Baseball’s TV ratings would be sky-high. In fact, the ratings would go through the roof! I’m serious. Think about it. This is exactly what we need in the dog days of Summer. This is the #1 argument of the DLP. Baseball needs to separate itself from the NFL and NCAA’s college football seasons. Those games start in September. So MLB needs to crown their Champion before football season starts. Traditionalists love October. I do too. But something’s gotta give and in October I’d rather be watching football. In August I’d rather be watching bats and balls at ballparks without any competition from pigskins and gridirons. It just makes sense.
For more details on the DLP, read my “Commissioner” column.
As always, I’d like to recap last year’s 2020 Preview to see how we fared.
- We correctly predicted the 2020 World Series Champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- We were only one game off on our Dodgers regular season record. Prediction: 42-18. Real finish: 43-17. An incredible team.
- We called for the White Sox to make the Playoffs for the first time since 2008 by finishing in 2nd Place in the A.L. Central at 36-24. The Sox finished tied for 2nd (3rd place with tiebreaker) at 35-25.
- In fact, we were right on with the A.L. Central (As a diehard Sox fan, I’m tuned into this division. I better be.) We were off by no more than 3 games for each of the 5 teams, and we basically predicted each place in the division correctly.
- San Diego Padres. Prediction: 31-29 and this insight, “The Padres could be one of the most improved teams this year (70-92 in ’19), along with the ChiSox and the Reds. Look for San Diego to return to the postseason for the first time since 2006….” They finished 37-23 and indeed made the N.L. Playoffs, winning a Wild Card series.
- We were only one game off on the Atlanta Braves. Prediction: 34-26. Real finish: 35-25.
- Arizona Diamondbacks. Prediction: 25-35. Real finish: 25-35.
- We predicted 6 of 8 American League Playoff teams. Not great but not horrible. Not great but not bad. The definition of “Good”.
- We also correctly predicted 6 of 8 National League Playoff teams. That makes 12 of 16 Playoff teams. For some reason, we were wrong about four teams, thinking they would be better: Boston, L.A. Angels, Philadelphia, and the defending champion Washington Nationals. Instead, Oakland and Toronto qualified in the A.L. while Miami and the Chicago Cubs made it in the N.L.
- We were only two games off on the New York Mets. Prediction: 28-32. Real finish: 26-34.
- The Cincinnati Reds. Prediction: 32-28. Real finish: 31-29.
- The Milwaukee Brewers. Prediction: 30-30. Real finish: 29-31.
- The Colorado Rockies. Prediction: 27-33. Real finish: 26-34.
- We predicted Tampa Bay to finish in 3rd Place at 31-29. They won the A.L. East with a 40-20 record and went all the way to the World Series. Ooops!
- I messed up on every single Award in both the American League and National League: MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Manager of the Year. That was quite an 0-fer. 0 for 8.
- We thought the Miami Marlins were the worst team in baseball. Prediction: 15-45. Real finish: 31-29 and a surprise N.L. Playoff appearance.
- All in all, we’re pleased with our 2020 Predictions. The Dodgers won it all. The ChiSox improved. We called 12 of 16 playoff teams. And who could have predicted the Miami Marlins? Only in a year of COVID could that have happened.
2021 MLB Preview
The best things in life come in twos: a couple kids, a couple drinks, a couple of each animal on Noah’s Ark, and a couple wives. Ooops, that’s only in Utah, and polygamy has no bounds. Why not three, four, or even eight wives? Anyway, the point we’re trying to make is that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to win it all again in 2021. Last season’s 60 game shortened season was great and all but the Dodgers are out to prove that 2020 wasn’t a fluke. In 2021, they decided to go out and get one of the best pitchers in baseball, Trevor Bauer, because they just felt like hey, we need another starter after our 43-17 World Champion team didn’t quite live up to expectations. Kidding.
For a brief instant I thought about predicting a new World Champion but why be like Sports Illustrated from years ago and make a wild prediction just to sell more copies? We want to be right, not insanely different just to be unique.
Dutch Lion’s 2021 MLB Predictions
American League East
- * New York Yankees (95-67) – So much talent. So many expectations. Could the Yankees return to the World Series for the first time since 2009? In New York, this qualifies as a biblical drought. Twelve years since a World Champion? That’s unacceptable.
- Toronto Blue Jays (88-74) – The Jays are makin’ moves. Toronto went out and grabbed Hyun-Jin Ryu last year and now George Springer and Marcus Semien this year. The young legacy studs are maturing too (Vlad Jr., Cavan Biggio, “Boba Fett” Bo Bichette, and Lourdes Jr.). The question is pitching but Nate Pearson is vying to be the man sooner rather than later. Toronto hasn’t had a winning record since ’16 (check that, 32-28 last year). A return to winning baseball is in the offing. Let’s mark the Jays down as “in the running” for the postseason.
- Boston (85-77) – We feel as if Boston is getting no respect. They’re probably better than most prognosticators think. A big part of the Red Sox’s return to winning will be J.D. Martinez. Once upon a time he was Boston’s lucky charm. Without the use of in-game video analysis, J.D. scuffled. This year, video is back. So is J.D. and so are the BoSox.
- Tampa Bay Rays (75-87) – No Blake Snell means the Rays revert to the mean. I still don’t understand how they advanced to the World Series. We’ll chalk it up to a weird COVID year.
- Baltimore Orioles (60-102) – As we stated last year, “they stink more than dead birds.” The Orioles are bad. Look at their ace: John Means. He was 2-4 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 starts in ’20. At least he only walked 7 batters in 43.2 innings. Point: If Means is your ace, uh, you’re not good. Baltimore is just plain bad. I’ve only heard of a few of their players, and I’m a big baseball fan. Trey Mancini is back. That counts for something.
American League Central
- * Chicago White Sox (96-66) – Manager Rick Renteria is not on the South Side to screw things up again as he did in last year’s Playoffs. There’s a new man in town. Check that, an old man, Tony LaRussa. Tony was fired in 1986 and returns 35 years later to hopefully lead the Sox to the pennant. The Sox are loaded with young talent and some veteran acquisitions to get them over the hump. Unfortunately LF Eloy Jimenez got injured the other day and will be out at least four months, probably longer and possibly even for the entire season. That’s ok. LaRussa knows what he’s doing. Plus, ironically the North Siders had a major injury to their left fielder Kyle Schwarber two games into their 2016 World Series season. He missed the entire regular season with a torn ACL suffered in the opening series at Angel Stadium. Guess where the Sox start the opening series this weekend? It’s all kinda strange, right? For a team that has been built in the same “tear it down to build it back up” rebuild plan (Lose on purpose, build a great farm from high draft picks, trade your veteran stars for more prospects, hire Ricky Renteria for the losing years, fire Ricky once the team starts winning, hire a veteran manager with World Series experience), it’s almost strange to see Eloy get hurt at the start of the season. One might say it’s a good omen. I think LaRussa is taking the right approach with Eloy’s injury by stating, “It’s not about the guys we don’t have. It’s about the guys we DO have”. COMISKEY PARK FLASHBACK: My dad used to bring us to the Sunday afternoon games at Ol’ Comiskey and the loudest he ever cheered was when a then-young Tony LaRussa would argue with the home plate umpire and get tossed. Oh, the good old days. It’s funny what you remember from your childhood. Moving forward, I can’t wait to see Tony get tossed again 35 years later. It will be a big night for us, remembering Dad and laughing as LaRussa gets ejected just like he did so many years ago. Good times.
- * Minnesota Twins (92-70) – The Twins made me a believer last year. They are a really solid team and I expect them to challenge Chicago for the division crown. Ultimately, they will be an A.L. Wild Card team. I don’t feel like writing about them, so too bad so sad Twinkies fans.
- Cleveland Indians (84-78) – The Injuns, I mean, the Cleveland Baseball Team (CBT, but not for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), are on a downhill slide. They had it all in 2016 but fell to the hated Cooooo (Cubs) in Game 7. It’s a shame really. They had it, then they lost it due to the rain delay, despite Cubs Manager Joe Maddon’s desperate attempt to give the game away and thus the World Series away to Cleveland by yanking dominant Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks with a 5-1 lead in the 5th. What was he thinking? The world will never truly know. Anyway, the Indians are giving away all their good players such as Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana. However, the pitchers grow on trees in Ohio, at least in northern Ohio. Shane Bieber leads the staff now, along with Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac, who had a horrendous spring supposedly. Bottom line: Cleveland is trending downward, partially from their management’s own undoing.
- Kansas City Royals (65-97) – The Royals are in rebuilding mode. At least they have a few good players though. Whit Merrifield is fun to watch. They grabbed Benintendi and Santana. Salvador Perez is still blocking balls in the dirt. KC’s rotation is bad. The Sox and Twins should beat up on both Kansas City and Detroit this year.
- Detroit Tigers (63-99) – The Tigers are also in rebuilding mode too. Who to watch on this team? Miggy Cabrera is playing out the string. Tigers fans are probably excited about Spencer Torkelson, their big power hitting top prospect. He plays 1B and gets compared to Paul Konerko. Will he even debut this year? Maybe in September. “Detroit Rock City”? More like “Detroit Crack my Window with an Errant Fastball City”.
American League West
- * Houston Astros (91-71) – Love ’em or hate ’em, the Astros are a good baseball team. They lost George Springer this offseason after losing Gerrit Cole previously so they aren’t as great as their World Series years. However, they still have Zach Greinke, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Michael Brantley. Plus, a couple of their young studs are moving into their primes in Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez.
- * Los Angeles Angels (90-72) – I really love what the Angels are doing. They are building around Mike Trout slowly but surely. They hired an experienced manager in Joe Maddon. They went out and nabbed Shohei Ohtani from Japan. They signed Anthony Rendon, Jose Quintana, and traded for Raisel Iglesias. Maybe L.A. can overpower Houston and get Trout back to the Playoffs for the first time since 2014 (Trout went 1 for 12 with a HR in 3 games against Kansas City in ’14). Their key is figuring out how to use Ohtani. Is he a hitter? Is he a pitcher? Is he both? The sky is the limit for him and the Angels.
- Seattle Mariners (83-79) – Many people hate on the Mariners, including their own fans. (“They got no sticks man” – a famous quote by a local M’s fan on a bus in Seattle after a Sox/Mariners game in 2010). For some reason, I don’t think they’re so bad. There’s some good young talent there, maybe even a couple of All-Stars. Kyle Seager is always reliable. Kyle Lewis is a stud. Mitch Haniger was pretty good once upon a time. How about Dylan Moore and Evan White on the infield? How about Marco Gonzales and Yusei Kikuchi on the bump? I know the M’s have holes, but some of these prognosticators are going with 69 or 70 wins for Seattle. I think they’re better than that.
- Oakland A’s (76-86) – The Athletics were pretty good last year. I don’t think that’s gonna last. Sure they have Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, and Mitch Moreland. So what? Their team batting average was awful (.225), 2nd worst in the A.L. They were 4th in the A.L. in ERA. I don’t know how, with guys like Frankie Montas and Mike Fiers starting games. And now Liam Hendriks is gone. The A’s were 36-24 last year but are taking a fall this year.
- Texas Rangers (62-100) – The Rangers are not good. They probably won’t even win 70 games this year. Their lineup has Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, and a bunch of unknowns. Their ace is Kyle Gibson? That’s not good. I expect Texas to be close to earning the top pick in the 2022 MLB Draft.
American League Playoffs
As far as we understand, the Playoff format is going back to the way it was in 2019. That means there are simply three division winners, and two wild card teams per league that will play a one game playoff to advance to play the #1 seed in that league.
AL Playoff Seeds:
- Chicago White Sox – AL Central Champ
- New York Yankees – AL East Champ
- Houston Astros – AL West Champ
- Minnesota Twins – Wild Card
- Los Angeles Angels – Wild Card
AL Wild Card One Game Playoff:
#5 over #4
AL Division Series (ALDS):
#1 over #5
#2 over #3
AL Championship Series (ALCS):
#2 over #1 – I love the ChiSox but I don’t think it’s our time just yet. This is only the beginning of the “Decade of Dominance”. Winning a World Series without Eloy Jimenez just doesn’t seem possible. The White Sox time will come, just not in 2021.
American League Award Winners:
AL MVP – Mike Trout/Los Angeles Angels – He could probably win MVP almost every year. If he indeed leads them back to the postseason, we see Trout winning his 4th MVP Award.
AL Cy Young – Lucas Giolito/Chicago White Sox – The Sox have always been known as a pitching team. Giolito will lead the Sox to the top record in the A.L.
AL Rookie of the Year – Randy Arozarena/Tampa Bay Rays – It’s hard to bet against him after what he did in last year’s postseason, hitting 10 bombs in 18 playoff games.
AL Manager of the Year – Joe Maddon/Los Angeles Angels – For getting the Angels back in the Playoffs, give credit to the old man Joe Maddon.
National League East
- * Atlanta Braves (93-69) – The Braves are one of the best teams in baseball. Finishing 35-25 last year and advancing all the way to the NLCS before losing to the Dodgers in seven games, Atlanta gained confidence and will likely get back to the NL Playoffs in ’21. Freddie Freeman won MVP last year with 13 HR, 53 RBI, and a .341 average while getting more walks than strikeouts. That was indeed a great season and Freeman is far from the only good hitter that plays in Truist Park. Don’t forget about Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Marcell Ozuna. On the hill the Braves have Max Fried, Charlie Morton, and Ian Anderson. The Braves will be tomahawk chopping once again, if allowed.
- * New York Mets (90-72) – The New York Metropolitans went out and made a big-time trade with the Indians, getting both Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. The Mets also signed free agent catcher James McCann to provide an upgrade to their defense. These moves will likely improve the offense, defense, and profile for New York. The pitching benefits from not only Carrasco but also McCann, who became a pitcher’s best friend in Chicago. Lindor has always been known for his glove and the Mets needed that bad. New York finished 3rd worst in the NL in Defensive Efficiency. On top of Carrasco, the always reliable Jacob deGrom is outstanding and Marcus Stroman might be really good. Unfortunately Noah Syndergaard is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t return until at least June, at the earliest. Other than that, things are looking up for the Amazin’ Mets, who might be the most improved team in baseball this summer, finishing just 26-34 last year. They could win 90+ games in ’21.
- Washington Nationals (88-74) – This N.L. East division is baseball’s best. The 2019 World Series Champs won’t be able to make the Playoff field because the Braves and Mets are stacked and the Phillies are competitive which will bring the Nationals victory totals down below the San Diego Padres win totals which will ultimately take the Nats out of the Wild Card slot. The good news is Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg (if healthy), and Patrick Corbin at the top of the rotation with Trea Turner and Juan Soto heading up the lineup. However, the Nationals have too many weaknesses in my opinion, from Jon Lester and Joe Ross at the bottom of the rotation to question mark players such as Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, Kyle Schwarber, and others. Overall, D.C. is a very interesting team. They might still be excellent, but last year’s 26-34 record after their Title leaves us wondering. This team is at the top of the “Most Interesting” teams list.
- Philadelphia Phillies (81-81) – The Philadelphia Phillies are often overlooked but you can see why. There is so much talent in this division that a team might be good yet not earn many wins. Philly has Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen, and Aaron Nola, but compared to the rest of the East, that will likely not earn them much more than a .500 record this year. Who knows? Maybe McCutchen has a resurgence at age 34, Alec Bohm becomes a young bomber, Nola becomes Cy Young, and Zach Eflin becomes a top of the rotation starting pitcher. Maybe the bullpen turns around it’s dubious record from ’20. It wasn’t the lineup’s fault last year: Runs scored per game: 5.1 (4th in NL). Runs allowed per game: 5.2 (2nd worst in NL).
- Miami Marlins (68-94) – Miami somehow, someway went 31-29 last year. How? They have an absurd lineup. Their rotation has a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of. They are just plain lousy. I can understand why Manager Don Mattingly won last year’s NL Manager of the Year Award. He deserved it! I don’t see a repeat in ’21. This team looks entirely awful on paper. But the game isn’t played on paper, so you never know.
National League Central
- St. Louis Cardinals (92-70) – The Cards are back. St. Louis traded with Colorado for Nolan Arenado this offseason, getting one of the best third basemen in baseball to add to their already solid team. Arenado is generally regarded as the best defensive 3B and oh by the way, he also hits dongs. He has three NL home run titles and has led the NL in RBI’s twice. Add him to a lineup with Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, and Paul DeJong. Looks decent. Meanwhile, the Cards strength is pitching and defense. The rotation is headed by Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, and Miles Mikolas. The Cards needed a big hitter and they got it in Arenado. I think this will be the best acquisition of the 2021 season.
- Cincinnati Reds (82-80) – The Reds are getting better, slowly but surely. They have won 67, 75, and 84* (using win % in a normal 162 game season) games over the last three seasons. Can they improve in ’21? They lost superstar pitcher Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers. Joey Votto is getting old. Maybe Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and Eugenio Suarez can put up some numbers and get the Reds back in the Playoffs. It’s probably wishful thinking if you’re a Reds fan. They key was the pitching, especially Bauer. Now he’s gone, to a team that doesn’t even need him.
- Milwaukee Brewers (81-81) – I heard that Miller Park won’t be named Miller Park anymore. Major bummer. Does that mean we can’t drink beer at Brewers games anymore? What if they rename it Elmer’s Glue Park? Do we sit there and sniff glue? Do we have 7th inning horse races around the warning track? Vendors: “Last call! Get your hot glue now before we end the 7th inning! Sniff it and spread it on your masks so that you can’t remove said mask from off of your face on your way outta the park.” * PS I looked it up. Miller Park is now officially American Family Field. That’s no fun. What can we do with that? Make fun of insurance? Man, I’ve got problems.
- Chicago Cubs (74-88) – The Cubs will be flying that “L” flag more often than not this Summer. Just think, it wasn’t long ago that the Cubs had an excellent pitching staff, one of the best in the league. Who is left now? Just Kyle Hendricks, and in a weird way, Jake Arrieta. Hendricks is really good, no doubt about it. Arrieta is back after his trip to Philadelphia in which he scuffled. His ERA of 5.08 doesn’t bode (Bote) well. As for the lineup, some stars remain but almost all of them had career worst years in 2020. So what happens now? I would suspect the remaining resources get traded away for younger talent. Kris Bryant will probably be gone before you know it. Tony Rizzo is old. Javy Baez is completely overrated. Jason Heyward was always a dumpster fire the minute he was signed for what, 8 years and $184 million? Willson Contreras is a head case, in the mold of former Cooooo pitcher Carlos Zambrano. (True story, do a quick internet search for “crazy Cubs pitcher” and guess who pops up front and center?!? LOL!) I’m sorry I bag on the Cubs so much but well, it’s just so easy and fun, especially for this South Sider. If you’re from out of town and think this is something new, check out the Cubs/Sox history from well over a century ago. It’s quite fascinating. For the people who cheer for both teams, I’ll just never understand it. That’s like cheering for both God and Satan. It’s like being both a Muslim and a Christian. It’s like being a Jew for Jesus. Know what I mean? Hey everybody, in the Cold War, I’m cheering for both the Russians AND the Americans. It makes no sense. You just can’t cheer for both if you’re a true Chicago sports fan.
- Pittsburgh Pirates (55-107) – If you thought Miami looked bad on paper, check out the Dead Sea Scrolls known as the Pirates roster. Ugh sauce! I didn’t know PNC Park was a minor league stadium. They just hosed down the warning track to get rid of the dog vomit and horse dung. Makes you wonder who put it there. Figuratively, that would be the Pittsburgh front office, headed by GM Ben Cherington. The product that Pittsburgh puts out on the field is almost embarrassing, except that they are a tanker, the leading candidate for the 2022 MLB Draft’s #1 overall pick. When you look at it that way, the Bucs are going to have the top farm system in just a couple of years. If Cherington works at it like some of these rebuilds have done, he’ll construct a contender by 2027 or ’28. Have fun Pirates fans!
National League West
- Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58) – You wonder if the Dodgers will get bored. They went 43-17 last year. If they kept up that winning percentage for a full season schedule, that would amount to 116 wins. Think about that. If last year was a full year, L.A. might have gone down as the greatest team ever. Now they added Trevor Bauer, who struck out 100 batters in 73 innings last year, with a 1.73 ERA. The Doyers starting rotation boasts Clayton Kershaw, Bauer, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, and Dustin May. Former Cy Young winner David Price will be in the bullpen to start the year because he couldn’t win a job. The lineup is stacked like pancakes on an IHOP billboard. Corey Seager dominated the World Series. Justin Turner came back at 3B as L.A.’s leader. The outfield is A.J. Pollock, Cody Bellinger, and Mookie Betts. Their are no weaknesses on this Dodgers team. They are simply the best.
- San Diego Padres (93-69) – Padres GM A.J. Preller added Blake Snell and Yu Darvish to a team that was already trending upward in 2020 as they went 37-23 and started a rivalry with the in-state Dodgers. Fans on the West Coast, and everywhere, are pumped to see where this rivalry goes. Can San Diego upstage the seemingly unstoppable Dodgers of Los Angeles? SD is loaded with young talent, including Fernando Tatis, Manny Machado, and Trent Grisham. The Padres were 4th in the NL in runs last year as the nickname “Slam Diego” became a thing. “I love” Yu Darvish or “I Love L.A.”? We’ll get to it below in our Playoff predictions.
- San Francisco Giants (76-86) – The Giants left their heart in San Francisco when they moved on from Madison Bumgarner. Now, the only remaining link(s) to the three time World Champions of 2010, 2012, and 2014 are Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford. Posey won all three rings while the Brandons were both part of two titles. The Giants are just not good enough anymore. I guess those players, along with Johnny Cueto are all in the last year of their contracts so expect a purge and rebuild around the trade deadline or next offseason.
- Arizona Diamondbacks (74-88) – A boring team, the D’Backs would be more exciting if real live Diamondback snakes were crawling around Chase Field. Maybe some snakes would attack in-person fans. Maybe the snakes could be trained to bite patrons that weren’t masked up. That would be really exciting, at least for the viewers on TV. Meanwhile, Arizona has some guys like Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar but for the most part they are just another team in the N.L. West. Zac Gallen is a solid pitcher. Joakim Soria is the closer. Blah blah. They could qualify as the least interesting team in baseball. Just a bland group. So tell me more about that diamondback snake idea….
- Colorado Rockies (58-104) – Trading Nolan Arenado was the sign that the Rockies are rebuilding. Will they rebuild with wood, steel, or good old-fashioned rocks? Ugh, that was a bad joke. Kinda like trading Arenado. Manager Bud Black must be amused. Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon can hit. That means Story is probably writing a
storynovel in which this is his last chapter in Denver. I think I’m getting tired of writing team previews.
National League Playoffs
NL Playoff Seeds:
- Los Angeles Dodgers – NL West Champ
- Atlanta Braves – NL East Champ
- St. Louis Cardinals – NL Central Champ
- San Diego Padres – Wild Card
- New York Mets – Wild Card
NL Wild Card One Game Playoff:
#4 over #5
NL Division Series (NLDS):
#1 over #4 – Up above we referenced the budding rivalry between L.A. and San Diego. This NLDS would be fun. Last year these teams met in the NLDS. The Dodgers swept the Padres in three straight. This year? Who knows, maybe the Pads win a game or two. Nonetheless, the Dodgers are too good, for now.
#2 over #3
NL Championship Series (NLCS):
#1 over #2 – This would be another rematch from last year’s Playoffs. In the 2020 NLCS, L.A. beat Atlanta in seven games. When you analyze this series, it’s just too hard to see anyone winning 3 of 5 or 4 of 7 from the Dodgers when you realize you’re facing Kershaw, Bauer, Buehler, and if needed Urias, May, or David Price. Sure it could happen, but will it? Unlikely.
National League Award Winners:
NL MVP – Mookie Betts/Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Cy Young – Walker Buehler/Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Rookie of the Year – Dylan Carlson/St. Louis Cardinals
NL Manager of the Year – Jayce Tingler/San Diego Padres
2021 World Series
Just like like year, we’re picking Los Angeles to win it all. Instead of defeating the overachieving Tampa Bay Rays, this time they will defeat their old New York rivals, the Yankees. Like the Glory Days of the 1950s, when the titans of New York clashed seemingly every October, this year’s finalists will be the Bronx Bombers versus Dem Bums.
Right now, the Dodgers are the kings of the mountain. Nobody will stop them. They will repeat as World Series Champions. They are motivated to prove themselves after winning the shortened COVID season of 2020. To add some spice, they got Trevor Bauer. He’s a wild one. Just like in ’55, the Yanks will down their old buddies from the boroughs of NYC. Your 2021 repeat World Series Champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Play Ball!
Whew! That’s a lot of work!
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Thanks Darren. Let’s just say I learned a ton yesterday by researching this info. Therefore, it might not be good, but it’s comprehensive. 😉 Thanks for reading.
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Hell of an article!
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Thanks R.J. You’re a Yankees fan or Mets fan, correct?
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Of course. I knew that! I’ve read your columns before but for some reason my subscription to your site doesn’t send me emails. I’ll try to get that updated. Thanks!
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As someone else commented, this looked like a ton of work. This was fun to read. Well done! Obviously I’m biased and think the Jays might sneak into a Wild Card spot, but I admit that none of your predictions seem wrong. Enjoy the season!
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Thanks Paul! I learned a lot yesterday during my eight hours of research and writing. So we’ll say it’s comprehensive even if it’s not any good. Plus, it was fun! I admit I got tired toward the end and got a little goofy out of exhaustion. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable. I haven’t been writing as much lately because of work and a new laptop and a new phone. The new technology is wonderful but a lot of work with transition, transferring files, etc.
Thanks for reading and for the comments. I believe in your Blue Jays! I think they’re good. Love these powder blues on Opening Day too. That reminds me of my Powder Blues article I wrote a few years ago. I need to look that up again and see how I graded Toronto’s blues.
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I think Detroit’s pitching staff is gonna keep them in the race longer than expected. Daniel Norris is finally ready. He’s still only 27.
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