2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Fill In That Bracket
Who wins the 2018 World Series? Maybe?
Because the National League could not figure out two of its division winners in a timely fashion, our 2018 MLB playoff predictions are coming on the last possible day.
One of these ten teams will win the 2018 World Series: Houston, Cleveland, New York (Yankees), Chicago (Cubs), Los Angeles (Dodgers), Boston, Atlanta, Oakland, Milwaukee, or Colorado. You would assume that Boston, 108-54 record on the season, is the favorite. Perhaps they are, and anything less than a World Series victory would be a travesty considering their win total. However, there are two-other 100-win teams in the American League, not to mention several very good National League teams. The bar is very high in 2018.
Now, with all of that said, who will win the World Series? We will come up with at least one good reason why each of the ten teams has a shot.
Be sure to track the bracket as October unfolds on our MLB playoff bracket page.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Atlanta Wins Because…
Who doesn’t love a turnaround? The Braves gave indications in recent past seasons that their pieces could come together into a success story. Arguably, Atlanta got there faster than expected, and here they are in the postseason.
Atlanta can take the whole thing because they have been consistently good. The Braves posted a winning record in all but one month, they won almost two-thirds of their one-run games (23-12), and their offense and pitching are each statistically top five in the National League. You could argue, however, that Mike Foltynewicz deserved better than a 13-10 record considering his sub-three ERA.
The Braves also notably hit .257 and batted in 218 runs with two outs and runners in scoring position. Only Boston was better in both of those late-rally categories.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Boston Wins Because…
They won 108 games. Isn’t that enough?
Even if one is a Yankee fan or Boston hater somewhere in the fruited plain, objective reality states that the Red Sox were the best team in 2018. Now, whether or not they win the World Series is a whole other story. Boston did a lot right and very little wrong during the regular season, but they can either be the 1998 Yankees or the 2001 Mariners, though with a few less wins than either.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: The Cubs Win Because…
This is old hat for them. Who knew we’d ever be saying that about the Chicago Cubs?
Sure, Rizzo and Bryant are still doing their thing, but Javy Baez is the man of the hour on the Cubs offense. His 34 homers and 111 RBI may get him the National League MVP award.
As for Cubs pitching, they have the second-lowest team ERA in the National League with the most innings pitched. It would be hard for almost anyone to top that, and that’s some good sample size going on there.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Cleveland Wins Because…
This is a team that has a sense of unfinished business. First, they lose a heartbreaker to the Cubs in 2016, and then they get bounced by the Yankees in 2017. Is Cleveland’s window closing? Probably not, given what a trainwreck the rest of the AL Central is, but as an American League contender, several teams have passed them now.
Regardless, Tribe pitching was again very good, with Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer both under three ERAs. Mike Clevinger just missed at a 3.02. Their strength is in their starting pitching, which they need to go deep into contests. If they chew up innings with the lead, they will win games. The caution is that their bullpen is one of baseball’s worst with a 4.60 ERA, though it has had its recent moments.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Colorado Wins Because…
Their offense can mash, depending on where they play. Colorado is second in the National League in runs scored and third in home runs. The thing is, they had better maximize whatever home games they may get, because they are starkly better hitters in Denver than anywhere else.
You might then look at the Rockies’ 27th-ranked bullpen and wonder how did they have winning records both home and on the road? Colorado pulled out most of their one-run games (26-15) and had a respectable .259 average with runners in scoring position, for starters.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Houston Wins Because…
This is familiar territory, and with baseball’s second-best record, nobody would bat an eye if they did it all again.
2018 Houston is basically the same team that pulled it off in 2017. They kept up with the improvements elsewhere in the American League and posted a tremendous 103-win season. Their pitching also allowed an absurdly-low 534 runs, which was by far the fewest allowed in MLB.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: The Dodgers Win Because…
They are peaking at the right time. Los Angeles had their best offensive month in September, and the pitching has been consistent with the exception of a sub-par April. And, let’s be honest, if it’s an elimination game, do you want your team to see Clayton Kershaw? They made the World Series last year for a reason. Pythagorean Win-Loss shows they should have won more than they did considering the run differential of almost plus-200.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Milwaukee Wins Because…
Some team has to go on a magical run every now and then, and the Brewers are a prime candidate.
Christian Yelich became an MVP candidate in 2018, but the Crew had three 30-homer hitters in that lineup, also including Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw. As a team, Milwaukee came up just 13 home runs short of the club record of 231.
Their starting pitching has been alright, and not the worst among current playoff teams, but the bullpen was top-five in baseball in the regular season.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: The Yankees Win Because…
They are a 100-win team that picked up its game again with Aaron Judge’s return, as well as the Luke Voit (Shane Spencer 2.0) surge.
New York still boasts one of the best bullpens in the game with a 3.38 ERA and a .221 batting average against. They can get a starter through six with the lead and all but end the game if their flamethrowers are on-point. This team, very similarly constituted in 2017, came within one win of the World Series using that combination.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: Oakland Wins Because…
They exploded onto the scene in 2018 after coming in last place in 2017. Oakland’s team batting average also got a nice bump in the second half up to .261. September was one of their best offensive months of the season, ensuring that they are entering the postseason on a high note.
A’s pitching was also rock-solid in so-called “high leverage” situations, which is to say those with the greatest individual impact on the outcome of the game. In them, Oakland held opponents to a .220 average, meaning the pitching is ready to roll in October.
2018 MLB Playoff Predictions: And Finally, The Prediction Bracket
Most of America is probably not going to like this, and it is not an obvious choice. It certainly is not a bad one, as the Yankees have the third-best record in baseball. Boston, the Yankees, or Houston would all be the Fall Classic favorites if they make it that far, regardless of opponent.