The 2020 baseball season felt like a dream. It was short and because no one was allowed at the games, you barely remember it. If you had to check who won the World Series last year and you don’t live in Southern California, you are not alone.
It was the Dodgers, by the way. If you are a fan of Clayton Kershaw, that’s great news, because you never have to hear about his postseason success - or lack thereof - ever again. He has a ring, and now he can take his place among the all-time greats.
But anyway, that was 2020. Now time for 2021, and a full 162 game season. Also happening in 2021: A return to the ballpark for fans.
I don’t know about you, but sunshine, baseball, and a beer sound delightful. It has been too long and that day is nigh.
Something else that is long overdue: A Minnesota Twins playoff victory. They have not won a playoff game since Johan Santana toed the mound in Yankee Stadium on October 1, 2004. For those counting, that was 18 playoff games and over 6,000 days ago.
If you are running for your favorite adult beverage after reading that, I don’t blame you.
The Twins are set to be in the thick of things in the American League Central once again this season, and they are expected to be joined by the Chicago White Sox who dazzled prognosticators over the offseasons with their signings. Minnesota has won the past two Central Division titles and will look to make it three straight since 2002-04, the only other time in team history they have accomplished that feat.
Since it is that time of year, the time has come to open up the prognostications for this baseball season. We will go over division winners, playoff winners, and some award winners. Please feel free to jump in the comments and say how wrong these are.
National League West - Los Angeles Dodgers (-300 to win the division)
Somehow, the best team in baseball got better with the addition of Trevor Bauer this offseason. Just an embarrassment of riches on this team. Padres will give the Dodgers a run for their money this summer, but Los Angeles will pull away in September.
National League Central - St. Louis Cardinals (+105)
This division was the most difficult to pick, but somehow the Cardinals will just nudge out the Brewers and Reds for the crown. Should be a fun race all summer.
National League East - Atlanta Braves (+140)
Sorry, just can’t get behind the Mets yet. They have some great pitching, but just team to team the Braves are deeper. Good value bet here as the Braves are not the favorites to win this division. The Braves have won the East in three straight years and you have to like the odds to make it four straight.
American League West - Houston Astros (+120)
I’d like to throw this pick in the garbage can, but something in my head keeps banging on the fact Houston is still to beat here. George Springer is gone to Toronto, and Justin Verlander is out for the year. But somehow, someway, this team will get the division title. If I was going to pick an upset, this would have been the division to do it with Oakland and Anaheim to be in the mix.
American League Central - Minnesota Twins (+110)
Chicago White Sox were the champions but they won’t be the champions of the Central this year. The Twins depth gives them a third straight division title and a shot at winning one lousy playoff game again this fall. Somehow, the White Sox are still favored to win the division by Las Vegas.
American League East - New York Yankees (-220)
The Evil Empire will steamroll to another AL East crown. Even if they can’t get healthy seasons from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, they still have all the rest to cover the absences. Look out for Stanton though, as all indications this spring are that he is looking incredibly sharp and ready to mash in the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium.
National League Wild Card Teams - San Diego Padres (-850 to make playoffs) & Washington Nationals (+160 to make playoffs)
If you can stomach the late nights, the Padres are going to be so much fun to watch this summer. As mentioned above, they will give the Dodgers a run for their money in the West this season before losing out. Still can put them down for a Wild Card spot though.
Washington is a sleeper pick here. They have a good rotation and should have a decent bullpen. The lineup is questionable, but they could easily make an addition later in the year if they need some added offense. A healthy year from Juan Soto will do wonders for them as well.
American League Wild Card Teams - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (+160 to make the playoffs) & Chicago White Sox (-260 to make the playoffs)
The White Sox will be good enough this year to get in the playoffs as a Wild Card, but not enough to win the Central. Losing Eloy Jimenez in Spring Training for 5-6 months was a big loss, but they still have the firepower to get in the backdoor.
Honestly, the Angels are a pick of hope and desperation. Baseball needs Mike Trout in the playoffs. Also, how fun would it be to have Shohei Ohtani pitching and hitting in the playoffs? Like the kid in Disney’s Angels in the Outfield, we may need some divine intervention to help get them in the playoffs.
American League Winner: New York Yankees (+230 to win the AL)
National League Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers (+175 to win the NL)
World Series Winner: New York Yankees (+550 to win the WS)
This feels wrong in so many ways, but I just can’t see these clubs not in the Fall Classic should they remain moderately healthy this season. Should be a good dog fight though between these two juggernauts.
AL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton - NYY (+3500)
NL MVP: Juan Soto - WSH (+700)
AL Cy Young: Gerrit Cole - NYY (+330)
NL Cy Young: Yu Darvish - SD (+1000)
Other Best Bets:
Minnesota Twins over 89.5 wins (-110)
New York Mets under 91 wins (-110)
Washington Nationals over 84 wins (-110)
Atlanta Braves over 91.5 wins (+100)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook