My 2014 MLB Predictions

The Dodgers roster is chock-full of All-Stars, and they’ll plow through the competition in 2014. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Baseball is back! After a very eventful offseason, America’s pastime has finally made its return. 2013 was a year full of surprises, and this season won’t be any different. From the Red Sox revival to the breakout year we saw from Chris Davis, baseball never failed to deliver exciting twists and turns throughout the year.

Although anything can happen (trades, injuries, etc.), here are my predictions for the 2014 season.

American League

East: Rays

No matter what happens, the Rays find a way to win games. Although they may not have a star-studded lineup, Tampa Bay’s solid pitching staff combined with the team’s ability to score when it matters most is a winning combination. Boston lost too many pieces of the puzzle to repeat as division champs, and I’m expecting another disappointing year for the Yankees, possibly an injury-filled one, similar to their 2013 season.

Central: Tigers

The Royals will give Detroit a run for their money, but the Tigers will prevail in this altogether lackluster division. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are arguably the best first and second starters in any rotation, and the rest of their staff is pretty solid, as well. Miguel Cabrera is still Miguel Cabrera, so don’t expect anything less from him.

West: Angels

2013 was a very disappointing season for the Halos, but I’m expecting a very Boston-esque comeback for them this year. If the rest of the rotation behind Weaver can consistently deliver some solid innings, the lineup should be able to bring in the runs they need. Mike Trout is the league’s second best player, as he’ll put up more video game-like stats in 2014. Although Pujols and Hamilton won’t be as productive as they once were, look for them both to bounce back and return to being offensive threats. Los Angeles also added former St. Louis third basemen David Freese to the team, who will help spark the bottom half of the lineup.

National League

East: Nationals

Washington had a down year in 2013, as Atlanta had no problem handling the National League East. The Nats will flip the script this season, and I expect them to easily win the division. The Braves still have a pretty solid lineup, but pitching injuries will plague them in 2014. Beachy, Medlen, and Minor will all miss the entire season, putting pressure on the young Julio Teheran and newly-acquired Ervin Santana.

Central: Cardinals

Last year’s National League champions will once again take first in the Central division. With one of the league’s best pitching staffs, the Cardinals will repeat their success from the previous season. Yadier Molina is one of the best at calling a game, and provides a consistent bat to the lineup. Pittsburgh won’t finish as well this year unless the offense can step up big time, and the Reds just won’t be able to keep up with the Cards.

West: Dodgers

Once again, Los Angeles will win the West. The boys in blue finished in first last year, after the surprising downfall of San Francisco. Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, and will be joined by a talented group of starters. The Dodgers lineup is scary, as the young Cuban slugger Yasiel Puig will help fuel the already dangerous offense. If Matt Kemp can return to full health, there’ll be no stopping LA.

AL Wild Card: Red Sox over Royals

The Royals are an impressive young club, but they’re not quite ready take make a serious playoff run. The 2013 World Series champs will take this Wild Card game.

NL Wild Card: Reds over Pirates

Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati in last year’s Wild Card game, but this year, the Redlegs will return the favor. The Pirates will struggle to put up runs, getting shutdown by Cincy in this one.

World Series: Dodgers over Tigers

Once again, the Tigers will come up short in the playoffs. The new-and-improved Dodgers team will be too much for the boys from Detroit. Don Mattingly will win Manager of the Year as Los Angeles will take the series in 6 games, with Clayton Kershaw being named the World Series MVP.

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