Predictions for the rest of the 2017 MLB season

Without further ado, and with only a tinge of hometown bias, here’s what we see unfolding in the rest of the 2017 MLB season.

Division Champs

American League

Sahil

  • East – Boston Red Sox
  • Central – Cleveland Indians
  • West – Houston Astros (duh)
  • Wild Card 1 – New York Yankees
  • Wild Card 2 – Kansas City Royals

Even if the division lead was 1.5 games instead of 16.5, Houston’s lineup, numbers 1-9, is the best in baseball and should be favored bias-free. Re: the Wild Card slots, the Yankees have had a lot of bad luck; their Pythagorean Win-Loss record is second-best in the AL behind Houston, and the team reminds me a lot of the young, up-and-coming 2015 Astros. I think they’ll just miss out on the AL East title.

Patrick

  • East – Boston Red Sox
  • Central – Cleveland Indians
  • West – ‘Stros
  • Wild Card 1 – New York Yankees
  • Wild Card 2 – Tampa Bay Rays

Houston wins the West, it’s just about a given at the halfway point. That sentence is both extremely cocky but also really, really fun to type. If you read the first Friday Fix, you’ll know it isn’t looking good for the Twins to put up any challenge in the Central, giving it to the Indians. The East looks crazy right now so I figured I’d just put all of the top three teams in in some order.

National League

Sahil

  • East – Washington Nationals
  • Central – St. Louis Cardinals
  • West – Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Wild Card 1 – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Wild Card 2 – Colorado Rockies

Death, taxes and the Cardinals in September. I’ve seen it too many times to count the Redbirds out. This Cardinals team is terrible defensively, but the Cubs can’t seem to find a rhythm and the Brewers have played the easiest schedule in the division heading into the All-Star break. The NL Central is there for the taking.

Patrick

  • East – Washington Nationals
  • Central – Milwaukee Brewers
  • West – Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Wild Card 1 – Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Wild Card 2 – Colorado Rockies

Did I pick the teams with the best records currently? Yes, I did. But they have those records for a reason. Yeah the Brewers have played an easy schedule as Sahil pointed out, but I believe they can hold on as long as Jimmy Nelson continues to dominate. The West is very similar to the AL East right now, where the top three teams in the division are three of the top four teams in the league. While they will beat each other up a bit, I think they settle in to a Wild Card fight and get all three in. I don’t trust the Cardinals this year. Or don’t want to trust them to spite Sahil.

Most Valuable Player

Sahil

  • American League – Aaron Judge (NYY)
  • National League – Max Scherzer (WSN)

George Springer, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve finish 2-3-4 in the AL MVP race. Voters love a surprise, fresh face, and Judge’s MLB-leading WAR and home run totals provide a statistical case beyond the “WOW LOOK AT THE SIZE OF HIM” shock-factor. Scherzer is 0.7 wins above replacement ahead of the next National League player and has the best ERA, WHIP and ERA+ in the majors. He’s the easy choice in the NL.

Patrick

  • American League – Aaron Judge (NYY)
  • National League – Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

Aaron Judge will win the AL MVP. As we have seen time and time again (love you James Harden), Houston won’t get much love from national voters. It’s easy to turn on ESPN and see the Yankees and notice a massive man crushing baseballs. I’m not saying Judge isn’t good, he is, he’s great, but when you get a guy playing this well for a team as popular as the Yankees, it’s hard to lose an MVP race. Goldschmidt should benefit from several Nationals splitting votes and the Cubs bombing. He’s been incredible over several years and plays a major role in getting this Dbacks team to the playoffs. Get him his (and Arizona’s first) MVP.

Cy Young

Sahil

  • American League – Dallas Keuchel
  • National League – Max Scherzer

Keuchel’s ERA of 1.67 would lead the league if he hadn’t missed the last month of the season with an injury. Despite missing around six starts, Keuchel is only 0.6 WAR behind the AL leaders, Jason Vargas (KCR) and Marcus Stroman (TOR). If he can come back strong from injury and remain healthy the rest of the season, this award is his for the taking. And Scherzer has been byfar the most dominant pitcher in the NL, 1.1 wins above replacement ahead of his nearest competitor (teammate Gio Gonzalez) and 1.3 ahead of Clayton Kershaw.

Patrick

  • American League – Dallas Keuchel
  • National League – Max Scherzer

Keuchel put up good enough stats to keep him in this race even with missing the last month of the season. With A.J. Hinch doing a great job of not rushing Keuchel back in to the rotation (and really, why would you at this point) he should be healthy enough to continue his hot start deep into the season. As for Scherzer, look at the stats Sahil has mentioned. The Nats will put up the best record in the NL, and Scherzer will be a major reason why.

Playoffs

Sahil

American League

  • Wild Card Game winner: New York Yankees
  • American League Divisional Series winners: Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox
  • American League Championship Series winner: Houston Astros

Please, name a single team who wants to go through Houston in October. This is the deepest roster in the majors, and, if healthy, the Astros can pummel any team offensively. If they continue to coast through the remainder of the regular season, they should be well-rested for a postseason run.

National League

  • Wild Card Game winner: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • American League Divisional Series winners: Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals
  • American League Championship Series winners: Los Angeles Dodgers

A low-scoring series between the Nats and Dodgers goes seven games, with Kershaw and Scherzer dueling three times. The Nationals’ slightly superior starting rotation is nullified by their vastly inferior bullpen, and the Dodgers have a legitimate claim to the “best team in baseball” throne, with a better Pythagorean Win-Loss than even the Astros.

Patrick

American League

  • Wild Card Game winner: New York Yankees
  • American League Divisional Series winners: Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians
  • American League Championship Series winner: Houston Astros

It’s just hard to imagine the Astros being stopped in a postseason series. When the roster expands, the Astros will have a surplus of pitchers ready to go. Putting up 19 against the Blue Jays right before the All Star break is also a good reminder of the offensive firepower available.

National League

  • Wild Card Game winner: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • American League Divisional Series winners: Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals
  • American League Championship Series winners: Washington Nationals

The Dodgers are good. No one in the NL has the pitching needed to stop them, and the Nats bullpen is just not built for a postseason run. I think the Nationals realize this and make some moves in the second half. They’ll look to bolster their bullpen with some serious win-now moves. After years of playoff runs falling short, I think this is the year they throw in all the chips for a World Series birth.

World Series

Sahil

Look at the name of this website. Did you really expect to see anyone other than the Astros here?

While left-handed pitching is traditionally the Astros’ kryptonite, and Clayton Kershaw is a freaking boss, there just isn’t a lot of data to project how this lineup might fare. As a unit, Houston’s hitters have hit .250 in just 88 career at-bats; Springer, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel have never even faced Kershaw before. Altuve is a career .400 hitter off Kershaw, though, and has an OPS of 1.067, albeit in just 15 plate appearances. That said, for Kershaw’s career, batters hit for an average of .205, so maybe there’s hope there? Overall, the Astros have a stronger batting lineup and bullpen than the Dodgers, and that should be enough when the World Series comes along to bring the Astros their first world championship.

Patrick

Astros. The Dodgers will take the Nationals deep and exhaust their new, overhauled bullpen. Starting pitching will be enough to keep this a close series, but overall I believe Sports Illustrated got this one right.

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