Ten 2019 MLB Predictions
We’re talking baseball.
The 2019 MLB season is fast approaching, and our top ten 2019 MLB predictions will seek to answer some of your biggest questions. Note how we said some, not all, but indulge us.
Boston enters the new year as the defending world champions, already ranking among some of the best. Will they retain that title, or will there be no repeat? Will the team that does win the 2019 World Series, say, come from their division? Is the National League ready to step back in after consecutive losses by the Dodgers in the Fall Classic?
We don’t want to bore you with detailed predictions on every team. For us to get them all correct would be almost impossible, anyway. Besides, there is always bound to be a team that comes out of nowhere and has a great season. On the flip side, you better hope your team isn’t the one predicted to have a strong year and then faceplants in reality.
Below, ten questions are asked and answered.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 1
How will MLB’s “pace of play” changes for 2019 be received?
Not well, but nobody will listen or care, and they will continue. The commissioner’s office and those around him are hell-bent on fundamentally changing the game of baseball, from taking away defensive shifts to putting runners on second in extra innings to considering ties. I got news for you, Mr. Manfred: the game of baseball is bigger than you, has been around a lot longer, and will be around well past your time. Sports commissioners focus a great deal on what their “legacy” will be, so rather than focusing on being a good steward of the game, they have to change things that don’t require changing.
Diehard baseball fans (the “purists”) will come to revile Rob Manfred, if they have not already. Casual fans will not notice a significant difference; you know, the people to whom these changes are geared. The commissioner thinks you have the attention span of a Jack Russell terrier. Players will on balance be irritated, particularly those who take a more purist stance on the game. Most will keep their mouths shut but a few will make backhanded comments.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 2
Who will win the National League West?
The Los Angeles Dodgers. Not being able to win the World Series notwithstanding, the Dodgers still have an elite number one pitcher in Clayton Kershaw and an overall pitching staff that you can put against anyone else’s in the game. For them to not make the postseason would be a huge disappointment.
This is not going out on a limb considering the Dodgers have won the NL West six years in a row.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 3
Who will win the National League Central?
The Chicago Cubs. This is one of the tougher divisions in baseball to predict, but not the toughest. I would have gone with the Brewers as the defending division champions, but pitching projections for this group look suspect compared to the rest of the division. The Cardinals made a nice move in getting their hands on Paul Goldschmidt, but they are coming off of a couple non-playoff years; do we trust them yet? Finally, there are the Cubs, who are still in the middle of a nice run; Chicago has made the playoffs four years in a row for the first time ever.
Assuming we are writing off the Reds and Pirates, the questions are these: are the Brewers and Cubs going to perform at the same high level, and are the Cardinals improved enough to chase them? Chicago’s pitching stands out.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 4
Who will win the National League East?
The Washington Nationals. More than the NL Central, this is the hardest division to predict in baseball, and it could be a four-way battle. Washington is still good without Harper, the Phillies are good with Harper, the Braves have a talented young core that got to the playoffs last year, and the Mets still have a strong rotation.
The big question mark is what are the Mets going to get from their starting lineup. Robinson Cano is a huge boost, especially in the absence of Yoenis Cespedes. If they figure it out, they are a potential dark horse contender, as they have the division’s best pitching.
This is likely to be a four-team cluster near the top for most or all of the season. Only the poor Marlins will lag behind the pack.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 5
Who will win the American League West?
The Houston Astros. No team in the division is on their level when it comes to pitching, and they still have the best offense. Dallas Keuchel is no longer a part of this team, but there are plenty of arms to help fill in the void. Not to mention, they still have the scariest lineup in the division. The Angels can only ride Mike Trout’s talent so far, as they have shown year after year. They have the best player in baseball and he’s only been in one postseason series in seven full seasons. You guys gonna put a team around him or what?
The thing is, if the American League is top-heavy, the Angels have a shot at a wild card without having to win all that much.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 6
Who will win the American League Central?
The Cleveland Indians. As far as pitching goes, it’s a blowout in favor of the Tribe compared to the rest of the division. In the AL Central, which could feature a few really bad teams, only the Indians and maybe the Twins look viable. Chicago will be a question mark; they are nowhere near ready to contend, but they were a little better in the second half last season.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 7
Who will win the American League East?
The New York Yankees. Look, it’s the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL East by a mile; it’s just a matter of which of the two is in front at the end. I would not expect another team to be in the mix in September aside from one of these two. Someone else, maybe Tampa Bay, could be in the chase for a second wild card.
Repeating as a division champion is not that hard compared to repeating as a World Series champion. Winning 108 games again is not at all easy. Boston has a terrific team, but so do the Yankees. If the Yankees get through the early stages of the season in which some members of their rotation heal up, they will be a tough out. The case to be made for Boston is that they are returning essentially the same team that won the 2018 World Series. It’s hard to go against that, but for now, we will take the Bombers.
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 8
The five National League playoff teams will be?
In order of their likely seeding:
Los Angeles Dodgers (West)
Chicago Cubs (Central)
Washington Nationals (East)
Milwaukee Brewers (Wild Card)
New York Mets (Wild Card)
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 9
The five American League playoff teams will be?
In order of their likely seeding:
New York Yankees (East)
Houston Astros (West)
Cleveland Indians (Central)
Boston Red Sox (Wild Card)
Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
2019 MLB Predictions: Question 10
Who will win the 2019 World Series?
The New York Yankees. There has only been one decade since the start of the 1920s in which the Yankees have not won a championship. Their last was ten years ago in 2009. This is a playoff-caliber team with plenty of pitching and plenty of hitting; they are a complete package, or close to it. Has it been a lost decade in the Bronx? Not if they have anything to say about it. They will have a tough road getting through the American League, but if they do, they will be the favorites to get their 28th championship.
This is a club that won 100 games last season and ran into one of the two with a better record in the postseason. They may emerge as the best regular-season team. In the last 15 seasons, the team perceived to be the “best” in the regular season won the World Series just under half the time.