American League Regular Season
AL East: Red Sox With an aging rotation, but still essentially with all the pieces from last year intact, the Red Sox will run away with the division, watching division rivals Tampa Bay and New York battle it out for second place and the Wild Card.
AL Central: Royals Behind Gil Meche and Zack Greinke, the Royals will be the surprise team of this postseason. Newly acquired Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs should help this team score more than the 4.37 runs per game they averaged last season. With Joakim Soria set up by Farnsworth, finally out of NYC, this team will win the worst division in the majors.
AL West: Angels I see the Angels getting off to a slow start, possibly falling behind the A’s at the All-Star break. A good second half, plus Oakland cooling off a bit should give them the division title.
AL Wild Card: Yankees After spending $423.5 million on three free agents, the Evil Empire will fall to third behind the Sox and Rays at the All-Star break, but recover behind C.C. Sabathia’s second straight amazing second half to beat out Tampa Bay for the Wild Card. This will be the first year that the original four (Mariano Rivera, Andy Petite, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter) really begin to feel their age.
National League Regular Season
NL East: Braves Lowe, Glavine, and Vazquez will be a solid top three to their rotation and a rejuvenated offense will give the Braves the division. Chipper Jones will hit at least .330, playing in over 150 games.
NL Central: Chicago Cubs No one is really good enough to compete with the Cubs for the division. St. Louis will give it a go, but in the end the Cubs are have a surplus of talent in their rotation that the Cardinals do not.
NL West L.A. Dodgers It has to be these guys. Manny Ramirez sealed one of baseball’s weakest divisions when he signed a month ago. Plus this young rotation is going to be tough to beat. The Dodgers will really make some noise this year.
NL Wild Card: Mets After signing K-Rod and J.J. Putz, the Mets will rely heavily on them to finally close out the Phillies in September. Johan Santana will continue to pitch well, and Carlos Delgado will continue his torrid pace from last year’s second half through his contract year.
NL Division Playoffs
Dodgers vs. Braves – After getting all the way back to the postseason, with another huge year by Manny, L.A. will have too much firepower for Atlanta. Dodgers in four.
Cubs vs. Mets – After relying heavily on K-Rod and Putz to close out their season (finally), the Mets are gassed, and the Cubs are fresh after cruising to their division title. Cubs in four.
NL Championship Series
Cubs vs. Dodgers – In a rematch of last years NL Division Series, with both teams having interesting story lines. I think the Dodgers offense won’t be enough to make up for their sub-par pitching and the loss of Steve Bartman in the stands. The North Siders will advance to their first World Series since 1945. Cubs in six.
AL Division Playoffs
Royals vs. Yankees – The Yankees will have too much experience on their side for the Central champs to handle, and after splitting the first two games in Kansas City, the young Royals will go out with a whimper at Yankee Stadium. Yankees in four.
Red Sox vs. Angels – Red Sox have the Angels’ number, and shouldn’t have a problem advancing to the ALCS. Beckett, Lester and Matuszaka will shine to shut the Angels down. Red Sox in three.
AL Championship Series
Yankees vs. Red Sox – The Yankees find a way to win this series, and A-Rod gets to his first World Series. Yankees in seven.
Cubs vs. Yankees – In a made-for-TV matchup, the Cubbies continue their improbable run, finally breaking the curse of the billy goat, as Kevin Gregg shuts down the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth at the brand new Yankee Stadium. Cubs in seven.